Worthing West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26124 (51.5%)
Labour: 7955 (15.7%)
Lib Dem: 4477 (8.8%)
Green: 2938 (5.8%)
UKIP: 9269 (18.3%)
MAJORITY: 16855 (33.2%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, West Sussex.

Main population centres:

Profile: Like many seaside retirement areas this has historically had a very high proportion of elderly people, though this has fallen in recent years with younger residents moving into the area.


Current MP
PETER BOTTOMLEY (Conservative) Born 1944, Newport. Educated at Westminster school and Cambridge University. Former lorry driver and salesman. Contested Woolwich West Feb 1974, Oct 1974. MP for Woolwich West 1975-1983, Eltham 1983-1997. First elected as MP for Worthing West in 1997. PPS to Cranley Onslow 1982-1983, PPS to Norman Fowler 1983-1984, junior employment minister 1984-1986, minister for roads and traffic 1986-1989, junior Northern Ireland minister 1989-1990, PPS to Peter Brooke 1990. He is married to former cabinet minister and MP Baroness Bottomley. Knighted in 2011 for public service.
Past Results
Con: 25416 (52%)
Lab: 5800 (12%)
LDem: 13687 (28%)
UKIP: 2924 (6%)
Oth: 1296 (3%)
MAJ: 11729 (24%)
Con: 21383 (48%)
Lab: 8630 (19%)
LDem: 12004 (27%)
UKIP: 2374 (5%)
Oth: 550 (1%)
MAJ: 9379 (21%)
Con: 20508 (47%)
Lab: 9270 (21%)
LDem: 11471 (27%)
UKIP: 1960 (5%)
MAJ: 9037 (21%)
Con: 23733 (46%)
Lab: 8347 (16%)
LDem: 16020 (31%)
Oth: 1029 (2%)
MAJ: 7713 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PETER BOTTOMLEY (Conservative) See above.
JIM DEEN (Labour)
HAZEL THORPE (Liberal Democrat) Educated at McEntee Technical School and Open University. Former teacher. Worthing councillor since 2000.
TIM CROSS (UKIP) Contested Worthing West 1997, 2001, 2005, South East region 2004 European election.
Comments - 156 Responses on “Worthing West”
  1. UKIP won the most votes in both the Adur and Arun districts:

    UKIP: 5,101 (37.0%)
    Con: 4,573 (33.2%)
    Lab: 2,158 (15.7%)
    Green: 1,017 (7.4%)
    LD: 922 (6.7%)

    UKIP: 12,742 (35.4%)
    Con: 12,718 (35.4%)
    LD: 5,553 (15.4%)
    Lab: 4,116 (11.4%)
    Ind: 766 (2.1%)
    BNP: 57 (0.2%)

  2. There was a good patrician, patronising explanation from this old Wet of why MPs deserve a lot more pay. He even said, “…we want people from the professions, not the trades.” There’s an argument for paying MPs more, but it’s better than that! I see YouGov found that the public think they deserve £40k pa, whilst most MPs want £80k pa.

  3. It’s interesting that it’s Tory backbenchers who have been at the forefront in making the case for the 11% pay rise

    I think this os really playing into Labour’s hands as it will allow them to make the case – as they undoubtedly will – that it’s the same greedy old Tories who are in politics to line their own pockets

    Cameron outdid Gordon Brown in appearing to get to grips with his MPs who has been taking the p*ss with expenses – which probabhly explains why Milliband has been quicker than the PM to reflect the oubloic’s angle on this

    Despite the shoddy attempts at trying spin the pay rise by Sir Ian Kennedy, who in my opinion should be sacked and stripped of his pension and knighthood, there is absolutely no justification whatsoever for MP’s to get an 11% pay rise and I really hope that those like Bottomley – somebody I do (did) generally have quite a bit of respect for – bear the brunt of this

    not that that’s likely here – another increasingly run-down part of the south coast where the tories fortunes shiow no sign of plummeting

  4. “…we want people from the professions, not the trades.”

    What a complete and utter twat. The house is stuffed full of people from “the professions” already, worst of all being the increasing number of SPADs and spinners from the politics profession.

    There are hardly any MPs from “the trades” any more and parliament is much the worse for that.

  5. “Sir Ian Kennedy, who in my opinion should be sacked and stripped of his pension and knighthood,”

    Glad to see you still have your customary sense of perspective Tim

  6. Prediction for 2015-
    Bottomley (Conservative)- 47%
    Liberal Democrats- 23%
    Labour- 15%
    UKIP- 12%
    Green- 2%
    Others- 1%

  7. I’d have to disagree with Tim on this – it’s a bizarre situation that an independent body is appointed and when it provides a recommendation that politicians don’t like (or more accurately can’t be seen to like) they threaten to abolish it.

    There are some awful MP’s, but there are a significant number of good ones. The basic salary is now not a great deal more than one could get in relatively modest roles within large companies – I agree that we don’t want people coming into politics for money, but equally if you want to attract good people (from all ranges of backgrounds) and of sufficient academic/practical/emotional intelligence to do the job, we’ve got to pay salaries which are commensurate with those requirements.

  8. Chris K – I understand that argument, but we (a fellow journo colleague mainly) checked the reality. Of the 2010 intake in the NW, most new MPs almost doubled their salary upon election. I realise this was in part due to age, post expenses’ clearout, ie even one who was a solicitor was ‘only’ earning £32k pa due to his age.

  9. PS I agreed with Andrew Neil who noted that Kennedy basically said, pay them more otherwise we’ll have another expenses’ scandal!

  10. Bottomley was on the Daily Politics again (Mon). This time arguing that there weren’t enough pensioners views being heard in Parliament! It was quickly pointed out to him that they’re over represented in both Houses! He’s also 70 in the New Year. I also think it’s patronising to say that only the old can represent the old, or women women and so on.

  11. ‘There are some awful MP’s, but there are a significant number of good ones.’

    There are some awful teachers, but there are a significant number of good ones. There are some awful policdemen, but there are a significant number of good ones.

    So on and so forth, but, as the goivernment never tire of telling us, the country is facing a time where we need to drastically reduce our public expenditure and as public sector employees, like teachers and polcemen, it sends out a ‘them and us’ message if Mps get an 11% increase whilst voting for all other public sector workers at having any increases capped at 1%

    Kennedy’s failure to recognise this show what an out-of–touch pen-pushing beuracrat he really is – one who much like many of the MPs he serves seems to think the public owe him a living

    He should nbe scaked immediately

  12. I completely agree with you Tim and am just going to come out and say that I agree with Ed Miliband on completely everything and use the same logic as him all the time. That is the truth!

    It’s not even so much the idea of ‘public spending restraint’ which is dangerous but the utter collapse of morality and ethics!

  13. Following on from the two posts above, we have the disgraceful “clocking on” scandal in the Lords, which amounts to the fraudulent theft of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money by people who are already extremely well paid. I cannot believe Lord Hanningfield has the brazen cheek to do this after going to jail for fiddling his expenses.


    Maybe there would be something to be said for electing the Lords after all.

  14. Everything I post on here is true. My parents did indeed first meet in Oxford in 1984 and I did see Ed Miliband (travelling 2nd class) on the train I was on back in May a week or so after Margaret Thatcher (sadly but not so unexpectedly) died.

  15. Oh FFS

  16. Unfortunately election is no guarantee against corruption. Not filling the Lords with legions of time-serving party hacks every year might help though.

  17. A fair point, especially if they were elected via party lists.

    I can’t see why it’s so difficult to stop the fraud however. In ordinary real world jobs this kind of thing simply could never happen on such an endemic scale. It surely is not all that difficult to measure what a few hundred people are doing with their day.

  18. ‘I cannot believe Lord Hanningfield has the brazen cheek to do this after going to jail for fiddling his expenses.’

    I cannot believe David Cameron has passed an opportunity to score some much-needed brownie points with the British public and showing that he will not tolerate sinecures like Lord Hanningfield, who some would say never misses a trick when it comes to taking public money

    To get caught out once is bad enough, but to do it twice is indefensible, and again I’m left with the distinct impresssion that despite saying the opposite the PM doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about – presumably because he’s surrounded by people who would do exactly the same thing

    Cameron should take this opportunity to kick him out of the party – it’s a no brainer

  19. I recall that annual allowances for Cllrs in the Mets were brought in to stop this type of fraud. In Liverpool, in the mid ’90s, Clls would claim an attendance allowance of £x per meeting. 15 would sign in, but the vote at the end would be 5-3. The rest had gone home! Sadly now they get £10k pa basic, laptop, travel, free car parking for attending a minimum of every 6 months.

  20. Tim – you’re right. Indeed, Hanningfield actually now states that he was guilty of nothing and his conviction was, “a travesty of justice.” Sadly he can’t be recalled to prison as time now served. He could have been if on licence.

  21. I would favour an annual election by the Lords of the ‘working peers’ for the next year – a larger-scale version of what the hereditary peers do now. Each party group to elect a modest subset of themselves, totalling say 250 peers in all. That should stop people turning up occasionally just for the money.

  22. Hanningfield is over 70 and not short of a few bob. Why doesn’t he just retire quietly and enjoy his garden like most people of his age and background (he is a farmer after all).

  23. I honestly think my political views have not budged an inch since 2005 and that the political establishment has messed stuff up with all these never ending court cases!
    (I know an awful lot about ‘right wing populism’ across Europe as well).

    The truth is that some freakishly strange things have happened in 2013 and my world now seems an awful lot smaller and more clear (a lot of what I learnt at University between 2008-10 is now playing out in real life poltics with cultural nationalism, immigeration, welfare etc!)

    I also think most of the polls are undersedimating UKIP similar to how they underestimated the Reform party in Canada in 1993.

    I don’t imagine things and want to go to a hydrocephalus conference in Calgary in Autumn 2015 as well!

    I can also have cente left/liberal views, learn Japanese and still be critical of the militaristic policies etc there.

  24. Returning to germane issues, which A Brown seems so loth to so, I think in answer to Tim that Lord Hanningfield isn’t presently a Conservative Party member. He certainly doesn’t seem to take the Tory whip in the Lords.

  25. CON HOLD MAJ : 23%
    CON 42
    LD 19
    LAB 19
    UKIP 12
    GRN 6
    OTH 2

  26. I’m not sure why A Brown is talking like this, but I sincerely hope whatever issue he’s going through will be resolved. Unfortunately, I think it may be time for Anthony to consider an enforced break, as I think some time away from this website might be good for him.

  27. Van Fleet – I really don’t know what to do for the best. I’ve asked AB to knock the strange personal comments on the head and under normal circumstances I’d moderate someone if they kept on doing something I’d asked them not too… but, there’s clearly something that’s not right. Then again, it’s not really our place to discuss or speculate, I doubt it would be helpful.

    AB – I wish you all the best, but again, please drop the strange personal comments and get back to the actually psephology of the seats.

  28. I commented on this on another thread – I’d agree with Van Fleet, it’s a tricky one but I AB’s comments make uncomfortable reading and I doubt that the constant posting is really doing anything to help him either, unfortunately.

  29. Lib Dem Cllr Trevor England defected to UKIP on Worthing Borough Council, last month. There seems to have been a flurry of a dozen or so Cllrs defecting in the fortnight prior to Christmas. Perhaps they decided when making up their Christmas card lists! 😉

  30. That is quite a surprising defection. I’m not too surprised by Tory – UKIP and even Labour – UKIP defectors, but something about the Lib Dem image makes that an interesting political transformation.

  31. RE: Cllr Trevor England

    It shows him for what he is – a complete and utter principle(less) opportunist willing to sell his soul to the highest bidder, so long as it keeps him on the gravy train

    There’s no other explanation for such a political journey

    Whilst we have come to expect this type of behaviour for our MP’s, it’s depressing to know it’s spread to town councillors too

  32. I think some Cllrs just like being a popular opposition Party ie opposing the MP or Govt. I don’t know his reasons. Worse are ones who defect just to hold their seat or Cabinet post as has happened in several Councils including Liverpool in recent years.

  33. He sort of went via the tories, whom he joined (and paid for membership) and then left several hours later.

    There is definitely some crossover between orange bookers with UKIP libertarians – so its not entirely that ridiculous. Drew Blackie at the other place has left UKIP to join the Lib Dems.

  34. “There is definitely some crossover between orange bookers with UKIP libertarians”

    The main crossover between the Lib Dems and UKIP is that both parties contain many people who are opposed to everything and in favour of little if any practical solution. Maybe that is what Lancs Observer is saying above. It’s hard for the Lib Dems to take that approach when they are part of the government.

  35. Orange Bookers are still (probably) strongly pro-Europe though.

  36. Exactly. If anything, orange bookers are the more practical Lib Dems, compared with the sandal-wearing oppose-everything kind of Lib Dem they are probably less likely to be attracted to UKIP.

  37. ‘If anything, orange bookers are the more practical Lib Dems, compared with the sandal-wearing oppose-everything kind of Lib Dem they are probably less likely to be attracted to UKIP.’

    I think that’s right

    Although I’m not a massive fan of laissez faire, I’ve always identified most with the Orange bookers – Clegg being one of them of course – than any other type of Lib Dem – including those you describe

    They tend to be far more pragmatic and in-tune with the world as it is, although I did like Charles Kennedy and he was (and is) very much on the Left of the party

  38. Silly question? Is this a local site for Worthing West or not?

  39. Not a silly question, MOG and let’s now get back to discussing this constituency which happens to be my own. The Lib Dems continue to do well in Tarring and other wards in local elections, even in the last couple of years. Labour has never had any tradition in Worthing West, although I think their vote will nudge up at the next election, partly because at least a proportion of the Lib Dem vote at previous general elections has been tactical and Labour voters won’t be ‘lending’ their votes to Lib Dems in that way for a few elections to come. I would predict something like this at the next election:

    Con 48
    Lib Dem 19
    Lab 16
    Others 5

    Such a result would probably leave the Tories with a larger majority, even though their vote will probably drift down a bit.

  40. Striking still to me that the Tories have gone up from 1997 at every election here, but are still only ahead of that position by 5.6%, barely above the national average.

  41. No sign of Peter Bottomley standing down here next time, even though he will be 70 when the election comes. In many ways, he is more urbane and progressive than the typical Worthing Tory (I know that is a generalisation) who has shown him/herself prone to the dubious attractions of UKIP, at least at a local level. Could see a sharp rise in their vote here.

  42. Strange as it may seem, Bottomley was a member of the Monday Club. Certainly he must have been their most progressive senior member. He was also Stephen Lawrence’s local MP. I wonder if his Monday Club membership came up in the context of the controversy? I certainly don’t recall it.

  43. He has always been curiously difficult to classify in right-left terms, although he is certainly generally seen as more progressive than many. There’s something slightly quixotic and eccentric about him – in the past he has championed all sorts of disparate causes. He was never a classic Tory left winger in the Prior/Gilmour mould, which is perhaps why he has survived so long. His membership of the Monday Club is typical in some ways of his wish not to be pigeon-holed, although he would have cut an odd incongruous figure amongst the Rhodesia loving hangers and floggers.

  44. I agree. On some measures he has been by some distance the wettest Tory MP since the Priors and Gilmours retired. For example I recall that on some obscure bit of anti-union legislation pushed through by the Major government, he was the only Tory to vote against.

  45. I find it quite incredible that Sir Peter was ever in the Monday Club but it does clearly say so in his Wikipedia entry. He appears to disagree with virtually their policies, particularly on Rhodesia as it was, but also on immigration. He has always been in the forefront of condemning human rights abuses, whether they have taken place in Communist countries, or those which have had Fascist or right-wing military dictatorships, such as El Salvador in the past, and has even supported the secular centre-left opposition in Iran, the Mujahedeen Khalq

  46. (that was usually the preserve only of the Left in British politics). In short, although he hasn’t always been a fully-fledged economic “wet”, and hesitated before backing Ken Clarke’s leadership bids (unlike his wife), he really belongs to the left wing of the Conservative Party & his membership of the Monday Club seems quite extraordinary.

  47. it’s noteworthy too that Bottomley’s predecessor as MP here, Sir Terence Higgins, was also on the left of the Conservative Party (indeed, presumably still is), and also opposed the internal settlement in Rhodesia which preceded the internationally agreed one, calling it “wholly discriminatory”, one of the few Conservative MPs at that point to do so. Eventually, Margaret Thatcher of course withdrew her support for this settlement, and helped to bring genuine independence & democracy to the country – sadly now bastardised by the revolting rule of Robert Mugabe.

  48. Yes that ‘genuine democracy’ didn’t last long, did it?

    A huge shock that Mugabe should turn out the way he has, not predictable at all…

  49. There’s all sorts of examples of MPs being in weird parliamentary groupings. David Taylor was in the Socialist Campaign Group despite being fairly socially conservative and not at all a hard lefty.

  50. It’s certainly odd that Terence Higgins and Peter Bottomley have been consecutive Worthing MPs and have both been conspicuously and persistently on the progressive wing of the party. Worthing is not a particularly progressive place and a good section of the Tory voting populace are far from immune from the temptation of voting UKIP, especially at elections other than general elections. One could imagine either would have found a reflection of their brand of Conservatism in places such as Guildford, Salisbury or Canterbury, rather than Worthing.

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