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”
  1. I think there are about half a dozen places that claim to be the largest village in the country.

  2. I believe Kempston near Bedford is one of those making such a claim.

    And in a further piece of boring Bedfordshire trivia, Maulden claims to be the longest village in England.

    I’ve no idea if either of those things are true – Kempston always struck me as a suburb/small town. Maulden, for the record, is 2.2 miles long.

  3. Didn’t someone once say it might have been a spillover effect from Wyre Forest?

  4. That was a reply to a post on the previous page about why the Tories lost Ludlow in 2001.

  5. I gave a few possible reasons for the loss of Ludlow over on the thread for that very seat fairly recently, but it is worth pointing out that the Tory vote ‘only’ dropped by 3.0% in 2001.

  6. I still don’t think any of the various explanations given by any experts, or with respect yourself, really fully explains why it happened. Probably we’ll never know.

  7. I don’t think we have found the answer to it – just speculated.
    It was a very low point for the Tories – there may have been a little rallying in heartland seats, and one offs such as the sad case in Newark of the Labour MP,
    and the Essex fringe in London
    but in some ways one felt 2 party politics was just on hold as there seemed to be a view that politics wasn’t needed anymore.

    I’d have thought the Wyre Forest situation had a minimal impact if any.

  8. Matthew Green obviously had a lot to do with it, which makes his loss in 2005 all the more inxeplicable.

  9. The real nadir for the Tories was when they lost the safe seat of Romsey to the Libdems. It’s most unusual for a party in opposition to lose one of their safe seats at a by-election when there are n’t any particular local issues or factors – I’d distinguish Bradford West in this Parliament.

  10. Agreed. That was a bad loss for them, even in 2000. As we all know of course, that was back in the days when the Lib Dems could realistically hope to win a Tory-seat held in a by-election, something tells me those days won’t be with us again for quite some time yet.

  11. A Brown
    “Weirdly this seat had a similar tory vote to Cheadle in 1992!”

    Out of curiosity, why is this weird? In fact all the results were fairly simillar in 1992 (almost identical Con and LD shares but Cheadle had a Labour vote a few percent higher).

  12. Interestingly, both Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Virginia Bottomley have served as Culture Secretrary (in her time in government, it went by another title) and Health Secretary (Hunt currently in the role).

    The LDs were in striking distance of defeating Bottomley in 2001, having cut her majority down in the previous election. If they did gain this, I think the Tories would have taken it back though just like in Guildford.

  13. I see UKIP only polled 3% in this seat in 2010. I don’t know if they have picked a candidate yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came in the top 2 in 2015.

  14. ‘I see UKIP only polled 3% in this seat in 2010.’

    I don’t see Surrey being pareticularly good territory for UKIP

    It’s simply too posh, with too many affluent voters who are quite happy with the way things are – and have no real desire to change to the way UKIP would like them to be

    Being essentially rural, this is a little different from most other Surrey seats, which tend to be more surburban in character – but I don’t see UKIP challenging in surrey.

    They should focus their efforts on places like Kent, Essex, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire – where there are more ‘down at the heel’ voters, who share their frusrations and general dislike of 21st century Britain

  15. I tend to agree with Tim here but it is possible that, even if only by default, UKIP could be second in this seat, since Labour are very weak & the LDs are on an extremely sharp downward trajectory, considerably more than the average in prosperous seats where they are currently second.

  16. Tim’s right, certainly regarding this seat and the other upscale Surrey seats. They are too prosperous for UKIP to be all that successful.

    UKIP will get better traction in the less posh Surrey seats – certainly Spelthorne, maybe also Epsom & Ewell, Guildford and Woking.

  17. ‘UKIP will get better traction in the less posh Surrey seats – certainly Spelthorne, maybe also Epsom & Ewell, Guildford and Woking.’

    Spelthorne certainly – although I always consider that to be a Middlesex constituency

    Woking and Epsom atre good shouts too although I’m not sure about Guildford – which is surprisingly well-to-do for a fairly sizeable town – and probably contains more than a handful of middle class public sector workers – which partially explains Lib Dem success here in 2001

    I’d suspect them to do okay in Redhill too – in the Reigate seat

  18. Interesting that the Liberal Democrat vote here is a little lower than what the Liberals got here in 1983. Of course the byelection in 1984 gave them a further increase in 1987, but would the Lib Dems have progressed as well in the 90s and early 2000s anyway?

  19. ‘UKIP will get better traction in the less posh Surrey seats – certainly Spelthorne, maybe also Epsom & Ewell, Guildford and Woking.’

    I agree with Spelthorne its very like Hillingdon.

    Epsom & Ewell its only really Molevalley/Reigate and Banstead parts of the seat and about 4 wards in the south and east of that borough are posh and even Woodcote contains a fair bit of social housing near the hospital.

    Most of it is rather like Bexley and Sutton prehaps a bit more expensive, Stonleigh has nice houses but its very much white van man terroritory like outer south-east london. But defintley a good demographically for UKIP.

  20. Hunt has been electioneering in this seat to get Pedestrianisation for Farnham Town Centre, the one town in the constituency where Tory support is at a low and where some Town/Parish seats are held by Independents & Lib Dems, and one Borough seat held by UKIP thanks to a defection from the Tories.
    It’s a no brained that NO opposition will topple Jeremy Hunt who appears more Teflon coated than Tony Blair in the late 1990’s early 21st Century. Despite expense allegations, NHS tinkering and News International issues.
    The constituency has effectively priced out opposition vote and what was left of the working generation to become a demographic of bankers, Chelsea Wives, retired colonials, retired media luvvies and ex bankers.
    It’s one of those seats that makes a mockery of having democracy, you can stick a Blue roasters on a pig and it can win here. Worked for our previous MP.

  21. The Tories hold nearly all the seats including in Farnham, although Farnham N was a close run thing in the CC elections in 2013 against UKIP.

  22. Perhaps Farnham used to elect non-Tories back in the last decade; although, whilst I don’t claim to know the area much other than driving through it a few times and knowing something of the general area, I think it’s a stretch to say Tory support was ever low. Perhaps it was, like Yateley in North East Hampshire, an area which used to vote Lib Dem locally, but still Tory nationally.

    Like I said, I don’t claim to be an expert and welcome evidence otherwise, but that was my general impression of the politics here.

  23. This actual seat has gone from being an ultra-marginal as recently as 2001 to returning as business as usual for the Tories as is traditional here under Jeremy Hunt.

    I wonder why they have come back so strongly here? From reading on the old site I know the Lib Dems collapsed locally over an extended period of time, but it still seems like an electoral master-stroke on the part of Jeremy Hunt and the local party all the same.

  24. i think the story here is ow the lib dems managed to get so close in two successive elections to taking such a staunchly Conservative seat

    Surrey South West is arguably more rural than most other seats in the county, which are more surburban, but there’s no reason as to why that would help the lib dems, and it’s still prime stockbroker territory

    I suspect Virginia Bottomly – one of the more likeable MPs of John Major’s post 92 administration – might not have been that good an MP and than the lib dems had a good candidate but this seat does certainly stand out as a seat the lib dems came so close to winning only to massively fall back

    it’s very similar to the last few elections in orpington

  25. That’s kind of what I was wondering.

    I think the origins of the Lib Dem advance here back in the 90s may have its roots in Gavin Scott’s candidacy in the 80s, indeed the byelection in 1984 that got Virginia Bottomley first elected proved that the Liberals could realistically challenge the Tories’ traditional safe hold of this seat. But for whatever reason, the challenge fizzled out and they couldn’t get close enough to take the seat. In fact, Simon Cordon fought it again in 2005 but instead of making a gain fell right back. I can only imagine that the 6.3% increase that Neil Sherlock got for the Lib Dems here in 1997 must have been down to their local strength at the time.

  26. But what’s all the more fascinating I reckon is how Jeremy Hunt has overachieved somewhat here. He’s done very well electorally in this seat, and indeed now has the largest ever numerical and percentage majority for the Conservatives in the history of SW Surrey’s existence. He’s a good 13.1% ahead of 1997 now and has increased the Tory vote by a total of 13.2% I think during his time as MP.

  27. The way this seat has turned from a marginal in the 1984
    by election into, safe Tory, back to marginal and now safe Tory is very interesting. Virginia Bottomley was never a bad local MP. I lived there at the time and see would always be doing things locally, in the local paper etc. Her time in Major’s cabinet as health secretary didn’t help her popularity. The swing in 1997 was probably comparable to other seats. In 2001 the Tories lost neighbouring Guildford, which had a larger majority. That Tory election campagne seemed to grate with the ‘main stream’ Toryism in that part of Surrey. Jeremy Hunt came in as a new, enthusiastic face at a time the Lib Dems locally pressed the self destruct button & fielded rival candidates in local elections that led to their wipe out.

  28. Perhaps the LD’s got a boost in confidence and organisation from their near miss in the 1984 by-election. Such a near miss will have enhanced the credibility of that LD challenge. It’s worth noting the tory share in 1997 was very much higher than average, about the same as in Tunbridge Wells or Hertsmere. Hence the seats marginality was caused by a strong two party vote, for instance 90% of voters voted LD or tory in 2001.

  29. I think there were some local issues aswell that counted against them when they ran the Waverley District Council in 2003-7.

  30. LDs.
    Quite a few of the seats weren’t actually contested in 2011.

    I am always a little wary of seats where the opposition is completely gone – makes you wonder whether eventually you end up with a reaction against it and back to square 1 but it seems the Tories have learnt their lesson.

  31. The town of Godalming used to be socially mixed & even elected some Labour councillors. In the last few years, though it was never exactly poor it has gone a gazillion miles upmarket & has become ultra-exclusive & very heavily Tory. The LDs used to beat the Tories in Farnham locally, and must have done so in the 2001 general election too; it’s a sort of faintly intellectual, rather historic old town rather like Dorking (which still has a good crop of local LD councillors). But like my own Richmond its demographic has changed in favour of the types rather colourfully portrayed by Nixcails. The whole seat has really, but Godalming is a particularly good illustration of it. Hunt isn’t an electoral magician – the area has really changed in the last decade & a bit.

  32. ‘The town of Godalming used to be socially mixed & even elected some Labour councillors. In the last few years, though it was never exactly poor it has gone a gazillion miles upmarket & has become ultra-exclusive & very heavily Tory. ‘

    I always thought Godalming was a bit like that – it’s the birthplace of the vile Ashley Cole for example – but when I passed through there recently it seemed very picturesque and well-to-do – certainly more so than Farnham, which although fairly pleasant seemed pretty characterless

  33. Ashley Cole speaks highly of you Tim.

  34. You’re one of the few posters on here whom I would have had down for disliking vain, arrogant, amoral, dislikeable and greedy people as much as I do Barnaby

    I guess not!

  35. Oh I’m not saying that I like him. It’s just that he seems to have been in the gossip columns rather less of late & has just played football for the most part. Or at least that’s my impression. And I have tended to use the term vile for political figures, often ones who have been responsible for killing people, rather than for sportspeople however greedy and unpleasant.

  36. ‘And I have tended to use the term vile for political figures, often ones who have been responsible for killing people, rather than for sportspeople however greedy and unpleasant.’

    Fair point but my dislike of Cole is such that I’d far sooner shake the hand of Peter Bone or Laurence Robertson than the former Chelsea man

  37. Ashley Cole may be an arse but he’s still the best English-qualified left back around at the moment. Not taking him to Brazil was madness.

  38. Farnham has plenty of character, Castle Street is very fine and there are some quaint corners.
    I’m always surprised when I read that people think that areas which have been pretty middle class and affluent all my life have “really changed” as if they’re Battersea or Clapham or somewhere.

  39. ‘Ashley Cole may be an arse but he’s still the best English-qualified left back around at the moment. Not taking him to Brazil was madness’

    I totally agree – Baines was somewhat surprisingly exposed as not being able to cut it at that level, and whilst Shaw was arguably England’s best player against Costa Rica, not taking Cole to Brazil was one of Hogson’s gravest errors

    Cole excelled against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid at the end of last season

  40. Elliot Nichols, a young councillor who defected from the Tories to UKIP last year, is to be the UKIP candidate for the general election:

  41. Susan Ryland is to Be Green Party of England & Wales (Plaid Werdd) Candidate for South West Surrey. I am comms officer for Blackwater Valler Green Party. – a formal press announcement will be made shortly.
    Elliot Nichol is NOT the UKIP candidate this is now Mark Webber following a hustings by local UKIP I have this information from Mr Alexander of Waverley UKIP.

  42. Expecting this seat to be in the “Ultra-Safe” category in a few weeks.

  43. Yes Hugh it almost certainly will be. This seat surely must be a candidate for the highest Tory % vote share?

  44. This seat was almost lost to the Lib Dems in 97……,

  45. The Lib Dems ran Waverley Council, which is pretty much co-extensive with the SW Surrey seat, from 2003-7.

    I believe it was the introduction of fortnightly bin collections, rather than weekly, that did for them. That and a large amount of internal dissension.

    Even so. it is the most extraordinary collapse – this seat was quite competitive for a number of years, even going back to the ’74 election when the Liberals were within a few thousand.

    The fact that there is almost no opposition on the council has to be extremely unhealthy – doesn’t it?

  46. In the May 2011 elections Waverley Borough Council’s political makeup was 54 Conservatives and 1 Independent (Diane James). So very nearly a blue wash-out.

    Going into May’s elections the make up is now 51 Conservative, 3 UKIP (including Diane James) and 1 independent.

    Interesting to see what will happen here in two weeks’ time….

  47. According to the Press Association, there is no longer a Liberal Democrat candidate in this seat:

    “A Liberal Democrat general election candidate has been suspended by the party over allegations that he falsified his council nomination papers.

    Patrick Haveron, also the parliamentary candidate for South West Surrey, has been accused of falsifying his papers for the Waverley Borough Council election.

    But because nominations have closed he will still appear on both ballot papers as a Lib Dem, even though the party have disowned him.

    The Lib Dems stressed that Haveron will not represent the party in either the parliamentary or Waverley Borough Council elections.

    A party spokesman said: “Patrick Haveron has been suspended by the party pending the outcome of investigations into his nomination papers for the Waverley Borough Council election.

    “He has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats and no longer represents the Liberal Democrats in either election.” ”

    2001 – 43.6%
    2015 0.0%

  48. went through this seat on the train this weekend, and did see one poster for the LDs – clearly not taking any notice of the above developments. It was the only LD poster l saw anywhere during my weekend away. l saw several for the Conservatives and some for Labour (2 in Woking to my surprise, and 1 in Southampton Test). I didn’t go to many residential areas of Southampton on the trip much of which was spent sailing from there to Lymington & back the next day. l don’t think any of the seats l went through will change hands in the general election.

  49. Would the Lib Dems still have to pay their £500 if (hypothetically) Patrick Haveron didn’t manage 5% of the vote?

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)