General election - Is Harrogate just a three-horse race race?

Harrogate voters will have a choice of three main political parties in the General Election after the dramatic news of the withdrawal of both the Greens and the Brexit Party.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:30 pm
Conservative candidate in Harrogate and Knaresborough for General Election - Andrew Jones.

Less than a week after the Green Party made a deal with the Lib Dems to stand down in next month’s poll in Harrogate, the Brexit Party opted to pull out its candidate, too.

The surprise moves mean voters in Harrogate face a virtual re-run of the 2017 election which saw Conservative candidate Andrew Jones elected as the town’s MP for the third time in a row.

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Lib Dem candidate in Harrogate and Knaresborough for General Election - Judith Rogerson.

Although the Yorkshire Party announced on the eve of the closing date of November 14 for nominations that it would be contesting the Harrogate and Knaresborough seat, the playing field has effectively been left to the area’s three big political guns - Tories, Lib Dems and Labour.

Labour candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough in the General Election - Mark Sewards.

All three main party candidates have been trading blows on their own views about the town’s shifting political landscape and their prospects in the election on December 12.

Tory candidate Andrew Jones, who won 55.5% of the vote in Harrogate in 2017, said politics should not be about trading votes or making deals.

He said: “I haven’t done a deal with anyone. And I do not presume that votes can be transferred from one party to another in blocks.

“People choose who to support for a variety of reasons and not because one party stands aside and instructs them to vote for another. Politicians should be seeking to earn votes, not trade them.”

Judith Rogerson for the Lib Dems, which won 23.5% in 2017, said the Green Party had done the right thing and she was hopeful of victory.

She said: “The Green Party are part of the Unite to Remain initiative and have done the right thing in putting the best interests of the country first. We know from the most recent polling and the feedback we are getting on the doorsteps that we can win here. The Lib Dems are the only party that can beat the Conservatives in Harrogate.”

Mark Sewards, candidate for Labour which won 20.1% in 2017, said voters in Harrogate wanted “real change.”

“The withdrawal of the Brexit Party from Conservative-held seats across the country shows that a vote for the Tories is a vote for Nigel Farage’s divisive politics,” he said. “At the last General Election, Labour doubled our share of the vote. People on the doorsteps across the constituency are telling me that they want real change.”

Kieron George, candidate for the Yorkshire Party, said: “The Yorkshire Party and I care about speaking up for Yorkshire. As a party, in 2016, we pledged to respect whatever decision the electorate made. And so we will stand resolute with Yorkshire in securing a good deal with the EU, no matter how long it takes.”

Factfile: Recent election results in Harrogate and Knaresborough

2017 General Election result

Harrogate & Knaresborough

Candidate Party Votes Vote (%) Change (%)

Andrew Jones Con 31,477 55.5 2.7

Helen Flynn LD 13,309 23.5 1.4

Mark Sewards Lab 11,395 20.1 9.9

Donald Fraser Ind 559 1.0 1.0

2015 General Election result

Harrogate & Knaresborough

Andrew Jones Con 28,153 52.7 +7.0

Helen Flynn LD 11,782 22.1 -21.7

David Simister UKIP 5,681 10.6 +8.7

Jan Williams Lab 5,409 10.1 +3.

Shan Oakes Green 2,351 4.4 N/A

2010 General Election result

Harrogate & Knaresborough

Andrew Jones Con 24,305 45.7 +9.8

Claire Kelley LD 23,266 43.8 -8.4

Kevin McNerney Lab 3,413 6.4 -2.7

Steve Gill BNP 1,094 2.1 +1.1

John Upex UKIP 1,056 2.0 +0.3