Wells

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
2010
Con: 23760 (43%)
Lab: 4198 (8%)
LDem: 24560 (44%)
UKIP: 1711 (3%)
Oth: 1635 (3%)
MAJ: 800 (1%)
2005
Con: 23071 (44%)
Lab: 8288 (16%)
LDem: 20031 (38%)
UKIP: 1575 (3%)
MAJ: 3040 (6%)
2001
Con: 22462 (44%)
Lab: 7915 (15%)
LDem: 19666 (38%)
UKIP: 1104 (2%)
Oth: 167 (0%)
MAJ: 2796 (5%)
1997
Con: 22208 (39%)
Lab: 10204 (18%)
LDem: 21680 (38%)
Oth: 92 (0%)
MAJ: 528 (1%)

Demographics
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.
HELEN HIMS (UKIP)
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.
Links
Comments - 225 Responses on “Wells”
  1. The LibDems don’t use dirty tricks because they are a nice party

  2. Bollocks.

    I saw the “three jobs Bob” campaign quite close up when I lived in Bromley. The Lib Dems were shameless.

  3. Anyone who thinks what Teddy just said should get into the nearest available time machine, and either go back to about 1990 in Tower Hamlets, or 1983 in Bermondsey.

  4. The LibDems don’t use dirty tricks because they are a nice party

    Teddy can’t be older than 21 or 22…i think he’s being ironic, tbh. no one can be so fatuously partisan and naive about any party.

  5. Teddy is obviously jjb.

  6. I don’t think you can conflate the issue here with a ‘nasty’ campaign. If these accusations are true, the Conservatives are breaking the law in Wells.

  7. H.Hemmelig, what on earth was so repugnant about pointing out Bob Neill’s multiple roles in 2006?

  8. Regardless of the Lib Dems’ own faults (many), Iain is right. It would be blatantly illegal.

  9. In that case I expect the Lib Dems to hand over whatever evidence they have to the police and let the law take its course. Indeed it’s surprising they haven’t done so already rather than just complaining to the Prime Minister.

  10. Tessa Munt has resigned as a PPS after voting against the Govt on fracking.

  11. No doubt a convergent and convenient mixture of both political and ideological factors.

  12. Does any of her constituency have known shale gas reserves, which developers would want to drill for exploration?

  13. As a matter of fact, yes. Possibly quite a lot.

  14. ‘No doubt a convergent and convenient mixture of both political and ideological factors.’

    But fair does to her on this…

    I think she might be thanked for it once the area has been fracked and the residents suffer the constant earthquakes that will be the result

    Sadly by then, she’ll be long gone – replaced by some Tory whose got money invested in one of the UK’s fracking companies no doubt!

  15. evil tory capitalist pigs!

  16. I was half-joking with my last point Peter – but it’s funny that the same people who are so keen on fracking are the same people who 10-15 years ago didn’t believe in climate change, and then who five years ago once it was essentially proved, said they didn’t believe it was caused by human activity

    with the uk needing to find more ways of accessing fuel i’ve no doubt that in the coming years the country will be fracked left, right and centre. I just hope all those people who are so keen on fracking now will remain so if the country does start to suffer earthquakes as a result left, right and centre

    the uk’s simply too densley-populated to take that risk

    apparently the greens are bigger supporters of it in new zealand

  17. Tim, I don’t think earthquakes are a result of fracking. Poisoned water clearly is, however.

  18. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6f7b68a0-d49c-11e4-a87e-00144feab7de.html#axzz3W3qp95Y0

    “No Lib Dem candidate exemplifies the ultra-local approach more dramatically than Tessa Munt, Liberal Democrat MP for Wells, who has “gone rogue” in the Somerset hills and is fighting a campaign so focused on her own brand that one would hardly know she was a Lib Dem at all.”

  19. This seat could now realistically be a wildcard for a ‘shock’ Lib Dem hold, a la David Heath in next-door Somerton and Frome in three consecutive elections.

  20. CON GAIN

    LD – 33
    CON – 39
    LAB – 9
    UKIP – 11
    O – 8

  21. Narrow Conservative gain I expect, although a hold for the Lib Dems isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.
    I certainly hope Tessa Munt clings on 😉

    Conservative: 36%
    Liberal Democrat: 35%
    Labour: 14%
    UKIP: 11%
    Green: 3%
    Others: 1%

  22. Tessa Munt will need Labour voters to vote tactically for her to keep the Tories out!

  23. Dannyws:

    True – but that’s always been the case. Look at the figures for previous elections above. Prior to 2010 the Lib Dem vote was stuck at 38%, and from 1997 – 2005 the Labour vote was 15% or more despite the closeness of the contest. Munt was the first Lib Dem candidate in this seat to break the 40% barrier. (Perennial candidate Alan Butt Philip failed to achieve that in 5 attempts!). Given that (despite claiming horse manure on 2nd home expenses) David Heathcote- Amory’s vote hardly fell, her victory was based on squeezing the Labour vote. To hold, she has to retain over 5/6th of the non Conservative vote.

  24. My friend Neville lives in Wells and he really hopes Tessa Munt holds on too. He’s been to her surgery a few times and said she’s really quite accommodating..

  25. CON win

  26. Thanks for the “value added” and in-depth analysis

  27. Just giving my predictions 🙂

  28. Maybe some more keystrokes might give your predictions more weight…

  29. Let’s be honest. Which party has not resorted at some time in some place to dirty tricks? Take East Dunbartonshire for example. When the Council was run by the Lib Dems they introduced fortnightly collection of the landfill waste bins. Despite the fact that there were several Labour-run Councils which had done the same thing, the local Labour Party cynically campaigned against the policy creating all sorts of scaremongering such as plagues of rats. After the next elections, Labour formed the administration along with the Tories (Yes, another Lab-Con pact.) – who had also promoted the rats fear – and immediately restored the weekly collection. Several years later, guess what the Labour-led Council did? Yes. They re-introduced the fortnightly bin collection. Rats? They were quietly forgotten about.

  30. @ Antiochian – The Tories held this seat for some time. The Lib Dems are down in the polls and there is no ‘Clegg effect’ this time around. Outside of the Bristol area, Plymouth and Exeter City areas, Labour holds no sway in the South West and hence Tory win in this area.

  31. The Clegg effect lost seats last time… Cleggasm turned into ED (Electoral Dysfunction)

  32. I’m surprised that you say that. Clegg’s ratings and those of the Lib Dems soared after the first TV debate last time around.

  33. Con gain 2500

  34. Fracking has done good things for the USA economy (and also driven the oil price down)….but it is a big country and mostly performed many miles away from populated areas…

    There appears to be large oil reserves in Kent and Sussex…perhaps both CON and LAB are banking on this in order to pay for their promises – !!!

  35. Fracking in the current market is totally uneconomic, even in much of the USA. Best to leave the UK reserves untapped until we really need them.

    Politically Labour will find it far easier to exploit the Sussex shale gas than the coalition, though it may cause them problems in Brighton/Hove against the Greens.

  36. “I’m surprised that you say that. Clegg’s ratings and those of the Lib Dems soared after the first TV debate last time around.”

    It entirely went to his head (and still inspires him somewhat).. It resulted in the lulling into a sense of self-confidence that resulted in a net loss of seats and a sense of adulation amongst his groupies that carried him forward despite it.. even though it was four years later and much grief in between it even drove the ill-fated debates with Farage last May.

    Nick made the classical political mistake of believing his own propaganda.. hubris awaits..

  37. It is because today’s party leaders are too inexperienced (both in & out of politics) when they get the job. In the past leaders had seen all these ups and downs many times before and it would not have gone to their head.

    I have a dislike of Clegg the person but find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says…suspect it’s the reverse for you Antiochian.

  38. Whilst clegg emerged as the clear victor of the 2010 debates he reaped scant electoral reward, largely because most people were pissed off with labour and saw voting tory as the best way of kicking them out. There’s no evidence however that the debates actually harmed the lib dems. I suspect george will hang on here. I think George will hang on here

  39. I agree that it will ultimately cost Clegg now, but the TV debates definitely won him more seats at the last GE…I believe that it could be possible to transport all Lib Dem MPs’s into a 12 seater minibus after the next GE

  40. Then you are expecting Cameron to have 313 seats (about 10 more than now)….given you expect him to stay in government. Lib Dems will not work with either UKIP or DUP. If LDs are on 12 they will have roughly the same as DUP+UKIP so at 313 seats Cameron would have a choice who to work with.

  41. HH.

    There is NO evidence that Lib Dems will not work with either UKIP or DUP.

  42. Except the evidence that they have categorically said that they will not?

  43. but they also categorically said they wouldn’t raise tuition fees

  44. Con gain, 2400

  45. There is absolutely no question whatever of the Lib Dems working with the DUP or UKIP. I actually believe Clegg here; anyway if he tried to (assuming he holds Sheffield Hallam), he’d almost certainly face a revolt in his party.

    The more important question is whether the Lib Dems (and of course Labour) can work, even if indirectly or surreptitiously, with the SNP. This will almost certainly need to happen to keep the Tories out. In that at least Nicola Sturgeon is right.

  46. The Labour tactical voters will not support Tessa this time around. She is quite strong on green issues though and might pick up some of those 631 votes. Despite the fact she seems a better candidate than her opponent unless she has persuaded lots of previous Conservative voters during the course of her incumbency then she is going to lose.

  47. Conservative Gain. 5,000 maj.

  48. Munt loses by 8000 – yet another seat where Lib Dem ramping proved hopelessly wrong….

    Also it seems from the results to date that scepticism of Ashccroft’s 2-part polling question has proved entirely justified…

  49. I’m not sure why it took them 13 hours to count the result when it wasn’t close and no candidate was around 5%.

  50. Tessa Munt has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate again for the next election

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