Chesham & Amersham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31138 (59.1%)
Labour: 6712 (12.7%)
Lib Dem: 4761 (9%)
Green: 2902 (5.5%)
UKIP: 7218 (13.7%)
MAJORITY: 23920 (45.4%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Buckinghamshire. The whole of the Chiltern council area.

Main population centres: Chesham, Amersham, Great Missenden, Chalfont St Giles, Little Chalfont , Chalfont St Peter.

Profile: An affluent group of towns and villages set in the Chiltern hills. Chesham and Amersham are very much within the London commuter belt and are the furthest outposts of the London Underground, in their own special zone 9. The proposed High Speed Rail 2 line is planned to run through this seat and is an important local issue.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, held by the party since its creation in 1974 - normally with over 50% of the vote.


Current MP
CHERYL GILLAN (Conservative) Born 1952, Cardiff. Educated at Cheltenham Ladies College. Former marketing consultant. Contested Greater Manchester Central 1989 European elections. First elected as MP for Chesham and Amersham in 1992. Junior education minister 1995-1997. Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 2005-2010. Secretary of State for Wales 2010-2012.
Past Results
2010
Con: 31658 (60%)
Lab: 2942 (6%)
LDem: 14948 (29%)
UKIP: 2129 (4%)
Oth: 767 (1%)
MAJ: 16710 (32%)
2005*
Con: 25619 (54%)
Lab: 6610 (14%)
LDem: 11821 (25%)
GRN: 1656 (4%)
Oth: 1391 (3%)
MAJ: 13798 (29%)
2001
Con: 22867 (50%)
Lab: 8497 (19%)
LDem: 10985 (24%)
UKIP: 1367 (3%)
Oth: 1567 (3%)
MAJ: 11882 (26%)
1997
Con: 26298 (50%)
Lab: 10240 (20%)
LDem: 12439 (24%)
Oth: 692 (1%)
MAJ: 13859 (27%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHERYL GILLAN (Conservative) See above.
BEN DAVIES (Labour)
KIRSTEN JOHNSON (Liberal Democrat)
ALAN STEVENS (UKIP) Educated at Cambridge University. Buckinghamshire councillor since 2013. Contested Chesham and Amersham 2010, South East region 2014 European elections.
GILL WALKER (Green)
Links
Comments - 98 Responses on “Chesham & Amersham”
  1. Oh, it’s a common pattern, although I thought it was more of a Shires thing.

    The most obvious examples are when a Tory loses a ward to the Greens. Almost invariably it’s due to local opposition to some kind of construction. Sometimes the Greens even have valid environmental reasons for their opposition but that still doesn’t stop their voters being motivated by house prices.

  2. “Sometimes the Greens even have valid environmental reasons for their opposition but that still doesn’t stop their voters being motivated by house prices.”

    Reading that, I’m guessing you are not very experienced at buying or selling houses?

    The idea that, at a local level, development reduces house prices is daft. Often it’s the other way round, as new houses sell at premium prices so neighbouring older properties get to benchmark their value to a high comparator.

    If you look on Rightmove at any average town in the south, you’ll tend to find like for like prices are higher closer to town (ie. looking at the same size/type property). So as an area becomes more developed this is another way that it pulls prices up not down.

    From a common sense point of view, if new developments pushed down house prices then the past decade would have seen collapsing house prices not the continued increases we have experienced.

    Which brings me back to your post. I’ve seen many protests against new houses around here and none of them are motivated by house prices because everybody understands that (for the reasons I state above) they are largely an irrelevant concern. The main concerns by far are construction noise, loss of green fields, gardens being overlooked, increased traffic, already overcrowded local infrastructure (schools, GPs etc), horrendous parking.

  3. “New houses sell at a premium” because we aren’t building enough of them, and we aren’t building enough of them because of NIMBYs worried about their house prices. The new developments aren’t causing house prices to rise, they are stopping them rising even faster. It’s incredible that so many people (on both the left and the right) deny the obvious truth of supply and demand on this particular issue, while acknowledging econ 101 in general.

    “Reading that, I’m guessing you’re not very experienced at buying or selling houses?” Well, due to my circumstances I have more experience than most people my age. My mother died some ten years ago and the inheritance has been substantial – I won’t call this “luck” because she was my mother and I miss her every day, but the inheritance has certainly been a silver lining and has allowed me to buy my own one-bed flat outright, without a mortgage, something very few twenty-nine-year-olds are able to do. But you know what? I still want my house price to fall through the floor, because my peers, even those who have higher-paying jobs than me, are struggling to get on a ladder that is receding ever further. For me to lose some of my unearned wealth so they can get a leg-up would be no great shame.

    In terms of the motivations of those opposing development, I do not entirely trust that their arguments are always made in good faith I’m afraid, there is plenty of motte-and-bailey going on (ie where the argument put forward is more defensible than what its adherents actually believe). “My house price is threatened” is toxic to those in the private rented sector, or indeed just those who care about intergenerational fairness – and so other, more palatable arguments are put forward which end up pushing towards the same goal. It’s clear that the Tory successes of the last decade are built upon homeowning voters who very much appreciate (no pun intended) sitting on a huge capital asset, and that their continued electoral success depends on propping up this unsustainable Ponzi scheme as long as possible.

    The moment this thought crystallised in my mind was when George Osborne, during the EU referendum, made a big pitch to the older generation that Brexit would crash the valuation of their houses (if only he had been right!) In the 2017 election, Theresa May’s infamous “dementia tax” was almost unanimously labelled the move that cost her a majority, despite it being quite reasonable to me that an elderly individual should be allowed to keep the last £100k’s worth of a house they had originally bought for far less than that (although I will concede that the policy was terribly framed). And in 2019, the party’s red-wall successes largely came in areas with older populations and thus higher home ownership, where voters are also enjoying the rising value of their cheaply-acquired homes.

    Now, I do concede that maybe sometimes my obsession with the housing market leads me into “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” territory. But I genuinely do believe that NIMBYism, particularly in Tory areas, is largely about house prices, and that left-NIMBYs, while sincere in their concerns about gentrification, sustainability and the like, are useful idiots for those who would wish to perpetuate an unfair status quo.

    Rant over, sorry about that, got out on the wrong side of bed this morning.

  4. PT – true. Oh and of course Tories lost Altrincham ward to the Greens twice, after the LGBTory leader Matt Sephton was jailed and then the Tories selected someone named Constantine to stand the following year (who also appeared to be a Catholic who liked dressing up, although not as bizarre as the RC/Masonic outfits Sephton was pictured in in the press)

    HH is right he house building on the whole, although I was referring to opposition to building non-residential schemes such as office blocks or simply the vanity statues that Knowsley etc built. Obviously house prices fall if they build a hostel or effluent centre next door.

  5. Success of Greens at Tory expense in some wards surely proves that fringe parties like the Greens and Lib Dems dont need any buy in to their principles from voters to elect them, and that they can legitimately win the votes of people who would not actually support them in a month of sundays.
    Which is why you can never write them off in local campaigns like by-elections regardless of how terribly they are performing nationally.

  6. “New houses sell at a premium” because we aren’t building enough of them”

    Erm no. The length and breadth of England has been plastered with new greenfield housing this past 5-10 years. They sell at a premium just as a brand new car sells at a premium, it is shiny and new with a 10 year guarantee and needs little maintenance compared with second-hand. And they also sell at a premium because the developers would not build them without knowing they can make a good return.

    “It’s incredible that so many people (on both the left and the right) deny the obvious truth of supply and demand on this particular issue”

    Demand will always be almost infinite when interest rates are zero (and indeed will likely go negative this autumn). However much you build, there will be enough people willing to buy at a high price, as long as their savings yield no return in the bank. Plus of course zero interest rates make mortgage payments reasonable even on eyewatering sales prices.

    “I genuinely do believe that NIMBYism, particularly in Tory areas, is largely about house prices”

    You think that because you are a zealot on this issue. These areas have been plastered with new developments already, which have only helped prices rise more with a rising tide levelling all boats. As I have said till I am blue in the face, a local development does not damage local house prices. More housebuilding nationally changes national house prices yes, but that is a totally different issue, no individual development is big enough to affect national prices by itself.

    As an aside it’s pretty silly to be mortgage free at the moment in such a tiny property. That perhaps speaks to your one-eyed zealotry on this. You’ll never get a better chance to upsize with virtually free borrowing.

  7. “Success of Greens at Tory expense in some wards surely proves that fringe parties like the Greens and Lib Dems dont need any buy in to their principles from voters to elect them”

    There is some crossover between Tories and Greens in a few areas. Generally snooty, very wealthy, semi-rural places which react with horror at the prospect of McDonalds opening on the high street. Totnes is one example and Lewes (both the town and some outlying villages) is another. Forest Row, next door to us in East Grinstead, is another good example, the council ward switches from blue to Green quite regularly.

  8. I am intrigued by the success of the Greens in some Tory shires – perhaps they do indeed succeed on the back of local planning issues. HH’s post above is quite illuminating, and doesn’t surprise me. Despite the Greens being very left-wing economically, their image is perhaps more palatable to those Tory-leaning voters than Labour are. These often seem to be councils where Labour have no councillors. I did once read a description of Green voters as “too posh for Labour”, which I think is rather on the nose. I’m convinced that Caroline Lucas has been elected with the help of Tory votes in Brighton. I’m sure I read that someone from Made in Chelsea wanted to stand for the Greens – and remember that Samantha Cameron has voted for them too.

  9. True. Back in 1992 – when the Greens were on just 1% – their best votes were all in the Tory shires.

    Other than Lancaster and Brighton, the Green advance has only really occurred in the past 15 years and almost always came from ex-Labour activists and voters going Green in Norwich, Bristol or a London borough etc

    AFAIK Green adavances in cities (Hulme, Manc or St M, Lpool) always come in wards with v high numbers of graduates. Just look at the names of the activists in court in Bristol. All v posh indeed. So from families in Tory areas but the kids become far Left activists.

  10. “True. Back in 1992 – when the Greens were on just 1% – their best votes were all in the Tory shires.” That’s interesting, I didn’t know.

    But you’re right about contemporary Green support. I think they’ve come close to winning in Hackney recently. They had a councillor in Lewisham, and currently have them in Camden and Lambeth. I think the Greens have their HQ in Bristol, unsurprisingly. The Lib Dems and Greens had an electoral pact in Richmond-upon-Thames. Different profile, but I doubt the seats the Greens won were particularly down-at-heel.

    The parents of Caroline Lucas were Tories. And I believe the party’s co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, was previously a Tory.

  11. HH: “I’ve seen many protests against new houses around here and none of them are motivated by house prices because everybody understands that (for the reasons I state above) they are largely an irrelevant concern. The main concerns by far are construction noise, loss of green fields, gardens being overlooked, increased traffic, already overcrowded local infrastructure (schools, GPs etc), horrendous parking.”

    Indeed. Pre-COVID-19, if you had tried to park at East Grinstead Station after about 1100, even with the second storey being built on the car park, you would have been looking for somewhere else or having to go to Gatwick Airport (Three Bridges would have been equally horrendous). Double yellow lines now proliferate everywhere around the town, well onto the Herontye Estate and on Garden Wood Road (near you I think). Judges Close Surgery, where I am registered, has closed its lists, and I don’t know whether the other two surgeries have any vacancies. Meanwhile, a business owner we have patronised for years now faces 200 houses being built behind him on previously open land. Polltroll, you don’t need to worry about houses not being built here; new estates are going up everywhere. Haywards Heath must have grown by at least a third in the past 10 years, and Burgess Hill, once the second fastest growing town in the country, is about to have another huge development built.

    Regarding Forest Row, it’s a bit of a unique case. It has a very strong presence from the Rudolf Steiner organisation, who I presume follow Green principles, such as at Emerson College, where they teach self-sufficiency. You can see their distinctive font on a lot of buildings, and if you look at Colchester Vale or Michael Fields (off Priory Road), it looks as though someone has dropped a load of mushrooms in the fields.

    In Brighton, Caroline Lucas has managed to get a lot of voters to change from all other parties, as she is regarded as an excellent constituency MP. This is probably why Greens don’t do as well in other cities such as Bristol and Norwich in General Elections. Green council candidates are also benefiting – they won huge majorities in Withdean Ward in 2019. This was previously a Tory stronghold.

    A personal connection too – a second cousin of mine is a Green Councillor in Sheffield, while to the best of my knowledge (I haven’t spoken to either in years), his mother is a true old-fashioned Tory.

  12. “There is some crossover between Tories and Greens in a few areas. Generally. . .”

    Beccles in Waveney is quite a good example of this, though it has been known for Labour to win councillors there too in absolutely exceptional years.

    Greens swept through last time taking all 3 seats, by almost North Korea margins too. Just by working harder on the ground, a patch they’ve done relatively well in for 15 years or so now with the odd seat there I believe; and finally tipped over the line in some style.

  13. WV:
    “In Brighton, Caroline Lucas has managed to get a lot of voters to change from all other parties, as she is regarded as an excellent constituency MP. This is probably why Greens don’t do as well in other cities such as Bristol and Norwich in General Elections.”
    Chicken and egg situation surely – she’s also had incumbency on her side. If the Greens *did* get elected in Bristol and Norwich, the incumbent MP could develop a personal following like Lucas has. The chances of another Green MP being elected (under FPTP) look slim at the moment though.

  14. Time for PR? I see a lot of Lefties are now supporting it, like Momentum and John McDonnell..

  15. It certainly is time for PR. Shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the Tories (and some in Labour) prefer the status quo for reasons of self-interest. It’ll only happen with a Labour government, especially if it’s a minority one. It really deprives people of choice without a representative voting system. Not everyone’s views can be pigeonholed into one of the major parties.

    I suppose under PR, the ‘hard left’ malcontents could form their own party and leave Labour. The main reason so many moderates stayed under Corbyn was because FPTP dooms anything new. Labour’s “big tent” isn’t really fit for purpose.

  16. I can see why you’d say that outside looking in but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the Labour Party is the closest thing to religion for members who don’t already have one. The moderate fixer Luke Akehurst tweeted during Corbyns tenure that he would go out with his boots on. I feel very much the same way.

    There are people who don’t. Paul Mason who describes himself as a social democrat in the model of Marxist thought and believes Starmer will further class struggle is a supporter of PR and openly says he’d join a Podemos like party which would prop up a Starmer government.

    Whilst some want PR to split from Labour most who want Labour to split usually want to Blairites to leave and join the Tories or want the Trots to leave and join the SWP. Labour under PR will still be a broad coalition of Luke Akehurst and I. Blocking me on twitter does not mean we won’t still be sharing a party together.

  17. I was on the inside for ten years though, Matt, so I’m well aware that Labour is like a religion for many. I dare say there are many who would stay for good, regardless of how feasible a new party is. But many would like the choice (and joining other left-wing parties now is most likely to be political death). It’s like Chuka Umunna saying that he didn’t come from a Labour tradition, he wasn’t a tribal politician etc. These splits will continue to be an issue though. The death of Shirley Williams reminds of the 80s split, when she left the party with a host of others. However, “moderates” like Hattersley and Healey didn’t. The oldest living former MP, Patrick Duffy, was “on the right” of Labour but doesn’t seem to have been attracted by leaving and says he never will. His background suggests he’s “traditional Labour”.

    And Matt, you come from a Labour family, don’t you? Williams commented in her memoirs that Bill Rodgers being so rooted in his local Labour community made leaving difficult for him. Williams had Labour-supporting parents, but they’d both died before she made the leap.

    So yes, under PR, there would probably still be a healthy sized Labour Party. I imagine that if PR was brought in now, Corbyn supporters would form a splinter party. Not sure it would get more than 10% of the vote though.

  18. WV – tbf the great advances that made Brighton winnable weren’t made by Caroline Lucas.

    She simply stood after that was the case.

    Not sure what happened to the bearded PPC who made the great advances for them in the 2000s.

  19. I do come from a Labour family but I am the last of my family who remains a member or would vote Labour abd both my parents were Labour councillors and my sister was a candidate not that long ago. The Labour Party isn’t a family tradition though certainly not on my side of the family, my sisters father came from a family east London dockers so they were. But my grandparents were all Tories or Liberals. My grandad called to gloat about how many Tories were elected in St Albans the year my mum first became a councillor, she hadn’t actually told him that she was standing.

    Yes I saw an interview with Hattersly where he said walking out of the 81 conference ‘if the ship waa going down I’d go down with it’ a lot of respect for that and totally share that sentiment

    I imagine a left wing party would get enough votes to have representatives in Britain if there was a minimum number needed like in Germany. It’d probably do as well as Die Linke or something. The SSP used to get a number of MSPs in Holyroods before the SNP ousted Labour as the largest party

  20. I remember YouGov doing a poll on a Labour split and both the Labour Left and Labour Right polled a similar amount if i can remember correctly

  21. Found it

    Right split

    Labour 21%
    Right Labour 13%

    Left split

    Labour 19%
    Left Labour 14%

  22. That’s an interesting polling question, but it depends on the question asked and whether it was a PR scenario. If it wasn’t, some might not want to split the vote, and wouldn’t choose either.

    Matt, indeed, I meant that your immediate family were Labour, not necessarily any further back. Have your parents left the party then? I remember hearing about Hattersley’s sentiment and I sympathise. He was anti-PR in that period. He’s changed his mind since, I think. Having stayed in the party throughout the Corbyn period myself, I can also understand Williams and co leaving. In hindsight, they should have stayed and bided their time, to change the party from within. One of the great ‘what ifs’ of history – what if the GoF et al had stayed in Labour. Funnily enough, Patrick Duffy taught Williams at university.

    Other European countries probably do provide an indication of how the UK might go with PR. Hattersley was very admiring of the Swedish SDP hegemony – which of course happened under PR.

    Lancs – that’s what I thought. The local activism by Greens in Brighton, winning council seats, was a launchpad for Caroline Lucas. Plus the previous PPC who had laid the groundwork. I know she was an MEP but did Lucas have a local profile in Brighton before her election? I don’t think she was a councillor.

  23. I only meant that people like Bill Rodgers would have come from a long line of Labour Party supporters whereas i do not.

    My mother and sister have left but my father died before he served his full term. I think Shirley Williams had a lot of potential that was never realised. If i remember correctly she was one of the first women to serve in the shadow cabinet in one of great offices of state. Perhaps things would have been different had she held her seat in 79.

    I think the SDP would have done better too led by her as a popular unifying figure than Roy Jenkins and David Owen who had very different ideas about the SDP

  24. I far prefer the certainties of a FPTP system of voting and so long as the seat distribution is done in a fair and proportionate basis it typically broadly reflects the popular vote

    We have PR to thank for being out Europe as it is this system of voting – forced on us by the EU no less – that enabled the newly formed UKIP to win seats in the European Parliament in the first place and of course first past the post to thank that they weren’t able to repeat the trick in the British Parliament – with the exception of the defectors Marcus Reckless and Doug Carswell.

    That’s the best argument I can think of against PR

  25. FPTP is only fair and proportionate the fewer parties that stand for election. Before the Liberal revival in the 70s generally FPTP worked but multiple parties mean a larger number of spoilers and majorities disportionate to share of the vote.

    If you like FPTP and want a proportionate voting system and a fair distribution of votes and seats AMS or AV+ are good. AMS is used in Scotland, Wales and London. Also New Zealand. Keeps FPTP but with a PR top up to balance out disparities

  26. Lancs Observer, you are right to a certain extent. However, Lucas was elected back in 2010, and it’s only in the most recent council election, in 2019, that the Greens have won wards they would never have won before. Back in the 2000s, when Keith Taylor was the regular Green candidate, they were only really regularly winning the student-heavy St Peter’s (now St Peter’s and North Laine) Ward. They may by then have won the Regency Ward in the city centre as well; I can’t remember, but Labour still used to win most of the central wards. Taylor increased the vote from 9% to 22% in 2005, but this was well below expectations, and both the sitting Labour MP and his Tory opponent did better than expected.

    It’s true the Greens made a major advance in the council election in 2011. However, my point was really about wards like Withdean. The Greens were never popular when they ran the council (there was a long-running dispute with the bin men, which meant rubbish went uncollected for weeks). At one time it would have been unthinkable for any party to have got close to the Tories there. It mostly consists of detached houses, and has Brighton’s top road (Dyke Road Avenue) within its boundaries. The Green advance there (they won all three seats with very large majorities) must surely be largely down to Lucas’s popularity, unless Tim Jones, as a local resident, knows differently.

  27. I should have said I meant Brighton Pavilion when I referred to the increase in Keith Taylor’s vote share in 2005. They have never made much of an impression in the other seat, Kemptown, which is now very strongly Labour. It is also considerably more working class than Pavilion, but voters have stayed loyal to Labour.

    TM, Caroline Lucas was the Green MEP for the South East Region, and then became their candidate in the 2010 General Election. She was never a councillor, and had to move down from Oxford to Brighton, which I don’t think she did in her first term. A further point about Lucas’s popularity that I was making is that the Greens had been active elsewhere, in Bristol and especially Norwich, but had never really done much in Parliamentary elections. I think 15% was their best performance in Bristol West in 2017, but the Labour MP won with a huge majority.

  28. MATT WILSON
    “I only meant that people like Bill Rodgers would have come from a long line of Labour Party supporters whereas i do not.”

    I’m only recalling what the Williams autobiography said about him from memory – I just think she said it was much more difficult for him to leave than it was for her, owing to his background maybe. I don’t have the book to check.

    Tim, you really are very illiberal for a liberal at times. It’s no wonder that you aren’t in the Lib Dems now, given their long held support for electoral reform. But at least you’re honest about your reasons for disliking PR – it gave you a result you didn’t like (the nature of democracy – you can’t pick and choose). However, there are valid arguments in reverse – most 2019 election votes were for pro-EU/people’s vote parties.
    “so long as the seat distribution is done in a fair and proportionate basis it typically broadly reflects the popular vote”
    A) the first point is a fallacy, because seat distribution is always disproportionate under FPTP, and
    B) the Tories got more votes than any other party in 2019. The majority of the votes weren’t Tory though, so I’m not sure giving them a large majority reflects the popular vote. You can get wrong winners under FPTP.
    Matt is right – FPTP doesn’t work in a multi-party system. It’s a Victorian system, designed for the two-party duopoly.

  29. Matt: “I think the SDP would have done better too led by her as a popular unifying figure than Roy Jenkins and David Owen who had very different ideas about the SDP”
    I commented on Williams in the Stevenage thread – probably best to discuss her there really so we don’t go too OT here. David Steel said something like that on the BBC obituary report, that she should have been leading the ‘83 campaign. I think she did have unrealised potential – I believe Wilson saw her as next Labour leader if she had stayed. I can certainly imagine her as PM. Like an alternative Thatcher.

  30. WV – thanks for the background info. In 2003, the Greens won seats in Hanover and Elm Grove, Preston Park and St Peter’s and North Laine. The results are here https://www.andrewteale.me.uk/leap/results/2003/86/
    And you can see in 2007 they doubled their seats from 6 to 12, also winning in Queen’s Park and Regency.

    Lucas has greatly increased her vote in Brighton since she was elected, and I’m sure her popularity has helped – but surely it’s not impossible to imagine that another Green MP could do that elsewhere. My point (and I think what Lancs is saying) is that Lucas initially gained her seat in 2010 thanks to local Green activity. I’m not doubting that she’s responsible in some way for holding it with larger majorities since then (and she may well have influenced the Green gains locally). Siân Berry has won far more votes than the Labour councillors in her Highgate ward – so that is clearly a personal vote for a Green incumbent.

  31. Lucas was my MP for several years and despite not being a Green I happily voted for her in 2017 – I couldn’t vote for May or Corbyn and there was no Lib Dem on the ballot

    I probably would have backed her again in 2019 had I not moved back to Hove – which now has a Labour majority larger than almost any seat on South Wales.

  32. I didn’t realise the Lib Dems had stood down in Brighton Pavilion in 2017 and 2019. Probably part of a pact or progressive alliance. That will have helped Lucas increase her vote too.

  33. Is it because she is a good MP?

    Caroline Lucas’ politics broadly similar to Jeremy Corbyn’s.

  34. Plenty of good MPs lose their seats though. I think Lucas probably is ideologically similar to Corbyn apart from their views on the EU.

  35. Matt: “Is it because she is a good MP?

    Caroline Lucas’ politics broadly similar to Jeremy Corbyn’s.”

    Yes, it definitely is. A fair proportion of her vote is personal. A football forum I sometimes post on (I am a Brighton and Hove Albion fan) often has political discussions. It’s true that being Brighton the political slant is somewhat more Left than other forums, but Lucas gets almost universally favourable coverage on, whereas the Green council used to get withering criticism. Plenty of dyed-in-the-wool Tories on there say they are very happy to vote for her, whereas they would never contemplate voting Labour. I would probably vote for Lucas if I lived in Brighton Pavilion. Saying that, I would vote for Peter Kyle in Hove, but almost certainly wouldn’t vote for Lloyd Russell-Moyle in Kemptown. If I vote back in London at the next election (I have now registered to vote in Sussex again), I would vote for Marsha de Cordova in Battersea if I was happy with Starmer’s policies.

    Going back to the earlier discussion, yes the Greens were already very active in Brighton before Lucas stood, and there was talk in 2005 that they might win. As I said, the result was well below expectations. I think they first won St Peter’s in the late 1990s, and as TM says, they then won extra seats after that. Lucas clearly benefited from that. I was comparing her results with those in other areas where they have won council elections. In seats such as Bristol West, Lewisham Deptford and Norwich South, they have come nowhere near winning.

  36. Even on Europe though Caroline Lucas was up until recently a eurosceptic, the Greens were as well. Baroness Jones was the only prominent one to actually end up voting leave. Lucas along with Corbyn and McDonnell, and a block of tory rebels, backed a vote in the commons for a referendum on Europe, predating the actual agreement to have a referendum. Though the Lib Dems also backed a referendum, at least on further powers, prior to 2010. Labour technically said it wouldn’t support a referendum unless further powers were passed to Europe as well but the Lib Dems actually campaigned on that. Part of having a voting coalition that includes wwc eurosceptics i suppose.

    But Marsha de Cordova is another Socialist Campaign Group MP. Is it because she’s on the frontbench?

    I reckon the Greens would have fancied Bristol West had Corbyn not come along. They may reclimb there

  37. Matt, I greatly admire Marsha, even though I have been critical of how her office is run, as she has overcome a great deal of adversity to get where she has. She like me is also a Christian, and is in a Parliamentary Christian network of Christians (I know this from friends who work in the House), so it would be a personal vote were I to vote for her. If others don’t like my reasoning, that’s not my problem. Though I am basically a Tory (this government has tested my loyalty to the limit though), I am not averse to voting for opposition candidates I admire.

  38. It’s also interesting what you say, Matt, about the Liberal Democrats and the call for a referendum. Only Ed Miliband was arguing against one in 2015. The Lib Dems seemed to conveniently forget that they had been calling for one when Leave won the referendum. As for Lucas, it’s her work as a constituency MP that she has won most admiration for, and what would influence me if I lived in Brighton Pavilion. I certainly do not share her politics, other than on some environmental issues.

  39. “Even on Europe though Caroline Lucas was up until recently a eurosceptic”
    I didn’t know that. I knew Jones was. Very few left wing politicians backed Brexit – the Labour leavers were more ‘old right’? Skinner being one exception.

    But how much was Lucas’s 2010 win down to her, WV? I don’t dispute that she’s become popular since then. I guess Brighton is probably a unique case because have the Greens gone into double figures of representation in many places? Norwich is one other, yes. The Labour incumbent stood down in 2010, and the Tories were running the council. Plus, I’ve just looked and Lucas won on only 31.3% of the vote. It’s one of those odd results with FPTP – if the vote gets split enough, a third party can sneak through. Labour got the same vote share in Burnley that year but lost to the Lib Dems. Gordon Birtwistle was lucky to gain the seat on 35.7%. His party became unpopular though, unlike the Greens.

  40. It’s very commendable to vote across party lines based on ones respect and admiration

    Ronnie Campbell, Kelvin Hopkins and Graham Morris were left wing parliamentarians that voted leave i believe.

    Being leader of the Greens and MEP for the region gave her a platform she otherwise wouldn’t have but getting her foot in door gave her that extra legitimacy.

    I think europhiles feared the greatest threat to Britains relationship with Europe was eurosceptic politicians rather than eurosceptics in the country at large

    How are the Greens running Brighton now? Anyone have any experience? Have they learned anything from the previous administration

  41. That’s a good point about Lucas being party leader – she took over in 2008 after being a ‘principal speaker’ for a while. She remained leader until 2012, so she’d have had a profile of some kind. And I think she probably benefited from Labour not being very left wing at the time.

  42. Whilst I’ve lived in Brighton & Hove for the last 30 years more or less, I didn’t even know the Greens had regained control of the council to be honest

    I haven’t voted in any local election for at least the last 20 years and I have absolute no interested whatsoever if any form of local politics – not even where I live.

  43. Did you notice the Greens ran the council previously?

  44. Nice to see you’re taking full part in our democracy, Tim…

    Maybe that’s why you left the Lib Dems – their niche is local government.

  45. I knew the Greens ran the council for a number but I didn’t they had recovered enough popularity after the rubbish fiasco in 2013/14 to take back control of the council

    As I say my interest in local politics is minimal although it does help explain why my council tax had gone up again

    I never actually left the Lib Dem’s – I noted that my membership fee is still debited from my account each year but they no longer all their news letters as they did for decades after I joined at 18.

    I wouldn’t call myself a supporter anymore – they are waaay to pc for my liking – but I still prefer them to all the other parties and would probably vote for them if there was an election tomorrow

  46. Did the rubbish fiasco affect you?

    Does it not bother you that you’re basically giving the Lib Dems free money in return for very little?

  47. Tim: “they are waaay to pc for my liking”
    Coming from you, that’s saying something!

    Matt: “Does it not bother you that you’re basically giving the Lib Dems free money in return for very little?”
    Like a lot of Tim’s statements, it’s a bit contradictory. I think you’re echoing what many of us would think. I certainly wouldn’t be giving a regular payment to a cause I didn’t believe in or fully endorse.

    Tim must be one of the few Lib Dems who is anti-PR.

  48. I’ve always found card holding membership strange as someone who always likes to get my moneys worth I would want to get everything that entitles me to.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)