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 - 212 Responses on “Richmond (Yorks)”
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  1. IMHO one of William Hague’s best Commons performances when he was Leader of the Opposition was his reply to Tony Blair’s ‘Government Annual Report’ on 13 July 2000:

    I must begin by thanking the Prime Minister for delivering a statement of such excitement that at least two Cabinet Ministers were present for the start of it. Only this Prime Minister, when accused of being all talk and no delivery, would try to talk his way out of it. Only he, when accused of being all spin and no substance, would try to spin his way out of trouble. Only he, when accused of being all gloss and gimmicks, would attempt to rebut the charge by publishing a glossy brochure, which is yet another gimmick from his Government of gimmicks.

    This is the third annual report. The first was entitled, “So what do you think?”; the second was called,”So, what are we doing?”; the third should accurately be called, “So what on earth are we going to do now?” We have all learned what to expect from the Prime Minister’s annual reports.

    I shall give hon. Members extracts from these reports, because the Prime Minister has not done so. First, there is the banal. The UK is home to 59 million people. Thanks very much for that staggering piece of information. Then there is the completely untrue. Page 46 of today’s annual report states that, as part of the delivery of the Government’s vision, this year saw the opening of the UK Sports Institute, providing world-class facilities, coaching and support in Sheffield. As everyone in Sheffield knows, not a brick has been laid. No such institute has been opened, and the whole thing is now to be sited in London. How are we to believe any of this rubbish? No wonder only 49,000 copies were sold last year, 41,000 of which were bought by the Government. It is not exactly Harry Potter, is it—although it requires as much imagination to believe it?

    Then there is the ridiculous. Last year’s report said: The Dome at Greenwich will provide the focus for the country and the rest of the world. This year’s report says that the dome remains controversial. Then there are the missing items. There is room this year for a full-page picture of a man on a telephone, but there is no space to mention the Chancellor’s £5 billion tax on pension funds, the thousands of criminals released from jail early by the Home Secretary, or the complete collapse of the Foreign Secretary’s ethical foreign policy.

    Then we have more of the blatantly untrue. In the previous two reports, but not in this year’s, the Government provided a helpful list of their claims of progress on their manifesto pledges. Last year they made some interesting claims. For instance: Develop an integrated transport policy. Done. It is true that the Deputy Prime Minister integrated petrol price rises with traffic jams. Hold referendum on any EMU decision. Kept. Did we all miss something? Have we had a referendum?

    Referendum on voting systems. On course.
    …EU enlargement. Done.
    CAP reform. On course.
    Back the 2006 World Cup bid. On course.

    That is last year.

    This year, the helpful list has disappeared and in its place the interested reader has to visit 177 different web pages in order to add them up. We can see some of the changes. The integrated transport policy has now become: Improving transport is a key priority for the Government. What happened? Last year it was all done and integrated. Now it has disintegrated. Holding a referendum on voting systems has become: The timing of a referendum has not yet been decided. Last year it was all on course. The 2006 world cup bid now reads: The final decision is 6 July 2000. Is anyone updating the Government’s website? Could that be a job for an out-of-work press secretary?

    Is not today’s report—this rubbish, this complete detachment from reality that we have been given—yet another signal that the Prime Minister lives in a fantasy world in which the dome is a great success, everyone wants to abolish section 28, everyone wants to adopt the euro and everyone believes figures produced by the Chancellor? Even when the report makes a claim that is true, it avoids the whole truth. It claims that 1 million jobs have been created in the past three years but does not mention that in the previous three years, under the previous Government, 1.1 million jobs were created. Does the Prime Minister think that we are all citizens in some Soviet village waiting to hear the glorious news about tractor production and willing to overlook the fact that no tractors have actually arrived?

    Is not the truth that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have repeatedly announced £19 billion for this and £21 billion for that, and that they have little or nothing to show for it? The majority in the country have been 1074 asked to pay again and again for services that are getting worse. Now the Government expect everyone to throw their hats in the air as they announce more fantasy figures pretending to know what will happen to the economy in four years’ time and throwing all prudence to the winds.

    Yesterday, as the Prime Minister threw some ludicrous figures around, he announced his own estimation of increased taxes—if he is allowed to go on governing—of £16 billion. Cannot we now be certain of two things: with this Prime Minister, services will not get any better but taxes will keep going up? If he wants to fight an election on that, we are happy to do so.

    Is there not a massive contrast between his ridiculous claims and the daily experience of the mainstream majority of people in this country? Is there not a massive contrast between this self-congratulatory nonsense and the annual report that would be written by the people of Britain? Would not an annual report produced by the people of Britain say that the Prime Minister promised to improve the NHS and cut waiting lists, but the waiting list for the waiting list has doubled? Would not an annual report by the people of Britain say that he promised to be tough on crime, but he has been weak on crime and it is going up? Would not an annual report by the people of Britain say that he promised to cut class sizes, but class sizes in secondary schools have gone up? Would it not say that he promised to keep taxes down, but he has piled billions of pounds of stealth taxes on to hard-working families? Would it not say that he has comprehensively failed to deliver on public services?

    Instead of this report, should we not have a real report on the Government? No tax increases at all—abandoned. Twenty-four hours to save the NHS—abandoned. An ethical foreign policy—abandoned. Broken promises—done. Weak leadership—done. Split on the euro—done. The slow slide from admiration to fascination to disillusion to contempt—on course.

  2. And here was me thinking you were going to ask when Yarm had been in this constituency! 🙂

    Good to see you back here, Harry. Have you seen Hague’s speech about Tony Blair’s (then rumoured) bid for the EU Presidency back in 2008? Very funny.

  3. are you getting them off they work for you

  4. ‘Have you seen Hague’s speech about Tony Blair’s (then rumoured) bid for the EU Presidency back in 2008?’ Yes I’ve watched it on the BBC Democracy live archive video page

    ‘are you getting them off they work for you’ No from this excellent site

  5. Hague’s biggest majority to date has been 23,504 over the Liberal Democrats in 1992, and his smallest has been 2,634 over the SDP at the 1989 by-election in which he entered parliament. In 2001 when he stood in this seat as Tory leader his majority was 16,319 over Labour. His present majority is 23,336 over the Liberal Democrats – slightly less than in 1992. From 1997 to 2005 Labour finished in second place in this constituency, but in 2010 it was the Liberal Democrats, who last finished second in 1992

  6. 1992 Notional

    Con 30,333 60.42%
    LibDem 13,626 27.14%
    Lab 5,797 11.55%
    Others 445 .89%

    1997: Con -7000
    Lab +7500
    LD – 5000
    Ref +2500
    rounded of course

  7. This seat always used to count on the second day until Hague was leader of the Conservatives in 2001- ever since then it has counted on the actual night of the election.

  8. The Liberal Democrat vote fell here over a number of elections, starting in 1987 and ending in 2010- (there was a 6.96% increase in 1983)
    1987- -0.71%
    1992- -1.28%
    1997- -7.3%
    2001- -0.5%
    2005- -0.2%

    The Lib Dems managed to increase their vote share in 2010 by 2.2% to 19.1% after five general elections of decreases that added up to 9.99%.

  9. Actually the fall here in 1997 for the Liberal Democrats was 8.74% after boundary changes. So their total fall from 1987 to 2005 was -11.43%.

  10. I went to Northallerton in 2010.

    Why did ‘Guido Fawkes’ post this back then:…………..?

  11. What the fuck has you going to Northallerton in 2010 got to do with some gossip about William Hague having a gay special advisor?

  12. Prediction for 2015-
    Hague (Conservative)- 63%
    Labour- 18%
    Liberal Democrat- 15%
    Green- 4%

    I’m not sure if UKIP will stand here. In case they do, here’s a second prediction-
    Con- 59%
    Lab- 17%
    Lib Dem- 14%
    UKIP- 6%
    Green- 4%

  13. It would be a major surprise if A Brown were William Hague’s SPAD seeing that he is a Labour supporter, and I think was in 2010 too.
    I do find some of your posts a little random A Brown – you’re more effective when making predictions, at which I think you are not bad at all.

  14. If Hague hadn’t been leader of the Tories in 2001, I wonder what his result might have been? Certainly the Conservative vote share increases in neighbouring Vale of York, Skipton and Ripon and Penrith And The Border suggest he might have only got about 4% lower in any other circumstances- though a 6% increase in such a large rural seat wouldn’t have been at all surprising given the problems with Foot And Mouth at that time.

  15. Hague’s result here in 2005 was essentially a repeat of 2001 mainly because the seat had swung heavily to him that year when he was party leader. With his majority already being above 1992, it was perhaps why he didn’t go up much in 2005 as saturation point might have nearly been reached. Certainly he has had some solid results here nonetheless, confidently turning this back into the rock solid safe Tory seat it was before 1997. He’s certainly done well where another Tory candidate might have enjoyed less support.

  16. I actually wonder how different Hague’s result in 2001 might have been had he not been party leader?

  17. Again this has been discussed before. I think it’s pretty obvious that Hague’s majority was considerably higher than it would have been otherwise. It has frequently been the case that a party leader in a nationally losing cause has done very well in his own constituency – the same happened to Michael Foot in Blaenau Gwent in 1983 (it was Labour’s safest seat in that election, and their only vote share anywhere above 70%), and to John Major in 1997 in Huntingdon where he achieved by some distance the highest vote share of any Conservative candidate even though it was a relatively modest 54%. Hague clearly attracted a sympathy vote from constituents who were perhaps proud that their own MP was leading his party, though obviously he would have easily held the seat anyway. He has done well to build further on what was already a very strong position even though he has of course not been the leader since that time.

  18. I wonder what will happen here after Hague stands down as an MP (could be years away, as he’s not nearly as old as all that, at 53, although it wouldn’t shock me if he went for something different once Cameron is out of office). A Conservative hold, probably, but the by-election in ’89 was certainly interesting. I tend to think that the Lib Dems will do better without him there.

  19. P.T. Richards- the by-election was a total aberration. It’s possible that the Lib Dems could get back into the mid -to-late-20s which is where they were in the 1980s but I think that will be about as good as it gets for them.

  20. Tory: Perhaps. It wouldn’t shock me to see them breaking 30 at some point, but who knows. I think the path that saw them winning the neighboring Westmorland & Lonsdale could bring them some success here, and in Thirk & Malton and Skipton & Ripon. I think there is a route forward, if not one to victory, necessarily.

  21. Don’t know why you are so excited about the Lib Dems here. Probably Labour will inch into second and it’ll remain an extremely strong Conservative seat.

  22. Joe, I’m SURE it will remain incredibly safe Conservative territory. If you read back up, though, you’ll see my point was about what will happen once Hague steps down. I was speaking very hypothetically. My point, in essence, is that I could see the LIb Dems doing much better here with him gone, possibly to the tune of 30 or 35 percent.

    This next election? Sure, Labour might get second, and either way, it’ll be a very solid Tory hold. I wouldn’t be shocked if Hague actually increased his majority a bit.

  23. I don’t think Hague will be standing down anytime soon. I think he’s still got ambitions for the leadership if the Tories go back into opposition next year, and he’s got a pretty good chance of getting it. He could very easily promote himself as being both a moderniser and an elder statesman in the leadership election. Although personally I think Theresa May will be the next Tory leader.

  24. The only chance Hague has of being Tory leader again is if Cameron resigns following a Scottish yes vote and there is a need for a caretaker PM. Hague won’t want to be leader of the opposition again in a million years. If Cameron remains PM after 2015 then there won’t be a vacancy.

    Worth mentioning also that Hague is rated much lower among Tory members these days, since going all sensible and pragmatic at the FCO.

  25. Had he not already had his quite difficult turn at bat (far too soon in my view) I’d be convinced he’d be the next leader. Having said that he still comes across best of all the available options.

  26. Adam, I totally disagree. I don’t think he’s got any ambitions left for leadership. Just looking at him, and hearing the stories, you see a man who’s tired of partisan politics, and is quite content at staying away from it and making a role as a statesman. His reputation has much improved, and I highly doubt anyway Hague would want to risk that and go back to the bad old days.

    I’m convinced he’ll step down from Parliament when the Tories are next out of power. I can see him perhaps being convinced to be a caretaker leader, like H.H says, but nothing beyond that.

  27. Disraeli’s phrase ‘exhausted volcano’ comes to mind when thinking of Hague. And his credibility with the Right is absolutely shot, partly over Europe and partly over his enthusiasm for adventures in the Middle East.

  28. H Hemmelig- absolutely right though I would naturally take issue with your characterisation of Hague’s policies at the Foreign Office.

  29. I’m in 100% agreement with Van Fleet. I really think Hague will look for either an international post or something a bit less political than his current role. Obviously, he’ll get a peerage if he wants one, and that might suit him.

    Adam brings up a good question, though: if Scotland votes yes, will Cameron resign? If he does, I’d be almost certain Hague is the obvious choice to succeed him. Clegg couldn’t serve as caretaker of a mostly Tory government (at least, not at length. Maybe for a week or two if the Tories wanted to sort out who would serve as caretaker).

    Personally, I think Hunt, Gove, Osborne, and May are the real leadership options, not Hague at this point. Javid might stand, but I can’t image the Tories picking him.

  30. Hunt, Gove, and Osborne would all be disastrous choices in my view (albeit for different reasons) though I agree with you that they are considered as options within the party. For me, it has to be May.

  31. “H Hemmelig- absolutely right though I would naturally take issue with your characterisation of Hague’s policies at the Foreign Office.”

    Completely agree with you on Syria. You wouldn’t expect me to agree with you on Europe. Whatever your view however, it’s very clear that Hague is now much more pro-European than when he railed against the EU as party leader.

  32. In the old days, presiding over a break up of the union would certainly be considered something to resign over. I still think it would be today, though whether Cameron shares that view, I don’t know.

    I do agree Hague is the logical choice to act as a caretaker Prime Minister until a leadership election could be held, not for the least reason that his lack of leadership ambition would make him acceptable.

    Of all the members of the Cabinet, May looks like the most likely successor. But don’t count out Philip Hammond – a lower profile, but seen as dependable, and he’d come across much better in public than someone like Osborne would.

  33. Van Fleet- I’m not a massive fan of Hammond either I’m afraid, largely because of the jargon he uses whenever he is questioned about Defence. But I agree with you that he would come across better than Osborne would- not that that would be especially difficult.

    If Hammond ran May’s campaign on the understanding he would be made deputy leader, would they call it ‘Top Gear’?

  34. ‘If Hammond ran May’s campaign on the understanding he would be made deputy leader, would they call it ‘Top Gear’?’

  35. If Cameron leaves in generally good repute, Osborne, Gove, and Hunt are the most likely successors (my money’s on Osborne). They’re all firmly in the Notting Hill Set.

    If Cameron is somehow disgraced (and I agree, a yes vote in Scotland might do it), then I think May can present herself as a more distinct candidate more easily. I honestly hadn’t even thought of Hammond as leader.

    I also wouldn’t rule out a backbench or junior minister challenge from the party’s right wing. That’s definitely a possibility, although the Tories are a bit better at keeping the fringes out of leadership contests than Labour is. (Weirdly, the Lib Dems actually don’t have incredibly chaotic leadership contests.)

    Let’s not rule out someone from the old guard going for a last hurrah, too. Ken Clarke or David Davis or someone like that.

  36. Ken Clarke? He’ll be 75 by the time of the next election. That’s not going to happen.

  37. I didn’t say I thought he’d win.

  38. Nor did I. What I’m saying is that at 75 Clarke won’t be standing for the leadership even if he is still an MP.

  39. Van Fleet, we’re not talking about Hague the buffoon from the 97-01 parliament, we’re talking about Hague the elder statesman in the 15-20 parliament. That’s quite different.

    I do admit he would have problems winning over the Tory right in a leadership contest though.

    If the Tory defeat next year isn’t all that bad and the end up with somewhere in the region of 270 MP’s, you could argue that Cameronism hasn’t been a total failure and that they should elect one of the more loyal members of the current cabinet as the next leader.

    But knowing the Tories, they’ll probably start panicking and elected someone like Chris Grayling who will be a total disaster.

  40. But personally I’d support either May or Hague.

    And no I don’t think Cameron will resign if he loses the Scottish independence vote. He’ll want to lead the Tories into the next election.

  41. Barnaby, fair enough.

    Maybe Boris Johnson will, though. Article about it in the New Statesman today.

    Adam, I’m less sure the Tories will lose than you. Labour is usually 1-3 points ahead in polls nowadays, and the Tories should be able to either even it completely or even take a small lead by election day. I think the Tories will win the popular vote, and Labour will narrowly have the most MPs, but slightly short of a majority.

  42. Not strictly true. The average Labour lead still seems to be about 4% though a number of recent polls have suggested a narrower gap. Last night’s showed a Labour lead of 5%. Your conclusion however may well be correct in the end.

  43. My bad, Barnaby. I do hold by my primary point, though. I think the Tories will wind up ahead, if not necessarily in seats.

  44. predictions for 2015 election-

    con- 62%
    lab- 23%
    lib- 11%
    grn- 4%

    This is presuming UKIP don’t field a candidate , if they do I’d suggest –

    con- 55%
    Lab- 17%
    UKIP- 14%
    Lib- 10%
    grn- 4%

  45. Just heard the journalist Tom Newton-Dunn suggest on LBC that Hague may be about to resign as Foreign Secretary and as an MP to become Britain’s EU Comissioner!

    Would be a huge story if this is the case.

  46. He wouldn’t resign would he?

    If he does, it would certainly make for a very interesting by-election here, although the Tories would obviously still win it easily.

  47. He would have to resign his seat I believe. Richmond would be an incredibly dull by-election, being an obvious and easy Tory hold. It’s not 1989 any more.

  48. But if UKIP stood they could still get about 10-15% of the vote, however unlikely that may sound in reality. I think Labour would come into second place, but there would be no stratospheric swing in their favour given this is rock-solid ultra-safe Tory territory.

  49. But I said interesting because it would be intriguing to see who the Tories would choose as a successor if he did go. Would it be anyone we’ve heard of before, maybe as a candidate somewhere else already in 2010, or maybe not?

  50. Christian, is Tom Newton-Dunn any relation to the former MEP?

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