2015 Result:
Conservative: 25203 (48%)
Labour: 9594 (18.3%)
Lib Dem: 5486 (10.4%)
Green: 2592 (4.9%)
UKIP: 9366 (17.8%)
Others: 311 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 15609 (29.7%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Somerset. The southern half of the North Somerset council area.

Main population centres: Weston-super-Mare, Blagdon, Winscombe, Churchill, Congresbury.

Profile: The constituency is mostly made up of the large Victorian seaside town of Weston-super-Mare and torism remains a mainstay of the economy, especially since the closure of the Westland helicopter factory in 2002. The Grand Pier burnt down in 2008 but was redeveloped and reopened in 2010. Just south of the town there are also plans for a new Leisuredome and indoor ski-slope on the site of the former RAF Locking. Like many declining seaside towns there is hardship here, especially in the large council estates to the South of the town. There are also drug and crime problems stemming from the large amount of drug rehabilitation units here, in 2009 Weston-super-Mare reportedly had 11% of the drug rehabilitation places in the whole of the UK.

Politics: For most of its post-war history Weston-super-Mare was a safe Conservative seat. However, the Liberal Democrats increasingly cut into their majority in the 1980s and 1990s until finally winning the seat in 1997. Brian Cotter (now Lord Cotter) was the Lib Dem MP here for two terms before the Conservatives reclaimed the seat in 2005.

Current MP
JOHN PENROSE (Conservative) Born 1964, Sudbury. Educated at Ipswich School and Cambridge University. Former director of a publishing company. Contested Ealing Southall 1997, Weston-super-Mare 2001. First elected as MP for Weston-super-Mare in 2005. Minister for Tourism 2010-2012. Government whip since 2013.
Past Results
Con: 23356 (44%)
Lab: 5772 (11%)
LDem: 20665 (39%)
UKIP: 1406 (3%)
Oth: 1517 (3%)
MAJ: 2691 (5%)
Con: 19804 (40%)
Lab: 9169 (19%)
LDem: 17725 (36%)
UKIP: 1207 (2%)
Oth: 1190 (2%)
MAJ: 2079 (4%)
Con: 18086 (39%)
Lab: 9235 (20%)
LDem: 18424 (39%)
UKIP: 650 (1%)
Oth: 285 (1%)
MAJ: 338 (1%)
Con: 20133 (38%)
Lab: 9557 (18%)
LDem: 21407 (40%)
MAJ: 1274 (2%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JOHN PENROSE (Conservative) See above.
TIM TAYLOR (Labour) HR manager.
JOHN MUNRO (Liberal Democrat) Born 1983, Bristol. Educated at Wyvern School and Keele University. Works for the British Retail Consortium.
ERNIE WARRENDER (UKIP) Runs an IT support firm. Contested Bath 2010.
RONALD LAVELLE (English Democrat)
Comments - 37 Responses on “Weston-Super-Mare”
  1. Mike Bell has been reselected as the Lib Dem candidate.

  2. No-one ever mentions this one… we have had much banter in the “seaside resort seats” but this one didn’t get a mention… Dare I say it but the UKIP was was VERY low here last time… any boost could carve into the Conservatives rather thin majority….

    It has rather Eastbourne-like credentials in my opinion… (i.e. seaside with less decrepitude)

  3. My prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 43%
    Liberal Democrat- 37%
    Labour- 14%
    UKIP- 5%
    Others- 1%

  4. Labour has polled more votes than the Lib Dems in all elections in this constituency since 2010.

    Labour also have more Councillors and are second on the Town Council.

    Local councillor Tim Taylor has been selected as the Labour candidate.

  5. The Lib Dems have not declined noticeably from 2007, which was the really bad year here. In 2011 they lost all three seats in WSM South Worle to the Tories, but gained both in WSM Central (including for Mike Bell) and all three in WSM West.
    Traditionally the largish number of Labour and Green local voters have been happy to back the LDs at Parliamentary level here.

  6. Timothy Taylor finished 5th of 6 for Labour in Hutton & Locking, 74 votes behind his running mate
    Mike Bell finished 1st of 7 in Weston Super Mare Central, 111 votes ahead of his running mate (possibly his wife?)

  7. Antiochan has a good point on this one. Results, though, I’m not sure how you can think the LDs will only be down by two. I’d think it’d be around:

    Con 34
    LD 30
    Lab 20
    UKIP 13
    OTH 3

  8. Timothy Taylor is a truly splendid name & I have enjoyed many pints of his eponymous beer in my lifetime.

  9. PT – I have no notion why you think that Labour can poll 20% in this seat. That would mean doubling their share of the vote from last time and reaching the heady heights of their performance here in 2001. I cannot think why the staid voters of WSM would have such enthusiasm for them.

  10. Labour seem to have a core of around 20% here, polling well even n ’05, resisting any squeeze message. That said, I don’t think Brian Cotter was the most active campaigner, so Mike Bell may do better at keeping the vote low.

  11. Labour have retained some council seats here in pretty much all of their worst years, without ever making a serious bid to win – I should have thought their vote would be pretty low outside a couple of wards in Weston itself, as opposed to the smaller towns.

  12. I don’t know this area but it looks like a pretty ridiculous prediction – a kind of inverted Winds of Change Eastbourne.

  13. Okay, maybe I was wrong. It certainly looked plausible to me: Lib Dem defectors plus a rising Labour vote anyway? I guess others didn’t see it that way, and I’m happy to be corrected on this one, although I do take offense to being compared to Winds of Change.

  14. The sheer number of LibDems PPCs bailing is amazing. Three in Somerset alone..

    Having left the party this week myself to join the LIberal Party (and I am told there are others) it would seem the dissatisfaction with Clegg refusing to go is now having serious consequences. The party is so far behind with its PPC selections that the last thing it needs is to have to go back and redo the ones it had previously thought settled.

  15. It’s nice to have a Liberal Party poster here apart from Steve Radford who rarely comments except about his own constituency.

  16. What were your reasons for switching, especially to the Liberals? It’s interesting for us political birdspotters (nerdspotters?) Do you feel the Liberal Democrats are totally doomed or might you consider rejoining?

  17. The sheer number of LibDems PPCs bailing is amazing. Three in Somerset alone..

    I haven’t noticed it being particularly high, I think it’s just that there have been two (plus Swales) in a short space of time.
    Who is the third in Somerset? Bell, Yong, ???

  18. Thanks… hopefully up to the task… I would not be surprised if there might even be a few high profile activists shifting (though no MPs)..

    with the LibDem leadership even sort of conceding next year will be a debacle the issue is whether activists want to spend a year of hard slog to market a leader they don’t believe in, while MPs could most charitably described as either stunned mullets (in the context of challenging leadership) or sheep (on issues like DRIP)..

    DRIP will be the last straw for many because the party has been so pompous in crowing about stopping the snooper’s charter and then embracing it now with little more than a facile name-change…

  19. The Lib Dems have now selected John Munro for this seat-

  20. Two people (or so it seems) attempted to get themselves nominated as a joint candidate for this constituency. They were disqualified from standing.


  21. That link for the SOPN doesn’t seem to be working. I’ve shortened it:


  22. I think there could be a pretty big swing from LD to UKIP here but it won’t threaten the Tory position.

  23. I think that you that will be right in that prediction. It’s been very quiet on this page, very little chatter about this constituency. Most likely Penrose’s seat as long as he wants it now.

  24. When I was a child, I spent many a happy summer frolicking on the beach of Weston-Super-Mare with the boys. The donkeys were always the highlight for me and I loved nothing more than trekking over the sand. And, to this day, my partner Derek says I’m still a dab hand at riding.

    Back to this seat, little doubt that the Tories will hold on. I’d expect same placings as before, although much closer between LDs and Labour, and UKIP behind on 8 or 9%.

  25. Conservative Hold. 5,000 maj.

  26. Both the Tories and Labour did quite well here, with a collapse of mega proportions in the Lib Dems’ vote to sink them into fourth place- and to think this was a seat they held for 8 years as recently as 2005.

  27. With regard to Mr Gropecock’s contribution above, it had occurred to me that since Dud & Pete died there haven’t been that many Derek & Clive partnerships. l smell a rat.

  28. It is in a way incredible to think the Lib Dems ever won this seat looking at the figures we have here today. This looks like yet another case of the local party working extremely hard over a longterm period, a strategy that won them scores of other South West seats over time e.g. Bath, Cheltenham, Torbay and Yeovil to name four. Another thing that sticks out is the fairly decent result the Lib Dems achieved here in 2010 with a new candidate- Mike Bell, who had previously done well in Woodspring against Liam Fox in 2005. If MB had still been candidate this time round, their collapse may not have been as catastrophic, because to increase the vote share after the defeated MP had gone was commendable- the result was quite static though with John Penrose’s incumbency; something similar happened in Torridge and West Devon.

  29. @ The Results I know it’s a long time ago, but in this part of the West Country between 1945 and 1970 or 1979, the Labour Party clearly had a solid base of support and was traditionally seen as the Anti-Tory party. This is why in 1966 Labour nearly won such seats as Bath, Tauton, North Somerset (now mostly NE Somerset) and Weston Super Mare.

    Labour dropped to third in 1974 in Bath due to the specifuc circumstances of Christopher Mayhew defecting from Labour to the Liberals and standing for them in Bath rather than trying to win his own seat in Woolwich East (I thin). Labour remained second in the rest of these seats until the SDP/Liberal Alliance too that position in 1983.

    Much of this Labout vote was based on people who worked for the railways, and in many of these areas the NUR (now the largest part of the RMT), effectively was the local Labour Party. I don’t think this effect ever streteched as far as Devon, which is why the Laboutr vote was never that strong outside Plymouth, Exeter, and Newton Abbot (a significant railway town in the past), although there was probably some sort of Labour vote in Torquay/Torbay.

    It seems that Labour re-emerged as the traditional centre-left party in these constituncies in 2015, although whether under any leader they will make much more progress in future elections, unless they can get local councillors elected in the near future, is a moot point.

  30. Since I live in this constituency, I can say that Labour support has been on the rise recently. If only they knew that the reason they came second was because of the Libdem collapse and the rise of UKIP which has now all but vanished.

    Just like Richmond Park, I can see this seat going back to being a Tory/Libdem battleground as it always has been. Mike Bell has been re-selected as the Libdem candidate so that may help a little.

  31. Weston is one of the worst places I’ve ever visited. It’s filthy. Am surprised it’s so safely Tory in a way. Very run down.

  32. Only one by-election in a principal authority last night, but it was a terrific result for Labour in a ward (North Worle) which hasn’t been won in many years, if even ever.

    Labour 589 36.4% (+21.7%)
    Conservative 525 32.4% (+3.8%)
    Liberal Democrat 265 16.4% (+4.2%)
    Independent 132 8.2% (from nowhere)
    UKIP 108 6.7% (-14.5%)
    North Somerset First did not stand (-23.4%)

    Labour gain from North Somerset First.
    Percentage changes are from top candidates where applicable.

    This constituency is just about safe for the Tories but it’s perhaps on a par with Worthing West, which saw an even more spectacular Labour gain in a recent by-election – just outside the Labour target list, but a seat which seems to have real potential for the future. Though there are perhaps more commuters in this seat and the age profile has traditionally been a little less elderly.

  33. Anoher great result. It appears that recent local by-election results are even better for Labour than the still-encouraging polls, which seem to be mostly largest-party-in-hung-parliament territory right now.

    Those figures must be wrong somehwere – by my calculations, last time round NSF would have been on 23.4% versus the Tories’ 28.6%. So how was it a former NSF seat?

  34. Two member ward

  35. Exactly so Matt. The Tories won the first seat quite easily, and the only NSF candidate won the second one.

  36. John Penrose has been appointed a minster of State in the Northern Ireland office.

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