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
Con: 18807 (33%)
Lab: 2991 (5%)
LDem: 31843 (56%)
UKIP: 2357 (4%)
Oth: 1162 (2%)
MAJ: 13036 (23%)
Con: 17096 (34%)
Lab: 5256 (11%)
LDem: 25658 (51%)
UKIP: 1903 (4%)
MAJ: 8562 (17%)
Con: 17338 (36%)
Lab: 7077 (15%)
LDem: 21266 (44%)
UKIP: 1131 (2%)
Oth: 1320 (3%)
MAJ: 3928 (8%)
Con: 14946 (28%)
Lab: 8053 (15%)
LDem: 26349 (49%)
Oth: 1131 (2%)
MAJ: 11403 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
EMILY MCIVOR (Green) Policy advisor. Contested Tiverton and Honiton 1997, South West Region 2014 European election.
Comments - 245 Responses on “Yeovil”
  1. I have been out in the seat every weekend for the past month and whilst I still think the chance of a Tory gain here is 5% not 50% there is a clear shift in thought from a no hoper seat to a could get it if everything falls into place…

    It’s a real shame that Ashcroft didn’t poll this seat and bath as I am sure there is going to be a massive lib dem shock (like Montgomeryshire last time) in 2 weeks time and this seat could be it.

    Still if I was a betting man I would say this is the one seat in the south west the liberals should be confident aboit

  2. Couple of contradictions in there… but whose counting?!

  3. Not really… I just think people putting this into the dead cert column is daft as as have no polling to support this and who knows what is really happening here..

    But like I also said this is prob the strongest seat for the LDs in the southwest so would be a real shocker if it went blue

  4. I reckon the LD vote could drop by 20% from 56% to 36%. It’ll still be an easy hold for David Laws I think since a lot of that will go to UKIP rather than the Tories.

  5. Fysh won’t be swimming to Westminster then.

  6. Lib Dem Hold. 4,000 maj.

  7. L/D hold by massively reduced majority…under 5,000..

    UKIP should poll well here 15-20%

  8. If the Lib Dems were to lose Yeovil, then they would be coming apart at the seams as a party.

  9. The Lib Dems will lose, or be very strongly threatened in, many of their safest seats. Hallam, RSL, Bermondsey, maybe Ceredigion, among others.

    But here I’m sure they’ll hold on relatively comfortably (albeit with a large chunk of lost share and majority). 40% or below would be a disaster, though as Andy says they could plausibly do even worse and still hold without too much worry.

  10. Its time for change. Laws and his parliamentary scandal can not be trusted any more. Having said that i feel he will stay as people seem to forget fast and forgive even quicker these days.

  11. BBC saying Laws is in trouble here!

  12. I can see the new placard now:

    “Liberal Democrats: In trouble here”

  13. Well I did say…

  14. Yeovil fell to the Conservatives.

  15. Ashdown (former Yeovil MP and all that) is on this Question Time special. Seems like now the coalition is gone, it’s open season on the Tories for them.

  16. But it doesn’t matter a great deal now, does it?

  17. did people not realise Laws was a Tory

    or maybe thats the point!

  18. I told everyone long ago it would go. You could feel it in the town for a while.

  19. Although it happened five years ago, I think Laws paid the price for his expenses claims here – which went straight to his partner

    Electorates have long memories for that sort of thing, and I think it certainly played a part in why he lost on such a large swing

  20. @stephenpt

    You only need to add three letters to the old slogan.

    “Winning here” –> “Winning nowhere”.

  21. Crudely, it seems that the narrow balance of remaining Lib Dem MPs leans to the left….am I right?

    Farron – left
    Mulholland – left
    Carmichael – right
    Pugh – left
    Clegg – right
    Lamb – right
    Williams – left
    Brake – left

  22. ‘Crudely, it seems that the narrow balance of remaining Lib Dem MPs leans to the left….am I right?’

    That’s about right. I would say Carmichel is more centre than right-leaning with Clegg – who one assumes will be rekatively uninvolved – and Lamb as the only orange bookers as it were

  23. If he wants his party to recover, Clegg would be wise to shut up about everything except potholes in Dore for the next five years.

  24. Wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t stand down once a new leader is in place

  25. “Although it happened five years ago, I think Laws paid the price for his expenses claims here – which went straight to his partner

    Electorates have long memories for that sort of thing, and I think it certainly played a part in why he lost on such a large swing”

    That’s what I was thinking, at least part of it. Still though, three decades of Lib Dem representation in Yeovil getting swept away like this was a shock. A 13,000 majority at that! Even after the Survation poll (or was it another polling company?) suggesting a Lib Dem wipe out in the SW, I didn’t believe it would happen. I was predicting they’d hold onto at least 6 or 7 seats.

    The expenses row and having long memories didn’t stop Brent Central and Enfield North voters returning Dawn Butler and Joan Ryan back to Parliament, though unlike David Laws, they were out of Commons for 5 years and Labour wasn’t polling in single digits.

    Expenses aside, it is a shame that they’ve lost the most prominent Orange Booker. Jeremy Browne is another one, although he probably knew the writing was on the wall for him when he stood down. The party membership might be more left wing, but they had something constructive to contribute on various policy issues.

  26. There is no question that Laws’ expenses issues contributed to the Lib Dem defeat here. His attempt to bring his sexuality into it (risibly claiming he was trying to protect his privacy when his orientation was well-known) probably didn’t help either.

    But was that the main factor? The swing against Laws was big at around 16%, but it was 18% Lib-Con in next door Somerton and Frome, around 16% in Taunton Deane, about 16% in Bath too.

    Somerset was just horrible for the Lib Dems – in retrospect Tessa Munt’s ‘only’ suffering a 7% swing against her looks pretty good. But Wells was not the shock Lib Dem hold some on here predicted of course…

  27. The UKIP share is actually a smidgen below the national average – one may have expected it to go a bit higher.
    Several other posters are wrong here – the Lib Dems fell more than predicted, and the votes did largely go to the Tories.
    Looks like an interesting new MP.

  28. The fact that the Lib dems lost Yeovil, Bath, Wells etc by such massive numbers is the real shock for me. If it were possible for them to lose such heartland seats then I would have expected in to be by tiny majorities with several recounts (and court petitions) before a winner was finally settled – think Winchester 97. If the new Tory MP’s do a half decent job bedding themselves in and get the advantage of an encumbrance bounce next time then don’t expect the Lib Dems to return anytime soon.

  29. JJB – if you can find me a thread where the LD vote fell less than posters were predicting then do flag it up.

  30. Westmorland & Lonsdale? They “only” lost 9% there from a starting point of 60% so compared to a national fall of around 15 points I’d suggest that was one they did better in than projected.

  31. The Lib Dem vote seems to have splintered in several directions here, as was the case in other constituencies. Interestingly, having had a look at the local election results held on the same day there is evidence of considerable ticket splitting, with people voting Lib Dem in the locals but not in the GE…which would appeal to support the notion of Laws having a ‘negative personal vote’

  32. Nice try Paul D but I said predicted, not projected. A cursory glance over the final few calls were LD : 52, 55, 54 and PT Richards’ ever optimistic 59.

    At a guess E Dunbartonshire might fit the criteria, though I haven’t checked yet.

  33. I would go along with the idea of Laws’ negative personal vote contributing to the scale of the LD defeat here. However, the split ticket phenomenon would seem to have operated also in seats like Eastbourne, where the incumbent appeared more popular.

  34. If you are looking for places where the LD’s did better than predicted, East Dumbartonshire, West Edinburgh or possibly Burnley is about it.

  35. Add Argyll and Bute, NE Fife, by a shimmy Gordon and Ross Skye and Lochaber. Around half of the previously Lib Dem held seats in Scotland held up better than predicted on this site.

    I wonder how long the gloating will go on for. Any predictions?

  36. The gloating will go on until the Liberals win a by-election.

    I do wonder however whether the gloating is a good idea. A lot of voters may have made a narrow choice to support the Conservatives at this election, without wanting to permanently eliminate the Liberals, or to repudiate their previous votes for them. Gloating may cause considerable annoyance to this I suspect quite large group of voters. Praising the Liberal contribution to he coalition would surely be a better way of cementing the loyalty of these new Conservative voters.

  37. Agreed. The Tories should note that whilst they deserve some credit for increasing their vote against the expected tide, they only increased it slightly and if the LDs had held up even a little better and Labour added a per cent or so….the Tories would have been well short.

    The Tories did what they had to do to get back in – and of course they can’t be faulted for that….but it was a one-off. Unless they can start to convert the viscerally anti-Tory feeling amongst a large swathe of voters (and they can, they just need to be moderately centre right and not privatise everything in site) future election wins will be very difficult, let alone more comfortable working majorities.

    So humility, forethought and a lot of hard work to detoxify is required, and if they are sensible they should start now.

  38. Yes I can imagine all those ex-Lib Dem voters out there are busy logging on to this site to be disgusted by all the ‘gloating’ about their dreadful election results.

  39. “Unless they can start to convert the viscerally anti-Tory feeling amongst a large swathe of voters (and they can, they just need to be moderately centre right and not privatise everything in site) future election wins will be very difficult, let alone more comfortable working majorities.”

    We were told that the tories could never win a majority again…then guess what happened?

  40. Where’s your progressive majority now?

    The gloating will, IMO, continue until people who were the staunchest trumpeteters of LD resilience eat shit and admit that arguing that every single ‘popular’ LD incumbent would be shielded from a national drop In vote share greater than John Major or Michael Foot achieved for their parties, was foolish.

    Chris K’s assertat that the conservatives, now a majority party, whose tactic of using the LDs as a defence board whilst claiming all the credit for the coalition’s successes paid off handsomely, should now start sharing the credit with the LIbDems is rather puzzling to say the least.

  41. The intention of the Conservatives since around 2003 has been to knock the Lib Dems out of the game. That remained the case post-2010 – if the Lib Dems fell for it, more fool them.

    It is quite remarkable though, I must admit, that the Lib Dems have managed to toxify themselves to the extent that they have.

  42. that surprised me as well if I’m honest. They’ve certainly exceeded expectations this year albeit for the wrong reasons

  43. I probably didn’t make my point very clearly. I think what I’m trying to say is that the vaguaries of FPTP mean that a very small number of votes makes a big difference. The Tories increased their overall vote only by just under 1%, and it was more that their vote was distributed more efficiently.

    All I’m saying is that it’s hardly a ringing endorsement, however impressive the achievement. If the Tories sit on their laurels and believe that a 1% increase of vote means that their underlying problems are solved, I think that would be a mistake. Of course the Tories did leak some votes to UKIP so clearly they did attract a significant proportion of LD votes and even some Labour votes…..but it’s nothing that couldn’t unravel extremely quickly. IMHO at least.

  44. Just noticed comment made by Runnymede upthread – wrong on saying Laws’ expenses problem was not to do with him being gay. It was only the fact that he wasn’t willing to reveal he was living with a male partner that made him put in the claim the way he did. If he had been comfortable revealing that then he could have actually claimed more in expenses for living costs.

    Obviously that still makes his claim wrong, as he didn’t declare everything he needed to, and it was his own choice/fault. But it’s wrong to say either that his sexuality had nothing to do with it or that he failed to reveal the information about his partner for financial gain – he actually claimed less than he would have been entitled to.

  45. But the point is his orientation was well-known. So his excuse later on didn’t make any sense.

  46. Did Lord Ashdown ever eat a hat in response to the exit poll or was that another broken pledge?

  47. David Laws confirms he won’t run again (BBC website).

    Can’t say I’m surprised – I wouldn’t have thought he’d be allowed anywhere near a remotely competitive seat given the scale of his defeat.

    He also thinks “there’s every chance” the Lib Dems can retake Yeovil in 2020. Somehow I doubt that

  48. If the LIbDems are to make a comeback, they have got to take seats like this. But like MikeinsDevon I think they may have their work cut out.

  49. Well not having David Laws as their candidate will help the Lib Dems at least.

  50. Yeovil might be more tricky than some of their losses to reclaim, because not only did they loss votes but the Tories actually gained them, thus not only making it a case of the lib dems “losing here” but the the Tories actually “winning here”.

    The lib dems should look at seats were the Tory vote remained unchanged between 2010 and 2015 e.g St Ives, as these will be easier to challenge.

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