General Election 2024 seats: Who will be my MP in...Clacton with Nigel Farage standing?

Nigel Farage and Giles Watling (ES Composite)
Nigel Farage and Giles Watling (ES Composite)

Millions of voters across London will go to the polls on July 4 to elect the new Government. The Standard is looking at key battleground seats in the capital. Here we turn the spotlight on:


Candidates of main parties (in alphabetical order):

Matthew Bensilum – Liberal Democrat

Nigel FarageReform UK

Natasha Osben – Green Party

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul – Labour

Giles Watling – Conservative


Giles Watling, Conservative MP since 2017, is facing a Right-wing challenge from Nigel Farage in this Essex seaside town.

While Conservatives won the seat comfortably at the last election, there are deep concerns about the “Farage effect”. While the Reform leader has tried and failed seven times before to win a seat in Parliament, his odds look much better in Clacton.

Why? The seat has historically welcomed Right-wing challengers to the Tories. In 2014 its Conservative MP Douglas Carswell defected to UKIP then won a by-election for the party. In 2015 he managed to hold on to the seat for UKIP despite a Conservative attempt to claw it back (Mr Watling was their candidate).

Watling has been free of serious Right-wing challengers in the last two general elections. In 2017 Mr Carswell stepped back and endorsed Mr Watling following the EU referendum result (the UKIP candidate who replaced him performed poorly), and in 2019 the Brexit Party did not stand in this seat as part of its pact with the Conservative party.

Incomes and house prices in Clacton are below the national average and 21.7 per cent of its neighbourhoods are in the most deprived decile, according to the Centre for Cities. Some commentators have described the town as “left behind”.

Electoral Calculus judges the seat to be of a “Strong Right” bearing, with many Clacton voters leaning heavily Right on fiscal and social issues. The area voted 69.5 per cent for Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

Area: Bluehouse, Burrsville, Cann Hall, Coppins, Eastcliff, Frinton, Homelands, Kirby-le-Soken & Hamford, Kirby Cross, Little Clacton, Pier, St Bartholomew’s, St James, St John’s, St Osyth, St Paul’s, The Bentleys & Frating, The Oakleys & Wix, Thorpe, Beaumont & Great Holland, Walton, Weeley & Tendring and West Clacton & Jaywick Sands, all wards in Tendring.

I’m not sure if I’m in this constituency: Here’s how you can check

Clacton boundary changes. Purple shaded area shows old constituency, green line shows new boundary (© OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS | © CARTO)
Clacton boundary changes. Purple shaded area shows old constituency, green line shows new boundary (© OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS | © CARTO)

Boundary changes impact (Thrasher and Rallings analysis): Boundary changes have expanded the Clacton constituency further inland, taking in all of the Tendring local authority wards. According to analysis by Thrasher and Rallings, this has slightly reduced the projected Conservative vote to the benefit of Labour and Liberal Democrats. In 2019 Clacton voted 72.3 per cent Conservative, 15.5 per cent Labour and 5.8 per cent Liberal Democrat. With the new boundaries, the estimated results for that election would be as follows: 71.9 per cent Conservative, 15.6 per cent Labour and 6.2 per cent Liberal Democrat.

YouGov MRP poll prediction: Conservative hold

Evening Standard view: While YouGov’s MRP projection reckons the Conservatives will hold this seat, the poll was conducted before Mr Farage declared his candidacy. Plus MRP polls, while useful for understanding the national picture, often do not pick up hyper-local idiosyncrasies. Mr Watling could well lose his seat. A poor national performance from the Conservatives combined with a Reform surge, plus a famous candidate standing in a seat that has already played host to a Right-wing challenger, could all lead to a perfect storm that makes Mr Farage an MP on his eight attempt.