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. The Tories will be hoping that now they have picked up these LD seats and ousted incumbents the majorities will get bigger.
    Yeovil is a pretty hefty majority already.

    But as Tory battered by a council by-election loss back to the Lib Dems (although I think partly because control of the council was not at stake) the Tories must fight for every vote.

  2. I’m talking about my own area – council by-election – not Yeovil.

  3. JJB I still have to pinch myself that Dr Cable is no longer an mp in your neck of the woods (I think you are in sw London area, is that correct?)…I never saw that coming, mind you nor did he!

  4. I had him to hold on by 2 to 5000 and kept it private at the time. I am careful what i post on my own and nearby seats. But it did click on the final weekend that the unthinkable was possible. Interestingly, i have since thought the libs did realise. Very frequent sightings of Vince Cable for example.

  5. Also Mike Smithson trying to organise vote swapping with Labour voters in Twickenham. In hindsight we should have read more into it given how well connected he must be in the Lib Dems.

  6. Labour polled awfully in Twickenham compared the other other SW London seats only Sutton and Cheam was worse.

  7. Labour never had that much support in either of those seats, though.

  8. I am sure that Liam Byrne will have derived smug satisfaction from the defeat of Laws here – sweet revenge for the dishonourable way the latter made use of his joke letter!

  9. The Labour vote wasn’t too bad in Twickenham – just over 7,000 which is more numerical votes than in 2001 but there must have still been LD tactical voting.

  10. Btw – looking at the local election results this May in the Somerset area I don’t think the LDs did quite so badly as in the General Election.
    Quite a few councillors in Somerton and Frome seat still.

  11. Without the Liberal advance in the late 70s and early 80s under Ashdown, I think Labour’s natural vote would have been a lot higher without the heavy tactical voting that was deployed for him.

  12. The other point is that (at least until 2010) when many voters see LD and Lab as pretty interchangeable and it’s been embedded for many years as being a catch all for anti Con, then what part of it really is Lab and LD anyway?

  13. Labour was only 2,000 votes or so from winning here in 1966.

  14. That’s a good point. Perhaps such voters actually preferred the Tories over Labour when it came to deciding who should run the country in another close election nationally, but given as you say Joe you would have understandably assumed for years that anti-Conservative tactical voting would simply have meant many Lib Dems voters’ natural preferences being for Labour, and vice versa, but it appears that the almighty Lib Dem collapse beyond most forecasts prior to polling day suggests the Tories benefited most for whatever reason.

  15. without being to partisan, I think although many of these LD voters had leant towards being anti Con,
    when faced with Miliband and the SNP it was too much for them.
    The danger for the Tories though strategically is we only just won despite there being a fairly massive fear factor and need to encourage these marginal voters to become more reliable Tory voters.
    Much depends on whether the Government does a good job and how the economy performs.

  16. I am optimistic Tories will keep these votes, however.

  17. Well one of the interesting things about a lot of these SW results is how little shift there was from Lib Dem to Labour, despite massive collapses in the Lib Dem vote.

    This seat is a nice example – Labour’s vote up, but from 5% to just 7%, still derisory in what is (as I have posted before) a seat with some pretty gritty areas. The deadest of dead cat bounces.

    I get the impression from my contacts on the ground that working class voters who previously voted Lib Dem and were looking for another option rather preferred UKIP to Labour.

    Outside a few enclaves and the odd university town, Labour support in the SW looks to be in terminal long-term decline.

  18. UKIP’s vote share is holding up in polls despite the party’s best efforts to self destruct. Early days, but it would be a mistake for Labour and the Lib Dems to assume that these votes will come back easily.

    I largely agree with you that the Lib Dems will find it pretty impossible to get back in most of these rural west country seats but they perhaps have a better chance in more urban seats like Kingston, Twickenham and Bath.

  19. In the short term I would expect the LibDems best chance of winning seats would be to model themselves as the natural vote depository for people north of the border who hate the SNP.

  20. Tories who hate the SNP will vote Tory….Labour loyalists who hate the SNP will in many cases hate the Lib Dems too. An alternative route back in England will be to ride a wave of nimbyism in response to mass house building on the green belt, airport expansion, HS2, fracking etc. Though problematic overall, such a strategy would play well isolated pockets such as SW London.

  21. ‘Isolated pockets’ is indeed the right phrase though…which is not happy tidings for the many Lib Dems who bought into the ‘winning here, winning everywhere (eventually)’ millenarian spirit of the 2000s…

  22. Yes, they will not be winning everywhere, that is for sure. And the area most impacted by development is the home counties, where the Lib Dems have hardly any areas of residual strength except the SW corner of London.

    I wonder if they will stay competitive in the less rural SW seats they lost like Torbay.

  23. Pretty much all recent council by-elections however have seen a big fall in UKIP’s vote, halved in many cases. Early days of course and we shouldn’t read all that much into it, but interesting nonetheless. In fact there is a tendency for both Lab & Con to increase their share of the vote in recent council by-elections.

  24. I haven’t seen many by-elections since the General Election except the cock up where I live but in terms of swings elsewhere it’s of course dependent on what you are comparing it to.

  25. “I wonder if they will stay competitive in the less rural SW seats they lost like Torbay” – it’s certainly hard to see them recovering in Bristol West or Camborne & Redruth (I know they lost that one in 2010 though)

  26. Joe – if you visit the VoteUK site you will find detailed analysis of by-elections since the general election, and indeed countermanded elections. There were quite a lot of them on Thursday, and they all showed UKIP way down, and generally both Labour & the Conservatives up, with the Tories tending to rise more than Labour. No seats changed hands though as it happens.

  27. Here is a link to the site to which Barnaby refers:

    I am a member, along with other people who have contributed to this site (such as Pete Whitehead, David Boothroyd, Robert Waller, andyajs…)

  28. Thanks Swanarcadian, and Barnaby.
    I’ll give it a go.
    I hope you’re both well.

  29. A cat gets into the election count in Yeovil (May 2015).

    I like the wink – not sure which party it supports.

  30. Saw David Laws walking through Kennington the other day. Looked unhappy and down in the dumps.

  31. BBC News saying a few minutes ago that David Laws was blocked by the House of Lords appointments body for a peerage. Personally I think it’s absolutely disgusting he’d even be considered

  32. Andrew Stunnell got the peerage as replacement for Laws’ name after HoL appointments Commission recommended not to approve him.

    SKY News reported that 5 Conservatives and 1 DUP were also rejected. Cameron replaced only one of the rejected Tories leaving the other spots void and the DUP declined to bring another name forwards.

  33. Suprisingly large drop in the electorate for this seat, from 82.1k to 76.4k

  34. Daisy Benson has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the next general election

  35. Could be third next time, behind Tories and UKIP

  36. Behind Aaron Banks’s new party as well.

  37. Such a party could indeed do well here

  38. It’s a selection in case of a snap election – the PPCs cease to be so in late 2017. Those selected will have a big head start in new selections however,

    The Lib Dems will not fall to third here.

  39. All but.

    On BETFAIR a GE happening in 2016 is at 5.2 (18% probability).

  40. She is calling herself ‘parliamentary spokesperson’. I assume at this stage this means mainly she gets to write some press releases criticising the Tory MP and the media might go to her for quotes etc. Working the constituency for a few years and getting your name known can only be an advantage, though there is the complicating factor of boundary changes.

  41. I presume these early selections will be terminated when the boundary review reports in a few months.

    Here, I would imagine the Lib Dems will be heartened by the council by-elections in the south-west on Thursday. I can’t see them dropping to 3rd.

  42. What is David Laws up to these days? Any chance he’d contest another election?

  43. None whatsoever, in this seat.

  44. It’s a lot more difficult for male Lib Dem ex-MPs to stand again in their old seats now, following the recent rule change bringing in all women shortlists for target seats.

  45. Interesting, although Mark Hunter has been reselected for Cheadle without any shortlist. Presumably the same male retreads in Torbay and Cambridge but more female candidates elsewhere?

  46. I know Edinburgh West is currently selecting with an all woman shortlist

  47. I’m guessing the Lib Dems’ best hope of a gain in Scotland will be Edinburgh West. Michelle Thompson is now sitting as an independent and despite the SNP surge (which was very much of its time) that’s still vulnerable to the fact that it is largely pro-union.

  48. Yep, and they gained the Scottish Parliament seat there this May

  49. Torbay has AWS. I am pretty certain that Martin Horwood will be another restanding.

  50. Apparently it’s non male short list these days

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