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election2001
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Maidstone & The Weald
Conservative hold

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
The redoubtable Shadow Home Secretary, one of the most distinctive of present-day politicians, Ann Widdecombe, holds a safe seat in Maidstone and the Weald. Her victory is more comfortable than might at first be expected, for the county town itself contains a substantial Labour inclined council estate bloc at Shepway and Park Wood in south east Maidstone, and has a history of Liberal Democrat activism and municipal success too. Yet a number of factors helped her in 1997. The working class segment was taken out of this seat and placed in the ragbag called Faversham and Mid Kent. The Liberal Democrats failed to convert their council success into parliamentary votes and slipped to third place. Finally, a very Conservative rural section (actually just part of the Weald, to go along with just part of Maidstone, to make the title of the seat less than wholly accurate) was added, including such places as Sissinghurst with its castle and gardens; the attractive towns of Cranbrook and Hawkhurst; and Benenden, the elite girls school which numbers Princess Anne among its former pupils. In the local elections which took place on 4 May 2000, Ann Widdecombe's seat included, in Maidstone Borough, the ward with the highest Conservative percentage of any contested in Britain: 90.6pc, against both Labour and Liberal Democrat opposition. Its name? Barming.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Ann Widdecombe, Shadow Home Secretary and MP here since 1987, though trailed as a potential Tory leader, would present serious difficulties for the marketing men as an untelegenic, shrill-voiced, churchy spinster, who has described TV as “filth”. Born 1947 and educated at a convent in Bath and at Birmingham University and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, she worked previously as a university administrator. Her political breakthrough from joke to heroine came with her rubbishing of the unpopular Michael Howard whose leadership hopes she effectively crushed. She left Canterbury for Rome over female ordination and prompted eight fellow Shadow Cabinet members to admit their dope-sodden pasts in order to scotch her emotive call for on-the-spot fines for cannabis possession. She is in the tiny Tory minority against fox-hunting.
ACORN Population Profile of the constituency
  Area
Percent
GB
Percent
Index
GB=100
 
Thriving
Wealthy Achievers, Suburban Areas 31.04% 14.99% 207.02
Affluent Greys, Rural Communities 0.63% 2.13% 29.57
Prosperous Pensioners, Retirement Areas 0.94% 2.49% 37.62
Expanding
Affluent Executives, Family Areas 2.91% 4.43% 65.85
Well-Off Workers, Family Areas 11.41% 7.27% 156.81
Rising
Affluent Urbanites, Town & City Areas 0.95% 2.56% 37.19
Prosperous Professionals, Metropolitan Areas 0.02% 2.04% 1.15
Better-Off Executives, Inner City Areas 2.71% 3.94% 68.83
Settling
Comfortable Middle Agers, Mature Home Owning Areas 21.17% 13.04% 162.39
Skilled Workers, Home Owning Areas 10.99% 12.70% 86.55
Aspiring
New Home Owners, Mature Communities 4.36% 8.14% 53.52
White Collar Workers, Better-Off Multi Ethnic Areas 7.30% 4.02% 181.46
Striving
Older People, Less Prosperous Areas 2.56% 3.19% 80.51
Council Estate Residents, Better-Off Homes 1.18% 11.31% 10.42
Council Estate Residents, High Unemployment 0.26% 3.06% 8.55
Council Estate Residents, Greatest Hardship 1.44% 2.52% 57.33
People in Multi-Ethnic, Low-Income Areas 0.00% 2.10% 0.00
Unclassified
Unclassified 0.11% 0.06% 178.16
Household Income of the constituency
  Area
Percent
GB
Percent
Index
GB=100
 
£0-5K 6.55% 9.41% 69.63
£5-10K 13.11% 16.63% 78.80
£10-15K 14.89% 16.58% 89.79
£15-20K 13.52% 13.58% 99.56
£20-25K 11.18% 10.39% 107.57
£25-30K 8.86% 7.77% 113.91
£30-35K 6.88% 5.79% 118.83
£35-40K 5.31% 4.33% 122.60
£40-45K 4.10% 3.27% 125.46
£45-50K 3.17% 2.48% 127.61
£50-55K 2.46% 1.90% 129.22
£55-60K 1.92% 1.47% 130.39
£60-65K 1.51% 1.15% 131.23
£65-70K 1.19% 0.91% 131.82
£70-75K 0.95% 0.72% 132.21
£75-80K 0.76% 0.57% 132.45
£80-85K 0.61% 0.46% 132.58
£85-90K 0.50% 0.37% 132.61
£90-95K 0.40% 0.31% 132.57
£95-100K 0.33% 0.25% 132.49
£100K + 1.76% 1.34% 131.30

Local Map of the constituency
Maidstone & The Weald - Local Map of the constituency

National Map of the constituency
Maidstone & The Weald - National Map of the constituency

Swing
1992-1997 1997-2001
Labour (13.72%)
Conservative (- 11.97%) Liberal Democrat (-  7.94%)
Conservative (5.50%) Labour (0.78%)
Liberal Democrat (-  2.47%)
Con - 11.97%
Lab 13.72%
LD - 7.94%
Con 5.50%
Lab 0.78%
LD - 2.47%
2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Ann Widdecombe
Conservative hold
Con Conservative (49.63%) 22,621 49.63%
Lab Labour (26.99%) 12,303 26.99%
LD Liberal Democrat (19.89%) 9,064 19.89%
Oth Other (3.49%) 1,589 3.49%
Maj Majority (22.64%) 10,318 22.64%
Turn Turnout (61.59%) 45,577 61.59%
2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Ann Widdecombe
Conservative hold
UK John Botting 978 2.15%
L Mark Davis 12,303 26.99%
I Neil Hunt 611 1.34%
LD Allison Wainman 9,064 19.89%
C Ann Widdecombe 22,621 49.63%
Candidates representing 5 parties stood for election to this seat.
1997 Results - General Election (1 May 1997)
Anne Widdecombe
Conservative
Con Conservative (44.13%) 23,657 44.13%
Lab Labour (26.22%) 14,054 26.22%
LD Liberal Democrat (22.36%) 11,986 22.36%
Ref Referendum (3.73%) 1,998 3.73%
Oth Other (3.57%) 1,913 3.57%
Maj Majority (17.91%) 9,603 17.91%
Turn Turnout (73.98%) 53,608 73.98%
1992 Results -  General Election (9 April 1992)
Conservative
Con Conservative (56.10%) 31,951 56.10%
Lab Labour (12.50%) 7,097 12.50%
LD Liberal Democrat (30.30%) 17,237 30.30%
Oth Other (1.20%) 693 1.20%
Maj Majority (25.80%) 14,714 25.80%
Turn Turnout (80.24%) 56,978 80.24%

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