Sevenoaks

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28531 (56.9%)
Labour: 6448 (12.9%)
Lib Dem: 3937 (7.9%)
Green: 2238 (4.5%)
UKIP: 8970 (17.9%)
MAJORITY: 19561 (39%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. Most of the Sevenoaks council area.

Main population centres: Sevenoaks, Swanley, Westerham.

Profile: A large rural seat covering the westernmost part of Kent alongside London, with the M25 motorway running through it. The main towns are Sevenoaks itself, Swanley at the far north of the constituency and Westerham, but this is mostly highly affluent and desirable villages in the Kent Downs and the Darent Valley, including Farningham, Eynsford, Otford. Notable landmarks within the seat include Chevening, the grace-and-favour country home of the foreign secretary, Chartwell, once the home of Sir Winston Churchill and Brands Hatch motorsport track.

Politics: This is a solidly Conservative seat, other than 1 year under the Liberals in the 1920s it has been Tory since its creation in 1885. Swanley, which has more in common with the towns of North-West Kent than mainly rural Sevenoaks, remains a strong Labour area, but elsewhere this is a battle between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.


Current MP
MICHAEL FALLON (Conservative) Born 1952, Perth. Educated at Epsom college and St Andrews University. Former political researcher. Contested Darlington 1983 by-election. MP for Darlington 1983-1992. First elected as MP for Sevenoaks in 1997. PPS to Cecil Parkinson 1987-1988, government whip 1988-1990, junior education minister 1990-1992. Deputy chairman of the Conservative party 2010-2012. Minister of State for Business and Enterprise 2012-2014, Minister of State for Energy 2013-2014. Secretary of State for Defence since 2014. A junior minister in the previous Tory government, in opposition Fallon instead carved out a role on the Treasury select committee. On the Tory party`s return to office he became a Mr Fixit for David Cameron as deputy Chairman of the party, eventually returning to a Ministerial role and entering the cabinet for the first fime 31 years after first being elected to Parliament.
Past Results
2010
Con: 28076 (57%)
Lab: 6541 (13%)
LDem: 10561 (21%)
UKIP: 1782 (4%)
Oth: 2448 (5%)
MAJ: 17515 (35%)
2005*
Con: 22437 (52%)
Lab: 9101 (21%)
LDem: 9467 (22%)
UKIP: 1309 (3%)
Oth: 984 (2%)
MAJ: 12970 (30%)
2001
Con: 21052 (49%)
Lab: 10898 (26%)
LDem: 9214 (22%)
UKIP: 1155 (3%)
Oth: 295 (1%)
MAJ: 10154 (24%)
1997
Con: 22776 (45%)
Lab: 12315 (25%)
LDem: 12086 (24%)
Oth: 834 (2%)
MAJ: 10461 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MICHAEL FALLON (Conservative) See above.
CHRIS CLARK (Labour)
ALAN BULLION (Liberal Democrat) Born Pembury. Educated at Open University. Agricultural policy analyst. Contested Hammersmith and Fulham 2005, Sevenoaks 2010, South East region 2014 European elections.
STEVE LINDSAY (UKIP)
AMELIE BOLEYN (Green)
Links
Comments - 134 Responses on “Sevenoaks”
  1. I agree with Matt that this is bad for the Tories even if good for May’s short term survival. I’m really disappointed in Fallon, one of the very few experienced heavyweights in the cabinet, he was an effective minister and, dare I say it, a safe pair of hands.

    However the idea that Raab would be suitable for the party leadership is bonkers.

  2. ‘I’m really disappointed in Fallon, one of the very few experienced heavyweights in the cabinet, he was an effective minister and, dare I say it, a safe pair of hands.
    However the idea that Raab would be suitable for the party leadership is bonkers.’

    Totally agree – Fallon the cabinet minister was very different from Fallon the MP, one of the survivors of the Thatcherite NTB group

    he definitely had an elder statesman/wise man sort of appeal which is sorely missing from this current government which tends to be dominated by self-promoting clowns like Grayling, Johnson and Fox

    Raab strikes me as the sort of leader likely to split the Tory Party and scare away the few moderates left – as was feared if Leadson won the leadership

  3. The only point which may intrigue some on here is that the list I saw from a journo mate the night before the 36 list appeared on the twittersphere were not identical.

    So I’d be interested to know who deleted I think 4 or 5 names and substituted them with 4 or 5 others, especially as 2 of these were Cabinet ministers (although I should add that the ones deleted were nothing juicier than being intoxicated and user of a phone chat line respectively).

  4. Let’s remember Leadsom’s got form here – remember her CV full of stuff she had never done and her support of Brexit despite once claiming that leaving the EU would be a disaster

    Thus, I’m inclined to believe Fallon here that the alleged incident never took place

  5. Ex Swanley Cllr Robert Woodbridge has been convicted of benefit fraud.

    He received a 4 month sentence which was suspended for a year.

  6. Michael to vote against government tonight. Result at 6.45

  7. I don’t think he did. Where did you read that?

  8. “Ex Swanley Cllr Robert Woodbridge has been convicted of benefit fraud.

    He received a 4 month sentence which was suspended for a year.”

    Belated question to Lancs here – was Woodbridge ex-BNP? I recall Swanley electing BNP councillors in the recent past. Before then it was quite reliable for Labour.

  9. My mistake he was voting against the government on an early summer recess. The vote was dropped

  10. HH – no, he was the former Labour Town Council Leader.

    He later stood for the LibDems and then the Greens though.

    He had claimed he could walk “for zero metres for zero minutes” ’til the DWP filmed him building a shed at his allotment.

  11. The sad thing about such people is that they undermine the welfare state for everyone else. There aren’t many benefit freeloaders – the benefits aren’t generous enough to make freeloading worth it – but there are enough of them that stories appear in the right-wing press. And then, through simple availability bias, these stories lead many to believe this is a widespread problem.

  12. Councillors know the system better than most, so are more likely to know how to get away with fraud.

  13. Interesting that right-wing journalist Tim Stanley was the Labour Party candidate in 2005.

    Apparently the first time he voted Conservative was in 2017

  14. Not that unusual. Rod Liddle and Peter Hitchens have followed similar trajectories.

    I think it’s one of the reasons that people on the right tend to be so much better understanding their opponents’ thinking than the left – many of them used to be on the left themselves, before “growing up”, as they invariably put it. The other big reason is that the left is increasingly hegemonic everywhere outside of electoral politics; if you work in opinion-forming classes you really can’t avoid direct contact with their ideas.

  15. Well the traffic isn’t all one way.

    One of the most prolific right wing Tory commentators on here from a few years ago has now “grown up” a bit and has turned into a sopping wet Remoaning leftie! When we occasionally meet up for a drink I can’t cease to be amazed at how he’s zoomed from way to the right of me to way left.

  16. Has he married ie done a Bercow?

    PT is right. Matthew Syed was a Blairite Labour PPC too.

    Janet Daly, Sir Bernard Ingham, Melanie Lewis, I think even Ruth Lea all started on the Left. Indeed it was their experience of Labour Party meetings that repelled them to the Right.

    Although Hitchens is best described as anti State or anti-politicians per se.

  17. If he had a Bercow type personality I doubt we would get along. But there’s a similarity in that meeting a woman seems to have partly fuelled his change of opinion.

    I think I’ve drifted left on economics and right on social issues as I have got older, though no radical change.

  18. Rod Liddell still self identifies himself as on the Left – although I’m sure that’s partly to wind up people who actually are on the Left

    He is though a member of the new SDP party – which is economically to the left, socially to the right and staunchly pro-Brexit

    The only other 2 noteworthy members are two of the most unlikeliest bedfellows in the history of politics – ex UKIP front liner Patrick O Flyn and the Rev Giles Fraser.

    They seem far more weird than the original SDP – which most , even their opponents, remember with a degree of fondness

  19. Patrick O’Flynn isn’t even Giles Fraser’s weirdest bedfellow. That would be the chief clerics of the Iranian theocracy, with whom Fraser gets on like a house on fire.

    As for the SDP’s vaunted left-wingery, one wonders what they feel about, say, benefits and the welfare state. Their target audience is most likely people in the third quartile of British incomes; the “just about managing”, to coin a phrase, and those people often want plenty of money spent on them but are much more hostile towards money spent on the bottom quartile, the so-called “shirkers” who are always “jumping ahead of us in the queue”.

  20. “One of the most prolific right wing Tory commentators on here from a few years ago has now “grown up” a bit and has turned into a sopping wet Remoaning leftie! ”

    Is it Maxim ?

  21. I don’t want to spell out who it is, but as you seem to have deduced, there isn’t a long list of people who fit the description.

  22. ‘Is it Maxim ?’

    I can’t see it being Shaun Bennett, Pete Whitehead, James Joe Broughton or Runnymead – the four most hardline right-wingers I’ve ever known on this site

    None of them post any more

  23. Names that equally crossed my mind Tim (except JJB) . Trying to think who would be Hemmy’s drinking buddy .

  24. Well three of those four are older than me and I’m in my 40s, so they don’t fit the description at all (neither does Shaun as he’s well into his 30s now IIRC). Also not sure I’d get on with any of them and vice versa, with the exception of Pete perhaps.

  25. It’s likely has to be someone relatively young – under 25. There’s not many older people who go from ‘prolific right wing to sopping wet Leftie’. I know personally no one of any age who’s done that. Quite a few the other way though!

  26. Just reflecting on DT’s latest post, and I have to say that not many of my friends who were lifelong Tories up until 1997, have gone back to voting Tory, despite earning the sort of salaries that a Corbyn government ought to scare them. Most of them do live in London where this phenomenon seems to be most apparent

  27. To be a “lifelong Tory up to 1997” you have to be at least 60 today. Or else your statement is pretty meaningless. Nobody much younger than that would have had very much adult life by 1997, certainly nobody our age (I was a mere 21 in 1997), you & your friends can’t have been that much older.

    Incidentally I know a fair few people my age who voted for Blair till 2005 then Tory since Cameron (some shifting to the LDs in 2017 and 2019). Probably depends on the industry. Few people working in a bank would admit to voting for Corbyn.

  28. Lifelong Tories in the sense that they got their political views from their parents, eternal Tory voters, and then switched to Blair during their university years

    I do though know quite a few who couldn’t back Corbyn and voted Lib Dem, not so much in 2017 but definitely in 2019, but none of them would even consider voting Tory.

    As one of those people told me ‘if everyone started from the same page in life then there would be no reason not to vote Tory. As they are not, there is every reason not to do so’

  29. I have quite a few friends who started out as Tories, some even voted for Brexit. Many of them are now vehemently anti tory. Its very strange. I spent most of my teens as the only Labour Party supporter amongst my friends now I’m in the majority

  30. Equally a surprising number of school mates have gone the other way. None of them were Labour supporters but some of them never voted Tory until 2017

  31. “Lifelong Tories in the sense that they got their political views from their parents, eternal Tory voters, and then switched to Blair during their university years”

    As crunched by Hemmelig’s numbers that equates to folks who were in their early 20s in the late 90s and have voted for the Labour ever since. Not exactly a lifelong voter, but the point applies with the Tories having a big toxicity amongst the professional classes now.

  32. “Professional classes” is a vast, sweeping description though, especially these days with 50% of 20somethings emerging from university trying to pretend that that makes them a professional.

    The Tories do have a big toxity right across the public sector and also in the media/arts, both of these are segments where Cameron had a bit of success in detoxifying but all his good work has been lost. The Tories aren’t toxic in the finance sector and probably still get a good hearing in professions like law. So, it’s a mixed bag. Remember also that many professionals are now self-employed and that segment of society is extremely anti-Labour.

  33. Going to be really boring and just pretty much agree with that. There appears to be some well educated well off demographic that the Tories don’t resonate with now but my defining of it is not particularly precise.

    Anecdotally a very loose acquaintance of mine who’s a surgeon (so fits the criteria of public sector, high education and decent salary) was explaining before the election he used to lean rightwards but that since he’s become a father that’s changed his outlook. I assume he voted Lab. I wonder if that’s part of the political change phenomenon. I’ve yet to enter parenthood so don’t really know, but maybe some on here shed light on political journeys post procreation.

  34. “I’ve yet to enter parenthood so don’t really know, but maybe some on here shed light on political journeys post procreation.”

    It’s tilted me a bit to the left on economics but definitely to the right on social issues. Overall impact probably a bit to the right.

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