The UKPollingReport election guide for 2010 has now been archived and all comments will shortly be closed. The new Election Guide for the 2015 election is now online at The old site is archived at the UK Web Archive.


2010 Results:
Conservative: 26894 (48.95%)
Labour: 6981 (12.71%)
Liberal Democrat: 17097 (31.12%)
BNP: 1715 (3.12%)
UKIP: 1462 (2.66%)
English Democrat: 568 (1.03%)
Independent: 228 (0.41%)
Majority: 9797 (17.83%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 21123 (43.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 16753 (34.2%)
Labour: 9522 (19.5%)
Other: 1544 (3.2%)
Majority: 4369 (8.9%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 20536 (42.9%)
Labour: 9222 (19.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 16644 (34.7%)
UKIP: 1520 (3.2%)
Majority: 3892 (8.1%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 20748 (44.7%)
Labour: 9271 (20%)
Liberal Democrat: 15496 (33.4%)
UKIP: 912 (2%)
Majority: 5252 (11.3%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 22170 (41.8%)
Labour: 13332 (25.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 15646 (29.5%)
Referendum: 1859 (3.5%)
Majority: 6524 (12.3%)

Boundary changes:


portraitCurrent MP: Edward Garnier(Conservative) (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitEdward Garnier(Conservative) (more information at They work for you)
portraitKevin McKeever (Labour)
portraitZuffar Haq (Liberal Democrat)
portraitMarietta King (UKIP)
portraitGeoffrey Dickens (BNP)
portraitDavid Ball (English Democrat)
portraitJeff Stephenson (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 95045
Male: 49%
Female: 51%
Under 18: 22.4%
Over 60: 21.9%
Born outside UK: 7.9%
White: 89.7%
Black: 0.6%
Asian: 8.1%
Mixed: 0.9%
Other: 0.6%
Christian: 70.1%
Hindu: 3.6%
Muslim: 1.7%
Sikh: 2.5%
Full time students: 4.7%
Graduates 16-74: 19.4%
No Qualifications 16-74: 26.6%
Owner-Occupied: 84.4%
Social Housing: 8.5% (Council: 6.7%, Housing Ass.: 1.8%)
Privately Rented: 4.9%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 4.7%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at

94 Responses to “Harborough”

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  1. Lib-Dems’ rationale in fielding a candidate with polarisations against a broad-based Conservative incumbent is somewhat perplexing but the threat posed by this selection to the Tories would be the University population and the growing Muslim population in Oadby.

    To fend off Zuffar Haq’s significant challenge, Edward Garnier must build a strategy that considers his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses while consolidating his traditional supporter base.

  2. The Lib dems should bring back Mark Cox or Tim swift

    The latter is in the Labour party now but the former still lives in the constituency I believe:)

  3. 2009 CC election results were poor for the Lib Dems in the Market Harborough divisions but they held their own in the Oadby and Wigston divisions. Can anyone throw any light on the disparity?

  4. I can’t answer that particular question except that the LDs are stronger in O&W.

    The LDs may have carried Oadby&Wigston borough in the last three elections given the relatively close result in the seat as a whole.

  5. Council – wise, of course, the Lib Dems ran O & W a few years back – it is possibly just a reflection of the difference over a number of years.

  6. They may but I doubt it, though it would have been fairly close. As Adam indicates the disparity did not seem so great until this year.
    In 2005 the LDs led within the constituency as a whole in the CC elections by 10.6% whilest being 8% behind in the general election. In Oadby & Wigston their lead was 13.7% and in the Harborough district parts of the seat their lead was 6.4%.
    In 2009 the LDs led in the constituency by 4.3% but extended their lead in O&W to 21.1% while suffering a deficit of 18% in the Harborough section. That is to say there was a swing of 3.7% to the LDs in O&W and a swing of 12.2% away from them in the Harborough area.
    In O&W the LD (and Labour) share remained almost identical to 2005 while the Tories lost share to the benefit of the BNP (obviously it would have been more complex than this being a straight exchange).

    Some of this pattern was foreshadowed in the local elections in 2007 when there was a large swing (9%) to the Conservative sfrom the LDs while in O&W there was a swing in the opposite direction of 6.3%.
    Therefore some issues relating to the respective local authorities may have ahd some effect on the patterns of voting in the CC elections. Another factor could well be the demograohic change occuring in the suburban O&W borough as the multi-racial character of Leicester is extended into these areas. Possibly the more urban middle class as represented here are less prone to swing to the Tories, just as we have seen in other cities such as Nottingham (Gedling was dissapointing for the Tories for example) and of course Sheffield, while more small town and rural areas are becoming much more solid for the party again.

  7. “the Lib Dems ran O & W a few years back”

    They have run it without break since 1991.

  8. Current composition is LD – 21, C – 5. In the last election in 2007 the Conservatives won in Oadby Grange (2 of 3), and Wigston Meadowcourt (3 of 3). The Tories came close to winning seats in Wigston St Wolstans. Labour only contested one ward in Oadby Uplands.

  9. Congratulations to Phil Knowles and his team for the victory in Great Bowden…

  10. The BNP have selected Geoff Dickens here

  11. Cons Hold= 7,000 maj

  12. Con Hold

    Maj 8200

  13. Con maj 7,500

  14. This seat sticks out like a sore thumb – the only one for miles around where the Lib Dems have been the challenger over a prolonged period.

    Why does this seat buck the East Midlands pattern?

  15. This constituency contains the LibDem-voting towns of Market Harborough and Oadby plus a core of Labour support in Lutterworth in a sea of Conservative villages and farms. If the Labour support decided on a tactical vote there could be a big surprise, but likely a Con Hold. Maj 5,000.

  16. CON HOLD

  17. A much more convincing win for Edward Garnier this time – a similar majority to the 1992 notionals.

    He is now Solicitor General.

  18. Of the six Conservative MPs elected in Leicestershire / Rutland in 1992, five of them are still in the Commons: Stephen Dorrell, Edward Garnier, David Tredinnick, Alan Duncan and Andrew Robathan. Only David Ashby is no longer present, having lost his seat in Leics NW in 1997. That must be the best retention rate of individual MPs in any county for the Conservatives.

  19. I can’t think of many seats where the Tory majority has been eroded by a couple of thousand each election since 1997 – although the 2010 result bucks that trend

    ‘a core of Labour support in Lutterworth’

    I thought Lutterworth was in Leicestershire South

    If that’s correct I don’t really see any areas of Labour strength in the whole constituency

  20. You’re correct Tim – Lutterworth, though in Harborough district was always in the Blaby seat (now Leicestershire South). I guess there aren’t many areas of Labour strength hence why they won less than 13% in 2010. I think there is some Labour support in parts of Wigston, but since they didn’t even contest any wards there in 2007 it isn’t very evident

  21. Labour does less badly in Wigston than Oadby perhaps, but as you say Pete doesn’t exactly go out of its way to attract the support which ought to be forthcoming there. I’d be interested to know how similar the Harborough seat won by Labour in 1945 was to the present one, and where Labour managed to attract its support from then (although that would have to be speculation).

  22. The Harborough seat then included the whole of the current South Leicestershire seat (as it did until 1974) so would have included Lutterworth etc, but more relevantly from the point f view of the Labour it included a large part of the outskirts of Leicester – areas like North Braunstone now in Leicester West and Eyres Monsell in Leicrester South. This is largely council housing a lot of which was constructed in the inter-war years so that would explain Labour’s victory in 1945

  23. Tory gain in Oadby Woodlands,

    Con 454
    LD 360
    UKIP 151

    Swing #LibDems>Con since ’11: 12.8%

  24. Why did the Lib Dems make gains here last year? What held the Conservatives back?

  25. Thats a good bit of news in a borough that the Tories have been shockingly underperforming in for many many years.

  26. I don’t know the area at all really but have always been told that Oadby ought to be solidly Conservative with Wigston a bit more heterogeneous. How much ticket-splitting do better-informed people think there is in Oadby & Wigston between local & national elections?

  27. Clearly a fair amount, not least because Labour have a very poor record for contesting local elections in this seat so that when their supporters do vote they are inclined to vote tactically for the LDs. There must be a certain number also who vote LD locally and Conservative nationally.
    2005 gives a fair indication as there were CC elections on the same day. The CC division boundaries don’t fit precisely into the constituency so one can only approximate, but on the CC results the LDs were about 5,000 votes or 10% ahead of the Conservatives
    The result was roughly speaking

    LD 25,500 51.7%
    Con 20,500 41.7%
    Lab 3,096 6.3%

    The Conservative share is only slightly below what it was in the general while the LD share is massively higher with 8-9,000 of their local voters voting for other parties in the general election. The bulk of these will be Labour voters (and in the CC elections Labour only stood in Oadby and in the Bruntingthorpe division of Harborough which is only partially in this seat). There is also the UKIP vote to account for so I guess some of this will be LD local voters and others will be Conservative local voters compensated for by LD local voters voting Conservative in the parliamentary contest.
    In 2005 the LDs led in both halves of the seat locally – by about 5% in the Harborough section and about 14% in O&W. This suggests they would have been competitive in O&W in the general election but probably didn;t carry it. Obviously in 2010 the LDs fell abck somewhat and the Conservatives advanced. My impression from local elections in 2007 and 2011 would be that this advance would have come disproportionately from the Harborough part of the seat but that again the LDs would not have carried O&W

  28. Edward Garnier is to be knighted.

  29. Solicitor-Generals for some reason used to get a knighthood with the job (Geoffrey Howe is the best-known example), with I think Peter Archer the first not to get one – now you have to wait until you’re sacked!

  30. Although the fact that Labour won this seat in 1945 has been mentioned a few times in previous years the full results hasn’t been given so far. I’ll do so because it’s interesting:

    HC Attewell, Lab: 23,353 (42.5%)
    ARLF Tree: Con: 23,149 (42.1%)
    WH Kirby, Lib: 8,451 (15.4%)

    Lab maj: 204 (0.4%)

    Swing from Con to Lab: 13.4%

    Elect: 72,454
    Turnout: 75.8%

    (The Liberals won the seat in 1923 by 1,304 votes).

  31. This is the type of seat where you really do get the feeling that the Lib Dems should have done a lot better, seeing as they controlled the local council for a long time.

  32. They control Oadby & Wigston but that only makes up about half of the electorate of the seat. They’ve never controlled Harborough district.

  33. Thanks for clarifying that.
    I had wondered how the Lib Dems had run this council for so long without much impact on the Parliamentary seat but it isn’t an area I know.

  34. The LDs probably did receive the most votes in 2005 from the Oadby/Wigston section of the constituency since the Tory majority was just 3,892 votes then.

  35. There’s clearly ticket-splitting in Oadby & Wigston. In particular I’m sure quite a lot of people in Oadby which is very prosperous seem to vote LD in local elections but for Garnier in general elections.

  36. I’m pretty sure the LDs have controlled Harborough district at some time though I don’t have the informatio to hand – possibly from 2003 to 2007

  37. The Lib Dems may have had a bare overall majority in Harborough during the mid 1990s, but I don’t think they managed it in the 2000’s.

    I think they were the largest party in the borough for a while though, and at one point were just a couple of seats short of an overall majority. Certainly, they would have been in minority control during the early 2000’s
    I think the Lib Dems star began to fall only around 2007.

  38. Having chekced on the BBC website it seems they were just short of control in Harborough with 18 seats against 16 Conervatives, 2 Independents and 1 Labour. I think though that they would have had a clear majority in the wards which are part of this constituency as there are a large number of wards which are either in Blaby or Rutland & Melton which tend to be more Conservative with LD strength being particularly in Market Harborough itself and the Labour councillor would most likely have been in Lutterworth which is also in the Blaby seat

  39. Thanks to Andrew Teale’s excellent website I can confirm that from the wards of Harborough district which are in this constituency, 14 Lib Dem councillors were returned in 2003 against 3 Conservatives and 2 Independents so in fact the LDs were quite as dominant then as they were in Oadby & Wigston. This changed in 2007 when Harborough swung strongly to the Tories and O&W actually swung further to the LDs. I think the differential was widened further in 2011

  40. Unusually (lol) I did actually check that the LDs hadn’t controlled Harborough council before posting my previous comment. I have been guilty of not checking my facts on previous occasions.

  41. Prediction for 2015-
    Garnier (Sir Edward) (Tory)- 26, 737 (49.3%, +0.3%)
    Lib Dem- 15, 326 (28.3%, -2.7%)
    Labour- 9, 152 (16.9%, +4.2%)
    Others- 2, 934 (5.4%, -1.8%)

    Con hold.
    Turnout- 54, 149.
    Majority- 11, 411 (21.0%)

    Swing- +1.5% From Lib Dem to Con.

  42. The Results, as others have pointed out, is way too premature in making predictions. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the economy over the next two year, let alone the erratic happenstance of events.

    The pocket borough of Oadby & Wigston is part of the city of Leicester. It is therefore curious that the Labour vote (and the Labour presence as commented upline) is so low here. I would think this is exactly the sort of seat where there is no chance of the Conservatives losing, and Labour supporters have been voting Liberal for years, where we could see a collapse in the Liberal vote at the next general election. Oadby & Wigston isn’t very different from Gedling, and look at the political balance there.

  43. ”The Results, as others have pointed out, is way too premature in making predictions. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the economy over the next two year, let alone the erratic happenstance of events.”

    Guess what? I don’t care.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s not too early at all. In fact, if people get their predictions out of the way now, then no one can have any complaints once it does get nearer the election- The way things are going, there might be one before 2015…

  44. There is an inconsistency between the prediction here and that in nearby Bosworth. I don;t understand why the LD vote should hold up so well here but collapse in Bosworth. I should think that the fall in the LD vote would be larger here than predicted (largely for the reasons that John Chanin gives) and lower than predicted in Bosworth (for reasons given by JJB and others on that thread)

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