The UKPollingReport election guide for 2010 has now been archived and all comments will shortly be closed.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 http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide. The old site is archived at the UK Web Archive.
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Witham

2010 Results:
Conservative: 24448 (52.2%)
Labour: 8656 (18.48%)
Liberal Democrat: 9252 (19.75%)
UKIP: 3060 (6.53%)
Green: 1419 (3.03%)
Majority: 15196 (32.45%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 21201 (48.1%)
Labour: 14156 (32.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 6589 (15%)
Other: 2121 (4.8%)
Majority: 7046 (16%)

New seat: takes in parts of the old Braintree, Maldon and East Chelmsford, Colchester and North Essex seats.

Profile: This is a large rural seat with few large population centres, it runs from the hinterland of Maldon to the south, almost up to Braintree in the north and to the western fringes of Colchester, including the village turned suburb of Stanway, in the north. The main town is Witham, once a spa and wool town that saw the building of several GLC overspill estates in the 1960s and 70s and hence actually has some reliable Labour areas. Elsewhere the constituency is rural or suburban and more strongly Tory. Other towns and villages include the growing village of Kelvedon, swollen by more recent housing development; Heckfordbridge; Tiptree, associated with jam-making; Coggeshall, once an early industrial centre for silk making, now a picturesque collection of listed buildings; Chipping Hill; Wickham Bishops; Goldhanger andTollesbury, a fishing village which traditionally harvests oysters from the Blackwater estuary to the south of this constituency.

As a slice of Tory Essex this was the seat that Bernard Jenkin and other MPs are supposed to have told Asian would be Conservative candidate Ali Miraj that they would be shocked if it did not select a white, middle-class male. Presumably to the shock of Bernard Jenkin it did not, opting instead for Priti Patel, who assuming a Conservative victory in what seems to be a safe Conservative seat will become the first female Asian MP.

portraitCurrent MP: Priti Patel (Conservative) Former CCO researcher and corporate affairs spokesman for Diageo. Press Spokesman for the Referendum Party at the 1997 General Election. Deputy Press Secretary to William Hague between 1997 and 2000. Chairman of Erith & Thamesmead Conservatives. Contested Nottingham North 2005.

2010 election candidates:
portraitPriti Patel (Conservative) Former CCO researcher and corporate affairs spokesman for Diageo. Press Spokesman for the Referendum Party at the 1997 General Election. Deputy Press Secretary to William Hague between 1997 and 2000. Chairman of Erith & Thamesmead Conservatives. Contested Nottingham North 2005.
portraitJohn Spademan (Labour) Railway safety worker.
portraitMargaret Phelps (Liberal Democrat)
portraitJames Abbott (Green) born 1960. Educated at UCL. Runs a gardening business. Braintree councillor since 1999. Contested Braintree 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005. Contested Essex North and Suffolk South 1994 European elections
portraitDave Hodges (UKIP)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 82089
Male: 49.3%
Female: 50.7%
Under 18: 22.7%
Over 60: 20.6%
Born outside UK: 3.9%
White: 98.2%
Black: 0.3%
Asian: 0.5%
Mixed: 0.7%
Other: 0.3%
Christian: 76.3%
Full time students: 1.8%
Graduates 16-74: 15.3%
No Qualifications 16-74: 27.9%
Owner-Occupied: 75.9%
Social Housing: 16.1% (Council: 12.9%, Housing Ass.: 3.2%)
Privately Rented: 5.3%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 3.5%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide