East Surrey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 32211 (57.4%)
Labour: 6627 (11.8%)
Lib Dem: 5189 (9.2%)
Green: 2159 (3.8%)
UKIP: 9553 (17%)
Independent: 364 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 22658 (40.4%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. The whole of the Tandridge council area and part of the Reigate and Banstead council area.

Main population centres: Caterham, Warlingham, Horley, Smallfield, Lingfield, Limpsfield, Oxted, Godstone, Bletchingley, Woldingham.

Profile: The whole of Tandridge council area and the neighbouring commuter town of Horley, just outside Gatwick airport (a major employer in the seat). The seat is a collection of extremely affluent commuter towns and villages in the London green belt, set amongst the North Downs countryside.

Politics: A very safe Conservative seat. It was most famously represented by former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, who was the MP here between 1974 and 1992. He was replaced by Peter Ainsworth, who served in the shadow cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron but retired in 2010..

Current MP
SAM GYIMAH (Conservative) Born 1976, Beaconsfield. Educated at Freman College and Oxford University. Former businessman and entrepreneur. First elected as MP for East Surrey in 2010. PPS to David Cameron 2012-2013, Government whip 2013-2014. Undersecretary for Education since 2014.
Past Results
Con: 31007 (57%)
Lab: 4925 (9%)
LDem: 14133 (26%)
UKIP: 3770 (7%)
Oth: 805 (1%)
MAJ: 16874 (31%)
Con: 27659 (56%)
Lab: 7288 (15%)
LDem: 11738 (24%)
UKIP: 2158 (4%)
Oth: 410 (1%)
MAJ: 15921 (32%)
Con: 24706 (53%)
Lab: 8994 (19%)
LDem: 11503 (24%)
UKIP: 1846 (4%)
MAJ: 13203 (28%)
Con: 27389 (50%)
Lab: 11573 (21%)
LDem: 12296 (22%)
Oth: 742 (1%)
MAJ: 15093 (28%)

2015 Candidates
SAM GYIMAH (Conservative) See above.
DAVID LEE (Liberal Democrat) Contested East Surrey 2010.
HELENA WINDSOR (UKIP) Contested East Surrey 2010.
SANDY PRATT (Independent)
Comments - 109 Responses on “Surrey East”
  1. Winds of Change I don’t see how Labour will get 16.4% in this seat or anywhere else in Surrey with the exception of maybe Epsom and Ewell or Spelthorne.

    From what I know of Tandridge District it is affluent strongly blue Consevative commuter belt and they will get around 50-55% even if 2015 is a disastrous election for them.

  2. Predicting 46/7% for the Tories may be on the harsh side, I accept. But for the leading party to lose so little of their vote when not exactly having a successful run is just really strange to me. Maybe that’s just how the rural commuter belt works 🙂

  3. Labour I would imagine will take back LD votes and will advance somewhat naturally following the national picture- they got 15% in 2005 after all (not their best year).

  4. I had a minor operation last week, so yesterday I was able to watch BBC Parliament. Sadly, it wasn’t Westminster at its best. The Bishops (Women) Bill ‘attracted’ just 16 MPs including the 3 Frontbenchers and only 8 MPs by the end had stayed to back the Bill. This MP who introduced the Bill was merely reading from a script. Indeed he said Stockport was in the Diocese of Chichester! The MPs who spoke in favour were themselves beneficiaries of positive discrimination such as All Women Shortlists.

  5. bit surprising there was a by-election in whyteleafe ward, tanbridge council yesterday. here’s the result :
    LDEM – 50.0% (+22.8)
    CON – 34.9% (-7.8)
    UKIP – 15.1% (-4.5)
    l am acquainted with the local vicar, who presumably voted for the winning candidate since he’s left of centre, not a good result for the tories at all, but of course of little or no relevance to the general election.

  6. That is very interesting indeed. Thanks Barnaby.

  7. Was a retake of a ward from which one seat was lost in 2010 and another lost in 2012..

    I suspect the LibDems are going to recapture some council seats that they have seen whittled away over the term of the Coalition govt. That seems likely in Test Valley where I am located.

  8. I very much doubt they will this was a one off by election. However in the 2018 local elections I wouldn’t rule out LD’s regaining council seats then particularly in Kingston.

  9. Conservative Hold. 19,000 maj

  10. It would be interesting to know in how many seats both the Tory and UKIP vote increased, as it did here. A few years ago it would have been assumed that that wouldn’t happen in more than a token handful of constituencies.

  11. There is chat on the Henley thread pointing out that the UKIP vote is high here for a London outskirts seat, for reasons including UKIP representation at local level.

    However, it should be pointed out that UKIP would need a 20% swing to win this seat. This is not likely. UKIP would need a uniform swing of 16.26% to win 150 seats (the 150th. is Devon West and Torridge) and East Surrey is nowhere near this.

    I have an uncomfortable feeling that some of the UKIP vote may be to do with the ethnicity of the MP, and if so I for one want none of it. If the MP is not up to the job their ethnicity should npt exempt them from criticism, as my recent comments for the Maidstone seat reflect, However, Sam Gmiyah is moving up the junior ministerial rungs and he appears to know what he is doing.

    With the exception of Guildford, Surry has been very safe Tory for many years and doesn’t appear likely to desert the Conservatives in anything like the near future.

  12. The better than average UKIP vote for a Surrey commuter seat is probably explained relatively easily by the fact that the constituency borders Kent where the party is much more popular.

  13. UKIP is a bit more popular n West Kent seats like Sevenoaks or Tunbridge Wells than in Surrey, but not all that much more popular and they are nowhere near winning such “stockbroker belt” seats.

    UKIP’s strengths in Kent are in seats nowhere near Sureey, and which are very different demographically.

  14. Why no tributes to Lord Howe?

  15. Geoffrey Howe was not only MP for Surrey East but also MP for Bebington (now Wirral South) from 1964 to 1966 and Reigate from 1970 to Feb 1974.

  16. I didn’t know he was dead. Even so I tend to reserve tributes for people I really, really admired to keep them meaningful. (no disrespect to Lord Howe I should add, I don’t have any strong views on the man so I think it would be disingenuous to write a big tribute now he has passed away)

  17. Solid Con Hold here likely increase in majority to 26,000+

  18. Sam Gyimah has resigned from Government – in the Jo Johnson mode – Rumored to be going next will be Margot James.

  19. # who he actually succeeded as Universites Minster in January.

  20. Again, it must be a bit worrying for May that even Remain voting, centre right non headbangers like Gyimah also do not like the deal.

  21. According to this Daily Telegraph article (apologies to those who can’t access it), Britain’s withdrawal from the Galileo programme, for which he was the Minister, was one of the main reasons for his resignation. He does say, though, that a second referendum should not be ruled out.


  22. Sam Gyimah facing deselection. Brexit a key factor but also complaints of absence from the constituency and lack of interest in the local area.

  23. Sam Gyimah announces he will be the second refrendum candidate in the leadership election – will we get any more Tory MP’s coming out for a second referendum?

  24. In case you’re wondering, he’s available for an oddly specific 341/1 on Betfair.

  25. Sam Gyimah says he’s got the right names required for the next round.

    Is it just second-voters? Following the departure of three of then to Change UK, I’m not sure there are enough left in the Conservative Party for him to get to eight without casting his net slightly wider. I can only think of Dominic Grieve, Philip Lee, Jo Johnson, Justine Greening, and of course Gyimah himself, off the top of my head.

  26. Sorry, thay should say *eight* names.

    One day I will learn how to turn autocorrect off…

  27. That’s impressive as he didn’t look like he did. There are enough 2nd ref Tories but they didn’t all seem to be backing him

  28. BBC says hes pulleyld out. Rory is through though

  29. Sam Gyimah has defected to the Liberal Democrats, in protest over the government’s Brexit policy.

  30. Is he the Lib Dems’ first black MP? It would be astonishing if he was but I can’t think of any previous ones…

  31. Must be the first time that East Surrey – in its various guises down the years – has ever been represented by anything other than a Tory

    Its the sort of place where a donkey wearing a blue rosette would win with a plurality of the vote

  32. It’s not hard to see the Lib Dems getting 30% of the vote here…nevertheless Gymiah winning would still depend on masses of Tory voters decamping to the Brexit party, quite unlikely IMO.

    Also Swinson’s new policy of Revoking A50 without a referendum is going to go badly in these stockbroker belt kind of seats. Perhaps she calculates that it’s worth winning Cambridge and losing Eastbourne but I personally disagree and think she’s made a tremendous mistake.

  33. I don’t see why home counties seats like this would particularly be turned off by the revoke stance, at least not among people who weren’t already put off by People’s Vote. I’m not a fan of unilateral revocation because it doesn’t have a mandate; but if a party puts that as the flagship policy on it’s manifesto, and wins a general election, then there would indeed be a mandate for that policy. In reality, the Lib Dems are probably limited to about 50 seats, so this position is essentially a reversal of Cameron’s initial referendum offer: a policy that’s intentionally extreme so as to shift the Overton window when coalition discussions start, which can then be “compromised” with to get what you wanted all along. (Except of course Cameron then won a majority and the whole thing fell apart…)

  34. “I don’t see why home counties seats like this would particularly be turned off by the revoke stance, at least not among people who weren’t already put off by People’s Vote.”

    Because they are full of moderate Remainers. Some (including East Surrey actually) even narrowly voted Leave. Moderate Remainers generally do not agree with cancelling Brexit with no recourse to democratic process at all. A Peoples’ Vote (silly name) is an entirely different kettle of fish which does at least offer some kind of a democratic way out.

    Revoke will delight the hardcore Remain vote in Inner London, Brighton etc but will alienate the middle aged middle class soft Remainers in places like this. Swinson seems to be banking on winning swathes of London next time, I think Labour’s core vote will be very sticky there and disappoint them, whilst this strategy will damage them in friendly shire areas.

  35. Agreed about London. Many of the seats there are very working-class in spite of being heavily remain places. Tottenham voted 2:1 for remain but is not going Lib Dem any time soon.

    Nevertheless I don’t think there’s much difference between PV and revocation in the public’s eye. Not sure there are all that many people in favour of the first but not the second, even if you and I both fall into that category.

  36. It’s a fair point but I expect the difference would be more starkly illustrated during an election campaign.

    Incidentally I remain unsure about a second referendum. Had we been able to arrive at a soft Norway-esque Brexit I would have preferred that, though in any second referendum I am going to vote to Remain.

  37. I think the Lib Dems have got this all wrong with their proposed revokation pledge and illustrates naivety on Swinson’s part for not foreseeing the reaction to what is fundamentally an undemocratic policy, and which, as H Hemmelig says, will used as a stick to beat them with in any forthcoming election campaign

    As a remoaner I can happily support it, but Lib Dems are essentially writing off the 52% who voted for Brexit to ever vote for them, and even those who regret their vote (which isn’t as many as the Lib Demsa believe) they won;t appreciate being told they voted the wrong way so the vote doesn’t count

  38. “As a remoaner I can happily support it”

    I support the end but not the means…guess that’s the same for you as well.

    Despite my disagreement on this I am going to vote Lib Dem as the lesser of three evils, and their vote share next time will be inflated with many similar votes. But the Lib Dems are missing the chance to lock in a wider centrist vote for the longer term.

  39. I’d still vote for them – because they are better than Johnson or Corbyn – although that’s an especially low bar and in the long terms I think the Lib Dems new flagship policy is badly thought through

  40. I’m voting Labour because they are closest to me politically

  41. Tim and HH, I’m with you on this. I can’t think Ed Davey would have been nearly as gung ho as Swinson. It’s not just Norman Lamb who is against the move; Andrew George, the ex-MP for St Ives was on BBC News opposing it. HH, you mentioned Brighton. That in particular is no good for the Liberal Democrats: Caroline Lucas is so popular in Pavilion that even lifelong Conservatives vote for her, while Kemptown is now a Corbyn-supporting stronghold – even the Greens are weak there.

    I will still vote Liberal Democrat as long as Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, as apart from anything else, I am still fed up over the proroguing of Parliament and the dismissal of senior Conservatives, many of whom were rebelling for the first time. However, that does not make me a natural Liberal Democrat. I am well apart from them on a number of issues, especially Law and Order. It will also be a wrench not to vote for Kim Caddy, who is an excellent candidate, and who I played a part in selecting. If Rory Stewart had won the Conservative leadership, there would have been no question, and possibly the same with Jeremy Hunt.

    Regarding Brexit, I would happily have accepted Single Market and Customs Union, and in recent months, even Theresa May’s deal. I think in time we may regret that deal didn’t get passed.

  42. ‘However, that does not make me a natural Liberal Democrat. I am well apart from them on a number of issues, especially Law and Order.’

    I’m far from a natural Lib Dem – particularly on law & order issues where they just come across as weak – but I could never vote for two leaders, both of whom’s flagship policies will crash the UK economy

    But whilst I’m personally sceptical of running a second referendum, it’s a valid and democratic position, whereas just cancelling what people voted for in a referendum comes across as somewhat contemptuous of the electorate – never a good position to go into an election arguing

  43. Wouldn’t the very fact of a Lib Dem general election win indicate a huge sea change in public opinion, and represent its own mandate to revoke Article 50?

    I’d argue the same for the Brexit Party, too. It’s not very democratic to leave without a deal, given the current composition our elected parliament; but a hypothetical Brexit Party majority government would have a legitimate mandate to do so by dint of having won a general election on that proviso.

  44. ‘Wouldn’t the very fact of a Lib Dem general election win indicate a huge sea change in public opinion’

    Of course – but their new Brexit policy makes that even less likely and could end up costing them in Brexit-supporting constituencies in the South West, in which they currently look like winning

  45. “Wouldn’t the very fact of a Lib Dem general election win indicate a huge sea change in public opinion, and represent its own mandate to revoke Article 50?”

    Unless they get over 50% of the vote, then no it will not suggest that a majority of the public favour revoking A50. Any more than Boris winning a small majority on 35% of the vote would be a mandate for No Deal.

    Also some of the people who will vote Lib Dem – including me and Tim – are opposed to their stance but see them as a least worst option.

  46. Policies are not democratic if and only if they are supported by a majority of the electorate. We have a representative democracy, not a direct one.

  47. “Policies are not democratic if and only if they are supported by a majority of the electorate. We have a representative democracy, not a direct one.”

    So you would be happy if a hard right government won an election with a majority on 35% of the vote with manifesto pledges to reintroduce capital punishment, criminalise abortion and homosexuality, and set about implementing those pledges without a referendum?

    Some issues will always need the legitimacy of a referendum because people do not choose which party to vote for based on single issues.

  48. Of course I wouldn’t be happy! Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be democratic. Democracy can be cruel – Churchill was right to call it “the worst form of government, except for all the others”.

  49. I find that comment quite chilling. “First they came for the Jews and I did nothing”, etc. I am not a lawyer but I think the concept of jurisprudence enshrines basic rights of the individual that can’t just be trampled upon in the name of “democracy”. Otherwise what is to stop (eg) a democratically elected Prime Minister Corbyn from confiscating your house, or deporting all Jews?

  50. Hemmy, you’ve got me the wrong way round. I’m not saying, “bad things are fine as long as they are democratic”, I’m saying, “bad things can still be democratic, democracy is not a perfect system”.

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