THE seat has always been a Tory stronghold, with the party’s position growing to the strongest it has ever been in 2010.

Much has happened in five years though.

The Tory majority at a local level is ebbing away in Rochford council, with the Conservatives giving up three seats and seeing another two councillors become disillusioned with the party during 2015 and becoming independent.

Ukip was the big winner in the 2014 local elections, taking all three seats from the Tories in the Wickford wards and winning another three in the Rochford District.

With Rochford’s Tory administration’s local plan now really starting to take effect as major planning applications are submitted for what was formerly green belt land, will the public’s objection to the erosion of the green belt spill over into the national scene?

John Hayter stood in 2010, but as an English Democrat, and only polled 4.2 per cent, but will his vote increase now he has the Ukip rosette on his chest?

Linda Kendall has entered the fray as an independent candidate and can rely on support from her 4,000 Rayleigh Action Group members, who raised around £10,000 towards the costs of her eventually fruitless attempt to block Rochford District Council’s housing strategy in the High Court.

Such was the majority MP Mark Francois held in 2010 though, the likelihood is he will hold his seat, but see that majority slashed as the voters take their anger at local planning issues out on the ballot paper.


House building on green belt land

Road infrastructure

The loss of community feel should major housing plans be approved in Hullbridge and Rayleigh

Surface water flooding

Saturday car parking charges


THE seat was only created by the Fifth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies in 2007, meaning 2010 is the one and only General Election seen in the Rayleigh and Wickford constituency.

The previous Rayleigh constituency was always a Conservative stronghold.

Mark Francois was voted in during the 2001 election with a 50.1 per cent majority.

This grew to 55.4 per cent in 2005 and increased even further to 57.8 per cent in 2010.

Labour had traditionally been the second party in the area, polling between 20 and 30 per cent of the vote, until 2010 when the Lib Dems took advantage of Labour’s 12 per cent drop to claim a slim lead.

Polling just 15.1 per cent of the vote though, the competition between the Lib Dems and Labour purely served to strengthen the Tory grip on the seat.