Following DevComms’ recent run down of the new constituency of Reading West & Mid Berkshire, senior account executive for the South East Matthew Vallender explains another newly created seat up for grabs at the General Election.

On May 22, 2024, the Prime Minister announced a UK Parliamentary General Election to be held on Thursday, July 4 and requested the King dissolve Parliament.

In this series of articles, we will explore key battlegrounds across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and Oxfordshire.

We’ll delve into constituency profiles, analyse previous election results, introduce the major party candidates, review polling data, and make predictions for the upcoming General Election.

The second constituency in focus is Bicester and Woodstock, a new seat for this General Election.

Constituency profile

The new Bicester & Woodstock constituency is a mosaic of parts from four previous constituencies, creating a unique blend of voters with no clear historical allegiance. Bicester and its surrounding areas have been transferred from Banbury, Kidlington from Oxford West and Abingdon, Woodstock and largely rural areas from Witney, and a small rural segment from the Henley constituency.

Previous General Election results

As this is a new seat, the only reference point is a notional result from the 2019 General Election:

  • Conservative: 28,030 votes (53.9 per cent)
  • Liberal Democrat: 13,825 votes (26.6 per cent)
  • Labour: 8,762 votes (16.9 per cent)
  • Green: 1,225 votes (2.4 per cent)
  • The Brexit Party: 149 votes (0.3 per cent)

Had the constituency existed in 2019, the Conservative candidate would have secured a decisive victory with a majority of 14,205 votes, equating to a 27.3 per cent lead.


The upcoming election sees a diverse group of candidates vying for the seat:

  • Conservative: Rupert Harrison, a former economic advisor to George Osborne and recognised as a key architect of the ‘austerity policy’. Harrison transitioned to an investment role at BlackRock and now advises Jeremy Hunt.
  • Labour: Veronica Oakeshott, a seasoned politician who previously served as a councillor for the Boleyn ward in the London Borough of Newham, where she won 72 per cent of the vote. Her career also includes a tenure with the British High Commission in Nairobi and her current role as head of forests for Global Witness.
  • Liberal Democrat: Calum Miller, an Oxfordshire County Councillor and academic at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, bringing a blend of local governance and academic expertise.
  • Additional candidates include the Green Party, Reform UK and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).


Polling data suggests a highly competitive race. Electoral Calculus predicts:

  • Conservative: 32.1 per cent
  • Liberal Democrat: 32.0 per cent
  • Labour: 23.1per cent

This forecast gives the Conservatives a 47 per cent chance of winning, with the Liberal Democrats close behind at 42 per cent, and Labour at 11 per cent.

YouGov’s MRP (which has a good track record previously – the most accurate of all pre-poll predictions of the result in 2019, and the only one to predict 2017’s hung Parliament) disagrees (but only just) – putting the seat on 32 per cent Lib Dem, 32 per cent Conservative, and 22 per cent Labour. According to these predictions, the seat could shift from Conservative to Liberal Democrat, reflecting a potential change in voter sentiment.


With polling numbers so close and within the traditional margin of error of +/- three per cent, this seat is a true toss-up between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

The outcome may hinge on a handful of votes, with Labour also maintaining a significant presence. Any shifts in the final days of campaigning could tip the scales, especially with all major parties having launched their manifestoes last week. This race promises to be one of the most closely watched and hotly contested in the upcoming General Election.

Stay tuned as we continue to provide updates and insights on key constituencies, leading up to the crucial General Election on July 4, 2024.

DevComms’ South East team, based in the heart of Reading and the region, is working with many of these key political stakeholders and is well placed to help our clients as they seek to navigate these political changes.

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