St Ives

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18491 (38.3%)
Labour: 4510 (9.3%)
Lib Dem: 16022 (33.2%)
Green: 3051 (6.3%)
UKIP: 5720 (11.8%)
Mebyon Kernow: 518 (1.1%)
MAJORITY: 2469 (5.1%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Penzance, St Ives, St Just, Helston, Mullion, Porthleven.

Profile: The south-western tip of England, including Lands End and the Lizard. The economy used to be based on tin mining and fishing, but with the decline of both industries it is now more tourism orientated. The seat also contains the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands about 28 miles off the Cornish coast with a population of around 2000.


Current MP
DEREK THOMAS (Conservative) Born 1972. Former small businessman and development worker. Former Penwith councillor. Contested St Ives 2010. First elected as MP for St Ives in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 17900 (39%)
Lab: 3751 (8%)
LDem: 19619 (43%)
UKIP: 2560 (6%)
Oth: 2091 (5%)
MAJ: 1719 (4%)
Con: 13968 (28%)
Lab: 6583 (13%)
LDem: 25577 (51%)
UKIP: 2551 (5%)
Oth: 1738 (3%)
MAJ: 11609 (23%)
Con: 15360 (31%)
Lab: 6567 (13%)
LDem: 25413 (52%)
UKIP: 1926 (4%)
MAJ: 10053 (20%)
Con: 16796 (31%)
Lab: 8184 (15%)
LDem: 23966 (44%)
Oth: 1241 (2%)
MAJ: 7170 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DEREK THOMAS (Conservative) Born 1972. Small businessman and former development worker. Former Penwith councillor. Contested St Ives 2010.
CORNELIUS OLIVIER (Labour) Cornwall councillor since 2013.
ANDREW GEORGE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1958, Cornwall. Educated at Helston Grammar and Sussex University. Deputy director of Cornwall rural council. Contested St Ives 1992. MP for St Ives 1997 to 2015. PPS to Charles Kennedy 2001-2002, Lib Dem Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary 2002-2005, Lib Dem Shadow secretary of state for International Development 2005-2007. A former member of Mebyon Kernow and reliable supporter of all things Cornish, he was the first MP to take the oath in Cornish.
GRAHAM CALDERWOOD (UKIP) Solicitor. Contested Devon and Cornwall Police elections 2012 as Independent.
TIM ANDREWES (Green) Born 1966, Southampton. Educated at Shrewsbury School and Oxford University. Rural transport advisor. South Shropshire councillor 1995-2001, Cornwall councillor since 2013. Contested Oxford and Buckinghamshire 1989 European election, Ludlow 1997, St Ives 2010.
ROB SIMMONS (Mebyon Kernow) Born West Cornwall. Educated at Aberystwyth University.
Comments - 211 Responses on “St Ives”
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  1. George had a very good result here in 1992 which allowed him to win in 1997, greatly helped by the retirement of the sitting Conservative MP David Harris. But now the seat could be taken back by the Tories in the near future, unless there’s a swing of some kind to the Lib Dems in St Ives which can save George from defeat.

  2. He’s a rather semi-detached member of the coalition – but that actually may not do him any harm, as he will be able to distinguish himself more clearly from the Tories. Its also likely that MK won’t stand against him and that could add up to 1000 votes or so

  3. who did the tories select

  4. Derek Thomas, the same man who fought in 2010

  5. Interesting that Thomas will be standing for the Tories once more in 2015. I just wonder if that might increase their chances of making a gain here? After all, it was an impressive swing he secured in 2010…

  6. Perhaps something like
    CON 44
    LD 27
    UKIP 11
    LAB 10
    GRN 8

  7. Why would the Greens suddenly jump from 3 to 8%? Did the Greens perform very well here in the local elections this year?

  8. Lib Dems strong here-> more defectors (who will prob go UKIP or Green and not Labour) and average national vote share/swings also bigger than much of the rest of the country.

  9. I don’t know the local election results for this constituency, so I am prepared to stand corrected if they showed an LD collapse and a massive Green surge, but I really think you’re sidestepping the fact that this is a marginal seat, and being a marginal really presses down the votes of minor parties. Not too many Greens are going to be happy, I would imagine, that their votes would simply allow the Tories to get in here. Besides, Cornwall is one of the LD’s stronger areas and – again, prepared to stand corrected if the local election results showed otherwise – is not experiencing the kind of decline LDs are in many other parts of the country.

    WoC, as a rule, you can’t expect a Green surge in marginal seats. Most potential voters will neglect to vote Green knowing all it will do is give the major party it dislikes the most a better chance of winning. Only if the Greens were experiencing a big surge would more potential voters just go for it, and quite clearly the Greens are having no such surge.

    Your best bet, WoC, in trying to find places where the Greens might surge, is to look at safe seats, where people can vote Green knowing it won’t affect the end result.

  10. What if they know say that the Tories will get in regardless- if they desert the LDs etc what should it matter if they were losing anyway?

  11. locals 2013 i did these in a rush so if my figs are wrong i am sorry
    con 6411
    all indy 5613
    ukip 4717
    lib dem 3264
    green 2400
    lab 2175

  12. If the Tories do win here, there can surely be no way that it can be by 17%. The LDs are bound to be at least competitive. As it happens, there was a decent Labour revival in Penzance in the CC elections, winning seats in the town for the first time in years; but I can’t see them rising all that sharply. Again I’d say this is potentially a close contest & a lot depends on whom UKIP gets its votes from.

  13. UKIP and the Greens will take a fair amount of LD votes as will the Tories. Tory vote share will increase so even a slight rise will mean they can take the seat if LDs fall far enough due to the other 3 combined. 12 points across all those 3 parties is surely not *that* much?

  14. By Myth11’s figures- thanks to him- the local vote shares were:
    CON 26.1
    IND 22.8
    UKIP 19.2
    LD 13.3
    GRN 9.8
    LAB 8.8
    So yes, that’s a substantial LD decline, a fair Green increase and would suggest a very strong, dominanting Tory position (double LD vote) despite any strong LD resurgence there will be at a GE.

  15. after a recount as there are a couple of split wards i am happy with my numbers.

  16. testing my model
    con 15570
    lib dem 13820
    ukip 8040
    lab 5830
    green 2750

  17. Turnout would have go up substantially for that to occur.

  18. Is Penzance more Tory than St Ives?

    St Ives is a place I could imagine as being richer but also more Liberal.

  19. No,.Labour did very well in Penzance at the Unitary elections. I will not make a prediction this far out but the Greens won’t do as well as 8%.

  20. The Tories are strong in the Isles of Scilly (though they have few permanent residents), the Lizard peninsula apart from Lizard Town itself, and many of the rural areas in general. I suspect St Ives is arty enough to vote LD for the most part, and also reckon that George would tend to outpoll the Tories in Helston, Penzance & Newlyn in general elections too. I don’t know St Just at all but suspect there are elements of support for both parties there. Labour in the past I suspect has done well in Penzance & Helston but not elsewhere.

  21. Meant to mention – St Ives’ more 20th-century neighbour Carbis Bay is full of interwar semis etc., and looks like a standard-issue Tory seaside town.

  22. I think, logically, this should be a Conservative gain, but George losing is hard to fathom. He’s one of those MPs the Lib Dems have from time to time who is just absolutely devoted to his constituency. I also wonder if his 2010 result might have been, for the large part, a result of his expenses claims, and not actual dislike for him or the Lib Dems. Even with some dislike for the Lib Dems, though, I tend to think he’ll pull through.

    It also seems that St. Ives might be better for the Lib Dems, in terms of votes lost, than most areas. Green voters and Labour voters will still probably vote tactically for them, and, as was previously noted, MK probably won’t stand a candidate against George. Also, with a seat like St. Ives, there are a lot of ‘arty’ communities like St. Ives itself that are not, perhaps, the best for UKIP candidates.

    In other words, while I think it’ll go Tory fairly solidly once George retires, I think he may have almost hit the floor here in 2010. I’d think he’d get on the order of 37 or 38%, with the Tories around 34 (down because of the UKIP losses), Labour around 11 (Lib Dems will squeeze them like there’s no tomorrow), 15% for UKIP, and ~2% for Green. That’s rough, obviously, but I really do think George will pull through.

  23. He’s one of the most left wing Lib Dems around, so shouldn’t have a problem winning votes from Labour (or Green) inclined voters.

  24. Yeah, exactly, Neil. He has rebelled against the government more than any other LD MP, supposedly (Hancock and Ward, both of whom have been in some trouble lately, of course were the next two). He can still run a campaign largely independent of the smear of the coalition government, so really I think he’ll hold this.

  25. I can see something along the lines of:

    CON: 31%
    LD: 28%
    UKIP: 23%
    LAB: 10%
    GRN: 6%
    OTH: 2%

  26. Then you are absolutely deserving of all the invective that H Hemelig will inevitably throw your way

  27. 🙂

    I don’t see the LDs losing here, certainly not in line with 111’s crazy scenario above.

    Interesting though that Barnaby sees Newlyn as being a Lib Dem voting part of this seat. I thought that was the main fishing port….hence a likely hotbed of extreme euroscepticism? If so then perhaps that’s where a lot of the UKIP support may come from and it is therefore likely to hit the LDs as well as the Tories.

    I think the professional Cornishman act will save Andrew George though.

  28. I don’t see why a Tory gain shouldn’t happen here although it is an unpredictable area whereas in Devon and Somerset we’ve done quite well since the General Election.

  29. I think it will be a tory gain.

  30. It’s obviously possible though I tend to think a LD hold is more likely, even though Labour could enjoy quite a useful renaissance in Penzance at least. As Joe JB says Cornish seats are very hard to predict, and basically I’ll believe Tory gains when I see them; but I wouldn’t be astonished to see either this seat or St Austell & Newquay go Tory. North Cornwall would surprise me a great deal though.

  31. If it did happen then those percentages above are ridiculous

  32. The ward covering Newlyn has been won very easily by the Tories at the two UA elections in 2009 and 2013 and in the most recent election the LDs came 6th with 5.7% of the vote.
    I do remember in the past the old Penzance South ward had a quite erratic voting history – the old Penwith district was the only Cornish district to elect by thirds and I recall in the 1990s one year it would return a Labour candidate easily, the next year no Labour candidate and the Tories win, another year Mebyon Kernow. The LDs may well have won it at some point too for all I can remember and no doubt various Independents too. It may well be that in general elections it has been a strong LD area – local elections may not always be a good guide in this part of the world

  33. Andrew George some will remember got tared with the expenses scandal prior to the last GE. This resulted in a considerable drop in his majority. This fact will be ancient history by the time of the 2015 GE IMHO. Therefore I agree with HH that he will be returned and I expect with an increased majority. He seems to fit this seat like a glove.

  34. Thanks Pete, I must say that I would have had Newlyn down as an LD/UKIP contest, not a Tory area. All goes to show that politics in Cornwall is quite hard for us non-Cornishmen to understand.

  35. 111’s percentages are a bit far out but I wouldn’t say they’re impossible. We’ll find out very soon just how strong UKIP are in Cornwall.

  36. I think Chevin is pretty much on the money here; more or less what I said awhile ago. The whole renting a flat for his model daughter was bad, but who will remember in 2015? Pretty much no one, and after his iconoclastic record (i.e., often voting against the government), I think he’ll have a strong starting position in the election.

    HH’s “professional Cornishman” line is a pretty good one too, I think. I think Chevin’s idea of an increased majority will end up being represented in actuality, but I doubt it’ll be much decreased (although I absolutely do think that his share of the vote will drop, but so will the Tories’ share).

  37. The Lib Dems didn’t do well in the main population centres in the constituency in 2013, they do not have Cornwall councillors in Penzance, St. Ives or Helston now, however we can be sure they’ll be bringing in a lot of outside help to try and keep hold of this seat. It’s important to note the neighbouring constituency where the Lib Dems have almost completely disappeared of late and so their resources may well be moved westward in aid of Mr. George.
    Labour are fielding a local candidate and have upped the ante considerably in terms of campaign tactics, as shown by their successful enough campaign in the constituency’s council seats last year (focused on winnable seats and so not standing in every ward) where their vote share increased considerably in some instances and was shown to be stronger than thought in others, in a constituency where they have hit 16% previously I think they could well make that mark in 2015 given the unpopularity of the coalition-the “vote libdem to keep the Tories out” line doesn’t work any more.
    As for the winner, it’s too far out to call for me but I will predict that they’ll need a couple of thousand votes less than George won in 2010.

  38. A very good overview by CJ. The Unitary election results can’t be over-extrapolated due to parties not standing in every seat, but we can certainly say that the Lib Dem’s inability to have a councillor elected in this area is a concern for them.
    I think that Mr George will undoubtedly do better than one would think given the UA results, but I wouldn’t be too sure that Labour voters will be rushing his way this time. Their candidate, elected at the last UA elections, is campaigning hard on the “bedroom tax” and the lving wage for Cornwall. The fact that Mr George agrees with him mightn’t be of much comfort come next year.
    I agree that whoever wins might well do so on quite a bit less than 40% of the vote. However, as ever, I might be wrong.

  39. I agree with CatholicLeft. I think Andrew George might lose here, but that his vote share could well hold up very well- after all, he had a big fall last time round. The Tories might win this by default by about 1-500 votes because of a likely surge for UKIP’s vote. Conversely, George could still hold on by the same margin.

  40. I still think he might hold on.

  41. Ashcroft polling:

    Con 30%
    LD 29%
    UKIP 21%
    Lab 11%

  42. Ashcroft’s polling was bad across the board for the Lib Dems, but this, I’d say, was a highlight. It’s a hyper-marginal seat, and being down only 1% is not at all shabby for them. That polling really, to me, indicates that, after the campaign, this is a likely hold.

    Honestly, this is one of very, very few bright spots for the Lib Dems in the Ashcroft polling. North Cornwall, where they tied, is even a bad result, given the UKIP unwind that is probable before the election. So really just St. Ives, Cheadle, Sutton & Cheam, and Eastleigh that are at all bright spots. If Thornhill stands in Watford, that number could inch closer, though.

  43. Wells was close too if you believe Ashcroft. I dont believe that tories could fall an extra 9%in that seat though.

  44. Yeah, I agree. Although Munt only being down by three provides some hope for the Lib Dems.

  45. the lib dem demise in cornwall is being hyped and overdone. I don’t think the tories will gain more than two here off them…

  46. The only have three! Gaining two would be a good result for the Tories.

  47. let’s say the west country then….

    interesting that the miliband problem isn’t going away…i think it could prove fatal to labour.

  48. Agreed on Miliband. And I think the Tories will gain 4-7 seats from the Lib Dems in the Southwest, with those seats being some combination of St. Ives, Cornwall North, St. Austell, Torbay, Wells, Somerton & Frome, Mid Dorset, and Chippenham.

  49. I see what everyone else sees, both in terms of his position on the left-right scale and personality, but think the Miliband effect will be a lot more understated than some people here are making out. For the most part I think that for the most part it has largely filtered into the polls, for two reasons.

    One, Miliband has been around for most of the parliament, and his speaking specifically has made the headlines more than once. Most but admittedly not all voters will have some idea of what they think of him by now.

    Two, because whatever centre ground voters think of Cameron’s record in government (voters who look at it that way would by-and-large vote for or against the Conservatives regardless of who was Labour leader), and while he is unquestionably strong in debates, on the popularity scale he, personally, is not a post-Falklands Thatcher or a pre-Iraq Blair.

    On balance Cameron would probably draw more floating voters than Miliband, but again, I think that for the most part that will have factored into the polls (barring a stronger than usual shy-Tory factor).

  50. I misread the poll in this constituency. I now see that the LDs were only 1% behind the Tories. On that basis, I think George will hold on, just.

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