Blackpool South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10963 (34.5%)
Labour: 13548 (42.6%)
Lib Dem: 743 (2.3%)
Green: 841 (2.6%)
UKIP: 5613 (17.7%)
Independent: 73 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 2585 (8.1%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Part of the Blackpool council area.

Main population centres: Blackpool.

Profile: Blackpool is a famous seaside resort that boomed in the nineteenth century as the favoured destination for Lancashire`s industrial working class. The attractions of Victorian Blackpool remain to this day - the Blackpool Illuminations, the piers, the pleasure beach and the Tower. Like most seaside towns it has suffered economically from the growth of cheap foreign package holidays, but tourism remains the dominant part of the economy. Blackpool South contains the bulk of Blackpool, including the centre of the town the three piers and the major attractions.

Politics: Both the Blackpool seats are marginals between Labour and the Conservatives. Blackpool North was a Tory seat until the Labour landslide in 1997 when it was won by the current Labour MP Gordon Marsden.

Current MP
GORDON MARSDEN (Labour) Born 1953, Manchester. Educated at Stockport Grammar School and Oxford University. Former university tutor and editor of History Today. Contested Blackpool South 1992. First elected as MP for Blackpool South in 1997. PPS to Lord Irvine 2001-2003, to Tessa Jowell 2003-2005, to John Denham 2009-2010. Shadow minister for higher education since 2010.
Past Results
Con: 12597 (36%)
Lab: 14449 (41%)
LDem: 5082 (14%)
BNP: 1482 (4%)
Oth: 1582 (4%)
MAJ: 1852 (5%)
Con: 11453 (30%)
Lab: 19375 (51%)
LDem: 5552 (14%)
BNP: 1113 (3%)
Oth: 849 (2%)
MAJ: 7922 (21%)
Con: 12798 (33%)
Lab: 21060 (54%)
LDem: 4115 (11%)
UKIP: 819 (2%)
MAJ: 8262 (21%)
Con: 17666 (34%)
Lab: 29282 (57%)
LDem: 4392 (9%)
MAJ: 11616 (23%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PETER ANTHONY (Conservative) Singer and former hotelier. Former Oldham councillor.
GORDON MARSDEN (Labour) See above.
BILL GREENE (Liberal Democrat)
DUNCAN ROYLE (Green) Environmental consultant.
ANDY HIGGINS (Independent)
LAWRENCE CHARD (Independent)
Comments - 141 Responses on “Blackpool South”
  1. this is my home seat I know the conservative candidate whos popular here in blackpool. the local party did well to choose him. the current mp is unpopular so where thr ukip vote comes from is very important I think peter can scrape a conservative win so . con gain 250 to 750 votes.

  2. Labour Hold. 3,000 majority.

  3. How many of the candidates are gay? The 4 who appeared on NW News all looked especially well groomed.

  4. As things stand, this may be a seat worth watching on election night.

  5. Gordon Marsden will be 67 in 2020.

    The impression I have is that he may have a considerable personal vote that may not transfer to his successor.

    When Joan Humble retired in 2010 there was a swing of 6.85% from Lab to Con on the Blackpool North & Cleveleys 2005 notional result.

  6. 67 is not especially old for an MP. If Labour judges that a change of candidate would jeopardize the seat there is no reason why Gordon Marsden should not stay on.

  7. The Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens were in Blackpool North from 1945 to 1997 and this seat since. The Pleasure Beach has always been in this seat since 1945.

  8. This was a very disappointing result for Labour given that this is apparently one of the most deprived constituencies in the country on some measures. Clearly a tradition of working-class Tory support still exists here whereas in many places like Yardley it’s declined significantly.

  9. Before you say this was a disappointing result for Labour you ought to take into account that there was actually a swing to Labour here in 2015.

    Once upon a time the Conservatives used to have huge majorities in both Blackpool seats. The only possible consoltation for Labour was that the Cnservative majorities in North Fylde and South Fylde were even bigger.

    Part of the reason why the Conservatives may have had such large majorities in Blackpool and the Fylde was that in those days voters in the North-West (still) split along religious lines.

    Labour won Lancashire County Council not least because they won a sring of seats in Blackpool. This eventually ended up with therri winning both Blackpool seats in 1997. Labour lost Blackpool North in 2010 but still hold Blackpool South.

    For comparison, in the Labour landslide of 1945 Blackpool South had a Conservative majority of 16,043

    Blackpool South has had a notably low turnover of MPs. Roland Bobinson, who was MP for the undivided Blackpool seat from 1935 – 1945, was MP for Blackpool South until 1964. His successor Peter Blaker was MP 1964 – 1992 Nigel Hawkins was MP from 1992 – 1997 when, judging that he had no chance of being re-elected he fled to Surrey Heat. He was deselected by the Conservative Party in Surrey Heath before the 2005 election following a breakdown in relations with the local party. Gordon Marsden, as the MP since 1997, is the only Labour candidate ever to have won here.

  10. For the sake of completeness I might mention that the Liberals held the undivided Blackpool seat, having narrowly missed out in 1922, from 1923 to 1924, when the Conservatives gained the seat.

  11. When I said disappointing I meant relative to what might have been expected given the circumstances and demographics.

  12. Blackpool has voted 68% Leave.

  13. On some measures this is one of the most deprived constituencies in England but despite that it probably can’t be regarded as a definite Labour hold at the next election. Their majority is only 8% and the seat is about as far removed from Islington North as one could imagine in cultural terms.

  14. “Part of the reason why the Conservatives may have had such large majorities in Blackpool and the Fylde was that in those days voters in the North-West (still) split along religious lines.”

    Sectarianism was more related to the Tory performace in Liverpool than Blackpool.

    The reason why the Conservatives did so welll for so long in Blackpool, and indeed other seaside towns, despite them being relatively poor, low income places owed a lot to the fact that the main industry was tourism. Hoteliers and B&B owners, as small business people, were trenchantly Tory. Most of the workers in tourism were (and are) not unionised and were thus, in the days of the Labour-Trade Union links, less disposed to support that party. Ironically, in the summer months, Labour-voting, unionised workers from elsewhere in the north would descend on Blackpool…often better paid and with better conditions than hotel workers.

    This all came to end here and in other resorts as the seaside economy declined from the 1970s onwards – the hotels closed, the workers lost their jobs and went on DSS or moved away, and seaside resorts increasingly became a mecca for those on benefits – who, when they vote, tend not to vote Tory.

  15. Con Estimate
    “Is the same true of Brighton and Hove?”
    I believe it was for a time but for whatever reason (somebody more local will have to explain) Brighton and by extension Hove became a hipster hotspot which from the Tories perspective is even worse than benefits street…

  16. Blackpool also will have had a greater dependency on public sector jobs – including middle class public sector jobs as traditional tourism declined.

  17. Gorden Marsden will be 67 in 2020. I would have thought as Blackpool South’s only ever Labour MP he would have a considerable personal vote.

    If he retires Labour’s prospects of retaining this seat will decline.

  18. Labour won Brighton Kemptown in 1964 and 1966, and this was considered amazing for a seaside town at the time.

    Blackpool North and Blackpool South differed on the basis that the inland areas were poor and the coastal areas (North Shore) were weathly in Blackpool North while in Blackpool South it was the inland areas that were wealthier and and the coastal areas behind the Golden Mile that were some of the poorest wards in the country.

  19. On the demographics alone Blackpool South should be a very safe Labour seat with a 40% plus majority but it’s seaside Tory traditions have not died out…only diminished from this being a Tory stronghold to being a Labour marginal. Over the same period Glasgow South (Cathcart) has gone from being a Tory stronghold to a Labour (now SNP) stronghold.

  20. I could see potential for a Conservative Gain here.

  21. Yes, so do I-a majority of ‘only’ 8%, wwc and 68% Leave- if I were Marsden I’d be pretty worried.

  22. CE – the most ‘Benefits Street’ seaside town is Rhyl – and that now has a Tory MP as well.

  23. On current poling it should be an easy pick up

  24. I think this will be a Conservative gain.

  25. Gordon is a tonnes…Conservative gain

  26. Predictive text…Gordon is a gonner

  27. Peter Anthony is standing again.

    As with Darlington, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Eltham I think that makes 12 targets so far where the Tories are fielding the same candidate as in 2015 to have another go at the seat.

  28. I too think this will be a Conservative gain.

  29. If we’re assuming the UKIP vote will move to Tory, then yes, this could be a surprise on the night. After all, 2010 was fairly close without the UKIP vote.

  30. The surprise would surely be if Labour hold it.

    This is a Leave seat with Con+UKIP totalling 52%

    And the Lib Dems will surely leech a percent or two from Labour given how appallingly low they were in 2015

  31. As promised (apologies for the delay): I was in Blackpool one day last week and in Bury another. Whilst not covering the election in either town, I did pick up the following info:

    The Tory PPC here Scott is photogenic and has name recognition. That as well as the huge Leave vote makes it third time lucky for the Tories targeting this one.

    In Bury S, I suspect Ivan Lewis’s votes may decide whether Lab or Cons win. The Tory PPC looks a bit odd and was underwhelming on the Politics Show but the Tories seem to have a young active Assoc so may well do it.

    Apparently Sky News were in Blackpool the same day but I didn’t see their coach, so I suspect they were the Pleasurebeach end.

  32. If the Tories gain this would it be a strongest candidate for poorest Tory seat?

  33. Some of the top 100 poorest wards are in it, but I think they may also be in Ayr, but overall you’re probably right. ie a poorer ward may be found in Ayr, Rhyl (if Vale of Clwyd goes Tory again) or a North East target seat, but Blackpool S probably has 2 or 3 wards that are v poor.

    I think a DUP MP has the poorest ward of right wing MPs if we look UK-wide. I assume it’s one that votes PUP locally however ie has left wing Loyalist cllrs.

  34. Jaywick Sands in Clacton is notoriously poor, having been (perhaps erroneously) labelled as containing the most deprived street in Britain, where house prices average £20,000.

  35. My aunt used to have a bungalow there – she got a fair bit more than that 15 or so years ago when she sold it.

    In the clearest sign of changing voter demographics one of the least rundown seaside resorts, Brighton will most likely have two Labour and Green mp’s, while many more rundown ones will be solidly Tory.

  36. ‘Jaywick Sands in Clacton is notoriously poor, having been (perhaps erroneously) labelled as containing the most deprived street in Britain, where house prices average £20,000.’

    And yet the ward it is in – Golf Green – is a staunchly Tory-voting one with the party predicted to get over 65% of the vote in the upcoming election on electoral calculus!

    Talk about people not wanting to help themselves

  37. I assume that’s recently.

    As the v well known Labour Cllr for the ward was interviewed on Benefits Street etc.

    I think the ward went UKIP just after that though. Maybe he defected as well.

    I’m reminded of Steptoe’s retort in response to Tim: “Of course Labour don’t want people to get better off, ‘cos there’ll be no bug*er left to vote for them if they do.”

  38. In a shock news update, I agree with Lancs on something. Yes, the Tory bloke here is quite fit.

  39. I agree through he is not the most easy on eye Tory standing (Doncaster Central has a photogenic guy to go with the photogenic women standing for them in Doncaster North)

  40. 50% of the vote here is seriously impressive.

  41. ANDY JS
    I don’t think the Tories will ever win here again unless there are dramatic boundary changes.
    June 27th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Quite a bold prediction, as it was marginal even in 2010, and finally fell in 2019. Reduced turnout. Amazing that in 1992, the last time the Tories won the seat before 2019, turnout was 77.3%. It hasn’t hit 60% this century. I suspect there’s a lot of voter apathy, coinciding with this being one of the most deprived seats in the UK (and the most deprived Tory-held one).

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)