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 - 191 Responses on “St Ives”
  1. I’m with Barnaby. I think he’ll hold on, but it’s by no means a sure thing. Still, if, at this stage, at their lowest poll ratings ever, the Lib Dems are one point behind, George should probably eke out a victory.

    And I agree, ChrisHornet, with some of what you say, but I think that the Miliband vs. Cameron dynamic will matter more in the campaign itself, and that is what will intensify the impact of Miliband’s, uh, issues.

  2. Andrew George’s bill amending the Bedroom Tax is currently being debated – a publicity boost for him that will strengthen his leftwing credentials (and probably another thing he can use to press down LAB and GRN support come next year?)

  3. Could grab some wavering voters tempted to go with UKIP, given that the party is surprisingly opposed to the policy too.

  4. Why’s that a surprise from UKIP? Just standard and obvious political opportunism, surely…

  5. Well UKIP know a purely Thatcherite party wouldn’t get nearly as far, so they throw out stuff for working class people so they can get more votes.

    I would be very surprised if most of UKIP’s leadership and MEPs actually disapproved of the BT.

  6. I see that my prediction for this seat was more or less the same as what the Ashcroft poll subsequently found. I still think that this will be a tight result, but I think that this is one of the seats which could be ‘surprise’ Lib Dem losses next year.

  7. I sort of disagree, 111. I think this seat, with its 3.7% majority, would be a not at all surprising LD loss. I actually think it will be a surprise hold. It’s a seat that on paper the Lib Dems should lose quite devastatingly, but I think George will cling on. There is an outside chance of him increasing his majority, actually, if only because it was so small in 2010.

    My guess:
    LD 36
    Con 33
    UKIP 15
    Lab 12
    Green 3
    MK 1

  8. MK?

  9. Mebyon Kernow.

  10. The Govt was defeated by 75 votes.

  11. A nice little boost for Andrew George.

  12. If my memory serves me correctly, it’s the first time in 25 years that a government has given it’s MP’s a three line whip to vote against a private members bill that’s been moved by one of its own backbenchers. The last time that happened was in 1989 when my local MP Richard Shepard moved a bill to insert whistleblower protection clauses into the Official Secrets Act.

  13. Probably one of the bigger rebellions against a three line whip in recent times as well, albeit under odd circumstances (the rebels being Lib Dems, that is, and it thus being harder to enforce the whip from the perspective of the government).

  14. I think the Lib Dems we’re whipped to vote in favour though. It’s only the second time this parliament the two coalition parties have been whipped to vote different ways. The first time was on suspending the boundary review.

  15. There’s a chance Andrew George might well hold on here, possibly by about 4-500 votes. It wouldn’t actually be all that surprising, but the result will be a bit unpredictable given how much of his vote might go to Labour and what kind of losses the Tories will suffer to UKIP.

  16. Adam – exactly Adam. Vernon Bogdanor said its the first time ever that the Govt has had 2 different three line Whips on the same vote! In those circumstances its hard to see how any could be disciplined. From memory, 6 Tories opposed the BT/SRS last time and the LibDem MPs voted 3 ways!

  17. PTR – LibDem MPs have their own Whips. That’s why Coalitions make a mockery of Parliamentary conventions, along with the Fixed Term Parliament and two thirds rule.

  18. Lancs, I’m aware of the separate whips. It’s still an interesting bit of trivia. Personally, I rather like coalitions. I think they balance different interests, rather than the impermanent dictatorships that develop when one party has a large majority in this country.

    As for Andrew George, I was convinced he’d win due to the Ashcroft poll. If he’s only 1% behind, and it’s a year out, I’m fairly confident he could hold up here.

  19. Andrew George has today requested that The Green Party does not compete with him in an electoral pact.

  20. I don’t know anything about pacts or what is happening now with them. Quick, someone educate me so I can take an opinion on it?

  21. Well that suggests George is not at all confident about his prospects.

  22. It’s interesting actually, because the Greens themselves decreased last time, and the swing was a clear one from George to the Tories. I think he was on Radio 4 this afternoon.

  23. The Greens already have a candidate selected, Tim Andrewes.

  24. Andrew George knows his idea is a non-starter for both parties. My guess is that he is trying to reaffirm his left wing credentials and shore up his vote in areas like Penzance and St Ives town.

  25. hmmm clever. Just a shame such a small amount of the electorate follows on such a microscopic level.

  26. Andrew George will probably hang on. Ashcroft has shown him ahead, and if he’s winning now, it’s hard to picture him losing. Also, he can draw in a lot of support that might otherwise go to MK as an ardent Cornish regionalist himself.

  27. I don’t know why there were such marked swings to the Tories across Cornwall in 2010, I would have guessed in South East Cornwall, Truro and Falmouth and St Austell and Newquay it was down to a loss of Lib Dem incumbency, but here and in Camborne and Redruth I’m not quite sure what happened. Surely the issues surrounding Andrew George at the time weren’t enough to nearly lose him his seat?

  28. There aren’t many seats where the Lib Dems look capable of defending against a 2% swing (“capable” != “confident” != “certain”). But ironically for someone whose bill and pact ideas are both doomed, George has done his chances no harm this week.

  29. It’s ironic in the sense that this is a man who had a peak majority of 11, 609 as recently as 2005, but now finds himself fighting to cling on to his seat that he’s usually held comfortably in the past for 17 years.

  30. Main party candidates:

    Con: Derek Thomas
    Lab: Cornelius Olivier
    LD: Andrew George
    UKIP: Graham Calderwood
    Greens: Tim Andrewes
    MK: Rob Simmons

  31. The more I think about this seat, the more I think George will hold.

    Here’s an updated prediction from me:

    LD 37
    CON 33
    UKIP 16
    LAB 8
    GRN 4
    MK 2

  32. Think perhaps the Tories might take this seat, but only just.

  33. Obviously it’s a chance. Ashcroft had the Tories up 1 in his first poll, and the Lib Dems up 1 in the second. About as close as it can be.

  34. For an analysis of this seat see

    At present I would think Andrew George is just shading it.

  35. I’ve decided to make some predictions for the Cornwall seats given how close we now are to the election. My prediction for St Ives is-
    George (Lib Dem)- 35%
    Thomas (Conservative)- 33%
    Calderwood (UKIP)- 18%
    Oliver (Labour)- 8%
    Andrewes (Green)- 4%
    Simmons (Mebyon Kernow)- 2%

  36. Somewhere like St Ives The Green Party are going to do better than is being predicted here. There is no chance that UKIP will get 18% – People making predictions here are not based on knowing the area clearly.

  37. MK may take some of their potential vote away but otherwise yes I agree I think the Greens could be on for at least 6-7% potentially. And I will concede I DON’T know the area at all.

  38. I’m no fan of the Lib Dems due to Clegg but it would be a great shame if George lost his seat as he seems like a decent guy and is a good MP.

  39. Andrew George appears to be on course to squeak by once again:

    Ashcroft CVI:
    LD 36
    Con 33
    UKIP 11
    Lab 10
    GRN 7
    Oth 3

    Once again, hardly safe as houses, but I think 3% at this stage and a solid campaign by a very maverick MP should see him through here.

  40. I’ve thought Andrew George would hold here for a long time, and I’m now all but certain of that. I think it’s time we start looking at who will be returned for the Lib Dems in terms of where they are ideologically in the party. With George, Huppert, Farron, the triumvirate of Williams, Williams, & Williams, Cable, Pugh, Carmichael, and a few others toward the left of the party all likely to be returned while some on the left leave, I think the leadership prospects for Farron are looking excellent.

  41. Cable I think has talked down Farron as a leadership contender rather – I feel he’d prefer someone more in the centre.

    That said, I think you’re right, it does look like the leading lights of the LD right are going to be hit harder than those on the left, which will almost certainly help Farron. I don’t honestly know what the LD leadership election procedure is… I might be personally tempted to join the party post-election to help prod Farron into the job!

  42. I think any MP gaining support of 10% of the parliamentary party – which could end up being 2 or 3 ! – can stand. All the membership then vote with the votes of the lowest candidates being reallocated till someone gets 50% + 1.

    I think Farron is very popular amongst the grass roots (less so amongst the great and the good) so its hard to see what could stop him.

    If the party do want a centrist rather than a left or right candidate, they could do worse than Steve Webb.

  43. Steve Webb would be very interesting. And Lamb is hardly the cut-and-dry right-winger people portray him as, either.

  44. PT Richards.

    I fully agree with your assessment of Webb. Of all the Lib Dem ministers in the coalition, I think he has emerged as the most competent and persuasive, and relatively “uncontaminated” in the process.

  45. Yes, he certainly has. Lamb isn’t too far behind, though.

  46. Tim Andrews has helped my family in the past couple of years and I shall be supporting him.
    He has been an amazing county councillor always working for the best interest of St Ives .
    Its not an election for the PM you have to vote for the best local candidate

  47. Wow just saw the new lord ashcroft polls, even Andrew George is destined to lose his seat. The public have realised that if they wanted tory, they might as well vote Tory. The same fate awaits Labour should they form this Grand Coalition they have always harped on about.

  48. Clearly you haven’t noted Andrew George’s voting record. Secondly (and more importantly) please quit the demented partisan posts on here. They’re getting pathetic now.

  49. If they tories do achieve a clean sweep in Cornwall when was the last time it happened? 1959 I would guess. It must be a very rare event.

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