North Thanet

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23045 (49%)
Labour: 8411 (17.9%)
Lib Dem: 1645 (3.5%)
Green: 1719 (3.7%)
UKIP: 12097 (25.7%)
Others: 136 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 10948 (23.3%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The western part of Thanet council area and the north-eastern part of the Canterbury council area.

Main population centres: Margate, Herne Bay, Westgate-on-Sea, Minster.

Profile: The seat consists of the north-eastern coast of Kent, made up of the seaside towns of Margate, Westgate-on-Sea, Birchington and Herne Bay and their rural hinterlands. The towns all suffer the common problems of traditional seaside towns that have seen their economies decline since the growth of international tourism. Margate in particular has some of the most deprived areas in the whole of the South East region and has become the focus of redevelopment efforts including the building of the Turner Contemporary galley and the redeveloping of the traditional Dreamland amusement park. The seat also includes Manston airport.

Politics: Despite the comparative poverty in Thanet, this is a solid, safe Conservative seat. Thanet North has been held by Conservative MP Roger Gate since its creation in 1983. In 2015 UKIP took second place from Labour and won the local council, the first council under majority UKIP control.

Current MP
ROGER GALE (Conservative) Born 1943, Poole. Educated at Hardye`s School, Dorchester and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Former radio and television producer. Contested Birmingam Northfield 1982 by-election. First elected as MP for Thanet North in 1983. PPS to Archie Hamilton 1992-1993, PPS to Jeremy Hanley 1993-1994. Producer of the Today Programme 1973-1976, Director of BBC childrens television 1976-1979. President of Conservative Animal Welfare. Knighted for public and political service in 2012.
Past Results
Con: 22826 (53%)
Lab: 9298 (21%)
LDem: 8400 (19%)
UKIP: 2819 (7%)
MAJ: 13528 (31%)
Con: 21699 (50%)
Lab: 14065 (32%)
LDem: 6279 (14%)
UKIP: 1689 (4%)
MAJ: 7634 (17%)
Con: 21050 (50%)
Lab: 14400 (34%)
LDem: 4603 (11%)
UKIP: 980 (2%)
Oth: 835 (2%)
MAJ: 6650 (16%)
Con: 21586 (44%)
Lab: 18820 (38%)
LDem: 5576 (11%)
Oth: 438 (1%)
MAJ: 2766 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ROGER GALE (Conservative) See above.
FRANCES REHAL (Labour) Born Ireland. Educated at St Raphaels Convent of Mercy, Loughrea and Kings College Hospital. Childrens Centre co-ordinator and former nurse. Awarded an MBE for services to children and families in 2009.
GEORGE CUNNINGHAM (Liberal Democrat) Born 1956. Educated at Oxford University. Diplomat and former army officer.
PIERS WAUCHOPE (UKIP) Barrister. Former Camden councillor for the Conservatives. Tunbridge Wells councillor since 2012. Contested Hampstead and Highgate 2005 for the Conservatives, Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for UKIP.
ED TARGETT (Green) Educated at SOAS. Journalist.
CEMANTHE MCKENZIE (United Thanet) Managing director.
Comments - 196 Responses on “Thanet North”
  1. I tend to agree that there comes a time when personal votes are overtaken by age. It would be a sad way for Roger Gale to leave parliamnet.

  2. Peter Crawford, what about Basildon South and East Thurrock, and Castle Point? I would put both as leaning UKIP right now. I wonder if any polling will be done in either seat.

    I still think that UKIP will win over 10 seats, just as I have always said. Granted, I looked ridiculous at the start, but it looks like I might be taken more seriously on this site in future. I might even be able to post under my real name.

  3. What is that? Nigel Farage?

  4. I am a loyal Conservative officer, Robbie. I agree with some of what UKIP has to say, but I am a social and economic liberal. If anything, I am more Lib Dem than UKIP.

  5. So you’re a social and economic and a socially and economically conservative party?

  6. ?

  7. So you’re a social and economic liberal in a socially and economically conservative party?

  8. It depends whether he means liberal in the classical or modern sense. The conservative party are mildly classically liberal with economics (free markets, deregulation etc) but socially conservative (although this government aren’t really as they legalized gay marriage and have 250,000 net immigration)

  9. Yeah being new to politics, or at least no having had 50 years experience, I am confused by why the conservative party is so big on traditional values yet it’s hard to tell between them and labour who is more socially liberal at times.

  10. Lord Ashcroft @LordAshcroft ยท 33m

    Thanet North poll (Survation): CON – 33% UKIP – 32% LAB – 24% LDEM – 6% GRNS – 5%

  11. The problem I have with the constituency polling is that in nearly every poll the tories are down 10+ points but the polls only show around a five % loss. Now either the party is piling up votes somewhere, maybe surrey? More likely the polls underestimate them. This happened in Australia in 2013 where the constituency polls showed a far worse result than the national polls. (The national polls were spot on) So I think on balance he tories will be okay here.

  12. Robbie,

    I disagree with the more socially conservative win of my party. We are very much a broad church of opinion. Personally, I am the sort of classical liberal person who would make a socialist’s blood boil.

  13. I am very similar to 111 coincidentally, I’m a classical liberal socially and economically, and a tory eurosceptic. I like a small state and less government intervention and I also have no problem with gay marriage or lots of other social issues. Oh yh also I hate sandal-wearing, guardian-reading, environmentalist, trade unionist, politically correct lefty champagne socialists too ๐Ÿ˜›

  14. Let’s say that I agree with your entire post there, Stephen ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I think I’m a believer in British Liberalism , I’m classically liberal too. Economically more conservative, euro reformism if more my thing. Monarchist too. I too hate trade unionist , politically correct champagne socialist people. Have no issue with guardian readers , environmentalists or sandals. Socially more liberal, pro gay marriage. However I also hate the right wing, I hate UKIP, I hate the BNP. I hate the EDL.

    I think this means I’m a lib dem but a sort of orange booker kind of person.

  16. Full lineup of major party candidates:

    Con: Roger Gale
    Lab: Frances Rehal
    LD: George Cunningham
    UKIP: Piers Wauchope
    Greens: Ed Targett

  17. Robbie – sounds more like a tory libertarian to me. I am similar to all the above – but don’t really hate many people on their politics outside the mouthbreathers from the far left (SWP etc.) and far right.

  18. it’s good to see some vaguely right of centre posts on this website…for a while it was dominated by lefties…the pollling blog bit is more lefty for some reason.

  19. This seat is consistently being flagged in the national press as one of UKIP’s top prospects but, by contrast with Thanet South, not at great deal seems actually to be going on here at grassroots level. Of course, I assume UKIPs posse of Councillors is getting on with representating people.

    The lower the political heat here, the better Sir Roger Gale’s chances of winning next time. As things stand, I have a feeling he will win, if by a fairly small majority.

  20. I’d say a decent Tory win, the sort of place where if Roger Gale fell under a bus UKIP would sleep through the by-election but come the GE the Tories will squeeze them back enough to win.

  21. not so sure…if farage get momentum in s thanet, his guns will be trained on north thanet… surprised ukip haven’t selected in boston as the one poll there suggested they were 20% ahead…that looks like almost a dead cert for them.

  22. Roger Gale has a strong support base but he could be pipped to the post; strong turn towards UKIP in North Thanet; it will be neck-and-neck. Antiochian’s post has it about right I’d say, just swap the Greens and the Lib Dems round; former have a stronger local candidate.

  23. I feel that incumbency could well save Sir Roger Gale here-
    Gale (Tory)- 40%
    Wauchope (UKIP)- 38%
    Rehal (Labour)- 17%
    Targett (Green)- 3%
    Cunningham (Lib Dem)- 2%

  24. The campaign in this seat so far seems comparatively quiet, particuarly by contrast with Thanet South where various anti-UKIP types are coming out of the woodwork. The current situation might benefit UKIP in this seat.

  25. Does anyone know if Ashcroft plans to conduct another poll here prior to the GE? I think this is one of the most fascinating seats in the country.

    I would still give a slight edge to the Tories…although they are losing the incumbency factor and Farage is of course hugely high profile. Perhaps I am wrong in assuming that there must be a significant anti- Farage vote here too…and whether those voters can coalesce around one candidate so as not to split the vote remains to be seen. For many natural Labour/ Liberal voters in this part of the country, tactically voting ‘for’ the Tories would be something of an alien concept.

  26. Many apologies…I meant to post the above on the Thanet South page.

  27. Al Murray ought in my view to stand here rather than in Thanet South, since he spent much of his time in Margate when he descended on Thanet earlier this week.

    The general point is that candidates ought to have a good understanding of the seat they are fighting, even if they don’t actually live there, whether or not they purport to be comedians. To my mind, Al Murray is not funny, but is a nuisance because he doesn’t know what he is doing. And personally I prefer my comedians to be anti-establishment.

  28. I was in Margate yesterday. Unlike in Ramsgate, there seems to be vrey little campaigning going on here even though on the basis of County Council election results this appearts to be a good target for UKIP.

    My feeling is that a quiet campaign usually helps the Tories, but is this true when UKIP are clearly the challengers?

  29. UKIP for me but scared to say it publicly – thought this was a democracy! I have black friends, Albanian, Asian and I respect each for their own culture. Even these friends are UKIP minded, I am so tired of hearing generalisation that UKIP supporters are racist we just want control of our border for our children’s sake. My black friend is a member of the party in Thanet. Nigel is the most charismatic politician we have seen in years. The treatment he receives by press, other main parties and fringe groups will back fire. So many closet UKIP supporters, there will be shock results come May.

  30. Anon, I sympathise with you. Actually, my impression is that UKIP members and supporters are leaning over backwards not to be racist.

    More immedaite matters. A number of buses in Canterbury have just sprout posters of Nigel Farage, actually rather good ones, on their offsides. May of these will be on routes that pass through North Thanet constituency, particuarly the Herne Bay part.

    All the attention is going at the moment to Suth Thanet. but I believe that on the figures alone North Thanet is theoretically the better prospect for UKIP..

  31. UKIP trailing in third. My prediction:

    Conservative: 42%
    Labour: 23%
    UKIP: 21%
    Liberal Democrat:9%
    Others: 5%

  32. Lib Dems to win. My prediction:
    Lib Dems: 63%
    UKI: 6%
    Labour: 1%
    Others: 22%

    Is this how the predictions as statements game goes?

  33. Conservative Hold. 10,000 maj

  34. So the Conservatives are going to dump “Operation Stack” onto Manston Airport. In other words they are going to spread the mess to Thanet and Canterbury as well as Dover , Folkestone and Ashford.

    Manstgon is derelict in the first place because the Tories don’t have a clue about the integrated economic development of one of the most depressed part of the South-East.

    If this isn’t a reason for people to vote UKIP in this part of the world I don’t know what is.

  35. Thanet residents will be kicking themselves that they didn’t elect Farage in May. Had they done so the government would have been very reluctant to do something like this, indeed the whole Calais fiasco would have been made far more uncomfortable for them with UKIP’s leader hailing from a Kent seat. Which leads me to ask….where the hell is UKIP? They are quiet as a mouse despite a issue coming up which they could make hay with. It doesn’t reflect well on Farage that he’s abandoned working Thanet so soon after losing it.

  36. I think the result of the election was heading for something like Con 35%, Lab 31%, UKIP 16%, LD 8% about a week before polling day, and then the immense fear of a Miliband / SNP deal produced a swing of about 3 points from UKIP to Tory which prevented UKIP winning seats like Thanet South and Thurrock which they would otherwise have done. The Tories got very lucky with the Miliband / Sturgeon situation.

  37. Farage was in the news a bit last week regarding the Calais migrant crisis.
    I also find it quite funny that after all the bashing that the Torygraph gave UKIP in the run up to the election, there have actually been quite a few articles on it written by UKIP MEP’s since!

  38. UKIP will not just be disappointed by Nigel Farage’s result in Thanet South but also that they did not get closer in Thanet North. However, we have yet to see how this seat may be redistributed. There is also the point that Sir Roger Gale is unlikely to seek re-election, or indeed if he does will be wide open to attack on the grounds that he is past it.

    If UKIP run Thanet Council competently, this seat is far from lost for 2020 from a UKIP point of view.

  39. My understanding that is Nigel Farage was going to take a much-needed break over the Summer. Nobody can go flat out continuously for five years. We can’t blame Nigel Farage for going for a good holiday, even though for politicians there is never a good time.

    Much of the opposition to what the Tories are dumping on Thanet in general and Manston in particular can come from the UKIP Council, and this is an early test of their effectiveness. I look forward to seeing, among other things, this week’s local papers here, both “Isle of Thanet Gazette” and “Kent on Sunday”. The Tory reaction to the crisis at Calais has been a mess and it would be far from hard for UKIP to come up with something better.

    Nigel Farage had difficulty when he tried to hand on the UKIP leadership immediately after the election. However, I think that UKIP have got to sit down at the end of the Summer and have a strategic think as to how they are going to build up an effective campaign right up to 2020,both nationally and in Thanet South as their Number One target seat. They have to ask:-
    1. Are they going to go into the 2020 election with Nigel Farage as leader or somebody else, and if somebody else who?
    2. Similarly,is Nigel Farage going to be the candidate in Thanet South, or is some other very competent figure with local connections going to build up a profile over the next five years here.
    In relation to these two questions, both Nigel Farage and the local UKIP party need to look very honestly at Nigel Farage’s health, specifically as to whether the amount that he can do is being seriously limited by effects of the air crash he had on the day of the 2010 election. My personal guess is that Nigel Farage might well be advised for his health reasons to concentrate one last time on winning Thanet South and to pass on the leadership, Tim Aker of Thurrock is the obvious choice to my mind.
    3. Now that UKIP are an established party they need to set up candidate selection procedures which ae better than those of the other national parties, with local selection conferences being preceded by national vetting procedures for things like criminal records and health problems as much as soundness of commitment to UKIp policies. These procedures will need to withstand the intense pressure to show up any element of racism amongst UKIP members. I would add that some of these attacks, particularly by an anti-democratic both on the left-wing fringe of the Labour Party and outside it should be subjected to a continuous counter-attack by UKIP. There is plenty of racism and reverse sexism to expose amongst the intolerant left.
    4. UKIP will need to revise its policies for 2020 circumstances, not least because the EU Referendum will have happened by then. Again, the democratic deficit in the EU will proabably still have to be attacked, but by differrent means to those in 2015. Again, UKIP will need to react to the 2015 SNP landslide. My guess is that there will be, a big backlash by English and even Norhtern Irish voters tto the SNPs’ continual demands, to which Labour and the Tories have irrevocably caved in, not for equality but for grossly unfair privilege. And not least UKIP will have to develop its economic policies. I personally don’t think that pujadist free-trade is enough.
    5. UKIP will have to decide on a limited number of seats to target. Presumably these will include the string of run down towns on the East Coast all the way from Hartlepool to this seat. One particular aspect of these seats is that they are all on the margins of English regions. The Westminster-blinkered Tories and Labour both seem to think that regions consist of a series of cities like Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol. UKIP needs to fight for fair governance within regions as well as to address the current unsustainable centralization on London. A second priority for UKIP is that its target seats have in common low rates of participation in higher education and in consequence lack of economic development of industry with well paid jobs. Again, Farage does not need to take the led on all these issues. Not least, there is quite a lot on these matters that Thanet can take up as UKIP’s lead council, in terms of developing political pressure rather than spending local government money.
    It should be noted that in 36 of the 50 UKIP target seats, i.e. the ones that they notionally need the smallest swings to win, UKIP are in third place. It may be that UKIP might actually find seats where they are further behind but in a clear second place easier to win. It might be better for UKIP to target seats in relation to democratic characteristics than on the basis of 2015 results.
    5. UKIP needs to build up a more professional back room Party organisation than in 2015. Not least, I think it important that UKIP’s back room should be transparent and should be built up from UKIP grassroots rather than consist of people parachuted in. Indeed I think that UKIP should have campaigned in the years before 2015 against the Tories use of the Australian Lynton Crosby and Labour’s use of David Axelrod who had negligible commitment to Britain and arguably put rleationships with parties abroad before the interests of the British people.
    6. UKIP needs policies that will attract mass membership and funding.
    7. UKIP must distance their party from any suggestion of racism..

    This is a big Agenda and UKIP has no time to lose getting on with it if they are to be ready for 2020.. But Nigel Farage does deserve a good Summer holiday now.

  40. If the party wasn’t a personality cult based around one person then the leader could take a long holiday while others covered for him. However the current UKIP is nothing without Farage.

  41. That is something UKIP have to address.

  42. “However the current UKIP is nothing without Farage”.

    I think it’s more a case of Farage feeling he’s nothing politically without being leader of UKIP. He has just enough groupies within the party to allow him to retain the leadership for as long as he wants it.

    UKIP in recent years have ventured down an angry nativist cul de sac, and it’s going to be very difficult for them to reverse out of it.

  43. I agree with H.Hemmelig, the next set of locals will be interesting a lot of places will go back to traditional Con/Lab battles. The Liberals will be a non-entity outside of their strongholds and the Greens will be the protest vote.

  44. If you are looking at local elections, Labour and the Conservatives in Thanet used to be at each other’s throats, and were not exactly respected for looking to the interests of ordinary voters. So far, a UKIP majority on the District Council with a decent majority is a pleasant change ee#ven for flotaing voters

    Goven that the Tories will have the usual handicaps of being the party in Government, and Labour are in a general mess, UKIP are likely to keep power her for some time unless they do something really stupid.

    The Tories have just done themselves no good at all in Thanet by proposing to dump on the area by using Manston airport for Operation Stack.

  45. Four of the UKIP group on Thanet Council have left the party becasue of the lack of support the UKIP leadership gave to the needs during meetings of one of their number, who is blind (“see the latest edition of “Private Eye”) It is a good job I covered my back in August by referring to the possibility that UKIP might do something really stupid.

    Nigel Farage and the national UKIP leadership need to get their act together and make sure that things don’t fall apart on their flagship council. After all, making sure that a blind councillor (and their councillors in general) is fairly and properly treated is hardly the most difficult problem in the world to get sorted out.

  46. Found this article:

    Feels like a bit more than just a council by election both Farage and John McDonnell down to campaign. Not sure if a council by election has ever seen this much excitement. The most popular figure I’ve seen at a by election is the local MEP.

  47. To be accurate, Newington Ward is in Thanet South. It is behind Ramsgate railway statiion and up towards Westwood.

    The by-election is so exciting that when I went through Newington on the bus yesterday I saw no sign of it whatsoever.

    I think a lot of people believe that with UKIP’s current problems nationally and locally the seat may be a fairly easy Labour gain. In ordinary times it is very much Labour territory and UKIP did not have a big majority last May.

    Nigel Farage is simply being a diligent politician by campaigning on his patch.

    With regard to John McDonnell, Labour in Thanet South gives a strong indication of being on the extreme left of the Party, and John McDonnell is consolidating this. He is also coming down here soon to give a speech under the auspices of Momentum.

  48. Thank you for clarifying

  49. As usual, don’t forget that most of the postal votes for the Newington by-election have probably been sent back already

  50. Roger Gale just unexpectedly announced in the Commons that he would be supporting Remain in the referendum.

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