Boston and Skegness (UK Parliament constituency)

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Boston and Skegness
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire for the 2010 general election.
Outline map
Location of Lincolnshire within England.
County Lincolnshire
Electorate 70,620 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1997
Member of Parliament Mark Simmonds (Conservative)
Number of members One
European Parliament constituency East Midlands

Boston and Skegness is a constituency[n 1] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2001 by Mark Simmonds of the Conservative Party.[n 2]


Boston and Skegness is bordered by the constituencies of Louth and Horncastle to the north, Sleaford and North Hykeham to the west, and South Holland and The Deepings to the south.

The constituency boundaries changed at the 2010 general election, bringing in the two rural wards of Stickey and Croft from Louth and Horncastle.

Constituency profile[edit]

Boston, Lincolnshire is a historically important town with a traditional town square with frequent markets and an iconic church spire. Skegness forms the central hub town of coastal villages including holiday villages, the resort has many amusements, long fine beaches, mini-golf/crazy-golf courses and other holiday activities especially during the summer period.

As to year-round economy, a large proportion of the population is employed in agriculture, with a particular emphasis on arable farming and flowers, alternative sectors of manufacturing, food processing, retail and defence are important to the economy's sustenance.[2]

Immigration is a significant political issue in the constituency as the 2011 Census revealed that Boston is now "home to a higher proportion of eastern European immigrants than anywhere else in England and Wales."[3] As a result, the Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens infamously referred to the town as 'Boston Lincolngrad'.[4]


The constituency was created in 1997 from parts of the former seats of Holland with Boston and East Lindsey. Parts of the more rural south were separated from Holland with Boston to create South Holland and The Deepings. The in part predecessor area's veteran MP Richard Body[n 3] held the seat at the 1997 general election with a wafer-thin majority, attributed partially to his own popularity.[by whom?][citation needed] Since 2005 with majorities of more than 10%, it has arguably been a safe seat for the Conservative Party.

After retiring from Parliament, Body left the Conservatives and joined the UK Independence Party. His membership later lapsed and he joined the English Democrats.[5] UKIP came third in Boston and Skegness in the 2005 election with one of its strongest showings in the country.

Mark Simmonds had a narrow win in 2001, but in 2005 was re-elected with a substantially increased majority. After his re-election Simmonds was made Shadow Minister for International Development, before being promoted to a Shadow Health Minister in July 2007. Following the 2010 general election, he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.[6] Following the 2012 reshuffle, he was appointed a junior Foreign Office Minister under William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.[7]

During the 2013 Lincolnshire County Council elections, UKIP achieved one of their best results in Boston and Skegness, winning nearly all of the county council seats that come within the constituency.[8] This was one of only a few constituencies in England where UKIP received more votes than the Conservatives, which Survation estimate would lead to a UKIP majority of 11.18% if a similar result took place at a general election.[9] This lead to speculation that UKIP party leader Nigel Farage may stand as a candidate in the constituency during the next United Kingdom general election.[10] In response, the sitting MP Mark Simmonds said "I would be delighted if Nigel chose to fight Boston and Skegness, because it would be a real opportunity for some of the challenges we face here to be put into the national domain."[11] Nigel Farage has since stated that it is "more likely" he will stand in Kent rather than Lincolnshire if he decides to fight a seat in May 2015.[12]

Chris Pain, who previously stood as UKIP's candidate at the last election has insisted that he will stand again for the party in the seat.[13] He has recently been investigated by Lincolnshire Police for alleged racist comments posted on his Facebook page. He stood down from his role as UKIP's East Midlands regional chairman whilst the investigation took place. The police have since decided not to take any further action, citing a lack of sufficient evidence. Since this incident, Mr Pain has been suspended from UKIP and removed as the party's leader on Lincolnshire County Council owing to a dispute with the party's national chairman, Steve Crowther. He has since formed a breakaway group on the council which sit separately from the main UKIP group.[14]

Following these events another local UKIP councillor, Victoria Ayling, has expressed an interest in standing as the party's candidate at the next election.[15] She has previously faced media controversy over some of her expressed political views.[16] In March 2014, she was elected chairman of the Boston and Skegness branch of UKIP.[17] She has since been named as UKIP's preferred parliamentary candidate for Great Grimsby.[18]

During the 2014 European elections, UKIP won 52% of the vote in the Borough of Boston. This was the highest share of the vote achieved by the party in the country.[19] Following the result, Peter Bedford, the Leader of Boston Borough Council criticised the sitting MP Mark Simmonds saying that he 'should be worried' about the threat of UKIP at the next General Election and that he needs to spend more time in the constituency.[20]

Mr Simmonds responded by saying that the Conservatives need 'to hold their nerve' against UKIP and that "while he does come to Boston ‘all the time’ he does have significant other responsibilities as an MP and Government minister."[21]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Holland with Boston and East Lindsey prior to 1997

Election Member[22] Party
1997 Richard Body Conservative
2001 Mark Simmonds Conservative


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

Next United Kingdom general election: Boston and Skegness
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Simmonds[23]
General Election 2010: Boston and Skegness[24][25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Simmonds 21,325 49.4 +3.2
Labour Paul Kenny 8,899 20.6 −11.1
Liberal Democrat Philip Smith 6,371 14.8 +6.1
UKIP Christopher Pain[n 4] 4,081 9.5 −0.1
BNP David Owens 2,278 5.3 +2.9
Independent Peter Wilson 171 0.4 N/A
Majority 12,426 28.8
Turnout 43,125 61.1 +2.2
Conservative hold Swing +7.0

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Boston and Skegness
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Simmonds 19,329 46.2 +3.3
Labour Paul Kenny 13,422 32.1 −9.5
UKIP Richard Horsnell 4,024 9.6 +7.8
Liberal Democrat Alan Riley 3,649 8.7 −3.7
BNP Wendy Russell 1,025 2.4 N/A
Green Marcus Petz 420 1.0 −0.3
Majority 5,907 14.1
Turnout 41,869 58.8 +0.5
Conservative hold Swing +6.4
General Election 2001: Boston and Skegness
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Mark Simmonds 17,298 42.9 +0.5
Labour Elaine Bird 16,783 41.6 +0.6
Liberal Democrat Duncan Moffatt 4,994 12.4 -4.2
UKIP Cyril Wakefield 717 1.8 N/A
Green Mark Harrison 521 1.3 N/A
Majority 515 1.3
Turnout 40,313 58.4 -10.6
Conservative hold Swing -0.1

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Boston and Skegness
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Richard Body 19,750 42.4 N/A
Labour Philip McCauley 19,103 41.0 N/A
Liberal Democrat Jim Dodsworth 7,721 16.6 N/A
Majority 647 1.4 N/A
Turnout 46,574 68.9 N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ A county constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.
  3. ^ Served Holland with Boston in Westminster from 1966 to 1997
  4. ^ This was UKIP's second best result of the election after the special case of Buckingham.
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ 2001 Census
  3. ^ The, Guardian (11 December 2012). "Census reveals rural town of Boston has most eastern European immigrants". The Guardian (Online). Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  4. ^ The, Daily Mail (18 September 2011). "Boston Lincolngrad: Peter Hitchens investigates the troubling transformation of a sleepy English town after mass immigration from Eastern Europe". The Daily Mail (Online). Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Total, Politics (4 March 2011). "Where are they now? Sir Richard Body". Total Politics (Online). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Boston, Standard (29 June 2010). "Defra role for Boston MP Mark Simmonds". Boston Standard (Online). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Boston, Standard (6 September 2012). "UPDATE: Foreign Office reveals Boston MP’s responsibilities after reshuffle appointment". Boston Standard (Online). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Mason, Rowena (4 May 2013). "Why did voters turn to Ukip in parts of true blue Lincolnshire?". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Damian Lyons Lowe and, Patrick Brione (12 May 2013). "Local Election Analysis: UKIP "won" in 10 Westminster Constituencies". Survation (Online). Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  10. ^ George, Eaton (7 May 2013). "Where will Nigel Farage stand in 2015?". The New Statesman (London). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  11. ^ BBC, News (13 May 2013). "Tory MP Mark Simmonds would welcome Farage contest". BBC News (Online). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Nigel, Farage MEP (25 August 2013). "Ukip's Nigel Farage: I might stand in Kent". Nigel Farage MEP (Online). Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  13. ^ BBC, News (11 May 2013). "Lincolnshire UKIP group leader Chris Pain confident of becoming MP". BBC News (Online). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  14. ^ The, Lincolnite (13 September 2013). "Timeline: The rise and troubles of Lincolnshire UKIP". the Lincolnite (Online). Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  15. ^ The, Skegness Standard (7 February 2014). "Skegness has ‘every chance of getting a UKIP MP’". Online. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  16. ^ The, Daily Mail (15 December 2013). "National Front past of UKIP star at centre of race row... and police probe into her 'abuse' of transvestite husband". Online. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  17. ^ The, Boston Standard (3 March 2014). "Councillor picked as Boston’s UKIP chairman". Online. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  18. ^ The, Boston Standard (20 June 2014). "Neil Hamilton says UKIP can win in Boston by carrying on the work of Sir Richard Body". Online. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  19. ^ Boston, Standard (28 May 2014). "UKIP’s biggest support in country came in Boston - and now it is set to be key election target". Online. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Boston, Standard (27 May 2014). "MP ‘should be worried about UKIP’ says council leader". Online. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  21. ^ Boston, Standard (28 May 2014). ""We must hold our nerve against UKIP threat,” says MP". Online. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 4)[self-published source][better source needed]
  23. ^
  24. ^ "General Election candidates". Boston and Skegness General Election 2010. Boston Borough Council. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "UK > England > East Midlands > Boston & Skegness". Election 2010. BBC. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 

Coordinates: 53°00′N 0°01′E / 53.00°N 0.02°E / 53.00; 0.02