Clacton looks safe for Tories in 2019 General Election after Brexit pull-out

Tourism remains important to Clacton. Picture: TENDRING COUNCIL

Tourism remains important to Clacton. Picture: TENDRING COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

For a day or so at the very start of the 2019 General Election campaign it looked as if Clacton could be one of THE seats to watch – but it soon became apparent that it would be just another Conservative conquest.

Conservative Giles Watling is hoping to return to Parliament. Picture: House of Commons

Conservative Giles Watling is hoping to return to Parliament. Picture: House of Commons - Credit: Archant

The Essex coastal seat which also includes Walton, Frinton and Jaywick is geographically compact - but has a wide demographic that has caused interesting results in the past.

Issues in the seat:

Poverty: In Jaywick, Clacton has one of the most deprived communities in the country and there are huge challenges facing local authorities and the business community in trying to improve this.

The town itself has become something of a magnet for people facing housing problems because of the large number of bed and breakfast establishments which are available to provide accommodation.

Clacton Labour candidate Kevin Bonavia. Picture: CLACTON LABOUR PARTY

Clacton Labour candidate Kevin Bonavia. Picture: CLACTON LABOUR PARTY - Credit: Archant


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Ageing population: As a coastal seat, Clacton has a higher than average population of older people - the comparatively affluent communities of Frinton on Sea and Walton on the Naze have been particularly popular for those starting retirement.

This can put a strain on services in the area, particularly the NHS and there have been concerns about the difficulty in getting on GPs' lists in the area.

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Transport issues: The Clacton constituency is rather out on a limb, with only one road and rail link in and out of the area - this does mean it sometimes does feel rather remote.

There are a growing number of commuters moving to the area, attracted by the relatively low house prices, but they will look for someone to champion their demands for improvements to the rail line.

Giles Watling has recently taken over the chair of the Great Eastern Taskforce - will local travellers notice any improvement to their services?

Tourism: This is a very important part of the economy of Clacton, Frinton, and Walton - with money being spent by both day-trippers and those staying for a few nights. The traditional "bucket and spade" holiday may have declined over recent decades but it remains popular for those looking for a short break.

Brexit: Clacton is the only constituency in the country to have elected a UKIP MP (in 2015). The issue is very important to many voters here.

Who is standing in Clacton?

Giles Watling: Conservative MP since 2017, former leading member of Tendring Council. Well-known actor (from 1980s sitcom Bread) and theatre director who ran Frinton Summer Theatre for many years.

Kevin Bonavia: Labour member of Lewisham Council in London. He is a solicitor in London.

Callum Robertson: Liberal Democrat. He has worked as a Law Clinic director and a legal advisor.

Chris Southall: Green Party candidate - contested the constituency in 2017 General Election.

Colin Bennett: Independent

Andrew Morgan: Independent

Just-John Sexton: Monster Raving Loony Party.

What will happen in Clacton?

There were rumours at the start of the campaign that Nigel Farage could stand here for The Brexit Party - capitalising on the seat's position as the only one to ever elect a UKIP MP in a General Election.

His decision not to stand, followed by his decision to withdraw party candidates from seats meant that Mr Watling appears to have been given a free run in the constituency he won with a near-16,000 majority over Labour in 2017.

In the past Labour have done quite well here - Clacton was part of the old Harwich constituency which was held by Ivan Henderson for the party from 1997 to 2005 - but today it looks very safe for the Conservatives.

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