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Worcestershire West

2010 Results:
Conservative: 27213 (50.31%)
Labour: 3661 (6.77%)
Liberal Democrat: 20459 (37.82%)
UKIP: 2119 (3.92%)
Green: 641 (1.18%)
Majority: 6754 (12.49%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 22707 (45.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 19113 (38.3%)
Labour: 5087 (10.2%)
Other: 2955 (5.9%)
Majority: 3594 (7.2%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 20959 (44.5%)
Labour: 4945 (10.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 18484 (39.3%)
Green: 1099 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1590 (3.4%)
Majority: 2475 (5.3%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 20597 (46%)
Labour: 6275 (14%)
Liberal Democrat: 15223 (34%)
UKIP: 1574 (3.5%)
Green: 1138 (2.5%)
Majority: 5374 (12%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 22223 (45%)
Labour: 7738 (15.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 18377 (37.2%)
Other: 1006 (2%)
Majority: 3846 (7.8%)

Boundary changes: gains Lindridge and parts of Teme Valley and Woodbury from Leominster.

Profile: A large, sparsely populated rural seat with a mix of fruit growing and sedate country towns and villages. The seat stretches from the Birmingham commuter belt to the North, around Worcester itself to take in the South of the county, including Great Malvern at the foot of the Malvern Hills and Bredon Hill in the South-East. The largest population centre is Malvern, known for its spring water and its association with Elgar. It is also the location of two public schools, Malvern College and Malvern Girls College. Other towns in the constituency are Pershore and Upton-upon-Severn.

It is an affluent and middle class area, almost a stereotype of traditional British countryside: victorian spa towns, Edward Elgar, morris dancing – Upton is supposedly the model for P.G.Wodehouse`s Market Snodsbury. As might be expected the seat is Conservative, but there has always been a strong Liberal prescence – the Liberals came close to winning the predecessor seat in 1974 after the departure of Sir Gerald Nabarro and it has been a Conservative/Lib Dem marginal since 1997. Labour are almost non-existant and do not even contest local elections in Malvern Hills. The loss of any personal vote from Sir Michael Spicer`s retirement may be seen as an opportunity for the Liberal Democrats.

portraitCurrent MP: Harriett Baldwin (Conservative) educated at Oxford and McGill University in Canada. Investment manager with J P Morgan. Contested Stockton North in 2005.

2010 election candidates:
portraitHarriett Baldwin (Conservative) educated at Oxford and McGill University in Canada. Investment manager with J P Morgan. Contested Stockton North in 2005.
portraitPenny Barber (Labour)
portraitRichard Burt (Liberal Democrat) born 1954. Educated at Birmingham Universityand Open University. Dudley councillor until 2004 and former Liberal Democrat Group leader on Dudley Borough Council. Contested Shrewsbury and Atcham in 2005, Dudley South 2001. Married to Lorely Burt, MP for Solihull.
portraitMalcolm Victory (Green)
portraitCaroline Bovey (UKIP) Contested Worcestershire West 2005.

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 89244
Male: 48.6%
Female: 51.4%
Under 18: 20.9%
Over 60: 26.9%
Born outside UK: 4%
White: 98.7%
Asian: 0.2%
Mixed: 0.5%
Other: 0.5%
Christian: 78.9%
Full time students: 2.4%
Graduates 16-74: 24.7%
No Qualifications 16-74: 25%
Owner-Occupied: 75.4%
Social Housing: 14% (Council: 1%, Housing Ass.: 13%)
Privately Rented: 7.3%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 5.9%

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

94 Responses to “Worcestershire West”

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  1. According to my records, this is only one of 2 non Labour seats not to have selected a Labour candidate

  2. Pershore was in South Worcestershire pre-1997.

  3. Richard Burt is a very effective candidate. He increased the LD vote share in Shrewsbury in 2005 by over 10%. I suppose that is why many people believe he will take West Worcs.

  4. Cons Hold= 6,000 maj

  5. Con Hold

    Maj 6500

  6. The 2 main party candidates Richard Burt and Harriet Baldwin were not born or have even lived in West Worcestershire so how can they possibly represent us.

    Richard Burt is an old hand losing both his previous contests. and as his wife is currently an MP I am sceptical about a double handed MP family having the dedication required to be individualist about their responsibilities in representing a seat he does not reside in.

    Same said for Harriet Harriet Baldwin an import who last contested Stockton North and lost! She has been allocated WW as a safe seat, though Richard Burt may give her a very very close contest this time.

    Cant vote for the Raving Loony Labour Party this time as they do not have candidate!

  7. Penny Barber is the Labour candidate – beoieve its the same Penny Barber who tried to get selected for Birmingham Ladywood.

    The previous post is a bit Royston Vasey – local seats for local people!!

  8. Con maj 4,000

  9. In 2005, the LibDems had a top notch candidate against an unpopular Tory Party, but were let down by their campaign organisation. Specifically, their canvass teams were inefficient and badly placed, and they had no ready answer to a predictable Tory smear half way through the campaign.

    Since then, the Public Toilets landslide in Malvern which wiped out all but 5 of their councillors was a gift to the Tories, and the main culprit in this – a sitting County Councillor who was defeated at district level – is close to the present Parliamentary candidate. I fell out with him when he refused to help me in an employment dispute at County Hall in 2007, despite having campaigned for his election, and him sitting on the Employee Relations Committee. This man advised me in 2005 that my own village was a no-go area (due to a controversial planning decision), but I canvassed it all the same and found it not too bad. The 2005 Parliamentary candidate, who is also a district and county councillor, who survived the Malvern Hills debacle with a comfortable majority, seems to have bowed out of this campaign.

    It all seems too quiet on the streets for anything spectacular to happen, so I predict a reduced turnout and a comfortable majority for the Tory this time.

  10. In response to GRE Fester, I think you will find that Harriet Baldwin has lived just outside Martley for the last 4 years or so. Her children also go to the Primary school in Hallow, where she is also a Govorner. Both Martley and Hallow you will find on the Constituency map towards the border of Worcester!

    Interestingly, I suspect a high turnout from the Hallow, Broadheath, Rushwick and Martley villages and surrounding area due to government sponsored plans to build 4,000 houses on the border with Worcester. Last year, the County Council election for the ward covering these areas was bitterly disputed by the Con and Lib Dem, which resulted in a very high turnout and a narrow Con win. From election material coming through my door the (very unpopular) housing proposals are high on the list of priorities.

  11. Richard Burt does not live in the constituancy. He works as a parliamentary aid for his wife and is paid for by the state and claims a bed and breakfast as him home in the consituancy. harriet baldwin theough not originally from the district has lived in it now for 4 years as her village is in West worcestershire also to answer an earlier point she actually was selected by the local conservative party in a 3 way debate after making the final round. As for the Labour candidate this seems a last minute choice but i did get some election literature through today.

    the labour candidate standing makes it impossible for Richard Burt to be selcted who has just concentrated on malvern and Pershore and forgotten about the villages.

    Conclussion no overall change and conservative majority of 2500.

  12. Still thinking Lib Dem gain, some really positive actions taken on flood defences/mass housing, definitely picked up on local issues and ran with them… Helped hugely by the councillors in Pershore Liz and Charles Tucker who have been proven to work very hard and very effectively over some years with boundary changes bringing them into the constituency.

  13. I see Ladbrokes in The Times have the Tories as favourite (with Labour fourth), but Fink Tank in The Times has the Lib Dems as favourites.

  14. Unless Richard Burt knows and applies the Solihull magic, Conservatives will hold narrowly!

  15. In the Times, the Lib Dems and the conservatives neck and neck on the betting odds.

  16. I have a hunch that this will be an LD GAIN

  17. Based on the eve of poll opinion polls this one’s likely to go to the Lib Dems. It’s been noticable during the campaign that while the Lib Dems seem to have a well organised campaign running in the constituency (posters, canvassing, tellers on the polling station this morning) the Conservatives have been conspicuous by their absence.

  18. Con hold, maj – 1,000

  19. If the LibDems gain as many as five seats from the Conservatives, I think this will be one of them.

  20. pretty rotten hunch that was!

    Perhaps being called Baldwin helps you in Worcestershire. The LD chance here has gone, gone, gone.

  21. Was Great Malvern in Bewdley for the whole of that seat’s existence and not just from 1885?

  22. ‘Perhaps being called Baldwin helps you in Worcestershire. The LD chance here has gone, gone, gone.’

    We assume all sitting MPs benefit from incumbancy – but that’s not always the case

    There are instances where local MPs are viewed as lazy, ineffective, not hard working, not really local etc but hang on because they represent seats in areas which are loyal to the party they represent

    The best example is probably Nick Hawkins in Surrey Heath – an ex-Tory MP who didn’t even bother to get to know his local association let alone his constituents

    Unfortunately for him his local association had the sense to send him packing before the 2005 election, but there was a sharp dip in the Tory vote in Surrey Heath in 2001 (he was elected in 1997) – and there was little doubting why

    I’m not suggesting for one moment that Michael Spicer falls into that category, but it doesn’t always hold that replacing a long-serving MP with a newcomer is a disadvantage to the party that does so

    New blood can sometimes be required

  23. I think Nick Hawkins disputed that account, but I have no local knowledge despite that area not being all that far from me.
    It’s an odd area – in some ways it doesn’t fit with Surrey being a rather brash, almost military area, yet it seemed to show a slight trend to LDs for a few years at the very low point in Con fortunes.
    It’s largely an urban and suburban seat.

    On Worcestershire West, a good Tory result.
    I suspected the Tory majority would increase.

  24. ‘It’s an odd area – in some ways it doesn’t fit with Surrey being a rather brash, almost military area, yet it seemed to show a slight trend to LDs for a few years at the very low point in Con fortunes.
    It’s largely an urban and suburban seat.’

    Suburban certainly

    The area does seem more simlar to seats in Berkshire and Hampshire than Surrey

    But it’s still what you’d call a rock solid Conservative seat.

    Its majority of 16,287 in 1997 made it the fitth safest Tory seat in the country

    Nick Hawkins reduced it to 10,819 in 2001, a year where despite the lack of success nationally for the Tory party, most Tory incumbants found their majorities go up

  25. Nick Hawkins’ performances in elections in Surrey Heath can’t really be held up as a reason for deselecting him. The Tory performance in 2001 when he was a first time incumbent was OK in the context of that GE; he actually secured a greater majority in percentage terms than Gove secured at the following election.

    Surrey Heath Tories seem to be of the opinion that their position as just about the wealthiest Tory association in the country should be crowned by their MP being a senior cabinet/shadow cabinet member. It was the perception among many in the association that Hawkins fell short of being of that calibre that lay behind his deselection, rather than any shortcomings on his part as a constituency MP.

  26. ‘Nick Hawkins in Surrey Heath’

    He was in fact first elected in 1992 to Blackpool S, succeeding Peter Blaker, but when the pre-1997 opinion polls said that Labour would gain that seat, he went to the newly created Surrey Heath

  27. Surrey Heath was not a new seat – it was almost entirely the old Surrey North West, where sitting MP and hardline Thatcherite Michael Grylls was standing down and Hawkins somehow got the nod – a decision the local association lived to regret

  28. Richard Burt may have been an effective candidate for the Lib dems but they are all Tories now. What is the point of having two Tory candidates.

    This constituency would vote in a donkey as long as it was a Tory one!

  29. Will the county that brought us Worcestershire Sauce ever bring us a Liberal Democrat MP?!

  30. One day in the far and distant future perhaps. The Lib Dems have missed their chance here in 2005 and 2010 though. It will be a long time until they are next in contention even WITH Great Malvern in the seat.

  31. I said this after the 2010 election – The LD chance here has gone, gone, gone. – and I’d agree with Shaun. Harriett Baldwin will have the small additional advantage of 1st-time incumbency next time, plus a likely nationwide swing from LD to Con, and the seat will start to look supersafe. Really there’s no reason why the Tories should be weaker here than Mid Worcs – if anything this is an even more prosperous constituency, which is really saying something. There are some pockets of relative deprivation in Evesham & Droitwich in that seat, but I don’t think there are really any to speak of here. Great Malvern physically looks for all the world like a very Tory town indeed & it has always surprised me that the LDs have done so well there up to now; people say it’s a spa town, and the LDs do well in spa towns, but not in Tunbridge Wells or many others they don’t, and I’d be interested to know the reason why they have given the Tories as much of a run for their money as they have in this seat.

  32. Back in the 70’s, the Liberals challenged the Tories in the old South Worcestershire. So it’s probably a historic thing if anything.

  33. I was quite worried about this seat in the 2001-2005 period but think it should be ok for the Tories now.

  34. It should be in theory, but it may never give the party majorities of 10,000+. The Labour vote will probably start to increase as the Liberal Democrat challenge has somewhat faded.

  35. Yes,
    I think the Tories should certainly continue to fight it as if it was a very marginal seat.

    I think the LD vote has held up here somewhat better than average since the General Election.
    An increase in Labour’s vote would probably help the Tories even if they are in trouble aswell as the Libs.

  36. The real headscratcher is this- That the Lib Dems could win Solihull in 2005, but couldn’t win this? If Tom Wells was such an effective candidate, why couldn’t he win with the same 10% swing that Lorely Burt got?

  37. Best explanation is probably the urban vs rural one. Solihull is a fairly densely populated constituency and most of the Tories’ biggest disappointments in recent years have tended to be in that type of seat rather than rural ones such as Worcestershire West.

  38. Solihull was, and shall remain a quirk and an oddity for the Conservatives to lose.

  39. It does have some similarities with Cheadle which the party lost in 2001.

  40. But that is extremely marginal compared to the safeness of this seat.

  41. Solihull was a real embarrassment.
    As I said on the thread, after the count, the ex MP left with a blanket over his head.

    I think the Lib Dems luck will probably run out there though – but not by more than 2,000 or so.

  42. The clincher for Lorely Burt beating Maggie Throup was the presence of UKIP and BNP. Throup may have won it in 2010 with a majority of about 2, 649 otherwise.

  43. I felt sorry for Maggie Throup, who sounded like a good candidate, who had local connections and was selected early on.
    UKIP may have been a factor, possibly also Lib Dem postal votes after the debates.

    I’m not sure outdoing a Lib Dem incumbent on local issues is enough though – you also need to explain that the Lib Dems are not a solution nationally (in my opinion).

    Lorely Burt though does seem to be one of the better Lib Dems who might appeal to some Tories – whether she can keep Labour votes remains to be seen though.
    (She rather tried to have it both ways backing a Lib Dem Labour council in May 2010).

  44. I still believe that Burt must be a first-class candidate to turn a safe Tory seat into a Lib Dem-Tory battleground. Which is what her husband could have done here as well.

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