Bristol South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12377 (24.3%)
Labour: 19505 (38.4%)
Lib Dem: 4416 (8.7%)
Green: 5861 (11.5%)
UKIP: 8381 (16.5%)
TUSC: 302 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 7128 (14%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Bristol.

Profile: This is a traditional white working class seat, stretching from the old former industrial areas of Bristol just south of the city centre like Bedminster, down to the more modern post-war council houses estates on the city`s southern border where there remains a high proportion of social housing.

Politics: Bristol South has a long history as a solid Labour seat, held by the party since 1935. The closest it came to falling was in 1987 in the aftermath of a Michael Cocks deselection. In the 1983 election Bristol South-East has been abolished and Cocks, the Labour Chief Whip, defeated Tony Benn for the nomination for Bristol South. While Benn himself fought and lost the Bristol East seat and later resurfaced as MP for Chesterfield, Benn`s local sympathisers later deselected Cocks and replaced him with Benn`s former constituency secretary Dawn Primarolo. Cocks went to the Lords, where he would become a long standing critic of the Bennite left.

Current MP
KARIN SMYTH (Labour) Born London. Educated at University of East Anglia. Former NHS manager. First elected as MP for Bristol South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 11086 (23%)
Lab: 18600 (38%)
LDem: 13866 (29%)
BNP: 1739 (4%)
Oth: 3086 (6%)
MAJ: 4734 (10%)
Con: 8466 (20%)
Lab: 20778 (49%)
LDem: 9636 (23%)
GRN: 2127 (5%)
Oth: 1321 (3%)
MAJ: 11142 (26%)
Con: 9118 (22%)
Lab: 23299 (57%)
LDem: 6078 (15%)
GRN: 1233 (3%)
Oth: 1242 (3%)
MAJ: 14181 (35%)
Con: 10562 (21%)
Lab: 29890 (60%)
LDem: 6691 (13%)
Oth: 1230 (2%)
MAJ: 19328 (39%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ISOBEL GRANT (Conservative) Born Kew. Educated at Manchester University. Civil engineer. Ealing councillor 2010-2014.
KARIN SMYTH (Labour) Born London. Educated at University of East Anglia. NHS manager.
MARK WRIGHT (Liberal Democrat) Software engineer. Bristol councillor. Contested Bristol South 2010.
STEVE WOOD (UKIP) Born Bristol. Educated at Hartcliffe Comprehensive. Businessman.
TONY DYER (Green) Born Hartcliffe.
Comments - 172 Responses on “Bristol South”
  1. Like Coronation Street & East Enders

  2. EastEnders in the late 80’s to late 90’s was great TV (and I’m no fan of soaps). Strangely, Casualty and Corrie never did anything for me.

    Casualty was set in the fictitious ‘city’ of Holby, which was assumed to be synonymous with Bristol (certainly the South West anyway). It’s funny how some shows use fictitious cities/ suburbs, some use real places (Birds of a Feather for instance), and some shows never reference where they are situated at all (Keeping up Appearances).

  3. Regarding Knowle West, if anyone wants to learn more about its growth and present reputation, have a read here (incidentally this website is a mine of information for anyone interested in social housing and its history in the UK):

  4. Thanks – will look properly later.
    Looks like the housing and layout is ok but that isn’t enough.

  5. Interesting that even with the collapse of a sizeable Lib Dem vote here, Labour’s % didn’t increase in 2015.

    Not hard to see them being threatened by Cons or Green, neither of whom were obvious challengers in 2015 – though with the opposition still being split and keeping Labour in place being the most likely option.

  6. Yes, this is for me one of those seats where, unlike the more “cosmopolitan” Bristol West, the current Labour leadership wouldn’t sit particularly well and could be exploited by, I’d say either Conservative or, given a decent following wind, UKIP.

    Looking up the thread and re: Tristan’s comments on Casualty – of course this used to be filmed in Bristol before moving to Cardiff a few years back. When I studied in the city I lived for a year opposite the City of Bristol College in the Ashley Down suburb (in the Bristol West constituency), where external shots of the hospital were filmed (there was a permanent “Accident and Emergency” sign put up), and I recognised at the time a lot of the places used in filming.

  7. Outside London, this is the only southern seat that has stuck with the Labour Party since the second world war

  8. Bristol S is for the most part a pretty scruffy place, hence Labour’s tenacity here. They are a long way from the 60% they had a couple of decades ago, though…

  9. “Bristol S is for the most part a pretty scruffy place…”

    When I started at uni in Bristol we were given a welcome pack from our SU which listed most of the places in Bristol S as “no go areas”.

    Looking at the ward breakdowns for Bristol for the EU referendum, the wards in Bristol S appear to be more Brexit-inclined especially considering the overall Bristol result which was heavily for Remain. How this plays in the Stoke by-election could therefore be something of a barometer for future elections here?

  10. ‘Bristol S is for the most part a pretty scruffy place, ‘

    That’s certainly the impression I got – especially so considering lots pf other parts of Bristol are considerably nicer than one might imagine

    Labour might have slipped up a bit here recently but they still look pretty secure – and I don’t really its city seats like this they need to worry about – more the post-industrial areas further North where I can’t imagine the likes Corbyn, Thornberry and Abbott going down at all well

  11. My mum went to Bristol as did my ex gf parents and the sign language tutor I support as well as his wife; I was told Bristol was the Oxbridge of its day and you were often asked was it Oxford or Cambridge you got rejected by my ex gf sister and her friend were Cambridge Grads who put Bristol as their second choice

  12. I don’t think this seat is that scruffy mainly because it’s houses with gardens rather than tower blocks.

    Perhaps it’s not so good close up, particularly in Knowle West, and the deprivation map clearly shows it has problems.

    I’d still expect Labour to hold on. (assuming it’s a similar seat).

    There are pockets fof Tory support and a bit of a residual Lib Dem/Green/middle class Lab presence aswell.

  13. Labour should hold here because the north of the seat around Southville and Totterdown are very ‘metropolitan left’ and these places would have been the source for the bulk of the 12% Green vote in 2015. These areas are places where Corbynite Labour should go down very well and a there will be a large Green —> Lab swing there which should be enough to counteract any losses suffered in the rest of the seat.

    Plus I would add that Knowle West is not covered by the Knowle ward it is instead covered by Filwood. The area covered by the Knowle ward is a much less deprived and the Tories would do substantially better there if the Lib Dems had not entrenched themselves. This seat also contains Hartcliffe WWC post war council estate in the south west of the seat which has a similar level of local notoriety as Knowle West (indeed the suburbs with the worst reputations in the city are Knowle West, Hartcliffe, Easton and St Pauls though the latter has started to be gentrified by the hipsters).

  14. ”Yes, this is for me one of those seats where, unlike the more “cosmopolitan” Bristol West, the current Labour leadership wouldn’t sit particularly well and could be exploited by, I’d say either Conservative or, given a decent following wind, UKIP.”

    @Jason The north of the seat is ‘cosmopolitan’ and has similar demographics to parts of Bristol West hence why the Greens got 12% if the whole seat was like Hartcliffe they’d be lucky to have got 2%. While I could see UKIP doing well in Hartcliffe and Knowle West I can’t see the Tories getting very far in those areas.

  15. The Tories seem to do ok in some of the slightly better estates actually – badly in the middle class left bits I think.

  16. One of the most deprived roads is a hilly road in Bishopsworth with scenic views.
    I’d rather live there than in a horrible block on a main road near the Westway in London.

    So what exactly is the deprivation index.

  17. I tend to associate this seat with the TV show Casualty, as it was in the 80s and 90s before they got rid of the grim and grimey atmosphere. But it may not have been filmed here, I don’t know.

  18. I lived in Bristol South in my youth. Not sure what the ward boundaries are now but Uplands, Bedminster Down and Headley Park were quite middle-class in those days. Hartcliffe, Withywood and Highridge were typical 1950s council estates. Parts of Ashton, particularly to the east of Bristol City Football ground, were quite nice as well. The slum areas to the west of Greenway Bush Lane were demolished a long tme ago (my mother grew up there). Knowle West always had a poor reputation but people I knew there were OK.

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