Cratus 2019 General Election Guide – Surrey

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Surrey has traditionally been a county where the Conservative Party has thrived for instance, even in their landslide defeat in 1997 the party won every seat in the county. However, this election is one that could see many traditional party loyalties end with the Conservative Party strategy clearly targeting key seats in the Midlands and North while holding onto hope that the Conservative majorities in the South East are too large for the Liberal Democrats to overcome.

This is certainly a dangerous strategy as previous general elections have shown that Surrey constituencies do have the capacity to vote Liberal Democrat (see Guildford in 2001). However, our sense is that all of the seats bar Guildford will remain Conservative although with several significantly reduced majorities.

Seat Summary and Candidate List

East Surrey
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 23,914
  • 2017 incumbent – Sam Gyimah (Liberal Democrat) – Sam Gyimah was elected as a Conservative but defected to the Liberal Democrats. He is standing for election as a Liberal Democrat in Kensington.
  • EU referendum – Leave 54.2%, Remain 45.8%
  • Candidates – Claire Coutinho (Conservative), Dr Frances Rehal MBE (Labour), Cllr Alex Ehmann (Liberal Democrat), Joseph Booton (Green Party), Helena Windsor (Independent)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. East Surrey is one of the rare areas in the Surrey that voted to leave the European Union. With the announcement that Sam Gyimah had defected to the Liberal Democrats in September 2019, the East Surrey Conservative Association selected Claire Coutinho, one of the many special advisers with links to Boris Johnson selected in safe seats across the UK. Claire Coutinho served as a special adviser at HM Treasury as well as a programme director at Housing and Finance Institute (HFI), a housing association that works to support the delivery of new homes across the UK. HFI was founded by parliamentary candidate for Dover Natalie Elphicke. She will inherit a large majority in an area of staunch support for the Conservative Party making it unlikely that she will lose the seat despite former UKIP campaigner Helena Windsor trying to steal votes from Leave supporters in East Surrey.

Epsom and Ewell
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 20,475
  • 2017 incumbent – Chris Grayling (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 52.22%, Leave 47.78%
  • Candidates – Chris Grayling (Conservative), Ed Mayne (Labour), Stephen Gee (Liberal Democrat), Janice Baker (Green Party), Cllr Clive Woodbridge (Independent)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Epsom and Ewell presents an interesting electoral case. It’s a constituency that has a Residents Association led council that has been in power since the 1930s, an MP whose recent media exposure has not been overtly positive and a referendum result that would suggest that the Conservatives would be losing support from Remain supporters in the constituency. However, even in a climate where the Conservatives are losing voters in the South East it will be a tough job for the Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Gee to overturn a majority of 20,475.

Esher and Walton
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 23,298
  • 2017 incumbent – Dominic Raab (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 58.43%, Leave 41.57%
  • Candidates – Dominic Raab (Conservative), Peter Ashurst (Labour), Monica Harding (Liberal Democrat), Kylie Keens (Independent)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Whilst Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been a controversial figure within a largely Remain constituency it is unlikely that he will lose his seat it is likely that his majority will fall significantly. The Liberal Democrats are running a spirited campaign and have recently been endorsed by Raab’s Conservative predecessor, Ian Taylor. However, we expect Raab will hold on.

Guildford
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 17,040
  • 2017 incumbent – Anne Milton (Independent) – Anne Milton resigned from the Conservative Party in August 2019
  • EU referendum – Remain 58.8%, Leave 41.2%
  • Candidates – Angela Richardson (Conservative), Anne Rouse (Labour), Zoe Franklin (Liberal Democrat), Anne Milton (Independent)

Cratus Prediction – Liberal Democrat Win. Guildford is a constituency that seems feasibly at risk for the Conservatives. Their hopes of attracting the strong support of Remain voting traditional Conservatives may have been jeopardised by their new candidate’s vocal support for Brexit.

Alongside this there is the Anne Milton factor. The long-standing former MP for Guildford resigned from the party in protest of the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. Anne will likely split the vote amongst the Conservative supporters in Guildford with many disaffected Tories potentially choosing to side with her not only as a protest to the government’s handling of Brexit but also as Anne Milton remains a popular figure in Guildford due to her constituency work.

The Liberal Democrats present the largest opposition to the Conservatives in Guildford with the recent May 2019 Local Elections showing that the Party has the ability to take significant numbers of votes from the Conservatives. The local Liberal Democrat Association has also selected a strong candidate to contest the seat with Zoe Franklin, a former Guildford councillor, who was previously vying for the seat in the 2017 General Election. There is every chance she capitalise on the ongoing frustrations towards the Conservative Party Remain voting areas like Guildford and wrestle the seat from the Tories for only the second time in over 100 years.

Mole Valley
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 24,137
  • 2017 incumbent – Sir Paul Beresford (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 52.69%, Leave 47.31%
  • Candidates – Sir Paul Beresford (Conservative), Brian Bostock (Labour), Cllr Paul Kennedy (Liberal Democrat), Geoffrey Paul Cox (UKIP), Lisa Claire Scott (Green Party)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. As much as Sir Paul Beresford remains a somewhat low profile MP this is another case of a Conservative incumbent having too large a majority for the opposition Liberal Democrats to erode in a single election. Nothing is impossible, but it would be a surprise to see a seat that has always been Conservative falling to the Liberal Democrats despite the yellows winning control of the local council in May 2019.

Reigate
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 17,614
  • 2017 incumbent – Crispin Blunt (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 52.02%, Leave 47.98%
  • Candidates – Crispin Blunt (Conservative), Susan Gregory (Labour), John Vincent (Liberal Democrat), Cllr Jonathan Essex (Green Party), Julia Florence Searle (UKIP)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Reigate remains a hotbed of Conservative support within Surrey. Despite a smaller majority compared to rest of Surrey, Crispin Blunt remains relatively popular amongst constituents and should easily retain the seat.

Runnymede and Weybridge
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 18,050
  • 2017 incumbent – Philip Hammond (Independent) – Philip Hammond was one of the ministers expelled from the Conservatives in August 2019.
  • EU referendum – Remain 50.15%, Leave 49.85%
  • Candidates – Dr Ben Spencer (Conservative), Cllr Robert King (Labour), Cllr Rob O’Carroll (Liberal Democrat), Benjamin Smith (Green Party), Nicholas David Wood (UKIP)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Unlike his fellow Brexit rebels David Gauke, Anne Milton and Dominic Greave, Philip Hammond has  decided not to stand as an Independent but instead step down and let new Conservative candidate Dr Ben Spencer fight to hold the seat. Dr Spencer is not a local candidate and has been flown in from CCHQ having previously contested Camberwell and Peckham. Assuming the Conservatives poll strongly at a national level, Spencer should retain this seat fairly comfortably.

South West Surrey
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 21,590
  • 2017 incumbent – Jeremy Hunt (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 59.25%, Leave 40.75%
  • Candidates – Jeremy Hunt (Conservative), Tim Corry (Labour), Cllr Paul Follows (Liberal Democrat)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. In different circumstances, Jeremey Hunt could have been Prime Minister. As it is he has left the government and is tasked with defending a seat which voted nearly 60% Remain. Despite this, Hunt’s moderate Conservatism should save him but expect his majority to be reduced dramatically by the Liberal Democrats due to a combination of Brexit and focus on very local issues by the local Lib Dem candidate who is also Deputy Leader of Waverley Borough Council.

Spelthorne
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 13,425
  • 2017 incumbent – Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Leave 60.3%, Remain 39.7%
  • Candidates – Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative), Cllr Pavitar Mann (Labour), David Campanale (Liberal Democrat), Paul Jacobs (Green Party)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. In an area that voted so overwhelmingly to leave the European Union, and without a Brexit Party candidate to split the vote it would be highly surprising if Government Minister Kwasi Kwarteng managed to lose this seat.

Surrey Heath
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 24,943
  • 2017 incumbent – Michael Gove (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Leave 51.85%, Remain 48.15%
  • Candidates – Michael Gove (Conservative), Brahma Mohanty (Labour), Alasdair Pinkerton (Liberal Democrat), David Simon Roe (UKIP), Sharon Galliford (Green Party)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Stalwart of the Conservative Party and former Party Leadership Candidate Michael Gove will be defending his seat against newcomer Alasdair Pinkerton. Pinkerton has campaigned to protect the heritage of Surrey Heath and stop any further encroachment onto the Green Belt. However, a 24,943 majority and constituency that voted 51.83% Leave should see Michael Gove to a clear victory in Surrey Heath.

Woking
  • 2017 result – Conservative Majority – 16,724
  • 2017 incumbent – Jonathon Lord (Conservative)
  • EU referendum – Remain 55.75%, Leave 44.25%
  • Candidates – Jonathan Lord (Conservative), Dr Gerry Mitchell (Labour), Will Forster (Liberal Democrat), Troy De Leon (UKIP), Ella Walding (Green Party)

Cratus Prediction – Conservative Hold. Incumbent Conservative Jonathan Lord is defending his seat against current Woking Borough Councillor and former Mayor Cllr Will Forster. Whilst the Liberal Democrats in Woking represent an active opposition, Lord has been a diligent local MP and will likely retain his seat despite voting against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a constituency that voted Remain.

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