East Surrey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 32211 (57.4%)
Labour: 6627 (11.8%)
Lib Dem: 5189 (9.2%)
Green: 2159 (3.8%)
UKIP: 9553 (17%)
Independent: 364 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 22658 (40.4%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. The whole of the Tandridge council area and part of the Reigate and Banstead council area.

Main population centres: Caterham, Warlingham, Horley, Smallfield, Lingfield, Limpsfield, Oxted, Godstone, Bletchingley, Woldingham.

Profile: The whole of Tandridge council area and the neighbouring commuter town of Horley, just outside Gatwick airport (a major employer in the seat). The seat is a collection of extremely affluent commuter towns and villages in the London green belt, set amongst the North Downs countryside.

Politics: A very safe Conservative seat. It was most famously represented by former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, who was the MP here between 1974 and 1992. He was replaced by Peter Ainsworth, who served in the shadow cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron but retired in 2010..


Current MP
SAM GYIMAH (Conservative) Born 1976, Beaconsfield. Educated at Freman College and Oxford University. Former businessman and entrepreneur. First elected as MP for East Surrey in 2010. PPS to David Cameron 2012-2013, Government whip 2013-2014. Undersecretary for Education since 2014.
Past Results
2010
Con: 31007 (57%)
Lab: 4925 (9%)
LDem: 14133 (26%)
UKIP: 3770 (7%)
Oth: 805 (1%)
MAJ: 16874 (31%)
2005
Con: 27659 (56%)
Lab: 7288 (15%)
LDem: 11738 (24%)
UKIP: 2158 (4%)
Oth: 410 (1%)
MAJ: 15921 (32%)
2001
Con: 24706 (53%)
Lab: 8994 (19%)
LDem: 11503 (24%)
UKIP: 1846 (4%)
MAJ: 13203 (28%)
1997
Con: 27389 (50%)
Lab: 11573 (21%)
LDem: 12296 (22%)
Oth: 742 (1%)
MAJ: 15093 (28%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
SAM GYIMAH (Conservative) See above.
MATT WILSON (Labour)
DAVID LEE (Liberal Democrat) Contested East Surrey 2010.
HELENA WINDSOR (UKIP) Contested East Surrey 2010.
NICOLA DODGSON (Green)
SANDY PRATT (Independent)
Links
Comments - 108 Responses on “Surrey East”
  1. I mostly agree with H.Hemmelig’s assessment.

    There is now a very good argument for a second referendum (where I shall likely unenthusiastically switch my support to Remain unless there is a soft Brexit alternative which is unlikely) as No Deal would be an utter disaster for the country whilst the crazies in the ERG have more or less killed off any prospect of a Deal thus making a second referendum the least worst option available. However revoking without a referendum aside from being fundamentally undemocratic would split the country even more and the ensuing (justified) anger from Leave supporters could well bring us PM Farage (or similar) who having won a subsequent election would just trigger Article 50 again and force us to leave with No Deal. Whilst Revoking without a clear mandate from the public might seem like an attractive short term fix, long term it would solve nothing and inflame the European debate to a level not seen before.

    Like many on here I was extremely disappointed to see Boris Johnson win the Tory leadership and thus become PM. The man has no real ideological principals (it’s really not hard to imagine him being a Remainer darling if he’d published the other letter) and everything he does is to advance his own personal standing making him a completely unsuitable person to be PM. Theresa May by contrast, despite all of her faults, you could tell she actually cared about more than just herself.

    Despite hoping he would prove me wrong Boris has behaved in exactly the way I expected him to: Proroguing Parliament, booting long serving people from the party for rebelling for voting with their conscience (just like he had in the last parliament except in his case it was entirely for selfish reasons) as well as posturing and making stupid statements with respect to Brexit rather than engaging with the EU to try to find a way forward. Thus I had switched my voting intention to Lib Dem (I actually quite like Jo Swinson on a personal level) but this boneheaded ‘Revoke’ move has thrown up some serious question marks for me, though I am somewhat reassured by the fact that it’s still extremely unlikely the Lib Dems will get within a country mile of winning an election. Ironically it’s Labour’s ambiguous Brexit position that I disagree with least, though the chances of me voting for a party led by Corbyn is exactly nil.

    As for seats the Lib Dems are likely to gain, I don’t think they’ll do all that well in the West Country. I mean they’ll gain Cheltenham and Wollastan might win Totnes and Munt and George might make comebacks in Wells and St Ives respectively but I reckon that’s about it: forget Yeovil or Torbay, they aren’t coming back. As for Leave voting North Devon considering that Nick Harvey isn’t running again and the fact that their new candidate has basically just insulted the whole constituency (https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/09/listen-lib-dem-democrat-candidates-excruciating-brexit-interview/) you can probably strike this seat from their target list. If anything they’d be better targeting a seat like The Cotswolds which has more of the kind of people receptive to their current message. For similar reasons I think it’s fairly likely North Norfolk and Eastbourne will flip to the Tories.

    Where I think they’ll do stunningly well on the other hand is in the posher parts of London that have significant Tory votes (i.e. not Tottenham which is still a ‘donkey in a red rosette’ constituency). Seats I’m thinking of are the likes of Wimbledon, Putney, Battersea, Cities of London and Westminster, Kensington, Hampstead and Kilburn etc. Whilst they might poll a respectable share somewhere like Islington South and Finsbury or Streatham (there is a reason why the extremely ambitious Chuka is moving to Cities of London and Westminster) seen as the Tories have an negligible vote there virtually all their vote gains have to come from Labour making a Lib Dem breakthrough there much more unlikely.

    As for the Home Counties, I would expect some solid gains though as the area is much less emphatically Remain than Inner London, stunning breakthroughs are in my view more unlikely. Though they should definitely be ambitious and invest in the more clearly Remain seats, even those they’ve never really been close in (e.g. Hitchin and Harpenden which is the seat I grew up in). Whilst there is a chance Gyimah (whom I like) could win East Surrey, it’s one of the less likely seats in that county to return a Lib Dem. He’d be better off in my view switching to challenge Raab in Esher and Walton or Hunt in SW Surrey.

    Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to get all my thoughts out :).

  2. Very interesting post and good analysis.
    The Cotswolds is an interesting one because the Libdems did very well in the local elections and won the council. It also voted remain despite being rural with a fairly elderly population….the sitting member is however ERG although not one of the more vocal ones. It’s still a big Tory majority and rather “blue rosette donkey”.

  3. ‘Despite hoping he would prove me wrong Boris has behaved in exactly the way I expected him to: ‘

    I had the same feelings – with both Boris and Trump for that matter

    After his disastrous stint as foreign secretary – where he went out of his to keep Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in an Iranian jail for as long as possible, and made a fool of himself whenever he opened his mouth – it’s amazing that the Tory Mps backed him by such a number, particularly the Tory Right who must know he has no political principles beyond his own self promotion, or maybe they are just too thick to see that. Some of the things they say about Brexit certainly suggest it

    And his appointments – Patel, Raab, Williamson, Truss and worst of all, Cummings – an evil man at the heart of government – just sum him up.

    An incompetent, amoral coward, who makes me miss the hapless Mrs May

    At least Trump appointed some decent, competent people once he got the job – Tillerson, Mattis – even if he ended up falling out with most of them and firing them

  4. Pepperminttea

    Excellent post & nice to see you.

    Two short points from me-

    1. Labour has a sizeable core vote in those “posh London Tory seats” and, being heavily ethnic and based on social housing estates, it is likely to be sticky and very hard for the LDs to squeeze. If the Lib Dems win these seats they will have to absolutely decimate the Tory vote. More likely IMO is that they will help Labour to win them.

    2. I don’t see why no-one has proposed a “how should we Leave” referendum, say between Norway Brexit, May’s deal and WTO. IMO that would be the most demo ratic solution and answers the reasonable charge that “we’ve already voted to Leave once”. Parliament won’t go for it though.

  5. ‘If the Lib Dems win these seats they will have to absolutely decimate the Tory vote’

    A lot of voters in those posh London seats who vote Labour are A/B professionals whose biggest beef with the current government is Brexit

    Given Corbyn’s ambivalence on the subject, I think the Lib Dems could have a fair few Labour voters up for grabs and whilst that’s unlikely to cause too much trouble to Labour in places like Islington and Hampstead, it could make the difference in places like Wimbledon, Batteresea and Putney, allowing the Tories to sneak through on a third of the vote

    For me the most interesting thing about London isn’t that 60% of the population voted to stay in the EU, but that 40% voted not to – that’s two out of every five Londoners

  6. You have to take Greater London as a whole…..some outer boroughs are not “metropolitan” in attitude. Hell would freeze over before Havering was going to vote remain. There were five outer boroughs which voted leave and one or two others were quite close.

  7. @H.Hemmelig

    ‘Excellent post & nice to see you.’

    Thanks :).

    ‘1. Labour has a sizeable core vote in those “posh London Tory seats” and, being heavily ethnic and based on social housing estates, it is likely to be sticky and very hard for the LDs to squeeze. If the Lib Dems win these seats they will have to absolutely decimate the Tory vote. More likely IMO is that they will help Labour to win them.’

    I totally get that, which is why I think the idea that the LDs will win seats like Dulwich and West Norwoood is very unlikely as even if they sweep Dulwich Village (as I suspect they will) they’ll get virtually nowhere on the grim estates that are the true bedrock of Labour’s support.

    However with regards to seats like Putney, Lib Dem gains will be heavily concentrated in seats like this so if they run a good campaign and get ~20% nationally it’s really not too far fetched that they could jump from nowhere to the mid or even high 30s. Seen as the Tories are certain to lose far more votes than average in seats like Putney and Labour will likely be shedding Remain votes too (Corbyn may well have left it too late and the estates aren’t enough to bail Labour out in a seat like Putney) then this could well be enough to see the LDs come through the middle and win.

    Obviously if I’m wrong and Corbyn rallies Remainers whilst the Lib Dems fall back then obviously Labour will win places like Putney. However I am highly sceptical that he will, he’s royally p*ssed off many of them.

    As a side note I think it’s highly likely we’re in realignment territory so I don’t think looking at previous result to identify targets is overly useful as it usually is.

    ”2. I don’t see why no-one has proposed a “how should we Leave” referendum, say between Norway Brexit, May’s deal and WTO. IMO that would be the most demo ratic solution and answers the reasonable charge that “we’ve already voted to Leave once”. Parliament won’t go for it though.”

    Totally agree. This would be my preferred option and I think it’s likely a Norway style Brexit would prevail. However the chances of it happening now are nil, people are far too polarised. Arguably this is what Theresa May should have proposed when her Deal went down the first time though the hard right of the Tories would have thrown a fit and Remainers wouldn’t have got on board either. This option probably only would have been viable if it was proposed from the moment May took office, pity the people in power didn’t have the foresight to see how hard getting any Brexit Deal through Parliament would be.

  8. ‘pity the people in power didn’t have the foresight to see how hard getting any Brexit Deal through Parliament would be.’

    My impression of May is that prior to becoming PM she wasn’t too bothered about staying in or leaving the EU, but once she understood the detail (and May was actually very good on detail) she belatedly recognised how damaging Brexit would be – but by then it was too late as she had already made her Lancaster House speech, setting out her infamous ‘red lines’, written for her by the complete and utter f***-wit Nick Timothy, who got a CBE on the last honours list

    If anyone is unworthy of royal honour, then surely he’s up there with Philip Green & Fred Goodwin

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