Westmorland & Lonsdale

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16245 (33.2%)
Labour: 2661 (5.4%)
Lib Dem: 25194 (51.5%)
Green: 1798 (3.7%)
UKIP: 3031 (6.2%)
MAJORITY: 8949 (18.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Liberal Democrat seat

Geography: North West, Cumbria. Most of the South Lakeland council area.

Main population centres: Kendal, Windermere, Sedbergh, Kirkby Lonsdale, Ambleside.

Profile: A large rural seat in Cumbria. The seat includes Kendal, Windermere, Sedbergh, Kirkby Lonsdale and Ambleside, but not the historic county town of Appleby-in-Westmorland. It also includes Lake Windermere, Coniston Water and much of the Lake District. The local economy is largely based on agriculture and tourism.

Politics: In 2005 the Conservative shadow minister Tim Collins was defeated in this seat by a tiny majority, the lone victim of what had been described as a Liberal Democrat decapitation strategy against Conservative frontbenchers in marginal seats. In 2010 the new Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron managed a further huge swing in favour, making this into a solid enough Liberal Democrat seat to withstanding even their 2015 drubbing.

Current MP
TIM FARRON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1970, Preston. Educated at Lostock Hall School and Newcastle University. Former manager in higher education. Lancashire councillor 1993-2000, South Ribble councillor 1995-1999, South Lakeland councillor 2004-2008. Contested North West Durham 1992, South Ribble 1997, Westmorland & Lonsdale 2001. First elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in 2005. PPS to Menzies Campbell 2006-2007, President of the Liberal Democrats 2010-2015. Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18632 (36%)
Lab: 1158 (2%)
LDem: 30896 (60%)
UKIP: 801 (2%)
MAJ: 12264 (24%)
Con: 22302 (45%)
Lab: 3796 (8%)
LDem: 22569 (45%)
UKIP: 660 (1%)
Oth: 309 (1%)
MAJ: 267 (1%)
Con: 22486 (47%)
Lab: 5234 (11%)
LDem: 19339 (40%)
UKIP: 552 (1%)
Oth: 292 (1%)
MAJ: 3147 (7%)
Con: 21470 (42%)
Lab: 10459 (21%)
LDem: 16949 (33%)
MAJ: 4521 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ANN MYATT (Conservative) Educated at Bookwell School and Leeds University. Consultant dermatologist. Contested Hemsworth 2010.
JOHN BATESON (Labour) Educated at Kendal Grammar School. Semi retired examiner and teacher. Contested Westmorland and Lonsdale 2001.
TIM FARRON (Liberal Democrat) See above.
CHRIS LOYNES (Green) University lecturer.
Comments - 1,107 Responses on “Westmorland & Lonsdale”
  1. To be fair they didn’t. It was largely the broadcast media.

  2. Goodness me, Plop, you can pull the strings. One slightly critical comment and he’s gone!

  3. Lol.

  4. I imagine Plop’s life as a staunchly Tory student in this day and age is an interesting one. At least he’s got prescient powers to make up for it.

  5. Ha ha.

  6. Surely Ed Davey will put his hat in the ring as the centre-right candidate

    And Pitt is right – being leader meant Farron was unable to put his time into the constituency duties that had made him so popular in 2010 and 2015

  7. Yes, Farron has been treated pretty shabbily (particularly as the LD’s performance was not as bad as some predictions). That said, politics is a brutal game and this will almost certainly be electorally advantageous for them.

  8. Swinson is 1.66 on betfair (60% likliehood )

  9. Do people honestly think Cable will stand? Surely he realizes that 74 is too old to lead a major party.

  10. I find it very disappointing that Tim Farron has been forced out this way. Apparent elements of intolerance in the Lib Dems over his religious beliefs is a concern and it precipitates a difficult leadership election, with potentially another GE around the corner.

    I think there is a real risk that anyone who reneged on the tuition fees promise which includes the likes of Swinson would take the Lib Dems backwards. Maybe the next election will be wipeout territory?

  11. I would not be surprised if it was a coronation for Swinson (unless she decides not to run). I think Ed Davey is the only other semi-viable candidate, but what does he offer that Swinson doesn’t? Layla Moran looks very promising but this has obviously come too early for her.

  12. Farron was a mediocre leader. LD support fell from 10-11% to 7.5% during the campaign and as a result potential return of 20+ seats was lost. He lost the narrative around his views on homosexuality and abortion and as a result I am glad, as a Lib Dem, he has stood down.

  13. He was squeezed, simple as. Although both Con and Lab moved towards their base at this election, superficially leaving a huge chasm in the middle to exploit, in the end it turned out not to be that way as millions turned out for Con/Lab in a bid to stop the other one.

  14. Polltroll has the right of it in this. The Lib Dems need a leader who has a bit more popular appeal and doesn’t — like Farron or Miliband — just seem a bit odd (I say that with respect to both; good men, good parliamentarians, not terribly good leaders).

    The Lib Dems need to be better about generating headlines: innovative policies, provocative ideas, not being afraid to take risks.

    Then, they need a wide and deep strategy, by which I mean: both ruthless targeting and a broad-based campaign to regain a core vote of ~10% are doomed. They need to regain a core vote AND target seats, probably in a “general build up” then “in campaign, target hard” play. We’ll see.

  15. The Lib Dems look pretty stuffed to me except in a select few seats of a particular demographic. How they hold on there depends how Brexit goes.

    I suspect they are actually seen as an irrelevance (and actually slightly negatively which is new) almost everywhere else.

  16. True.

    Even in cities they ran and seats they had all of the cllrs in in 2000, their PPCs saw their votes halve from 2% to 1% last week.

    Indeed I’ve now counted 6 seats where the LDs used to hold the seat where they lost their deposit this time. That must be unheard of (to fall so rapidly of a cliff edge so quickly).

  17. Which six, Lancs?

  18. I honestly don’t think it was his Christianity that did for him. It was his seemingly illiberal views on homosexuality whether they were real or not. Plenty of party leaders in the recent past have been religious and it hasn’t hurt them.

    I hope Lamb throws his hat into the ring again, although I’m sure it would be doomed to failure. Swinson has the right image.

  19. Clearly the Lib Dems are up to their usual hypocritical tricks, booting out their anti-gay leader so they can blather on about the disgraceful homophobia of the DUP.

    Personal votes for Cable, Lamb, Davey and Lloyd and the retreat of the SNP are all that saved them from a catastrophic drubbing with sub 5 seats. Farron was the worst Liberal leader since the war.

  20. As a gay person, I couldn’t care less re: Farron’s private views on homosexuality. The fact is that he has always been very liberal regarding gay rights and he hasn’t let his private views affect his voting record.

    He’s very, very different to the bigoted crackpots of the DUP.

  21. None of that means my comment is wrong though.

    The Lib Dems are now going to be eagerly asking all the questions about homosexuality being a sin etc to Arlene Foster, hoping the public forget that Farron has spent 2 years squirming and lying in response to the same questions.

  22. My point was that Farron could at least point (in good conscience) to a voting record that is supportive of gay rights. The DUP MP’s obviously can’t do the same thing.

    You almost seem to be implying that the big bad Lib Dems will be ganging up on the sweet innocent DUP MP’s who are heroically helping out the Tories, although I’m sur that’s not the tone you are trying to strike.

  23. Former LD/Alliance seats where they lost their deposit in 2017:

    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
    Colne Valley
    Isle of White
    Leicester South
    Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
    Bradford East

  24. Tristan – sadly there’s hypocrisy all round though.

    Stonewall etc continue to moan about Simon Hughes over the By-election all of these years later.

    At least Tatchell points out that he respects Hughes to due to his voting record over 30 years.

    In relation to NI it’s more of a mixed picture than you suggest. There were 2 votes on ssm and 4 Unionists in fact supported the measure whereas some SDLP & Alliance members voted against and abstained – but I realise some Labour activists never let facts get in the way of shouting bigot or fas*ist at other parties.

    The logic of the Left’s argument is that 1% of the Country should never be allowed to play any part in the running of their own Country. Can you imagine the uproar if a Tory said this of a minority group.

  25. Mr Pitt – Isle of Wight, Liverpool, Scotland etc.

    LDs scraped a deposit in a few others (eg 6% in Redcar).

  26. Lancs if you want to attack the left please do it in your own time. This forum is not the place if you’ve an axe to grind.

  27. “You almost seem to be implying that the big bad Lib Dems will be ganging up on the sweet innocent DUP MP’s who are heroically helping out the Tories, although I’m sur that’s not the tone you are trying to strike.”

    I am saying nothing more than that the Lib Dems continue to behave like hypocrites who take the public for fools. The DUP supporting the government does throw up awkward questions about government impartiality in NI and IMO that is a bigger issue than what their views may be on minority issues.

  28. The secretary of state in NI appears to have been told by SF and SDLP that they can’t mediate the deal in Stormont as they no longer hold an impartial authority

  29. Lancs: Where apart from Berwickshire in Scotland? I think they held their deposit in Gordon, AWAK, Ross, Inverness and A&B… They even held it in Dunfermline & West Fife.

    You can add Brent Central to your list, though (but the real embarrassment there was the decline in ’15).

    The Lib Dems need to go broad, rebuilding a core vote. I think a popular leader could do that, the problem being that in these days we really don’t seem to have much predictive ability on that front.

  30. Farron’s problem was his continually inept and, to many people, ambiguous statements about human sexuality. This continued even into his resignation statement, where he couldn’t just say something blunt (which might have been “as a Christian, I can’t keep telling lies the way party leaders are expected to”, just as much as “I think you’re all sinners and I need to tell you so”), he had to say something foggy and obscure.

    Someone said, above, “The fact is that he has always been very liberal regarding gay rights and he hasn’t let his private views affect his voting record.”

    Well of course, that’s not quite true. His voting record hasn’t been good at all.

  31. “Farron’s problem was his continually inept and, to many people, ambiguous statements about human sexuality.”

    it was one of his problems for sure, perhaps the main one when it comes to attracting left-leaning votes.

    But he had many other failings which deprived him of a large number of potential votes from the centre and centre-right. In summary he was just way out of his depth, a leader well suited to Winning Here in a parish council by-election but just not up to the standard required for national leadership.

    I hope Lamb gets the leadership, IMO Swinson is over-rated.

  32. The problem for Tim Farron is that his brand of Christianity is really not mainstream in Britain… Most Christians I know think sin is a bit of an outmoded concept.

    I say that as someone who voted for him in a Leadership contest on the basis that honouring the tuition fee pledge was a good deal more important.

    “His voting record hasn’t been good at all.”
    I believe that is confined to one abstention where Tim’s amendment on the rights of registrars was not carried. Lets not exaggerate…

  33. It’s a sad and pathetic state of affairs indeed when, in the midst of the really serious challenges we face, we’re obsessively poking into who voted which way on every minor amendment to gay rights legislation. But the Lib Dems enthusiastically have lived by this sword in the past so I’ve little sympathy with Farron dying by it.

    The gays have won their battle for equality and nothing realistically threatens what they have achieved, with the exception of militant islam. Certainly not the DUP supporting a Queens Speech. Time we moved on from all this.

  34. Re Gay sex: Farron should have just simply said, “..on the whole, it’s alright..’ & left it at that.

  35. Ha ha. He would have looked quite funny saying that. But you’re right, Labour muslims like Khan seem to be able to handle this issue well enough.

  36. “The gays have won their battle for equality”.

    What a ridiculous comment to make. The battle for quality is certainly not over, when hay couples are still verbally and physically attacked for holding hands on the street, and when young gay teens are far more likely to commit suicide.

    I think it’s right for people to speak out for equality and to challenge unwelcoming attitudes at every opportunity.

  37. There’s probably more homophobia out there than we realise, but our middle-class filter bubbles render it invisible to us.

  38. ”There’s probably more homophobia out there than we realise, but our middle-class filter bubbles render it invisible to us.”

    Well there is still a fair amount of casual homophobia e.g. using the word ‘gay’ in a pejorative way but most people even the working class I don’t think really care any more. Of course the section of society where homophobia is still extremely bad is the Muslim community (people getting disowned for dishonouring their family or even worse threatened with death) but of course it is ‘Islamophobic’ to suggest there is a problem…

  39. ”What a ridiculous comment to make. The battle for quality is certainly not over, when hay couples are still verbally and physically attacked for holding hands on the street, and when young gay teens are far more likely to commit suicide.”

    The battle for legal equality is won. However there are still problems with ‘practical equality’. The biggest problem is in schools which still virtually ignore it as an issue and teachers won’t even speak about it. At my school for example people would make casually homophobic remarks and the teachers would typically say nothing beyond telling them to be quiet and get on with their work. The complete failure of the school system to address LGBT+ issues (I have no idea how many letters they’ve added on nowadays) is probably a huge contributory factor to the high suicide rates amongst gay teens.

  40. I’m glad other people have taken issue with the rather flippant comment by HH. I thought I was the only one who felt it was misplaced.

    Peppermintea is completely right re: homophobia in schools being a bit of a last taboo.

  41. The government can’t force people to like homosexuals and nor should it. Its job is to ensure equality under the law and severe penalties for homophobic abuse and by and large the law is already there. What more do you guys want?

  42. Hmmmmm. I could say a lot here but I’ll keep it to myself..

  43. ”What more do you guys want?”

    As I said in my previous post schools are a massive problem area. It simply isn’t discussed to the extent it should be and consequently many young gay people feel isolated and alone (I speak from experience). There is very little repercussions for homophobic abuse either as teachers broadly don’t seem to want to/don’t know how to deal with it whereas they do take racist abuse very seriously (as they should).

    Nobody thinks that people should be made to love gay people (well maybe the authoritarian left) but there should be equality under the law, actual repercussions for homophobic abuse and a good standard of information for LGBT+ youth. You are correct equality under the law has been achieved but the actual repercussions for homophobic abuse are still lacking in areas (e.g. schools and probably certain work places). Education for gay people though is diabolical, there is very little support in terms of how to ‘come out’ to your parents and generally coming to terms with your feelings. That is even before you get on to sexual health information, for straight people it’s very bad anyway but for gay people it’s non-existent.

  44. ”You are correct equality under the law has been achieved”

    Apart from smaller things like blood donation,.

  45. This is going to seem a bit random but if the Isle of Man were not a crown dependency and a unitary authority in the United Kingdom instead how do we think they would vote at Westminster elections?

  46. Probably for a regionalist, Manx-specific party. The only organized party is a Lib Dem sister party called Liberal Vannin (perhaps I am deficient, but I have no idea what Vannin means — is it a Manx word?), but I doubt that would translate to a win overall. Most likely a regionalist and centrist party would win, but if not, then Tory/LD would be the best guess.

  47. If the Isle of Man was a supersized oversized seat of its own could it feasibly be a Tory/Lib Dem marginal if it voted for the UK parties?

  48. More or less what I said. But, again, I think it’d vote for more a Plaid or MK-type party.

  49. I see what you’re saying. So it would of course be very much a nationalist seat. I wonder whether Labour would get much of a vote?

  50. I think the comparatives would be things like Westmoreland, Ceredigion, West Aberdeenshire, or Orkney & Shetland.

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