Cratus 2019 General Election Guide – Essex
The Conservatives have had a good showing in Essex over the recent decades with their worst performance in 1997 which saw eight out of 18 seats held by parties other than the Conservatives. Since then, the Conservatives have continually strengthened their position with a clean sweep in 2017. Following the 2019 Local Elections, there are reservations as to whether the county will remaining fully blue, with two Conservative run councils changing hands – Chelmsford City Council turning Liberal Democrat and Uttlesford District Council turning Residents for Uttlesford. However, in a county which voted strongly to Leave the European Union, the Conservatives’ Brexit position and the fact that the Brexit Party are not standing candidates should assist Boris Johnson’s Party.
Seat Profile Chelmsford
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 13,572
- 2017 incumbent – Vicky Ford is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 50.7%, Remain 49.3%
- Candidates – Vicky Ford (Conservative), Penny Richards (Labour), Cllr Marie Goldman (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Prediction – Con Hold – just!
The parliamentary seat of Chelmsford has recently been viewed as a relatively safe Conservative seat, never having been lost since its creation in 2010, however in that year, the Liberal Democrats came a close second, with the former MP, Sir Simon Burns only having a majority of 5,110. Between then and Local Elections in May of this year the Liberal Democrats had receded with Labour taking second place.
However, Chelmsford made headlines in the national news earlier this year when the Liberal Democrats took control of the council in at the Local Elections in May, overturning a 52 seat majority Conservative administration into a 31 seat Liberal Democrat administration – a gain of 26 seats!
Many hailed the progress that the Liberal Democrats made across the country at that election as the start of their triumphant march of resurgence. However as they say, a week is a long time in politics and the Local Elections were back in May!
At the time, Cratus learned that two primary issues were seen as leading to the Conservatives downfall. Conservative voters stayed at home due to a mixture of the proposed Local Plan being unpopular locally and because of lack of progress with regards to Brexit nationally.
Since then however, the Conservative Party has had a new leader elected in Boris Johnson who is promising to ‘Get Brexit Done’ which will definitely chime well with those voters who stayed at home and with this being a national election, general turnout will be higher which are both to Vicky Ford’s advantage. But the rise of the Liberal Democrats in Chelmsford cannot be overlooked, especially considering that the Liberal Democrat candidate is Cllr Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of the Council.
Cratus’ intelligence is that the Liberal Democrats are waging a fierce ground war in the seat with not only blanket leaflets but direct targeted mail (a Liberal Democrat favoured tactic) however given the history of the seat, Cratus believe that this will be to the detriment of Labour and so we will most likely see a result akin to that of 2010 – a Conservative Hold but a reduced majority for Vicky Ford.
Seat Summary and Candidate List
Basildon & Billericay
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 13,400
- 2017 incumbent – John Baron is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 67.1%, Remain 32.9%
- Candidates – John Baron (Conservative), Cllr Andrew Gordon (Labour), Edward Sainsbury (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. The area has consistently voted Conservative and continues to be a strong Leave area. John Baron is a known and vocal Brexiteer therefore, he is expected to easily retain his seat.
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 18,422
- 2017 incumbent – James Cleverly is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 61.5%, Remain 38.5%
- Candidates – James Cleverly MP (Conservative), Cllr Joshua Garfield (Labour), Dominic Graham (Liberal Democrat), Cllr Jo Beavis (Independent)
- Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. The seat has voted Conservative for over a decade and is a strong Leave area. With James Cleverly’s ascent to the role of Conservative Party Chairman and high profile in the media providing a pro-Brexit stance for the Conservatives, he is expected to retain his seat.
Brentwood & Ongar
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 24,002
- 2017 incumbent – Alex Burghart is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 61.1%, Remain 38.9%
- Candidates – Alex Burghart (Conservative), Oliver Durose (Labour), Cllr David Kendall (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. The Local Election in May saw a rise in the number of Liberal Democrat councillors which is likely to translate to an improved Liberal Democrat vote, however given the strength of the Conservative vote Alex Burghart is expected to retain his seat.
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 18,872
- 2017 incumbent – Rebecca Harris is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 72.7%, Remain 27.3%
- Candidates – Rebecca Harris (Conservative), Katie Curtis (Labour), Cllr John Howson (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Predication – Conservative Hold. While in the past, UKIP have presented a threat to the Conservatives in this seat, the lack of a Brexit Party candidate leaves the Conservatives as the only party which is openly pro-Brexit and virtually guarantees a win for them in this seat.
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 15,828
- 2017 incumbent – Giles Watling is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 73%, Remain 27%
- Candidates – Giles Watling (Conservative), Cllr Kevin Bonavia (Labour), Callum Robertson (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. This area remains strongly Leave and former actor Giles Watling has been vocal in supporting Brexit so is expected to retain his seat.
- 2017 Result – Conservative majority 5,677
- 2017 incumbent – Will Quince is seeking re-election
- EU Referendum – Leave 51.5%, Remain 48.5%
- Candidates – Will Quince (Conservative), Tina McKay (Labour), Cllr Martin Goss (Liberal Democrat)
- Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. The Leave sentiment in the local area has softened even from the result which was almost evenly split, however when this is coupled with a divided opposition, almost evenly matched, as demonstrated by the 2019 Local Election result (Liberal Democrat – 13, Labour – 11) the split vote gives Will Quince an advantage and makes the likely outcome the retention of his seat.