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Isle of Wight

2010 Results:
Conservative: 32810 (46.7%)
Labour: 8169 (11.63%)
Liberal Democrat: 22283 (31.71%)
BNP: 1457 (2.07%)
UKIP: 2435 (3.47%)
Green: 931 (1.33%)
English Democrat: 1233 (1.75%)
Independent: 330 (0.47%)
Others: 616 (0.88%)
Majority: 10527 (14.99%)

2005 Results:
Conservative: 32717 (48.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 19739 (29.5%)
Labour: 11484 (17.2%)
Other: 2903 (4.3%)
Majority: 12978 (19.4%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 25223 (39.7%)
Labour: 9676 (15.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 22397 (35.3%)
UKIP: 2106 (3.3%)
Green: 1279 (2%)
Other: 2801 (4.4%)
Majority: 2826 (4.5%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 24868 (34%)
Labour: 9646 (13.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 31274 (42.7%)
Referendum: 4734 (6.5%)
Other: 2637 (3.6%)
Majority: 6406 (8.8%)

No Boundary Changes: despite the large size of the Isle of Wight geographical considerations have prevented any splitting of the seat into smaller seats. Its theoretical entitlement in the last review was to 1.48 seats, just short of the size where the default position would have been to add an extra seat. The possibility of splitting the seat into two and having one seat that crossed the Solent to include part of the mainland was rejected because of considerations of identity and communication difficulties.

Profile: The Isle of Wight is the largest consituency in the UK, with a 2005 electorate of over 109,000. The constituency includes the whole of the island, which is itself a whole county and effectively a unitary authority. Towns in the constituency includes Cowes, Brading, the county town of Newport, Yarmouth and the seaside resorts of Ryde, Shanklin, Ventnor and Sandown.

The local economy is largely based upon tourism, both from the nautral beauty of the Isle of Wight, the traditional seaside resorts on the island and the island`s world famous connection with yachting, particular the annual Cowes Week regatta. As with most seaside resorts on the South coast, the seat has a very high proportion of elderly people. In the 2001 census a quarter of the population were pensioners. The island is also the site of three prisons, most infamously Parkhurst Prison.

portraitCurrent MP: Andrew Turner(Conservative) born 1953, Coventry. Educated at Rugby and Oxford. Prior to his election he worked as a teacher and an education advisor to the last Conservative government (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitAndrew Turner(Conservative) born 1953, Coventry. Educated at Rugby and Oxford. Prior to his election he worked as a teacher and an education advisor to the last Conservative government (more information at They work for you)
portraitMark Chiverton (Labour) born in Newport. Educated at Carisbrooke High School. Contested Isle of Wight 2005.
portraitJill Wareham (Liberal Democrat) born 1951. Clerk. Isle of Wight councillor 1993-2005.
portraitBob Keats (Green)
portraitMike Tarrant (UKIP) born 1945. Contested Portsmouth South 2001, Isle of Wight 2005.
portraitGeoff Clynch (BNP)
portraitIan Dunsire (English Democrat)
portraitPaul St John Martin (Middle England)
portraitEdward Corby (Independent)
portraitPeter Harris (Independent)
portraitPaul Randle-Jolliffe (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 132731
Male: 48%
Female: 52%
Under 18: 20.7%
Over 60: 28.4%
Born outside UK: 4%
White: 98.7%
Black: 0.2%
Asian: 0.3%
Mixed: 0.5%
Other: 0.2%
Christian: 73.7%
Full time students: 2%
Graduates 16-74: 15.3%
No Qualifications 16-74: 30.2%
Owner-Occupied: 77%
Social Housing: 10.1% (Council: 0.9%, Housing Ass.: 9.1%)
Privately Rented: 10%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 15.3%

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

278 Responses to “Isle of Wight”

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  1. It’s a good question, Shaun.
    I would certainly be in favour of the West seat containing ‘Newport’ in its name, as it’s the county town (possibly including Cowes as well).

    Interestingly, according to Wikipedia the Isle of Wight used to be split into three borough constituencies, one of which was Newport (the other two being Newtown and Yarmouth).

    Newport had some notable representatives…

    Like many seats, for some of its existence it returned two members rather than just one, and “between 1807 and 1811 its two seats were held by two future Prime Ministers: Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington (who also found himself elected to two other seats at the same time), and Henry Temple (later Lord Palmerston)… The local patron arranging the deal was Sir Leonard Holmes, who made it a condition that they never visited the borough!”

    “The borough was also represented by two other future Prime Ministers in the 1820s. George Canning was MP for Newport when appointed Prime Minister in 1827; however, under the law as it then stood a minister accepting office automatically vacated his seat and had to stand for re-election to the Commons, and Canning chose to stand at Seaford, a government pocket borough in Sussex, rather than fight Newport again. In the by-election that followed at Newport, the vacancy was filled by the election of the Honourable William Lamb, later 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose father had also represented the borough in the 1790s. However, Lamb remained MP for Newport for only two weeks before also being elected for Bletchingley, which he preferred to represent.”

    So no fewer than four of Newport’s MPs became Prime Minister! But it seems none of them were actually there very much.

  2. Ind gain from Cons in a by-election here last night.

  3. Yes and WHAT a massive swing!!!

    A tory majority over Independent of just 4 votes becomes an Independent majority over Tory of just 4 votes!

    Frankly, it isn’t really much to write home about. Could have gone either way it seems.

  4. I think Shaun there was an even smaller swing in a by-election in Sands End Ward, Hammersmith & Fulham, in 2002. IIRC the Tories were defending a majority of 3 and Labour gained it with a majority of 2. Or maybe it was the other way round?

  5. The Tories were defending a majority of 3 and Labour gained with a majority of 4. IN fact because Labour had won the first two seats in the ward in May 2002 (quite comfortably in the case of the highest polling candidate), the swing compared with then was in fact from Labour to Conservative

  6. When will the Conservatives be selecting a second candidate here? Although the boundaries have yet to be exactly defined, it won’t do them any harm to select as it would give ample time for the newly selected candidate to help ‘nurse’ the constituency alongside Andrew Turner.

  7. I’d be very surprised to see candidates selected for any mainland seats before the boundaries are at least at revised recommendation stage. But I suppose the Isle of Wight is a special case in that we know for a fact there will be two MPs for the island.

    The problem with selecting now is that candidates who apply will not know exactly what electoral arrangments they are applying for or even whether it is a relatively safe or a marginal seat.

    This is the problem with needing (as we do) to redraw the boundaries for the next election rather than for the one after that. If the commission had more time (which of course they can’t because we have to get this through and in place before a potential Labour victory next time) then we could select candidates for the next election early and we could select in the next parliament early as well because most seats boundaries would then be known.

  8. Will The Isle of Wight now have two MP’s of its own?

    If so will the whole island be a two member constituency or the island be divided in two?

    Or does 2 MP’s mean that part of the Isle of Wight be shared with Lymington, Gosport, Southsea or Hayling Island?

  9. It will have two single member constituencies entirely on the island

  10. Isle of Wight North is almost a compact borough constituency (combining the major settlements of Cowes, Ryde and Newport).

    Most of the acreage of the island will become the Isle of Wight South.

    I assume that North will be more marginal?

  11. The commission seem to have gone for a similar option to that which I advocated, which I shall not take as a vindication because the absurdity of their proposals elsewhere suggests that logic plays no part in their thinking.
    I think you would be right Dalek that traditionally Medina was the better part of the island for the LDs, but it is not hugely different. Probably both seats would have been LD in 1997 and both Conservative in 2005 and 2010

  12. Yes…Anthony has a notional majority of just over 4000 in Wight North and just over 6000 in Wight South so the urban North is more Lib Dem but not massively so (as I had once thought).

    This diffrence is so slight that both seats would have been Lib Dem in 1997 and Conservative Gains in 2001 (though Wight North would have been by a tiny margin).

  13. A better name for the proposed “Isle of Wight South” seat would be “Isle of Wight South, East and West” as the map below suggests:


    Not really. Short titles are preferable.

  14. I wonder which seat Andrew Turner would go for, unless he retires of course?

  15. I would assume Wight South because it is safer but when Buckingham was divided in 1983 William Benyon fought the Milton Keynes half that was more marginal than Buckingham.

  16. He might choose to stand where he himself lives – according to wiki he lives in Newport which will be in Isle of Wight North.

  17. Although the notional results are showing not much difference between the two proposed seats it wouldn’t be surprising if the smaller, urban seat turns out to be considerably better for the LDs and Labour than the other one. The Tories might prefer the sitting MP to contest Isle of Wight North just in case it does turn out to be more marginal than expected.

  18. The Guardian notions show no difference at all but that is because its method assumes the whole constituency votes in the same way.

    Anthony projects a Conservative majority of 4000 + in North and 6000 + is South.

    Most of us were suprised that the urban North would have been more marginal (say Con maj 2000) and the rural South safer Tory (say Con maj 8000).

    “A better name for the proposed “Isle of Wight South” seat would be “Isle of Wight South, East and West” as the map below suggests:”

    The large rural constituency could continue as ‘The Isle of Wight’ while the compact urban constituency could be ‘Ryde, Cowes & Newport’.

    If the island had been divided East and West would it have been possible to create two geographically equally sized constituencies?

  19. The key to one of the ballot boxes got lost in 1983,
    and they had to use a hacksaw to get it open.

    The Nation Decides, I’d say it’s just under half way through this.

    h ttp://

  20. ‘I wonder which seat Andrew Turner would go for, unless he retires of course?’

    I would have thought whichever seat he contests he’d win as he’s been able to do what his Tory predecessors failed to do – in turning the Isle of Wight into a pretty safe Conservative seat and almost wipong out the Lib Dem challenge

  21. Although it is very clear that the boundary review is dead in the water, what is the situation WRT this constituency. Could the Isle of Wight still be split given the abnormal population of the island – in effect increasing the Commons to 651 seats?

  22. If the electorate reaches 120,000 I think it would be split by the Boundary Commission into two seats of about 60,000 each as part of a special review in the same way that Milton Keynes was split in 1989.

    At the moment the electorate is about 112,000.

  23. I think that when Turner eventually retires, this seat could become very marginal.

    He’s already done well just to increase the Tory vote by 14.9% between the years of 2001 and 2005 compared to 1997.

    But his slightly reduced majority in 2010 would appear to suggest he may have become a little complacent- While it is highly unlikely his majority will be further reduced in 2015 given the problems the Lib Dems are facing, you never know.

  24. I don’t agree with that at all. There has been no sign of an LD revival on the island, and it should be an easy Tory hold for the foreseeable future.

  25. The decline in Turner’s majority at the last election was what I would call uncharacteristic.

    You would have expected by now for this to revert to being a safe Tory seat in its pre-February 1974 mould, but the majority tells different.

    The Liberal Democrat remains over 30% here, something it wasn’t in 2005. With the Labour vote now having gone below 12%, I would admittedly envisage it unlikely that Turner would get anything other than an increased majority in 2015 due to some Lib Dems switching to Labour.

    But after that (I.e. 2020 and 2025) who knows? If Turner has gone by then, this could become a seat that the Lib Dems come back into play in- Don’t forget, they held this from 1974 to 1987 and again from 1997 to 2001, so long-term they can’t really be written off.

  26. This surely must be the only constituency in England not to have had its boundaries redrawn at all since 1885, given its special geographical status?

  27. What about Western Isles, Orkney & Shetland and Ynys Mon?

  28. He’s probably right Andy, he only mentions England.

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