The UKPollingReport election guide for 2010 has now been archived and all comments will shortly be closed.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: 29200 (59.7%)
Labour: 4400 (9%)
Liberal Democrat: 12000 (24.53%)
BNP: 1241 (2.54%)
UKIP: 1360 (2.78%)
Green: 511 (1.04%)
English Democrat: 199 (0.41%)
Majority: 17200 (35.17%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 24600 (50%)
Liberal Democrat: 19444 (39.6%)
Labour: 3982 (8.1%)
Other: 1130 (2.3%)
Majority: 5156 (10.5%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 26718 (48.8%)
Labour: 4914 (9%)
Liberal Democrat: 21771 (39.8%)
UKIP: 1331 (2.4%)
Majority: 4947 (9%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 22334 (43.9%)
Labour: 5517 (10.8%)
Liberal Democrat: 22065 (43.3%)
UKIP: 996 (2%)
Majority: 269 (0.5%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 24417 (40.6%)
Labour: 10753 (17.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 21465 (35.7%)
Referendum: 2316 (3.8%)
Other: 1211 (2%)
Majority: 2952 (4.9%)

Boundary changes: There is a small adjustment to bring the constituency in line with ward boundaries, moving a small part of Bromley Common & Keston out of the seat, but the main change is the loss of Cray Valley West ward, the only ward in Orpington to return any Labour councillors, which moves to Bromley and Chislehurst.

Profile: Geographically the largest seat in London, Orpington is the south-eastern corner of London and large parts of it are open Kent countryside between Farnborough and Biggin Hill aerodrome , though the electorate is mostly leafy suburbia. It covers Orpington itself, Petts Wood, Farnborough, Chelsfield, Biggin Hill and the more industrial St Mary Cray, dominated by retail parks and only area in the seat to return non-Conservative councillors. This is an affluent area with a high owner occupier rate and little social housing, this might be expected to be solidly Conservative territory, Orpington though holds a special place in the traditions of the third party. Eric Lubbock`s famous victory for the Liberal party in the 1962 by-election saved the Liberal party from what had seemed like an inevitable slow death. It returned to the Conservative party in 1970 (Lubbock inherited a peerage shortly afterwards as Lord Avebury), but has remained a Liberal target since then – Chris Maines of the Liberal Democrats has fought this seat four times on the trot, in 2001 narrowing the Conservative majority to only 269. In 2005 though Horam increased his majority to a far healthier 4,947 and his perennial opponant Chris Maines is fighting pastures new in Lewisham East.

portraitCurrent MP: Jo Johnson (Conservative) Born 1971, son of former MEP Stanley Johnson (and brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson). Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Journalist.

2010 election candidates:
portraitJo Johnson (Conservative) Born 1971, son of former MEP Stanley Johnson (and brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson). Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Journalist.
portraitStephen Morgan (Labour) Educated at Liverpool University. Trade union liasion officer. Lambeth councillor.
portraitDavid McBride (Liberal Democrat) born 1973. Educated at St Olave`s Grammar School and Goldsmith`s College. Primary school teacher in Bexley. Bromley councillor since 1998 and leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Bromley council.
portraitTamara Galloway (Green) born 1967, Farnborough.
portraitMick Greenhough (UKIP)
portraitTess Cullhane (BNP) Contested 2004 GLA election and European election for the BNP, 2009 GLA election for the National Front.
portraitChris Snape (English Democrat)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 86451
Male: 48.4%
Female: 51.6%
Under 18: 22.5%
Over 60: 22.9%
Born outside UK: 6.7%
White: 95.3%
Black: 1%
Asian: 1.7%
Mixed: 1.2%
Other: 0.8%
Christian: 75.5%
Hindu: 0.7%
Muslim: 0.9%
Full time students: 2.3%
Graduates 16-74: 18.9%
No Qualifications 16-74: 24.1%
Owner-Occupied: 83.7%
Social Housing: 10.3% (Council: 1%, Housing Ass.: 9.3%)
Privately Rented: 4.3%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 3.7%

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

276 Responses to “Orpington”

1 4 5 6
  1. I know what you mean though. Drinking milk on its own is something I rarely do either. It does seem a bit weird not having milk with something else I suppose- Be it tea, coffee, cereal or anything else for that matter. Whether that’s because of the taste or not I don’t know- It obviously has to be had with something else.

  2. ” I think that the point Richard was making was that Thatcher was seeking to stand here, in Orpington, a safe Tory seat she wouldn’t have lost.”

    I had misunderstood. Clearly, I thought we were talking about if she had won in 1955, i.e. in the seat she actually contested.

  3. You’re all wimps. Warm disgusting free school milk (drinking compulsory even if vomited up) put me off for life, and I wouldn’t dream of drinking milk with tea, coffee or cereal.

  4. I too had free school milk as well. I’ll concede that it didn’t taste great, but it didn’t put me off milk for life 🙂

  5. Census results, white British 2001 / 2011:

    Biggin Hill: 94.4% / 93.2%
    Chelsfield and Pratts Bottom: 91.8% / 86.6%
    Cray Valley East: 91.8% / 78.9%
    Darwin: 94.2% / 91.9%
    Farnborough & Crofton: 91.8% / 86.9%
    Orpington: 90.9% / 82.1%
    Petts Wood & Knoll: 91.1% / 85.9%

    TOTAL: 92.0% / 85.5%

    White overall, Orpington:
    2001: 95.3%
    2011: 90.0%

    In Cray Valley East the number of black Africans increased from 122 to 847. In Cray Valley West (which is in the Bromley & Chislehurst constituency) the number increased from 122 to 794.

    Is this because there is council housing in the Cray Valley wards which is popular with African people?

  6. This is already one of the safest Tory seats I suspect – and those figures above suggest it could be somewhere near the very top of the list before long.

    The Lib Dems are hopefully well and truly decapitated all round here.
    If Labour actually nosed into second place, it would make it even more complete.

  7. I think this will be the safest tory seat in 2015.

  8. Do you mean safest in London or the country?

  9. I think one of the very safest in the country, but unlikely to be no 1.

    But in the top 10.

  10. Which seats was this constituency created from in 1950, and what have been its boundary changes?

  11. It wasn’t, Harry. Orpington was created in 1945, entirely out of the former Chislehurst constituency which was thus split into 2. Sir Waldron Smithers, a noted Tory boozer, had represented that seat since 1924 & now won Orpington.

  12. I’m glad I refreshed the page before replying as Barnaby has answered the question.
    The boundaries of Orpington were the same as for the old Orpington Urban District and remained this way until 1983 when Biggin Hill and Darwin were removed to Ravensbourne. IN 1997 these wards were retruned and also St Pauls Cray came in from Chislehurst. In 2010 Cray Valley West (which covered the western half of both the old St Pauls Cray and St Marys Cray wards) was removed to Bromley & Chislhurst. So the boundaries no are little different to the original 1945 boundaries with just part of St Pauls Cray now included which wasn’t then

  13. Since we’re on the subject of London boundaries, a couple of weeks ago I started to have another look at the 2011 boundary figures (the most recent ones the boundary commission provide online). Since we now know that 2015 will be faught on old boundaries, I thought I’d try and have a look at what some of the new sets the commission might come up with if Labour win and the next review is conducted under old rules.

    I started in North East London and whilst most seats remain unchanges in my little mock review, I have come up with some nasty surprises, especially for people in the Clayhall ward in Redbridge.

  14. By a nasty surprise I mean I’ve put them in a cross-borough seat with Newham called ‘Wanstead and Manor Park’.

    So of the seats don’t look good on a map but they’re necessary to make sure all seats come within the commission policy of not exceeding +/- 10,000 of the electoral quota.

    Basically I’ve broke the pairing between Waltham Forrest and Redbridge, considered Waltham Forrest on it’s own and created a pairing between Newham and Redbridge.

    The seats are:

    Walthamstow North and Chingford
    Walthamstow South and Leyton
    Illford North and Woodford
    Illford South
    Wanstead and Manor Park
    Newham East
    Newham West

    I’ve had to change the names of the Newham seats because Newham East takes in parts of the old County Borough of West Ham to compensate for the loss of wards to Wanstead and Manor Park.

    I hope someone like Pete or Barnaby will find that interesting, but I don’t think I’ll go much further with this mock review.

  15. Don’t give up your day job and join the boundary commission will you…

    Wanstead and Manor Park is an awful proposal that would never be implemented in a million years.

    I concede it might be better to split Walthamstow and join the halves with Chingford and Leyton respectively….but as you have found, the implications of doing this on other seats make it difficult to do.

  16. I was taken to Biggin Hill open day in the 1980s and there was a fatal crash – a plane disappearing into the valley.

    Farnborough seems to be one of the nicest areas round here
    but I haven’t been much to the vast rural area at the bottom which is still of course part of London.

  17. From Wikipedia (this is the only fatal incident during the 1980s at Biggin Hill):

    “On 21 September 1980 a Douglas B-26 Invader (registered N3710G) crashed during an air display. The aircraft was attempting to carry out a climbing roll in front of the crowd when the nose dropped sharply, and the aircraft continued rolling until it dropped vertically into a valley. The pilot and seven passengers were killed. The Civil Aviation Authority subsequently introduced rules preventing passengers from being carried during air displays.”

  18. Yes that was it. I wasn’t aware of the plane doing it circuits because I was looking at some othgere displays, but my dad saw it. I was only aware when I saw the ssmoke and people leaving having decided it was the end. It could have been sept but the weather was very hot

  19. More details of the crash on this page:

    ht tp://

  20. Thank you very much for this Andy,
    you clearly are a very good researcher.

    I did try Googling it a few years ago
    and didn’t find all this information.

    It was a very hot day but of course it could be September.

    I was looking at some model aircraft and some other displays.
    I came out after quite a long time
    and just saw a big cloud of smoke,
    People were just very shocked and saying nothing, and all heading out of the Airfield.

    I didn’t realise there were passengers in there.
    My Dad said it was one of the larger planes and
    it did a manouvre and lost control.

    But it’s good to get the order of events here.

  21. Eerie shots, when you blow up the pictures of the sequence – they are very old planes -more than they seemed at the time.

    Clearly went into a spin – and he lost control.

    Hadn’t realised there are quite a few houses nearby – it could have landed on people aswell.

  22. Personal accounts:

    h ttp://

  23. I am a bit of a plane/bus/train old car spotter. Some people say that it goes with politics but it is sureky fasirly rare

  24. I’m not sure if it has been mentioned amongst the previous 273 comments, but I’ve recently re-watched the 1970 BBC election coverage on YouTube and was reminded how Jeremy Thorpe was visibly upset when Eric Lubbock lost here – possibly on the verge of tears. Emotions like these are something politicians are normally able to hide.
    Thorpe himself had only just held on to North Devon.

    Is it possible John Horam wasn’t a particularly popular MP here, which may partly account for the huge pro-Tory swing here last time?

  25. ‘Is it possible John Horam wasn’t a particularly popular MP here, which may partly account for the huge pro-Tory swing here last time?’

    I suspected that, but I think a more plausible explanation is that the Lib Dems had a good candidate here from 1992 to 2005 – who didn’t contest the seat in 2010

    Certainly Horam’s career trajectory looks like a text book in political opportunism, but the by-election beside, Orpington has always been quite a safe Tory seat and i think the 2010 result was more a return to the natural orders

    In 2010 the Tories achieved some huge swings in many urban parts of the South East that aren’t particularly atrractive – Welwyn & Hatfield, Harlow, Hemel Hempsted, Thurrock etc. Whilst this seat is more affluent than those, the swing was of a smilar size

  26. Actually Horam’s final result in 2005 was pretty good; after nearly losing in 2001, he increased his majority pretty handily. This was never a typical seat for targetting by the LDs – it doesn’t have many of the sort of public sector “intellectual” voters who seem to adore Vince Cable for example. However, that hasn’t stopped them in the Sutton seats (or in Eastleigh for that matter). Perhaps as Tim says the results in the 60s, and in the Blair landslides, were atypical of what is really a pretty standard-issue, heavily white middle-class Conservative seat.

1 4 5 6