2015 Result:
Conservative: 26247 (46.2%)
Labour: 3780 (6.7%)
Lib Dem: 18662 (32.8%)
Green: 2331 (4.1%)
UKIP: 5644 (9.9%)
Independent: 76 (0.1%)
Others: 81 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 7585 (13.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Somerset. Part of Mendip council area and part of Sedgemoor council area.

Main population centres: Wells, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Burnham on Sea.

Profile: A largely rural Somerset seat that includes the mendip hills and part of the Somerset levels to the South. Wells is England`s smallest city - a pleasant cathedral city at the foot of the mendip hills with a population of only around 10,000. The seat also includes the town of Glastonbury with its famous festival and its links with mysticism and Arthurian legend; Shepton Mallet, associated with the cider industry and the production of Babycham; the village of Cheddar, famous for giving its name to the cheese and for the Cheddar Gorge.

Politics: The seat has traditionally been Conservative, but was briefly held by the Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015. Arguably the seat would have fallen to the Liberal Democrats in 1997 were it not for a strong performance by the then Labour candidate Michael Eavis, the dairy farmer who has organised the Glastonbury festival since 1970.

Current MP
JAMES HEAPPEY (Conservative) Educated at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, Bristol and Birmingham University. Former project manager and army officer. First elected as MP for Wells in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 23760 (43%)
Lab: 4198 (8%)
LDem: 24560 (44%)
UKIP: 1711 (3%)
Oth: 1635 (3%)
MAJ: 800 (1%)
Con: 23071 (44%)
Lab: 8288 (16%)
LDem: 20031 (38%)
UKIP: 1575 (3%)
MAJ: 3040 (6%)
Con: 22462 (44%)
Lab: 7915 (15%)
LDem: 19666 (38%)
UKIP: 1104 (2%)
Oth: 167 (0%)
MAJ: 2796 (5%)
Con: 22208 (39%)
Lab: 10204 (18%)
LDem: 21680 (38%)
Oth: 92 (0%)
MAJ: 528 (1%)

2015 Candidates
JAMES HEAPPEY (Conservative) Educated at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, Bristol and Birmingham University. Project manager and former army officer.
CHRIS INCHLEY (Labour) Born Somerset. Educated at Radstock College. Gardener. Mendip councollor.
TESSA MUNT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1959, Surrey. Legal Executive specializing in landlord and tenant issues. Contested Suffolk South 2001, Ipswich 2001 by-election, Wells 2005. MP for Wells 2010 to 2015.
JON COUSINS (Green) Born Somerset. Business Development worker.
PAUL ARNOLD (No description) Private investigator.
GYPSY WATKINS (Independent) Singer.
DAVE DOBBS (Birthday Party) Born Lewes. Educated at Longhill High School. Puppeteer. Contested Bristol mayoralty 2012.
Comments - 225 Responses on “Wells”
  1. Whilst Munt’s reaction may be slighty overcooked (maybe she could have avoided the r word), the MP’s attitude towards the schoolgirl reflects badly on them and is hardly a vote winner, playing into the ‘nasty party’ narrative whatever one’s views on Scottish independence are.

  2. He’s a nobody and it will be tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.

  3. Frankly, her reaction is not incredibly important. She expressed outrage; that’s what you’d expect. What’s important is him: both politically and personally, you’d expect an adult to know better, and we can, I hope, agree that our political leaders should not be attacking schoolchildren.

  4. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the County Council Election results, which point to a strong Conservative win in Wells.

  5. True although it’s been mentioned multiple times on here (and elsewhere) that local elections aren’t always the best indicators of GE voting intentions. Eastleigh and Stevenage in 2015 being two stand-out examples.

    Not that I think the Lib Dems have a hope in hell of regaining this one next month

  6. Isn’t the conventional wisdom that LDs tend to do better in local elections than national?

  7. Quite a bit. Hence I don’t think they’ve any chance here (or pretty much anywhere else for that matter)


    If you were to approach a Scotsman in the street and say something similar, it’s possible you’d end up on a racially aggravated public order charge. It does seem an ill-judged remark by Mr Heappey.

  9. “If you were to approach a Scotsman in the street and say something similar, it’s possible you’d end up on a racially aggravated public order charge.”

    Don’t be bloody daft. If every Scot who’d ever told someone to f-off back to England was charged, half of Scotland would have a criminal record (including more than a few SNP politicians).

    This is a non-story, and a counter productive one for the left. The average English voter will agree with Heappey though his language was somewhat blunt and unprofessional. Gobby cybernats of the type jeering all through last week’s Question Time deserve to get some of their own medicine.


    I’m just stating what the legal position is. Don’t think your response is strengthened by swearing. While there may be some merit in your argument, the average voter would not expect their MP to be “somewhat blunt and unprofessional” either.

  11. My narrow point was that this won’t do heappey any harm in his actual constituency. I think he’ll add to his majority.

    My broader point is that the kind of moral outrage expressed by Munt suggests that she is unlikely to win this type of seat.

    Besides all this, it was fear of a labour government propped up by the SNP that led to the Tories sweeping the southwest in the first place… Expressing forthright anti snap views is probably a vote winner in Somerset. I am not in any way condoning the MPs boorish behaviour. I confess I found it quite amusing, even if highly unprofessional. No doubt I will be denounced as a evil racist bigot by the worthy progressive alliance posters on this site

  12. “I am not in any way condoning the MPs boorish behaviour.”

    Nor I, but there are few so boorish as the noisy end of the SNP, as countless examples during and since indyref have showed us. This was no ordinary Somerset girl, her father is described as a big supporter of the SNP hence I can well imagine how she was trying to provoke a reaction.

  13. Lexboz1310 – but you are not (simply stating the legal position).

    You’re stating what you want it to be.

    Complaining to the police that you think something is racist does not make whatever you heard an offence. Indeed Blair’s additional racially and religiously aggravated elements to offences are little used, as actually using them means a defendant is less likely to be convicted at all than if they’d just been charged with a public order offence that has served us well for over a century.

    Although these days 1% of police time must just be taken up with complaints from politicians about what another politician said.

    If I was police I’d start charging the complainants with wasting police time. eg the city mayor in Lpool has complained to police on 8 occasions, 5 of them alleging racism. Needless to say no charges were brought.

  14. Mr Pitt – re LD HQ apparently being confident despite the polls.

    Well that’ll be about as accurate as they and Paddy were in 2015 even after the exit poll!

  15. PT – oh it’s fairly consistent (that at least 10% of the Country don’t know who the PM is at any one time).

    I’ve met them, in fact I’d estimate a hundred by now over the years – and apparently this is why this Q was dropped from those asked by medics examining dementia or concussion.

  16. I don’t share the view that heappey’s blooper won’t cost him anything, I know tory-voting older members of my family who would find his language horrifyingly vulgar (the “f off”, they’d probably be fine with the “back to scotland” part…)

    Munt’s sanctimonious response is better suited to an Islington audience, though. Together with the “remoaner” posturing of the Lib Dems I think they aren’t helping themselves in seats like this.

  17. They must have been horrified by David Cameron swearing then (he did so three times on air, including the ‘too many tweets make a….’)

    To be serious though, I do know some voters who would be offended – they all happen to be WWC relatives in their 80s who have never sworn. One of them actually stopped voting Labour in the locals in the ’90s because the canvassers were scruffy and he heard one swear.

  18. They won’t not vote conservative because of his vulgarity, really? It won’t weaken his vote. The meta message is that he is a robust opponent of the SNP, which will benefit him in Wells.


    I am not stating what I want the law to be, but an interpretation of what the law actually is. My work involves criminal law and there is an argument the Scots constitute a racial group. Whether such a remark to the Scotsman in the street would actually be charged is debatable but the possibility exists.

  20. Let’s all note that some on here, simply because they don’t like the SNP, aren’t willing to completely condemn a grown man cursing at a school child. Shameful.

  21. Mr Pitt,

    Get a f*cking life! I’m a grown man. Question is, are you a schoolchild?

  22. Calm down PC. Your outburst is childish, no?

    I think JH actually said it in jest not anger, but it was stupid as the media aren’t always gonna tell you that. He also apologised unreservedly as he should do, it was crass.

    It won’t win him any votes because it was to a schoolgirl not a SNP politician – although hardly a child, as she was a 6th former. That won’t stop the faux outrage of Sturgeon et al, who’s already been talking about it.

    Shall we draw a line under this now?

  23. The LibDems seemed to start this General Election by targetting Wells as a good prospect in the South-West.

    The current YOUGov poll puts the Conservatives on 48% here, the LibDems on 35%, Labour on 16% and the rest nowhere.

    This implies that the LIbDems simpply aren’t getting anywhere in the South West. They are being pushed back onto South-West London, on a number of seats that can be counted on one hand.

    It appears that the LIbDems have become the party of the international establishment. You can’t get much more establishement than Wells, but it isn’t the international business establishment.

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