Witney

2015 Result:
Conservative: 35201 (60.3%)
Labour: 10046 (17.2%)
Lib Dem: 3953 (6.8%)
Green: 2970 (5.1%)
UKIP: 5352 (9.2%)
NHA: 616 (1.1%)
Independent: 12 (0%)
Others: 238 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 25155 (43.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Oxfordshire. Contains the whole of the West Oxfordshire council area.

Main population centres: Witney, Carterton, Woodstock, Chipping Norton, Burford, Charlbury.

Profile: Large rural seat in the West of Oxfordshire, including the Oxfordshire part of the Cotwolds. This is the affluent rural England of the "Chipping Norton set" (the name given to the media to the social circle around David Cameron and his wife, including Elizabeth Murdoch, Matthew Freud, Rebekah Brooks and Charlie Dunstone). There is agriculture here, but other important parts of the local economy are high-tech motorsport, the large RAF base at Brize Norton and tourism from the Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace.

Politics: Generally a very safe Conservative seat, made even more so by the extra support party leaders normally enjoy at the ballot box. The seat has been won by the Conservatives since its creation in 1983, originally being held by former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd. Between 1999 and 2001 it was briefly represented by Labour when the then MP Shaun Woodward defected to Labour after being sacking for opposing Section 28. Since 2001 it has been represented by David Cameron.


Current MP
DAVID CAMERON (Conservative) Born 1966, London. Educated at Eton and Oxford University, where he was a member of the infamous Bullingdon club. Former Conservative party researcher, special advisor to Norman Lamont from 1992-1993 and Michael Howard 1993-1994, and director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton Television from 1994-2001. Contested Stafford 1997. First elected as MP for Witney in 2001. Vice-Chairman of the Conservative party 2003-2004, local government spokesman 2004, head of policy co-ordination 2004-2005, shadow education secretary 2005. Leader of the Conservative party since 2005, Prime Minister since 2010. David Cameron was promoted to shadow education secretary after the 2005 election, being seen as Howard`s preferred choice as successor. His speech at the 2005 Conservative party conference, and a lacklustre speech by the then frontrunner David Davis saw him become the favourite and he was elected leader of the Conservative party in December 2005, despite allegations of drug use surfacing during the campaign. As leader of the Conservative party Cameron sought to rebrand the Conservative party, making the environment a central plank of policy, pushing for the selection of female candidates and largely avoiding traditional Conservative issues such as immigration. This lead to large Conservative leads mid-term, but these fell back as the 2010 election approached, particularly after the leader debates which saw Liberal Democrat support surge. The Conservatives fell short of a majority, and Cameron became Prime Minister at the head of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. He is married to Samantha Cameron and the couple have four children - their oldest son Ivan was severely disabled and died in 2009, their youngest daughter Florence was born after Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 33973 (59%)
Lab: 7511 (13%)
LDem: 11233 (19%)
GRN: 2385 (4%)
Oth: 2667 (5%)
MAJ: 22740 (39%)
2005*
Con: 26571 (49%)
Lab: 11845 (22%)
LDem: 12415 (23%)
GRN: 1682 (3%)
Oth: 1356 (3%)
MAJ: 14156 (26%)
2001
Con: 22153 (45%)
Lab: 14180 (29%)
LDem: 10000 (20%)
GRN: 1100 (2%)
Oth: 1770 (4%)
MAJ: 7973 (16%)
1997
Con: 24282 (43%)
Lab: 17254 (31%)
LDem: 11202 (20%)
Oth: 1401 (2%)
MAJ: 7028 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
DAVID CAMERON (Conservative) See above.
DUNCAN ENRIGHT (Labour) Educated at Oxford University. Publisher. West Oxfordshire councillor since 2012.
ANDREW GRAHAM (Liberal Democrat) Born Birmingham. Teacher and playwright. East Hertfordshire councillor 1995-2011. Contested Clacton by-election 2014.
SIMON STRUTT (UKIP) Contested Buckingham 2010 as a Cut the Deficit candidate. Contested South East region 2014 European Elections for UKIP.
STUART MACDONALD (Green) Born 1946, Glasgow. Educated at Hitchin Boys Grammar and Cambridge University. Professor. Contested Witney 2010.
COLIN BEX (Wessex Regionalist) Architect. Contested Windsor and Maidenhead 1979, 1983, Portsmouth North 1997, Wells 2001, Dorset South 2005, Witney 2010, Eastleigh 2012 by-election.
CLIVE PEEDELL (NHA) Born Botley. Oncologist.
DEEK JACKSON (Land Party) Comedian. Contested Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath 2010.
VIVIEN SAUNDERS (Reduce VAT in Sport) Born 1946, Sutton. Educated at Nonsuch County High and London University. Golf club owner and former British Open Champion. Awarded the OBE in 1997 for services to golf.
CHRIS TOMPSON (Independent)
NATHAN HANDLEY (No description)
BOBBY SMITH (Give me back Elmo)
Links
Comments - 2,062 Responses on “Witney”
  1. Tim criticising Harold Wilson forgetting that he kept us out of Vietnam am sure if Tim was around then he would be criticising Wilson in the same terms that he is criticising Ed.

  2. This is not a major political event – and here we almost have some admissions that the tactics were predominantly that.
    The public and Parliament is sceptical about foreign policy now – not just because of Iraq, but since Yugoslavia.
    I think we should have been prepared to intervene though and as John Kerry stated, there are a range of options – difficult though they are.

  3. ‘Tim criticising Harold Wilson forgetting that he kept us out of Vietnam am sure if Tim was around then he would be criticising Wilson in the same terms that he is criticising Ed.’

    The two things have nothing in common apart from the fact that like most civil wars the one side is typically every bit as bad as the other

    I think the way the US behaved in Vietnam was appalling and made matters infinitely worst, and keeping the UK out of it was easily Wilson’s best moment of what was in all honesty a very poor premiership

    I can easily see the benefits of keeping the UK out of Syria – I just think when a red line crossed by one side, to be taken seriously the world has to act

    As Liam Fox said in the Commons last night, we need to learn the lessons from history and oine is that appeasment never worls when dealing with muderous tyrants

    There has to be repercussions when you gas innocent civillians and whether that ends with Assad on the gallows, killed by an allied bomb or even in custody at the Hague, his days ought to be numbered

    The US killed far more Vietnamese than the Vietcong did – if they involve trhemselves in Syria I can’t see them repeating that mistake – given how many Syrians Assad’s mem have already killed

  4. Fallacy of ‘red line’. Saddam bombed Iran with chemical weapons with West help & gassed the Kurds with not a peep.

    Using a cruise missile to send a message/’punish’ is not serious international relations. As General Dannat what is the strategic purpose served? what is end game?

  5. This is not a major political event, Joe? Of course it is – it’s the first time since Suez that a government has been defeated on such a matter in the Commons.
    Miliband certainly vacillated at first, but I personally feel that he ended up on the right side of the argument.

  6. Not a major political event in terms of the partisan politics – which seems to be the main consideration here if I’m reading some of these posts correctly.

    It is not a Government with a majority for one party – but more importantly,
    there are more divisions on foreign policy than up to about 20 years ago.

    My view is we can do something along the lines that the Secretary of State is looking at, we should.
    But that is no longer possible.
    It wasn’t for lack of trying though.

  7. It also astounds me that people go on suggesting this attack didn’t definitely take place, by Syria, and with chemical weapons.

  8. And al Queda don’t have chemical weapons and wouldn’t use them to create an incident??

    Who is the winner by Assad using such weapons and provoking a US “response” which takes out some of his military strength? Why.. al Queda of course…

  9. @ Tim Jones

    “I think our MPs have effectively given a green light to those throughout the world who are willing to use whatever tactics are necessary to win their war”

    I think you’re forgetting that the HoC vote will not prevent a US-led military campaign of some sort in Syria. We have not vetoed military action by The West but UK forces will take no part. The scale of any operation is unlikely to be affected by the UK’s involvement (or lack of) either.

    There will almost certainly be air strikes by the US & France on Syria. If these have the effect of hastening a solution or even reducing the scale of the present war , then the US& French approach will have been vindicated. If they have the opposite effect by either escalating or widening the conflict then Ed Milliband will be vindicated.

  10. There are no winners on this issue full stop

  11. No there’s a cliche for you….

    In 18 months’ time we might or might not regret that the UK didn’t bomb (or join the US-led bombing of) Syria.

    I think the latter is more likely.

  12. Since when is napalm not a chemical weapon? (a polymer of styrene C6H6CH2=CH2, 33 parts gasoline and 21 parts benzene.

    http://blindflaneur.com/2008/06/30/after-napalm-the-long-road-to-forgiveness/

    who dropped that bomb?

  13. Which election of recent times do people think was the best for televised declarations by the BBC and ITV?

  14. I think 1992 was a very good job by the BBC
    and an absolute pigs ear by I think ITV (or surely C4?) although it had Jon Snow.

    I’m not sure I’m particularly impressed by any since then
    although the 2005 BBC one wasn’t bad.

    I basically take the view that ITN is better for atmosphere but the BBC is actually more competent at information.

  15. ITN’s coverage in 1992 was shown up by the BBC’s. Snow and Stewart kept making too many mistakes for a marathon live broadcast. I would agree though JJB that 1992 had a good mix of live results- from Kingston-upon-Thames and Luton South to North Down and Truro, there were some good intriguing live declarations and I think the BBC did do very well.

    2001 was disappointing, and 2005 marginally better in my view for declarations. After 1997, the amount of televised results shown hasn’t been as wide ranging I don’t think.

  16. ITN in 1983 seemed very good for the time, and BBC in 1992 as others have said. Sky in 1997 wasn’t bad – I’ve got that on video.

  17. May I ask Andy, what declarations of seats did Sky show that the BBC did not?

  18. I haven’t watched it for about five years at least, so difficult to remember. I don’t think they showed many declarations that weren’t shown on BBC. They had Michael Thrasher in the studio which was a positive aspect IMO: I think he’s been with Sky for every election since. Not sure whether he was with them fo 1992: I know there was a Sky 1992 election show but trying to find someone with a copy is probably a difficult undertaking: the station launched in February 1989 IIRC. I’ll see if I can find the Sky 1997 video in the near future.

  19. Andy, I have seen the opening titles for Sky’s 1992 Election coverage, and Michael Thrasher was in the studio. Thanks BTW for informing me about their 1997 coverage.

  20. Was that on YouTube? I haven’t come across it so far.

    I will endeavour to put Sky’s 1997 coverage on YouTube in the near future.

  21. No but it is on TVARK in the Elections section.

  22. i could never watch an election on any other broadcaster than the bbc but my most vivid memory of their 92 coverage was that they had some idiot whannabe comedian/reporter out and about, asking people how they voted and other such stuff

    it cheapened what was otherwise a lesson in election broadcasting to the likes of itv and sky

  23. Is that Rory Bremner you are referring to Tim? I personally thought he was quite funny in 1992 with his impressions of Peter Snow, Jeremy Paxman, Robin Day and various politicians.

  24. The BBC always do something like that. I think it is to fill the gaps when results are thin on the ground. The other channels, of course, have ad breaks to do that.

    In 1997 it was Frank Skinner who was the light relief. Since then I think it has been Andrew Neil on a boat with lots of celebs, or something similar.

  25. I agree with The Results about Rory Bremner. I was a fan of his shows and it’s sad that they are no longer on TV.

    His best impression in the run-up to the 92 election was Paddy Ashdown, whose self-righteous pomposity had just been embarrassingly pricked by revelations about his extra-marital affair. Bremner’s take on it all was mercilessly funny. Ironically the Paddy Pantsdown stuff raised his profile and probably helped the Lib Dems overall in that election.

  26. It’s hard to tell – ironically in the early months of 1991 when the two parties were close and should have squeezed the Lib Dems harder
    the clumsy unnecessary by-election seemed to give the Lib Dems a bit of a revival through the May elections and through to 1992
    although they still took a hit.

    I agree 1983 ITN was well done and captured the atmosphere and re-actions well. I think your question was about more recent elections though,

  27. Ribble Valley 91

  28. I thought Rory Bremner was excellent during the 1992 election coverage – he was funny but satirical at the same time.

    I agree with HH that his Ashdown impression was excellent, but I thought his Kinnock was even better – vocally it was uncanny, and there was one scene where he portrayed Kinnock evading a question from an impression of Paxman which was superb.

    Whilst I think Frank Skinner can be very good on certain shows, I didn’t think his spots worked as well in 1997.

  29. Unfortunately at present no one out there has managed to upload full second day coverage of either the 1987, 1997, 2001 or 2005 General Elections- Hopefully it won’t be too long before people will surface on You Tube with full videos of the second days of these elections that they have recorded. Speaking of which, many thanks to AndyJS for uploading what appears to be all of the next day coverage of the 1983 General Election, a first for You Tube and it is to his credit.

    Incidentally, if anyone is interested, I have found various clips of the BBC’s next day coverage of 1987 on You Tube, but no declarations- But I have come across ITN’s next day coverage on ITN Source, but alas it is not the whole thing. Similarly with 1997, I have found a good deal of the BBC’s next day coverage on CSPAN, but sadly again it is not complete.

  30. I also liked Rory Bremner, who didn’t make poor quality jokes impersonating people like Mike Yarwood & his competitors, but who instead had a show with genuine satirical bite. I believe his views are sort of centre-right libertarian, so it could be that Ashdown in political terms wouldn’t have been a million miles away from him, yet he really laid into him. On a lighter note I have watched him play cricket in a charity match on Kew Green – he’s a useful leg-break bowler – in which Julian Wilson (the old racing commentator) also showed surprising cricketing ability.

  31. ‘I believe his views are sort of centre-right libertarian, so it could be that Ashdown in political terms wouldn’t have been a million miles away from him’

    i’m surprised at that – i thought he’d be a full-on Leftie – much like yourself Barnaby!

  32. I think Tim is right. Bremner is a leftie.

  33. I seem to recall reading an interview where Bremner described himself as essentially a ‘liberal leftie’ although he said he often made quite specific decisions from election to election, depending on the most pressing issues as he saw them – this had led him to vote for all the mainstream parties at one time or another.

  34. He certainly isn’t a full-on leftie a la Mark Steele, Jeremy Hardy etc.

  35. You have to remember that in the 1980s media culture, basically anyone who didn’t like Thatcherism was called a leftie in the popular press. This encapsulated everyone from the hard left up, through virtually the whole Labour and Alliance parties, even up to and including the wet wing of the Tory party. It didn’t leave much room for distinguishing between the different types of leftie.

  36. List of televised declarations of seats the BBC showed during their coverage of the 1992 General Election- (Not in order) (Also includes acceptance speeches)
    1. Torbay
    2. Guildford
    3. Cheltenham
    4. Basildon
    5. Kingston-upon-Thames
    6. Falmouth and Camborne
    7. Truro
    8. Berwick-upon-Tweed
    9. North Antrim
    10. North Down
    11. Banff and Buchan
    12. Dunfermline East
    13. Monklands East
    14. Monklands West
    15. Glasgow Govan
    16. Luton South
    17. Bath
    18. Hyndburn
    19. Lewisham East
    20. Lewisham West
    21. Greenwich
    22. Woolwich
    23. Hampstead and Highgate
    24. Battersea
    25. Putney
    26. Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
    27. Stirling
    28. Islwyn
    29. Huntingdon
    30. Southampton Itchen
    31. Wallasey
    32. Liverpool Mossley Hill
    33. Yeovil
    34. Coventry South East
    35. Portsmouth South
    36. Darlington
    37. Kensington

  37. List of constituencies that declared on the second day of the 1992 General Election (I.e. after the BBC’s main coverage went off the air just before 6:00 AM and during the BBC’s second day coverage which began at 9:30AM) – (Not in order)
    1. Belfast West
    2. Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
    3. East Londonderry
    4. South Antrim
    5. Newry and Armagh
    6. East Antrim
    7. Mid Ulster
    8. Upper Bann
    9. Foyle
    10. Lagan Valley
    11. North Antrim
    12. South Down
    13. Fermanagh and South Tyrone
    14. Harborough
    15. Bristol North West
    16. Wentworth
    17. Gainsborough and Horncastle
    18. Richmond (Yorks)
    19. Torridge and West Devon
    20. Truro
    21. Kensington
    22. Chelsea
    23. Buckingham
    24. Daventry
    25. Skipton and Ripon
    26. Bridlington
    27. Boothferry
    28. Lewes
    29. Rother Valley
    30. Argyll and Bute
    31. Berwick-upon-Tweed
    32. Brecon and Radnorshire
    33. Ludlow

  38. Did those on the 2nd list all get televised?

  39. ”Did those on the 2nd list all get televised?”

    Good question. Sadly the answer is no.

    The BBC only showed Kensington, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Truro and North Antrim (in that order), while I’m unsure which ones ITN showed on the second day.

  40. The should have pixilated and muted Gerry Adams so we could have seen Belfast West

  41. ”The should have pixilated and muted Gerry Adams so we could have seen Belfast West”

    That was the problem- They couldn’t broadcast the result at all because of the ban on Sinn Fein- I suppose the only option would have been for the audio to be transmitted of the returning officer announcing the figures, and seeing as it was Joe Hendron of the SDLP who won, I think they could have at least played out his speech before Gerry Adams started speaking.

  42. List of televised declarations of seats the BBC showed during their coverage of the 1987 General Election- (Not in order) (Also includes acceptance speeches)

    1. Torbay
    2. Guildford
    3. Cheltenham
    4. Basildon
    5. Finchley
    6. Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale
    7. Plymouth Devonport
    8. Southend West
    9. Southend East
    10. Monklands East
    11. Birmingham Sparkbrook
    12. Hyndburn
    13. Islwyn
    14. Ynys Mon
    15. Yeovil
    16. Brecon and Radnorshire
    17. Berwick-upon-Tweed
    18. Truro
    19. Foyle
    20. Chelsea
    21. Belfast West
    22. Chingford
    23. Glasgow Hillhead
    24. Cambridge
    25. Dundee East
    26. Greenwich
    27. Brent South
    28. Brent East
    29. Tottenham
    30. Leeds East
    31. Woolwich
    32. Wrexham
    33. Pendle
    34. Sheffield Brightside

  43. Will be very interesting this seat in particular, seeing how much damage Cameron will face.
    CON 51
    LAB 19
    LD 14
    UKIP 9
    GRN 7

  44. I can envisage UKIP doing reasonably in bits of the constituency- Witney itself and perhaps Carterton, where they managed about 25% in the CC elections. However, I don’t see them being a major irritant for Cameron- this really isn’t UKIP territory in the way that Kent or Essex is.

    I think Labour’s vote will bounce back a bit. They have some support in Witney and Chipping Norton so I think 18/19% is doable for them.

    I’d guess something like this:

    Con 55
    Lab 18
    LD 11
    UKIP 10
    Green 3
    Assorted eccentrics 3

  45. My guess-
    Conservative- 52%
    Labour- 19%
    Liberal Democrat- 15%
    UKIP- 9%
    Green- 4%
    Others- 1%

  46. I’m a little surprised by these predictions given that Cameron is PM.

    I think I’m right in saying that John Major’s vote in Huntingdon only fell around 10% even in the 1997 election – whilst I expect Labour to be comfortably the largest party at the next election and the Tory vote to fall off 2-3%, I don’t think it’s going to be a bad rather than catastrophic election.

    Therefore I’d be surprised if Cameron lost 6-7% of his vote given his profile, the fact that I don’t anticipate a significant fall in the Tory vote.

  47. Sorry, when I said surprised by “those” predictions, I meant TR and WOC, not Tory’s.

  48. Second and final apology – my first post doesn’t make sense in the second paragraph. I mean that it will be a bad election for the Tories (in the sense that they’ll lose power) but not catastrophic for them in that they’ll end up with a number of seats which would likely put them within striking distance in 2020 if Labour struggle in 2015-2020.

  49. Chris K- I was thinking exactly on your lines regarding DC’s vote share.

  50. Thanks Tory – I don’t know the constituency at all really, but my guess is that some who voted Tory and who have been disappointed will be largely offset by those who may now vote for DC simply because their MP is now the PM. So roughly the same as last time, give or take 2-3%, seems reasonable.

    I have just started dating a girl who lives in Witney itself…..so if it turns into something a little more serious I’ll try and get any psephological nuggets I can from walking around the town;-)

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