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. I tend to think that both the tories and LD’s will poll above the Ashcroft poll numbers as they squeeze other party support. Obviously this would be to a far more limited extent than previously. I did actually have this down as an outside UKIP chance but I think that was probably too optimistic in light if this poll.

  2. Labour will do well to hold onto their share of vote here IMO. They may get support from immigrants of the english kind, but I doubt it will be enough to offset the loss of protest votes to ukip.

    Whether that has any bearing on who will win the seat I have no idea but I doubt it will be ukip.

  3. Labour vote is depressed here somewhat due to a high proportion of tactical voting and their percentage was really low at the last election considering the low wage economy in this area. I suspect it will increase nearer to that polled by Ashcroft. UKIP appear to be gaining support from both the blues and yellows with substantial campaigning already under way and the winner may come down as to who is able to clawback the most support from Ukip.

  4. I don’t think a good UKIP performance would necessarily harm the Conservatives here. I think a lot of Lib Dem support here will be working-class and could well be at risk from UKIP. I’d be very interested to see how UKIP did in Watcombe for instance.

  5. I cannot find a marginal where ‘the experts’ are so close in agreement with each other & agree that it will be very close – % share prediction
    LIB DEM..34%
    probability of winning: LIBDEM…57% CON…43% % share prediction
    LIB Dem.31%
    CON……. 32
    probability of winning: LIBDEM…44% CON 44%

    LIB DEM…4/5

  6. while labour has never had any sort of vote here, as devon boy and tory have alluded, tactical voting here has meant that much of the working class vote does go lib dem – which presumably puts them at a greater risk of losing votes to ukip

    as all recent polls show, this really could go either way although if I had to bet I’d back Sanders, as he has long defied those who have predicted his demise at every election since he won in 97

  7. UKIP held their 2015 UKIP SW Conference in Torquay.

    “UKIP Chairman Steve Crowther quoted that the four places in the UK where UKIP had the highest votes in the European Elections last year were all in Devon.They were Torbay,Plymouth,North Devon and Torridge.”

  8. Ashcroft CVI:

    LD 34
    CON 33
    UKIP 17
    LAB 11
    GRN 3
    OTH 1

  9. A fairly squeaky one for the LDs, but I suspect they’ll scrape through.

  10. Still think it will be really, really close. Maybe squeeze on ukip seeing a higher proportion returning to Lib Dems, maybe all still within MoE?

  11. wonder if the mayoral election being held on the same day might have any impact on this one. Gordon Oliver isn’t exactly well-liked round here

  12. CON win

  13. Wasn’t the Tory candidate here involved in a scandal/gaffe last time? I was surprised to see he’s a candidate again (although I realise a few who lose in a marginal seem to be given two or three seats)

  14. are you thinking of 2001 when the Tory candidate got arrested for a firearms offence?

  15. No, I meant Foster in Coventry.

  16. Hi All, Interesting to read your comments, it is going to be an interesting election. Not sure what Lancs Observer is on about, but given his account name suggests he is not totally in touch with bay politics. There was an incident back in 2001 as mike indicates, but I was not the candidate.

  17. Maybe Lancs is conflating the 2001 Tory scandal here with Adrian Sanders getting into a well publicised brawl at the Lib Dem conference a few years ago with an orange booker.

  18. Election Husting at Riviera Life Church on Sunday 3rd May 2015…

    Start time – 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm)

    Election candidates attending will be;
    – Kevin Foster (Con)
    – Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem)
    – Sue Maddock (Lab)
    – Anthony McIntrye (UKIP)
    – A Representative (Green)

  19. Con gain, 300

  20. Care to finesse that a bit more? why not 307… or 288?

  21. UKPR posters who are making predictions are commonly rounding to the nearest hundred.

  22. Kevin Foster – thanks for replying, as it’s quite rare to see a Candidate on here.

    I was certainly thinking of yourself pre-2010, but as it was said by a colleague I won’t repeat it, as it’s hearsay.

    As for my profile name, I make no secret of my location and area of work, in the same way as your biog above lists that you were a Coventry City Cllr 2002-2104. Or are you the local choice here now?

  23. To be fair, also states he was born and educated in Plymouth which is only a local Derby away!

    Suspect this is recount territory!

  24. the mayoral and council elections are being held on the same day. The incumbent mayor (Conservative) doesn’t exactly have a great record – wonder if this could have any impact on the constituency result?

    Gut feeling is LD hold with a majority of about 200-300 but could be proved wrong. Almost certainly recount territory imho

  25. LD hold. Majority of 2,000 or so.

    Liberal and Democrat: 40%
    Conservative: 36%
    UKIP: 12%
    Labour: 10%
    Green: 2%

  26. Lib Dem Hold. 1,000 maj.

  27. To close to call..

    UKIP’s effect here will be crucial but I don’t know enough about the demographic…will the Tory’s denegration of UKIP voters ( Closet racists/Fruitcakes/Little Englanders ) seal their fate here…

  28. Agree with the radio guy.

    I’ve been accused of being overly optimistic about the LDs elsewhere, but I think Torbay is a dead heat and am surprised to see so many lean towards the LDs and so few against them.

    The performance of the two contenders has historically been quite volatile (the Tories lower in 2005 than 1997, LD share yo-yo-ing up and down 10 points between the last three elections with no correlation at all to national ups and downs), so by Con-Lib two horse standards the ABT vote is much less bankable than in comparible races. And the impression I get is that the tactical element here is more “anything but the big two” and less “well there’s no point voting Labour” than some other Con-Lib contests in the region, which given the rise of UKIP makes the size of the LD share less predictable still.

  29. Not as close as expected but in step with the Lib Dems results overall.

  30. Back in March 2014, I commented “9/4 available with Ladbrokes on the Conservatives to win. That’s very generous.”

    Question to H Hemmelig: Do you still consider my comments to be “tripe”? And to Barnaby Mander: Do you still think he was”completely correct”?

  31. Yes, also boringly partisan.

  32. It was a good betting tip though (Con majority over 3000)

    It was in my portfolio of around a dozen seats where I went for Conservative gains from the Lib Dems or Labour. Only two (Newcastle under Lyme and Wakefield – always a long shot) didn’t come off.

  33. Undoubtedly so. But it relied on the kind of Lib Dem disaster which seemed unlikely at the time. If the Lib Dems had held 20 or 25 seats I’ve little doubt both Bermondsey and Torbay would have been amongst them. As you said elsewhere, 2020 may not be very happy for them now they have been pretty much wiped out.

  34. ‘If the Lib Dems had held 20 or 25 seats I’ve little doubt both Bermondsey and Torbay would have been amongst them’

    That’s a really daring statement to make – !!! Had the Tories won 650 seats then I’m sure that Liverpool Wavertree would have been amongst them – !!!!! I fancy a top job at You Gov and I will use this statement in my application letter…£250K per annum here I come – !!!

  35. Hemmelig is right. At a time when the LibDems had lost about 3 quarters of their national support from 2010, nobody could have foreseen a seat with an 8 % majority falling.

  36. @H Hemmelig

    “Also boringly partisan”

    That’s about as accurate as your earlier opinions turned out to be, since it describes a betting tip on the Conservatives to beat a Lib Dem from a Labour supporter.

  37. Moaning on about non-existent austerity is boring and partisan in my book.

    That argument was comprehensively defeated so I don’t see why we have to go back over it for the next 5 years.

  38. It’s interesting that while the story the polls told about Con/Lab support was widely accepted, the story they told about the Lib Dems wasn’t.

    Apparently myths about incumbency, local ground games etc etc. were somehow easier to swallow than suggestions based on non-national polling evidence that Labour were going to do badly.

    I think it had a lot to do with people using the polls (or some of them, anyway) to validate their preconceptions/hopes/fears.

  39. @Neil Turner
    “That’s a really daring statement to make”

    Indeed, but you can make all the daring statements you like so long as you don’t back them up with cash. Had he done so (as I did), in constituency after constituency he would be licking his wounds now.

    Actually I don’t mind people making daring statements. I just object to them routinely insulting others while doing so. Words such as “tripe” and “moaning on about” and the like.

  40. Looking back at the national polls, I’m not sure about the LabCon aspect, but the LD part was bang on right. For a long time we were told they’d never fall below double digits, there would be a government party swingback, and even then if there was a fall, it would take place only where they didn’t have seats and all sitting MPs would be immune.

    I suppose it’s human nature to seek evidence for what you want to believe.

  41. To be fair H Hemmelig did make some bets and unfortunately we drew 1-1 in ours and so the bet was void – !!

    The polls were indeed correct with the Lib Dem percentages. In fact, I did state on a thread that if they only polled 8% then you could fit all of their surviving MP’s in a 12 seater minibus, with obvious consequences.

    I predict that the Lib Dems will creep back up the poll ratings, although I would be surprised if they got much (if anything) above 20 seats at the next GE

  42. To be fair, if people are talking about the polling consensus, that also included Ashcroft polls, which, at least on the CVI, suggested the Lib Dems would do significantly better than 8 seats. There were not a lot of posters who specifically predicted fewer than 20 Lib Dem seats.

  43. I remember watching the coverage at the start of the night and a lady from the Great British Election Study or something was explaining that their research had shown that contrary to popular belief, LD incumbents were not resisting the tide.

    Which didn’t exactly tally with Ashcroft’s CVI.

  44. True. The mistake most people made was in assuming that the two stage VI question that Ashcroft adopted was the best way to do constituency polling. I’d imagine that this election has shown that a 1 stage process without named candidates works best.

  45. Since everyone seems to be digging themselves ouyt if their graves I think I’m entitled to point out
    1) i always thought the Tories would win – to much riduculre from the usual suspects

    2) I always maintained to much ridicule that UKIP take just as many Labour votes (and lib Dem votes) as they do Tory votes – a point vindicated by the election

    3) I got Lib Dems wtring and never expected them to come out of it quite as bad as they did., i did say one week prior to the election that i had a hunch that they were facing annahlation

    I just wish I put my money wher my mouth is, especially about a year ago when you could get really good odds for Tory holds in a wide range of their marginal seats which they ended up winning quite comfortably

  46. Yes the two stage question appears to have been a complete red herring.

    The real irony is the Lib Dems were constantly saying that question two was understating their support by not naming candidates – when the opposite was the case.

    ‘I just wish I put my money wher my mouth is, especially about a year ago when you could get really good odds for Tory holds in a wide range of their marginal seats which they ended up winning quite comfortably’

    I got

    Hastings and Rye at 6-1,
    Weaver Vale at 5/1
    N Warks 5/1
    Corby 6/1
    Bolton W 5/1

    ..barmy odds.

  47. Brilliant odds really – it’s very rare bookies are so generous

  48. Absolutely…

  49. LOL I can’t believe how prophetic all my forecasts of doom and utter annihilation for the Lib Dems on this site two years ago have turned out to be- if anything though, I still wasn’t ever pessimistic enough about them!

  50. Funnily enough, this was one I got right (there weren’t all that many so I might as well make the most of it). I reckon there was considerable LD to UKIP switching on those Torquay council estates.

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