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
2010
Con: 33541 (63%)
Lab: 8150 (15%)
LDem: 10205 (19%)
GRN: 1516 (3%)
MAJ: 23336 (44%)
2005*
Con: 26722 (59%)
Lab: 8915 (20%)
LDem: 7982 (18%)
GRN: 1581 (3%)
MAJ: 17807 (39%)
2001
Con: 25951 (59%)
Lab: 9632 (22%)
LDem: 7890 (18%)
Oth: 561 (1%)
MAJ: 16319 (37%)
1997
Con: 23326 (49%)
Lab: 13275 (28%)
LDem: 8773 (18%)
MAJ: 10051 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
MATTHEW COOKE (UKIP) Accountant.
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.
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Comments - 166 Responses on “Richmond (Yorks)”
  1. ‘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.’

    So because he went to a good school, did well, went to a good university, did well, got a good job, and did well, he shouldn’t have been selected?
    The people who selected him presumably thought he was the best candidate.

  2. John D- I am going to call your bluff and say yes, on the basis that the Conservative party already has enough MPs with those characteristics and that if it continues to choose disproportionate numbers of MPs with those backgrounds, it will continue both to be out of touch and to be seen as out of touch. I don’t think Conservatives in the Home Counties grasp how deadly this perception is.

    As for Mr Sunak doing well, there is more to doing well in life than getting good grades and making money. I know that sounds a shocking thing to say in this age of sharp-elbowed meritocracy but some of us more old-fashioned Tories cling to more traditional values.

  3. I don’t think it’s right to exclude someone because they did PPE or (God forbid) worked for a financial institution.
    I’d be very happy if more people who worked in the public sector or earned an average wage or didn’t go to university were Tory MPs, but if the selectors like the bloke who went to an independent school more than anyone else then let them choose him.

  4. John D- I should stress that I wasn’t advocating any procedure to prevent such people being picked not least because it would be completely unworkable. I was simply stating that it would be desirable if the Conservative parliamentary party had a broader intake. This would include more state-educated people and more people who have lived and worked in the Britain that exists outside of London and the immediate south east.

  5. I think Chris Foote Wood might hold the record for a Liberal Democrat candidate standing in the most constituencies. He’s probably stood more times than anyone else without ever being elected. This will be the ninth general election where he’s stood for Westminster, as he also stood twice in North West Durham in 1983 and 1987. As if that weren’t enough, he’s also stood for the European Parliament six times!

  6. As the Green Party candidate for Richmond, I find your inaccuracy in omitting me as a candidate disappointing, especially as I am the only candidate who has stood in this seat previously (2005 and 2010).

  7. Former MP for this seat and cabinet minister, Leon Brittan, has died.

  8. The Results – I can think of a few in Merseyside such as Rosie Cooper, Flo Clucas, Steve Radford who’ve stood around 10 times in Generals and Europeans and around a dozen or more Locals. But you’re right, the max tends to be around five eg Ronnie Fearn. Leslie – the site is being updated with PPCs almost daily, but minor Parties aren’t a priority. AW will at some point though, I’m sure.

  9. This has received no attention but John Blackie is standing as an ind here. He is the leader of Richmondshire council. He won Upper dales with a North Korean style majority in 2013, I wonder….. The tory candidate is a terrible fit for this seat, and with ukip standing and with Hague not, the tories may be down 15% here.

  10. I’ve never understood how a seat that is do solidly tory at Westminster level could be an indipendent stronghold at local level. What’s so special about the Indipendent councillors here?

  11. People in rural areas like the personal touch sometimes.

  12. “the only towns are Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley and Leyburn.”
    Bedale. You forgot Bedale.

  13. Adam – Richmondshire is Independent held (and it does sway between Con and Ind control) but Hambleton (which a good proportion of the constituency falls in) is unwaveringly Tory at the local level.

  14. Conservative Hold. 15,000 majority. Labour 2nd.

  15. Larger than average fall in the Con vote share here, I’d expect

  16. Local factors are at play here and this could possibly be a shock result. The attempt to parachute in a rising star may founder on the simple fact that he’s not a Yorkshireman. Expect a strong showing for the two independent candidates who are both conservatives but have their own groups of supporters.
    The main questions are where will the UKIP votes from the 2014 euro election go and where will the 2010 Liberal Democrat votes go? Richmondshire + Hambledon Euro Results combined were 10899 UKIP (plus another 1000 or so to other anti-EU parties) to 13919 Conservatives. In 2010 Liberal Democrats polled 10,205 in 2014 Euros they polled 2108.

  17. John blackie had a brief encounter as a conservative but soon realised he was a true independent and has been for years now. He has a huge following as he is known for his unfailing work in the area. It was mr blackie who organised the march to save the friarage maternity and childrens services. Mr scott has a chip on his shoulder as was not chosen to be the con candidate. A shock is in store for the cons

  18. I’ve spend much of today in this constituency; a lovely part of the world. This is seems to be the only place in the North East where it feels like there’s an election occurring. I’ve seen several posters in and around Richmond town, mainly tory but also a couple for Mr Blackie and even a Labour and a green poster. Apparently there are a quite a few UKIP posters in Catterick too.
    This is a constituency that the tories should never lose, its rural, prosperous, and has a strong military tradition. Even without the very popular Hague the tories should win this by miles but choosing Mr Sunak was a big mistake, while talented, a Hampshire businessman is a poor fit for this seat. I fear choosing an ethnic minority candidate could also cost votes. But could the tories actually lose here? Well I actually think they could. Remember Blaenau Gwent 2005
    This was the result in Hawes in 2011, if anyone doubts John Blackies popularity. I challenge anyone to find a more extraordinary result in the country.

    John Blackie Ind 615 94.8%
    Ian Whinray C 34 5.2%

    Two factors will save the Tories here, the very close national result and the several thousand voters from the monolithically conservative Hambleton council area where I assume Blackie won’t be as popular.

    So I will go with CON hold but only by around 5000 over Mr Blackie.

  19. I have been in Northallerton and saw mr blackie i then heard a lady in a shop say they were voting for him because he is the only one who puts others first and works so hard. I actually think he can do it.

  20. Of course not.

  21. Another steaming pile of horse dung.

    We could spend three days listing the differences between Richmond and Blaenau Gwent.

    Just because a few lazy journalists talk up a so-called popular independent doesn’t mean that they have the remotest chance. In true blue seats like this it takes a Neil Hamilton level of scandal in combination with a 1997 style national wipeout for the seat to be in danger.

  22. I quite agree with H Hemmelig, even if I would probably be voting for Mr Blackie if I lived in the constituency.

  23. Well we will find out on Friday morning. Either way it is my opinion that it will no longer be their safest seat

  24. J Galloway- oh I quite agree with you about that. I think the safest Conservative seat could well be South West Surrey.

  25. Maidenhead could be another one to look out for.

  26. Windsor and beaconsfield are other options.

  27. It will most likely be somewhere in Surrey, where the Tories are doing well and the opposition vote splits an equal 3 ways Lab/LD/UKIP.

  28. Its fascinating if not worrying

  29. In 2001 the Tories hung on to South West Surrey and Maidenhead by the skin of their teeth

    Beaconsfield and Windsor are definite contenders, as are Surrey seats like Eshger & Waktronb and Surrey Heath but I suspect the Tories safest seat in 2015 is likely to be somewhere in the East of England – a new-money constituency like Broxbourne, Epping Forest or Rayleigh

  30. Disagree. UKIP will sap too many Tory votes in Broxbourne, Epping Forest etc.

  31. Ukip is dying will farage win?

  32. Tim – that was true at the time. But the Tories have really surged since then. SW Surrey is a strong contender.

  33. ‘UKIP will sap too many Tory votes in Broxbourne, Epping Forest etc.’

    Maybe

    The three seats I mentioned have a considerable WWC vote – something Surerey seats have considserably less of – but I supect a lot of these voters will stick with the Tories

    I’d still expect UKIP to come 2nd in all three seats, but I think they will be a long way behind the Tories

  34. Tim- Maidenhead and South West Surrey may have been close in 2001, but an awful lot has changed awfully quickly and unlike in some of the seats you mentioned, UKIP will be at best a peripheral factor.

  35. So what will the result be tommow here?

  36. The result needs correcting- Mr Sunak managed *only* 51.4% of the vote here- a poor performance albeit perhaps not unexpected.

  37. To add my agreement to Tory’s comments and disagree with John D – as well as the background issue, there’s a certain level of being disingenuous (it’s a family business he’s a Director of and he married an Indian heiress), as well as him having no history in the Tory Party too. All of this “spent over a decade in business” etc reminds me the first episode of The Apprentice. When you drill down, you see they’re only 33, were a student until they were 24 etc.

    It’s not uncommon though. I/we local journalists are often sent an email biog blurb or crop of CVs when selections take place, but you’ll be amazed how a lot of them don’t stand up to much scrutiny. Don’t the Tories & Labour HQs carry out background checks?

    I recall the same with Jake Berry in Rossendale. Public school, parachuted in, etc. He stated he was local, had a background in business etc. He’d previously stated he was local in both Manchester and Liverpool where he’d stood previously. When we checked, he’d been a lawyer for 5 years at the time of his selection.

    Likewise with the Tory candidate, now MP for Newark. They all appear to have no strong views on any issue, apart from being elected.

  38. The problem is that being an MP is now seen as part of the CV-building process as well. Not a vocation, just a staging post to somewhere else (with the ultimate prize being cushy directorships, ‘consultancy’ etc. the extreme case of this is Blair of course).

  39. I would guess that Rishi Sunak will get a vote share increase of some kind in 2020 once he has become better-known as an MP- I think there were locally unique circumstances at work here last month, owing to the size of the swing against him on William Hague’s departure as the MP, which must have took with him his own personal vote. Provided the popular local council leader John Blackie does not stand again in five years’ time, I would predict this seat will just get safer for the Tories once again-
    Conservative- 58%
    Labour- 17%
    UKIP- 14%
    Liberal Democrat- 6%
    Green- 4%
    Others- 1%

  40. Everyone seems to be an entrepreneur these days- maybe it’s my old-fashioned Toryism coming through but I find it rather tiresome.

  41. I agree with the Results- provided Mr Sunak acquits himself reasonably well he should be get over 55% unless the Conservatives have a really poor year.

  42. I seem to recall even Gordon Brown claiming he had a family background in business. It is indeed becoming a tired cliche.

    I sometimes read CVs sent to my firm, and the creativity/embroidery is quite impressive at times. Everyone is not only an intellectual titan but a sporting giant, artistic/musical genius, charity/volunteer angel etc…

  43. why is it tiresome.
    We’ve just had an election where one of the main parties said virtually nothing positive about business atall.

  44. That’s not really the point people were trying to make.

  45. I recollect that before Christmas Lord Hague, the former MP for this area, said that if Britain voted to leave the EU then Scotland might well vote for independence from the UK. Is this a promise, as there are few things that many of us, throughout England, would like better than to stop paying obscenely large subsidies to Scotland?

    While we are at it, what will happen if England votes to leave the EU but are overruled by a large number of Scots voting to stay in? Isn’t it time that England had the opportunity to vote for independence from Scotland?

  46. “Isn’t it time that England had the opportunity to vote for independence from Scotland?”

    Then form the English National Party and put your manifesto before the electorate.

  47. H.Hemmelig, the short answer is that I am not a multi-millionaire.

    I think there may already be an English National Party but that it is not very sensible or effective.

  48. Richmond Central Ward By-election Result:

    Independent 446
    Conservative 117

    Independent Gain from Conservative.

  49. The English Democrats are campaigning for an Independent England and an English Parliament

  50. ‘The English Democrats are campaigning for an Independent England and an English Parliament’

    That’s their raison d’etre

    With the BNP now formally defunct, the English Democrats are the one remaining hard-right political party in the UK, unless you count groups like the EDL and Britain First etc as political parties

    What makes them particularly unpleasant is that they view the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish (fellow Brits) as the worst type of immigrant

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