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. @Kieran W

    I think Cameron had little choice but to call the referendum, but that the most important factor in bringing about that situation was his backbenchers. UKIP (though it was before they really got going when the Bloomberg speech was made) and Euroscepticism in the general electorate were also factors but if his MPs weren’t demanding a referendum he would probably still not have pledged one. The real motivating factor was the need to avoid a/ possible leadership challenges, b/ a significant number of defections and c/ further major backbench rebellions on EU issues at a time when the Tory tight were being particularly rebellious. All of these were quite possible if he continued resist the calls for a referendum. That he had to call it doesn’t take away from the fact that he staked his career on something and lost before he had the chance to do much of what he wanted to do.

    @Paul D

    The universities (i.e. the vice-chancellors and other senior officials) and academics are often not of the same mind. Indeed, when the UCU go on strike their literature often includes vicious attacks on the vice-chancellors. Having said that I think most sensible academics accept the arguments in favour of tuition fees. Other Cameron govt. policies like Prevent and counting overseas students in the immigration figures are probably more important factors in academics not likely him.

  2. In my experience at Uni of Liverpool the lecturers and senior officials don’t get along very well. I had one lecturer who was convinced that Uni plans to record all lectures (supposedly so students could access them online) was actually a ploy to spy on the professors and thus he asked us to forgive him while he enjoyed his last year of freedom and would repeatedly go on huge tirades against the uni management and vice chancellor in particular. Probably an extreme case but there you go.

  3. Peter Crawford: “I don’t think it ever crossed his [David Cameron’s] mind that he might lose the referendum, before it was too late.”

    I think a lot of posters here are guilty of that!

  4. Liz Leffman has just been named Chair of the English Liberal Democrats.

    Guess that’s a bit of a reward for her…

  5. ‘I don’t think it ever crossed his mind that he might lose the referendum, before it was too late.’

    I think that’s almost certainly right

    Like many intelligent people, Cameron never thought the country he governed and thought he knew would be stupid enough to vote for something that would have such an obvious negative effect on its economy, in the short term at the very least

    It was a classic misjudgement – and it cost him his job

  6. “It was a classic misjudgement . . .”

    Like yours, in continuing to call / imply all Leavers ‘stupid’.

  7. ‘Like yours, in continuing to call / imply all Leavers ‘stupid’.’

    Not all – just ones like you who even deny that there will be any short-term pain as a consequence of Brexit – as yesterday clearly showed

    In all seriousness I don’t think you are stupid enough to believe that – which suggest that like many Brexiters you’re happy to tell outright lies to the public presumably on the basis that they fell for it once and therefore are likely to do so again

    And to be fair, you’re probably right

  8. “Like many intelligent people, Cameron”

    I’d have to stop you right there, I won’t make a partisan point on Cameron’s intelligence but his whole tenure bears the hallmarks of being an extremely short sighted, opportunistic, semi blind risk taking fool. His whole economic agenda was based on belt tightening and austerity which all but complete morons would acknowledge was going to do harm to many people and leave a lot irked off at the status quo, to hold not just the EU ref but the Scottish Indy ref in the shadow of this general feeling of decline was incredibly foolish. He narrowly dodged a bullet on Scotland but fell flat on the EU. Think about it how many past PM’s have so willingly and frequently gambled their political career and legacy as Cameron did?

    Throw in the fact he let both the Yes camp in Scotland the Leave camp on the EU decide the terms of the ref (franchise, question etc) and other policy areas were he clearly overreached himself and I feel the word that most accurately describes Cameron is “reckless” and such people are rarely intelligent, at least not in a “common sense” sort of way.

  9. The most enthusiastic base of leave supporters are retired, and don’t feel personally at risk from any resulting economic squeeze. They’re dead right insofar as the government is continuing to exempt pensions and pensioner benefits from cuts.

  10. Probably because pensioners are the strongest demographic for the current government

  11. ‘but his whole tenure bears the hallmarks of being an extremely short sighted, opportunistic, semi blind risk taking fool.’

    You might be right (personally I don’t think you are although I’ll concede he was certainly reckless) – but that doesn’t necessarily make him unintelligent – just out-of-touch and worst of all, willing to put his country at risk to appease the Eurosceptics in his party who ate still up in arms despite winning the referendum and getting the government to commit themselves to a hard Brexit

    These are people who can’t be appeased as Cameron should have known but I’d argue that was more down to his naive genoristy of character as opposed to any defect in intelligence

    if Farage does march on Parliament if he doesn’t get the Hard Brexit he wants, as he’s said he would, could he not be charge with High Treason

    If so, one suspects Labour must be kicking themselves they passed legislation to cease it being a capital crime last time they were in office!

  12. nurse…

  13. LOL

    I think hanging Farage would elicit quite a robust response from President Trump

    Not sure why marching on parliament would be treason, groups do it all the time.

  14. Yes, only in dictatorships is displaying opposition to the government considered treason.

  15. Refusing to vote as your self-appointed betters tell you to is apparently treasonous now.

  16. I believe High Court judges doing their job are considered treasonous by some so I guess that sets a nice precedent Runnymede!

  17. I love how 2 EU Foreign Ministers were irked by Boris saying he supported Turkey joining the EU after we leave.

    I see no problem. They’re both undemocratic so would be well suited.

    The odds have been cut on another EU Country calling a Referendum on membership by 2018.

  18. I don’t see anything wrong with High Court judges trying to uphold the law and the (sadly unwritten) constitution. It is the right of Parliament to weigh in, especially on a legally advisory referendum. Parliament is the supreme power in this system.

  19. ”I’d have to stop you right there, I won’t make a partisan point on Cameron’s intelligence”

    While you may be correct that Cameron may not be the brightest person to ever grace the office of Prime minister (people who are really clever like Thatcher love her or loathe her radiate it) but he has nothing on that imbecile currently leading the Labour Party who’s IQ is certainly sub 100. This is not a partisan point because other people I find dreadful like McDonnell and Milne are not thick as a brick like Corbyn, hell even the bigot Abbott’s not stupid. You like to go on about the public being thick so I don’t know why you voted for Corbyn… To make them look smart by comparison?

  20. Pepps
    I don’t believe Corbyn is thick, I’m certainly not going to claim he’s a genius but IQ sub 100? That’s silly and you know it/

    And I’d say the public are less thick more grossly ignorant.

  21. @Rivers he is certainly less intelligent than the average person and isn’t the average 100?

  22. When I’ve seen Corbyn on the front bench when one of his spokesmen is leading in a debate, he looks like a dutiful parent attending a school play but not really sure what’s going on.

  23. Well I believe the average in Britain is 101 but now I’m just being pedantic.

    As for Corbyn if nothing else I’d rate him significantly higher than the current Justice Secretary the infamous queen of Chinese pork markets…

  24. Well, despite having the best schooling money could buy, Corbyn failed to get into university, and then couldn’t hack it at a polytechnic either. Of course, this was a time when universities were much more exclusive than they are today; but equally it was at a time when the top universities took a much higher proportion of privately educated students.

    Maybe Jeremy deliberately flunked his exams. Maybe he was consciously doing his bit to establish genuine meritocracy in the British higher education system 😉

  25. Its been said about me on this site (on multiple occasions by multiple people) that despite doing well at school my opinion is flawed if not totally invalid cos academics aren’t everything and real life experience/sensibilities are more important. Or is this the latest permutation of the “lefties always have something wrong with them” conundrum.

    Rich/Socialist=Hypocrite
    Poor/Socialist=Envious
    Old/Socialist=Dinosaur
    Young/Socialist=Naïve
    Now we can add
    Uneducated/Socialist=Stupid
    Educated/Socialist=Lack experience and don’t live in the real world.

    We can never win can we…

  26. Poor/Tory = class traitor
    Rich/Tory = greedy
    Young/Tory = weirdo
    Old/Tory = hate modernity
    Uneducated/Tory = hoodwinked by the Daily Mail
    Educated/Tory = posh twat who puts his penis in the mouth of a pig

    I like this game 🙂

  27. Or even more simply:

    Poor/Tory = scum
    Rich/Tory = scum
    Old/Tory = scum
    Young/Tory = scum
    Uneducated/Tory = scum
    Educated/Tory = scum

    Nye Bevan once said it so it must be true!

  28. I think the “scum” bit works now better for Ukip voters…

  29. For the record I’d sooner describe a poor Tory as a moron which lets be frank they are, the rest seems accurate though 😉

  30. Jeremy Corbyn is an idiot who frankly doesn’t have a clue what’s going on I would go so far to say he is probably the thickest MP in the whole parliament. If it weren’t for the bank of mummy and daddy you can be fairly sure that Corbyn would have got nowhere in life as the man has zero talent in anything. He looks like a deer caught in the headlights and I would actually feel sorry for him if he wasn’t an extremist who would be an existential threat to Britain and world stability should he get any power. It is pretty obvious he is just the pawn/puppet of John McDonnell and Seamus Milne who forced him to stay on as leader and are the real architects of the ‘Corbynite’ project.

  31. Well Pepps we’re all entitled to our opinion. I happen to think May is actually an alien from Alpha Centuri using a (badly made) synthetic human body as a disguise and is secretly working in collaboration with the illuminati, North Korean government, Bilderberg group and the intergalactic Empire to plot world domination by getting people addicted to Apple products which are actually subliminal mind control devices and consequently she is an existential threat to the whole human race if not the entire universe!!! And to make matters worse she stammers a lot and would clearly be in prison for murder if the police during the late 19th century were not so inept…”Jack the Ripper” I’m sure Mrs May loved that nickname…

    Then of course we enter the real world and leave the fantasy political bogeyman stories aside.

  32. Rivers: while you could make the message a little more concise, that would make an effective attack ad/poster for 2020. Remember, we’re in a post-truth world now, you can make up any old crap and morons will just vote for it 😉

  33. Polltroll
    Evidently judging by the quality of thought emaciating from some clearly intelligent and informed people on this site.

    As an aside I genuinely do wonder whether some people here truly believe what they do or they just want to believe it?

  34. Rivers,

    Are you the Dr Who scriptwriter??

  35. But just to add to the series:

    Poor/LibDem = confused socialist
    Rich/Lib Dem = confused libertarian
    Old/Lib Dem = Asquith fan
    Young/Lib Dem = grandchild of Asquith fan
    Uneducated/Lib Dem = bar chart lover
    Educated/Lib Dem = bleeding heart

    (I read them all on Lib Dem Voice…)

  36. Andrew
    “Are you the Dr Who scriptwriter??”
    No but do you think I have a future in that field?

    I’d also make a slight correction to your list, in my experience
    Young/Lib Dem=Embarrassed young Tory

  37. You’d be better than either Russell T Davies or Moffat

  38. “Young Lib Dem = embarrassed Tory”

    Sounds a lot like me!

  39. Ha! It’s always been a little sad to me how few people are really aware of political ideologies/their own ideologies and just vote according to this or that issue.

  40. Some amusing comments by Julian Lewis MP re DC.

    Basically says the planted story before Christmas is false; he has “charm” but not the ability to be the next head of NATO, given Libya, Brexit, delaying the Trident vote because of the Coalition etc.

  41. A language expert on the BBC Daily Politics yesterday, said that DC’s over-use of, “let me be clear” meant the public didn’t believe him last year.

    But this was also true of TB’s speeches shown to a group.

    Whereas although Trump isn’t a smooth orator, his use of simplistic phrases resonated with supporters and so was deemed more effective by those you heard them.

  42. No analysis of May? She’s a far weaker speaker than any of the three mentioned.

  43. Wasn’t mentioned really.

    ‘Brexit means Brexit’ was seen as clear use of language by the other guy they had on the regional programme even if it wasn’t politically for some.

    Maybe the public are tired of ‘smooth’ orators like TB & DC and desire more straight talking.

    Michael Howard scored well for Conference speeches as both Home Secretary and Leader (for memorable straight talking), even though he also famously refused to answer Paxman on Newsnight.

    Interstingly, ‘the straight talkers’ were remembered for their phrases but also loved and hated by more eg Thatcher, Paisley, Tebbit, Farage, Powell, Kinnock, Benn.

    Whereas the ones seen as ‘smooth’ or having a good command of their brief including Ming didn’t conjure up many views either positive or negative.

  44. In Ming’s case, creeping senility might not have helped

  45. David Cameron apparently tried to get the Daily Mail’s Paul Dacre sacked during the referendum:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38816692

    Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to bothered when Mr Dacre was running equally objectionable smear campaigns in both the 2010 and 2015 general elections. I wonder why?

  46. I’ve wondered over the last couple of days whether some of the public saw this as a referendum on David Cameron, given that toward the end of the campaign he basically took over and made it all about him.

  47. Changes from last?

  48. ‘Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to bothered when Mr Dacre was running equally objectionable smear campaigns in both the 2010 and 2015 general elections’

    Whilst that’s undeniably true I think Cameron can only be saluted for wanting rid of arguably the most powerful wicked man in the UK

    Like many of his objectives though it was one he was unable to pull off, and as with Brexit I think the country is worst off because of it

  49. Young Lib Dem = Embarrassed Labour
    (That’s me)

  50. The Lib Dems will probably get quite a few local government gains in May in places like this but I think their parliamentary best bets are elsewhere.

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