Richmond (Yorks)

2015 Result:
Conservative: 27744 (54.8%)
Labour: 7124 (14.1%)
Lib Dem: 3465 (6.8%)
Green: 2313 (4.6%)
UKIP: 8194 (16.2%)
Independent: 1811 (3.6%)
MAJORITY: 19550 (38.6%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: Yorkshire and Humberside, North Yorkshire. The whole of Richmondshire council area and part of Hambleton council area.

Main population centres: Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley, Leyburn.

Profile: A geographically huge seat that covers a vast swathe of rural North Yorkshire, including much of the Yorkshire Dales national park, Swaledale and Wensleydale, and part of the North Yorkshire Moors to the East. Most of the constituency is small villages and hamlets - the only towns are Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley and Leyburn. The local economy relies upon agriculture and tourism, though the constituency also includes the army base at Catterick Garrison.

Politics: Richmond is a very safe Tory seat, held by the party over a century, notably by former Foreign Secretary William Hague and former Home Secretary Leon Brittan. William Hague held it only narrowly in the 1989 by-election that originally returned him to Parliament, with only the split between the SLD and the continuing SDP seeing Hague home safely.

Current MP
RISHI SUNAK (Conservative) Born Hampshire. Educated at Winchester College and Oxford University. Former businessman. First elected as MP for Richmond (Yorks) in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 33541 (63%)
Lab: 8150 (15%)
LDem: 10205 (19%)
GRN: 1516 (3%)
MAJ: 23336 (44%)
Con: 26722 (59%)
Lab: 8915 (20%)
LDem: 7982 (18%)
GRN: 1581 (3%)
MAJ: 17807 (39%)
Con: 25951 (59%)
Lab: 9632 (22%)
LDem: 7890 (18%)
Oth: 561 (1%)
MAJ: 16319 (37%)
Con: 23326 (49%)
Lab: 13275 (28%)
LDem: 8773 (18%)
MAJ: 10051 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
RISHI SUNAK (Conservative) Born Hampshire. Educated at Winchester College and Oxford University. Businessman.
MIKE HILL (Labour) Trade union officer.
JOHN HARRIS (Liberal Democrat) Teacher. Married to Baroness Harris of Richmond.
LESLIE ROWE (Green) Accountant and charity management consultant. Contested Croydon North West 1987, Ealing Acton 1992 for the Liberal Democrats, Richmond (Yorks) 2005, 2010 for the Greens.
JOHN BLACKIE (Independent) Richmondshire councillor, Leader of Richmondshire council, North Yorkshire councillor .
ROBIN SCOTT (Independent) Born Catterick. Educated at Wensleydale School and Newcastle University. Businessman. Richmondshire councillor since 2013, originally elected as a Conservative.
Comments - 231 Responses on “Richmond (Yorks)”
  1. Democracy – “significantly better off under Blair” – really?

    But the personal tax allowance has doubled since then. IIRC the IFS said that 80% have received tax cuts in each of the years of the past decade. Even more if you take into account fuel duty freezes and so on.

  2. Lancs

    I haven’t in truth done any exact calculations, it would probably depend on how much over £100k you earn but the loss of the personal allowance over that amount would obviously start to offset the increase in personal allowance since then.

  3. I do feel that at least somebody should be making the case for more broad-based tax rises, though. They should be sold as a price we should be happy to all pay for a good society, rather than (as the modern left often seems to do) a tool for punishing the rich.

  4. Nobody wants to punish the rich.

  5. Well as HH has been saying, something has to be done to combat the national debt continuing from spiralling out of control. It can’t go on forever unchecked and it’s the more vulnerable in society who would be hit hardest were a default to happen.
    I wonder if a tax touted for a particular purpose might work well – a national debt surcharge!? I would gladly pay a bit of extra tax if I was assured it would be ring fenced for defence spending for example (suspect many may not share this particular view though!)

  6. PT

    I’m not sure the last time they asked a ‘would you be willing to pay more tax for better public services’ question but whenever they did during the 1980s and 90s people mostly said they would

    Since then the perception was that Labour pumped lots of money into public services yet there was no real improvement. Whilst neither of these are strictly speaking true (certainly not the no improvement bit), even if it were, Labour didn’t do it through rising income tax levels, which they went out of their way to avoid, and were quite explicit about it too

    The only people really making the case for large tax rises over the past 20/30 years has been the Corbynistas and we all now know how that ended up

    Another point is that the cost of living is considerably more nowadays, in no small part as a result if indirect taxes. It costs a good couple of hundred quid for a good night out and that never used to be the case, and things like childcare and good food cost much more in real terms than they used to

    There is a case for tax rises but at the moment the Right seem to be winning the argument that putting more money into something doesn’t always make it better whereas invariably it does

    I’m not from the Left so I can’t speak for them but they need to up their game considerably.

  7. Which is exactly why it’s such a poor sales pitch!

    The weird thing is, it’s Momentum folk who are the sort of people to volunteer at food banks and night shelters. They have noble intentions. But come election time they didn’t really mention any of that stuff much. Their message seemed to be that the 95% were all equally victims of the status quo (hence no tax rises for any of them); I felt that was somewhat insulting to the 20 – 30% who *really* need the help. Instead I saw a lot of “the rich are scared of us, and they are right to be.”

  8. Previous post was addressed to Matt Wilson, obvs.

    Tim: even the Corbynites never committed to *broad* tax rises. (“95% will pay no more”, which was designed to deflect Tory criticisms about the government stealing your wages but ended up dumping Labour with another problem, that it ended up looking like the numbers didn’t add up.)

  9. TJ

    The problem with putting more money into public services is whilst they do generally improve as you say, it doesn’t tend to be proportionate to the amount of money put in (difficult if not impossible to quantify I know but I think that’s the way most people see it).

  10. You make my point Democracy – that probably is the way most people see it and I agree that what’s needed is better and more creative ways of spending that money and I guess you only do that when you have good people at the top willing to take bold decisions and able to take those that work for them with them. I see little evidence of that currently

  11. I came across a boigraphy of Sunaks and saw he was married to an Asian origin woman. I don’t know why but I was surprised. This made me wonder how many other BAME Tory MPs have partners/spouses that were similarly mono racial.

    The answer is very very few.

    The following have spouses/partners that are all Brotish White: Helen Grant, Ranil Jayawardene, J Cleverley, Derren Henry, P Patel, Alok Sharma, Kwasi Kwarteng, Nadhim Zahawi, Adam Afriye, Nusrat Ghani, Suella Braverman, Shailesh Vara,  Sajid Javid, Bim Afalomi, Kemi Badenoch, Claire Coutinho and Gagant Mohindra.

    All except Rishi Sunak and Wolverhampton MP Paul Uppal.

    I cannot find info Meridien MP Saqib Bhatti and Rainham’s Rehman Chishti. The Wakefield MP Ahmad-Khan is a bit of a mystery.

  12. “The Wakefield MP Ahmad-Khan is a bit of a mystery.”

    Selected in a panic at the 11th hour just before the election, due to the previous candidate having to resign because of scandal.

    Such poorly vetted MPs are always at particular risk of turning into rotten apples….let’s hope he isn’t another Jared O’Mara or Fiona Onsanaya. Though in fairness he probably won’t be, his articles on ConHome have been pretty good.

  13. Hot take time: the calamitous drop in GDP Britain has suffered has demonstrated the success of the furlough scheme. When people receive money for staying at home, of course they will be disincentivised to go to work. (Which was the *entire* point of the furlough scheme.) I do, however, dear what is going to happen to such people as furlough comes to an end – many of their jobs will have disappeared regardless.

    Separately, I also notice a lot of government critics have pivoted seamlessly from “the Tories are sacrificing lives to save the economy” to “this whole lives-vs-economy thing is a false dichotomy”, which is disingenuous as hell.

  14. Radio 4’s profile featured Rishi Sunak a few months ago. A local reporter described the constituency as “101% white”… actually 96.8% white, and not even close to the top of the list. Sunak is safe as houses, but it’s interesting that he had a decreased vote share in two of the three elections he’s fought there.

  15. The Profile programme is here.

  16. So one part of the budget will be very popular. “Is the government right to reduce foreign aid spending?” (Yougov)

    Right: 66
    Wrong: 18

    As sad as I am about this, the government is pushing at an open door here, and in a way it is remarkable that the government kept to the UN target for as long as it did.

  17. Oh, and another thing – was this in the Tories’ manifesto? Im not sure it was because (a) there was almost nothing substantial in the manifesto at all, and (b) I’d have been hopping mad about it if it had been, and I don’t remember getting angry about it.

  18. Have to say I’m probably in a minority in preferring the fiscally conservative but globally internationalist coalition government to the English nationalist and fiscally anything but conservative approach of the current government

  19. Oh I definitely agree that out of this government versus the coalition, the coalition was vastly preferable. I just wish that being a deficit hawk didn’t always mean restraining spending rather than raising taxes. Always felt to me like the 2010 election presented a false dichotomy of “cut spending” versus “ignore the deficit”.

  20. I agree that the austerity went too far – best illustrated by the totally unnecessarily vindictive bedroom tax – a really nasty discriminatory tax that had the smirking George Osborne written all over it.

    But they did keep the top rate at 45% and 10 years into successive Tory governments there has been no real clamour to put it back down to 40% – despite calls from some right wingers to do so – such as former Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne

  21. The coalition was much better yes.

    The Lib Dems kept the Tories away from darting down plenty of silly rabbit holes, whilst the Tories forced the Lib Dems to get real in terms of the kind of compromises and tough choices needed to be a serious party of government. A win-win. As in business, policy which has to be painstakingly negotiated with diverse partners is going to be better and more robust usually than when there are no constraints on what a single party can do.

    I’m sorry that the Lib Dems chose to trash their own impressive record in government, and that the Tories shit on their coalition partners rather than try to bring them into a more permanent tent. The country is much worse for it on both counts.

  22. “The Tories forced the Lib Dems to get serious about the compromises and tough choices needed to be a party of government.”

    I think having to be a serious party of government is what killed them. They lost the “none of the above” vote. Polling on plenty of stuff repeatedly demonstrates that British voters are not all that liberal, they had a very low floor and that’s where they’ve been pretty mich constantly since entering government.

  23. I remember plenty of centrist publications – the FT, the Economist, The Independent – endorsed a return of the con/lib dem coalition at the 2015 election

    I think the leadership of both parties deserve immense credit for – against all odds – keeping it together despite the constant sniping from left wing Lib Dem and right wing tory Mps

    Whilst it lacked the populist touch of the current government most of its members were of a considerably superior political vintage than the likes of Raab, Williamson and Rees Mogg

  24. “Whilst it lacked the populist touch of the current government most of its members were of a considerably superior political vintage than the likes of Raab, Williamson and Rees Mogg”

    And Cameron made the sensible decision to bring in a few heavyweight greybeards to add gravitas and experience to a fairly inexperienced team (though much better than the one we have now) – Clarke, Hague, Heseltine as an advisor. Thatcher did this also, Blair less so.

  25. Part of the Tory Party’s problem is that there don’t appear to be any “heavyweight greybeards” for them to fall back on any more.

  26. “Part of the Tory Party’s problem is that there don’t appear to be any “heavyweight greybeards” for them to fall back on any more.”

  27. “Part of the Tory Party’s problem is that there don’t appear to be any “heavyweight greybeards” for them to fall back on any more.”

    Surely not true at least in terms of seeking advice and guidance. Clarke and even Heseltine are still there if now very old, you have Cameron, May, Major and Hague, and a raft of experienced ex-senior-ministers from the 2010-19 governments including Osborne, Hammond, Hunt, Javid and lots of lower rank dispensers of common sense like Soames and Alistair Burt.

    Yes it’s true that most of this list couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to serve as full blown ministers but some could from the Lords, and the failure to use the experience still in the commons eg. Hunt and Javid at a time of national peril is unforgiveable. Surely it’s more a problem of Boris and Dom ex-communicating all the grandees, Remainers and everyone of their ilk than there not being anyone suitable.

  28. I thought the likes of Hammond, Heseltine, Clarke, Major et al had all been kicked out of the Tory party for being insufficiently Eurosceptic

    I really don’t think they have a place in today’s English nationalist party – and they know it

  29. Yes to some degree that was my point as well.

    The best Prime Ministers have often been willing to work with those from outside their own party and certainly those from different wings of the same party. Thatcher did so, at least with the latter, Blair and Cameron extensively.

  30. The comments sections of newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Telegraph indicate that even their readerships are aghast at the lack of talent in the current Cabinet. It looks like there will be a reshuffle early next year; surely the likes of Hunt and Javid will be brought back into the fold.

  31. To be fair, the default position of Daily Mail commenters is being aghast at everything. They are quite a nihilistic bunch.

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