Yeovil

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24178 (42.5%)
Labour: 4053 (7.1%)
Lib Dem: 18865 (33.1%)
Green: 2191 (3.8%)
UKIP: 7646 (13.4%)
MAJORITY: 5313 (9.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Somerset. Part of the South Somerset council area.

Main population centres: Yeovil, Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster, Ilchester.

Profile: The southernmost seat in Somerset, neighbouring Dorset and Devon. Yeovil itself is a town strongly associated with the defence and aerospace industries - the AgustaWestland helicopter factory (the ownership of which was once the centre of a political scandal and the cause of Michael Heseltine`s cabinet resignation) is situated here, and BAe systems also have a prescence in the town. Other settlements include the market town of Crewkerne and Chard, where Henry vacuum cleaners are manufactured.

Politics: Until 2015 Yeovil was one of the Liberal Democrats` safest seats, falling to the Conservatives on a swing of 16%. Past MPs include the Liberal Democrat party leader Paddy Ashdown and David Laws, who served extremely briefly as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the coalition government, resigning over his expenses claims after only a fortnight.


Current MP
MARCUS FYSH (Conservative) Born 1970, Australia. Educated at Oxford University. Former businessman. South Somerset councillor since 2011 and Somerset county councillor since 2013. First elected as MP for Yeovil in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 18807 (33%)
Lab: 2991 (5%)
LDem: 31843 (56%)
UKIP: 2357 (4%)
Oth: 1162 (2%)
MAJ: 13036 (23%)
2005*
Con: 17096 (34%)
Lab: 5256 (11%)
LDem: 25658 (51%)
UKIP: 1903 (4%)
MAJ: 8562 (17%)
2001
Con: 17338 (36%)
Lab: 7077 (15%)
LDem: 21266 (44%)
UKIP: 1131 (2%)
Oth: 1320 (3%)
MAJ: 3928 (8%)
1997
Con: 14946 (28%)
Lab: 8053 (15%)
LDem: 26349 (49%)
Oth: 1131 (2%)
MAJ: 11403 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MARCUS FYSH (Conservative) Born 1970, Australia. Educated at Oxford University. Businessman. South Somerset councillor since 2011 and Somerset county councillor since 2013.
SHEENA KING (Labour) Educated at Maidstone Grammar School. Air traffic controller.
DAVID LAWS (Liberal Democrat) Born 1965, Farnham. Educated at Woburn Hill School and Cambridge University. Investment banker. MP for Yeovil 2001 to 2015. Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2010. Minister of State for Education since 2012. Appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury following the 2010 election he was in office for only 17 days before resigning when it was revealed that he had been claiming expenses for a flat he rented from his partner. Laws said he had paid and claimed for rent rather than claiming for the mortgage so as not to reveal his homosexuality.
SIMON SMEDLEY (UKIP)
EMILY MCIVOR (Green) Policy advisor. Contested Tiverton and Honiton 1997, South West Region 2014 European election.
Links
Comments - 245 Responses on “Yeovil”
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  1. On its creation in 1918 this constituency was defined as: ‘The rural districts of Chard, Langport, and Yeovil, the municipal boroughs of Chard and Yeovil, and the urban districts of Crewkerne and Ilminster.’

  2. I’m not sure.
    The Somerset results are interesting, but a little hard to compare because of boundary changes.

    UKIP took an LD seat in Yeovil.
    It looks like the County is diverging somewhat away from lots of marginal divisions and wards (although there continue to be many) towards
    centres of fairly serious Tory weakness in the mini metropolises of Yeovil/Frome/Taunton
    (although no doubt partly disguised by poor turnout/anti Government vote/UKIP)

    and relatively good results in the countryside for C.

    Whether this means they can win back some Parliamentary seats in the County that failed to happen in 2010 remains to be seen – I suspect it’ll be a tight battle in all of them as before (except here).

  3. UKIP took Yeovil Central from the LDs by 17 votes.

  4. Ah, the Land Of Ashdown…

    Not particularly surprised that UKIP have done well here though- There has always been the potential for a high Eurosceptic vote in this part of Somerset- The Referendum Party did very well here in the parliamentary seat in 1997.

  5. I am very relieved about Somerset.
    UKIP inroads made it tough in some of the resilient Lib Dem /C marginals but we did it.
    It appears to have done some damage to C, some to the LDs in different seats though.

  6. Funny that at parliamentary level Somerset is split in terms of Conservative and Lib Dem MPs.

    The Lib Dems seem for a long time to have dominated in the South at general elections whereas the Tories have been much more resilient in the Western parts and until recently North i.e. Wells.

    At a local level it’s clearly a different story nowadays though.

  7. Wikipedia has the totals, although they’ve included both votes for the two-member division in Glastonbury & Street:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_County_Council_election,_2013

    Votes (including only the top candidates in Glastonbury & Street):

    Con: 49,516
    LD: 36,743
    UKIP: 28,026
    Lab: 16,993
    Green: 5,648
    Ind: 4,333
    ED: 42

    Total: 141,301

    Percentages:

    Con: 35.04%
    LD: 26.00%
    UKIP: 19.83%
    Lab: 12.03%
    Green: 4.00%
    Ind: 3.07%
    ED: 0.03%

  8. A significant part of the Lib Dem vote in the SW counties has always been a generalised ‘anti-establishment’ (or less charitably, anti-everything) vote – which explains the apparent paradox of votes shifting between Lib Dem and UKIP.

    How these votes shift at the next GE will be intriguing to watch – I personally think the Lib Dems will really struggle to get them back.

  9. What you say could well make the difference in Somerton and Frome and Wells which are very marginal Lib Dem seats but I don’t see it how having much effect in Yeovil. The Lib Dems seemed to do ok there last week and I will be very surprised if they come even close to losing here. Taunton is a harder one to call. Despite an equally decent showing in the CC elections, it is fairly marginal but I would think that Jeremy Browne has a decent chance of being re-elected.

  10. I would agree about Yeovil I think – the Lib Dems are still solid favourites there at next GE given the starting position and their local organisation. But the UKIP wins in Chard and Yeovil central and their strong performances elsewhere should make them wary I think.

  11. UKIP is a threat to the Tories for obvious reasons.

    But given much of the erstwhile LD vote is not a positive vote for LD policies, and can shift to UKIP,
    whereas anti Government swing votes Labour should have taken are also now in the UKIP column, at least for the moment,
    must make both those parties somewhat uneasy aswell.

  12. The LDs will be hard to shift in Yeovil
    but it is just possible.

    Hamilton (UKIP) 17,933
    * Laws (LD) 17,877
    Cash (C) 16,611
    Butler (Lab) 7,192
    Deadwood (Grn) 1,997
    McGuinness (SF) 56

    UKIP gain from LD
    UKIP majority 56

  13. Dawn Butler? lol

  14. Votes cast in local elections in Yeovil constituency:

    LD: 10,654 (34.99%)
    Con: 8,496 (27.90%)
    UKIP: 7,818 (25.67%)
    Lab: 2,262 (7.43%)
    Green: 1,182 (3.88%)
    Others: 42 (0.14%)

  15. I can see a result similar to 2001 in Yeovil at the next GE. Nevertheless, this remains their safest seat in the whole SW region along with Bath. I also think they’ll hold Bristol West, Cheltenham and possibly Thornbury and Yate. All their other seats in the region are vulnerable IMO. Even long-standing seats like North Devon and North Cornwall could fall.

  16. I think the Lib Dems will lose Bristol West before they lose Devon North, Cornwall North or Torbay.

  17. Maybe Bristol West will end up as a Labour seat with the Tories gradually chipping away at the more affluent – sometimes very affluent – bits.
    For the moment though, the LD majority may be enough for them to survive in 2015.

    But the whole thing could be altered by boundary changes. If the Clifton area gets put in Bristol NW, maybe they’ll actually get a safe seat one day.

  18. I can’t see the LDs losing Thornbury & Yate.

  19. Marcus Fysh selected for the Conservatives by open primary:

    https://twitter.com/SomersetMatters/status/362312936275976194

  20. You just beat me to it!

  21. Just thought I would quickly give mention to the incredible result that first got Ashdown to Westminster in 1983- He took nearly all of the above the national average collapse in the Labour vote, and went up by 20%. The unsuccessful Tory candidate was one David Martin, whose vote only dropped by 3.9%.

  22. Precise changes in 1983:

    Alliance: +19.94%
    Con: -3.84%
    Lab: -16.10%

  23. A big swing then, though what the Alliance should really have expected in a lot of seats given the favourable national circumstances for them.

  24. If the Tory vote had stayed the same in 1983 Ashdown’s majority would have been about 1,400 votes.

  25. Funnily enough in the elections that followed Ashdown’s vote share stayed rather still, and in 1997 when he got his biggest ever majority is vote actually fell both in numerical and percentage terms.

  26. ‘The unsuccessful Tory candidate was one David Martin’ Would that be the same David Martin who defeated Mike Hancock four years later to start a 10-year spell as MP for Portsmouth South?

  27. Yes Harry that is correct.

  28. Has Chard always been in this seat (since 1918)?

  29. Yes and since 1885 really as South Somerset was to all intents and purposes the same seat

  30. Paddy Ashdown’s electoral record in Yeovil-
    1. 1979- 19, 939 (30.5%, +1.5%)
    2. 1983- 26, 608 (50.5%, +20.0%, 3, 406 (6.3%) majority)
    3. 1987- 28, 841 (51.4%, +0.9%, 5, 700 (10.1%) majority)
    4. 1992- 30, 958 (51.7%, +0.3%, 8, 833 (14.7%) majority)
    5. 1997- 26, 349 (48.7%, -3.0%, 11, 403 (21.0%) majority)

  31. Liberal/Liberal Democrat results in Yeovil since the Second World War before Paddy Ashdown-
    1. James D Bateman (1945, 11, 057, 24.84%, -8.28%)
    2. L MacLaren (1950, 8, 990, 18.10%, -6.74%)
    3. M.L. Winsor (1951, 6, 118, 12.09%, -6.01%)
    4. Col. Geoffrey F. Taylor (1955, 6, 089, 12.19%, +0.1%)
    5. Col. Geoffrey F. Taylor (1959, 9, 484, 18.64%, +6.45%)
    6. Col. Geoffrey F. Taylor (1964, 12, 426, 24.12%, +5.48%)
    7. D.E. Evans (1966, 9, 248, 17.62%, -6.5%)
    8. D.E. Evans (1970, 7, 418, 13.31%, -4.31%)
    9. Col. Geoffrey F. Taylor (February 1974, 18, 465, 29.54%, +16.23%)
    10. Col. Geoffrey F. Taylor (October 1974, 17, 298, 29.0%, -0.54%)

  32. Three video links containing the declarations of Paddy Ashdown’s results in Yeovil from 1987 to 1997-

    1. 1987- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCzAwj6S6wM (Starts at 8:37 minutes in)
    2. 1992- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwtTHsn_GBQ (Starts at 9:11 minutes in)
    3. 1997- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFwlLYpD2_w (Starts at 6:17 minutes in)

  33. 2015 forecast for Yeovil

    LD 40%
    Con 34%
    UKIP 12%
    Lab 11%
    Others 3%

  34. That much of a fall in Laws’s vote? 16%?

    Maybe if it had been in the immediate aftermath of his abrupt resignation but I suspect that will be a distant memory by 2015 and that he’ll win by a much more comfortable margin than 6%

  35. @John D – it is extremely plausible/likely that David Laws will proportionately lose approximately 28.5% of his 2010 vote.

  36. Very strange that you have predicted ukip doing worse here than in surrey sw.

    LD 44
    Con 31
    Ukip 14
    Lab 11

  37. My prediction here would be-
    Lib Dem- 48%
    Conservative- 30%
    UKIP- 10%
    Labour- 9%
    Others- 3%

  38. I think Laws’ margin of victory will be much narrower here, then what others are suggesting.

    I lived and worked in Yeovil for 4 years between 1994-98, I even voted Lib Dem in 97! Despite only 12 months later joining the Conservatives.

    I would hazard a guess of:

    Lib Dem 43%

    Conservative 35%

    Labour 11%

    UKIP 9%

    Oth 2%

    Laws to hold on by about 4000 on a slightly higher turnout

  39. Laws remains popular here – I’d say Lib dem majority of about 8,000

  40. LD HOLD
    LD 39
    CON 28
    LAB 14
    UKIP 13
    GRN 6

  41. At worst David Laws’ majority will probably fall to 2005 levels. Yeovil is the party’s most reliable seat in Somerset. A UKIP surge might eat into some LD vote but no where near enough to cause damage.

    In Wells they’re toast, Somerton and Frome is at risk and Taunton Deane seems like a hold.

  42. Will there be a halo effect here because of the Somserset Levels flooding issue? And how much of the vote will UKIP get?

    I suspect that Neil is right, the LibDems will hang on. But it may be a tight squeeze for them.

    I won’t pretend that I wouldn’t be pleased to see Laws lose, not least because he seems to be one of the more right-wing LibDem MPs who as a Treasury minister could have done more to move the Coalition to the left, if he had wished. But my comment above has tried to uphold this site’s political neutrality.

  43. County Cllr Nigel Pearson has defected to Ind from UKIP here. He represents Chard North.

  44. the usual internecine squabbles

  45. Even in their worst hour the lib dem very rarely falls below 5%, as it is an area really that seems to well off for a labour vote yet not quite posh enough for the tories,

    prediction for 2015-

    Lib- 47%
    con- 28%
    UKIP- 13%
    lab- 11%
    BNP- 1%

    I struggle to see labour in third as the results has predicted. The only time labour gets very near 15% here is years when they win by landslides.

    There won’t be anyone winning 2015 by a landslide like both Tories and socialists have hoped.

    Otherwise a clear liberal hold.

  46. I now think that the Lib Dems will only win up to 6 or 7 seats in the South West next year. In fact, I only see 4 seats that are strongly leaning Lib Dem in the South West at the minute,

    I can see them holding:

    Bath
    Cheltenham
    Thornbury and Yate
    Yeovil

    And 2 or 3 out of:

    Bristol West
    North Cornwall
    North Devon
    St Ives
    Torbay

  47. I think the LDs will hold all those, plus St Austell.
    I also wouldn’t give up on Taunton, despite Browne’s standing down

  48. I disagree with both of you. I do think that the LDs will hold all the seats listed by 111, but incline slightly towards a Conservative gain in St Austell. And I think Browne’s retirement ends any serious LD hope of hanging on. Remember, he was already 4% behind in the polls, and this will inevitably make it worse; Browne had the benefit of first-time incumbency in 2010, and his departure will therefore hit the defending party a fraction more than otherwise.

  49. Yes can’t argue with any of that Barnaby. Browne’s departure will also mean the Lib Dems lose the seat as well as him at Taunton Deane now, unless the new Lib Dem candidate can hold on to enough of the vote share to narrowly cling on. I’ve just posted an early prediction over there for May BTW.

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