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’m fairly local to this albeit a few miles outside the Surrey border. There isn’t the remotest chance of this referendum passing, as the council must surely know. To make it even odder, the Lib Dems are campaigning for a no vote. You have the Tories campaigning to raise taxes by 15% and the Lib Dems opposing it! Not good optics with the council elections next May. The LDs were anyway likely to pick up a fair bit but at worst the Tories might even lose overall control in Surrey on the back of this referendum. I think even in 1993 the Tories held Surrey so it would be a big deal.

  2. IIRC, it was Buckinghamshire that the Tories held in 1993. Surrey was lost to no overall control that year. That may just happen again this year as a result of this referendum.

  3. I’ve been looking for somewhere to discuss this on the site. There should be Council threads but perhaps that would be too complicated. Yes quite big news this only the second referendum on council tax since the cap was introduced Bedfordshire PCC putting a 16% rise to the people and getting a 69.5% bloody nose and now out of a job. The Greens in Brighton failed to pass the motion of a 5% rise with Labour and the Tories opposing it. Liverpool considered a 10% rise but soon backed down.

    The cap clearly prevents councils from increasing council tax too high in all but name. It’s been relatively successful since only Bedfordshire tried and failed. The £300,000 cost and £290,000 repayment clearly isn’t an incentive. Now though Surrey County Council a Tory controlled council has pushed for it. Will they be alone or will we see more councils try. I mean Leicester have a deficit of 25 million next year what is £300,000 in costs when you’ve got to find 25 million from somewhere. I guess electoral consequences are a deterrent but for how long? Will there be a point where councillors say screw it I don’t want to run the council anyway if we’ve got to find 50 million in 2019/20.

  4. One of the biggest flaws with democracy in the 21st century is that people consistently vote for public services but consistently vote not to pay for them themselves. Inevitably in this scenario, tax receipts lag behind government spending, even in healthier economic times than a post-crash era.

    Obscured by greater controversies, Donald Trump has exploited this almost unnoticed. Tax breaks AND public investment? How is that going to work (It’s almost as if all the race-baiting and crotch-grabbing was designed to distract from the wild inconsistencies in his manifesto.)

  5. No.

    People being unwilling to pay higher taxes and governments struggling to get the taxes they claim they need approved is not a new problem. It goes back centuries, to the very origins of parliament itself.

  6. Yes.

    In any case the people of Surrey have no guarantee that the tax increase will all be used to fund social care. And there is no consensus amongst local politicians that it is required. I fear the residents will take the cheaper option of voting the council out.

  7. “I guess electoral consequences are a deterrent but for how long? Will there be a point where councillors say screw it I don’t want to run the council anyway if we’ve got to find 50 million in 2019/20.”

    It’s an interesting question. Maybe the Tories here are setting up a minority/coalition Lib Dem administration to inherit an almighty mess which they will get the blame for, with the Tories being reelected in a landslide at the next council election.

    Though given Labour are almost extinct in Surrey it would need an earthquake for the Tories to lose leadership of the council.

  8. The cost of staying in a care home is astronomical while at the same time the staff are paid peanuts. Not sure how that works out.

  9. The council has U-turned on its referendum to raise council tax by 15%. It will now be raising it by only 5%, the maximum allowed without confirmation from the electorate.

  10. Councillors probably realised they would be heading to a humiliating defeat anyway and so reasoned that the referendum would at best be a waste of time, and at worst could jeopardise their control of the council. Politics is, after all. the art of the possible.

  11. It’s hard to believe they ever considered that idea.

  12. PMQs is very illuminating on this issue

  13. If you add Green, Labour, Lib Dem and — just for the hell of it — NHA vote shares together here, you still don’t hit 30%. Still, ’01 tells us this seat can get close.

  14. Will hospital closures affect the result?

  15. More details of the attempt to establish a “Unity Candidate” to stand against Jeremy Hunt:

    Its a nice try – but given that the Conservative vote has never fallen below 45% in this seat since 1983, probably in vain. (Although Tatton 97 and Wyre Forest 01 are interesting precedents).

  16. So, as I understand it, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are putting up paper candidates?

    If you’re really trying to oust Jeremy Hunt, you might as well withdraw completely a la Tatton.

  17. The Labour members who tried this ‘progressive alliance’ are no longer Labour members as they have been suspended pending expulsion for their actions.

    Although not quite sure what they thought they’d achieve in this seat – having a left wing / NHA candidate last time merely assured that any opposition was spilt and even if you add al of the progressives here you still only get 30% v the Right’s 70%+.

  18. It could unseat Jeremy Hunt in a year when Labour win the GE. I doubt Jeremy Hunt is particularly popular even in truest blue Surrey.

    However, I doubt any amount of concerted action to defeat him could be successful in the current electoral climate. There’s only one person who can sack him from the cabinet and that’s Theresa May.

  19. ”So, as I understand it, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are putting up paper candidates?”

    They did that last time and still they got 9% and 6% respectively. Labour will drop a bit the Lib Dems will go up a bit but they’ll still be on at least 15% between them while Hunt probably will be at least at 60%. Thus I can’t see the NHA candidate getting more than 15% (and that’s being generous).

  20. OK – I’ll say that the NHA gets 30%, with every other party’s vote share decreasing.

  21. Ye Gods, we’re all used to LD rampers, Greens of late and cyberNats, but now there’s health fascists too.

    For the benefit of others: NHAP fielded 12 PPCs in 2015 and 10 of those lost their deposits. Their best performer was of course ex Health Concern MP for Wyre Forest, but as the good doctor is soon to be 83, I can’t see this Party quadrupling their vote there back to when he won in 2001 and definitely not here. The Party is literally a bunch of comedians.

  22. Well who do you think will win votes here? UKIP will collapse, Green not standing, Labour and Lib Dems not campaigning… are you expecting 70%+ for Hunt?

    History suggests that independent candidates can do very well when they are the clear challenger to an incumbent. Maybe I’m wrong that this will be the case here, but it’s just an honest guess of what might happen, not some kind of partisan ramping.

  23. I’d expect fairly similar to last time, with the LDs re-taking their previously held 2nd place.

    Incidentally I wasn’t mocking NHA – they are largely funded by three comedians (really).

    I agree with you re Inds – have a look at East Devon last time for such a great local Ind.

  24. I can’t see many people here sharing NHA’s analysis of Tory management of the NHS. At best they eat a bit into the existing Lab and Green votes, but Hunt should still be 60%+. If they want to challenge for seats they should really follow the Richard Taylor model and go for somewhere where there is a salient local health issue rather than targeting individuals they don’t like.

  25. Well, the point is Hunt is the Health Secretary so there is some logic. It’s just that a lot of people don’t actually think he’s done a bad job at all, i.e. the problems with the NHS are systemic and way pre-date Hunt who hasn’t really rocked the boat (although I’d like to see faster, cross-party, work on reforms that would drag it into the 21st century).

    FWIW if the message becomes obvious locally that LD and Lab are making way for him, then actually I do think NHA will take 2nd – but personally I’d put their ceiling at closer to 15% than Wellytab’s 30%.

    I doubt Hunt’s share will drop, given the national context of this GE.

  26. Lest we forget, Jeremy Hunt was also Health Secretary at the last general election. Doctors’ strike aside, there haven’t really been material changes in the NHS since then.

    The rabid “FOUR WEEKS TO SAVE OUR NHS FROM THOSE TORY SCUM!” message will play well in some parts of the country, but Godalming isn’t one of them – and don’t forget how badly “VOTE LABOUR OR BABIES WILL DIE!” fared in Copeland.

    Ultimately, the Tories’ treatment (or mistreatment) of the NHS is already priced into people’s voting decisions, and other parties campaigning on it will only ever bear so much fruit. It always comes high on lists of “what voters care about”, but part of me wonders if it’s the sort of thing people say is important because it’s on the news a lot. Aside from when it’s in the news, I only really think about the NHS the 1% of the time that I or a member of my family is ill or in hospital.

  27. To clarify a little, I don’t envisage 30% of voters taking to the streets with pink placards chanting about the NHS. I just think that in any constituency, even this, there is a fairly high floor of people who will never vote for the Tory, and that the NHA might be well enough placed and unobjectionable enough to sweep that anyone-but-Tory vote. It probably depends how much the media wants to big up the “Hunt vs Doctor” narrative.

  28. There is not the slightest chance of Hunt losing. In 2015 there was no Lib Dem candidate as they messed up the application paperwork. There was a National Health Action candidate, who even without any Lib Dem rival still only got 8.5%. Hunt got 60% and 28000 majority.

    As a part time resident of the constituency, I think that Hunt is quite an attentive MP; there is no groundswell of public opinion against him a single national opponent wouldn’t attract enough local support. Saying that, the Farnham Residents have made a couple of gains from the Conservatives in the County Council elections, but that is caused by local issues and not dissatisfaction with Hunt or the NHS in South West Surrey.

  29. There is a much bigger scandal here than the one in Tatton; that the govt lied in 2010 about their NHS plans, and then that since Hunt taking the job, he has systematically been using the H&SC bill to smash up the NHS by “displacing incumbent providers” and undermining the finances of trusts, leaving the NHS in a perilous state.

    But, unfortunately, that truth wont be accepted by the electorate of SW Surrey. I doubt the seat will see an increase in Tory support (although one would expect the 10% UKIP to feel at home with the tories now) but I can’t see the NHA getting anywhere near.

    I do think, though, that Corbyn should have pushed to stand aside hear, even if nowhere else. The NHA are a one-issue party, unlike the Libdems & Greens (the Greens absolutely aren’t one-issue anymore) and stepping aside would have thrown a bigger spotlight on the NHS, without risking any increase in the perception of a “coalition of chaos”. It would be seen as one seat, with a Tatton-esque narrative behind it. Had Labour done that, I think it would have helped them elsewhere, and the NHA could have come close (maybe 35-40%), but now they’ll do well to get 20%.

  30. “Here”, not “hear”. Not sure why I did that!

  31. I’m convinced that Dr Irvine will come a good second.

    Doctors candidates have won three times before. Wyre Forest (Westminster 2001 and 2005) and Strathkelvin & Bearsden (Holyrood 2003). I think that both these constituencies related to local hospital closures.

    How much do the circumstances in the above two constituencies differ from Surrey South West?

  32. Yougov showing NHA just about clear in second, high teens. Obviously MoE will be substantial on that.

  33. Where’s that poll? I can’t find it…

  34. Yes where are all these “shock” Yougov constituency polls?

  35. On the YouGov Election Centre website. I would share a link but I’m afraid AW will filter my responses again.

  36. They’re not polls — aren’t they just predictions/estimations?

  37. They are a modelling based on data of around 80 responses per constituency, as well as demographic trends. It’s enough to be a useful indicator, whilst being less reliable than an actual constituency poll of several hundred people. The predictions do have error bars which I think are probably a correct reflection of the model’s precision.

  38. They are a modelling based on data of around 80 responses per constituency, as well as demographic trends. It’s enough to be a useful indicator, whilst being less reliable than an actual constituency poll of several hundred people. The predictions do have error bars which I think are probably a correct reflection of the model’s precision. (e.g. NHA predicted 15 here now, but the 95% margin is between 7 and 26!)

  39. It’s also, they note, not actually a prediction (according to the FAQs). More a “snapshot,” to use Ashcroft’s old phrase. What that usually means is a consolidation toward the top two parties in each seat in later weeks, if those are clear.

  40. Out of interest, do we think the Yougov seat snapshots might increase that effect? I doubt many of the public are aware of the website, but it gives candidates something to use in their literature.

  41. Maybe, maybe not. Depends, really, and very hard to say either now or after. I could see the LDs using it where they’re close (e.g., Oxford West).

  42. Jeremy Hunt remains Health Sec. A really boring reshuffle.
    You Gov were quite accurate here as well as an aside. Predicted that NHA would be second.

  43. The former mayor of Godalming has been jailed for nine years for having sex with a 13 year old girl. Nowhere near long enough in my book but that’s the British courts for you these days.

  44. Jeremy Hunt is the new Foreign Sec. An interesting move in so far as that he is a Remainer, and now all four great offices of state are held by that wing.

    I have no particular views on Hunt, other than a bit of admiration at how he clung on for so long at Health.

  45. Technically true, but Hunt & Javid are both “releavers” – on record as saying that, while they voted remain at the time, they have since changed their minds. Javid in particular was a long-time Eurosceptic who chose to stay loyal to Cameron against his gut instinct.

    I guess it could pass as evidence for the “Brexit betrayal” narrative the far right is trying to push right now. But the thing is there are just no Brexiters left to choose from:

    Boris Johnson & David Davis have walked.
    Priti Patel went rogue in Israel.
    Esther McVey should have resigned a few days ago.
    Chris Grayling & Andrea Leadsom are Chris Grayling & Andrea Leadsom.

    Even down the ministerial ladder, Brexit-backing PPS nobodies are chucking in the towel. One way or another, most leavers have rules themselves out.

  46. ‘Chris Grayling & Andrea Leadsom are Chris Grayling & Andrea Leadsom’.

    Hahahaha. Good one.

  47. ‘Technically true, but Hunt & Javid are both “releavers” – on record as saying that, while they voted remain at the time, they have since changed their minds. ‘

    And I don’t think one single person will believe that

    With Javid though at least you feel there might be some personal conviction there, whereas with Hunt it’s pure opportunism in a hope to get some right wing support for next time the leadership comes up.

    He’s learnt obviously nothing from what happened to Boris when he came out for Leave at the referendum, and I suspect any chance he might have had will be killed if not by this then by his fairly ineffective spell as Health Secretary, where he basically helped reinforce the false premise that the Tories don’t give a sh*t about the Health Service and those who work in it

    Leadership material he ain’t

  48. PT – you wrongly presuppose that a Leadership challenge has to come from a Cabinet member.

    As well as the fact that you overlooked 3 Leavers.

    Not that I expect a challenge as I said.

    Apart from the fact that more of the ‘awkward squad’ always hated DC/GO more than May (Brady would never say but there were rumoured to be 30 letters that went in on top of the 4 who went public under DC twice).

    But largely because there just isn’t a media window or time for all MPs to meet in the 8 working days left:

    England in the World Cup, Orangemen’s Day, Trump visit, Parliamentary Summer Recess.

    There’s a slim chance of a challenge @ Conf in Oct, but with at least a 2 month time period, that makes it almost impossible.

    Change of Leader – voluntarily or forced – after 29th March is more likely, but closer to a 2022 GE.

  49. LO: I wasn’t talking about a leadership challenge, though. I was just making the point that it’s the Brexiteers’ fault that many of them left in the cabinet. Already, they were having to rely on like-for-like reshuffles (eg Penny Mordaunt replacing Priti Patel) to maintain their numbers. If Brexiteers keeping getting themselves sacked, there are inevitably going to be fewer of them in cabinet.

    On another thread somewhere, Hemmy made the point that, ever since the Maastricht Treaty, Euroscepticism has been a shortcut for untalented aspiring MPs to win selection battles. There’s no way that someone as batshit crazy as Nadine Dorries becomes a PPC for a safe Tory seat without reflecting a good deal of local members’ prejudices back at them. That probably explains why the talent pool is somewhat shallower on the leave side.

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