Somerton & Frome

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31960 (53%)
Labour: 4419 (7.3%)
Lib Dem: 11692 (19.4%)
Green: 5434 (9%)
UKIP: 6439 (10.7%)
Independent: 365 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 20268 (33.6%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Somerset.

Main population centres:



Current MP
DAVID WARBURTON (Conservative) Educated at Reading School and Royal College of Music. Former entrepreneur. First elected as MP for Somerton & Frome in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 26976 (45%)
Lab: 2675 (4%)
LDem: 28793 (48%)
UKIP: 1932 (3%)
Oth: 236 (0%)
MAJ: 1817 (3%)
Con: 22947 (42%)
Lab: 5865 (11%)
LDem: 23759 (44%)
UKIP: 1047 (2%)
Oth: 484 (1%)
MAJ: 812 (2%)
Con: 22315 (42%)
Lab: 6113 (12%)
LDem: 22983 (44%)
UKIP: 919 (2%)
Oth: 354 (1%)
MAJ: 668 (1%)
Con: 22554 (39%)
Lab: 9385 (16%)
LDem: 22684 (40%)
Oth: 331 (1%)
MAJ: 130 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAVID WARBURTON (Conservative) Educated at Reading School and Royal College of Music. Entrepreneur.
DAVID OAKENSEN (Labour) Chartered accountant. Contested Somerton and Frome 2010.
DAVID RENDEL (Liberal Democrat) Born 1949. Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Newbury councillor 1987-1995, West Berkshire councillor 2011-2015. Contested Fulham 1979, 1983 for the Liberals, Newbury 1992. MP for Newbury 1993-2005. Contested Newbury 2010.
ALAN DIMMICK (UKIP) Somerset councillor.
THEO SIMON (Green) Born 1957, Rode. Singer songwriter.
IAN ANGELL (Independent) Born Frome. Educated at Frome College and St Barts School of Nursing and Midwifery. Runs a watersports business.
Comments - 254 Responses on “Somerton & Frome”
  1. I think the idea of a Wells shock hold is interesting. However the seat was Conservative for 25 years until 2010 and the switch to Lib Dem was partially due to an expenses scandal. In addition approx. 6,000 votes came it seems from tactical Labour voters who, I think, are not likely to return en masse to the Lib Dems. So its all down to the incumbency factor. Certainly the Lib Dem’s have sent better campaign literature. Their incumbent is, I feel, stronger than the Conservative candidate overall BUT I would still be surprised if it is a Lib Dem hold.

    However, conversely, I am expecting Simon Hughes to hang in North Devon.

  2. My psephology program calculated Con Gain with majority 6000-8000 depending on the UKIP share which is unpredictable. 5000-6000 seems likely to me.

  3. And since Mr Warburton is a strong local candidate, it could easily be nearer 8,000

  4. Simon Hughes to hang on in North Devon!? Nick Harvey is the MP for North Devon, Simon Hughes represents Bermondsey in central London

  5. Simon Hughes in N Devon??? That WOULD be a shock!

    Nick Harvey surely 🙂

  6. l think Hughes has a better chance than Harvey. l originally thought Harvey would survive, but the last Ashcroft poll looked very ominous for him. Hughes is, in my view, in a very, very tight battle.

  7. If Nick Harvey does loose (and I still think it is very much is “if”) the Tory majority is likely to be in the few hundreds certainly not in the thousands.

    As For Simon Hughes is still be stunned if he lost his London Seat.

  8. I think the writing’s on the wall for Nick Harvey tbh. Awful local election results (LDs now hold just one of the county council divisions in North Devon) and Ashcroft showing a seven-point deficit suggest a straightforward Tory gain.

    Simon Hughes will probably hang on in Bermondsey

  9. could come down to the ground game. l think Labour has better organization in that seat than the LDs. Hughes probably has about a 55-45 chance of surviving, no more than that. Having said that, sometimes he has surpassed expectations by quite a lot in the past, so who knows he might still hang on relatively easily. But l very much doubt it.

  10. Conservative Gain. 3,000 maj.

  11. Tory gain with a majority of 20,268 votes:

  12. Ashcroft poll Sep 2014:

    Q1 Tory 44 LD 19 UKIP 20
    Q2 Tory 41 LD 27 UKIP 17

    actual result

    Tory 53
    LD 19
    UKIP 11

    I suppose you could argue this was one of the ‘better’ Ashcroft polls though still well off the crushing final result, even on Q1.

  13. Jesus what a great gain this was for the Tories in terms of the swing, number of votes and majority! Makes you wonder if David Heath standing again would have actually made a lot of difference…

  14. Judging by what happened to his colleagues in safer seats, none whatsoever.

  15. Yes that’s exactly what I thought.

  16. The majority probably would gave been 15K instead of 20 with Heath standing.

  17. The result here would appear to suggest that the natural guise of Somerton and Frome is in fact a safe Conservative seat that only went to the Lib Dems in the first place because of the personal popularity of David Heath!

  18. The story here is the same as for a number of other SW seats; the Lib Dems gradually built up their vote through a combination of hard work locally and carefully corralling a coalition of the disaffected and dissatisfied.

    Once they had won the seat, when the Tories were at their nadir in 1997, they were able to hold on to it in part through the personality of the MP and also continued strong on the ground efforts.

    But – as I have posted before, the coalition that was assembled here by the Lib Dems was always an unstable one – Greens, Old Labour types, middle of the road people and a large component of ‘anti-everyone’ voters.

    It held together surprisingly well in 2005 and 2010. But it has now shattered. This isn’t just to do with David Heath standing down, as other results in the region show. Indeed I suspect his decision was partly influenced by the way things were developing on the ground.

    I would guess a chunk of the middling types who supported David Heath in the past did revert to the Tories this time. But what really undermined the Lib Dems here and elsewhere in the region was entering the coalition, which lost them both the left./Green element of their vote and the anti-everyone vote.

  19. So the remaining Lib Dem voters in the South West seats for example are probably the absolute core they actually have left, allowing for loss of incumbency of sitting MPs who did not stand again? This is a pattern that can also be seen in many other seats around the UK where the Lib Dem MP stood down at this election.

  20. I imagine the Lib Dems hope so.

  21. LOL

  22. I think the relatively late change of candidate for the Lib Dems was a factor in the margin of the Conservative victory here, but all the signs are that even David Heath would have lost substantially.

    The small consolation the Lib Dems may have in the SW is that if they are down to their core vote in this area, that is still larger than in many other areas of the country.

  23. Any chance that the Lib Dems could ever claw back Bath, St Ives or Yeovil given that they’re not the most secure Tory seats in the SW?

  24. I suppose it depends on how good the new MPs are, what work is done on the ground and most crucially how the polls are shaping up 5 years hence. However when you look at places like Truro which had a LibDem MP since the 70s, narrowly lost in 2010 and the far from awesome Conservative incumbent sizeably increases her majority, I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

  25. It always seemed counter-intuitive to me that the SW was one of UKIP’s better areas yet returned Lib Dem MPs in large numbers. Now that those MPs are no longer there I would expect UKIP, at least in the short-term, to become the main challengers in most seats in this region.

  26. The only seats I can see the LDs realistically regaining at the next election in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset are St Ives and Torbay and possibly Wells as a longshot and it would depend on the defeated incumbents standing again in those seats.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the lib Dem vote fragment further in other seats with more ex LD voters leaking away to UKIP and the greens including this one.

    Generally speaking I think the LDs best chances of winning back seats from the Tories at at the next election will be the urban ones where they still have a strong local base such as Bath, Cheltenham, Twickenham, Sutton and Cheam, Eastbourne etc

  27. Cambridge has slightly above the average electorate for a 600 seat parliament. If some of the outer wards are moved to another constituency, this seat becomes better for Labour, which has its best areas in the east and centre of the city.

    There will be quite a lot of implications from the boundary changes as good wards for particular parties are moved in and out of marginal seats.

  28. It will certainly be a radical boundary change if parts of Cambridge end up in Somerton and Frome!

  29. Cambridge and Somerton – a three-way marginal?

  30. Whilst we’re on Somerton and Frome, how many places were there where LAB came 5th or lower?

  31. I like the idea of merging two wholly opposite rock solid safe seats into a geographically-separated marginal. For example if they created a seat called Bexhill and Bootle it would create a hotly contested marginal that would do wonders for government attention in two areas that are always taken for granted.

  32. Brighton Pavilion and Clacton

  33. Kensington and Cumbernauld.

  34. Haverhill, Whitehaven and Yate

  35. In the eighteenth century, Caithness and Buteshire were paired and each voted at every second election. Having nothing in common, they kept electing very different candidates.

  36. Inverness, Nairn, Esher and Walton.

  37. Leeds and Leigh
    Swindon and Swinton
    Oldham and Newham (or just ‘Ham’)
    Northampton and Southampton (the Hamptons)
    Norfolk and Suffolk (the folks)

  38. Windsor and Sunderland West.

  39. Oxford and Ballymoney would be a funny one

  40. We are having a laugh here, but a recent IPPR report did suggest the Boundary Commission should essentially gerrymander the boundaries to produce more marginals. Experts on boundaries rightly (in my view) poured scorn on it but it is an idea that some people have genuinely put forward.

  41. Hayes & Harlington/Windsor is another extreme example of politically opposing seats which share a border.

  42. Blaenau Gwent, Brecon and Radnorshire is another

  43. Belfast West and Lagan Valley

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