Bristol North West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22767 (43.9%)
Labour: 17823 (34.4%)
Lib Dem: 3214 (6.2%)
Green: 2952 (5.7%)
UKIP: 4889 (9.4%)
TUSC: 160 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 4944 (9.5%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West. Part of the Bristol council area.

Main population centres: Bristol, Avonmouth.

Profile: Geographically the largest of the four Bristol seats, stretching out to the Severn estuary (and technically including a large chunk of it). The seat contains some of the more affluent and Conservative parts of Bristol like Westbury and Stoke Bishop, but these are balanced out by council estates like Southmead and Lockleaze and the heavy industry and manufacturing out at the Avonmouth Docks, making this a classic marginal.

Politics: A Bristol North West seat has existed since 1950, but the boundaries have changed substantially over the years. For many decades it was a classic marginal seat between the Conservatives and Labour, but the seat that existed between 1997 and 2010 took in parts of South Gloucestershire and was safely Labour. Boundary changes in 2010 transformed it into a marginal seat that was won by Charlotte Leslie for the Conservatives.

Current MP
CHARLOTTE LESLIE (Conservative) Born 1978, Liverpool. Educated at Millfield School and Oxford University. Former Policy advisor to David Willetts MP. First elected as MP for Bristol North West in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 19115 (38%)
Lab: 13059 (26%)
LDem: 15841 (31%)
UKIP: 1175 (2%)
Oth: 1146 (2%)
MAJ: 3274 (7%)
Con: 13230 (28%)
Lab: 22192 (47%)
LDem: 9545 (20%)
UKIP: 1132 (2%)
Oth: 1393 (3%)
MAJ: 8962 (19%)
Con: 13349 (29%)
Lab: 24436 (52%)
LDem: 7387 (16%)
UKIP: 1149 (2%)
Oth: 371 (1%)
MAJ: 11087 (24%)
Con: 16193 (29%)
Lab: 27575 (50%)
LDem: 7263 (13%)
Oth: 2605 (5%)
MAJ: 11382 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHARLOTTE LESLIE (Conservative) See above.
DARREN JONES (Labour) Born Lawrence Weston. Educated at Portway School and Plymouth School. Solicitor. Contested Torridge and West Devon 2010.
CLARE CAMPION-SMITH (Liberal Democrat) Retired teacher. Bristol councilor since 2006.
JUSTIN QUINNELL (Green) Freelance photographer and lecturer. Contested Bristol West 2005.
ANNE LEMON (TUSC) Science teacher.
Comments - 170 Responses on “Bristol North West”
  1. Impressive turnout indeed.

  2. Almost a record for a by-election surely –

    I’m actually quite surprised it went lib Dem in the first place, because whilst Henleaze has long been a Lib Dem stronghold, the less affluent Westbury-On-Trym is one of the staunchest Tory parts of Bristol

  3. Yes, apparently the highest winning and losing votes in a local stand alone by-election – and it was wet that day!

    Whereas a woeful 21% Turnout in Tamworth the next day – although I suppose a lot of people went away on Friday afternoon for the Bank Holiday weekend or half term.

  4. Labour apparently not that hopeful of holding it despite it being a remain seat.

  5. In a seat like this, is Tory strength coming from the middle-class areas or the working-class ones?

  6. A bit of both. Labour losing working class to the Tories or to not voting while losing Middle Class votes to the Lib Dems and Greens.

    No Brexit Party in this seat.

  7. There’s plenty of affluent Remain voters for the Lib Dems to target in places like Henleaze, Stoke Bishop and westbury – and I don’t see either the Tories or the Lib Dems picking up many votes in the likes of Southmead and Lockleaze

    Haven’t heard much about the incumbent MP after his entertaining and well received maiden speech

  8. J WEEKS
    “The elected MP for NW Bristol in 2001 was Steven Williams, Lib Dem. The constituency was split by boundary changes.. He is currently MP of Bristol West.”

    February 20th, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Eh? The MP in 2001 was Doug Naysmith. Stephen Williams only ever represented Bristol West.

    “And it is these seats that the Tories need to work out how to win back – forget the Bridgends and Bishop Aucklands, they aren’t required for a Conservative majority.

    I think several of us got quite fixated on those northern UKIPpy seats which looked there for the taking, and just assumed that the Tories would hold their own in middle-class suburbia. It’s only in hindsight that you realise quite how effective David Cameron was at winning those votes.”
    June 15th, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    In hindsight, you might realise that the Bridgends and Bishop Aucklands were key to a Tory parliamentary majority…!

    Interesting to read from Barnaby that Darren Jones didn’t expect to win. I know of at least one other newly elected Labour MP from 2017 who didn’t expect to win. Outside of London, those gains were a shock to me, and I expect many others, including the Labour candidates. It’s notable that a number of those seats didn’t flip back to the Tories in 2019, like Bristol NW or Battersea.

    Darren Jones is in Labour First, I believe, a moderate pressure group in the party. His threat might have been deselection rather than defeat if we were talking about Bristol West!

  9. The former MP for this seat (1974-79), Ronald Thomas, died in December, aged 91. That in itself may be unremarkable, but there were no media reports of his death, nor any obituary published for him. Usually, ex-MPs who weren’t frontbenchers and are no longer active (ie. in the Lords) still get their death reported by BBC News or their local newspaper. An obituary is generally published in The Guardian, Times and/or Telegraph for former MPs. In the case of Thomas, his death was added to his Wikipedia article by his son.

    The Wikipedia article has more info on Thomas. It seems he advocated Britain being out of Europe for both referendums – in common with the Labour Left of his generation. He was also a Bristol and Avon councillor for a while, both before and after being in the Commons. It seemingly isn’t unheard of for ex-MPs to go (back) into local government after losing their seats.

  10. Incumbency boost was probably a factor in 2019. Also a mixture of brexit and the liberal middle England voters that used to swing seats like BNW now alienated by the Tories mean seats like this, Reading West, Plymouth South and Davenport, Battersea, etc. aren’t as marginal as they once were

  11. I imagine that has something to do with it, but it’s funny how before 2017 some of those places looked out of reach for Labour. I suppose no one thought the Tories would win Leigh either though.

  12. Politics has completely flipped on its head. Living in Sheffield we have a Labour MP in Hallam which never had a Labour MP before 2017 and a Tory in Penistone & Stocksbridge which tbf didn’t exist prior to 2005 but when was the last tory MP in Sheffield that didn’t represent Hallam…

    I grew up in a very nice part of the world but Hallam takes the biscuit. There was an interesting article on new build developments in the red wall which might give an idea on how long term this trend might be

  13. Although it’s important to remember that FPTP distorts these outcomes. Labour have won the seat on fairly low vote shares, because it’s almost a three-way marginal. We can deduce that the vote in Hallam (where I myself have lived before, when it was Lib Dem) is largely liberal-left leaning, in common with many urban middle-class areas.

    Sheffield Heeley elected a Tory in 1970 – it includes some nice suburbs which I assume are heavily outweighed by more deprived areas (and less deprived but more liberal voters). That may be the last Sheffield seat apart from Hallam which was Tory. Curiosity got the better of me, so I checked, and it was Heeley. Otherwise it’s pre-war for elected Tory MPs in Sheffield. The historic Sheffield Ecclesall and Sheffield (when it was all one constituency) seem to be the only Sheffield seats to have never elected a Labour MP.

    I wonder if Hallam will remain competitive between the three parties or if Labour will increase its foothold.

  14. I think it’s been long understood that the Tory vote has been suppressed multiple elections in a row since losing Hallam in 1997.

    Tories have ‘lent’ their votes to one of the other parties – esp LDs – in large numbers where they believed – rightly or wrongly – that the Tories couldn’t win the seat.

    Of course, with FPTP (which I’m not against btw) rather than eg AV/STP, you will never quite be sure of the exact impacts of this kind of this ‘voting for the least bad option’ thing.

  15. For example, in 2019 – admittedly a good election overall for the Tories – their vote share should have been squeezed further yet it went up 2% and, although 3rd, were only 8.8% behind the winners Labour.

  16. I think you mean STV, not STP. I am against FPTP, partly as I don’t think people should have to vote tactically.

    But yes, there was less than 10% between Labour winning Hallam and the Tories coming third. That might count as a ‘three way’. I wonder if the Tories might overtake the Lib Dems in future. They were last second in 2010, and it was last a Tory-Labour contest in 1979 (albeit with a substantial majority). 2010 was the last time any party won a majority in Hallam.

  17. I heard the Tories soft peddled Hallam not to take too many votes from the Lib Dems in 2019

  18. That wouldn’t surprise me. I think Tory votes probably kept Clegg from losing in 2015.

  19. Without a doubt.

  20. I live in Hallam too (picking up the discussion above). It’ll be interesting to see what happens in this seat come 2024 which is a long way from now in the world of politics. Hard to predict what direction Labour will go in, even with the seat being held by the party. It depends on the strength of student turnout. Starmer, when presented at a GE, is likely to go down better with middle class suburban voters here than his predecessor. Locally the Lib Dems will probably remain strong in terms of council representation even if their GE performances fall back a bit.

    Also noticed over the course of the 2010s Labour has climbed a bit in non-traditional wards. They are still behind the LDs but there’s been a noticeable improvement in local performances. Except for Dore & Totley, Labour are in second place locally in these wards though Crookes is competitive for them.

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