2015 Result:
Conservative: 19551 (40.7%)
Labour: 4166 (8.7%)
Lib Dem: 16265 (33.8%)
Green: 1557 (3.2%)
UKIP: 6540 (13.6%)
MAJORITY: 3286 (6.8%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Devon. The northern part of the Torbay council area.

Main population centres: Torquay, Paignton.

Profile: Torbay is a natural bay on the south coast, sometimes called the English riviera. The constituency consists of two of the three towns that sit upon the bay, Torquay and Paignton (the third, Brixham, is in neighbouring Totnes). Both towns are popular seaside resorts and the constituency includes tourist attractions like Paignton Zoo, Kents Cavern and Babbacombe model village.

Politics: Politically Torbay is a marginal between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. Liberal Democrat Adrian Sanders held the seat between 1997 and 2015, but often by narrow margins. In 1997 his majority was only twelve, it increased in 2001, but fell back to just over 2000 in 2005. In 2015 the seat finally fell to the Tories. This has also been a comparatively good seat for UKIP, who held their deposit in 2005 and 2010. At a local level Torbay has an elected mayor, currently Conservative Gordon Oliver who defeated his predecessor, deselected Conservative incumbent Nick Bye running as an independent in 2011.

Current MP
KEVIN FOSTER (Conservative) Born 1978, Plymouth. Educated at Heles School and Warwick University. Barrister. Coventry councillor 2002-2014. Contested Coventry South 2010. First elected as MP for Torbay in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 19048 (39%)
Lab: 3231 (7%)
LDem: 23126 (47%)
UKIP: 2628 (5%)
Oth: 1177 (2%)
MAJ: 4078 (8%)
Con: 17288 (37%)
Lab: 6972 (15%)
LDem: 19317 (41%)
UKIP: 3726 (8%)
MAJ: 2029 (4%)
Con: 17307 (36%)
Lab: 4484 (9%)
LDem: 24015 (50%)
UKIP: 1512 (3%)
Oth: 251 (1%)
MAJ: 6708 (14%)
Con: 21082 (40%)
Lab: 7923 (15%)
LDem: 21094 (40%)
Oth: 3223 (6%)
MAJ: 12 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
KEVIN FOSTER (Conservative) Born 1978, Plymouth. Educated at Heles School and Warwick University. Barrister. Coventry councillor 2002-2014. Contested Coventry South 2010.
SU MADDOCK (Labour) Educated at Leeds University. University fellow.
ADRIAN SANDERS (Liberal Democrat) Born 1959, Paignton. Educated at Torquay Boys' Grammar School. Policy officer. Torbay councillor 1984-1986. Contested Devon and East Plymouth 1994 European-elections. MP for Torbay 1997 to 2015.
ANTHONY MCINTYRE (UKIP) Retired teacher. Contested South West region 2014 European elections.
Comments - 269 Responses on “Torbay”
  1. Recount at Torbay
    UKIP asked for it….

  2. Recount of what? The Euros? Why would they recount that?

  3. Never heard of any recount and why would UKIP ask for a recount when UKIP won over all the other party’s?

  4. joke – next general election.

  5. Understand Joe :0D I’ve noticed after 35 years of living here that there’s been a big change in Torbay since the last election lots of people have moved from other areas of the country to come and live here.It’s always been either Tory bay or Lib Dems,it should be interesting with the addition of new people to Torbay how this may reflect on next years voting for the general election.

  6. I think it’ll be pretty close between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.
    I’m not sure how high UKIP is likely to go though.
    Andrea, thanks, would be interesting if you elaborated on how you think it might go.

  7. Well if the euro elections are anything to go by Joe UKIP will be there, I do think Torbay needs a change from the usual two parties whoever that may be.

  8. UKIP should break 10% here, I’d think, if they hold anything like their current levels, or even with a fair drop off. Labour’s vote has been squeezed heavily, so that could pop up, maybe to around 12% or even a bit higher. That should make it very, very close between the Lib Dems and the Tories.

  9. I’d like to agree with you on the tories and lib dems, of course we will see next year when the GE happens,but I think there is a great deal of closet UKIP and Green voters out there,you only have to look at the euro votes to see how unprepared the main parties were for the UKIP majority or did they know and had to face the music anyway?

  10. There are retired northern accents all over Torbay….I do believe there will come a time when Labour starts to do seriously better here, though at the moment their potential is perhaps stunted by UKIP.

  11. I think you are quite right H Hemmelig,there is definitely a change underway for Torbay,whatever way that will go.

  12. What I love about the south Devon resorts in the summer is that they are still dominated by nice families enjoying their holiday; that is not the case at many if any of the other major holiday resorts in the UK.

    It’s especially nice for young kids here – we try to spend a few days here every year and indeed will do so later this month.

  13. H Hemmelig- interesting point. Nevertheless, northern retirees mightn’t necessarily make much of a difference. As you suggest some might vote UKIP and others could be the sorts of people who had voted Tory in the Thatcher era (thus giving the party a reasonably respectable foothold in the north at that time).

    I very much agree with you regarding south Devon- a lovely part of the world. I’m particularly fond of Kingsbridge.

  14. Goodrington Sands is nice – as are the areas of the bay built up the hills.
    Good climate and outdoor life.
    A lovely part of the country – just need to get rid of the Liberal Democrats.

  15. I’m particularly fond of S Devon myself & it’s been too long since I went.

  16. Torbay is a beautiful place,our family have lived here since the late 70s. Torbay deserves to be looked after much better than LB and Tories alternately have done.

    Joe, you’re right the lib dems time in Torbay is dwindling.Sorry for Adrian though as he is such a great guy, he’s just in the wrong party.

  17. River Dart area is nice aswell. Stoke Gabrielle. Think that is outside the seat Andrea?

    and in the Bay –
    Red sandstone and iron in the sand – very attractive.

  18. Stoke Gabriel is I think in Totnes, as is Brixham even though the latter is part of the Torbay authority area.

  19. Prediction for 2015-
    Sanders (Liberal Democrat)- 42%
    Foster (Conservative)- 37%
    UKIP- 11%
    Labour- 9%
    Green- 1%

  20. This looks genuinely marginal between the LibDems and Tories. UKIP would be very disappointed not to get more than 11% and paradoxically a high UKIP vote could save the LibDems here. It is clear that the Greens, as well as Labour, have been deserted by many tactical LibDem voters. I would expect many of these voters to revert to their true allegiances now the LibDems are contaminated by colaition with the Tories (amongst other things). Neither the Greens nor Labour have any chance of winning though.

  21. To The Results; I really think that 42% is far too generous for the Lib Dems. People don’t forget and they certainly do not trust Nick Clegg,like Gordon Brown did years ago he wouldn’t walk away, when these politicians are so adamant to stay the voter usually gets them out,this will reflect on Adrian’s as his past voters will seek another party to vote for.

  22. Could I suggest that what’s actually been going on in UK politics for a generation now is that there’s a big block of voters whose view of Tory and Labour has been “a curse on both your houses”. These voters haven’t been dogmatic supporters of any particular set of beliefs; they’ve simply wanted to register a vote that stuck two fingers up at the two big parties.

    For most of the time in England and Wales, the recipient of those votes has been the LibDems. People voted for them as the “other”, not because they agreed with LibDem policies; and in some cases, the LibDems have been the recipients of votes from people who would actually have disagreed very strongly with party policy. But now, the LibDems are seen as the same as Tory and Labour; so that block of votes will flake away to the next best protest. Which at the moment happens to be UKIP. Add to this genuinely interested left-of-centre voters who voted LibDem in the past, but who will vote Labour in 2015 because they never wanted a Tory alliance; and you have a very nasty situation for the LibDem party.

    Where they have a “personality” as a sitting MP, they may scrape through. But where they are narrowly ahead of either Labour or Tory, the seat is already lost. Looking at the recent elections, the Labour vote has not seen a profound, earthshattering rise; but the LibDems are down the toilet. So what swapping actually took place? The obvious answer in many places would seem to be that the protest vote went from LibDem to UKIP. If voting LD is no longer a sufficient sticking up of two fingers to the establishment, the idea that they will hold onto a long list of individual seats becomes debatable.

  23. A pity Lord Ashcroft didn’t include this one in his very interesting analysis of LD-Con seats.

  24. prediction for 2015-

    lib- 41%
    con- 38%
    lab- 7%
    grn- 2%

    The liberal democrats should (just) keep this one. I’d imagine their share of the vote should make a small-moderate recovery before the 2015 election, as will the Tory vote. UKIP will damage some of the big parties here and the greens look like they should get a little boost in the area too. The rise of UKIP will obviously mean the BNP vote will be next to nothing.

  25. I’d have thought there’s more chance of snow in the Sahara in May next year than of the LDs getting above 40% in Torbay.

    They might still win it with early 30s of course.

  26. Depends how much they can continue to squeeze Labour. I certainly expect Labour will at least recover to double figures here though, and if they are at say 8-12% nationally then UKIP ought to manage at least 15% here.

    This is a very hard seat to guess but currently I’d go for something like

    LD 35
    Con 32
    UKIP 16
    Lab 12
    Oths 5

  27. Oh come on guys’ LD in the lead in Torbay!

    Like Far `Easterner says there’s more chance of snow in the Sahara.

    I predict it will be between UKIP and Tories for first place in Torbay.

  28. I predict that UKIP will be absolutely nowhere in a poor 3rd, possibly 4th.

    Infact I think the idea of UKIP beating the LDs (or the tories) is no less than preposterous.

  29. I wouldn’t understimate UKIP in this seat, but they are likely to be squeezed btween the Libems and Tories. UKIP may have a better chance in the following General Election if the Conservatives defeat the LibDems in 2015.

  30. I feel pretty confident that HH has got it about right.

  31. Well 9 months time we’ll see who’s right.
    Torbay is less than prosperous already.
    Joe R Torbay is actually shamefully top of the shop in the UK for households on the edge of poverty that’s with aTory lead council and what a joke about the Lib Dems they were nearly thrown out on their ears after their last performance,our local paper put every Lib Dem councillors photo on the front page with the header RESIGN….Anybody could do a better job , I hope UKIP do get in because they could never make such a disgraceful mess up as our past contestants have done…

  32. Torbay council has a recent history of giant swings against incompetent councillors, but Adrian Sanders seems to have avoided being tarnished this far.

  33. “Torbay is actually shamefully top of the shop in the UK for households on the edge of poverty”

    I suspect that’s complete and utter horseshit. Do you have a link to the data?

    Though not so wealthy as some neighbouring districts, Torbay nevertheless remains a pleasant and relatively prosperous place. In comparison with the long, sorry list of faded seaside resorts we’re continually discussing on here – Blackpool, Cleethorpes, Yarmouth, Hastings, Margate etc – Torquay and Paignton remain very nice places where families still go on holiday rather than being taken over by the homeless and B&B problem cases.

    UKIP have the potential to do quite well, but not the same potential as somewhere like Yarmouth which has degenerated into much more of a shit hole. Sanders is well dug in locally and will retain a sizeable personal vote from many who would not countenance voting Tory.

  34. Actually you are wrong for a change Hemmelig. Torbay ranks pretty highly on deprivation indicies.

    On a scale of 1 (Most deprived) to 32482 (Least) The wards in Torbay has no less than 12 in the bottom 10%.

  35. Oops sorry – they aren’t actually wards – but regardless the urban centres of both Torquay and Paignton are pretty deprived.

  36. Paignton is certainly not my idea of a very nice place (though nearby Goodrington is).

    Joe is absolutely right re deprivation- lots of deep reds on the deprivation map in Torbay. Looking at the census data, you see that Paignton and urban Torquay have significantly above average levels of unemployment too.

  37. H Hemmielig It’s alarming isn’t it? Maybe you may understand more when you realise that after 6 months of anyone moving to Torbay the council have a duty to take that family on,for everything, including all the benefits they are entitled too etc. so after 6 months families are catered for,this is government policy that should be looked at again.

    I wish were more like Jersey because at one time you would have to have a certain amount in your bank account to move to Jersey,I don’t know if the same applies now.
    This is a ripple effect because of the height of immigration in our cities, families from deprived areas are moving away & coming down to the south west,Torbay.

    We have no big factories or big employers here either so work is very sparse.

    I would ‘love’ to have agreed with you that Torbay isn’t deprived it’s terribly sad to see a place go from what you describe to what it is today,so I hope you understand our anger at the government and our unitary council for ignoring it. That’s why we in Torbay have to have change and we can only see that through UKIP.

  38. The idea that UKIP are the answer to that problem is totally laughable.

  39. It is an exceedingly complicated and difficult issue to answer – restricting immigration within a soverign nation is totally unthinkable and would be a ridiculous barrier to employment and will rightly never happen.

    Constructive thinking rather than narrow minded anger is what is needed – how will torbay attract big employers, how to attract more tourists etc. etc. UKIP are not good at constructive thinking. Saying the first rant that comes into your head will not help Torbay nor anyone else.

  40. A bit like a battered coach without any seats and the driver pushing it.

  41. I don’t like to see this site used for canvassing, for UKIP, the Tories, Labour or anyone else.

  42. Joe, it’s far from ranting,I get my facts right first ,just because they are not your views you cannot say they are rants, they are facts whether you like that or not.
    We’re all entitled to our views,sarcasm shows ignorance.

    H H What was it horseshit! More like ignorance on you part!

  43. Just a word of advice – you won’t last long on this site if you pick fights with Barnaby, H. Hemmelig and the Comments Policy all at once.

  44. Forecasting election results isn’t facts. It’s forecasting. You’re entitled to your view that UKIP are going to do better in this seat than the LDs, but clearly it isn’t an unbiased one, and I’d be pretty confident in saying that it will be proved comprehensively wrong. The wind does seem to be out of UKIP’s sails at the moment, but that doesn’t mean to say that it won’t return.

  45. The deprivation map Joe linked to clearly shows that many faded seaside resorts are more deprived than Torbay – Blackpool for example.

    Yes there appear to be quite a few deprived neighbourhoods in the centre of Torquay and Paignton but the parliamentary seat also includes some areas which are shaded as among the least deprived.

  46. PS Andrea

    I was accusing UKIP in general not you specifically for being prone to ranting. As Barnaby says – this site is not for political discussion, I mention this just so you know I was not insulting you personally.

  47. The situation in Torbay has become extremely complicated over the last few weeks.

    Essentially up until recently it seemed as if in 2015 the Tories would walk it with the directly elected mayor and that Adrian Sanders the Lib Dem MP would have a bit of a fight on when it came to holding the parliamentary seat.

    All now seems very different. Gordon Oliver the mayor has produced what many on his own Conservative side have called a slash and burn budget. He has also got himself mired in serious accuations of conflicts of interest involving his girlfriend Linda Hill who runs a toursim association that is rival to the main tourism company (which the mayor is now trying to shut down).

    The situation has been electrified and Mayor Oliver is facing serious revolt form amongst his own councillors with accusations that an extreme right wing cabal is running things in Torbay. Extraordinarily for a Conservative, the Mayor has picked fights with many different business leaders and it seems incredibly as if the business vote will not go to the Conservatives in Torbay.

    This is a wonderful example of how local issues can completely confound expectations. The Liberal Democrat infrastructure has all but collapsed in Torbay and yet they are now apparently in a much stronger position when it comes to holding the seat. The Conservatives are the only party to have anything resembling a party machine yet the impressive work of Kevin Foster their PPC has been systematically destroyed. Many Conservative voters apparently favour a modest rise in Council tax to protect services and find themselves strangely allied to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.

    With the polls remaining tight nationally and the next general election remaining too tight to call, events in constituencies such as these will be of disproportionate significance.

    I would suspect that Conservative party chiefs will remove Torbay as a possible realistic target. That, or leave Gordon Oliver in a locked room with a loaded revolver.

  48. At last, Ashcroft has polled Torbay. Interesting-

    LD 30
    Con 30
    UKIP 21
    Lab 15

    So neck and neck between Conservatives and Lib Dems with Lib Dems clearly losing votes both to UKIP and to Labour.

  49. Could well end up a 3 way marginal

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