Twickenham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25580 (41.3%)
Labour: 7129 (11.5%)
Lib Dem: 23563 (38%)
Green: 2463 (4%)
UKIP: 3069 (4.9%)
Christian: 174 (0.3%)
Others: 26 (0%)
MAJORITY: 2017 (3.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Richmond on Thames council area.

Main population centres: Twickenham, Teddington, Hampton.

Profile: The seat consists of the part of the Borough of Richmond-on-Thames that lies to the north of the River Thames. This is prosperous and leafy suburbia, with high house prices, a high proportion of graduates and little social housing. The seat has two major film and television venues - Twickenham Studios, a venue for the filming and production for many high profile films and Teddington Studios, a television studio now owned by Pinewood. The seat also includes Twickenham Stadium, the world`s largest dedicated Rugby stadium, and Hampton Court Palace and its grounds.

Politics: Twickenham was historically a safe Conservative seat but was won by Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats in the Tories` landslide defeat of 1997. Cable was one of the most high profile Liberal Democrats, was business secretary in the coalition government and became one of the most high profile casualties of the Liberal Democrats` crushing defeat in 2015.


Current MP
TANIA MATHIAS (Conservative) Educated at St Pauls Girls School and Oxford University. Former doctor. First elected as MP for Twickenham in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 20343 (34%)
Lab: 4583 (8%)
LDem: 32483 (54%)
UKIP: 868 (1%)
Oth: 1444 (2%)
MAJ: 12140 (20%)
2005
Con: 16731 (32%)
Lab: 5868 (11%)
LDem: 26696 (52%)
GRN: 1445 (3%)
Oth: 947 (2%)
MAJ: 9965 (19%)
2001
Con: 16689 (33%)
Lab: 6903 (14%)
LDem: 24344 (49%)
GRN: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 579 (1%)
MAJ: 7655 (15%)
1997
Con: 21956 (38%)
Lab: 9065 (16%)
LDem: 26237 (45%)
Oth: 886 (2%)
MAJ: 4281 (7%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
TANIA MATHIAS (Conservative) Educated at St Pauls Girls School and Oxford University. Doctor.
NICK GRANT (Labour) Barrister.
VINCENT CABLE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1943, York. Educated at Nunthorpe Grammar and Cambridge University. Chief economist for Shell. Glasgow councillor 1971-1974 for the Labour party. Contested York 1983, 1987, Twickenham 1992. MP for Twickenham 1997 to 2015. Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor 2003-2010. Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats 2006-2010 and acting leader following Ming Campbells resigination in 2007. Secretary of State for Business since 2010.
BARRY EDWARDS (UKIP) Businessman.
TANYA WILLIAMS (Green) Educated at Bryanston School and Cambridge University. Human rights student.
DOMINIC STOCKFORD (Christian) Pastor.
DAVID WEDGWOOD (Magna Carta) Contested Bermondsey 1983 by-election.
Links
Comments - 572 Responses on “Twickenham”
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  1. JJB has asked before why I’m so pessimistic on the British economy and why I think it will have such a detrimental effect on the government of 2015-2020.

    These ONS stats are the basis of my thinking:

    Industial production (2009 = 100)

    March 1988 98.6
    March 2013 98.5

    Not much change there during the last generation but here’s something which has changed:

    Retail sales (2009 = 100)

    March 1988 56.5
    March 2013 103.0

    So how have we managed to fund that rise in consumption ?

    Government debt

    March 1988 £167.4bn (and falling)
    March 2013 £1,185.8bn (and rising)

    So over a trillion quid more on the state debt and add on another trillion quid more in houshold debt.

    At some point economic reality arrives and it wont be pleasant. All the political posturings about ‘growth’ are merely discussions about what style the Emperor’s new clothes are in.

  2. Vince Cable will not need to worry at all in 2015. He will be in home and dry.

  3. So how is our Twickenham correspondent enjoying being referred to as a ‘swivel-eyed loon’.

  4. Ooooh, you are awful

    (with apologies to Dick Emery)

  5. I wouldn’t use such people, as they are very wrong, and doing damage.

    However, we need to support the PM in the Conservative Party.

    Sorry I have only today seen your post Richard on the economy.
    It is likely there is a slow recovery underway which will reduce the deficit, although not the debt.

    Manufacturing can play a part in that too as costs are starting to rise in “low cost” countries which are less flexible, but this is obviously very long term, and there’s always a new threat round the corner.
    I work in IT, which admittedly is not manufacturing, but we are bringing work back in house because it’s not worth it very much anymore.

  6. “However, we need to support the PM in the Conservative Party.”

    The political equivalent of battered wife syndrome.

  7. Well Richard, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
    Everyone knows perfectly well that the alternative is electoral suicide.
    The Prime Ministers ratings are actually not bad if you look at nearly all the opinion polls.

    It is a serious situation – but I remember 1993 – one county council left – today we have 18.

  8. JJB 1993
    “However, we need to support the PM in the Conservative Party.”

    JJB 2013
    “However, we need to support the PM in the Conservative Party.”

    Although Cameron is achieving something Major never did – splitting the right wing vote.

    But keep on being loyal to a man who looks down on you if it makes you happy. To me though loyalty is a two process.

  9. “It is a serious situation – but I remember 1993 – one county council left – today we have 18.”

    I wonder how many counties the Tories would have retained if, as in 1993, the counties still included the major urban areas that are now unitaries.

    Certainly more than 1, but a lot less than 18 I would guess.

  10. Fair point but I think most of those were NOC anyway this time and looks like devon could have absorbed plymouth and torbay

  11. I guess essex could have been very tight oif it included thurrock assuming southend was neutral

  12. The difference being that the much poorer level of Lib Dem support in 2013 would have still allowed the Tories to hold the likes of Surrey and West Sussex.

    Plucking a figure from the air I’m guessing that under 1993 boundaries the Tories might have held 9 or 10 councils.

  13. Yes the irony is that ukip also damaged the lib dems and helped partly prevent a better placed protest party from making the seats breakthrough that happeneds in 1993. You are right leicestershire would certainly have been lost.

  14. Hampshire could have been problematic too

  15. How about Staffordshire including Stoke.

  16. Staffordshire
    Essex
    Hampshire
    Leicestershire
    would be loss to NOC.

    The C/LD areas would generally be ok for Con
    but the Labour supporting towns where the Con vote never really recovered would be hard to absorb.

    Haven’t been through the rest yet…

  17. 1993 2013

    Labour 41% 29%
    Con 31% 25-26%
    LD 24% 13%
    Others 4%
    UKIP – 22-23%

    Conservatives were also hit hard by tactical voting in 1993.
    The Allilance vote was higher and the Tory share almost the same in 1985.

    The 1993 elections were very ominous though. I knew immediately that the Gvt wouldn’t recover, because of the tactical voting.

  18. ‘The 1993 elections were very ominous though. I knew immediately that the Gvt wouldn’t recover, because of the tactical voting’

    The Tories suffered from a similar ‘pincer’ movement in 1997 – and it probably cost them at least 40-odd seats

    Voters seemed to dislike the Tories so much in 97 that they would vote whichever of Labour and Lib dem, or SNP/PC seemed better placed to beat them

    Labour didn’t seem to suffer from this in 2010

  19. Yes,
    what would be interesting is to work out the reverse,
    are there any counties in the existing format which the Tories would have held in 1993.
    I think none.

  20. If I recall correctly, the Conservatives gained control of Bedfordshire in 1997 only because Luton was removed and there was no net increase in their seats, which would suggest that absent Luton they would have retained a majority there in 1993. I would have to check figures at home though.

    “Staffordshire
    Essex
    Hampshire
    Leicestershire
    would be loss to NOC.”

    Not sure about Essex. There are 42 Conservative held seats and 33 held by other parties. Other parties would therefore need a big majority in the seats from Southend and Thurrock. The Tories would probably have won around half the seats in Southend, but rather few in Thurrock. I expecte UKIP would have gained a number of seats in both places.
    Hampshire has a slightly larger lead – 45 / 33, but the Conservatives would have won few seats in Southampton and a minority in Portsmouth so that would have been close too.
    In Kent the position is 45 / 39 which is quite tight and Medway could cost them that majority. However on the evidence of other parts of the county Labour would not have done all that well, but UKIP might have gained seats there too.
    I think the Tory leads in North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Buickinghamshire are large enough to withstand any problems from York, Swindfon and Milton Keynes, likewise probably Shropshire re: Telford & Wrekin and agree with Joe that the Tories would probably have held Devon even with Plymouth and Torbay included but both those places can be very erratic and UKIP can do well too. Bournemouth and Poole wouldn’t give the Tories any trouble in holding Dorset (because the LDs did poorly in these kind of areas)
    There are six counties where this makes no diffference as they are the same now as in 1993 (Herts, Northants, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey and West Sussex). Worcestershire with a pretty small majority was of course with Herefordshire then so the Conservatives would have needed just under half the seats in Herefordshire to retain their majority there, which is as likely as not.
    In addition one should remember there were other counties in existance then which are not now. Bedfordshire has been mentioned and that would be hard for the Tories now with hardly any seats in either Luton or Bedford. Avon would not have a Tory majority, Humberside might conceivably and Berkshire almost certainly would.
    Labour would probably have a majority in Lancashire with Blackburn and Blackpool included and would have a good chance in Staffordshire too with Stoke included.

  21. “Labour 41% 29%”

    Labour only got 39% in 1993 – it was only when Blair replaced John Smith that Labour made the big breakthrough.

  22. Incidentally have the Conservatives ever before controlled the North Lincolnshire area but not the Lincolnshire area simultaneously ?

  23. Thanks for that post Pete.

    I noticed you’ve missed Cheshire and Cleveland out of the counties that no longer exist.

    Would it be possible for you to apply this years results to the old Metropolitan County Councils and the GLC as well please?

    I’m guessing Labour would have won overall control in all of them.

  24. Good heavens that’s going to take Pete all year.

    The GLC would be near impossible to calculate, not just because there were no elections in London but also because the GLC was last fought on 1974 boundaries.

    That said, on current parliamentary boundaries Labour would have won a small overall majority of seats in London even in 2010 so it’s highly likely they would have done so in 2013.

  25. Thanks Pete for these figures.

  26. H.HEMMELIG, I get what you’re saying that that would probably be an impossible task.

    I’ve based my statement that Labour would probably have won overall control of all of them simply on last years election results and accounted for opinion poll changes since then.

  27. I deliberately missed out Cleveland as the question of whether or not the Tories might have a majority there wasn’t worth considering, but I had forgotten about Cheshire. I assume this would have been NOC on the old boundaries, though with Warrington and Halton there would be some chance of a small overall Labour majority I should think

  28. “H.HEMMELIG, I get what you’re saying that that would probably be an impossible task.

    I’ve based my statement that Labour would probably have won overall control of all of them simply on last years election results and accounted for opinion poll changes since then.”

    Like I said, it depends on the electoral system used for the GLC had it not been abolished in 1985.

    Had FPTP been retained as the electoral system presumably the boundaries would have moved in line with Westminster, in which case Labour would probably have a good overall majority.

    However if a PR or top-up system was adopted as indeed the GLA now uses, then Labour definitely would not have an overall majority.

  29. Off-topic I know, but it’s beginning to look like my previous projections – based upon historical precedent – may not save Cameron after all (though I think he’s probably still favourite to recover to a popular vote lead by 2015). The Tory in-fighting over Europe and gay marriage has reversed the recent trend of a narrowing Labour poll lead.

    Time will tell if this will have long-term consequences, but Cameron needs (somehow) to put a lid on this. The defection of six Tory councillors to UKIP in Merton could well, if repeated elsewhere, start to shift the tectonic plates and seriously split the centre-right vote. That said, there was no clear evidence from the local elections that UKIP were taking more votes from the Conservatives than from Labour, but it will start to happen if all of their defections are from the Tories as that may help to cement their image as a blue-rinse type party.

    The irony is that by undermining Cameron the Eurosceptics are reducing his chances of obtaining an overall majority in 2015 which, in turn, reduces the chances of a EU referendum.

    Interesting times.

  30. “but it will start to happen if all of their defections are from the Tories as that may help to cement their image as a blue-rinse type party.”

    Yes that is a good point.

    Whilst UKIP would love large numbers of ordinary Tory members and voters to “defect” to them, I’ve a feeling they will start to get choosy about whether they accept Tory councillors and MPs into the fold, precisely for the reasons you state.

    If UKIP basically morphs into the party of Bone and Dorries it can kiss goodbye to its potential to win Labour votes in the industrial north.

  31. “If UKIP basically morphs into the party of Bone and Dorries it can kiss goodbye to its potential to win Labour votes in the industrial north”

    But many people up north would agree with remarks made by Bone and Dorries. It’s the rest of the Conservatives they dislike, and judging by Lord Feldmans suspected remarks, it seems that the feelings mutual.

    That said, UKIP do not want to be seen as the Tory party take 2.

  32. “But many people up north would agree with remarks made by Bone and Dorries.”

    They might agree with what they say, but very many people in the likes of Barnsley and South Shields will swear never to vote for a Conservative until their dying day.

    If UKIP becomes dominated by former Conservative MPs mostly from the south of England then they will lose their potential in this kind of place.

    Of course “the north” is a much bigger place than Labour’s industrial heartland. Dorries and Bone may well go down quite well in North Yorkshire or the Pennine marginals.

  33. ‘If UKIP basically morphs into the party of Bone and Dorries it can kiss goodbye to its potential to win Labour votes in the industrial north.’

    It already has hasn’t it?

    It’s certainly far departed from the centrist anti-EU party DR Alan Sked had in mind when he founded it – having morphed into the closest thing we’ve got in this country to the extremist Tea Party Movement in the US

    There’s nothing in the UKIP manifesto that should, or is even intended, to appeal to non-right wing voters – whether they are from the North, Midlands or South

  34. An anti-Europe, anti-immigration, socially conservative and somewhat protectionist manifesto certainly does appeal to an element of the “old Labour” vote – albeit an element that is dying out.

  35. Your point about the Counties covering urban areas is a vital one
    but the perception is there is still a decent patch of blue across the Tory heartland
    which can be important in avoiding panic.

    1990 suggests it works for a bit anyway.

  36. But UKIP add market economics and hostility to the welfare state to the mix and that won’t help in terms of Old Labour votes

  37. “If I recall correctly, the Conservatives gained control of Bedfordshire in 1997 only because Luton was removed and there was no net increase in their seats, which would suggest that absent Luton they would have retained a majority there in 1993. I would have to check figures at home though.”

    I checked and can confirm that the Tories would have retained a majority in Bedfordshire in 1993 if Luton was excluded. This is irrelevant of course, because Bedfordshire county council no longer exists

  38. “But UKIP add market economics and hostility to the welfare state to the mix and that won’t help in terms of Old Labour votes”

    Old Labour voters value hard work and supporting yourself and your family honestly. This group was certainly not happy with the New Labour created culture of allowing people to live a life dependant on benefits for evermore.

  39. It’s amazing what some people think was done by the last Labour government. They didn’t actually do very much at all. Most of what it gets blamed for, apart from obvious things such as devolution, the minimum wage & our distinctly military adventures, have generally started well before they came to power. The idea that there was no immigration or people abusing the benefits system before Tony Blair became PM is not accurate at all.

  40. “The idea that there was no immigration or people abusing the benefits system before Tony Blair became PM is not accurate at all”

    Of course there were benefit cheats/scoungers and immigration before Blair. It just escalated to new heights once he was in power. The buzzword for Blair and his disciples must have been ‘mass’. Mass immigration from anywhere in the world, mass state dependancy, mass debt….

  41. “Of course there were benefit cheats/scoungers and immigration before Blair. It just escalated to new heights once he was in power.”

    And now that Blair/Brown have left power and we have a Tory-led government, the welfare bill is escalating to even greater heights.

    Whilst Labour did some very reckless things to make the problem much worse – massively expanded family tax credits and housing benefit, free travel for pensioners, winter fuel allowance etc etc – the embryo of the problem goes way back to the de-industrialisation of the late 70s and early 80s, and arguably even before then.

    Despite the high profile problem of benefit dependency and scroungers, what the government will not admit is that a much bigger difficulty is the ageing population and the consequent massive burden of future pension liabilities (both state pension and public sector pensions), and NHS costs.

    I’m afraid that even if we caught every benefit scrounger in the UK it wouldn’t make much difference to this central problem. Understandably no government feels confident telling today’s 30 and 40 year olds that they probably will have little or no pension – either state or occupational – and little or no free health care when they are in their old age.

  42. I think the Medway area would have cost us Kent actually

  43. I cannot disagree with any of that HH. A sad state of affairs.

  44. At least I suppose people of our age bracket are more mentally prepared for what is to come.

    Today’s pensioners (taking my own parents as a good example) seem blissfully unaware that if these problems to come to a head in a sudden crash, their state and public sector pension payments could end overnight.

    Indeed, the weight of pensioners trying to avoid such an outcome is undoubtedly the only reason Greek voters have not voted to leave the Euro.

    We could expect a similar intergenerational fight here if there is ever a choice between delaying an inevitable bankruptcy and biting the bullet and starting from a blank sheet.

  45. HH is spot on re the above. I work for a large pension scheme and, to give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem, just our 20,000 members create an additional liability of some £60-£70m if one increases the mortality assumptions by one year.

    The ONS reported public sector employment standing at some 5.8m in June 2012. So multiply £60m by c.300 and you start to get a real feel of the problem.

    It is a massive problem…..although interestingly when I talk to friends of a similar age to me (covering a wide variety of professions) the one thing that seems to be universally recognized is that is our state provision at retirement will be negligible. HH however is right to point out that if occupational schemes are threatened, the effect on current consumption levels would be damaging.

    And indeed the threat isn’t just from unsustainable financial promises…..it’s also from governments trying desperately to find new sources of revenue (note Ireland now levies a 0.5% annual tax on DB pension schemes, albeit this is only meant to be for three years).

    The answer, as with so many ostensibly political arguments, is to look beyond politics and the simple left and right wing divide. We need to raise the retirement age far more quickly than we are doing – when the welfare state was established I believe the average man died at 69….now that figure is somewhere around 81-83. If we raised the retirement age to 70, an individual could still expect nearly three times (and rising) the time in retirement than that witnessed two generations ago. It doesn’t seem an unreasonable trade-off to me. It transcends politics, it’s just demographic common sense.

    And corporate pension schemes need to be allowed to do the same. Sure, it will benefit companies and there’ll be plenty on the left who won’t like it – but if we want a whole swathe of people on average incomes to feel secure that they’ll receive the occupational pension scheme that they expected, we need to burden on companies quickly, as the current burden is unsustainable for many.

  46. Corrections re the final paragraph – corporate pension schemes need to be allowed to raise their retirement ages.

    We need to ‘ease’ the burden on companies.

  47. A superb post.

    The problem is that people today are not comparing with people in 1950 who retired at 65 and died at 69. That’s beyond the reach of almost anyone’s personal memory now.

    They are comparing with their father who retired from his job at 60 on a good final salary pension who can maybe expect to live to 85 or 90 and enjoys several foreign holidays a year.

    As you say, a completely and utterly unsustainable situation. My view is it could easily come to an end with a sudden jolt in a few years time, catching current pensioners in the tailspin, rather than rumbling on over decades as most people seem to assume.

  48. My father has decided to retire at the grand old age of 51. I doubt I will manage within a decade of that.

  49. That’s too early.

    My uncle retired as a senior council official at 50 – to some extent pushed out by local authority reorganisation in the 1990s – on a very comfortable pension.

    However he just couldn’t get used to being retired at such a young age and eventually developed severe mental health problems which continue to this day. He has been in an out of mental hospitals the past few years.

    Hope it works out better for your dad.

  50. He was pretty senior in BT, project leading billion pound contacts and was just getting cheesed off with the organisation.

    I think he plans on becoming an electrician in his dotage rather than retiring fully!

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