|English Democrats Party
|UK Independence Party
|British National Party
|Mr John Horam
Orpington (84.9 %)
Transposed 2005 Result:
Source: Electoral Calculus
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|10 04 28
|This is a more traditionally Conservative area of London, and will likely return a Conservative MP
|10 04 16
|With a majority of 5000 this should be a Conservative hold with little effort. However the strong performance of Nick Clegg in the televised debate may have added to Tory worries that this seat could turn orange on May the 6th. I still believe this will return a Conservative MP as the LibDems failed to win here at the height of Tory dissatisfaction in 1997 and 2001 so will have a bigger struggle this time.
One to watch on election night.
|09 10 13
|BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk
|Long-serving Tory MP stands down
A long-serving Conservative MP has announced that he will stand down at the next general election.
John Horam, who represents Orpington, Kent, has spent more than 30 years as an MP, serving as a minister in both Tory and Labour governments.
The resignation of the 70-year-old, who was untouched by the Westminster expenses scandal, brings the number of confirmed Commons retirees to 108.
He said it had been a ‘great honour and pleasure’ to represent Orpington.
Mr Horam retained the seat with a majority of almost 5,000 in 2005.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1970 as the Labour MP for Gateshead West before joining the breakaway SDP in 1981 and unsuccessfully fighting Labour in Newcastle upon Tyne Central in 1983.
Mr Horam changed party again and returned to the Commons in 1992 as the Conservative MP for Orpington.
Under Tory prime minister John Major he served as junior health minister from 1995 to 1997, 16 years after being a junior transport minister in Jim Callaghan's Labour administration.
Published: 2009/10/12 14:31:26 GMT
|09 02 16
|The most likely result in Orpington in 2009/10 has to be a Conservative victory. The constituency has been Conservative since 1970, when the first and last Liberal MP was defeated, and although it's come as close as a couple of hundred votes (in 2001), that is very unlikely to happen again.
First of all, the Conservatives are much more popular this time around. The 2001 (and 1997) results were at a historic low point for the party - and even then, with everything working in their favour, the Liberal Democrats couldn't take the seat.
They're unlikely to do so now, particularly given the complete breakdown of their situation since 2001. The council was at the time controlled by a Liberal Democrat-led coalition (together with the handful of northern Labour councillors) - at the moment, the Conservatives are in control, with a huge majority of 38 (on a sixty-seat council) as of the 2006 local elections.
In addition to a near total collapse at the council level (it must be noted that they went from close to a majority in 1998 to just SEVEN councillors in 2006), the Liberal Democrats have fared dismally to say the least in the latest London elections. Even if we ignore the Mayoral results (probably influenced by a very strong candidate) and the constituency result (it is rather hard to discern what the heavily conservative John Horam's performance will be like from the libertarian James Cleverly's victory), the party list results give the Liberal Democrats just 11%, barely ahead of Labour and the British National Party.
Now, it is unlikely that things will get this bad in the Parliamentary ballot; however, there are clear signs here of a struggling party. The implosion of the party in 2006 came as a complete shock (one council candidate that I was in touch with was forecasting a Lib Dem victory right up until the results were declared), and the party has not been helped by the loss of Chris Maines - even taking into account such issues as his homosexuality, it is likely his presence helped the party, and with him now gone to Lewisham, Horam could pull away from a generic Liberal Democrat.
And, of course, there is the problem that Orpington as a whole for all its Liberal past is a very, very conservative area. Bromley is known for its conservative streak for a very good reason, and Orpington is perhaps worst of all for this, with a mixture of very conservative suburban and nearly rural areas, and the more working class areas (particularly the Cray Valley) containing a very populistic populace (as evidence by the notably high votes for the British National Party in the area). There is no great love for liberalism around here, both among the local party (remember, this was the borough that attempted to derail civil unions in the capital) and among the people; this is a Daily Mail heartland, not even having the benefit of the community solidarity and multiethnic population to be seen to the north in Lewisham. This was prime Boris Johnson territory, too, and both his influence and that of the libertarian local AM will bring moderates into the Conservative fold.
It is hard to see how the result can be anything but Conservative here. With a massively increased national vote, Horam's majority will go into the five-digit region no matter what he does, and I can see a Conservative majority of around 15,000 votes here as supremely possible. It's unlikely to go to the supremely unknown Liberal Democrat candidate (who is unlikely to be able to bring along the Cray Valley constituents with him), and Labour never have a hope. The only things that could make Orpington slightly competitive would be for all of these to happen:
1) A strong candidate to appear instead of McBride who can appeal to Orpington proper. This would probably have to be Maines if anyone.
2) A faux pas by Horam getting into the public light and thus causing him some electoral difficulty.
3) Major, major mistakes by Boris and Cleverly.
4) No national victory for the Conservatives.
5) Radical changes within the Liberal Democrats locally - the party needs a hell of a lot of work, even down to things such as their campaigning strategy.
6) A BNP candidate standing, which could take votes away that the Conservatives might otherwise take.
Of all these, 6) is the only one that may come to fruition, and even then it's unlikely - the BNP in this general region tend to focus their resources north of the river.
P.S. I should note, for clarity, that I am a political independent myself, but heavily left-leaning. I supported Maines in 2005, and will likely be supporting no candidate in Orpington this time, assuming that there will be no Green candidacy (and in this area, it seems hardly likely).