SOUTH Basildon and East Thurrock is a seat that remains very hard to call, with Ukip hoping it can capture the constituency from a less than vice-like Tory grip.

Made up largely of the former Basildon constituency, it is still considered a bellwether seat, which can gauge the national outcome of a General Election.

Sitting MP, Tory Stephen Metcalfe took the seat from Labour’s Angela Smith in 2010. Now Baroness Angela Smith, she had held it since 1997 when she trounced then-candidate and now Basildon and Billericay MP John Baron, by 13,280 votes.

In 2010, Mr Metcalfe took 19,624 votes, a majority over Labour of 5,772, and 43.9 per cent of the vote.

Ukip’s Kerry Smith, now a Basildon independent councillor, came in fourth place with 2,639 votes, behind Basildon councillor Geoff Williams in third for the Lib Dems and just pipping Chris Roberts of the BNP.

Ukip’s local branch initially chose Mr Smith, its then group leader on Basildon Council, to challenge the Tory.

It later threw its hat in the ring, showing it was a key target seat, by ousting him in favour of a “big gun”, amid claims he was “too inexperienced”.

The candidacy battle that ensued was then rocked by a series of scandals before Ian Luder, previously Basildon Hospital chairman and Lord Mayor of the City of London, was selected.


  • Lack of social and affordable housing
  • GP shortage crisis
  • Basildon Hospital financial deficit
  • Threat of building on green belt at Dunton and Pitsea and non green belt beauty spot, Dry Street
  • Social depravation and troubled families


SOUTH Basildon and East Thurrock seat was newly-created ahead of the 2010 general election, incorporating some parts of the former Basildon constituency.

Tory Stephen Metcalfe was elected, following the trend of the Basildon borough voting for the Conservatives. The population traditionally migrated from the East End of London, and switched their allegiance from Labour to Tory after coming into money in Essex.

However, Ukip has largely overtaken Labour as the main opposition party, taking 11 seats on Basildon Council in 2014. Ukip had a 39 per cent share of the vote, compared with the Tories’ 35 per cent.