2015 Result:
Conservative: 29151 (56.8%)
Labour: 6578 (12.8%)
Lib Dem: 5369 (10.5%)
Green: 3434 (6.7%)
UKIP: 6817 (13.3%)
MAJORITY: 22334 (43.5%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. Part of Reigate and Banstead council area.

Main population centres: Reigate, Redhill, Banstead, Tadworth, Kingswood.

Profile: An affluent commuter seat, straddling the M25 to the south of London. Several insurance and financial companies have their headquarters here but the towns and villages here mostly serve as dormitories for London workers.

Politics: A very safe Conservative seat, held by the party since 1910. There is little real competition to the Conservatives at a Parliamentary level, and at a local level the main alternative to the Tories are the candidates of local residents associations. Previous MPs for the seat include Geoffrey Howe, who briefly represented the seat between 1970 and 1974 before moving to the East Surrey seat after boundary changes, and George Gardiner, the right-wing Conservative MP who was deselected in 1997 over his criticisms of John Major and briefly became the Referendum party`s only MP.

Current MP
CRISPIN BLUNT (Conservative) Born 1960, Germany. Educated at Wellington College and Sandhurst. Former army officer and special advisor to Malcolm Rifkind. Contested West Bromwich East 1992. First elected as MP for Reigate in 1997. Parliamentary under-secretary for prisons 2010-2012. Blunt famously resigned from the Conservative frontbench after the close of polls on local election day in 2003 to call for a vote of no confidence in Iain Duncan Smith, but the call fell flat after the Conservatives made greater than expected gains. In the event Iain Duncan Smith would be removed six months later.
Past Results
Con: 26688 (53%)
Lab: 5672 (11%)
LDem: 13097 (26%)
UKIP: 2089 (4%)
Oth: 2432 (5%)
MAJ: 13591 (27%)
Con: 20884 (49%)
Lab: 8896 (21%)
LDem: 9896 (23%)
UKIP: 1921 (5%)
Oth: 1008 (2%)
MAJ: 10988 (26%)
Con: 18875 (48%)
Lab: 10850 (27%)
LDem: 8330 (21%)
UKIP: 1062 (3%)
Oth: 357 (1%)
MAJ: 8025 (20%)
Con: 21123 (44%)
Lab: 13382 (28%)
LDem: 9615 (20%)
Oth: 702 (1%)
MAJ: 7741 (16%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CRISPIN BLUNT (Conservative) See above.
ANNA TARRANT (Liberal Democrat)
JOE FOX (UKIP) Contested Reigate 2010.
JONATHAN ESSEX (Green) Chartered civil engineer. Reigate and Banstead councillor since 2010, Surrey councillor since 2013. Contested Reigate 2010.
Comments - 101 Responses on “Reigate”
  1. Crispin Blunt to step down as MP for Reigate (according to Paul Waugh).

  2. A possible seat for Boris?

  3. Would be a very good seat for him, though he appears to have ruled out standing in 2015 recently.

    Have to say I don’t have any sympathy for Crispin Blunt. Walking out on your family like that is a shitty thing to do, whether for another woman or another man, especially if you have used your family to promote a family values image in your election campaign. I would have a problem voting for someone who had treated his wife and family like that.

  4. At least he doesn’t fear a Labour gain

  5. As a Clarkeite sacked from government he probably also feels like the Tory future doesn’t belong to people like him

  6. I am a Clarkeite but more on Ken Clarke, not on policy so much.

  7. Disagree on quite a lot of his policy actually but he represents an important strand of Tory thinking
    and still needs to be incuded.

  8. Good riddance

  9. Crispin Blunt has not chosen to step down. The association voted against automatic re-selection and so it will go a a full vote of the association membership.

    So H Hemmeling do you have the same problem with Boris? who cheated on his wife twice with two different mistresses one of whom had to get an abortion.

  10. lets just say that politicians have no morals

  11. “So H Hemmeling do you have the same problem with Boris? who cheated on his wife twice with two different mistresses one of whom had to get an abortion.”

    No I don’t have quite the same problem with Boris, though I’m far from being a fan of his, as I’ve often said on here. Walking out on your family is much worse than having an affair.

  12. I thought Paul Waugh was a reliable source.

  13. I realise that Crispin Blunt is a fairly centrist figure within the Conservative Party, but I wasn’t under the impression he’d backed Ken Clarke.

  14. One thing that intrigued me about this area is London Transport used to run a large number of services into it
    in what seem(ed) to be quite low population.

    Eventually the services were handed over to other operators, being outside the London area.

    For example, the 280 bus continued to Lower Kingswood – a rather suburban community on the Brighton Road (the Brighton/Gatwick corridor).

    It’s interesting how you only have to go just that bit further out, and travel patterns are quite different, and seem to be diverging more.
    Perhaps many people drive to Tadworth or Tattenham Corner stations.

  15. I’m not surprised to see UKIP did well
    in the Kingswood/Tadworth bit
    this May.
    It’s the sort of suburbanised country where you probably get the Mail.
    Note how well UKIP did at the same time as the Tories fairly ok – and how badly the Lib Dems did even without a Labour candidate.
    It’s proof that the UKIP effect is very complex and Tories should not necessarily hope for a UKIP collapse when it wrong foots the Lib Dems and in some ways bolsters a right leaning agenda.

    But it may be doing net damage in marginal seats. Who knows.
    But I had a pint on the Friday after those elections.

    Tadworth/Kingswood 2013 County Council elections

    Michael Lawrence Gosling Conservative 1500 53% Elected
    Robert Leach UKIP 901 32%
    Alistair Morten The Green Party 230 8%
    Judith Briony Sykes Liberal Democrats 201 7%

  16. ‘I realise that Crispin Blunt is a fairly centrist figure within the Conservative Party, but I wasn’t under the impression he’d backed Ken Clarke.’

    I think he backed the ludicrous canditure of Michael Ancram in 2001 – as did other figures on the Tory Left like Peter Bottomly.

    Perhaps they remembered the Michael Ancram as the arch wet he once was, before he decided he woyld have a better future within the Tory Party if he converted to Thacherism – despite being 20 years too late

    But Blunt is decisively on the liberal wing of the party, despite being very partisan in Parliament

    ‘I’m not surprised to see UKIP did well in the Kingswood/Tadworth bit’

    I’m am surprised

    It’s a wealthy area and whilst there’s a new money element to both towns, they are not generally home to the type of bitter lower middle class and working class voter that backs UKIP

  17. It looks rather more affluent than the slight caricature of UKIP demographics but it is possibly a bit like spelthorne or havering rather than deep surrey. I’m talking about the northern part of the seat near the sutton boundary and generally north of the M25. But the strange thing is you’d expect the ukip and conservative demogs to straddle each other more than they have. Has that got to be one of the most right voting rersults above?

  18. There are council estates in Tadworth and maybe Walton too, but this area as a whole, whilst a bit more urban, isn’t too different from deepest Surrey, with plenty of big detached houses, nice pubs and high streets with lots of well-to-do independent shops

    Banstead at the seat’s northern peak is indeed more like a Greater London surburb like Coulsdon or Carshalton, and Tattenham Corner is a bit down at the heel,

  19. Tattenham is in Epsom & Ewell though this seat does now include the Preston ward which was one of the rare Labour voting wards in Surrey until quite recently (they held it in 2007 but lost in 2011 to a Ratepayer). This ward forms part of the Tadworth, Walton & Kingswood county division

  20. George Gardiner complained that his deselection was organised by “the snobs in Chipstead”. I assume that is the most affluent part of this seat, interestingly it is the part closest to London. Gardiner claimed to have much more personal support in the less wealthy parts of the seat around Redhill and Reigate itself.

  21. Interesting points. I am surprised Labour concentrated their vote enough to win a district seat then. This seat generally is a bit more functional than some others in surrey and with a better leader you could see labour stacking up a respectable vote

  22. Don’t Labour still poll a fairly respectable second in Redhill, at least in general elections?

  23. Well they should do.

  24. Kingswood isn’t really a town – a large village and suburban sprawl, just after Burgh Heath.

    Tadworth is more of a community I would have thought – I have seen a fair bit of council housing there but the quality and overall setting of the area is pleasant.

    Regarding Redhill, the LDs and surprisingly the Greens still seem to compete with Labour for the anti- right vote
    so I wouldn’t say they are doing as well as they should be.

  25. Labour have certainly been competitive in the past in Redhill taken as a whole, not just the central wards. There have also previously been Labour councillors in parts of Reigate town too, though Reigate has always been more Conservative than Redhill. However the rest of the constituency has always been a bit of a washout apart from Preston ward. Some parts of Banstead are very well-off, especially Nork, and I do know Lower Kingswood where I have an ex-in-law – it is mostly very upmarket. Clearly much of the ex-Labour support in Redhill has gone Green in local elections.

  26. IIRC correctly, the Tories only just carried Redhill in the 2005 Surrey CC elections- I think the majority was about 200.

  27. I must say i do have some sympathy for Crispin Blunt

    Provided he’s being truthful when he says he left his wife not because there was any third party involved but to ‘come to terms with his sexuality’ his tretment byu his local association contrasts with that shown to
    other MPs who have been involved in similar scenarios

    James Gray survived in Wiltshire North despite leavung his wife who was battling cancer to embark on a relationshipo wiuth a much younger woman.

    So too Greg Barker who walked out of his wife and children for the male architech who had worked on his familie’s home

    Or social right-winger Daniel Kawczynski, who received the full backing from his association after announcing he was in a relationship with a man

    As is so often the case with these associations, I suspect that Blunt’s real crime is that unlike the other aftorementioned inndividuals, he hails from the liberal wing of his party, and this provides his local association with the excuse they need to replace him with another George Gardiner

  28. If he has a personal vote, he might defect to the LibDems…. that would be amusing..

  29. ‘If he has a personal vote, he might defect to the LibDems…’

    I would very much doubt it

    Blunt is a throwback to the type of one-nation Tory MP with a military background, that used to dominate the party in the 1950s and 60s – but since Thatcher’s rise to the top has almost become extinct

    Such MPs are usually quite tribal

  30. Sounds like the tribe might be about to put the old-timer out into the forest…

  31. Tim- you make some astute points. I find it interesting that the most tribal Tories (measured both by their loyalty to their party and their willingness to engage in partisan point-scoring against Labour) are often on the centre-left of the party. Many of the more right-wing Tories are often quite bi-partisan. Perhaps this is because they see Labour as not being any worse than their own party’ leadership. Perhaps it also because the Tory Right has some common ground with Old Labour- on Europe and to some degree on social issues.

  32. I agree with Tim about James Gray and Greg Barker, who were both treated very leniently by their associations in comparison. Gray’s behaviour in leaving his wife in the middle of cancer treatment was particularly loathsome. Had I been a member of their associations I would not have been in favour of treating them so leniently.

    Kawczynski is very different, in that his case hasn’t involved deceiving his family or being in any way a hypocrite. I can’t really see that he has done anything wrong.

  33. I guess Labour could get into second place here
    but more by default I think.

    Con 54%
    Lab 18%
    LD 17%
    UKIP 8%
    Green 3%

  34. ‘I find it interesting that the most tribal Tories (measured both by their loyalty to their party and their willingness to engage in partisan point-scoring against Labour) are often on the centre-left of the party. Many of the more right-wing Tories are often quite bi-partisan’

    That does often seem to be the case

    Blunt used to spend much of his time in the Commons engaging in patisan point-scoring against Labour, certainly when the Tories were in opposition

    Andrew Selous, John Whitingdale and Charles Walker have always struck me as right wing MPs who are quite bi-partisan

    The Tory Right to indeed have much in common with the Tory Left.

    I remember in the Mastrict debates if the early 90s, where the likes of Peter Shore and Tony Benn used to share their opposition platform with the likes of Teddy Taylor and Nick Winterton.

    In terms of their reasoning there was little to distinguish one group from the other, and Benn has often said that he was geuinely surprised that he actually agreed with ther likes of Taylor and Winterton about a whole lot more than just Europe

    Sadly those types of Labour MP’s are a dying bread too, having made way to the metropolitan liberals who tend to dominate both parties nowadays

  35. The sort of tut tutty metropolitan liberal types would find it difficult to join forces over an issue in the way a man like peter shore could. Although to be fair perhaps the reverse applies. Anyway, we have an interesting debate here about the SEAT

  36. It is all about background.

    People who have only ever worked in politics since leaving university are the most petty and partisan. The everyday life of a SPAD involves constantly rubbishing the opposition.

    In normal life we all live and work around people who think differently to ourselves; we generally respect the opinions of others and compromise where we have to. Those who entered politics after a long working life in the outside are much more bi-partisan, in general, unfortunately these are the kinds of politicians which are dying out, hence politics overall is becoming more petty and more partisan.

  37. I’m suspicious of almost anybody who hasn’t done a proper job – it doesn’t have to be private,
    but you have to have done something else before you can offer your services – although there may be a few who can because they are rounded enough individuals.

  38. Hard to disagree with any of that H.Hemmelig.

  39. So that would have ruled out William Pitt, Gladstone, Disraeli?

  40. Runnymede- not necessarily. As JJB says, there are some individuals who are sufficiently well-rounded to go in young (though they are exceptional). Gladstone was certainly a case in point- chiefly by dint of his supreme intellect.

  41. I very much agree with HH and JJB’s posts.

  42. HH – very true. Tim Jones – it’s definitely also about background. Working class Thatcherite MPs often agree with working class Labour MPs ie on Tuition Fees and not just Europe. Perhaps the reason Tory Wets are often partisan is that they are just rich liberals and have to attack Labour to differentiate themselves in some way. Although I note that a few defected to Labour, ie Quentin Davies et al.

  43. Perhaps the Tory right and the old Labour traditions share some real world experiences, perhaps in work or industry,
    so there is more mutual respect that even if you disagree with someone else, you may share experiences and see their viewpoint.
    Also some people respect those who you know where they stand.

    I tend to find Lib Dems very partisan, and it’s partly because they exist for the sake of existing.

  44. sorry, in case I wasn’t clear – To clarify
    If you exist for no reason atall in politics
    other than being 110% passionate about being a Liberal democrat
    it’s hardly surprising that you’ll be all sanctimonious.

  45. I think it’s a stretch to use the word ‘liberal’ in connection with Quentin Davies

  46. They tend to be the most partisan, because they have to work the hardest to differentiate themselves from the other parties, lacking as coherent an ideology as the 2 main parties. If they fail to be partisan, they fail to be effective.

  47. Barnaby – v true. Runnymede – well he was a wealthy Wet. Him and Peter Temple Morris were also sympathetic to Irish Nationalists, so should never have been Conservative & Unionist MPs.

  48. “The comments are Mr Johnson’s strongest hint yet that he wants to return to Westminster as an MP, possibly at the 2015 general election, a move which will in turn fuel suggestions that he wants to take over as leader of the Conservative party one day.

    In an interview with FT Magazine, published in full tomorrow, Mr Johnson said: “During the whole Syria thing, for the first time in years, I wished I was in Parliament. I watched that and I thought … I wished, I wished.”

    The news came amid speculation that Mr Johnson could be parachuted in as candidate for the safe Tory seat of Reigate.”

  49. Just noticed that the above picture of Mr Blunt is an uncharacteristically jolly picture of him – he usually tends to look rather cross.

  50. “Many of the more right-wing Tories are often quite bi-partisan. Perhaps this is because they see Labour as not being any worse than their own party’ leadership. Perhaps it also because the Tory Right has some common ground with Old Labour- on Europe and to some degree on social issues”

    Very much agree with this comment. My own family and friends families were traditionally Blue Labour.

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