West Suffolk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25684 (52.2%)
Labour: 8604 (17.5%)
Lib Dem: 2465 (5%)
Green: 1779 (3.6%)
UKIP: 10700 (21.7%)
MAJORITY: 14984 (30.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Suffolk. The whole of Forest Heath council area and part of St Edmundsbury council area.

Main population centres: Newmarket, Haverhill, Mildenhall, Brandon.

Profile: Until 1997 this seat was called Bury St Edmunds, but at the previous set of boundary changes the eponymous town was moved into a new constituency, leaving this as the rural west of the country surrounding Bury St Edmunds itself. While mainly rural, there are very diverse areas within it. At the extreme south of the constituency is the largest town, Haverhill. Pressed against the Essex and Cambridgeshire borders, it is an industrial manufacturing town, making toothbrushes and chemicals. To the west of the seat (and thanks to the unusual border between Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, situated in what is almost an enclave connected to the rest of the constituency by only a thin strip of land) is Newmarket, a market town that is a well-known centre for horse racing and houses not only the two race courses themselves, but the national Horseracing museum, the clubhouse of the Jockey`s Club, and huge numbers of trainers and stud farms. Finally the northern part of the seat is home to two huge United States Air Force bases, RAF Mildenhall (home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing) and RAF Lakenheath (home of the 48th Fighter Wing).

Politics: A comfortably safe Conservative seat, with the only real Labour strength around Haverhill. The seat and its predecessor have been represented by the Conservative party since the nineteenth century.

Current MP
MATTHEW HANCOCK (Conservative) Born 1978, Chester. Educated at King`s School Chester and Oxford University. Former Chief to Staff to George Osborne. First elected as MP for West Suffolk in 2010. Minister of State for Higher Education 2013-2014, Minister of State for Business 2013-2015, Minister of State for Energy 2014-2015. Paymaster General since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 24312 (51%)
Lab: 7089 (15%)
LDem: 11262 (23%)
UKIP: 3085 (6%)
Oth: 2341 (5%)
MAJ: 13050 (27%)
Con: 21682 (49%)
Lab: 12773 (29%)
LDem: 7573 (17%)
UKIP: 2177 (5%)
MAJ: 8909 (20%)
Con: 20201 (48%)
Lab: 15906 (37%)
LDem: 5017 (12%)
UKIP: 1321 (3%)
MAJ: 4295 (10%)
Con: 20081 (41%)
Lab: 18214 (37%)
LDem: 6892 (14%)
Oth: 171 (0%)
MAJ: 1867 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MATTHEW HANCOCK (Conservative) See above.
NIALL PETTITT (Green) Born 1991, Newmarket. Educated at Mildenhall College of Education and Bangor University. Environmental science instructor.
Comments - 176 Responses on “Suffolk West”
  1. Matt Hancock has endorsed Boris Johnson

    Hancock living up to his reputation as a careerist who blows like the wind.

  2. Is that a double entendre about his supposedly racy private life, BM11? : -)

  3. Nope. No Pun intended.

  4. He’s clearly been promised a job

    Personally I wouldn’t trust Hancock as far as I could throw him, but I found his campaign quite refreshing, clearly pitching himself as a future leader from the party’s soft left

  5. Many think he is a contender for Chancellor but I could see him as Home secretary instead.

  6. A labour activist has punched Matt Hancock’s advisor while he was at Leeds Hospital dealing with Johnson’s gaffe.

  7. I think this incident gives the possibility of Labour under 150 a 10-30% chance.

  8. I think BM11 was way too quick to swallow the Tory party spin on this altercation (as befits his misery guts persona on here).

  9. (((Dan Hodges)))

    I’ve deleted my tweets on the Matt Hancock incident. There was some heckling and histrionics. But no-one was punched. And there was nothing I’ve seen in the video of the incident that seems to warrant an arrest.

  10. Even if the assault had happened – it’s not like John Prescott punching a voter punished the Labour Party in 2001.

    I sometimes question whether BM11 believes everything he writes.

  11. To be honest I didn’t expect the Tories to lie about this. The Truth is so hard to know.

  12. ‘I sometimes question whether BM11 believes everything he writes’

    I’m a miserable old cynic as you all know but even I don’t doubt BM11’s sincerity for one moment, and I have never suspected him of trolling. I just find him a little too quick to jump to negative conclusions about ‘his side’ and it’s all very dramatic. I guess it’s cathartic for him to manage his own expectations like this, but I wish he’d remember that others would like to contribute st times.

  13. ‘Even if the assault had happened – it’s not like John Prescott punching a voter punished the Labour Party in 2001’.

    Now *that* was a boring election. I was doing A Level politics at the time so was starting to take an interest in these things, but bejaysus it was dull. John ‘Biffer’ Prescott’s punch was indeed the highlight of the whole tedious thing.

  14. Matt Hancock’s announcement of ten-year sentences for quarantine violation is way more popular than I thought:

    Too harsh: 30
    About right: 51
    Too soft: 13

    These are mad numbers. I thought, just this once, the people responding might have thought, “hang on, that could be *me* going to jail.”

  15. Okay, apologies, this it’s not for quarantine violation, it’s for travelling without having done your paperwork properly.

    Still, it’s mad. The point in prison is (a) to protect the public from dangerous people, (b) to rehabiltate them inside, and (c) to act as a deterrent from committing crimes in the first place. The evidence that (c) works at all is rather weak, and overall it’s the weakest of the justifications for imprisonment. As for (a) and (b), lying on this form can only possibly be a threat for as long as the pandemic continues, which is going to be way shorter than ten years; and I don’t think that being misleading on a form is something that requires rehabilitation, or we’d have to jail every job applicant ever.

    Is that a double entendre about his supposedly racy private life, BM11? : -)
    June 16th, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    How intriguing. And he seems such a nice boy.

    And I agree with PT. I personally question why we need to jail non-violent criminals.

  17. I think more people should be in jail – not less – and I find this idea that prison should be reserved only for those convicted of violent offences offensive in itself

    I don’t think there’s a great deal we as a country can learn from the US legal system, but they do treat con artists and large scale fraudsters with their seriousness their crimes merit – as the likes of Bernie Madoff would no doubt testify – pun fully intended.

    For the prison service to even have a chance of providing what they should by prison – orderly, well run, humane, drug free, out of the way, safe houses offering those who have gone wrong in life a fresh start – they need to be given considerably more money and that’s not going to happen any time soon

  18. Money is necessary but it’s not sufficient. Some things are beyond government control.

    The issue of former inmates being unemployable, for example, isn’t something the state alone can fix. That requires a culture shift among the whole of society.

  19. “I think more people should be in jail – not less – and I find this idea that prison should be reserved only for those convicted of violent offences offensive in itself”

    Thought you were a die-hard liberal, Tim.

  20. Internationally I’m very liberal but elsewhere I’m an illiberal liberal at best in that I believe being to liberal to people who are broadly of the same outlook – which I think is a clear majority of the country – we are a liberal democracy after all

    But most liberals fail because of their inability to understand that there is to being liberal and once you extend that outlook to certain groups that are so extreme – Islamic jihadists, far right race baiters etc – your heading for trouble.

    Sadly violence is the only language such groups understand and liberals don’t seem to be able to get their head round that.

    So no, I’m not a die hard liberal

  21. Should read as limit to being liberal’

  22. Yeah, I think the above is a good example of how people kind of spontaneously sorted themselves into two culture-war camps which had opposing views on a whole laundry list of unrelated things, based on their attitudes towards membership of a trading bloc of all things. In reality there’s no reason why support for, or disavowal of, EU membership should have become the cornerstone of an entire worldview with prescribed positions on every issue, but in reality this phenomenon is so persistent that I kind of assumed TJ would have been supportive of relaxed sentencing for most crimes, even though there is no logical reason for me to suppose that he held that belief.

  23. You are right PT but broadly I still identify as a liberal – I guess largely because I’m neither a conservative nor a socialist.

    If in the US I would clearly identify myself of the liberal side of the conservative v liberal ideological war – but politics in the UK is more nuanced and in reality most MPs – although by no means all – of both of the two parties broadly support the same kind of liberal democratic outlook – despite the best efforts of Dominic Cummings.

  24. The problem is that the current electoral geography means that at least one – and arguably both – of the big two parties are incentivised to disavow a liberal agenda.

  25. Random thought: for all the terrible, deadly mistakes the government has made over the past twelve months, going after them for not getting their paperwork done on time seems to be a weird hill to die on.

  26. You’re referring to Starmer’s criticism of Hancock? Or something else?

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