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
Con: 27685 (51%)
Lab: 5498 (10%)
LDem: 17735 (32%)
UKIP: 1909 (3%)
Oth: 1897 (3%)
MAJ: 9950 (18%)
Con: 25100 (50%)
Lab: 9393 (19%)
LDem: 13480 (27%)
UKIP: 2274 (5%)
Oth: 274 (1%)
MAJ: 11620 (23%)
Con: 25736 (52%)
Lab: 8543 (17%)
LDem: 12806 (26%)
UKIP: 2041 (4%)
MAJ: 12930 (26%)
Con: 25294 (47%)
Lab: 12171 (22%)
LDem: 13674 (25%)
MAJ: 11620 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JULIAN SMITH (Conservative) See above.
MALCOLM BIRKS (Labour) Educated at South Craven School. Architect.
JACQUELINE BELL (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 110 Responses on “Skipton & Ripon”
  1. I remember reading somewhere – although I can’t remember where – that the first 3 or 4 recounts put Labour ahead and it was only the last 3 where Hargreaves pushed in front. Must have been very galling for Labour.

  2. The addition of Great Harwood was mentioned by Joe James Broughton on the old site as perhaps having tipped the balance in the Tories’ favour. For the long serving Arthur Davidson to lose by only 21 votes after 17 years in the Commons must have been awful for him, probably made worse by having to wait for all of 18 hours and more until he heard his fate,

  3. It was the first time Labour had lost Accrington or this seat since the war, though there had been close contests before.

  4. by “this seat” I of course meant Hyndburn, not Skipton & Ripon.

  5. Forgive me Barnaby for going on about this on Skipton- me and Andy were having a long discussion earlier on about close contests you see.

  6. On the subject of close results, I think there were at least four recounts in Carmarthen in February 1974.

  7. I think the 2 parties (Labour & Plaid Cymru) agreed that whichever result recurred first would be allowed to stand -that’s what I heard anyway. As it turned out it was a Labour hold, majority 3. However, Plaid gained the seat later that year fairly comfortably. The protagonists were Gwynoro Jones (Labour), later to join & stand for the SDP, and Gwynfor Evans (Plaid Cymru).

  8. Another extremely close result in that election came in Bodmin, which Paul Tyler gained for the Liberals from the Conservative Robert Hicks by 9 votes- he would take the seat back in October of that year, and went on to hold the seat in 1979, and would later sit for South East Cornwall from 1983 to 1997.

  9. Ind Gain from LibDems in a North Yorkshire CC by-election here in Skipton. Ind 391, Cons 353, LibDem 309 (down 10%), UKIP 238 (up 14%), Green 194, Lab 181.

  10. Labour gain from LibDems on Craven District Council in the Skipton West ward. Lab 185, LibDem 143 (down 18%), Con 131, UKIP 126 (up 16%), Ind 120, Green 67.

  11. Can’t believe Labour won a ward in this constituency especailly in affluent Skipton. As a Labour supporter I’m very pleased.

  12. Christian – yes, it’s the first Labour win here since 1996.

  13. I wouldn’t call a gain on 27.5% of the vote much to write home about.

  14. In fact, it was on 24% of the vote (total vote 772 by my reckoning).

  15. Incidentally, it was for precisely the same reason that I didn’t get terribly excited when the Tories won Clifton in Bristol last year (in the interests of even-handedness).

  16. It wouldn’t normally be but when it’s the first win in 18 years you’ve got to enjoy it if your side has won. Skipton is normally a pretty Tory town especially in general elections even though a Liberal (Claire Brooks IIRC) nearly won Skipton in the 1974 general elections. In those days the seat included Earby & Barnoldswick which are now (in fact, even then were) in Lancashire.

  17. Lancs Observer – Thanks. Wonder if local issues contributed to the Labour win. I went on holiday in this constituency 3 years ago, very picturesque, affluent and Tory.

  18. Labour won more votes in the district seat than the county seat (which includes another Skipton ward), indicating a personal vote for the winning candidate.

  19. A Labour councillor in the Dales! Excellent news! Bring on Richmond! 😉

  20. As Ripon was one of the two seats the Liberals lost in the second GE of 1974 I shall post this question here. I would be interested to know from anyone who knows the history of the 1974 elections as to what exactly happened with PPCs in the second election of 1974 as there are vague burblings already of hung parliaments and the Tories are reputedly preparing for a second round.

    We have had five years to get ready for this year’s event and seemingly only Labour has been well-organised in appointing PPCs raising the question of what happened in 1974’s second round.. did parties run with the same PPCs that they had in the contest earlier in the year? were there retirements that needed filling? did parties have to scramble on selections if their previous PPC declined to stand again?

  21. I thought the Liberals lost Ripon in the first 1974 GE.
    Believe it was Hazel Grove and Bodmin they won in the first and lost in the second 1974 GE

  22. Conservative Hold. 13,000 majority.

  23. LexBoz is correct on both counts. Just seen that.

  24. The majority for the Tories here is now their largest ever in numerical and percentage terms in the history of this seat.

  25. An acquaintance of mine did that Vote Swap thing with a Labour supporting friend of hers who lives here. He voted Green in Ripon, and she voted Labour in Sheffield Hallam.

    Seems they may as well not have bothered!

  26. I don’t understand how anyone can do vote swapping because there’s no guarantee that the other person will vote as they’ve said they will.

  27. There’s a degree of trust involved, yes. I think in this case it worked because the two people were good friends and felt they could trust one another.

  28. This was much more like it for the Conservatives after some rather sluggish performances during Curry’s later years as an MP.

  29. The result here in 2001 was well above average given the Foot And Mouth factor that had a big impact on all the Conservatives’ safe seats in Northern England that year, so there was a slight correction of that in 2005 I think perhaps. But then in 2010 Julian Smith was a new MP without incumbency, which might go some way to explain why the Lib Dems did so well on the retirement of David Curry- I think he was quite moderate. I agree however that the result this time with Smith’s incumbency has restored this seat to its natural level of safeness.

  30. It appears in a by election in Embsay-with-Eatby, an Independent romped home with a swing of 59.45% from the Tory to Ind

  31. Indeed. I think there were 3 Ind Gains.

    Craven (Embsay-with-Eastby Ward By-election):

    Independent 313
    LibDem 208
    Conservative 156

    Independent Gain from Conservative.

  32. Tory- I agree.

    The Results – 2010 here merely mirrors the LibDem peak nationally.

  33. Three questions:

    The Skipton & Ripon constituency was created from parts of seven predecessor constituencies in 1979. What were those seven ?

    The predecessor Skipton constituency formed parts of five new constituencies in 1979. What were those five ?

    The predecessor Ripon constituency formed part of four new constituencies in 1979. What were those four ?

  34. 1. Skipton, Ripon, Harrogate, Keighley, Richmond, Thirsk and Malton and Barkston Ash.

    2.Skipton and Ripon, Pendle, Ribble Valley, Westmorland & Lonsdale, Keighley?

    3. Skipton and Ripon, Leeds North West, Keighley, Shipley?

  35. I don’t think it’s been mentioned on here but the Lib Dems are standing down here for the Greens as part of their ‘progressive alliance’ in return for the Greens standing down in Harrogate and Knaresborough lol. As I said on the Buckingham thread this is possibly the most ridiculous, most pointless deal that it was possible to dream up. The Tories will win Skipton and Ripon in a landslide and the Greens will still finish behind Labour. As for Harrogate did the Lib Dems not see the council election results there…?

  36. I suspect the standing aside has more to do with trying to save deposits, rather than any conviction that an “alliance” will win.

  37. All along, the progressive alliance has been a case of ignoring a bigger but more important problem – winning Tory voters. In a perfect illustration, at last year’s Labour conference, when Tom Watson mentioned that Labour would need to win over Tory voters in order to return to government, one member of the audience yelled out “We don’t want those scum!”

    A small minority of people really will be voting for the first time at this election, or will be voting Labour having previously been serial protest voters – and that is a good thing that mainstream politics is reaching out to these previously disenfranchised people. I can only hope that they stay with the party when it “sells out” and some Oxbridge-educated ex-SpAd from the Fabian Society is in charge, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

  38. Paz – the LDs failed to save their deposit in many, many seats in 2015. If that were their goal, very odd that they’re standing in 629 seats and have chosen a constituency where they actually kept it last time to stand aside.

  39. The mayoral elections held under SV the other week showed clearly that, even now with Brexit as their big issue, LD second prefs are as likely to go to the Cons as anyone else.

  40. It does seem an odd move for the LibDems, in a seat where they’ve historically done quite well (in 2015 holding your deposit counts). The Greens didn’t seem to poll particularly well in the recent CC elections here either.

  41. I guess the LDs think they’ve played the Greens quite well in getting them to stand down in several LD targets in return for very little.

  42. I’ve never understood how they describe themselves as Progressive when their policies are straight out of the 1970s and failed back then.

    I suppose it’s another case of a group co-opting a word for themselves and deciding what it now means

  43. Paul
    “I’ve never understood how they describe themselves as Progressive when their policies are straight out of the 1970s and failed back then”

    That’s overly partisan, tone it back a little bit please.

  44. Progressive Alliance has been a disaster for the Greens. Instead of campaigning on the issues they have spent almost all their media time talking about how to help other parties. I sure they could have garnered votes campaigning against new development and against dangerous levels of pollution. Instead they have blown it.
    All they have accomplished has been making their guaranteed hold on Pavilion more secure.

  45. The Green strategy was always flawed, because there are no seats they are remotely well-positioned to challenge a Tory incumbent, and there was no way Lab or LD were ever going to stand aside in a seat like Bristol West.

  46. An overlooked part of the Greens’ strategy has been that they have stood down only where the progressive candidate has agreed to support PR. This enables them to get parliamentary representation for one of their key issues, which may in the long run yield them dozens of seats, far more than they could have ever hoped for under the current circumstances.

    That’s why they found it easier to do deals with the Lib Dems, despite on paper being ideologically closer to Labour. The key issue is PR.

  47. Labour dont appear to be targeting Brighton Pavillion. A very young candidate and not that much campaigning there.

  48. Julian Smith (Chief Whip) is coming under increasing pressure today as it is claimed that he ordered as many as five Tory MPs to break their pairings on Tuesday’s vote. Four ignored him and did not vote; only Brandon Lewis did vote (paired with Swinson). It’s also claimed that he subsequently lied to the PM about the whole affair. Could be pretty serious for him.

  49. He’s got to be sacked, surely?

  50. Understandably, the other Tory MPs aren’t willing to go on the record officially. But whilst this story was developing Leadsom was standing up in the Commons saying that this was all due to a simple ‘error’. Barmy.

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