West Bridgford. Credit: Google Maps

By Alex Brinton

The Rushcliffe constituency sits to the south of Nottingham and contains West Bridgford.

The seat has a population of 74,738. The seat is currently held by the Conservative Party who have a majority of 8,010.

Ken Clarke has been the MP for Rushcliffe since 1970 when he won the seat from Labour’s Anthony Gardner by a margin of 6,168 votes.

Official parliamentary portrait of former Rushcliffe MP Ken Clarke. Credit: Parliamentary Digital Service / Creative Commons CC BY 3.0

He was raised in West Bridgford and is a big supporter of Nottingham Forest and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, where he once famously lost one of his ministerial boxes.

He many government roles including Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer when John Major was Prime Minister.

Clarke is incredibly popular within his constituency regularly winning his seat by a comfortable majority.

But he is stepping down at this election.

2017 election result

Conservative Hold by a majority of 8,010 with 51.8% of the vote

Voter turnout of 78.0 % this was the 9th highest

Labour share of the vote increased by 11.8%

The seat has been a safe Conservative seat with Labour only winning the seat once since the 1945 election.

It survived the Labour landslide of 1997 when many Conservative strongholds fell, even holding on to a majority of 5,055 when the Tories had their worst night at the polls.

In the 1931 election the Conservative candidate, Henry Betterton won the seat by a margin of 22,494, which remains the largest majority in the history of the seat.

History

Labour won the seat in 1966 with a majority of 380.

Ken Clarke regained the seat in 1970 with a majority of 6,168.

Survived the New Labour landslide of 1997 with a majority of 5,055

Only on four occasions when Clarke has contested the seat has his majority been under 10,000.

At the 1979 General Election 1979 Clarke won 62 per cent of the vote.

The issue at the heart of this election is Brexit.

Rushcliffe voted to stay in the EU with 40,522 people voting to remain and 29,888 people voting to leave.

EU Referendum

The turnout was 81.5% was the largest in the East Midlands

40,522 voted to remain

29,888 voted to leave

Ken Clarke, who also voted to remain, said in light of the referendum result that ‘a soft Brexit where we keep the present economic ties’ was the best outcome.

He was kicked out of the Conservative party after voting against a proposed deal to leave the European Union.

This did briefly make Clarke an independent.

Rushcliffe is one of the UK’s has one of the highest rates of political participation of anywhere in the country.

The voter turnout in is regularly very high hitting 78 per cent in the last election in 2017.

This was the ninth highest of any constituency in the UK. For the Brexit referendum in 2016 the voter turnout was 81.5 per cent this was the highest in the whole of the East Midlands.

This level of participation shows that the people of Rushcliffe are very engaged in politics and like to make their voices heard.

With Ken Clarke stepping down and Rushcliffe being a remain constituency there is a possibility that Labour could move in win the seat for the first time since 1966.

Ken Clarke portrait used under this CC licence.