2015 Result:
Conservative: 16692 (33.7%)
Labour: 16156 (32.6%)
Lib Dem: 644 (1.3%)
UKIP: 15718 (31.7%)
Independent: 79 (0.2%)
Others: 275 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 536 (1.1%)

Category: Three-way Marginal

Geography: South East, Essex. Part of the Thurrock council area.

Main population centres: Grays, Purfleet, Tilbury, South Ockendon, Chadwell St Mary.

Profile: An industrial and largely working class seat on the Thames Estuary, at the far southern corner of Essex. The seat contains the major container port of Tilbury and Tilbury power station and the industry of Purfleet, which is home to Esso and Unilever factories. It is a white working class seat, but also has more affluent areas like the recent Chafford Hundred development near the large Lakeside shopping centre. The seat also contains the northern end of the Dartford Crossing over the Thames.

Politics: This used to be a safe Labour seat, but has trended towards the Conservatives over the years. It was first won by the Tories in 1987, but held for just a single term before being won back by Labour. It became a marginal by 2005, and in 2010 it was won by the Conservatives on the narrowest of margins. In 2015 it was a primary target for UKIP, resulting in one of the closest three-way marginals in the country, with just two percent of the vote separating first and third place.

Current MP
JACKIE DOYLE-PRICE (Conservative) Born 1969, Sheffield. Educated at Notre Dame school and Durham University. Contested Sheffield Hillsborough 2005. First elected as MP for Thurrock in 2010. Government whip since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 16869 (37%)
Lab: 16777 (37%)
LDem: 4901 (11%)
BNP: 3618 (8%)
Oth: 3656 (8%)
MAJ: 92 (0%)
Con: 14261 (33%)
Lab: 20636 (47%)
LDem: 4770 (11%)
BNP: 2526 (6%)
Oth: 1499 (3%)
MAJ: 6375 (15%)
Con: 11124 (30%)
Lab: 21121 (57%)
LDem: 3846 (10%)
UKIP: 1271 (3%)
MAJ: 9997 (27%)
Con: 12640 (27%)
Lab: 29896 (63%)
LDem: 3843 (8%)
Oth: 833 (2%)
MAJ: 17256 (37%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JACKIE DOYLE-PRICE (Conservative) See above.
POLLY BILLINGTON (Labour) Born 1967. Educated at Sussex University. Head of communications for Citizens Advice, former BBC journalist and special advisor to Ed Miliband.
TIM AKER (UKIP) Born Aveley. Educated at Nottingham University. Head of UKIP policy unit. Contested MEP for East of England since 2014.
DANIEL MUNYAMBU (No description) Born Kenya. Basildon councillor since 2011, originally elected as Labour.
Comments - 604 Responses on “Thurrock”
  1. Well we’re not really comparing like with like Maxim but as a broad brush comparison I see your point. No surprise to see Labour declining a lot in East Anglia where rural radicalism was dying out as early as the 1960s.

  2. And the Lichfield that Labour won back in the day is a vastly different seat to what exists now. The Lichfield that existed 1918-1950 also contained Tamworth, Rugeley (which is now in Cannock Chase), part of what now falls under Walsall council and Perry Bar (now in Birmingham). Obviously most of these areas are much more pro-Conservative than they were back then though.

  3. ‘I would argue there has been a general swing against Labour in Staffordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent etc.’

    There clearly has – but it’s no more pronounced than the shift away from the Conservatives in the cities during that time – although fortunately for the Tories such shire seats outnumber those in the cities and populations shifts will see that continuing

    ‘Hard to fathom now that Labour won seats in Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Essex in 1959 but did not do so in 2010.’

    Back in 1959 politics was much more class-based and thus Labour was always competitive in working class parts of Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire even Cornwall

    That’s less of the case nowadays and with UKIP having done well by eating into the Labour vote and taking counties like Kent and Essex further away from Labour than ever, I don’t think it’s that hard to fathom at all

    It started in the US decades ago – non-affluent parts of the country putting their lot in with the Republicans

  4. One does wonder though how long the current population shifts will continue to benefit the Tories. the traditional trend of Labour areas declining and Tory areas growing no longer totally applies.

    Looking at local authority population changes the areas with the biggest declines remain the former industrial gritty Lab areas in the likes of Burnley and West Cumbria. However surprisingly many of the true blue shires in the likes of Shropshire, Lincolnshire and Dorset are seeing some (comparatively) poor growth figures as well likely due to their extremely rural nature and elderly populations.

    The traditional boom areas in Surrey and Berkshire are definitely slowing down likely due to the insane cost of living in those areas but also general overpopulation which means they cant grow as quickly as they once did.

    Finally all the Lab big metropolitan areas now have stabilised populations whereas as recently as the 80’s most were experiencing a population exodus and some of the more economically successful cities like Manchester and Leeds are showing very strong growth figures along with some staunchly Lab areas in inner London easily eclipsing most Tory voting parts of the country.

    Of course we don’t entirely know who these people moving around are and the shifts could indeed see seats switch allegiances but I think its fairly apparent that the days of boundary reviews giving Tory shires extra seats at the expense of Labour cities is starting to come to an end.

  5. Rivers 10 its interesting that the inner city seats of east ham and manchester central have two of the highest electorates in the country

  6. Surely you realise that boundaries are determined by electorate, not population.

    A huge percentage of the population increase in inner cities is currently being driven by non-citizens who are not part of the electorate for general elections.

    Hence the paradox that inner London will continue to lose seats in the forthcoming review despite, as you say, experiencing a surging population.

  7. Was replying to Rivers

  8. In other countries, electoral entitlement is determined by population at a census, not just the electorate, and I think Britain should use census populations instead for determining electoral district boundaries of any type, because even those who cannot vote yet sometimes get into contact with representatives.

  9. H.Hemmelig
    Of course population figures don’t necessarily indicate electorates but there are obvious correlations, as Walt White says Manchester Central and East Ham, two of Labs safest seats in the country also have two of the largest electorates in the country.

    This is indicative of a change in trend, whereas once upon a time it was a clear cut “Lab areas falling population Tory areas increasing population” that clearly is starting to change. Indeed in some Tory seats the growth in population won’t translate to an increased electorate for the exact same reasons actually more so in some cases. I read recently about what’s becoming known as the “Oligarch effect” where certain Tory seats in inner London like Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham and Cities of L and W are becoming increasingly dominated by foreign millionaires who can’t vote and thus the electorate in said seats is starting to fall..

  10. Maxim
    Thurrock is within quota and considering its geographic location I imagine it will remain totally unchanged in the BR.

    Re UKIP’s collapse and your prediction I’d have to question it. If UKIP’s vote fell by that much there’s just no way Labs vote would fall too. This seat was literally the perfect mix of Blue Kippers and Red Kippers, any fall in UKIP’s vote would benefit both parties, not necessarily to the same extant but enough to render a UKIP collapse and a simultaneous Lab fall near mathematically impossible (I would assume)

  11. Have a reasonable knowledge of Thurrock politics as my father works as a civil servant, for Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency), delivering the Lower Thames Crossing scheme in Thurrock. He has had several meetings with Jackie Doyle-Price, and with councillors of all stripes, and reports that UKIP are very well-organised here (at least by UKIP standards).

    At one public consultation meeting he was told by a member of the public that delays at the Dartford Tunnel were being caused by a government-approved scheme to stop lorries in the tunnel and secretly unload illegal immigrants there. An extreme case maybe, but it speaks volumes for UKIP’s appeal in this part of the world.

  12. Who is your ‘others’ vote, Maxim? Last time others got barely 2% here. No Green candidate but if there was I doubt they’d have got more than 1 or 2% as this is terrible Green territory and the three-way marginal really squeezes things.

  13. Rivers: but I also feel that Thurrock is an area where Corbyn is pretty toxic. This is reflected in Labour losing four wards in the May locals.

  14. I’d guess others is mostly Lib Dem recovery at UKIP’s expense if the Kippers are falling back and the LDs resume their position as the anti-establishment receptacle.

  15. I don’t really see that happening and certainly not in Thurrock. The LDs are a long way from restoring their anti-establishment credentials in my opinion (in the context of Brexit they come across as exactly the opposite).

  16. Labour have been on a sharp downward trajectory in Thurrock since 1997… too early to make predictions for 2020 really but if Corbyn’s still leading Labour there must a good chance that trend will continue, whether or not UKIP stay in contention will depend on how Brexit negotiations go and how well they adapt to the post-Farage era.

  17. There is likely to be some UKIP to LD swing in some areas but not places like Thurrock but in places like North Carshalton where Corbyn would also be toxic.

  18. This is a seat that Labour never have lost in first. UKIP will drop a fair bit. Jackie Doyle-Price will get a third term here CON HOLD – 5-6,000

  19. It may well be a Tory hold but it certainly will not be a easy hold. UKIP are still strong in Thurrock.

  20. They may have been strong. But that hasn’t been tested post Brexit referendum. Having a strong network of activists in the area may well count for little come June.

  21. I wouldn’t be surprised the see the Conservative vote to go up to 42 – 44%

  22. On paper, you’d have thought the Conservatives would slam-dunk this seat.

  23. This is one of six Tory-held seats across the South (outside London) which YouGov’s model shows as ‘likely’ to go Labour.

    The bookies still disagree, offering 4/1 for Lab.

    For the record, the other five are:
    Brighton Kemptown
    Bristol NW
    Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

  24. Yes, some of YG’s constituency predictions are rather strange which is why I take them with a pinch of salt. I think YG is going to end up with massive egg on their face as I believe the Tories will do much better than they predict, more in line with ICM IMHO.

    But hey, I could definitely be wrong!

  25. I tend to agree with Wreathy, on this one at any rate. Assuming the national collapse of UKIP applies here ( an assumption I know ) it is difficult in theory to see Corbyn’s version of the Labour Party wresting the seat back. Any evidence on the ground that the Corbyn surge is actually making a real difference? Most of the anecdotal evidence suggests that the polls do not reflect what is actually going on.

  26. Definite Tory hold. Doyle- Price is a very assiduous MP.

  27. I think I called this one to be the highest vote share for UKIP this election. I was right 🙂

  28. Labour’s vote share also increased more than the Tories. They can definitely still win here.

  29. Well UKIP will definitely be squeezed further now that they’re so clearly a busted flush. Fairly evident that this seat is trending Tory. Labour might win this at the next election – in fact this is bound to fall in the event of a Labour majority – but it could well be the last time they ever win the seat. Certainly the 17k majority of 1997 is never going to be repeated.

  30. To an extent. There is also an element of pro labour demographic changes in part of the seats.

  31. Even after the exit poll came out, I somehow predicted in my mind that Jackie Doyle-Price would hold narrowly. I think Labour will gain it if they’re on course for a majority but unlike certain other marginal (or semi-marginal) Tory seats which are showing a drift to Labour, this one isn’t going their way.

  32. Jackie Doyle-Price did a bit of a Michael Forsyth a la 1992 in holding on to this seat for the third time. Given Labour have now been frustratingly disappointed at the death virtually with three different candidates, they’ll be determined more than ever before to finally get this seat back and make sure of it. Perhaps it’s not meant to be for them though and JDP is too well-established an incumbent to lose here anytime soon?

  33. This was by far UKIP’s strongest performance. I guess that can be put down to Tim Aker being well embedded, and a reluctance to go Tory from a large part of their vote. Doyle-Price would have hoped for a sizable majority this time, but the way things went on the night I suppose she’ll be happy with a third narrow win.

  34. All of ukips cllrs in thurrock have resigned the whip…

  35. UKIP is dead.

    It is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It is a late party. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life. It rests in peace. It’s pushing up daisies. It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-party.

  36. They haven’t resigned the Whip – they all defected en masse (along with MEP Tim Aker) – to form a new group and Party: Thurrock Independents.

  37. Ockendon ward by-election, 22.03.18:

    Cons 696 36% (+8%)
    Lab 696 36% (+11%)
    Thurrock Inds* 531 28%

    * ex-UKIP

    Cons Gain from UKIP [Con elected after coin toss]

  38. I guess that partially compensates for the coin toss the Tories lost in last year’s locals, which amazingly was crucial in denying them a majority on Northumberland County Council.

  39. Decent local election results for Labour here, in particular the South Chafford ward. It might appear that any anti Labour trend has now levelled off somewhat here despite the huge brexit vote.

    This could remain pretty marginal for a long time.

  40. “Decent local election results for Labour here, in particular the South Chafford ward. It might appear that any anti Labour trend has now levelled off somewhat here despite the huge brexit vote.”

    Two words – demographic change. The black population, in particular, is rising very fast here, and the stereotypical white Essex man type is gradually dying off and/or moving out. See the discussion on the Romford thread.

  41. Yet it was only as recently as 1987 when the Tories won this seat for the first time ever I think – certainly in the post war period. Labour had a majority not much short of 20000 in 97 so for the Tories to win here in 2010 – and hold it for 3 successive elections is pretty commendable if the demographic trends are working against them – even more so when you consider the incumbent is a northerner

  42. Conflicting trends here I think. On the one hand a huge shift of white working class voters to Conservatives and UKIP, as elsewhere. But in the longer run the strong rise in the ethnic minority population here will start to benefit Labour again.

  43. I’m a fan of JDP and am happy she has managed to hold on here. Long may she reign.

  44. ‘I’m a fan of JDP’

    Have to agree you there Tristan – see my posts upthread from many years ago – although I also liked Andrew McKinley, the Labour MP who held the seat for 18 years

    In today’s world of cynical, careerist, back-stabbing politicians, it’s very refreshing to have somebody who is genuine, down to earth and seems to be in politics for all the right reasons

  45. Well said Tim. She’s the absolute antithesis of the dead eyed, constantly smirking Esther McVey or Liz Truss’ of the political world. Shallow, opportunistic pygmies would look like they would take glee in a burning orphanage.

  46. Britain Thinks has polled 2,000 voters here and in other marginals.

    Voters regard Labour as more ‘a protesting student’ today whereas it used to be thought of as ‘a pie and pint.’

    Just 25% thought they represented working class voters, below 27% who thought they represented foreign Nationals.

  47. As I understand it, the figures are actually +25 and +27 net (as in “Lab represents the WC” minus “Lab doesn’t represent the WC” = +25). Considerably better for them though still probably a long-term decline.

    The other word that kept coming up was “quinoa”, though for me, that’s unfair on the grain, to which I am rather partial, and which doesn’t deserve comparisons with the cranks currently leading the opposition party.

  48. (Though I can’t imagine quinoa is flying off the shelves in Thurrock. A quick Google confirms my suspicions that they don’t even have a Waitrose.)

  49. ‘They don’t even have a Waitrose’.

    The HORROR! 🙂

  50. I’m trying to remember the last time I went to a Waitrose. Certainly not since I left home. Do Waitrose cease to exist above the Watford Gap?

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