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 - 70 Responses on “Wycombe”
  1. Labour won’t be in the least happy to have lost Disraeli ward to the Tories in a district council by-election last week. The party failed to win any of the town’s electoral divisions in the county council too, and I wonder if demographically there is some long-term decline for Labour – after all, High Wycombe is totally surrounded by hopeless areas for Labour. Labour did manage to break their duck on the county council – it was the only non-unitary county council without a Labour councillor before last week – but only thanks to a win in Buckingham.

  2. I don’t entirely know – I would have expected some recovery for them here actually
    but perhaps demographically it is the sort of place where they’ll lag the swing.

    I’d have thought they’d get 2nd place back though in the GE.

  3. “Labour won’t be in the least happy to have lost Disraeli ward to the Tories in a district council by-election last week”

    Obviously Labour are unable to hold on to the ‘One nation’ vote
    I was surprised they didn’t take at least one county council seat here as well. I though Booker, Cressex & Castlefield looked like a good bet for them, in the event theu weren’t even close

  4. Labour have always under-performed here. I was born in a ward which was then in the seat and its where I first joined the Labour party. We didn’t have any councillors then either! That was in 1977.
    I recall getting the princely sum of 2 one year, and I think the best we ever had was 12 or thereabouts on the district council. We did gain four county council seats in High Wycombe one year.

    I’d have thought that Labour should have won at least three wards this time, on paper – but this didn’t surprise me. The odd thing is that even the social groups least likely to desert Labour don’t stick with them here. Its almost the diametric opposite to Merseyside. Disraeli ward isn’t really ‘one nation’ territory, amusingly – its not actually the most obvious Labour ward, socio-economically – there are others which they don’t win which look more favourable on paper.

    Still, its not a seat that we are ever likely to win, and the under-performance just continues a long-standing trend

  5. That wasn’t really true in 1997, when Labour was only just over 2,000 votes away from winning the entire constituency – never mind just High Wycombe itself, which clearly voted conclusively (though not overwhelmingly) for the party. It’s just possible Labour might have even won then if they had started in 2nd place & got some stupendous tactical momentum going. But in general yes, given its socio-economic status, and the presence of noticeable though not enormous non-white communities, Labour does tend to underperform in the town.

  6. That’s the exception which proves the rule though Barnaby. The local elections in 95 saw us going into coalition with the LD’s though the Tories stayed the largest party.
    Even then Labour only had just below half the town seats and managed to win a seat in Hazlemere (a friend of mine who had stood as a paper candidate there for years and ran the local tenants group won it, much to her shock!)

  7. Buckinghamshire elected three Labour MP’s in 1950, in Buckingham, Eton and Slough and Wycombe and only 2 Conservatives in Beaconsfield and Aylesbury. Now they can scarcely manage a councillor.

    The UKIP councillors in the county are either on the HS2 route or have replaced Lib Dems in their former stronghold of Aylesbury Town.

  8. There was no Beaconsfield constituency in 1945. There was however a South Bucks. This was won by Ronald Bell, later MP for Beaconsfield, but at the very end of the war MP for Newport, which he lost to Labour in the 1945 general election.

  9. And Slough is still a Labour seat and the two MK seats marginal. But none are now in Bucks county.

  10. MK and Slough remain part of the traditional county of Buckinghamshire- that is still a meaningful category in my view.

    The electors of Hambleden Valley returned a Conservative in yesterday’s Wycombe DC by-election. This had been caused by the death of the Conservative councillor Roger Emmett. The results were as follows:

    Con: 379 (70.8%)
    UKIP: 93 (17.4%)
    Lab: 63 (11.8%)

    Hambleden Valley is arguably the strongest Conservative ward in the Wycombe constituency. It returned Mr Emmett unopposed in all but two elections he fought. In 2011, he prevailed over a Lib Dem by 80% to 20%.

  11. It’s not surprising. It’s a pretty chintzy, high-income area close to Henley-on-Thames over the county boundary.

  12. Am writing this on the Wycombe thread, as it is the former seat of Paul Goodman, who wrote a good article on ConHome this morning about how Mrs Thatcher came to respect Nelson Mandela.

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/12/mandela-and-the-right.html

    Unfortunately the comments below the article are a prime example of the meanness of spirit and plain nastiness of many of the Tory and UKIP activists who populate the site, sadly including a comment from one Shaun Bennett of this parish.

    As someone with friends and business interests in South Africa, and as a relatively frequent visitor over the past 10-15 years, the visible change over that time has been enormous. I was privileged to have a 10 minute chat with one of Mandela’s old friends Prof Ben Turok MP just a couple of months ago, who attested to the sheer greatness of the man. Today is an extremely sad day.

  13. Brent Central (as the sucessor to Brent South) would have been the obvious seat for any Mandela related comments, although hopefully we can avoid the totally disproportionate coverage of the type which meant the the BBC seemingly reported no other news at all last night, despite there being major storms afflicting the East of England. I expect it is this kind of thing that grates with people rather than any particular bitterness towards the man himself. I don’t see anything wrong with Shaun’s comments on that site

  14. It is not disproportionate, any more so then when Diana and the Queen Mother died, for the BBC to allocate so much coverage to someone of this stature who impacted and changed world history to a very significant extent. Mandela’s death will certainly also raise serious concerns as to the future of South Africa and the region as a whole without his living figurehead as a calming and guiding influence.

    One of the best things about the BBC in comparison with American networks is its international outlook and I for one would have no desire to focus solely on domestic news when big international events occur.

  15. Shaun Bennett’s comments illustrate why to so many people see the Tories as just downright nasty and little else

    Fortunately for the Tories, they couldn’t contrast more with today’s comments of David Cameron

  16. I hardly think the reaction to the death of Princess Diana is something we would want to see repeated

  17. Amongst the public and to some extent the royals no, however the BBC handled it pretty well.

  18. “Brent Central (as the successor to Brent South) would have been the obvious seat for any Mandela related comments”..

    Ironically there are probably way more white South Africans in London than non-white ones and they are more likely to be strewn from Earls Court down the District Line..

  19. I don’t think there’s any “probably” about it. Almost all white South African business people I know have kids either studying or working in London. Saffa shops selling biltong and boerwors are all over West London. The visa requirements are quite strict now and, frankly, most black South Africans won’t get through them.

  20. Personally I think he deserves all the coverage he gets. Not many people change the world for the better the way he did.

  21. Quite correct, Mandela is in a category of international political heroes which contains very few names indeed…perhaps Gandhi, Lincoln and Churchill.

  22. And arguably Roosevelt

  23. I’d agree with you there HH.

    I do wonder how South Africa will progress without him though.

  24. Personally I’m an optimist on that front, though there are clearly a lot of dangers.

    Despite all the corruption and bad press the country has taken huge strides since Mandela left the presidency, both economically and socially. I have visited regularly since around 2000 and the positive changes since then are very visible, both in the size of the new black middle class and the fact that the townships you drive past are starting to get some rudimentary attention – brick buildings and electricity, etc. But it’s all going to take time.

  25. ‘Quite correct, Mandela is in a category of international political heroes which contains very few names indeed…perhaps Gandhi, Lincoln and Churchill.’

    No doubt about it – and Rossevelt does belong in that list – I take it you mean Franklin rather than Theodore (although the latter was a good President too)

    Maybe Gorbachev too

  26. Yes I meant FDR of course.

    I hesitate over Gorbachev as, unlike the other three, he is hated rather than lionised in his own country, though that may change in the future.

  27. I would defend the right of people like Shaun Bennett to write whatever comments they like about Mandela.

  28. I don’t think anyone here was saying he doesn’t have the right to say what he wants. Just other people here are exercising their own right to criticise what he says.

  29. But in a way that is what some people (not on this site) are implying.

  30. I agree with HH

    What we need to remember is that there was in fact huge pressure on Nelson Mandela to serve a second time. he always said no – because he believed the country had to learn to be a democracy without him

    I guess this will be the test. The problem is that he is just not an act possible to follow. Mbeki was a largely competent technocrat whose ludicrous views on HIV have led to an unfeasibly high rate amongst the working age population – at least they are now accessing their meds. Zuma is a typical African ‘big man’ – he can communicate and he is regarded with affection but exasperation.

    Cyril Ramaphosa would have been the best successor – he is a proven businessman and highly intelligent and as deputy leader, may be the one who could settle choppy seas

    I was involved in Anti-Apartheid and have visited South Africa, and I don’t think that the role of Mandela could be exaggerated. A truly great man.

  31. I wouldn’t wish to deny Shaun Bennett his right to say what he wants, but I thought his comments very mean-minded. I have heard worse ones though.
    On the other hand most of you above have shown admirable generosity of spirit. And I thought the comments of Cameron, and indeed George W Bush were very suitable. He was a remarkable man indeed, to unite people from left-wing socialists to quite right-wing conservatives in admiration of his refusal to hate, and his decision to seek ., and even dare I say it love instead. South Africa has some terrible problems, and no sane person could possibly say that Nelson Mandela even came close to solving them, but he has helped to make it a country which is liveable for black, white & other races alike.

  32. the word “reconciliation” should appear after the words “his decision to seek”

  33. Most of the white south african population from what I know is concentrated in the expensive areas of Wimbledon, Balham and Putney.

  34. I imagine Shaun Bennett isn’t the only one to express such views – and to be fair whilst I totally disagree with him, there are some on the lunatic fringes of his party who still to this day wish Mandela had been hanged

    I believe there was a Tory candidate – approved by central office – in a marginal seat in 2005 who expressed such views – in the event, the Labour candidate held the seat

  35. I think almost everyone can agree that Mandela’s actions in the periods just before and after the end of apartheid deserve the very highest praise. There is no doubt in my mind that he personally is responsible for making that transition much easier than it ever seemed likely to be.

    It is worth remembering though that the ANC more broadly engaged in some pretty unsavoury behaviour in the past, to say the least. I don’t blame Mandela personally for that, but while he deserves comparison with great political leaders of the past, there are/were many in the ANC who are far more ambiguous figures.

  36. Re what Surrey Politics says, the white S African population is particularly large in the Roehampton & Wimbledon Parkside areas in the Putney constituency. There is a big S African butchers/deli in the council estate at the northern end of Priory Lane where you can get your chewy boerewors & biltong & I have quite often come across this demographic when working in the area. One well-known S African resident in Wimbledon Parkside is Colin Bland, a famous Test cricketer of half a century ago & the leading fielder of his day.

  37. Where have Shaun Bennett’s comments gone?

  38. Echoing some of the comments here, I’m not at all put off by the constant coverage. If anyone deserves it, it’s Mandela. And speaking as someone who normally tires quickly of constant coverage, that’s saying something; after a couple of days of talk about the royal wedding, I was about ready to blow my brains out.

  39. CON 40
    LAB 24
    LD 20
    UKIP 11
    GRN 4
    OTH 1

  40. Discussing Wycombe on the Woking thread made me look at what’s going on in the town where I come from.

    Looks like its Defection City

    And involving two former parliamentary candidates

    Julia Wassall stood initially for Labour, then switched to the LibDems mainly over Iraq, but has now gone Independent and has taken one of the other LibDems with her

    Chaudry Shafique has switched from Labour to Conservative. That seems particularly odd.

  41. Speaking of defecting parliamentary candidates, I’ll always remember Yasmin Zalzala on the old Manchester Withington thread, ranting about how she was dropped by the Lib Dems after standing for them in 97 and 01, and deciding to run as an independent.

    It was quite obvious she wasn’t MP material, and the Lib Dems dropped her as soon as they realised they might actually win in Withington.

  42. Anthony had to close the thread since her rantings threatened to ruin that thread completely. Mike – defections from Labour to Conservative amongst some Muslim communities are not that uncommon at present. Usually there are personal reasons just as much as political ones. A couple of Pakistani origin in Isleworth for example whom I met campaigning recently defected from Labour to the Tories after one of them (the husband I think) failed to be selected for the soon-to-be-vacant Labour seat in the ward. They managed to get to stand as Tories for the same ward, and thus very unusually it was 3 candidates of Pakistani heritage standing for the Tories & 3 white British candidates standing for Labour, 2 of them very working-class women from local council estates. Labour got about 1,700 votes & the Tories about 300 – they were also beaten by UKIP & the local independents. Their daughter however did stand for Labour in Chiswick & was beaten by a surprisingly small majority by the Tories in her ward. It does happen but it’s uncommon for them to be re-elected as Tories when they have defected especially since 2010.

  43. You would have expected Labour to have performed better here since 2010. As it is I think they’ll probably get about 21%. It should nose them into second place.

  44. Steve Guy is the LibDem PPC here

  45. Conservative Hold. 15,000 maj. Labour 2nd

  46. I just saw Steve Baker on the Sunday Politics. What a joke! He’s trying to claim that all his demands:

    1) A Westminster veto on all EU legislation;
    2) UK control over migration from other EU countries; and
    3) UK power to sign national trade deals with other countries.

    are achievable in the renegotiation. Even Philip Hammond said they are not achievable because they’d lead to the end of thr EU. Either he’s deluded or he knows they aren’t achievable so he’s a liar. Either way seriously, the peopls of Wycombe, you can surely get someone better than this to represent you.

  47. yawn

  48. LOL

  49. Con 50% (-1)
    Lab 38% (+15)
    LibDem 7% (-1)
    UKIP 2% (-8)
    Green 2% (-4)

    An above average swing of 8% here, with the Remain vote again looking like a major factor.

  50. ‘An above average swing of 8% here, with the Remain vote again looking like a major factor.’

    I’m not sure

    Labour achieved similar swings in not dissimilar seats like Bedford and Peterborough, with the key difference being they both voted Brexit by fairly convincing margins

    All these towns have an increasing ethnic vote and I would have thought that – coupled with the higher turn out amongst the young – a more likely explanation behind Labour’s resurgence

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