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. The Munday club is a bit of a busted flush yes.

    Not that I ever knew anything much about it.

    Bit like standing on a chair with wheels on it – not the way forward … or it could be.

  2. I think we were right to sling out the Monday Club with the old rubbish.

  3. The Monday Club was never totally fascist but it did have dangerously close associations with the National Front at times. That isn’t true of other rightist groups within the Conservative Party, such as the Freedom Association. I find their views antediluvian & incredible but they’re not fascist.

  4. Worthing seems to have largely resisted the charms of UKIP, but it has been a close run thing, with UKIP coming a very close second in several wards in yesterday’s elections. In the Worthing West area UKIP have picked up Durrington, which was not a particular surprise. Labour have done poorly, falling back further from an already weak base. The Greens have picked up their first ever council seat in the town – Worthing Central – with a princely majority of 9 over the Conservatives. They were also not too far off in next door Heene – both sea front wards with a changing and more transient demographic.

  5. Heene was a stunner. Even in the Tory slump of the mid-90s – where the Liberals won 10 wards out of 12, including even true-blue Goring – the Tories held on to Heene (along with Marine). I suspect you’re right, though, about a changing demographic; the 90s residents of Heene must have either died or fled west to Goring, Ferring, Angmering, etc.

  6. Good to see you posting again. Please continue to do so.
    I did see the Lib Dems lost quite a lot of seats in Worthing though, so can guess who might really be a miserable old git.

  7. Thanks JJB. I rather lost heart after posting a relevant local byelection result in Angmering (in Arundel & South Downs) in April 2013 which has yet to elicit a response. I also only post for areas I know well; this used to be the Sussex coast and Thanet, and the latter is now off my radar since my parents died and I no longer visit.

    The Lib Dems are a shot force in Worthing, as (a few years before) in Adur. In each case the party gained a lot of protest votes in the early-to-mid 90s during the tory nightmare years, then gradually lost ground following a short period of power. Protest votes will now go to UKIP and Green, and I don’t see either getting much traction in this neck of the woods

  8. Thanks “M..G”.
    You make interesting posts.
    I am sorry to hear about your parents.

    I suspected UKIP may be taking some of the protest votes here now.
    But perhaps Labour could revive a few points aswell, with the Green presence as you say.

  9. JJB

    As far as Worthing BC and Worthing West constituency are concerned, hell will freeze over before the tories are seriously challenged again (ok, a slight exaggeration, but it certainly won’t happen in what’s left of my lifetime). In my 27 years down here, there has never been a single labour councillor, and the locals look at you if you’re talking Rumanian if you utter the word “labour”. It’s prosperous, has very little ethnic population, very little unemployment, and is a smug self-satisfied place to be; so not a real ukip target either (they managed one seat last month: the same as libdem and green; the other 9 went tory).

    Littlehampton & Bognor and Worthing East & Shoreham constituencies have a different demographic. The former could in the right circumstances be a 3-way marginal (con/lab/kip), though Arun DC will stay safe tory due to the rural hinterland. Shoreham has a far weaker labour history than Littlehampton, and is probably the best ukip target in West Sussex. However, this merely means hell is a wee touch above absolute zero.

    Touching on my old haunts, I’d be amazed if Garage didn’t stand in Thanet South: it’s a natural and obvious choice. I don’t know if labour have picked a candidate yet, but I’d be delighted if Stephen Ladyman stood again; the kipper and tory vote could split 50/50, leaving labour to sneak past and reclaim the seat.

  10. That theory worked really well in Newark didn’t it

  11. That’s not a good comparison. Labour has a much stronger presence in Thanet S than in Newark, at least at district council level, and requires a swing only half as large as Newark to win. I’m not saying that Miserable Old Git is necessarily right, but the comparison isn’t a really apt or fair one.

  12. You’ve completely missed my point. The stereotype that a strong performance by UKIP draws only from the Tories and leaves the Labour vote unaffected has been shown to be utterly wrong in recent elections, especially in areas like this.

  13. ‘The stereotype that a strong performance by UKIP draws only from the Tories and leaves the Labour vote unaffected has been shown to be utterly wrong in recent elections, especially in areas like this.’

    could not agree more

    i simply cannot understand why labour continue to live in denial in regards to the ukip threat to their vote, especially following two elections where they underperfomed specifically because of ukip

    it seems that labour simply can not bring themselves to accept that many of their former voters have putv their lot in with ukip – simply because they don’t want to believe it

  14. Prediction for 2015-
    Bottomley (Conservative)- 49%
    Liberal Democrat- 23%
    Labour- 15%
    UKIP- 11%
    Others- 2%

  15. @HH and TJ

    You both rather missed the significance of my comment re Thanet South. I specifically said “Stephen Ladyman”, not “Labour”. He was the incumbent from 1997 to 2010 and was locally regarded as popular and effective. I don’t assert that A.N.Other, Lab, would be able to do well, merely the former MP.

  16. I think Labour are concerned about UKIP – but only in about the last year, because of the way it dominates the news agenda (and I suspect creates a lot of the debate on the right).
    But I too find it a bit hard to believe a Labour voter would throw their lot in with UKIP in a General Election, although there will be some.

    “Miserable old git” – thanks for your response to my question about Labour in this area. Perhaps Labour could challenge again in Thanet but it doesn’t look likely soon.

  17. This seat is very strong Conservative territory.of course, but is no longer monolithic. As I have said before, the demographic of Worthing is gradually changing and this is shown by the fact that the Greens won the Central ward at the recent local elections and weren’t too far off in next door Heene. I agree that the Lib Dem vote is a fading force, although it will no doubt slowly recover once they have spent a few years in opposition. The Brighton bohemian effect is slowly rippling outwards as Brighton has become too expensive for many, although it has bypassed Lancing which remains really quite a depressed area and much more amenable to the charms of UKIP than does more prosperous Worthing.

  18. @Dr John

    You’re right about about Lancing. My analogy is that Worthing is Waitrose, lying between Littlehampton’s Aldi and Lancing’s Lidl, with the entire downs and weald to the north occupied by Fortnum’s.

  19. “The stereotype that a strong performance by UKIP draws only from the Tories and leaves the Labour vote unaffected has been shown to be utterly wrong in recent elections, especially in areas like this.”

    I hope you are proven right, because my problem with a predominantly two-party system is that politics is more about ideology than execution. The more parties there are capable of winning non-trivial numbers of seats, the better in my opinion.

    But the resilience of UKIP’s Labour vote remains to be seen at a General Election. Local elections tell us that UKIP is well organised in certain seats, but that does not always translate at Westminster. The Tories are no-where as far as local organisation goes in Watford, but the central party ran a good campaign in 2010 and thus they hold the seat. The SNP are every bit as organised as Labour in Scotland nowadays, but you wouldn’t think so comparing their relative seat counts.

    In 2015 UKIP will face a level of scrutiny of their domestic policies which they have never faced before (and probably won’t again for some time), and the solidity of their Labour vote will largely depend on the outcome of that. If UKIP are perceived as “Tory-lite” in Labour areas in 2015 (whether fairly or unfairly), then I don’t think Euroscepticism will be a strong enough factor to retain those voters. I don’t underestimate the party’s ability to work on its image, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that they’re there yet.

  20. Continuing on the food/social class theme, things are not always what they might seem! The whole vexed issue of which supermarket to use has indeed become entangled with the complexities and quicksands of UK class distinction and semiotics.

    So, going to Tesco’s is now definitely out for your lefty liberal types, Morrisons is dodgy, Waitrose is (of course) good and increasingly, so is Lidl. Wouldn’t have been the case 5 years ago.

  21. UKIP gained a seat from the LDs after the latters’ councillor was disqualified for non-attendance. Perhaps not surprisingly the LD vote collapsed, and UKIP narrowly squeezed out the Tories. Both parties polled about twice as many votes as the LDs.

  22. According to James Doyle (former LD PPC for Worthing East, now defected to the Greens, a contributor on votetalk), the Tories and UKIP were the only two parties working the seat, indeed several senior LDs were on holiday during the campaign!

  23. James Doyle stood for the Liberal Democrats in East Worthing and Shoreham in 2005 and 2010, and got increases both times- +1.4% in 2005 and then +1.2% in 2010. Because of their big fall of 7.6% in that seat in 2001, they remain 5.1% behind their 1997 position there. Here, they’ve recovered better after a fall of 4.6% in 2001 and are 3.2% behind 1997.

  24. LD Hold
    Maj 56

  25. Ha ha! Very funny Joe!

  26. Will Peter Bottomley stand again? He will be 71 at the General Election and have been an MP for 40 years. His best days of service are behind him, surely?

  27. This must have been one of the best Christian Party results in the country. Suppose that reflects the high average age.

  28. ‘Will Peter Bottomley stand again?’

    The heavily depleted ranks of the Tory Left need to hang on to their mavericks, and i hope bottomly does stand again

    He’s one of a handful of independently-minded Tory MPs still in the House, with the likes of the other Sir Peter’s (Luff and Tapsel) standing down

  29. At 300 votes they really are still in a minority. 0.6%.

  30. Hopefully not.

  31. He’ll still be only 71 – other older MPs are definitely standing. And he still looks fairly lively. I am very surprised that he has been a lorry driver – just noticed that. Maybe given his relative youth – for an MP serving continuously for what will be 40 years next year – he fancies being Father of the House in a few years’ time? There are 4 MPs still around, and not yet standing down, who have served since 1970 – Kaufman, Meacher, Ken Clarke, Skinner – but I don’t think anyone who has served continuously since 1974 is standing again. I can in fact only think of Sir John Stanley & Sir George Young who are both retiring. So in 2020 Bottomley would be very likely to be Father of the House, though Meacher is only a year older & could well stand even in 2020 too. The next after that is Labour’s Geoffrey Robinson but he was first elected in a by-election in 1976.

  32. Peter Bottomley is a puzzling figure in some ways, being a former member of the Monday Club at the same time as being relatively left-wing.

  33. Bottomley certainly is puzzling – former Monday Club member pro-Trade Unions, and whilst always describing himself as on the Left of the Tory Party he never supported any of Ken Clarke’s bids for leadership

    His wife was much more traditiuonal One-Nation Tory

  34. It is thought that Peter Bottomley transferred to Ken Clarke at least once after supporting Stephen Dorrell (a very ineffective leadership candidate!) in the first round.

  35. ‘It is thought that Peter Bottomley transferred to Ken Clarke at least once after supporting Stephen Dorrell’

    He backed Hague in 97 and pretend right-winger Michael Ancram (surely an even more ineffective leadership candidate than Dorrell) in 2001

    Not sure who he backed in 2005 but I don’t think it was either Cameron or Clarke

  36. Think it was Rifkind (like my former MP Jacqui Lait). Most of Rifkind’s support (though only a couple of MPs) went to Clarke then to Cameron.

  37. I think that’s right – Tim you’re also correct. IIRC he backed Rifkind, then Clarke in the next round.

  38. A few on the Tory left didn’t support Clarke because they realised, perhaps correctly, that he would mortally split the party. Patrick Cormack was another good example. If I were a Tory MP I would reluctantly have come to the same conclusion, though Clarke vs IDS was a truly appalling choice from that point of view.

  39. I forgit about Rifkind in 2005. He quickly pulled out when he realised he couldn’t get the support he needed

    There were actually quite a few left-leaning Tories who felt unable to suppprt Clarke – Green, Maples, Blunt – although he did get support from some on the Right as well – James Arbothnot, John Greenway and Paul Beresford all supported him more than once

    IDS v Clarke was a horreendous choice and only came about because some hardline right wingers who regarded Portillo a traitor – both for his past homosexuality and his rejection of the reactionary politics he once espoused – voted for Clarke to get Portillo eliminated before the vote went out to party members

    Sir Roger Gale was one of them, but there were quite a few – so many that Clarke ended up topping the MP’s poll – quite a surprise considering how right wing the 2001 Parliamentary party was

  40. Clarke’s 2001 campaign was horrendous. His attitude at the hustings meetings was utter contempt for anyone who didn’t share his views, answering question after question in this way. It was fun to see Eurosceptic Colonel Blimps being told bluntly that they were an idiot, but that’s no way to win a Tory leadership election.

  41. Well, I suppose the right wing vote at that time was split between Portillo (when he was a right winger) and IDS

  42. Portillo wasn’t seen as a right winger by that time….which is arguably why he lost. His supporters were primarily the careerists, who melted away when it became clear he was unlikely to win. The final nail in his coffin was Tebbit advising people to vote for “a normal family man with children”

  43. ‘Portillo wasn’t seen as a right winger by that time….which is arguably why he lost. His supporters were primarily the careerists, who melted away when it became clear he was unlikely to win’

    Couldn’t agree more

    Had Portillo stuck to the hardline right wing policies he advocated prior to his humiliating defeat in 97 – he probably would have won in 2001

    Many of those who supported him were the same lot who in 2005 initially backed Davis and then switched to Cameron after poll after poll showed a Davis-led Conservative Party would be no more popular than one led by Howard

    The 2001 run-off – the result of which incidentally was announced the same night as 09/11 or should that be 11/9 – was such a conundrum that you had people like Greg Knight, James Paice, Derek Conway and Andrew Mitchell (who back then was considerably to the Right of where he is now) declaring for Clarke

  44. “The 2001 run-off – the result of which incidentally was announced the same night as 09/11 or should that be 11/9 ”

    It wasn’t. It was due to be announced on Sept 12th, but it was delayed for one day because of the Twin Towers attack


  45. The hard core David Davis backers from 2001 were Derek Conway, Andrew Mitchell and Eric Forth. As you say, they took very strongly against IDS from the beginning (though Eric Forth reluctantly voted for him). More than anyone else it was this small group which brought IDS down.

  46. Not sure Jim Paice voting for Clarke is that surprising. He is more Euro-friendly than most Tory MPs.

  47. Some truly shocking things written about Bottomley online. I am not implying anything or giving any credence to the various stories, but it is pretty strong stuff. He also threatened to sue any newspapers if they repeated the various allegations in print.

    I’m guessing people here think that this will have absolutely no bearing on how voting will go in this constituency?

  48. stop it

  49. Is that the best you can come up with?

    On second thoughts, I will ‘stop it’. Let’s see what comes out when the old boy dies, eh?

  50. A bit odd that Bottomley has not yet been selected as Tory candidate. Perhaps he’s having second thoughts about another 5 years of grind in the Commons. A comfortable seat in the Lords alongside his missus must look attractive. Perhaps the decision of local Council leader Paul Yallop to resign his post to pursue other interests is connected?

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)