South West Surrey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 34199 (59.9%)
Labour: 5415 (9.5%)
Lib Dem: 3586 (6.3%)
Green: 3105 (5.4%)
UKIP: 5643 (9.9%)
NHA: 4851 (8.5%)
Others: 320 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 28556 (50%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey.

Main population centres:


Politics: The seat and its predecessors have been represented by the Conservative party since 1910, and has been represented by three cabinet level ministers in a row (former Secretary of State for Employment Maurice MacMillan, former Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley and now Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt). The Liberal Democrats were once a strong force here and in 1997 and 2001 it was a close marginal. Since then the Conservatives have once again built up an robust majority.

Current MP
JEREMY HUNT (Conservative) Born 1966, Godalming. Educated at Charterhouse and Oxford University. Former entrepreneur and English language teacher. First elected as MP for South West Surrey in 2005. Shadow culture secretary 2007-2010. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2010-2012. Secretary of State for Health since 2012. Hunt was deeply involved in the Leveson inquiry. Hunt was made responsible for the decision on whether to approve the News Corporation takeover of BSkyB and was accused of being too close to News International.
Past Results
Con: 33605 (59%)
Lab: 3419 (6%)
LDem: 17287 (30%)
UKIP: 1486 (3%)
Oth: 1462 (3%)
MAJ: 16318 (28%)
Con: 26420 (50%)
Lab: 4150 (8%)
LDem: 20709 (40%)
UKIP: 958 (2%)
Oth: 172 (0%)
MAJ: 5711 (11%)
Con: 22462 (45%)
Lab: 4321 (9%)
LDem: 21601 (44%)
UKIP: 1208 (2%)
MAJ: 861 (2%)
Con: 25165 (45%)
Lab: 5333 (9%)
LDem: 22471 (40%)
Oth: 659 (1%)
MAJ: 2694 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JEREMY HUNT (Conservative) See above.
PATRICK HAVERON (Liberal Democrat)
LOUISE IRVINE (NHA) Born 1957, Paisley. Educated at Harlaw Academy and Aberdeen University. GP.
PAUL ROBINSON (Something New) Businessman.
Comments - 271 Responses on “Surrey South West”
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  1. Jeremy Hunt must have polled one of the highest number of votes of any MP. He was only about 300 votes behind David Cameron in Witney. Interesting given that the Tory majority was less than 1,000 in 2001.

  2. How did he achieve such a stellar swing in 2010?

    I note this seat contains Haslemere, the stockbroker town par excellence… and the far more basic Farnham..

  3. I can see a very bad collapse for the Lib Dems here in 2015 because they have no Cllrs here.

  4. ‘I can see a very bad collapse for the Lib Dems here in 2015 because they have no Cllrs here.’

    It’s already happened – in 2010 there was just short of a 10% swing from Lib Dem to Tory

    I wonder how the likeable Virginia Bottomly nearly lost what on paper should be (and now is) a staunchly Conservative seat

  5. I was surprised to discover that Jeremy Hunt has a Chinese wife which I only discovered recently.

  6. I would n’t call Farnham basic, it’s pretty desirable with some expensive areas. In fact all three towns ie Godalming as well are above average.
    Another seat where the Tories have recovered very strongly against the Libdems is Maidenhead, coincidentally with a frontbencher/cabinet minister MP. They’ve also recovered well in Newbury and Guildford but not seemingly (similar demographic) in St Albans.

  7. Virginia Bottomley was not popular at all in this seat in the latter part of her tenure.

  8. “Virginia Bottomley was not popular at all in this seat in the latter part of her tenure.”

    Her resukts and results after clearly confirm that.

    Presumably she wasn’t right wing enough for the local association – which echo the problems Ian Taylor had in nearby Esher

  9. No her problems were with the voters rather than the association.

  10. If she wasn’t right wing enough for the local association then why was she the MP here for 21 years?

  11. And why would voters who thought here insufficiently right wing vote Lib Dem instead?

    I think its more likely its done something of a Richmond, and got so mega expensive that the population contains more tory definites rather than those who would never vote labour but would be happy voting LD or Conservative.

  12. ‘If she wasn’t right wing enough for the local association then why was she the MP here for 21 years?’

    Ian Taylor was MP for Esher and later Esher & Walton for 23 years, and was always facing attempts to be de-selected, as does Robert Walter in Dorset North for having the nerve of being moderate

    And the local association in Norfolk South West was unable to get rid of Elizabeth Truss despite her lying to them about an affair she had with a married man

    De-selecting an MP isn’t easy

  13. UKIP’s Diane James is a Waverley councillor for the Ewhurst ward.

  14. That’s interesting because I’d have guessed she was from a slightly more downmarket area where UKIP are strong. In fact there are one or two other UKIP members but it’s overwhelmingly Tory.

  15. Would have to agree that Farnham didn’t appear too basic to me when I visited – it seemed fairly affluent, and very affluent as one drives through the south of the town towards Lower Bourne (I think that’s what it’s called).

  16. Ewhurst is anything but downmarket – it has some very wealthy residents indeed

  17. Was she actually elected as UKIP or as an independent?

  18. As an Independent


    I do admit that Hunt is a bit more interesting than his Oxford PPE background would suggest.

  20. My 2015 forecast for SW Surrey

    Con 54
    LD 19
    UKIP 13
    Lab 9
    Others 5

  21. Con 60
    LD 21
    Lab 10
    UKIP 7
    Green 2

  22. The big change in this seat seems to be in Godalming. Not many years ago, the LDs were frequently able to beat the Conservatives in that town, and there was even quite a lot of Labour support. It seems that in the last decade, Godalming has moved a very long way further upmarket & its properties are now fetching huge prices. Not surprisingly therefore the Tories have in a pretty short time come to dominate the town completely, and they also poll strongly in Haslemere, Hindhead & almost all of the villages (a visit to Compton & Puttenham for example would reveal great prosperity). The LDs also seem to have gone backwards in what in effect are the outer suburbs of Farnham, such as Wrecclesham, which again was winnable for the party not long ago but now seems to have swung decisively to the Conservatives. Only Farnham now seems to be a place of any consequence where the LDs are still competitive – it is a rather historic town with a faintly intellectual air, rather like Dorking which is also a bit of an LD centre. Looking at how Jeremy Hunt has hugely added to his majority, it’s remarkable that the LDs were actually widely expected to gain this seat in 2005 when Virginia Bottomley retired. He has been aided by demographic change it seems, but he has gone down well with the electorate here.

  23. I see Ewhurst was mentioned above – I was under the impression that although it’s in the borough of Waverley it’s in the Guildford constituency. It certainly has been before.

  24. In fact Barnaby, the Lib Dems’ collapse in this seat has been rather spectacular in Farnham. In 2003 they held the bulk of the borough council seats in the town but suffered a wipe-out in 2007 and have not recovered since. In the latest electoral test, the 2013 CC elections, they finished 4th in the two seats they contested.

    I’m not sure why exactly this happened but a relative of mine used to be politically active in the area and ascribes part of this to the Lib Dems losing some key local activists.

  25. Is this the worst LD performance 2001-2010 nationally?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the safest tory seat in the country in 2015, having almost lost it just 14 years previously.

  26. I can’t say I am thrilled that we will have to put up with more of Hunt for years to come. He is the type of MP I just cannot stand.

  27. Runnymede – I must say I hadn’t clocked that fully. That is spectacular. If the LDs do that badly even in Farnham, this seat’s marginal days are not going to return.
    Re Ewhurst, I have checked & it’s in the Guildford constituency, along with Cranleigh & a few other Waverley wards.

  28. I tend to agree – I think the Lib Dems’ chance has passed here and they may not have another for a very long time. Similar to Newbury in that respect.

  29. ‘I tend to agree – I think the Lib Dems’ chance has passed here and they may not have another for a very long time. Similar to Newbury in that respect.’

    As results in the last three election here show in stunning clarity

    i don’tr think the comparison with newbury is apt though given that newbury was won by the lib dems because of the by-election, and whilst it’s possible the third party might have won it in 97, it’s unlikely

    Given the affluence of this seat i find the lib dem challenge in 1997, 2001 and 2005, harder to explain

  30. This seat would probably have been lost in a by-election at some periods – e.g. under IDS.

  31. Sometimes these Lib Dem challenges do materialise in (apparently) surprising seats, before receding again. Another example might be Ludlow.

    And at a local level, the Lib Dems once burned very bright in Brentwood of all places, before collapsing again.

    I think there probably is something in the notion that these challenges are often highly dependent on the very hard work of relatively few activists though (and perhaps the sloth and inefficiency of their counterparts in other parties locally) and that if these activists disappear from the scene it can have a very big impact.

  32. “Given the affluence of this seat i find the lib dem challenge in 1997, 2001 and 2005, harder to explain”

    Very wealthy constituences are either Tory strongholds or close Lib Dem/ Conservative contests.

    This is what made Kensington & Chelsea different to Bath, Cheadle, Cheltenham and Richmond Park.

    In Scotland, constituencies that would fall into the above two catagories can be won by Labour (Edinburgh South and East Renfrewshire).

  33. How intellectual is this seat though?

    Weirdly this seat had a similar tory vote to Cheadle in 1992!

  34. It’s not that intellectual, though you will find some arty voters in Farnham, and even to some extent Haslemere. Not many in Godalming or Hindhead though – not the sort of old-money folk who vote LD in Twickenham for example.

  35. To add a bit of further detail to the reason for the Lib Dem collapse in 2007, a number of their experienced and respected councillors resigned and stood as independent candidates. I can’t remember the exact cause of the row but, a controversial redevelopment of part of Farnham town centre may have played a part. Basically the Lib Dem vote was split and the Conservatives came through the middle and took a number of seats they wouldn’t have expected to win. As noted, the Lib Dems haven’t recovered from this loss.

    I think the parliamentary was nearly lost for several reasons; Virginia Bottemley was somewhat tarred from her time as Health Secretary and in 2001 the Lib Dems were mopping up mainstream Tory voters in places like here and Guildford who were not taken by William Hague’s ‘save the pound’ election campaign.

  36. ‘Virginia Bottemley was somewhat tarred from her time as Health Secretary’

    Surely that doesn’t bode well for Hunt. Bottomley was a better Health Secretary than he’s been, even if she was in a more unpopular government

    The only other seat where the Liberals nearly won only to end up worst off than before they peaked, is Orpington,

    As with Bottomley here, that seems to coincide with the retirement of the turncoat MP John Horam

  37. Of course the Liberals did very well in the by-election here in 1984 when Virginia Bottomley was first elected, and only narrowly lost it. Incidentally their candidate then throughout the 80’s was journalist and broadcaster Gavin Scott.

  38. Surely Maidenhead’s a good comparator with this seat judgeing by the Libdem position there as well in 2001 and 2010. Similarly affluent and as it happens held by a Cabinet Minister.

  39. ‘Surely Maidenhead’s a good comparator’

    Indeed – there are many similartiries between Maidenhead and here

  40. Bottomley’s situation could have boded ill for Jeremy Hunt, but as we’ve seen, regardless of our own opinion of him – and mine is pretty unprintable – ,he has done extremely well electorally here in his 2 elections. The LDs have collapsed, but Labour has very little natural vote left itself in these parts, and I can’t see where any serious challenge to Hunt might come from. UKIP might do reasonably well catering for the right-wing voter who doesn’t like Hunt (of which LBernard seems to be a good example), but they will be lucky to get more than about 15% here

  41. I would be surprised if was that high. Its just too posh for UKIP here.

  42. UKIP would have better targets in Surrey like Spelthorne and Epsom and Ewell which a bit more like Havering though they would still come nowhere near winning either.

  43. IIRC Jeremy Hunt said it was ‘good Tory campaigning’ that UKIP didn’t get a seat here in May but they came 2nd in 6 wards and Alexandra Swann nearly broke through in Farnham N.

  44. Alex, thanks for the information. I try to keep abreast of as many different kinds of seat as possible, but inevitably as a Labour supporter I often miss stuff in seats such as this which are hopeless for my party. Surrey Politics is surely correct that UKIP’s best bet in Surrey is Spelthorne – not sure if Epsom & Ewell would be that much good for them though. They have won Ottershaw in Phil Hammond’s constituency recently as well.

  45. Andy JS at the top of the page is right. The very largest vote however went to Labour’s Stephen Timms in E Ham, although that does have a huge electorate. He did however get a massive 70% share of the vote – a huge increase on Labour’s share there in 2005 when Respect were second. They failed to stand, rather remarkably, in 2010.

  46. The main thing with Epsom and Ewell it contains areas outside of the borough which are even wealthier than the richer south east of the borough. I make the comparsion with Havering as most of Epsom is rather similar Upminster and Hornchurch and both have Residents Association dominance for years. The areas in the West bordering Tolworth and Chessington are rather similar to Gooshays.

  47. “I see Ewhurst was mentioned above – I was under the impression that although it’s in the borough of Waverley it’s in the Guildford constituency. It certainly has been before.”

    That’s right, it’s part of the block of wards around Cranleigh situated in the Guildford constituency.

  48. Is it Cranleigh that claims to offically be the largest village in the country. I checked the figures and its population 11,000 and I am sure that Ashtead has a larger population unless it’s not technically a village it has its own post town according to royal mail.

  49. no I think Kidlington has that distinction.

  50. ‘Sometimes these Lib Dem challenges do materialise in (apparently) surprising seats, before receding again. Another example might be Ludlow.’

    Ludlow was a complete shock. Although the Lib Dems overturned larger numerical majorities in places like Guildford and Solihull that was where they were able to exploit a single issue, whereas ludlow as a bit out of nowhere

    It had always been a safe(ish0 Tory seat, as its rural profile might indicate, and I’m not sure what the circumstances where behind the Lib Dem’s most spectacular gain in the 2001 election

    They would have been disapppinted to have lost it to outsider Phillp Dunne at their first chance of defending it

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