Wycombe

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26444 (51.4%)
Labour: 11588 (22.5%)
Lib Dem: 4546 (8.8%)
Green: 3086 (6%)
UKIP: 5198 (10.1%)
Independent: 577 (1.1%)
MAJORITY: 14856 (28.9%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Buckinghamshire. Part of the Wycombe council area.

Main population centres: High Wycombe, Hazelmere.

Profile: The seat is dominated by the town of High Wycombe and its suburbs. While Buckinghamshire as a whole is generally affluent, High Wycombe contains pockets of deprivation and there have been upsurges of violence and gang fights in recent years, some of it with worrying racial overtones (High Wycombe itself has a significant Asian and Black population). The seat also contains the more affluent villages and suburbs around High Wycombe and the countryside to the west.

Politics: While there is Labour support in High Wycombe itself, the Conservative vote in the suburbs and rural villages is enough to outweigh it. At the height of Labour support in 1997 and 2001 the Conservative majority was reduced to under ten percent, but it remained in Tory hands, as it has since 1950.


Current MP
STEVEN BAKER (Conservative) Born 1971, Cornwall. Educated at Poltair School and Southampton University. Former RAF engineer and software consultant. First elected as MP for Wycombe in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23423 (49%)
Lab: 8326 (17%)
LDem: 13863 (29%)
UKIP: 2123 (4%)
Oth: 416 (1%)
MAJ: 9560 (20%)
2005*
Con: 20331 (46%)
Lab: 13280 (30%)
LDem: 8780 (20%)
UKIP: 1735 (4%)
Oth: 301 (1%)
MAJ: 7051 (16%)
2001
Con: 19064 (42%)
Lab: 15896 (35%)
LDem: 7658 (17%)
UKIP: 1059 (2%)
Oth: 1297 (3%)
MAJ: 3168 (7%)
1997
Con: 20890 (40%)
Lab: 18520 (35%)
LDem: 9678 (18%)
Oth: 837 (2%)
MAJ: 2370 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
STEVEN BAKER (Conservative) See above.
DAVID WILLIAMS (Labour)
STEVE GUY (Liberal Democrat) Born 1963. Educated at Queen Marys Grammar School, Walsall. Telecoms consultant. Wycombe councillor 2009-2011. Contested Wycombe 2010.
DAVID MEACOCK (UKIP)
JEM BAILEY (Green)
DAVID FITTON (Independent)
Links
Comments - 81 Responses on “Wycombe”
  1. “Labour achieved similar swings in not dissimilar seats like Bedford and Peterborough”

    No, the swing in Wycombe was 8%, as opposed to 2% in Bedford and 2.5% in Peterborough, both of which were therefore in line with the overall average.

    Besides which, where people have mentioned ‘demographic change’ as a reason for movements since 2015, this ignores the fact that we’ve only had two years since the last election, so the possibility of this as a factor is less than usual.

  2. ‘No, the swing in Wycombe was 8%, as opposed to 2% in Bedford and 2.5% in Peterborough, both of which were therefore in line with the overall average.’

    Fair point but I think as much as 90% of the Remain vote would have been from people who don’t vote UKIP or Tory

    Steve Baker has always campaigned on a heavily Europhobic ticket so it’s hard to imagine anyone sympathetic to staying in the EU voting for him at this last or any other election

    High Wycombe has a higher ethnic minority vote than you might expect and personally I think it’s more of a case of Labour failing up until now to capitalise in a seat where the demographics have been skewing in their favour over the past 30 years or so

    They even missed out in 97 despite winning more affluent seats like nearby St Albans and Watford

  3. Do you have any data to support the idea that the 52% Remain vote contained so little Tory support? if not, that just sounds like guesswork?

    Besides which, this is a constituency where the Conservative vote share fell – unusual in the context of an overall rise of 6% across the UK – but reflected in other nearby Remain voting seats such as Reading East, Guildford, and even Maidenhead.

  4. The Tories have traditionally done quite well with Asian voters here; in this election they almost certainly lost ethnic minority support and it burnt hard on their vote share. Crawley is in some ways similar, quite a big fall in the Tory majority there too.

  5. The swing in Crawley was 4% which was rather average for the South East.

    The movements in Wycombe seem to match those in Slough, which saw another 8% swing, and a fall in the Tory share. But here it seems implausible that a group which makes up about a sixth of the population here should be the main factor in changing the result.

  6. A sixth? Asian + black + mixed race was 26% as of the 2011 census, most likely circa 30% now, ie close to a third.

  7. My figure of “a sixth” was in response to your statement about the Asian vote previously voting tory.

    But in any case, discussions about rising ethnic minority votes assisting Labour are really “old hat” in the context of the 2017 – and were absolutely done to death on these constituency pages post GE-2010. Factors such as each constituency’s age profile, educational level and EU Referendum support appear to have driven last week’s surprise result according to most of the analysis I’ve been able to read so far. It will be interesting to read in due course how these shaped the large swing here.

  8. Maybe this will do a Canterbury next time.

  9. Think it could be very very close in future. I think Steve Baker is a prominent enough figure for it to be given a lot of media attention and campaign spending by Labour…

  10. I noticed this poor result. I wonder whether the council could be at risk.
    I think the Tory share increased but the Labour total looked 1997ish

  11. Tory down 1% actually.

  12. Some interesting analysis by YouGov, which stresses that age is now the biggest determining factor affecting voting choice.

    It seems that the average person turns into a Tory at age 47 🙁

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/06/13/how-britain-voted-2017-general-election/

    I do think that we’re more likely to see a certain amount of reversion-to-type in 5 or 10 years time, rather than a continuation of the movements we’ve seen in GE2017. Memories of the EUreferendum will surely be fading by then.

  13. I was brought up in High Wycombe. Its always underperformed as far as Labour is concerned – there are wards here with Tory councillors which would be safe Labour up north.

    This is their best result for a long time. Good candidate – veteran longstanding councillor – and I think if they can continue to gat the BME vote out then it could become more marginal still

  14. From my own perspective, even though he did hold his seat, this was a truly terrible result for Steve Baker in my personal opinion.

  15. This is a much better result for Labour than in 1974 when the party formed the government, though the seat may be drawn very slightly more to Labour’s advantage than it was then. The 1997 result was significantly better in absolute terms, but essentially the country has swung about 7% to the

  16. This is a much better result for Labour than in 1974 when the party formed the government, though the seat may be drawn very slightly more to Labour’s advantage than it was then. The 1997 result was significantly better in absolute terms, but essentially the country has swung about 7% to the Tories since then, and this constituency only about 4%. It seems to be a very good illustration of Labour gaining votes from the Tories amongst ethnic minority voters, but there were big swings in other Southern seats which have very few non-white voters. This seat is definitely on now.

  17. apologies for partial double post.

  18. I note this seat isn’t very far from Slough…

  19. The fact that there are significant Caribbean & Asian communities may not be related to that though. I remember even when I was at university that there was a High Wycombe West Indians cricket team.

  20. Steve Baker has threatened to resign the whip

  21. Steve Baker is apparently posting on the Tory Mp’s whtsapp groups all the twitter polls claiming he is the public’s choice to be Prime Minster.

    He doesn’t seem to understand how self-selecting twitter polls are.

  22. Steve Baker on the verge of endorsing Boris rather than running himself.

  23. Steve Baker has endorsed Boris in the Sunday Telegraph.

  24. Sky News reporting a Labour source saying “May just be hubris, naivety or both but hearing Wycombe is feeling v close.”

    Labour Activists from Oxford, Slough and the rest of Buckinghamshire all being directed to help there (to the irritation of marginal Reading West).

  25. I’m extremely sceptical of this one. I get the notion there may be a negative vote against Steve Baker, but I don’t think it stacks up against the reality that 95% or more of voters won’t know who Steve Baker is.

  26. Con 45% (-5)
    Lab 38% (0)
    LD 12% (+4)

    This was an odd case of a seat swinging to Labour, and all the more rare for happening in a seat they did not hold. This means that the Tories may now need to be 3 or 4 points ahead nationally just to hold and Wycombe becomes a seat that Labour might hope to take in an ‘even year’.

    I’ve counted 10 counter-trend Con>Lab swings – mostly either London seats or first time incumbency in the South:

    Canterbury
    Reading East
    Wycombe
    Portsmouth South
    Croydon Central
    Battersea
    Putney
    Bethnal Green & Bow
    Chingford and Wood Green
    Altrincham and Sale E

  27. Also:

    Beckenham
    Bristol NW
    Enfield Southgate

    Wycombe seems to be the only one outside a large city…interesting in view of the very distinctive MP.

  28. I’m pretty sure all of these seats voted remain in 206 (Though Portsmouth South and Canterbury are close enough that maybe the official estimates are wrong).

  29. Portsmouth South is the exception because it was reckoned to be 52:48 for Leave in 2016.

    But look at the age profile on the Democratic Dashboard data: Portsmouth South has 38% of it’s population in the 18-35 age bracket, and significantly low number of over 55s and over 65s.

    https://democraticdashboard.com/constituency/portsmouth-south

  30. Also helping the Labour vote share in Portsmouth South was a tactical unwind of Lib Dem voters, many of whom would have preferred to vote Labour for decades but had been putting their cross in the Lib Dem box as the only party capable of beating the Tories.

  31. Wycombe is clearly moving towards a seat the tories won’t hold if they have a stint in opposition in the future.

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