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 - 166 Responses on “Richmond (Yorks)”
  1. P.T. Richards – I heard that he is related to the former MEP but not 100% certain.

  2. Thanks!

  3. Mr Hague is to step down at the next general election.
    This was a shock to me. I expected him to stay on as an ‘elder statesman’ on the backbenches.

  4. Me too. Wonder who they’ll get to fill the seat, and if the Lib Dems will fondly (if not necessarily wisely) remember 1989 and make a play for it. Doubt they’d be at all successful.

  5. As I said on another thread, I thought he’d stay on for another 20 years!

    Wonder if he’ll get bored whilst out of politics and make a comeback in 2020?

  6. I remember on the Hertsmere thread making a comment about the Tories losing being about as likely as Roger Helmer becoming PM.

    Well, the Tories losing this seat is about as likely as Margaret Thatcher being the next PM. The majority will fall, but even 100% of LD support going to Labour and a larger than average UKIP surge would not be enough to cost his successor this seat.

  7. William Hague has been such a good fit for his seat that in 2010 he got a higher percentage share of the vote and majority than he did in 1992, and then a big increase as party leader in 2001- but even if he hadn’t been leader that year, I still think he would have got a 5-6% increase given there were increases in similar neighbouring rural seats in the North in 2001.

  8. Ladbrokes have some betting on who the next Tory candidate will be.

  9. James Wharton will have been hoping that Hague had stayed until 2020.

  10. Selina Scott? WTF? Surely she’s older than Hague is?

  11. Might the new Conservative MP for this seat be someone who stood previously in 2010 in another Yorkshire seat unsuccessfully? Alex Story comes to mind.

    For some reason I also think a couple of Sunderland Conservatives might be interested- Maybe Robert Oliver (Houghton and Sunderland South in 2010)?

  12. HH – I was thinking that myself. Rather late for her to start a parliamentary career, especially as people young enough to be her children are already retiring.

  13. Wasn’t she a sex symbol for people your age Barnaby….flashing her legs next to Alastair Burnet on News at Ten 🙂

  14. Here is my revised prediction for 2015, that I feel any capable Tory candidate should be capable of achieving-
    Conservative- 57%
    Labour- 19%
    Liberal Democrat- 13%
    UKIP- 8%
    Green- 3%

  15. LOL – HH – she was a nice-looking woman but “sex symbol” would be rather strong. Perhaps Anna Ford should stand for Labour in retaliation. (She lives in Brentford & was a very occasional customer of mine.)

  16. Not a woman to be crossed, IIRC. Didn’t she throw a glass of wine over Jonathan Aitken? Incidentally showing great foresight, before the rest of the country found out he was a crook.

  17. What are the chances here of Labour coming second? High?

  18. Depends on how well UKIP do…certainly LDs will not come second.

  19. I think it’ll happen, but it should dissolve back to the Lib Dems in a (distant) second in 2020. It’s a pity for the LDs that Hague’s retirement is coming now. I imagine there were some who had fond memories of ’89 and were wishing for a sudden, surprise win once he stepped down (or at least thought they could start taking it to marginal territory). In such a bad year for them, obviously that’s not plausible anymore.

    Still, as I’ve expressed before, I’ve always thought the Lib Dems should do better in North Yorkshire than they do. They had Ryedale at one point, and are obviously fairly strong in Skitpon & Ripon, Harrogate, and York Outer, and did quite well here in ’89, but have never been able to quite pull it together and start winning. While the Lake District and the Dales obviously have a very different character, I’d think the somewhat tourism-dependant economy (albeit to a greater extent in Cumbria) might have made the area susceptible to a South Lakeland-style takeover (although not to that somewhat shocking level). Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet, and doesn’t look at all likely now.

  20. William Hague is a good example of someone representing a seat that’s the polar opposite of their home seat (he’s from Rotherham). He did stand for nearby Wentworth in 1987 and was defeated by about 20,000. Are there many others like this?

  21. I think Wentworth was actually his home seat – I was under the impression that he lived in Wath-upon-Dearne in that constituency as a boy.

  22. Barnaby – Selina Scott is only just 63 and looks 10 years younger. You’re fielding an older battleaxe in St Helens lol and the Tories are fielding an OAP in Wirral S. Apparently her and Esther don’t get on.

  23. I think you might be right Barnaby. I was only going on his Wikipedia and according that he went to school in the Wentworth constituency (Wath as you say) so it would make sense he lived nearby.

  24. Peter Oborne:

    “William Hague was a dud as foreign secretary. He is now in danger of turning into a useless Leader of the Commons.”

  25. Conservative selection longlist (source ConHome)

    Christine Emmett (Rutland Cllr, Corby by-election candidate)
    Nick Timothy (Chief of Staff of Theresa May)
    Wendy Morton (2010 Tynemouth candidate, former chairman of Richmond Association)
    Stephen Parkinson (SpAd to May, 2010 candidate in Newcastle North)
    Rishi Sunak (businessman)
    Julie Iles (2012 candidate for Surrey PCC)
    Edward Legard (Ryedale Cllr, 2010 candidate in Darlington)
    David Skelton (2010 candidate in Durham North)
    Helen Harrison (from East Northamptonshire)

  26. Wot no Selina Scott?

    Barnaby will be disappointed.

    If Richmond Conservatives want to go for another professional northerner then David Skelton must be a good bet.

  27. Why would I be disappointed?
    Timothy was mentioned in the Guardian this morning, because he is apparently the civil servant who described Nick Clegg as a “wanker”. I make no further comment.

  28. ‘It’s a pity for the LDs that Hague’s retirement is coming now. I imagine there were some who had fond memories of ’89 and were wishing for a sudden, surprise win once he stepped down’

    Given that Richmond is if not the than one of the most Conservative seats in the entire county, even in n ormal circumstances I wouldn’t rate the Lib Dems chances of winning here in any general election

    I don’t think the Lib Dems have underperformed in North Yorkshire at all. Most of the seats are large rural ones – which away from the West Coiuntry and some parts of rural Scotland and Wales – the Lib Dems have never fared well – with Tory majorities similar to those found in Surrey and Buckinghamshire

    They did extremely well to win the affluent Harrogate seat and hold it for three terms, and what happened in the Ricxhmond and Ryedale by-elections used to be a common phenomenom in the 1980s and 90s – Lib Dems doing well in safe Tory seats – think Ribble Valley, Christchurch, Eastbourne

  29. Rural tourist seats are usually much more liberal than rural agricultural seats though – North Norfolk, for example, and Westmorland. More artisans and small tourism-related businesses favour the LDs, I’d suggest, whereas farming communities and commuters are both traditionally Tory blocks.

  30. 4 left in the Tory race

    Chris Brannigan
    Robert Light
    Wendy Morton
    Rishi Sunak

  31. I apologize for my previous comment about the longlist. It was not exhaustive.

    The ConHome headline read “Exclusive: The longlist to succeed Hague in Richmond” but at some point they made it clear that “So far we know the names of nine of the longlisted candidates” implying there were more names.

    Brannigan is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He lost the PCC selection in Hampshire against Michael Mates.
    Light is a Cllr in Kirklees.

  32. Rishi Sunak has won Conservative selection.

  33. Quite remarkable how many ethnic minority candidates have been selected in safe tory seats.

  34. I thought Wendy Morton stood a better chance, being a former Association chair in the constituency. Wonder how local residents will respond to this selection. Rishi Sunak has a website which currently comprises one page:

    He also heads a unit for Policy Exchange on ethnic minority research:

  35. Rishi Sunak has an impressive CV judging by his website.

  36. I guess it depends on what impresses you. Personally, I think that the Conservative party could do with fewer global investment business founders who used to work at Goldman Sachs.

  37. A dispiriting choice in several ways.

  38. Well it arguably conforms to the Cameroon idea of modernisation, which is that you make the Conservative party more electable by offering a slightly more diverse range of wealthy, Oxford PPE graduates than previously. That’s not really my idea of what making the Conservative party more representative should entail, even if I am always glad to see more people of Asian descent voting Conservative and standing as candidates.

  39. “Well it arguably conforms to the Cameroon idea of modernisation, which is that you make the Conservative party more electable by offering a slightly more diverse range of wealthy, Oxford PPE graduates than previously.”

    That description could also apply perfectly to William Hague.

    (not that I disagree with your general point)

  40. Absolutely, H Hemmelig- I was thinking that myself! 🙂

  41. Have Ukip selected yet? Have a feeling they might go for a local farmer?

  42. Would not be surprised to see a 10-15% drop in the Tory vote here, if UKIP follow Merseymike’s advice. Seems to be par for the course in seats where a former leader retires (Huntingdon, Folkestone).

  43. Prediction 2.0 , without Hague-

    Con- 57%
    Lab- 18%
    UKIP- 12%
    Lib- 7%
    Green- 6%

  44. I think it could be more. I wouldn’t be shocked to see something like this (although I’m not necessarily predicting it yet, it’s just a scenario for a heavy downswing in the Tory vote):

    Con 50
    UKIP 20
    Lab 15
    LD 11
    Grn 4

  45. “Quite remarkable how many ethnic minority candidates are chosen in safe Tory seats”

    And indeed, quite remarkable how FEW are chosen in safe Labour ones.

  46. Worth remembering that Hague isn’t a local either and has a similar establishment background.

    Cons will be around 55 here imho.

  47. Yes I think 55% is the best guess at the moment.

    Hague of course, though not local, did have the bonus of being able to say he was a Yorkshireman (but then he was selected to fight a by-election where being local-ish was probably more important).

  48. The tories can’t win. If they choose an ethnic candidate, people whine about a) how successful they are and b) how well educated they are…if they don’t, well “you’d expect that, they are racist”. It only counts if you choose someone ethnic, if they are working class, even though a white working class man/woman would be most unlikely to be selected in a seat like richmond either.

    I think it’s praiseworthy and extraordinary that in two generations, rushi could be selected by a tory association in a safe rural yorkshire seat. Well done the Richmond Conservative association!!

  49. Peter Crawford- I would have made exactly the same complaint had they picked a white ex-Goldman Sachs employee who did PPE at Oxford and who was head boy at Winchester School. I really don’t see how Mr Sunak is radically more representative of modern Britain than someone like David Cameron is.

  50. Quite

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