Skipton & Ripon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 30248 (55.4%)
Labour: 9487 (17.4%)
Lib Dem: 4057 (7.4%)
Green: 3116 (5.7%)
UKIP: 7651 (14%)
MAJORITY: 20761 (38.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: Yorkshire and Humberside, North Yorkshire. The whole of Craven council area and part of Harrogate council area.

Main population centres: Skipton, Ripon, Settle, Pateley Bridge, Masham.

Profile: A large rural seat taking in the western part of the Yorkshire Dales and two of the Yorkshire "three peaks" as it stretches across the pennines to Ribblesdale. The population is mostly in small agricultural market towns and the cathedral city of Ripon. The main industries are agriculture - sheep and cattle farming - and tourism in the dales.

Politics: This is safe Conservative territory. The seat has been held by the Tories since its creation in 1983, for most of this period by the pro-European Conservative David Curry who retired in 2010.


Current MP
JULIAN SMITH (Conservative) Born 1971, Stirling. Educated at Birmingham University. Former managing director of a recruitment firm. First elected as MP for Skipton and Ripon in 2010. Government whip since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 27685 (51%)
Lab: 5498 (10%)
LDem: 17735 (32%)
UKIP: 1909 (3%)
Oth: 1897 (3%)
MAJ: 9950 (18%)
2005*
Con: 25100 (50%)
Lab: 9393 (19%)
LDem: 13480 (27%)
UKIP: 2274 (5%)
Oth: 274 (1%)
MAJ: 11620 (23%)
2001
Con: 25736 (52%)
Lab: 8543 (17%)
LDem: 12806 (26%)
UKIP: 2041 (4%)
MAJ: 12930 (26%)
1997
Con: 25294 (47%)
Lab: 12171 (22%)
LDem: 13674 (25%)
MAJ: 11620 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JULIAN SMITH (Conservative) See above.
MALCOLM BIRKS (Labour) Educated at South Craven School. Architect.
JACQUELINE BELL (Liberal Democrat)
ALAN HENDERSON (UKIP)
ANDREW BROWN (Green)
Links
Comments - 110 Responses on “Skipton & Ripon”
  1. I wonder why John Watson MP retired here in 1987, only aged 44 (elected in 1979).

  2. Here are the 2013 results, Andy having kindly put them in a spreadsheet. I am assuming Skipton and Ripon corresponds to all of the Craven wards plus the following Harrogate wards: Ripon N, Ripon S, Pateley Bridge, Lower Nidderdale and Bishop Monkton, Masham and Fountains.

    The Conservatives fielded candidates in all but South Craven. The Lib Dems fielded candidates in 7 out of 12 wards, Labour in all and UKIP in 6.

    Cons 10,445 (41.5%)
    UKIP 3018 (12.0%)
    Lab 2800 (11.1%)
    LD 2025 (8.1%)
    Greens 651

    Independents took 6223 votes, as you might expect in a rural area such as this.

    Obviously, there is very limited use in extrapolating much from these results but I just thought it would be good to show what happened in the area covered by the constituency.

  3. Thanks Tory. This is exactly why I did the spreadsheet – so people could easily add up the votes for each constituency, (as best as possible given that the boundaries aren’t always a perfect fit so-to-speak).

  4. making a name for himself as a security hawk… may regret tying his fortunes to the NSA snooping….

  5. are you talking about the current mp??

  6. yes…he has been leading the charge for the prosecutors to go after The Guardian on the Snowden revelations..

    makes him a lightening rod for those of us who aren’t sympathetic to NSA data trawling

  7. Liam Fox and the Telegraph are also calling for prosecutions of Guardian employees.

  8. Liam Fox is not as easy to pick off though… Smith has stuck his head above the parapet on an issue on which he is a babe in the wood… may have been scared by a copy of the Guardian at a young age..

  9. Liam Fox should realise that he is living in a glass house on this kind of issue and is therefore quite silly to be throwing these kinds of stones.

    It is a very difficult issue indeed – much as I dislike the NSA’s data trawling, I also realise that all breaches of the official secrets act need to be treated harshly if it is to be taken seriously in the future. Without official secrets our security is extremely perilous.

    I would hope we can trust the home office to strike the right balance, in the meantime it is not helpful having backbenchers piping up on the issue based inevitably on little actual information.

  10. Going back over his history it seems pretty clear that his strings are not pulled by anyone at CCHQ… HMV is of a different nationality. Has there ever been another UK Defence secretary with such conflicted influences while in their role?

    The issue is a great one for LDs to get their teeth into and Clegg seems to have felt which way the breeze is blowing.

  11. Funny how the Liberals were very close to taking the old Skipton seat way back in October 1974 and 1979, yet when this seat was created in 1983 on the new boundaries they were nowhere near.

  12. That’s probably because the seat has become home to a lot of Leeds/Bradford commuters since then, the sort of people who used to make the northern Leeds seats safe for the Tories. In the 1970s the seats would probably have been a lot poorer and isolated than it is today.

  13. That should have been “seat” referring to Skipton.

  14. The reason is basically that this seat excluded most of the strong Liberal areas in the former Skipton & Ripon seats. Skipton itself has almost always been a Tory town, but the constituency had some elements (some of which are now in Lancashire) which were good Liberal territory. Some of the most Liberal elements of the old Ripon seat, similarly, disappeared into other constituencies, one of which, surprisingly no doubt to some of you, was Leeds North-West as it is now drawn. The exception was the small city of Ripon itself, always quite good Liberal territory, but the seat as it’s now drawn is otherwise poor territory for them, and indeed they were not far away from losing even second place to Labour a couple of elections ago. I think Andy’s point is also valid to some extent though.

  15. Barnaby- IIRC, Otley was in the old Ripon seat- no wonder the Liberals were competitive there! I think Ilkley was in that constituency too, which no doubt helped to keep the Tories in front (apart from in the by-election).

    As for Skipton, yes, Barnoldswick and Earby fall under Pendle these days, though I should stress that these remain part of the West Riding. 😀

  16. Thanks for the explanations everyone.

    I have to say it is ironic that the majority here for the Conservatives at the moment is actually below its 1997 level.

  17. These are very useful explanations – thanks Barnaby, Andy in particular here.

  18. Also, the Liberal strength in the old Skipton seat was largely down to the very effective campaigning of local solicitor Claire Brooks, who nearly won the seat. She was very much on the old-style independent radical wing of the party and must be turning in her grave at the thought of the coalition

  19. Also true yes. She would probably have been in the Liberal Party today, in fact I think she did remain in the Liberal Party after the formation of the Liberal Democrats. The Tory MP at the time she nearly won was my near-namesake Sir Burnaby Drayson, who had been there ever since 1945 and had become pretty constituency-neglectful, which would also naturally have been in her favour. He retired in 1979 & made way for John Watson, who lasted a surprisingly short time before he quit in 1987, making way for the equally centrist Tory David Curry.

  20. You’d better watch out The Results because a lot of people otherwise fascinated by psephology find declarations as dull as ditchwater. I’m not in that category of course.

  21. Sorry to hear that Andy. I would have thought if anything declarations would be just as exciting, if not more.

  22. I got told off on another website for posting links to declarations just after the 2010 election.

  23. Declarations can be interesting but it’s more a matter of doing things in moderation. It’s interesting for The Results to post one declaration, but a pain in the arse when he posts 20 in quick succession.

  24. Do we have the ITN program for 1979?

    I did find the tension over that Skipton result quite interesting actually – particularly as, along with Hertford and Stevenage part of this slow trickle just before it put Mrs Thatcher over the top.

  25. I was sent to bed in 1979 but remember it very clearly. I think I saw the Radio times with the long election program in it
    and my Grandmother who was a Tory said she was sorry Shirley Williams lost.

  26. “Do we have the ITN program for 1979?”

    Unfortunately not, although I’m sure Alastair Burnet did a great job of presenting it. I didn’t find anything on ITN Source either the last time I checked.

  27. I was just thinking how boring the declarations were becoming, TBH. To me the actual result, and the reasons for it, are of more interest than the actual declaration. Perhaps this jaundiced view comes of having attended too many declarations in the past.

  28. They are interesting the first time you see them but even then I get a bit frustrated by the length of time reading out all the splinter parties
    But I’d have declarations any time rather than sleb parties or other gimmicks.

  29. You get the results quicker by hearing them declared live and also adds that bit of excitement as you watch the end product of democracy at an individual seat.

  30. There was a seat where someone lost, just heard the result and stormed off. Didn’t work out where it was – in 1983

  31. I do seem to recall watching a declaration for a seat where a candidate heard their figure and then walked straight off the stage in disappointment but I can’t for the life of me remember which seat it was and what year.

  32. This was actually the seat that gave the Tories their overall majority in 1992- it came through on the Friday afternoon just after 12:30 I think.

  33. The pattern of the Liberal/Lib Dem vote in this seat since its creation in 1983-
    1. 1983- 31.6%, +1.6%
    2. 1987- 28.4%, -3.2%
    3. 1992- 27.0%, -1.4%
    4. 1997- 25.2%, -1.8%
    5. 2001- 26.1%, +0.9%
    6. 2005- 26.7%, +0.6%
    7. 2010- 32.4%, +5.7%

  34. ‘There was a seat where someone lost, just heard the result and stormed off. Didn’t work out where it was – in 1983’

    I heard that Derek Spencer did that in 97, when he learned he had lost Brighton Pavilion to Labour

    His sokesperson came up with the old chestnut ‘he had a headache’

    I think such behaviour is ungracious, undignified and childish

  35. Right towards the end of the BBC’s coverage of the 1992 Election, there was a report about the contest between Janet Anderson and David Trippier in Rossendale and Darwen, and it showed how the count progressed and David Trippier’s reaction when he realised he had lost the seat- strangely the only part of the count that wasn’t included in the report was the actual declaration of the result.

  36. That report showed that originally the Labour majority was 79 votes. The Tories obviously called for a recount, only for the majority to increase to 120. Personally I find it a bit worrying how votes can suddenly appear or disappear during a count like this. Another example: In Sittingbourne in 2005 the first count put the Tories ahead by 118 votes and then during a recount votes were found putting Labour ahead by 79 votes.

  37. There were closer results that year as we know- seats like Bristol North West and Vale of Glamorgan made the Rossendale look positively like a safe Labour seat!

  38. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of protocol for dealing with close results during election counts, which in a way is a bit bizarre when you consider that the future of the country could depend on them, and also when you ponder the fact that much less important facets of life such as recycling bottles and cleaning up dog mess do often have stipulated ways of doing things. Each returning officer is seemingly able to do things very much their own way. What this means is that a seat like Cheadle in 2001 declared very early on despite the majority being 33 votes but Dewsbury in 1987 and Isle of Wight in 2001 were delayed to the next day with much larger majorities. At every election you have some seats that have multiple recounts for a 300 majority and others that have only one recount for an 80 majority, When Oona King asked for a recount in 2005 the returning officer refused despite the majority being less than 1,000 which is normally the cut-off point. But IIRC there was a recount in Lancaster & Wyre in 1997 with a majority of over 1,000.

  39. It is a very difficult and complex issue and all the examples you cite are indeed fine lessons in bizarre contradictions, Andy. Another strange instance was in 2005 when there was a recount at Wirral West put back until the next day I think regardless of the fact that the Labour majority was in fact over 1,000- I wonder what happened there? Another North West seat that once didn’t declare until the next day was the case of Hyndurn in 1983 after it had gone to the fourth recount, in marked contrast to the result there four years later which in an ironic twist of fate was one of the earliest of the night.

  40. So far, I’ve got the following seats on my list of those that declared on the second day in 1983 in no particular order-
    1. Hyndburn
    2. Chesterfield
    3. Belfast East
    4. Belfast West
    5. Belfast North
    6. Belfast South
    7. Lagan Valley
    8. Strangford
    9. Fermanagh and South Tyrone
    10. Upper Bann
    11. Mid Ulster
    12. East Antrim
    13. North Antrim
    14. East Londonderry
    15. Foyle
    16. South Down
    17. South Antrim
    18. North Down
    19. Newry and Armagh
    20. Beverley
    21. Islwyn
    22. Truro
    23. Berwick-upon-Tweed
    24. Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
    25. Penrith And The Border
    26. Caithness and Sutherland
    27. Argyll and Bute
    28. South Suffolk
    29. Bridgwater
    30. Cornwall South East
    31. Wentworth
    32. Chelsea
    33. Cornwall North
    34. Orkney and Shetland
    35. Rother Valley
    36. Stratford-on-Avon
    37. Hexham
    38. Brecon and Radnorshire
    39. Kensington
    40. Norfolk North
    41. Hampshire East
    42. Suffolk Coastal
    43. Daventry
    44. Gainsborough and Horncastle
    45. Norfolk South West
    46. Ludlow
    47. Holland With Boston
    48. Harborough
    49. Bournemouth West
    50. Tayside North
    51. Norfolk Mid

  41. 1983 declarations:

    http://bit.ly/1earMjO

  42. That’s very good that Andy, have you not long compiled that?

  43. I compiled all of them between about 4 and 2 months ago so not that long ago.

  44. Right I see. Just to clarify, Hyndburn went to six recounts, so that would certainly have made it the last seat to declare outside Northern Ireland no matter what anyway I would have thought. I wonder what time in the day it finally declared?

  45. David Boothroyd gave me the times of the last five. He has a book with the times of all of the 1983 declarations:

    East Antrim: 15:07
    North Antrim: 16:46
    South Down: 16:49
    Fermanagh and South Tyrone: 16:04
    Hyndburn: 16:51
    Mid-Ulster: 16:55

  46. Ah cheers Andy. Good old David Boothroyd! I bet all the poor counting staff at Hyndburn were extremely tired by the time the declaration was made!

  47. Probably, although it depends on how much of a break they had. Maybe they stopped counting at about 4am and didn’t start again until 2pm. I don’t know, just speculating.

  48. I think it’s understandable that it would have taken six recounts to come up with a majority of 21.

    But I go back to Vale of Glamorgan in 1992 which was marginally narrower T 19 for the Conservative Walter Sweeney, and even then that result only needed two recounts, so there again is an example albeit an extreme one of a closer result not requiring a large number of recounts, be it by two votes the other way, the point stands. Bristol North West had a majority of 45, yet that needed four recounts, so there again is another intriguing example of anomalies in close results when one seat seemingly would require on paper less strenuous checking than another would.

  49. Winchester in 1997 was of course the last seat to declare anywhere in 1997, indeed it came through at 18:18pm, by which time the main evening news would have been on. For an English seat to trump all the Northern Irish seats even in special circumstances was still rather remarkable, though the majority was a mere 2 for Mark Oaten. Somehow it seemed kind of fitting that the closest result of the election would declare last, but also for the last seat to declare that year to be one that had a result overturned to be taken to the High Court sort of added a decidedly more delicious sense of irony in that the final decisive outcome wouldn’t be settled at the by-election for another six months, which understandably led Mark Oaten to declare at the count that the election was officially over after he won it overwhelmingly.

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