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 - 112 Responses on “Sevenoaks”
  1. I have no problem at all with grammar schools and by all means expand them if there is a good local case for it.

    But to me they are a sideshow from the main issue, which is lack of local school places of any kind, at least this is the main problem today at primary school level all over the south east of England.

  2. H. Hemmelig. You are quite right.

    Specifically, we don’t have enough teachers.

    Whilst the UK population is increasing by about 500,000 a year, largely because of refugees and other immgration, we are setting up a quite impossible situation for 5-10 years time as most of these incomers are young people and they will all be wanting to marry and have families.

    A new grammar school in Sevenoaks is a pretty low priority when it comes to addressing these problems.

  3. That sounds pretty bigoted Frederic. Immigration is an unadulterated positive which has no negative effects whatsoever.

  4. I’m currently spending the day in this seat. Surprisingly, I’ve seen several LEAVE posters (approximately 20-25) and only a handful of REMAIN posters (about 3-4). I’m shocked to see LEAVE posters in Sevenoaks town centre as thought this would be one of the seats where REMAIN had a chance of winning.

    I honestly think the only hope for REMAIN in Kent now will be in the seats of Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury!

  5. Tunbridge Wells constituency will vote Leave, the seat is much more than just the slightly arty town centre, and does have a surprisingly big WWC element to the north around High Brooms.

  6. Tunbridge Wells voting to Leave? I’m disgusted.

  7. I’m surprised. I can’t see how Remain can win nationally if Tunbridge Wells votes Leave.

  8. Well, after the events of today we can’t really be so sure how things will pan out.

    But Andy, I get the impression you don’t have a good handle on what’s going on in the southern home counties. You seem to think that because some of these seats are quite wealthy they are going to be strong for Remain. Though that’s what I also suspected at the start, that’s really not what it feels like on the ground.

  9. “I don’t know if Sevenoaks is comparable with those seats, Buckingham probably isn’t as affluent but I did see those seats on a list of wealthy areas.”

    I refer you to what I said to Andy above.

    Additionally, you presumably realise that Sevenoaks contains Swanley, which is WWC with a very strong Eurosceptic history, and has indeed elected BNP councillors in the recent past (yes it is outweighed by nicer areas as far as the whole constituency is concerned).

  10. Where I live (St Albans) people are being bombarded on a daily basis with leave party campaign literature (literally every day something comes through the door) while remain is nowhere to be seen. The same is true of Radlett (Hertsmere) where my gran lives. Remain’s ground game at least round here is utterly non existent ..

  11. Same here (Mid Sussex)

  12. About an even split here (High Barnet). All standard national stuff, nothing local. I am a bit surprised Vote Leave haven’t sent something out featuring Theresa Villiers’ endorsement.

  13. Sheffield (at least my part of it) feels overwhelmingly remain. I’ve seen three houses with Leave posters/stakeboards up total, versus the high double figures for Remain.

    The balance of campaigners here is just so much in Remain’s favour. The strong UKIP areas on the city council aren’t in the city proper, whereas the Lib Dems, Greens and Labour have hundreds of activists out doing stuff, particularly with the universities.

    We’ve had one addressed mailshot from Leave, but that’s all.

    I’ve a strong suspicion Sheffield will be lonely, though. I have only two of the nine council areas of Sheffield City Region down as Remain (Chesterfield by a whisker is the other).

  14. Which part of Sheffield is your part?

  15. Just north west of the city centre, a mix of student housing, retired people not rich enough for Fulwood or Dore and social housing.

  16. I’m sure Mr N has covered much more ground on the campaign than I have, but I agree that Sheffield feels like it will be comfortably for Remain.

  17. Michael Fallon remains as defence secretary.

  18. Would love to see ward results for this local authority (and indeed for others). I was somewhat surprised at the strong Leave lead in Sevenoaks, although when looking closer at the towns that make up the district, things started to make a little more sense. Based in its demographics, the Swanley/Hextable area must have been very strongly for leave, I reckon something like 65%-70%. Leave would have also been ahead by quite a margin in nearby wards such as Crockenhill, Fawkham, etc. I suppose the southern part of the borough also voted Leave, thanks mainly to a good result in Edenbridge. According to my calculations, the central part of the district, including Sevenoaks itself and villages like Otford and Brasted, would have voted Remain, albeit by small margin (55-45 at most, and probably narrower). A disappointing result for the pro-European camp in an area that is not only very affluent, but quite educated as well (more than 50% with degrees in a couple of Sevenoaks town wards, and around 40% in most of the surrounding ones).

  19. Mr Fallon has resigned as Defence Secretary. He has stated that his past behaviour has ‘fallen short of standards’.

    I know this is rich coming from me, but let’s be careful in our comments here 🙂

  20. TRISTAN – Just heard the news. Regardless of the allegations, this destabilises May’s Weak And Wobbly government even further, with more resignations likely. No Brexit deal, and a goid portion of the cabinet on very shaky ground.

    This also confirms that the list we’ve all seen has some merit. There is no way he would have resigned over the JHB knee incident; I think that was a deliberate red herring.

  21. Dare I say that feeling up JHB who was quite prepared to let it go without naming him, isn’t the real reason.

    This government can’t go on much longer surely?

    Refusing to engage in opposition day debates, making a hash of practically everything…

  22. Looks like it could Prime Minister Corbyn for Christmas!

  23. The piece in The Sun now looks like a puff piece, trying to deflect from more serious allegations. I wonder how much pressure JHB was under exactly to play along?

  24. I rather suspect that actually, this government can and will go on and on, rather as the John Major government saw out a full term. But again, like 1992-1997, maybe it would be more damaging for the Tories in the long term…

  25. TRISTAN – absolutely. And I suspect there is even more to come than was on the list. The two words listed by a certain other cabinet ministers name on the list were never going to tell the whole story – we already knew more than that from the scandal he escaped during Cameron’s time as PM.

  26. I actually agree, I think the next election will be in 2022. This resignation may allow May to be a little more adventurous innher reshuffle than otherwise might be the case.

  27. POLLTROLL – But major started with a majority of 17, and he didn’t have Brexit to highlight his ineptitude (he was also far more capable than May- can you imagine a “put up or shut up” speech from her? We’d all just laugh!)

  28. TRISTAN – If this was going to be the only resignation, then perhaps. But I certainly don’t think it will be!

  29. Of course, there is apparently some dirt on the Labour benches, too, which might throw things in disarray. I suspect that there is less of it, mind you. If that wasn’t the case, Anna Soubry wouldn’t have ludicrously mentioned Momentum in relation to the scandal….there aren’t even any Momentum members in Parliament!

  30. For all Major’s faults, he was a capable politician, and liked campaigning… and meeting the public.

    Much is made of May supposedly keeping her powder dry in the referendum as a ‘reluctant remainer’ – I think the GE and her dire personal campaign exposed her as someone who just doesn’t like campaigning.

    Straight into a safe seat, didn’t build up a Lib Dem ‘esque’ base as a Cllr and won a seat before building up a good majority.

    She blew the easiest election victory ever pretty much, with gaffe after gaffe…

    I just wouldn’t want to go on and on… I consider myself quite a selfish person but she could potentially consign the party to the best part of a decade in opposition.

    The people have decided on her, and she ought to go gracefully.

  31. Okay put it this way: the government may not last the full term, but it’s still got plenty of stubbornness left in it and to expect it to fall by Christmas is wishful thinking. Any emerging scandal is likely to lead to suspensions of the whip (probably on both sides), with by-elections only incurred for actual criminal behaviour (ie rape). It’s still a way off for the Tories to lose the six or seven seats they would need to lose in order to be vulnerable to a vote of no confidence.

    And actually, if we had an election tomorrow, then on current polling the resulting Labour minority government would be every bit as fragile as the Conservatives (we might even see the SNP extracting a regional bung, which would be amusing). If I were you I’d prefer to wait until the Tories have dug their own hole a little bit deeper…

  32. POLLTROLL –

    “Okay put it this way: the government may not last the full term, but it’s still got plenty of stubbornness left in it and to expect it to fall by Christmas is wishful thinking.”

    Probably fair. February?

    “And actually, if we had an election tomorrow, then on current polling the resulting Labour minority government would be every bit as fragile as the Conservatives”

    Again, fair. But there are lots of variables in that, a very large one being how much Labour would get dragged into the scandal. Even if they get a relatively clean bill of health, the Tories would do everything they could to “fake news” the smallest misdemeanor and make it sound like the worst of excesses.

    It could be a very dirty few months coming up.

  33. There was going to be a reshuffle anyway, so it merely makes that easier.

    I always found Fallon immensely boring, so it proves you can be wrong judging politicians on their public personas.

    I can only assume EcoW didn’t see the play re the 1974-79 Labour Govt and how it endured for 5 years with fewer MPs backing the Govt.

    In the real world, Labour were defeated in votes on the Finance Bill yesterday by 30 votes and I see nothing to change the bookies’ view that the next GE will be in 2022.

  34. Luke S – that is your opinion of course – not based on polling.

    As we discussed on here last month, those viewing her as Strong v Weak have not changed since the GE when May achieved the highest Tory % in 33 years.

    As for ‘straight into a safe seat’ with no campaigning history – I can only assume you were in fact meant George Osborne! As I’ve said previously the fact he & DC were elevated after having been MPs briefly really showed when they were tested. Unlike Maggie, Callaghan, Foot et al – as it was the norm for the prevous post-War decades for someone to serve as a backbencher for years, then the front bench and so on. Now, you’re an MP a year or two and you see some of them on tv as Party spokesman!

  35. LANCS OBSERVER – Paddy Power have 2022 at 3/1, and 2019 (when I would have said before today) favourite at 2/1.

    That suggests they think there is a less than 25% chance that the parliament will last until 2022, and I think those odds will lengthen now.

  36. I’m surprised youre suddenly saying Fallon wasnt your choice for leader. I was often told he was a safe pair of hands.

    In Oct of 1974 Labour had a maj of 3 the Tories are short a maj. During the Lib Lab Pact the Libs 13 MPs supported the gov compared to the 10 DUP MPs

  37. 1974-79 had far more by-elections than any parliament today would have. This was mostly because it just happened to be the time when most working-class Labour MPs elected in 1945 sadly succumbed to the wear and tear that pre-health-and-safety working life had placed on their bodies.

    By contrast, no Tories have died in office since the Blair years.

  38. Eco
    “there aren’t even any Momentum members in Parliament!”

    There are actually a few…
    Chris Williamson. Cat Smith, Richard Burgon, Kate Osamore, Emma Dent Coad, Clive Lewis, Rachael Maskell and Karen Lee are al confirmed Momentum members (they have all previously mentioned their membership) I’m sure there are one or two others who I just haven’t heard about as well.

  39. Re the allegations and their effect on the gov I too think its pretty wishful to assume this will bring down the gov any time soon HOWEVER I agree with others when they say that this whole Fallon saga is clearly a red herring to try and distract from what are clearly much more serious crimes elsewhere, if this whole saga passes us by without a single MP being prosecuted I think that will be a further stain on our democracy. Only the most naïve would now deny that some seriously shady stuff has been going on, if all the perpetrators walk free though (again) what does that say about our politics, our justice system or even our society?

  40. I thought May should have resigned the day after the election and posted so many times. However in the interest of fairness I can’t let Luke Senior’s assertions about her go unchallenged. May did not “go straight into a safe seat” as anyone posting here ought to know. She fought Durham North West in 1992 and a seat in East London in 1994 (was either Barking or Dagenham IIRC). She was a councillor in Merton for many years, hardly a borough where Tories have no opposition. Literally hundreds of Tory MPs had an easier ride into parliament and less campaigning experience than May.

  41. Also am I the only person here who thinks this might strengthen May’s position? The chance of Boris becoming PM is now nil and some other rivals have also been somewhat cnompromised. The public might see some virtue in her puritanical straightness amid a sea of sleazy male colleagues. The public in the shires do already feel much sympathy for her, in my personal observation. Middle England is not going to suddenly elect Corbyn because Sir Bufton Tufton MP pinched a researcher’s bum in 1986. IMO the current stalemate in politics, and public opinion, could last for some years yet.

  42. HH- that’s exactly what I have been thinking. Say what you like about Theresa May (and Hammond, and to be fair to him, Corbyn too); she is never going to be caught up in some seedy scandal that would leave Middle England shaking their heads. If anything, this whole episode reminds people of how she become PM in the first place; through a reputation of hard work and her reputation for scandal free clean living. She’s still a busted flush as a PM though.

  43. EcoW – probably the worst bookie you could have cited.

    Paddy Power of course paid out on Clinton winning – then lost millions having to payout on Trump.

    Ladbrokes are where most political bets are placed and there’s been no move on that market.

  44. For anyone fancying a wager on EcoW’s 2017 GE, the Odds with Ladbrokes are:

    2017 33/1

    2018 3/1

    2019 5/2

    Cons majority 2/1
    Lab majority 2/1
    Hung Parl 7/4

    [although that merely shows how few bets have been placed]

    The only markets with quite a few wagers being placed are next Scottish Labour Leader and Next LibDem Leader (Swinson @ Evens fav).

  45. Matt W – no idea if that was directed at myself, but no, I never said Fallon was my choice for Leader, so not suddenly now denying something I never said.

    Re majority: I repeat the (boring) facts: the Govt regularly wins votes with a majority of 25 – 35, which is in fact no different than in the 2015-17 Parliament.

    That was not the case in either 1976-1979 or 1995-1997, hence the play about all of the shenanigans they got upto, to try to get votes through the House.

  46. LANCS OBSERVER – I did acknowledge that before Christmas was probably “wishful thinking”, but 2018 looks a distinct possibility). An election this year would have be effectively called right now, and even then there would be objections to a contest in mid December.

    The main thing against a 2018 contest is that the 2 yrs of Brexit is ticking, and the public will be whipped into outrage at the thought of politicians doing….well, politics……when the sacred Brexit should be taking precedence over all of our democratic processes!

    I chuckled at Fallon’s resignation letter…..”many of these (allegations) have been false….”. Bearing in mind that it seems the only allegation we’re allowed to hear (ostensibly because he’s a wealthy and powerful person who can afford to sue people) is the JHB claim. What a slimy, unfit-for-office, pusillanimous specimen he really is. A shame that there is no mechanism yet to recall MPs to a by election (I know it would still be a tory walkover, but at least there’d be a chance of getting someone with a little bit more integrity).

  47. LANCS OBSERVER – As you know, the govt currently has only a slightly smaller working majority to 2015-17, due to the DUP. Regularly winning votes by 25-30 doesn’t mean they won’t lose a vote of no confidence if the DUP fall out with them and a few tory MPs are inconvenienced or rebel. We also knkw that Grant Shapps’ list of anti-May MPs could at least use a crisis to oust her, and then anything could happen (not necessarily a GE, of course).

  48. I waa under the impression May didnt really have the capital for a reshuffle and I am pretty sure Mr Reliable wouldnt have been the first to go.

    For May personally this might work in her favour. For the Tories though the potential of a decent replacement now falls to 1 with Domonic Raab being untouched so far

  49. MATT WILSON – Agree. I suspect she’ll just appoint a replacement (presumably nobody likely to be implicated) and then wait to see who survives by this time next week.

    Bearing in mind speculation on whether or not Boris already wanted to be sacked by May, what job do we see him ending up in?

  50. HH – you are correct, Theresa May fought the 1994 Barking by-election. There were by-elections in 3 neighbouring constituencies that day, and she was 3rd unlike the other 2 constituencies. Phil Hammond fought Newham NE that day and came a very distant second. I had voted in Newham NE in the 1992 election but by 1994 had moved to my present home in Richmond.

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