In the words of Anthony Wells of YouGov, “the Isle of Wight has by far the largest electorate of any seat in the UK”. As he points out, the Boundary Commission in its last review concluded that its size entitled it to 1.48 seats, “just short of the size where the default position would have been to add an extra seat”.
The populousness of the constituency therefore requires its MP to work very hard – and no-one could work harder than the current incumbent, Andrew Turner. In 2001, when he first won the constituency, his majority was under 3000. His current majority is well over 10,000.
Much of his vote, doubtless, is a Party one – but personality matters on the island. After all, his Liberal Democrat predecessor’s views on assisted dying helped to swing the seat back to the Conservatives. Turner would not have won as he did in 2005 and 2010 were he unpopular among the Isle of Wight’s voters. He is an decent man and a committed MP.
There has been a debate within the local Association about whether he should be de-selected as its Parliamentary candidate. It has not been an invariably pleasant one for all concerned (to put it mildly). At any rate, the Association’s Executive voted yesterday evening against the deselection proposal.
This being so, I hope that all Conservatives will now unite behind Turner – their candidate. After all, the election is now scarcely more than three months off, and it is one that all members of the Association will want to win.