St Austell & Newquay

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20250 (40.2%)
Labour: 5150 (10.2%)
Lib Dem: 12077 (24%)
Green: 2318 (4.6%)
UKIP: 8503 (16.9%)
Mebyon Kernow: 2063 (4.1%)
MAJORITY: 8173 (16.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Cornwall. Part of the Cornwall council area.

Main population centres:



Current MP
STEPHEN DOUBLE (Conservative) Born 1966, St Austell. Former company director. Former Cornwall councillor. First elected as MP for St Austell & Newquay in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18877 (40%)
Lab: 3386 (7%)
LDem: 20189 (43%)
UKIP: 1757 (4%)
Oth: 3029 (6%)
MAJ: 1312 (3%)

2015 Candidates
STEPHEN DOUBLE (Conservative) Born 1966, St Austell. Company director. Former Cornwall councillor.
STEPHEN GILBERT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1976, Truro. Educated at Fowey Community School and University of Wales. Consultant to a public relations firm. Former Restormel councillor, Haringey councillor 2002-2006. MP for St Austell and Newquay 2010 to 2015.
STEVE SLADE (Green) Runs a renovations company.
DICK COLE (Mebyon Kernow) Born 1968. Educated at Treviglas School and University of Wales. Archaeologist. Restormel councillor 1999-2009, Cornwall councillor since 2009. Contested North Cornwall 2005, St Austell and Newquay 2010.
Comments - 183 Responses on “St Austell & Newquay”
  1. Mentioned elsewhere but St Austell is one of the few places in England which has been represented by 3 successive LD MP’s; Penhaligon, Taylor and now Stephen Gilbert.

  2. Cornwall results by division (122 seats):


    Con 34,191
    LD 31,074
    Ind 28,990
    UKIP 21,306
    Lab 11,383
    MK 6,523
    Green 3,957
    Lib 143
    Others 1,903

    Total 139,470


    Con 24.51%
    LD 22.28%
    Ind 20.79%
    UKIP 15.28%
    Lab 8.16%
    MK 4.68%
    Green 2.84%
    Lib 0.10%
    Others 1.36%

    Changes since 2010 (although 2009 would make more sense):

    Con -16.43%
    Lab -0.47%
    UKIP +10.38%
    LD -19.48%
    Green +1.57%
    MK +2.76%
    Ind +20.79%

  3. Is St Austell and Newquay the real successor to Truro and St Austell, or is Truro and Falmouth? I’m a bit confused.

    The last boundary review obviously created one extra seat- Before we had St Ives, North Cornwall, South East Cornwall, Falmouth and Camborne and Truro and St Austell. Now we have St Ives, North Cornwall, South East Cornwall, Camborne and Redruth, Truro and Falmouth and St Austell and Newquay. Could someone please be so kind to tell me which seats are the ‘real’ successors to Falmouth and Camborne and Truro and St Austell in technical terms, thank you.

  4. St Austell is the largest town in Cornwall, so I would hazard a guess that St Austell & Newquay is the nearest equivalent to Truro & St Austell. Camborne & Redruth is closer to Falmouth & Camborne than is Truro & Falmouth. The latter seems to be the new seat, though it is very similar to the former municipal district of Carrick.

  5. Thank you very much for that Barnaby.

  6. When Taylor was MP for Truro and Truro St Austell, does anyone know whether he had his own personal vote?

    The reason why I ask this question is that Penhaligon certainly did and it was he who set the Liberal/Liberal Democrat foundations in motion in this seat and I rather tend to think that while Taylor was MP it may have become a vote for Penhaligon’s legacy as much as for Taylor himself. Maybe it was just support for the Liberal Democrats.

    He actually only ever increased his vote share twice while he was an MP, did Taylor- At the 1986 by-election and in 1992. It was during that era of course that he came to prominence as a well-known politician and his public profile must have lent him a few extra votes in 1992. The by-election was probably more a case of the Liberals traditionally doing well in by-elections anyway.

  7. does bob have a prediction about labour’s chances here

  8. Taylor never had the charisma of Penhaligon – and was seen as an earnest, inoffensive and fairly likeable representative – although not especially effective

    I imagine his own success here had a lot to do with Penhaligon

    Losing Falmouth & Truro to the Tories at the last election was one of the more eye-catching Tory gains of the night, as Truro must be closest thing we have in England to a Lib Dem city, and I always thought (perhaps wrongly) that Falmouth was a Lib Dem voting town too. I’d be inteerested in seeing the notionals for the new seat prior to the 2010 election as I would have thought the boundaries would, if anything, have helped the Lib Dems, as they suggest that Taylor did in fact have a large(ish) personal vote

  9. 55% of Truro & St Austell went into Truro & Falmouth, and 45% went into St Austell & Newquay. It was the majority contributor to both the new seats.

    As Barnaby says the new seats in 2010 closely matched the 6 District councils in Cornwall – just in time for them to be abolished and replaced by a unitary…..

  10. Could Gilbert hold this or are his chances of doing a Penhaligon in 1979 remote here?

  11. I think a LD hold is the likelihood here.

  12. What sort of majority could he have if he does manage it? How much of the Lib Dem vote in Truro and St Austell in 2005 would have helped Gilbert win this seat in 2010?

  13. Don’t suppose anyone knows Mebyon Kernow’s best ever performance in a parliamentary contest? Their leader, Cllr Dick Cole, stood here in 2010 and got 4.2% of the vote – is that their best?

  14. It probably was. Cole might have a personal vote I think.

    Is this on paper better longterm for the Lib Dems than next door Truro and Falmouth, even though they don’t hold the latter seat?

  15. This was their best ever performance. Their previous best was 4.0% by Colin Murley in St Ives in 1979.

  16. Interesting.

    Was Cornish nationalism more prominent in the 1970s than now…and why?

  17. Aside from Cornish independence what other policies do Mebyon Kernow stand for?

    Are they a right wing party like the English Nationalist Parties – BNP, UKIP, English Democrats etc – or a left-leaning one like the SNP or Plaid Cymru?

  18. Thanks WoD.

    And whilst I’m sure they do have at least a small right-wing element of members, as do pretty much all nationalist parties, Mebyon Kernow runs on left-wing platforms. Certainly more left-wing than Labour, but not conventional Old Labour stuff – more a kind of quaint leftism wrapped around preserving the relative lack of development in Cornwall and its traditional industries.

  19. If MK is a left wing party, how could David Mudd have been a member of the party at the same time as being a Tory MP?

  20. Even into the 1970s, Mebyon was still a pressure group, albeit one moving in the direction of being organised into a political party. As a pressure group, people could join and still be members of other parties. MPs even.

    However, on the left-right stuff, I guess as a pressure group/very new political party in the 70s, the overwhelming issue was Cornish autonomy, and that was able to unite people into the group from across the political spectrum. Only as the party matured did the other left-wing stuff emerge, and I guess that process rather filtered out some of the more right-wing members.

  21. I can’t find the declaration for this seat online anywhere- Same with North Cornwall. St Ives and Camborne and Redruth were both shown by the BBC, and South East Cornwall and Truro and Falmouth can be found online as well, but I haven’t as yet found any recording of this result?

  22. Didn’t Meybon Kernow get 10 percent in European elections before the establishment of huge regions and the list system?

  23. Cornwall and Plymouth:
    1979 MK
    1984 CNP
    1989 MK

    Cornwall and West Plymouth

    1994 MK 3315

  24. (Forgive the post above, the silly browser misinterpreted the button I pressed as being ready to post for some reason)

    Cornwall and Plymouth:

    1979 MK 10,205 5.9%

    1984 CNP 1,892 1.0%

    1989 MK 4,224 1.9%

    Cornwall and West Plymouth

    1994 MK 3315 1.5 %

    So no 10 percent as far as I can see, but impressive in ’79 nevertheless (for a fringe party).

  25. Perhaps they did so well in the 70s, because the big problems affecting the country were so alien to them. Industrial strife – rather alien to an area of the country where the union movement did not make much headway – and the rise of Thatcherite policies in the Conservatives, always at odds with a Cornwall more at ease with one-nation conservatism or the social liberalism of the Liberals. Perhaps with these two things so foreign to Cornish sentiment, maybe that’s why so many people opted for a nationalist party.

  26. “and the rise of Thatcherite policies in the Conservatives, always at odds with a Cornwall more at ease with one-nation conservatism or the social liberalism of the Liberals.”

    I’m not sure I buy this analysis at all.

    Cornwall is many things but I wouldn’t describe it as socially liberal.

    It is also the opposite of being at ease with one-nation conservatism, as its extremely high support for UKIP and widespread euroscepticism testify.

    One-nation conservatism was based on the church of England and the old establishment. Cornwall has strong non-conformist and anti-establishment history, which is the reason for its long association with liberalism, not anything to do with social liberalism.

  27. Just so we’re clear on what I mean by social liberalism: I’m talking modern liberalism. The welfare state et al. Not socially liberal.

    Hence my point about Cornwall being up in the 70s for one-nation conservatism. With Cornwall traditionally disadvantaged compared to the rest of the country, it showed support for a conservatism that emphasised certain social protections. I’m not talking one-nation conservatism in the context of its religious background, but how like social liberalism it accepted the need for certain social protections. This is why I’m saying the rise of Thatcher sat less at ease with Cornwall.

    We could talk an awful lot of what the rise of UKIP in Cornwall says about Cornish values now, but you asked for a suggestion purely on the 70s and that’s my thesis.

  28. TheResults: I didn’t know the SE Cornwall and Truro declarations are available online. I must see if I can find them. Maybe the local councils put them up?

  29. Thats an excellent analysis Van Fleet, even if you do have a very strange view of what social liberalism is.

  30. @AndyJS
    The very ends of half of the Cornish declarations can be found by searching the name of the seat with BBC News in the search. For some reason they didn’t show North Cornwall, St Austell and Newquay and St Ives.

  31. I concede it’s an odd term, but that is what social liberalism is. I hate to reference Wikipedia, but it’s the easiest way to answer why:

    And thanks for the approval.

  32. Deborah Hopkins chosen as Labour candidate.

  33. Stephen Gilbert’s been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.

    This seems likely to keep him out of campaigning in person for a few months.

  34. I do hope Stephen Gilbert will be alright.

    Believe it or not, I’m beginning to think now that he might actually have a slim chance of holding this in 2015, largely on the basis of incumbency he will likely have.

  35. Oh dear I am sorry for him, hope he makes a good recovery.
    I too think he has a chance of holding on; I just get this feeling that the Tory vote is rather ephemeral in many parts of Cornwall. I could of course be completely wrong. But there is very limited scope for a tactical unwind in favour of Labour here, or in N Cornwall, and that gives him a fighting chance of holding the Tories off.

  36. St Austell & Newquay:

    Con 1/2
    LD 6/4
    UKIP 50/1
    Lab 100/1
    MK 250/1

  37. Those are Ladbrokes odds.

  38. It is being reported that Labour candidate Deborah Hopkins has been expelled from the party for posting Twitter comments claiming the Conservatives wanted to “kill the sick and starve the disabled”:

  39. Can’t see any problem myself. Just telling the truth.

    No wonder we have such a bunch of dull, identikit clones in parliament – anyone in ANY party with any passion or who steps out of line gets silenced

  40. She has been suspended – I suspect she’ll be allowed back after a handslap. To be honest, I would keep her as a candidate as, whilst I think she should watch her language on social network sites, I suspect many of those in the constituency sympathise with her views.
    The fact is, she supported the Liberal Democrats last time round and feels the sense of letdown many others do so represents the sense of disappointment many feel. The Liberal Democrats are nervous of her ability to eat into their vote.
    Let her stand, warts and all.

  41. I agree with Mersey Mike about the need for free speech from politicians. Although the Labour candidate’s remarks were risible in my view, they hardly justify her being deselected.

  42. Some of the welfare policies have led to or contributed to people taking their lives. But to phrase it as a willful act by lawmakers enters malicious, potentially libelous territory. But I’m with mrnameless on the fit to work point though, given Atos’ dubious record.

    What truth is there when there is no evidence? Unless someone went undercover in the DWP and secretly recorded that it was their plan all along.

    No government in modern Britain has ever attempted to kill a section of the population. Iain Duncan Smith, rightly or wrongly, believes that his policies are there to wean people off the welfare state. Condemn that by all means and bring up the deaths related to those policies. But to say it’s actually intentional doesn’t belong in a political debate.

    Big difference between intention and consequence. I’m certain she’d have remained the candidate if she spoke of the effects to people rather than attempting to accuse a whole government of something willful. This isn’t about the sentiment, but the accuracy of her statement.

  43. No matter what you think of the governments welfare policies, no right minded person can doubt that they’re being motived by pursuit of the common good and a desire to better the condition of the populace, like all governments are.

  44. Ahem. Comments policy please.

  45. Has Paul’s comment been removed?

  46. Out of interest, I was looking at Andy JS’s wonderful Cornwall local election breakdown posted earlier on this thread. Wonderful stuff, I must say.

    Anyway, to my point. I noticed that, as is fairly typical, not all parties stood for all seats. The Tories beat the LDs in this seat 24% to 21%, with independents on 25%, MK on 11%, UKIP and Labour both on 7%, and everyone else with the rest. The thing is, the Tories stood in 21 of 24 seats that are entirely or partially in the constituency, while the LDs did only 16, independents 14, MK 7, UKIP 6, Lab 11, and three candidates for all others. So I took just the results for seats in which there was both a Tory and a Lib Dem candidate. Obviously, not statistically all that valuable, but just an interesting exercise. (Also, duly note: the LDs won nine of the 16 seats they contested, the Tories won three of their 21, Labour one of their 11, UKIP one of six, MK two of seven, independents seven of 14. For once, FPTP helps the LDs.)

    But I digress. In that little exercise, 15 seats (of 24) were eligible, having both an LD and a Tory candidate (notably, when the LDs didn’t stand, it seemed to be often in preference of an independent). The LDs pretty easily won in that, with 30.2% to the Tories’ 25.0%. Independents had 14.2%, and Labour was next on 8.8%. I would wonder, then, if a lot of the voters who are going to the independents and especially MK in the locals won’t come back into the fold when the choice is mainly between a LD and a Tory next year. In Cornwall, that could well be the case, I think. With the Lib Dems on 4,499 votes and the Tories on 3,730 in that, the difference is pretty striking.

    Personally, I think Cornwall could hold out better for the Lib Dems than in most areas, both because they are the viable alternative to the Tories there (whether or not they are ‘really an alternative’ is not really a psephological discussion) and because they’ve entrenched a lot of local support. While I wouldn’t be shocked to see them lose three of four Somerset seats (I personally think they’ll hold two) or half their seats in Devon, in addition to potential wipeouts of their MPs (one apiece) in both Wiltshire and Dorset, I think Cornwall could buck even an incredibly nasty trend on the night for them. I think we could see the LDs hold onto all three Cornish seats (Cornwall North is a sea of yellow on the locals map, so they look good there, but St. Ives does look vulnerable indeed), and possibly even gain Truro & Falmouth, with Camborne & Redruth being a chaotic mess and pretty much anyone’s ballgame. They honestly actually looked pretty good in SE Cornwall, too, perhaps better than in the seats farther along the peninsula.

    Anyway, thanks again to Andy for that data. I know I’m a bit late to finding it, but Cornish politics is never a wasted moment.

  47. Ashcroft has this as one of the worst LD results of all. I wonder how much of a drag this MPs sexuality is?

    CON 32
    UKIP 25
    LD 24
    LAB 10
    OTH 7

  48. Most people won’t know anything about it I’d have thought.

  49. I think that kind off information slowly seeps out. The gay marriage debate and this MP’s strong support for it probably increased awareness.

  50. I’d imagine that the majority of people don’t really care
    I will be surprised if Stephen Gilbert loses his seat next year.

    I’ll post this here – caveat with these Ashcroft polls:
    It’s a constituency poll
    Work done during Euro elections, so inflating UKIP and Others, and deflating LD (mostly)
    Subjects told to think of candidates who might be standing in their constituency, but no names explicitly mentioned
    Work done in run up to GE will benefit Con and LD (and Lab in Watford)

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