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election2001
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Readers Poll Con 52% Lab 28% LD 18% Nat 2% Enter your vote to win 1M

Taunton
Conservative gain

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
One of six Liberal Democrat gains in the south west of England with a majority of 4pc or less in 1997, Taunton is illustrative of this group of seats which will do much to indicate how strong the Conservative revival is at the next general election, and how permanent the Lib Dems' rise towards the heady heights of 50 MPs. If the Conservatives are to regain even the appearance of a nationally competitive party, they really should regain all six. They would seem to have a fair chance in Taunton. They were over 20pc ahead in the European elections of 1999, and the Liberal Democrats lost control of Taunton Deane council in the same year. Taunton is one of only five areconstituencies in the whole of Britain where the Tories outpolled the Lib Dems in their speciality, local elections, the last time they were contested (the others are Torbay and Weston, also in the West and gained in 1997; and Newbury and Cheltenham, which are longer established). The MP Jackie Ballard is an uncompromising liberal, who makes no bones about her opposition to fox-hunting, for example. Nor should she be written off, though; she is a formidable campaigner. In the end, the half dozen West Country Liberal Democrat marginals should probably be seen as individual cases, not taken as a bunch. One is sure that the Liberal Democrats themselves would feel that this fits in with their principles.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Jackie Ballard, Liberal Democrat victor in 1997, oddly marginalized herself by running unrealistically for her party's leadership in 1999. Square, if slimmed-down for the leadership contest, but still with some resemblance to Biffa Bacon's mother in Viz, she was born in 1953, educated at Monmouth School for Girls and the LSE, and worked as a FE college lecturer in psychology and computing before working as a party staffer, as a local government adviser, and doubling-up as a county and district councillor. Her aggressive manner in her assault on hunting - where most of her rural party colleagues keep their heads down, may be neutralised by her Tory challenger, Adrian Flook, who does not defend hunting, though is a member of the Countryside Alliance. Self-described as "sceptical of most things coming from the EU" and "a strong supporter of Nato", a merchant banker-turned-PR-man, he was born 1963 and educated at St Edward's School, Bath and Oxford University, and is one of many Conservative candidates from the Wandsworth Council stable.
ACORN Population Profile of the constituency
  Area
Percent
GB
Percent
Index
GB=100
 
Thriving
Wealthy Achievers, Suburban Areas 20.23% 14.99% 134.90
Affluent Greys, Rural Communities 5.40% 2.13% 253.76
Prosperous Pensioners, Retirement Areas 3.19% 2.49% 128.27
Expanding
Affluent Executives, Family Areas 2.93% 4.43% 66.19
Well-Off Workers, Family Areas 6.30% 7.27% 86.63
Rising
Affluent Urbanites, Town & City Areas 1.14% 2.56% 44.54
Prosperous Professionals, Metropolitan Areas 0.00% 2.04% 0.00
Better-Off Executives, Inner City Areas 1.87% 3.94% 47.46
Settling
Comfortable Middle Agers, Mature Home Owning Areas 18.39% 13.04% 141.02
Skilled Workers, Home Owning Areas 8.52% 12.70% 67.10
Aspiring
New Home Owners, Mature Communities 14.57% 8.14% 178.89
White Collar Workers, Better-Off Multi Ethnic Areas 5.10% 4.02% 126.80
Striving
Older People, Less Prosperous Areas 5.01% 3.19% 157.25
Council Estate Residents, Better-Off Homes 6.31% 11.31% 55.78
Council Estate Residents, High Unemployment 0.11% 3.06% 3.73
Council Estate Residents, Greatest Hardship 0.93% 2.52% 37.08
People in Multi-Ethnic, Low-Income Areas 0.00% 2.10% 0.00
Unclassified
Unclassified 0.00% 0.06% 0.00
Household Income of the constituency
  Area
Percent
GB
Percent
Index
GB=100
 
0-5K 9.17% 9.41% 97.45
5-10K 18.41% 16.63% 110.70
10-15K 18.73% 16.58% 112.97
15-20K 14.94% 13.58% 109.97
20-25K 10.89% 10.39% 104.76
25-30K 7.69% 7.77% 98.95
30-35K 5.40% 5.79% 93.27
35-40K 3.81% 4.33% 88.02
40-45K 2.72% 3.27% 83.27
45-50K 1.96% 2.48% 79.02
50-55K 1.43% 1.90% 75.21
55-60K 1.06% 1.47% 71.79
60-65K 0.79% 1.15% 68.70
65-70K 0.60% 0.91% 65.91
70-75K 0.46% 0.72% 63.38
75-80K 0.35% 0.57% 61.06
80-85K 0.27% 0.46% 58.93
85-90K 0.21% 0.37% 56.96
90-95K 0.17% 0.31% 55.15
95-100K 0.13% 0.25% 53.46
100K + 0.61% 1.34% 45.14

Local Map of the constituency
Taunton - Local Map of the constituency

National Map of the constituency
Taunton - National Map of the constituency

Swing
1992-1997 1997-2001
Labour (0.82%) Liberal Democrat (1.92%)
Conservative (-  7.28%)
Conservative (2.99%) Labour (1.43%)
Liberal Democrat (-  1.44%)
Con - 7.28%
Lab 0.82%
LD 1.92%
Con 2.99%
Lab 1.43%
LD - 1.44%
2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Adrian Flook
Conservative gain
Con Conservative (41.71%) 23,033 41.71%
Lab Labour (14.95%) 8,254 14.95%
LD Liberal Democrat (41.28%) 22,798 41.28%
Oth Other (2.06%) 1,140 2.06%
Maj Majority (0.43%) 235 0.43%
Turn Turnout (67.64%) 55,225 67.64%
2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Adrian Flook
Conservative gain
LD Jackie Ballard 22,798 41.28%
UK Michael Canton 1,140 2.06%
C Adrian Flook 23,033 41.71%
L Andrew Glover 8,254 14.95%
Candidates representing 4 parties stood for election to this seat.
1997 Results - General Election (1 May 1997)
Jackie Ballard
Liberal Democrat gain
Con Conservative (38.72%) 23,621 38.72%
Lab Labour (13.52%) 8,248 13.52%
LD Liberal Democrat (42.72%) 26,064 42.72%
Ref Referendum (4.52%) 2,760 4.52%
Oth Other (0.52%) 318 0.52%
Maj Majority (4.00%) 2,443 4.00%
Turn Turnout (76.47%) 61,011 76.47%
1992 Results -  General Election (9 April 1992)
Conservative
Con Conservative (46.00%) 29,576 46.00%
Lab Labour (12.70%) 8,151 12.70%
LD Liberal Democrat (40.80%) 26,240 40.80%
Oth Other (0.40%) 279 0.40%
Maj Majority (5.20%) 3,336 5.20%
Turn Turnout (82.26%) 64,246 82.26%

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