West Worcestershire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 30342 (56.1%)
Labour: 7244 (13.4%)
Lib Dem: 5245 (9.7%)
Green: 3505 (6.5%)
UKIP: 7764 (14.4%)
MAJORITY: 22578 (41.7%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Hereford and Worcester. The whole of the Malvern Hills council area and part of Wychavon council area.

Main population centres: Great Malvern, Pershore, Upton-upon-Severn.

Profile: A large, sparsely populated rural seat with a mix of fruit growing and sedate country towns and villages. The seat stretches from the Birmingham commuter belt to the North, around Worcester itself to take in the South of the county, including Great Malvern at the foot of the Malvern Hills and Bredon Hill in the South-East. The largest population centre is Malvern, known for its spring water and its association with Elgar. It is also the location of two public schools, Malvern College and Malvern Girls College. It is an affluent and middle class area, almost a stereotype of traditional British countryside: victorian spa towns, Edward Elgar, morris dancing - Upton is supposedly the model for P.G.Wodehouse`s Market Snodsbury.

Politics: As might be expected the seat is Conservative, but there has historically been a strong Liberal prescence - the Liberals came close to winning the predecessor seat in 1974 after the departure of Sir Gerald Nabarro and until their 2015 collapse it was was a Conservative vs Liberal Democrat marginal.

Current MP
HARRIETT BALDWIN (Conservative) Born 1960, Watford. Educated at Friends School, Saffron Walden and Oxford University. Former Investment manager with J P Morgan. Contested Stockton North 2005. First elected as MP for Worcestershire West in 2010. Economic Secretary to the Treasury since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 27213 (50%)
Lab: 3661 (7%)
LDem: 20459 (38%)
UKIP: 2119 (4%)
Oth: 641 (1%)
MAJ: 6754 (12%)
Con: 20959 (45%)
Lab: 4945 (11%)
LDem: 18484 (39%)
UKIP: 1590 (3%)
Oth: 1099 (2%)
MAJ: 2475 (5%)
Con: 20597 (46%)
Lab: 6275 (14%)
LDem: 15223 (34%)
UKIP: 1574 (4%)
Oth: 1138 (3%)
MAJ: 5374 (12%)
Con: 22223 (45%)
Lab: 7738 (16%)
LDem: 18377 (37%)
Oth: 1006 (2%)
MAJ: 3846 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HARRIETT BALDWIN (Conservative) See above.
DENNIS WHARTON (Liberal Democrat)
RICHARD CHAMINGS (UKIP) Born 1950. Educated at Kelly College, Devon and Royal (Dick) Veterinary College. Vet. Contested Leominster 1997, Worcester 2001, 2005.
Comments - 24 Responses on “Worcestershire West”
  1. On this seats politics profile: the Liberals did not come that close at all to winning the predecessor seat of Worcestershire South in February 1974 (shortly after Sir Gerald Nabarro died)-the Conservative majority then was 12%. They came much closer here in 2005 when the Conservative majority over the Liberal Democrats was only 5%. Given the lack of a Labour base in this seat (which feels politically more like Herefordshire) I am surprised they polled as much as 6.8% in 2010 when they did worse in a lot of seats that are or were Conservative-Liberal Democrat marginals.

  2. This seat could well eternally annoy the Lib Dems.

    On paper, they ought to have taken this in 2010, especially with Sir Michael Spicer retiring, but they didn’t do so. It’s been Conservative forever and it’s maybe that tradition that will never be lost in an overwhelmingly rural seat such as this one. The Lib Dems’ candidate in 2005 may have been very good, but in 2010 Richard Burt who had never stood here before didn’t do anywhere near as well, and failed to make progress. He got more votes than 2005, but fell in vote share, and the Tories easily held the seat.

    I suspect that given this seat’s closeness to Herefordshire, literally and metaphorically has owed a great deal to the Lib Dem strength in a lot of this seat. In seats where Labour are nowhere and always will be, this has always been good grounds for tactical voting, but the Lib Dems ran out of tactical votes last time it seems.

  3. I don’t think that’s true at all. Rural Herefordshire close to the border with Worcestershire is solidly Tory & the strong LD vote is almost entirely in the city of Hereford itself, quite a long distance from the county boundary. Sometimes you will get similar phenomena occurring in neighbouring seats, but for different reasons; another example is the 2 neighbouring seats of Forest of Dean & Monmouth, which are psephologically very similar these days, but I challenge you to find any real similarities between the 2 constituencies. In this case, I think that the LD strength was down to the faintly intellectual nature of the Malvern area; Great Malvern is a spa town, and it is far from unique for the LDs to have a strong presence in elegant spa towns which often have a rather strong arts scene, other examples of course being Bath, Cheltenham & Harrogate (though not Droitwich where Labour do better than the LDs). The LDs must have outpolled the Tories by quite a bit in the Malvern area when they came close in 2005. The result of the 2010 election however suggests that perhaps Sir Michael Spicer had outstayed his welcome, and was seen as more concerned with national Tory politics (as Chairman of the 1922 Committee) than with his constituency. When he went, and was succeeded by a locally credible replacement, the seat reverted to type as essentially a safe Tory seat but with a significant LD minority.

  4. Barnaby is right. I too have noted the spa town-LD linkage and the not quite as strict cathedral close-LD connection..

    Something in the water maybe? Mineral in the first case, holy water in the second…

  5. Likewise, I recently saw a list of the richest parliamentary constituencies (it missed out a few including Westminster and the City). Westminster North was the richest seat in England, Blackpool South being the poorest – and those two seats are pretty similar in terms of their voting habits.

  6. The profile is wrong . There is a growing Labour base in the constituency. Labour has contested every Malvern Hills District election since 2010. Labour also fielded a candidate in every single county council ward in the constituency in the 2013 county election.

  7. ‘Likewise, I recently saw a list of the richest parliamentary constituencies (it missed out a few including Westminster and the City). Westminster North was the richest seat in England, Blackpool South being the poorest – and those two seats are pretty similar in terms of their voting habits.’

    Is that richest/poorest per head

    If so I find it extremely puzzling for Blackpool South to be the poorest in England ie: poorer than seats in Merseyside, South Yorkshire and Tyne & Wear

    I think Barnaby is right about this seat and in his explanation as to why Harriet Baldwin was able to more than double Born Again Thatcherite Spicer’s majority

    I’d expect the Tories to be more than safe here

  8. It all depends on what measure is used for ‘poorness’. Quite often factors like transience have a very heavy weighting in these demographic surveys and that is surely the case in Blackpool South. That’s probably why it is deemed to be so poor and that is at considerable variance with the evidence of our eyes which tell us that places like Knowsley, parts of north Birmingham and 101 others must surely be poorer and more deprived than Blackpool South. I was working in Blackpool recently and although the inner part of this constituency from the pleasure beach northwards is absolutely dire, most of the seat looks solidly suburban as it stretches away southwards towards the airport.

  9. I remember going to Blackpool in the late 1980s and it was much as I imagined it to be – a northern Brighton

    I went back there about five years ago and a comparison with Hastings would have been more apt,

    I wonder what measure was used to make this the poorest constituency in England

  10. Chris B is factually correct but this is still by a very comfortable margin Labour’s weakest seat in Worcestershire which is saying quite a bit. The seat made the headlines after its creation in the mid-90s boundary changes; its newly-created CLP apparently gave Tony Blair his highest percentage vote in his successful bid to become Labour Party leader, which again was saying a great deal. This should be a routinely safe Tory seat for the foreseeable future now, along with mid-Worcs & (to a somewhat lesser extent) Bromsgrove.

  11. ‘Chris B is factually correct but this is still by a very comfortable margin Labour’s weakest seat in Worcestershire which is saying quite a bit.’

    Why so?

    Surely it’s exactly the sort of southern rural seat you would expect Labour to perform poorly in

    Mid-Worestershire is arguably a prettier seat – but it does contain Droitwich which I would imagine is the base of the still meagre Labour vote

    All things considered one would expect Worcestershire West to be Labour’s worst seat in the county

  12. You perhaps misunderstand my idiom. I’m not saying there’s anything surprising in it: all I mean is, Worcestershire isn’t a good county for Labour & this is the weakest seat of all.

  13. Most people seem to be missing the fundamental point that in 2005 the LDs had an excellent candidate, and in 2010 a bit of a rubbish one. Tom Wells was and is a local councillor with a high local profile, well respected in the constituency. Nothing wrong with coming from outside the area as Richard Burt did, but he then ran a hypocritical negative campaign, complaining about Harriet Baldwin being parachuted in and being part of the establishment when he had no real local connections and was working as a researcher for his MP wife. Plenty of us saw through him.

  14. Conservative Hold. 12,000 majority.

  15. Lib Dem candidate has defected to the tories.

  16. Rat. Ship. Sinking.

  17. Indeed. As the old saying goes- ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’.

  18. The Lib Dems did do abysmally here, but I don’t really know whether or not that means they are out of the game here pretty much for good.

  19. Candidate is from Watford.

  20. Wow. Labour did considerably better in Richmond Park than the LDs did here.

  21. Heaven knowns what went wrong for them.

  22. Everything, I would say,

  23. LOL indeed!

  24. Lord Micheal Spicer, former MP and chairman of the 1922 committee, has died after a long illness aged 76.

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