North Somerset

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31540 (53.5%)
Labour: 8441 (14.3%)
Lib Dem: 7486 (12.7%)
Green: 3806 (6.5%)
UKIP: 7669 (13%)
MAJORITY: 23099 (39.2%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Somerset. The northern half of the North Somerset council area.

Main population centres: Clevedon, Portishead, Nailsea, Yatton.

Profile: This is primarily a commuter area to the south of Bristol, it includes the towns of Portishead and the Victorian seaside town of Clevedon, both set between the Severn estuary and the M5. Further inland is the town of Nailsea. The seat also contains Bristol Aiport. Between 1983 and 2010 the seat was called Woodspring, the name of the then district council which was named after Woodspring Priory, now just outside the seat in the neighbouring Weston-Super-Mare constituency..

Politics: This is a comfortable Conservative seat, held by Liam Fox since 1983 without any serious threat to his position.


Current MP
LIAM FOX (Conservative) Born 1961, East Kilbride. Educated at St. Brides High School and Glasgow University. Former general practitioner and civilian army medical officer. Contested Roxburgh and Berwickshire 1987. First elected as MP for Woodspring in 1992. PPS to Michael Howard 1993-1994, Government Whip 1994-1996, Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1996-1997. Spokesman on Constitutional Affairs 1997-1999, Shadow Secretary of State for Health 1999-2003, co-chairman of the Conservative party 2003-2005, Shadow Foreign Secretary 2005, Shadow Defence Secretary 2005-2010. Defence Secretary 2010-2011. A standard bearer for the right of the party, Fox contested and came third in the 2005 leadership election. He resigned from government in 2011 over links with his best man, Adam Werritty.
Past Results
2010
Con: 28549 (49%)
Lab: 6448 (11%)
LDem: 20687 (36%)
UKIP: 2257 (4%)
MAJ: 7862 (14%)
2005*
Con: 21587 (42%)
Lab: 11249 (22%)
LDem: 15571 (30%)
GRN: 1309 (3%)
Oth: 1902 (4%)
MAJ: 6016 (12%)
2001
Con: 21297 (44%)
Lab: 12499 (26%)
LDem: 11816 (24%)
GRN: 1282 (3%)
Oth: 1864 (4%)
MAJ: 8798 (18%)
1997
Con: 24425 (44%)
Lab: 11377 (21%)
LDem: 16691 (30%)
Oth: 820 (1%)
MAJ: 7734 (14%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Woodspring

Demographics
2015 Candidates
LIAM FOX (Conservative) See above.
GREG CHAMBERS (Labour)
MARCUS KRAVIS (Liberal Democrat)
IAN KEALEY (UKIP) Educated at Bristol University. Farmer, former teacher and nuclear physicist.
DAVID DERBYSHIRE (Green)
Links
Comments - 56 Responses on “Somerset North”
  1. Is there any particualr reason why the Conservatives have been relatively strong here compared with the rest of the old Avon county?

  2. The ‘concept’ of Avon seems to me to have faded faster than those of Humberside and Cleveland.

  3. “Is there any particualr reason why the Conservatives have been relatively strong here compared with the rest of the old Avon county?”

    It’s a far wealthier seat than most of the others in Avon apart from Bristol West and Bath which are both intellectual seats.

  4. As a possible illustration of this, I’ve heard that this seat has the highest concentration of golf courses of any seat in England. Not sure whether that’s true or not though.

  5. The present local government set up in this area is odd. I can see no reason why the area can’t simply be split between a two-tier Somerset and Bristol. The division of Somerset into a mix of old county and various unitaries is illogical and a hangover from the late and unlamented Avon.

  6. Any chance the Lib Dems can exploit this to get rid of Fox? I notice there isn’t much of a Labour vote to squeeze though!

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/06/tory-liam-fox-expenses-car-journey

  7. I can’t quite decide what I think about that – whether to be annoyed with the pettiness of Fox or the pettiness of those writing the story.

    I’ve never liked Fox but I doubt such an insignificant story will have any impact.

  8. These stories grate with me though. As someone who works in the public sector I never claim all of the expenses I should. For example I’ve never claimed for public transport expenses when attending meetings with other organisations/businesses.

  9. I see your point and agree. Being self employed I also tend to disregard making small claims, mostly because I can’t be bothered keeping track of the receipts for such a small payback.

    Though I don’t think a story such as this will have any damaging long-term effect, the Werritty scandal may well do. In my opinion it reflected terribly badly on Fox’s judgement and it is to David Cameron’s credit that he has not taken the opportunity to bring him back into government.

  10. I recall that Fox popped up very early on in the BBC’s coverage of the 2005 General Election, with a boldly colourful background to the stage visible behind him at his count in Woodspring.

  11. I wonder if Fox can put a bit more distance between himself and the Lib Dems here come 2015? He has struggled to shrug them off since 1997.

  12. it says liam fox became the mp in 1983 but he didn’t, it was 1992

  13. Apparently he is teaming up to go tough on the Guardian… probably afraid he is sinking into obscurity here (despite various wrist-slappings).. defending an narrower margin here than Julian Smith.

    Strong believer in the Special Relationship (with the US) according to the Wikipedia article on him. Also has his own relationship with Sri Lanka which is not exactly in the international good books these days. Coalition is clearly not interested in his abilities with respect to “special relationships”.

  14. It would be good if we could focus our special relationship on those American politicians and people who realise that their country is headed in the wrong direction. Too much aggressive warmongering, too much arrogance, too much debt, too much self-delusion, too much unsustainability, and a completely fucked up and corrupt system of governance. Obviously some or most of these issues we also face ourselves, to some extent.

    I’m married to an American and if you would have told me 5 years ago that she would be as critical of her own country as she is today, I would have thought it impossible.

  15. Unfortunately very few of such people are in Congress..

    Maybe if Hillary gets in there can be a restart.. if she doesn’t get co-opted like the current neo-con sock-puppet was…

    it was a Republican President, Eisenhower, who was first to warn against the industrial-military complex… now we should insert the word “security” and an extra hyphen into his term.

    The recent Congressional shenanigans have been the US’s Suez… it’s all downhill from here, baby…

  16. My prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 42%
    Liberal Democrat- 31%
    Labour- 19%
    UKIP- 8%

  17. Liam Fox is a very hard working MP who does a great deal of work for the constituents in addition to his work on issues of national and international importance. He is far and away the strongest candidate and I hope to see him re-elected on Thursday. The man commands respect.

  18. Conservative Hold. 12,000 maj.

  19. Conservative majority continues to fall to below its current 6,000 majority reached at the 2005 election.

  20. To stop the breakup of the UK and slap down the emergence of nationalist parties (SNP and UKIP) a Labour and Conservative coalition has probably been tacitly agreed between the leaders since the result of the Scottish referendum, only their members appear to have ignored this potential outcome. I obviously write these notes to myself (ha!)

  21. Con 53.5 (+4.2)
    Lab 14.3 (+3.2)
    UKIP 13.0 (+9.0)
    LD 12.7 (-23.0)
    Green 6.5

    Con majority 23,099 (39.2%)

  22. Liam Fox has refused to rule out standing in the upcoming Tory leadership election .

  23. Pointless for him to stand. If Boris isn’t acceptable to many Tories, then Fox sure as hell isn’t going to be.

  24. Corbyn vs. Fox. What a time to be alive.

  25. I don’t think Fox would get on the ballot, fortunately. If he did and was facing a Remainer I wouldn’t rule out him winning.

  26. That’s pretty terrifying. Mind you, if Corbyn can become Labour leader, anything is possible.

  27. There is a very good chance he’ll be back in the government. Health Secretary?

  28. A pretty puzzling comment from Tristan. The Conservative members elected IDS back in 2001. Don’t be too surprised if they elect a right-winger in 2016.

  29. Incidentally North Somerset was another one of those prosperous boroughs which Leave actually carried. I’m starting to wonder if outside of London and Scotland the AB class was actually quite evenly divided.

  30. Tory- fair enough, but the field is more competitive in 2016. And remember, the potential job here is Prime Minister, not leader of the opposition (in 2001, a pretty crappy job as Lab had a huge majority and Blair was still popular).

  31. Fox & Boris will be fishing in the same pool of voters so there’s unlikely to be much chance that both could get onto the members’ ballot. Perhaps a reasonable showing could ensure he gets a good cabinet job under Johnson or May.

  32. Fox on way up Downing Street so maybe more jobs tonight than thought. Health?

  33. Must be i Imagine.

  34. Apparently it is as Business Sec.

  35. Interesting decision. I bet the Civil Service are shocked to have to have two new departments to fill. And the Labour Front bench to find two new shadow members.

  36. New department for international trade, BBC are saying. Not sure what that means for Business department.

  37. It have to be adapted. Not sure International trade will cover the domestic functions Business does like University’s.

  38. The civil service hate machinery of govt. changes which happen with no notice. Looks like May is keen on them, unlike Cameron who kept departments he inherited from Labour throughout.

  39. A side effect of the Unwritten British Constitution. In most countries government departments cant be invented on the whim of the PM.

  40. Fox confirmed as Secretary of State for International Trade. Secretary of State title suggests it will be a full govt. department. Trade previously managed jointly by FCO and Business.

  41. International trade huh? That sounds like a lot of overseas trips he could take his friend Adam Werrity on…

  42. ‘That sounds like a lot of overseas trips he could take his friend Adam Werrity on…’

    I suspect we have heard the last of Adam Werrity

    Fox recognises that his allegations of his questionable ‘relationship’ with the man (and we still don’t know whether he was just a friend or a lover) cost him his job last time, and as the leadership election showed, his current support within the party comes from the hardline Right – whose attitude to such issues hasn’t moved as substantially as the rest of the party

  43. Let’s just make sure Fox doesn’t take a plus one on the government’s purse to international events in places like Dubai eh?

  44. Signalling intent to agree a trade deal is very different to actually agreeing one, doesn’t mean talks are going to start next week or even next year (at the moment even starting talks is probably in breach of EU law) and doesn’t mean the offer on the table is going to be very good.

    But now we’ve voted to leave we can’t be defeatist about this sort of thing as some Remain supporters are being. The International Trade department needs to get to work on preparing the ground for these negotiations.

  45. There is likely to be a small recession when the hard brexit wishes of the British people are delivered but that is a price worth paying to regain our independence as a country which Maxim and Lancs Observer were voting for.

    The economy is not so relevant anymore. It’s all about patriotism and abolishing free movement even if British citizens have to be repatriated from Europe.

  46. JOE JAMES B – You sound as though you believe “hard Brexit” will be delivered. Of course it won’t: the majority of MPs (including May) never wanted Brexit, and the tories only saw the referendum as a way to desperately cling to power. Now they are cacking themselves about it.

    To me, that points to a fudge, and that means free movement will stay. Iain Duncan Smith’s admission that “all we need to do is to accept all the current rules as they are” is very telling: it’s a mess, so let’s just accept all the rules and just tinker with a few little ones as time goes by!

    As for Fox’s latest blunder- all that does is betray his mindset; Brexit is an opportunity to lose dead weight and work harder, by getting rid of workers rights. Congrats to the Brexiteers- you won’t get anything you were promised!

  47. I can think of no better way for Westminster to re-energise UKIP, or possibly a nastier successor, than to fudge Brexit. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t do it – David Cameron gambled massively by offering a referendum in the first place. It could also destroy what little remains of the British electorate’s trust in Westminster politicians, which in the long term would be far more damaging than any Brexit-inspired recession.

    The situation is a total mess. (Most) leavers want to leave properly, closing; remainers want to still be in the EU, but most are resigned to leaving and so are pushing for a fudge. So we end up in this bizarre scenario where most of the establishment is lobbying for an outcome that would be nobody’s first choice – the Norway model, where the UK is basically in the EU in every way except that it lacks seats at the European Parliament. This is basically a strictly worse version of the state of affairs rejected by the British public. We may yet end up in a compromise that nobody really wants over a position voted for by the majority of the 52%.

  48. “You won’t get anything you were promised!” – well, granted, the economy hasn’t fallen off a cliff, and no EU countries have declared war on us yet 😉

  49. ‘ As for Fox’s latest blunder- all that does is betray his mindset; Brexit is an opportunity to lose dead weight and work harder, by getting rid of workers rights. ‘

    I’m sure business will much happier with Fox once his unveils his plans to make the UK more competitive – the pretext of his diatribe on British business – which will no doubt include things like reducing the annual holiday from 20 days to 10, abolishing workplace pensions and probably the minimum wage

    Whether their workers – many of whom who voted for Brexit will be quite as happy is another thing

  50. “To me, that points to a fudge, and that means free movement will stay.”

    Complete free movement of workers definitely will not stay. The government couldn’t have been clearer on that. Free movement of tourists and business travellers will probably (hopefully) remain in place but even for that we may have some kind of reciprocal ESTA system.

    “Brexit is an opportunity to lose dead weight and work harder, by getting rid of workers rights.”

    The government won’t be successful if they try to get rid of fundamental workers’ rights. But we do need to work both smarter and harder and that goes as much for the bosses as the workers. You don’t need to lose workers rights to achieve that, I hope.

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