Twickenham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25580 (41.3%)
Labour: 7129 (11.5%)
Lib Dem: 23563 (38%)
Green: 2463 (4%)
UKIP: 3069 (4.9%)
Christian: 174 (0.3%)
Others: 26 (0%)
MAJORITY: 2017 (3.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Richmond on Thames council area.

Main population centres: Twickenham, Teddington, Hampton.

Profile: The seat consists of the part of the Borough of Richmond-on-Thames that lies to the north of the River Thames. This is prosperous and leafy suburbia, with high house prices, a high proportion of graduates and little social housing. The seat has two major film and television venues - Twickenham Studios, a venue for the filming and production for many high profile films and Teddington Studios, a television studio now owned by Pinewood. The seat also includes Twickenham Stadium, the world`s largest dedicated Rugby stadium, and Hampton Court Palace and its grounds.

Politics: Twickenham was historically a safe Conservative seat but was won by Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats in the Tories` landslide defeat of 1997. Cable was one of the most high profile Liberal Democrats, was business secretary in the coalition government and became one of the most high profile casualties of the Liberal Democrats` crushing defeat in 2015.


Current MP
TANIA MATHIAS (Conservative) Educated at St Pauls Girls School and Oxford University. Former doctor. First elected as MP for Twickenham in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 20343 (34%)
Lab: 4583 (8%)
LDem: 32483 (54%)
UKIP: 868 (1%)
Oth: 1444 (2%)
MAJ: 12140 (20%)
2005
Con: 16731 (32%)
Lab: 5868 (11%)
LDem: 26696 (52%)
GRN: 1445 (3%)
Oth: 947 (2%)
MAJ: 9965 (19%)
2001
Con: 16689 (33%)
Lab: 6903 (14%)
LDem: 24344 (49%)
GRN: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 579 (1%)
MAJ: 7655 (15%)
1997
Con: 21956 (38%)
Lab: 9065 (16%)
LDem: 26237 (45%)
Oth: 886 (2%)
MAJ: 4281 (7%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
TANIA MATHIAS (Conservative) Educated at St Pauls Girls School and Oxford University. Doctor.
NICK GRANT (Labour) Barrister.
VINCENT CABLE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1943, York. Educated at Nunthorpe Grammar and Cambridge University. Chief economist for Shell. Glasgow councillor 1971-1974 for the Labour party. Contested York 1983, 1987, Twickenham 1992. MP for Twickenham 1997 to 2015. Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor 2003-2010. Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats 2006-2010 and acting leader following Ming Campbells resigination in 2007. Secretary of State for Business since 2010.
BARRY EDWARDS (UKIP) Businessman.
TANYA WILLIAMS (Green) Educated at Bryanston School and Cambridge University. Human rights student.
DOMINIC STOCKFORD (Christian) Pastor.
DAVID WEDGWOOD (Magna Carta) Contested Bermondsey 1983 by-election.
Links
Comments - 596 Responses on “Twickenham”
  1. Jo Swinson is a bland but safe choice. Would be interesting to see if she improved the LDs fortunes in Scotland at all (and split the media coverage with Ruth Davidson).

    The Lib Dems are also at ~10% of the list vote in the two latest holyrood polls which is rather surprising.

  2. The title of the Lib Dems’ European election manifesto is “Bollocks To Brexit”.

    IMO it is an enormous misjudgement for a mainstream party to use swear words in its political advertising. It looks course, and will put off a lot of the granny and granddad demographic, exactly the kind of people most likely to vote in a low turnout election. Vince Cable really should know better.

  3. OFCOM have warned that showing or mentioning the phrase “Bollocks To Brexit” on the TV pre-watershed is probably in breach of offensiveness guidelines….

    What a spectacular own goal by the Lib Dems, whose news coverage is already sparse, and will now be further restricted in the lunchtime and evening bulletins which most people watch.

  4. Hemmy, I must admit I tended to agree with you at the time, but it looks like “Bollocks to Brexit” is the antidote to “take back control” Europhiles have been looking for these last few years. The Lib Dems are surging back to relevance – in this latest YouGov poll they’ve moved into second place for the first time (albeit a fairly distant second):

    Brex: 35
    LD: 16
    Lab: 15
    Green: 10
    Con: 9
    ChUK: 5
    UKIP: 3

  5. Though YouGov are the only pollster with the Lib Dems anywhere near second so normal caveats and all that

  6. True, I still think it’s somewhat unlikely they will finish second, but I fully expect them to beat the Tories, and every pollster has picked up on the movement towards the Lib Dems. They have definitely “won the campaign”, so to speak.

  7. What else can “Bollocks To Brexit” and “Stop Brexit” mean other than Revoke A50 and tell all the Leave voters to f**k off even though they won the referendum?

    That’s not the antidote to “Take Back Control”, it’s the equivalent, in terms of stupidity and disingenuousness.

    I am a staunch Remainer but I do not think it correct or wise for us to simply ignore the referendum. It would be an absolute disaster. Carefully done, a second referendum might be OK, and indeed the Lib Dems used to advocate this, but have now seemingly moved on to full Revoke.

    This has lost the Lib Dems my vote having originally expected to be voting for them in the Euros. ChUK are an incompetent irrelevance. So I’ll either be abstaining or voting Tory (can’t believe I’m writing this).

  8. I agree with you that unilateral revocation sets a dangerous precedent, and I was very careful not to sign the petition to that effect, but I missed the bit where they changed their policy from 2nd vote to straight revoke.

  9. “I missed the bit where they changed their policy from 2nd vote to straight revoke.”

    It’s staring you in the face. How can saying Bollocks To Brexit be compatible with arguing for a second referendum? You can’t credibly argue for a second referendum by stating so obviously that you would not accept a second vote to Leave.

  10. Perhaps a different and better way of putting it is that the Lib Dems have, lured by the promise of masses of votes, suddenly turned themselves into the Remain version of Farage. For a party which was a serious and successful (policywise) party of government a few years back, it is a sad development indeed. Amazing that Vince Cable would lower himself like this. It will be a long time before I even consider voting for them again.

  11. Their EU election communications say, “Stop Brexit.”

    I assume Liberal Leave weren’t consulted and an MP and Peer resigned the Whip to support Brexit. Similarly Plaid are effectively saying they don’t want the 40% of their voters who voted Leave. Likewise the SNP and Greens.

  12. @H.Hemmelig

    ”I am a staunch Remainer but I do not think it correct or wise for us to simply ignore the referendum. It would be an absolute disaster. Carefully done, a second referendum might be OK, and indeed the Lib Dems used to advocate this, but have now seemingly moved on to full Revoke.”

    The problem with a second referendum is they probably won’t even be able to agree on the question! If arch Remainers get their way though and put Mays deal (or May’s Deal + customs union) vs. Remain it will quite rightly be portrayed as an establishment stitch up that basically disenfranchises a large chunk of the country and as a consequence a large chunk of voters will boycott. This would be the quickest way to radicalise lots of ordinary, fairly non-political Leave voters. I used to scoff at the idea of Farage becoming PM but in a toxic atmosphere of betrayal that would come from a referendum of this format or indeed a unilateral revocation I think the Brexit Party would do very well indeed while the Tories collapse to basically wealthy Remainy seats clustered around London with Labour also taking heavy losses in their traditional white working class strongholds.

  13. I think this confirms that the LibDems now see themselves as an upper-middle class metropolitan party.

    The old local non-conformist LibDem party has been replaced.

  14. Whether you agree with it or not, there is a certain clarity in the LibDems current position, rather moreso than with the Labour party stance.

  15. Though most the country doesn’t seem to think so. Only 41% think the Lib Dem position is clear

  16. Vince Cable will handover leadership of the Lib Dems on July 23rd.

  17. Rumours that Yougov tonight are going to release a poll showing the Lib Dems in first place…

  18. And it would cause more Tory reactions than Labour ones because nothing will happen in Labour unless Thornberry or Starmer are ready to pull the trigger on a major development.

  19. And the Poll is.
    Lib Dems – 24
    Brexit -22
    Lab -18
    Tory -18
    Green – 8
    Electoral calcus would give Labour the most seats but under 200. Then Brexit. Then Lib Dems. Tories under 100.

    It’s all of course irrelevant because I suspect once brexit happens (probably as a no deal) the tories will surge again – Labour won’t recover through because the remainer anger will not subside unlike the leaver anger,.

  20. Assuming Brexit happens

  21. You think that instant chaos which brings the country to its knees within days will satisfy no dealers?

    Either the Tories plough on regardless as Britain spirals into ruin, or they accept reality and buckle, accepting whatever olive branch the EU offers them, no matter the terms. Neither scenario leaves them with a rosy electoral future.

  22. Who knows, It might if it gets spun as Europe is suffering more (A massive stretch if there is food distribution problems here but no sign of that issue in France.)

  23. Quote:
    RICHARD
    “The terraced houses housed workers mainly for some of the small factories in the area, particularly the bakery – in fact Greggs still have a bakery facility there (not a shop).”

    Was that the setting for ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ ?

    May 27th, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Old post, but I was reading up about the controversial sitcom Love Thy Neighbour this week, and it was certainly set in Twickenham. According to Wikipedia, “Series exteriors were filmed at 102 and 104 Bushy Park Road, Twickenham, TW11 9DL.” Not the kind of well-to-do suburban area I’d have expected to be the setting for this series (or maybe I’ve got the character of Twickenham wrong?). Apparently the white neighbour is a socialist, and the black neighbour is a Conservative. Just to throw convention on its head. (Although there were real-life parallels to both examples I’m sure).

  24. THE RESULTS
    ”His predecessor John Waller was a very gifted local campaigner, but the area wasn’t really ready to desert the Conservatives just yet.”

    Yes, agreed. He seemed to be quite a familiar name in the constituency and correct me if I’m wrong Barnaby I think he was a local councillor.

    Funny really that it was 1983 that brought the Liberals into play here, because in the two 1974 elections they didn’t come anywhere near threatening the Conservatives, unlike in some of the seats in South West London at the time. Perhaps the local party’s strength took quite a while to really get going. Clearly people in these seats have never really taken to Labour that well- Maybe not all that surprising given how middle-class and anti-left wing these seats are?

    May 21st, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    If you look back to local election results from the 1970s in the SW London boroughs, Labour were a very strong opposition group, with councillors in double figures. The Lib Dems have replaced them. I wonder if it’s due to demographic change, or gentrification. Where’s Barnaby gone? He could tell us which ward the Love Thy Neighbour houses would have been in! That part is now in Hampton Wick ward, with 2/2 Lib Dem councillors.

    See: London Borough Council Elections (2018)
    https://data.london.gov.uk/elections/
    The page for each borough shows the councillors by party since the boroughs were first contested in 1964. 1971 must have been a particularly good year for Labour in London. They were nearly level with the Tories in Sutton. Labour did reach double figures in Kingston as recently as 1998, but that’s still not as good as their 1970s tallies. That’s also the only one of these boroughs (Kingston, Richmond and Sutton) where Labour has had elected councillors in the last decade. I suppose a lot of it is down to tactical voting, and under a PR system, perhaps they’d improve. The Results may be correct in saying that these areas are anti left-wing, but Labour is pretty liberal these days too, so if they were the main challenger, they could perhaps do nearly as well as the LDs.

  25. Just to add to the above, after reading back through all the old posts on this thread, it’s amazing how everyone was convinced that Cable was safe as houses for the 2015 election. I remember being a bit shocked by his defeat too, but I hadn’t thought about it enough to make such predictions. Cable did have a 20% lead in 2010, which may have looked safe on paper, but the swing against the Lib Dems was massive in 2015.

    The idea that the Tories could be in contention after Cable’s retirement now also seems risible, as Munira Wilson got a higher majority, and the largest Lib Dem vote share for any seat in 2019. But I guess in 2014/15, before Brexit, no one would have foreseen that the Leave vote would have been such a handicap for Tories in London.

    It’s a bit like Max Parr-Reid predicting Westminster North would go blue in 2020 as part of a London effect due to the Boris bounce. The only inner London Tory gain was a bit of a fluke really, with Kensington being regained due to the split vote for Remain parties.

  26. I broadly agree with the comment above, and no way would I expect the Tories to take this back in the next decade.
    But with just two provisos that I think we need to consider:

    1) The anti Tory swing in London has now been evident since as early as 2015 when the Tories actually WON under Cameron. 2017 and 2019 in London also exaggerated this effect.

    2) the resolution of the Brexit issue which motivated heavily against the Tories in both 2017 and 2019 in London will inevitably lead to the issue disappearing off the radar by 2024.

    So based on that I think there is a reasonable excuse for thinking the Tories may actually score a POSITIVE general swing in and around London in 2024 regardlwss of the national swing (think the pro Tory swing in Scotland in 1992).

    With surely nowhere else to fall and with the main issue against them now removed, the stage must surely be set for a minir Tory recovery in environs such as this next time??

  27. That will only be the case Shaun if Brexit is a success – or rather not a failure – something we don’t yet know the answer to.

    If not then it will be as dominant an issue as it was in 2019 – only this time not in their favour

    If Brexit isn’t quite as bad as many in the middle classes fear I’d expect the Tories to have a fighting chance in seats like this

    However whether this is enough to keep those who believe Brexit to be a golden opportunity that will improve their quality of life’s is another question

  28. Thanks for your reply Shaun, good to see someone else around these parts. Tim has said pretty much what I was thinking – the Tories’ chances at the next GE depend on the impact Brexit has actually had. Everything that goes wrong will probably be blamed on Brexit by Remainers.

    Boris’s success in winning London as mayor now seems utterly remarkable given his and his party’s recent reincarnation. 2015 was the first time since 1970 that the party who won an overall majority in the Commons didn’t also win a majority of seats in London. Cameron didn’t win London in 2010 either, and it should be noted that the 1951 election saw the parties on exactly 50/50 each for London seats.

  29. But the Tories declining fortunes in London pre-date Brexit by a couple of decades – and mirror what’s happening in other cities where once reliable Tory seats look out of the party’s grasp

    Demographic change of course has played its part but Labour even poll well in seats which still have swathes of wealthy voters like Kensington and Cities of London

    On the face of it it does seem odd that London – whose voters tend to be more individualistic and more affluent than the average Brit, has become a city where the Conservatives are decisively out of favour

  30. Well I am a Brexit believer of course. So I am phenominally relaxed in the knowledge that Brexit will be a success and the issue will be long forgotten by 2024.
    I am therefore convinced that the general swing in London nect time will be pro Tory.
    That doesnt mean London is going to return to Tory dominance or anything, just a happy blip in our direction next time regardless of the national swing. I am not making any longer term predictions about it.

    The truth is that by its behaviour, London voters have now made themselves largely irrelevant to the national debate and election winning strategies. Funny to think that Stoke-on-Trent is now more powerful in terms of deciding elections than a lot of former marginal seats in London.
    And the sooner London liberal elitist voters are roundly ignored in favour of us more practical common sense Midland and Northerners, the better!

  31. Hmm. What do you think are reasonable targets for the Tories next time around? There are only five seats in London where the Tories are within five thousand, and of those, only two – Putney and Enfield Southgate – could really be described as “liberal elitist” seats where Brexit really hurt them.

    If there’s an unwind towards pre-Brexit voting patterns in 2024, that could help the London Tories, but the mountain they have given themselves to climb is vertiginously steep.

    Of course, a reversal of the 2019 realignment would also knock down the newly-constructed blue wall…

  32. Have to say events on this and the other side of the Atlantic in the past decade have actually made me thankful that for the most part we have been governed by what people like Shaun call the liberal elite.

    Surely I can’t be alone in preferring to be ruled by well informed, intelligent, reasonable and well educated people as opposed to people who aren’t any of those things.

    I find shaun’s prediction of Tory success in London whatever come the time of the next election extremely bold indeed

  33. You’re not alone, Tim. Us establishment shills must unite and overthrow our faux-proletarian oppressors!

  34. And it’s not as if history isn’t full of examples of how horrific such regimes are – you can take your pick from Trump’s America, Germany in the 1930s and the taleban in Afghanistan

    I’d take Britain’s liberal elite over these monstrosities every day and it shows how divided the uk that their are plenty like Shaun who prefer the alternatives that we know all too well about

  35. Nice to see Shaun again. I think he’s probably wrong on London though.

    – The issue of the UK relationship with EU won’t go away by 2024 or even 2034 or 2044, it will be a persistently high profile issue in my view, an endless tussle between those prioritising sovereignty and low immigration versus those wanting frictionless trade and ease of movement. If Tories carry on in the Boris vein of pandering mostly to the former, they will continue to struggle in London. Note also that the circa 4 million EU citizens with UK residency are strongly concentrated in London, many of them will have citizenship and a British passport by 2024 and are not likely to be very Tory-inclined.

    – Covid has accelerated the problems for the Tories in London in areas where their vote is heavily based on city workers. A banker living in a town house in Wimbledon can now move out to a 5 bed detached in Esher or Dorking and work from home half the week. Here in the home counties, the flood of such people out of London has sent the property market bananas. Medium term it will help the Labour and Lib Dem vote in leafy outer London and bolster the Tories in Surrey and Sussex.

    – Polltroll’s point that the Tories have few realistic London targets is well made. But in reverse, numerous Tory seats in London look exceptionally vulnerable. Chingford is basically gone no matter what happens. The Tories’ strongest remaining card in 2019 in wealthy Remainy London suburbs was “don’t vote for a marxist anti-semitic communist who is going to ban your bonus and tax you at 90%”. Without Corbyn the Tories are going to really really struggle in the Hendons, Finchleys, Harrow Easts and Wimbledons.

    Essentially I think we will see the Tories pared down to their hard core heartlands of Chelsea, Havering, Bromley, Bexley, Sutton, Northwood and South Croydon next time. The old school poshness of Westminster and Kensington might scrape them over the line there but I’m not banking on it.

  36. Looks like you are predicting Chelsea and Fulham to be the only Tory seat left inside the old, pre-“Greater London” boundaries.

    I agree for the most part with your other predictions but I feel Harrow East may remain in the blue column for a while, Bob Blackman has formed strong, Galloway-style links with local Hindu community leaders, and the seat seems to march to the beat of its own drum. Additionally I understand BJP propaganda is effective in the area, which may help shore up the Tories.

  37. Yes you are right on Harrow East. Though that seat does have a large Jewish population around Stanmore as well as lots of well off Indians. In general if Labour can detoxify itself enough with Jews (which won’t be easy even with Corbyn expelled) it will help them significantly.

  38. “I’d take Britain’s liberal elite over these monstrosities every day and it shows how divided the uk that their are plenty like Shaun who prefer the alternatives that we know all too well about”

    Trump has never been at all popular in the UK, with approval figures of only 20-25% or so. In crude terms that’s the Brexit party vote plus about half the Tory vote share, most likely the half that contains the Shaun Bennetts and Pete Whiteheads. The other half of the Tory vote share unites with the centre and left in breathing a huge sigh of relief that Trump has gone.

    For myself I’m keen to say this as apolitically as possible. I almost don’t care about Joe Biden’s politics, I’m just very happy that the US has a normal president again, a president who respects the behavioural norms of his office and international diplomacy. We’re very lucky Trump didn’t press the nuclear button on the way out. I really hope we never see his ilk reach the presidency ever again.

  39. Interesting to read your comments, good to see you back on here too. I agree about Trump – he didn’t act like a statesman, and spent a lot of time spreading conspiracy theories. That kind of person should not be anywhere near high office.

    I’m inclined to agree that Brexit isn’t going to be forgotten, and will remain bad for the Tories in London. It depends on the new boundaries really, but I think there’s a high chance that Kensington and Two Cities will go to Labour next time.

  40. Harrow East has definitely gone against the grain. Historically of course it was marginal whereas neighbouring Harrow West was safely Tory up until 1997

    I thought Blackman would be a one-term MP – particularly being a right winger in a ethnically diverse London seat – but by making this relatively safe for the Tories whereas far more wealthy seats like Battersea and Putney have gone Labour, he has defied the odds and his success ought to warrant renewed scrutiny from fellow Tories on how to get it right in London

  41. But the demographics of that seat aren’t mirrored across London. So what works in one area might not work in another. The same way that perhaps Ian Murray holding onto Edinburgh South for Labour wouldn’t necessarily translate to the rest of their old Scottish heartlands.

  42. To be honest if I were a strategist advising the Tories on how to win compete in London, or Labour to win back Scottish seats, I wouldn’t have a clue. The Tories’ London problem is entirely of their own making, the result of intentionally provincial rhetoric which has helped them elsewhere and was in some ways a calculated sacrifice. Scottish Labour were caught in a storm created by other forces but unfortunately it’s meant they have largely been written out of the conversation.

  43. I think Tim is suggesting that Bob Blackman has some special gift within his constituency, which could be emulated elsewhere. What has been acknowledged elsewhere on these pages is how tiny the effect of a ‘personal vote’ is. I would hazard a guess that manyresidents of Harrow East are voting for the Conservative Party; some may well like Blackman, but it makes little difference overall. He has a fairly poor record when it comes to voting in favour of LGBT rights – is that really something to emulate elsewhere in a city like London? There probably are a good number of religious people in Harrow East who share his ‘traditional’ views, but I imagine it’s the constituency being relatively affluent which gets people voting for his party. Gavin Barwell wrote ‘How to Win a Marginal Seat’ but couldn’t retain it.

    I remember attending a Labour conference fringe meeting in 2015 about ‘how to win in tough marginal seats’ or something similar, with a panel including Liz McInnes, Wes Streeting, Siobhan McDonagh and Emily Thornberry telling stories of their own experiences. I’ve no doubt McDonagh is a decent, hard-working MP, but her hugely increased majorities since she gained her seat are down to favourable demographic changes. Streeting mentioned the Mosaic social profile group ‘Asian attainment’ as being helpful in his seat (presumably a different kind to that in Harrow East). In holding on, Thornberry has been lucky that her nearest rivals, the Lib Dems, disappeared as a threat. McInnes did well to hold a marginal seat twice, but the cards were stacked against her in 2019. That’s what will do for Blackman – national polling favouring his opponents, and shifting demographics. A decent leader will help Labour too.

    That said, there was a 6.5% swing to the Conservatives in Harrow East, higher than the national swing from Lab to Con of 4.70%. The large Jewish population in Harrow East may well have helped the Tories there too, especially as the Labour candidate was accused of anti-Semitism. Would be interesting to know how that swing compares to other London seats. Unfortunately I can’t find a spreadsheet online which includes swing by seat.

  44. Whilst the 2019 election was an awful one for sitting MPs defending their seats, after defecting or being de-selected that hasn’t always been the case. Richard Taylor and Martin Bell – who comfortably defeated the despicable Neil Hamilton- both racked up large majorities sitting as independents and in some general elections there is clear evidence of the personal vote in play – see Kingston upon Thames in 2001 when the Tories thought selecting the dislikeable right winger David Shaw was their best hope of regaining the seat and which saw Davey increase his majority by over 30000%. The same happened in Hove with Labour candidate Peter Kyle after the Tories selected a candidate who claimed to be able to ‘cure homosexuality’

    Two examples or woeful candidate choices handing marginal seats to opponents.

  45. Martin Bell and Richard Taylor weren’t sitting MPs who then stood under a different banner, though, they were candidates with no previous political careers. In recent times the only MPs who have managed to stay in parliament after defecting are (ugh) George Galloway and (ugh) Douglas Carswell.

  46. There was an above average swing to the Tories in Ealing Southall too. I think I read a comment alluding you that by Polltroll elsewhere, but the common theme with Harrow East is the Indian population, surely?

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