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
Con: 31658 (60%)
Lab: 2942 (6%)
LDem: 14948 (29%)
UKIP: 2129 (4%)
Oth: 767 (1%)
MAJ: 16710 (32%)
Con: 25619 (54%)
Lab: 6610 (14%)
LDem: 11821 (25%)
GRN: 1656 (4%)
Oth: 1391 (3%)
MAJ: 13798 (29%)
Con: 22867 (50%)
Lab: 8497 (19%)
LDem: 10985 (24%)
UKIP: 1367 (3%)
Oth: 1567 (3%)
MAJ: 11882 (26%)
Con: 26298 (50%)
Lab: 10240 (20%)
LDem: 12439 (24%)
Oth: 692 (1%)
MAJ: 13859 (27%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHERYL GILLAN (Conservative) See above.
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.
Comments - 142 Responses on “Chesham & Amersham”
  1. I have read with interest the current MPs opposition to HS2.

    I must say the Tories have been utterly stupid in regard to HS2. They seem very slow in twigging that the HS2 plan announced by Labour was all about creating problems for Conservatives as much of the proposed route runs through Conservative seats.

    Interestingly when the Tories had the chance to change the route so it would run through different seats nearer Heathrow they failed to take the opportunity presented to them. The Labour strategy was all about using this white elephant of a scheme to create dissent in Tory areas and force the Conservatives into a position whereby they accept HS2 and they create electoral problems for Tories in places like Chesham & Amersham or the Tories reject HS2 and it creates problems for them in the north as Labour would say the Tories were looking after their own and leaving the north to decay economically.

    HS2 was therefore a trap created by the last Government for political purposes and it is no surprise to see senior Labour politicians baulking at the plans implementation. It is not just a poor economic plan but a political manoeuvre that few will morn its impending death.

  2. That”s a cracking conspiracy theory.

    Any evidence?

  3. I don’t think it was ever mentioned at the time, but when Cameron reshuffled the cabinet in 2012, could it have been possible that Cheryl Gillan got removed partly due to her opposition to HS2?

  4. rum and coke is a great user name

  5. I think it was mentioned at the time, Neil. Not particularly loudly, but I remember hearing it.

  6. I remember hearing it mentioned at the time.

  7. My opinion is that conspiracy theories are always nonsense, 100% of the time. Incompetence is usually to blame when things go wrong.

  8. Labour got into a terrible mess with the public finances, and allowed the economy to become very unbalanced
    but the idea they would deliberately have chosen a scheme and a route to damage a Tory administration they were still trying to prevent from getting in sounds too far fetched.

    They couldn’t really have known how it would work out.

    It may be this is the wrong scheme
    but you can’t have it both ways – the Tories losing support in Labour areas for cancelling it but Labour not to either for getting cold feet about it – if they are.

    In some other countries in Europe, HS lines are near motorways – I don’t know whether that would have been an option here.

    This may be the wrong scheme but come back with some serious proposals to increase capacity – higher frequencies, double deckers perhaps (they are about 1.5 the size vertically actually – observing the Belgium trains they are a step down).

    This scheme has been attacked as a vanity project – perhaps it is partly – but I do slightly fear the consequences of sending out a message that Britain can’t ever see long term investments through and what the unknown consequences of that could be.

    So I hope we are serious about alternatives if we do not go ahead.

  9. Interesting that Cheryl Gillan appeared on the BBC’s next day coverage of the 1992 election saying that they took no vote for granted in the seat, and increased the majority- she was of course right- a good result in a safe seat, made better considering Sir Ian Gilmour who might have had a slight personal vote, stood down.

  10. Jeremy Paxman said that she could hold the seat for the next 40 years, so 19 to go.

  11. Don’t wish to be pedantic but I thought it was Peter Sissons Andy?

  12. I was in several places in this constituency on Sunday.

    Great Missenden was gained by UKIP in the County Council elections in May.
    It is a very pleasant large vilage, and where the HS2 line is planned.

    Labour polled quite strongly in Chesham – about 27% – with the Conservatives holding the division.
    Chesham, as has been noted, is a little less exclusive – pleasant, but with quite a large number of terraces, and more variation in housing.
    There is a very steep hill out of Chesham towards Ley HIll.

    In Beaconsfield constituency, Gerrards Cross had an indepdendent intervention, so the Tory share dipped below 50%.

    Andy has of course put together an excellent spreadsheet so this may already have been picked up.

  13. I did a cycle trip through this seat once. There’s a terrible hill going from Great Missenden to Amersham on the minor road, (avoiding the dual carriageway).

    TheResults: I’m not sure now whether it was Sissons or Paxman. I think Paxman did take over Sissons’ position for at least some of the second day.

  14. That lovely hill north of amersham on the main route to chesham, with beech trees I think. Had not been along that road for a long time, but it came back to me how dramatic some of the scenery is.

  15. Andy, did you manage the climb?

  16. ”TheResults: I’m not sure now whether it was Sissons or Paxman. I think Paxman did take over Sissons’ position for at least some of the second day.”

    I’ve seen the second day coverage and I am sure it was Sissons all the way through Andy.

  17. my 2015 forecast

    Con 40
    LD 25
    UKIP 20
    Lab 9
    other 6

  18. Prediction for 2015-
    Gillan (Conservative)- 57%
    Liberal Democrats- 24%
    Labour- 9%
    UKIP- 8%
    Green- 2%

  19. Con 56
    Lib Dem 19
    Lab 14
    Ukip 8
    Grn 3

  20. A Brown – a Con -> LD swing of 5.5%

    … lol

  21. Con 57
    LD 20
    UKIP 10
    Lab 9
    Anti-HS2 Ind 4

  22. CON HOLD MAJ : 29%
    CON 49
    LD 20
    LAB 14
    UKIP 11
    GRN 6

  23. Given that the Conservatives did not even fall below 50% in the nadir of 1997 I would be rather surprised if it happened in 2015.

  24. UKIP didn’t have the impact of taking a good 8/9 even 10% of the Tories then though…

  25. *off

  26. True but is that going to happen in this constituency? It doesn’t strike me as fertile UKIP territory. I know HS2 is not exactly popular here but at least Cheryl Gillan has made it clear where she stands on the issue.

  27. I think UKIP will do quite well on the HS2 issue here but Gillan’s opposition should mitigate their impact. I reckon she will hold with roughly 47%.

  28. Funny how static the Tory result was here in 2001. In other Buckinghamshire seats, the Tories obviously had more marked increases than here.

  29. 2015
    Fairly likely – a fair range though.

    *Con 53% -7%
    Ind 13.5%
    LD 13% -16%
    UKIP 10% +6%
    Lab 8.5% +3%
    Green 2% +0.5%

  30. Sir Ian Gilmour represented this seat for 18 years.

    His declaration was televised during the BBC’s second day coverage of the 1983 General Election, as I seem to remember from watching the rerun on BBC Parliament last Easter.

  31. Last post from me today, honest.

    A business acquaintance of mine is married to a civil servant at the Department of Transport. She is working extensively on HS2, and told me the other day that there have been extensive contacts between the department and Labour, given the likelihood of some kind of Labour government next year. The department has been left with the impression that Labour are 100% committed to the first phase of HS2 (London-Birmingham), but that they are likely to review the later stage (to Manchester, Leeds etc).

    It does seem therefore that at least phase 1 is going to happen no matter what. Apparently they are approaching the stage where it would be too expensive to turn back.

  32. Thanks HH, interesting information. (I live about a couple of miles from the proposed route of phase 1). The only question in that case is whether a Tory-led government might have second thoughts before it’s too late to cancel.

  33. Will HS2 actually go through?

    It’s such a controversial issue that it could take even longer for the developers to decide whether or not the second phase will even go through.

    I guess however that, sadly, once you’ve started something you have to finish it- I just hope this uncertainty doesn’t drag on for all the residents effected.

  34. Yes exactly, and I doubt it. Of course, phase 1 largely goes through Tory areas whereas phase 2 would upset voters in a lot of marginals which Labour need to win.

  35. Replying to Andy

  36. I personally think only a second financial crisis could stop phase 1 of HS2 now.

  37. The political implications are great as you said.

    Phase 2 would mean unpopularity for the government, Labour or Conservative, that would effect greatly numbers of swing voters in the crucial marginals.

    This has to be planned very carefully indeed…

  38. This will be a tory seat till the day I die but I think UKIP will make significant ground in this seat and possibly might even come second. I predict something like:
    1. Conservatives (53%)
    2. Lib Dems (18%)
    3. UKIP (17%)
    4. Labour (10%)
    5. Other (2%)

  39. Dr Kirsten Johnson chosen as LibDem PPC for Chesham & Amersham

  40. Conservative Hold. 20,000 maj

  41. Very sad news about Cheryl Gillan today.

    I know that its a little distasteful to turn to electoral matters so quickly, but I’m a little concerned about the prospect of a Lib Dem revivial taking place in the by-election here.
    Conservatives need to hold this by-election ASAP. A shame it can’t be held on local election day now. This is exactly the sort of seat the Lib Dems should be able to win in a by-election if they are back on by-election winning form.

    The last time a similar seat to this was up in a by-election was Witney in October 2016. The 19% swing achieved by the Lib Dems there in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum would be enough for them to win this seat with a 5% majority.
    With Brexit out of the way now and COVID restrictions maybe preventing Lib Dems flooding the seat this time, it may be easier to hold. But the Tory campaign cannot afford any slip-ups along the way.

    With Brexit out the way, speaking as one of the people who hated him most, I almost wonder whether a certain Dominic Grieve might be sought out to stand here in the by-election. Could be a way of neutralising the Lib Dem threat. And we are happy for Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond to sit in the Lords now. I’m not a fan of Grieve, but as I always said once Brexit was out of the way the party can reunite, perhaps we have to let bygones by bygones???

  42. Distasteful maybe, but death creates a vacancy and politics goes on. So it’s not as if no one thinks of it. My feeling is that Brexit would have to be going badly and the Tories in 1995 territory for the LDs to have a hope of this one. Neither are currently the case. Interesting that it’s got Shaun worried though!

  43. And Grieve standing – from a non-Tory perspective, you’re more likely to get a flying pig as the candidate than him I reckon. They won’t want someone who made life difficult for them back in the fold.

  44. I’m naturally cautious, Trade Mark. You can never take the voters for granted. And we have all been traumatised by the 20% plus swings to the Lib Dems in the last Conservative government (and whilst we were in opposition) to be able to breathe easy until this one is won.

    As I say, the same swing achieved by the Lib Dems in Witney (the last time a seat similar to this was up in a by-election) would have been more than enough for them to win this one.

    Indeed you can argue the Lib Dems actually had LESS of a base in Witney than they do here. For me, that prospect is worrying.
    And I understand the Lib Dems actually won this area in the 2019 EU elections (for what that silly contest on a pathetic turnout is worth).

  45. The first Conseravtive MP to die in office for fifteen years. Always sad to see a member of The House pass away, I was not aware of her long-running illness.

    I know it’s a little improper to be discussing electoral matter so early, but the Lib Dems are flatlining at about 6% in the polls, and having loaded all their eggs into an anti-Brexit basket they now don’t have much of a USP. As with Hartlepool, the timing as per the delivery of vaccines and the lifting of coronavurus restrictions is very good for the government. And it’s generally donkey-with-a-blue-rosette territory. Can’t see past a comfortable Tory hold.

  46. I’d agree with that, PT.

    I wasn’t aware of Cheryl Gillan being ill, so it is sad to lose an MP like her in active service. 68 isn’t that old either.

    Do the LDs actually have local councillors? It’s quite difficult to tell from what I can find online. Would be good if there was an easy resource to tell you how many councillors each party had in a seat.

  47. Very sad news about Cheryl Gillan, and first thoughts and prayers must go to her family ahead of any politics. I hadn’t realised she was ill. I think she was recently involved in the Speaker election, wasn’t she, or was it the.Conservative Party leadership election as a leading light in the 1922 Committee? Anyway, whatever you thought of her politics she seemed a genuinely nice person.

    As for councillors, I think Chesham elects Liberal Democrats, and Amersham Town might occasionally, but Old Amersham and the villages are rock solid Conservative. I think the Liberal Democrats would need to be in a far better state than they are now to challenge.

  48. A few factors which may or may not be of much importance-

    – Cheryl Gillan was a Leave supporter in a fairly strong Remain seat

    – Cheryl Gillan lived on the other side of London from her constituency, in Epsom. It would be strange if that hadn’t raised some local controversy. Especially given the reason for this – she sold her constituency home some years ago knowing (from confidential government info) that it would be close to the agreed HS2 routing before that was made public.

    – Which brings us to HS2, which is the elephant in the room around here and very surprising that no-one has mentioned it above.

    Taken together, the above would tend to indicate some strong Lib Dem potential here, as Shaun has shrewdly pointed out. But on the other hand-

    – The Lib Dems have virtually disappeared nationally and are competing for a poor 3rd place with the Greens in the polls

    – COVID will make the good old fashioned “winning here” Lib Dem by-election campaign impossible

    – The Lib Dems are now arguably too left-wing to be very appetising in this kind of seat

    So a jumble of factors which may lead to a good Lib Dem result but equally may not. I think I agree with Wandsworth Voter in the end that it’s hard to see past a Tory win, but it might not be a hugely comfortable win for them. I’m probably similar politically to a lot of the Tory voters here so can perhaps relate to how they may feel. There does seem to be a bit of the early Theresa May about the polls at the moment, I feel quite a few voters in the southern shires might like the opportunity to give the government a free kicking in the local elections, though it seems unlikely to me that Labour will benefit much from it.

    A key national issue which might influence things is, of course, vaccine passports. Personally I’m far from convinced that the public like the idea as much as polls suggest, and certainly many Tory activists hate the idea and may not feel comfortable defending them on the doorsteps.

    Will the Lib Dems become the anti-HS2 party (against their broad support nationally) or will anti-HS2 votes go to some kind of independent.

    I do agree with Shaun that candidate selection will be very important here.

  49. Every time a nominally progressive party makes gains by appealing to NIMBYism, I die a little inside.

  50. I realise things may be very different ‘down South’, but up here the only successes I’ve known the LibDems have have been based on their NIMBYism.

    Although to be fair to them, most locals were due to the idiotic proposals Labour dreamt up in Lpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St H etc.

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