Runnymede & Weybridge

2015 Result:
Conservative: 29901 (59.7%)
Labour: 7767 (15.5%)
Lib Dem: 3362 (6.7%)
Green: 2071 (4.1%)
UKIP: 6951 (13.9%)
MAJORITY: 22134 (44.2%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. The whole of the Runnymede council area and part of the Elmbridge council area.

Main population centres: Weybridge, Chertsey, Virginia Water, Addlestone, Egham.

Profile: The seat is made up of several extremely affluent towns and villages in the London commuter belt. The M25 runs through the middle of the seat and with good train links into London is it prime commuter territory as well as providing a home to major company headquarters like those of Samsung and Compass, and research facilities for Proctor & Gamble. Virginia Water includes the extremely exclusive Wentworth estate development, home at various times to the Sultan of Brunei, Bruce Forsyth, Boris Berezovsky, Eddie Jordan and - most infamously - the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet when he was resisting his extradition during the 1990s.

Politics: This is a bombproof Conservative seat, along with predecessors it has been represented by the Conservatives almost continously since the mid-ninteenth century, with the exception of a single term after the Liberal landslide of 1906.

Current MP
PHILIP HAMMOND (Conservative) Born 1955, Epping. Educated at Shenfield School and Oxford University. Former company director. Contested Newham North East 1994 by-election. First elected as MP for Runnymede and Weybridge in 1997. Shadow chief secretary 2005, shadow work and pensions secretary 2005-2007, shadow chief secretary 2007-2010. Secretary of State for Transport 2010-2011, Secretary of State for Defence 2011-2014. Foreign Secretary since 2014.
Past Results
Con: 26915 (56%)
Lab: 6446 (13%)
LDem: 10406 (22%)
UKIP: 3146 (7%)
Oth: 1237 (3%)
MAJ: 16509 (34%)
Con: 22366 (51%)
Lab: 10017 (23%)
LDem: 7771 (18%)
UKIP: 1719 (4%)
Oth: 1651 (4%)
MAJ: 12349 (28%)
Con: 20646 (49%)
Lab: 12286 (29%)
LDem: 6924 (16%)
UKIP: 1332 (3%)
Oth: 1238 (3%)
MAJ: 8360 (20%)
Con: 25051 (49%)
Lab: 15176 (29%)
LDem: 8397 (16%)
Oth: 787 (2%)
MAJ: 9875 (19%)

2015 Candidates
PHILIP HAMMOND (Conservative) See above.
JOHN VINCENT (Liberal Democrat) Contested Crawley 2010.
Comments - 188 Responses on “Runnymede & Weybridge”
  1. ‘He’s a bit like John Major.’

    I think that’s an unfair comparison – unfair on Major

    Hammond comes across as just as elitist as the Cameroons – and someone who’s in politocs for entirely his own reasons and, they have nothing to do with making the UK a better place. Whether that’s a fair view or not, I never felt like that was ever the case with Major

    Also, Major was an arch-paragmatist whereas Hammomd is an ideologocal right-winger who wants the Uk to leave the EU – a policy you can’t imagine Major embracing

    I think we may come to miss Hague, who for all his faults as leader of the opposition, was one of the Tories more effective operators

  2. Out of interest, where did Labour have support in this seat? On old boundaries in the Chertsey & Walton seat they managed to win 19% of the vote in 1992 (and this was pre-Blair). Even in 2010 they didn’t plummet below 10%. I notice they have no representation on either Elmbridge or Runnymede councils at present.

    Weybridge and Virginia Water are as upmarket as they come.

    Interesting that UKIP didn’t poll too badly in 2010. Wonder where they got their vote from.

  3. I think it’s in places like Addlestone and Chertsey. You’d expect the seat containing both Wentworth and St George’s Hill to have one of the largest Tory majorities but comprising several smallish communities it’s a bit more mixed.

  4. I’ve been to Chertsey and it probably has a fair few Labour votes in it. Not many of course, it’s Surrey, but there are low-paid workers from Thorpe Park, and might be a few outlying academics from Surrey University living here.

  5. “Interesting that UKIP didn’t poll too badly in 2010. Wonder where they got their vote from.”

    Probably the same parts of the seat that Labour used to get their votes from. I can remember Robin Cook specifically thanking the around half a million, or however many it was, I was surprised at the figure people who voted Labour in 1997 for their loyalty and commitment, given they had never elected a Labour MP in history, and were guaranteed not to in 1997.

  6. “Hammond comes across as just as elitist as the Cameroons”

    I dont think he does Tim.
    He seems a great deal more in touch with most people and seems not to have that air of self importance about him like Cameron, Gove, Hunt, Osbourne, Boles all have that turns people away from politics.

    He seems sensible and honest, which are good traits for any politician.

    I completely agree with you on Hague.

  7. Re: Chertsey – I’ve known a few people move there from my area (Isleworth/Hounslow) in recent years, mainly as it’s still quite reasonably priced and you get a bit more house for your pound than you do round here. I suspect many of the people I’ve known move there would be Labour-inclined (to be honest I know very little about the political persuasions of most of my friends!).

  8. ‘He seems not to have that air of self importance about him like Cameron, Gove, Hunt, Osbourne, Boles all have that turns people away from politics.’

    I agree that he’s nothing like any of the Cameroons – who are definitely more out-of-touch with both the Tory grassroots and the general public than Hammond, but he seems one of those people whose primary motivation of getting into politics was to enrichen themselves – something that you could never say about John Major

    He’s certainly sensible, although his own troubles with expenses sayggests he might not be quite as hi=knest as he would like people to think

    Interesting reshuffle – the likes of David Jones and Owen Patterson were bringing absolutely nothing to the Tory brand, and Cameron deserves some respect for ditching his ‘friend’ Gove – surely the most arrogant and self-important politician of the whole Notting Hill set – but I do think he will regret replacing the likes of Hague, Clarke, Willets, Young and Grieve – experienced politicians who seem to have far more substance and competence than those who have replaced them

    What anyone sees in Liz Truss I do not know

  9. Hague, Young and Willets are all retiring. Clarke isn’t though obviously given his age can’t be in the cabinet forever. They were largely enforced changes.

  10. A few Tim Jones prejudices feebly attempting to masquerade as insight on here.

    Hammond has not said he currently supports EU withdrawal, merely that he would be prepared to support it if the EU doesn’t reform. That he’s the most Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary ever says more about the undiluted Euro enthusiasm of of many of his predecessors, and the way opinion in the country has shifted re EU membership, than it does about his credentials as an “ideological right winger”.

    As for the contention that he’s one of those whose entered politics in order to enrich himself, he was already a company director and a partner in a consultancy firm before he entered parliament; both more trouble free routes to enrichment than politics.

    I am convinced that money as a motivation for entering policy barely exists outside the imagination of purveyors of populist clichés, and those wanting to fling every scrap of dirt at politicians they take exception to.

  11. ‘Clarke isn’t though obviously given his age can’t be in the cabinet forever. ‘

    Even at 74 he’s light years ahead of even the most able cabinet ministers he served alongside

    Having serrved in the Thatcher and Major adsministrations, I would have thought the experience he brings to the table would be ireplaceable – especially for someone like Cameron who still strikes me as a very novice statesman

  12. TIm Jones,

    The idea that Hammond went into politics “to enrich himself” is laughable and may even be libellous.

    You do specialise in quite obnoxious and malevolent personal remarks about politicians.

  13. I think you could make a case for saying that the majority of MPs who took the p*ss with their expenses went into politics to enrich themselves and Hammond was one of the many millionaires who still claimed for a second home

    I wasn’t libelling Hammond at all – he’s just one of the many MPs who gives the impression that they think the public owe them a living

    There’s no denying that he’s been a competent cabinet minister and is clearly highly intelligent, but I still think the new cabinet lacks the political gravitas of the last and that people like Hague, Willets and Clarke are wasted by not being in the frontline

  14. Hammond had set up two companies and sold one of them before he got into parliament. Presumably, if he had devoted his professional energies to property development after 1997, he would be worth multiples of what he is today… from the point of view of a property developer, 1997 was probably the worst time to become an MP.

    So, yes we can say all politicians are venal scumbags, but I just don’t think it’s right to say that he went into politics specifically “to enrichen himself”, when he seemed to be making a decent fist of doing that before he became an MP.

  15. A bit of a strange question, but here it is anyway. Which set of figures for the 1992 result in Chertsey and Walton is correct?

    The Guardian gives it as-
    Con- 34163
    Lib Dem- 11344
    Lab- 10791
    Natural Law- 444

    But Richard Kimber on his site gives it as-
    Con- 34164
    Lib Dem- 11344
    Lab- 10793
    Natural Law- 444

    Which set of figures is correct? Does anyone know, thanks.

  16. The Kimber figures are correct I think:

  17. So The Guardian got it wrong then by the looks of it. Thanks for clarifying that Andy.

  18. Incidentally, the Independent has a free online archive going back to January 1992 which might be useful for looking up election information sometimes:

  19. Can you get details of election results on there?

  20. Philip Hammond could be one of the few Tory MPs to return with an increased majority after tomorrow. With the Lib Dems declining, and Labour advancing any fall in Hammonds share of the vote is likely to be masked by the changing second party. Some areas of the seat, such as Addlestone are susceptible to UKIP, but they already had a relatively high score in 2010.

    Con – 54%
    Lab- 20%
    UKIP – 13%
    Lib Dem – 11%
    Green – 2%

    I lived and worked in the constituency between 2008-2010 and still have family down there. It is one of those areas where given the strength of retail, pubs/restaurants and construction the question was “what recession”? Although clearly not the case for everyone down there it is one the areas that has done well (either because of, or despite) the Cameron government. With Hammond as a high profile MP I can’t see the Tories getting smacked too badly down here, if at all.

  21. Conservative Hold. 18,000 maj

  22. Interesting to read comments about residual Labour support in parts of this seat. I was surprised to learn just how respectably Labour did in the old Chertsey division at one time. The Conservative majorities were under 15% in both 1950 and 1951 and that was after Woking had been removed.

  23. The 1951 General Election result looks really extraordinary today.

    In both numerical and percentage terms, Labour increased their vote. 48.8% was the highest they ever achieved, but better vote distribution enabled the Conservatives to get an overall majority despite trailing in the overall popular vote.

    Tories (plus their allies) and Labour collectively received 97% of the votes cast. No seat was won with less than 40% of votes cast. Most seats had just the 2 main parties’ candidates, with the Liberals contesting just over 100.

    Huge Conservative majorities in some Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester seats.

    Labour put up a decent fight in much of the south of England, often getting 40-45% in middling southern towns. They also continued to hold much of Norfolk and Essex.

  24. As I stated upthread in 2014, I still think Hammond is a good outside bet for next Tory leader. Both Boris and Osborne will be damaged beyond redemption and the party may well be looking for a safe pair of hands with a toe on both sides on the EU divide.

  25. I’m not so sure. There was a time when he had a toe on both sides of the EU divide but as Foreign Secretary he has pretty much had to go full on for Remain. He would need to be up against somebody pretty unpalatable to the members to stand any chance now IMO.

  26. Hammond is regarded as a sell out by Eurosceptics and I would be very surprised if he got anywhere in a leadership contest, unless the choice was between him and Osborne haha.

  27. Yes- don’t see Hammond as any kind of threat. An exceptionally dull, pedestrian politician, plus as Jack mentions the Mail etc now view him as a massive turncoat re: Europe. I suppose if he got phenomenally lucky he might get it (if he was up against someone unspeakably bad).

  28. Yes, I accept that Osborne is too damaged now, but Boris? There are plenty of people who dislike him but Guardian readers don’t get to have a say in the leadership contest.

    The parliamentary party is 50-50 on Europe, so it’s likely they’ll nominate an inner and an outer. And then the considerably more Eurosceptic membership will elect the outer.

  29. “Interesting to read comments about residual Labour support in parts of this seat. I was surprised to learn just how respectably Labour did in the old Chertsey division at one time. The Conservative majorities were under 15% in both 1950 and 1951 and that was after Woking had been removed.”

    Chertsey itself used to be a pretty Labour town, albeit, like a lot of Labour areas in post 1965 Surrey it was very small and surrounded by very pro-Tory suburbs.

    However, it is worth noting that relatively working class areas of Surrey are not poor as the term is understood elsewhere and have done well out of the strong economy locally.

    Post-2010 Labour has really had nothing to say really to the prosperous, mainly white, homeowning, private sector residents of towns like Chertsey, and has simply been washed away.

  30. ‘However, it is worth noting that relatively working class areas of Surrey are not poor as the term is understood elsewhere and have done well out of the strong economy locally.’

    Very true

    There’s another pretty working class ward in the far North West of the staunchly Conservative Reigate seat called Preston, which Labour used to carry fairly consistently in general elections, although it’s believed 2015 the Tories got more than twice as many votes as them

    It seems that Labour is on a irreversible trend with voters that were once the bedrock of their support, and whilst that will count for little in a seat like this, it’s a pattern repeated throughout the country and explains why Tories are increasingly outpolling Labour in wwc seats – Cannock, Thurrock, Swindon, Plymouth Devonport, Southampton Itchen etc

  31. Chertsey is an area I know of as being one where suburban Londoners have moved outwards slightly, which could explain respectable Labour performance – a couple of very good friends of mine moved there about three-four years ago, although I didn’t know until he was elected that they were full-on Corbynistas (most of my closest circle of friends seem to be!).

  32. Labour really has fallen back in Surrey and the outer South-West London triangle, there is only whole Labour ward – Court, plus 2/3 councillors in both Maybury and Sheerwater and Norbiton and 1 councillor in the wards of Stoke, Stanwell North and Old Dean which leaves Labour wiped out of the entire districts of Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Richmond upon Thames, Runnymed, Sutton, Tandridge and Waverley.

  33. Seriously?? This is one of the most affluent parts of Surrey.

    Something is really happening…

  34. 54% for LEAVE here! I honestly thought this would be one of the local authorities where REMAIN would do well due to its middle class nature!

    Dave must be really sweating in 10 Downing Street right now!

  35. Leave is fighting Remain to a standstill in the Surrey stockbroker belt.

  36. @Neil

    It is not just one of the most affluent areas in Surrey but one of the most affluent areas in the country!

    St. George’s Hill in Weybridge is often described as “the Beverly Hills of the UK”!

  37. Phillip Hammond is expected to be named the new chancellor later on today according to ITV.
    I imagine either his successor at the Foregin Office or the new Home Secretary will be female as May’s spokesperson statement implied a gender balanced cabinet.

  38. ‘Phillip Hammond is expected to be named the new chancellor later on today according to ITV.’

    Not a bad choice by any means – Hammond is one of the best number crunchers on the Tory benches and has always looked the part when talking about the economy

    I even feared Leadsom might get that brief

  39. Tim- totally agree. Thank god it’s not Leadsom. It looks like Amber Rudd will get Home Secretary. FO- no idea, although it looks like we can discount Osborne. Fallon perhaps?

  40. I’d be happy with Hammond and agree he’s probably the favourite. The downside is not his ability to do the job but that his strongly pro-Remain position, having at earlier times in his career been viewed as relatively Eurosceptic, has badly hurt his reputation among Brexit supporting Tories. Don’t rule out Fallon, who despite supporting Remain is more widely liked on the Tory benches and specialised in Treasury matters in opposition (but FO or staying at Defence perhaps more likely for him).

    Many in the media assume Osborne is off to the FO but I’ve got a feeling he might be out altogether. If new people are going to be brought into the cabinet spaces need to be opened up. Plus, even though Brexit will be led by a special department and minister it will be hard for the FO to be kept out of it altogether. I’m not sure Brexiteers will be very happy with him being involved.

  41. From the briefing it sounds like a woman will get a top position. The media seem to be assuming that that is Rudd. By deduction that is probably right, though would May really want to leave the Home Office to somebody whose style seems to me to be very different to her own?

  42. The problem with Hammond is that he is reluctant to actually take decisions. Apparently his timekeeping is not too good either.

  43. Maybe Rudd will get FO instead.
    I do suspect at least one of Defence, Justice or Chancellor post will be filled by a women so an historic first is filled.

  44. EDIT- Itv reporting it could be Greening to FO, Rudd to Home and Anne Milton to Chief Whip, Grayling to Brexit.

  45. Greening to FO is conceivable. Her reputation has recovered significantly in recent years as she’s done a good job at International Development.

    If Anne Milton to Chief Whip is true that suggests a bigger job for Mark Harper. Not sure what though.

  46. Yes, Greening’s reputation has recovered (although Andrew Mitchell was perfectly happy to openly slag her off in the Mail a few months ago). Her stint at Transport was not a happy one.

  47. And Priti Patel for chairman apparently.

  48. It is worth pointing out that some of Greening’s problems at DfT arose from having to take decisions that Hammond had failed to take as her predecessor. The gutting of that Department also took place under Hammond’s watch.

    Not all of her problems were inherited though, true.

  49. If Hammond becomes Chancellor, it is because May will want a Yes Man in Number 11 I think.

    This would be interesting given her apparent views on economic policy.

  50. Deserved or otherwise, Hammond has a reputation as a “safe pair of hands”. He’d seem to be a fairly uncontroversial appointment anywhere.

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