Bristol West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9752 (15.2%)
Labour: 22900 (35.7%)
Lib Dem: 12103 (18.8%)
Green: 17227 (26.8%)
UKIP: 1940 (3%)
Others: 296 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 5673 (8.8%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Bristol, Clifton.

Profile: Bristol West is focused upon the centre of Bristol, covering the city centre itself, the suburb of Clifton to the west and some of the inner city areas to the east of the city centre. It includes what were traditionally some of the more elegant and middle class areas of Bristol, with the large Victorian and Edwardian terraces of Clifton (now largely been broken up into flats), affluent leafy suburbs like Cotham, and some more deprived inner city areas like Easton and St Pauls which have suffered from drug and gang violence. It is very much the student seat in Bristol with around a quarter of the working-age population in full-time education. It is also the most ethnically diverse of the Bristol seats with a significant Afro-carribean community in the inner city wards.

Politics: Traditionally this was the Conservative seat in Bristol, containing its most middle-class areas. It was held by the party continuously for a century and was represented by a series of Conservative cabinet ministers including Michael Hicks-Beach, Oliver Stanley, Walter Monckton and William Waldegrave. A combination of boundary changes, a growing student population and the Tories woes in the 1990s (which saw them lose the previously safe seat to Labour) have seen the Conservatives replaced and eclipsed by the Liberal Democrats, who held the seat between 2005 and 2010. Following the Liberal Democrats own collapse, the seat has become a target for the Green party.


Current MP
THANGAM DEBBONAIRE (Labour) Educated at Chethams School of Music and St Johns City College of Technology. Former research manager. First elected as MP for Bristol West in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 10169 (18%)
Lab: 15227 (28%)
LDem: 26593 (48%)
GRN: 2090 (4%)
Oth: 1268 (2%)
MAJ: 11366 (21%)
2005*
Con: 15429 (27%)
Lab: 16859 (29%)
LDem: 21987 (38%)
GRN: 2163 (4%)
Oth: 958 (2%)
MAJ: 5128 (9%)
2001
Con: 16040 (29%)
Lab: 20505 (37%)
LDem: 16079 (29%)
GRN: 1961 (4%)
Oth: 1080 (2%)
MAJ: 4426 (8%)
1997
Con: 20575 (33%)
Lab: 22068 (35%)
LDem: 17551 (28%)
Oth: 1143 (2%)
MAJ: 1493 (2%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CLAIRE HISCOTT (Conservative) Pharmacist. Bristol councillor since 2013.
THANGAM DEBBONAIRE (Labour) Educated at Chethams School of Music and St Johns City College of Technology. Research manager.
STEPHEN WILLIAMS (Liberal Democrat) Born 1966, Mountain Ash. Educated at Mountain Ash Comprehensive and Bristol University. Chartered tax advisor. Bristol councillor 1993-1999.Contested Bristol South 1997, Bristol West 2001. MP for Bristol West 2005 to 2015.
PAUL TURNER (UKIP)
DARREN HALL (Green) Educated at Swansea university. Project manager and former civil servant.
STEWART WESTON (Left Unity)
DAWN PARRY (Independent) Educated at Treorchy Comprehensive School. North Somerset councillor 2007-2011. Contested Newport East 2010 for the Conservatives.
Links
Comments - 947 Responses on “Bristol West”
  1. Just to clarify I’m not saying it is likely, just something I wouldn’t be at all suprised about and if it occured and Thangham decided to run again (I see know reason why she wouldn’t having met her and hearing about her) it could be a really interesting 4 way race here.

  2. John
    “the local party is essentially in civil war at the moment. Meetings have result in threats of violence and verbal abuse and momentum have a largely gained control when it comes to internal elections”

    None of that is really unique to Bristol W though, a good third of CLP’s could be described as in “civil war” at present several of which have been discussed at length on here before. Judging by little else besides the lack of news coverage I’d say Bristol W isn’t anything special. some CLP’s have resorted to the different factions meeting separately, others have had public blow ups between the local MP and the party chair, several are even under special measures, Brighton and Hove only recently came back from a mass suspension.

    The grumblings about deselection haven’t amounted to anything yet in those cases thus I’m sceptical it will amount to anything here.

  3. Good to see you back Rivers. Yes sadly in politics many constituency level meetings can turn nasty if you think this is bad the exec and region have had to step in a few years back over quite serious allegations. That’s quite tame too I speaking to a friend who has received quite serious attacks on his sexuality an all sorts.

  4. “Good to see you back Rivers.”

    Hear, hear.

  5. Matt/Polltroll
    Thanks, happy to be back.

    Plop
    Lol nobody in particular was responsible for my hiatus though as I recall when I announced I was taking a break your response was to say “good riddance to bad rubbish” and you were “sick of my leftish bile”
    Luckily said leftish bile means I fervently believe in redemption so I’m willing to forgive and forget if you play nice from now on.

  6. Welcome back Rivers I hope you’ve had a good break. I hope we can all stick to less partisan analysis because things got very heated last time you were here.

    ”The grumblings about deselection haven’t amounted to anything yet in those cases thus I’m sceptical it will amount to anything here.”

    I tend to agree Corbyn/Momentum have had numerous opportunities to have leftist candidates selected in by-elections but failed to in every case (bar Richmond park where Labour were certain to lose). Thus I doubt there will be mass deselections of the PLP. However if it were to occur Bristol West would be one of the more likely candidates given that it is left wing activist central. Labour controlled Bristol city council and the mayor have become unpopular with their base for not being left wing enough.

  7. Pepps
    “I hope we can all stick to less partisan analysis because things got very heated last time you were here”

    Lol it wasn’t all my fault, I actually tried popping back in on several occasions before now and every time I did sh*t was hitting the fan without me, I recall one thread was devoted to discussing who was the biggest ar**hole on the site…

    Consequently each time I concluded I’d best extend my break for a few more weeks XD

  8. ”Lol it wasn’t all my fault, I actually tried popping back in on several occasions before now and every time I did sh*t was hitting the fan without me”

    Well certain people (not you) were personally offensive but many of us including me got far too partisan. I’ve tried to make my posts more neutral of late.

  9. “Well certain people (not you) were personally offensive but many of us including me got far too partisan. I’ve tried to make my posts more neutral of late.”

    I agree with that, its part of the reason I took a break, your right we should all try to keep things non partisan and civility should be taken as a given.

  10. I couldn’t comment for some time so maybe Anthony suspended me for being offensive

  11. ”I couldn’t comment for some time so maybe Anthony suspended me for being offensive”

    I don’t remember you saying anything offensive. I think if you post links your post has to be moderated though.

  12. Matt
    You were always one of the least offensive people on here and I don’t recall you ever saying anything that could be construed as such, can’t imagine Anthony suspended you, probably as Pepps said you posted something with dodgy links or a trigger word and it got moderated.

  13. Yeah, it was probably links or trigger words.

    With the sort of trigger words this site has, Ken Livingstone certainly wouldn’t last long as a UKPR contributor 😉

  14. This is going to one hell of a three way contest.

    This could go any of three ways.

    A remarkable three way marginal between Lab, Green and LD.

    My view is that the Labour vote will slump here and it will emerge as a close Green / LD contest.

    The best comparison to what could happen to Labour here is Berwickshire where the incumbent LD MP ended up third with 10K and the Tories and the SNP ended up with 20K each.

  15. Complication being the ex-LD MP is currently running for West of Eng mayoral…

    They can’t wait until after May 4th to select really can they? And running for both right now looks bad I think

  16. Don’t forget Thangham voted against art. 50. This is a top five or ten remain seat in the country. I think Thanghams profile is fairly good. Plus it’s one of those seats with less Corbyn hatred. I think it could be like Hampstead 2010. Three parties within 1000. I just don’t think the lib dems voteshare magically rises.

  17. Is there any point voting Green

  18. ”This is going to one hell of a three way contest.
    This could go any of three ways.

    A remarkable three way marginal between Lab, Green and LD.

    My view is that the Labour vote will slump here and it will emerge as a close Green / LD contest.”

    I very much doubt this. This is probably one of a the few seats where Labour’s share could rise. As someone said Corbyn is relatively popular here (as far as Corbyn is popular anywhere) while Thangham Debbonaire also has a reasonably high profile and is well liked. Most likely an easy Labour hold as the Green vote falls.

    The Lib Dems will be nowhere close to winning and I wouldn’t be shocked if their vote share flat lines or even falls as a large chunk of the 19% they got last time were loaned tactical votes from the Tories due to the coalition my vote included. Most of these votes will drift back to the Tories now mine included.

    I would go with something like (at the risk of being badly wrong):

    Labour: 38% (+2)
    Green: 20% (-6)
    Lib Dem: 20% (+1)
    Tory: 20% (+5)
    UKIP: 1% (-2)
    Other: 1%

  19. The Lib Dems will likely gain a few moderate Labour supporters and a few moderate Greens but this will likely be more or less cancelled out by the loss of Tory tacticals.

  20. Is there anywhere in the entire country that Corbyn is “relatively popular” that Ed Miliband wasn’t ‘relatively [even more] popular’?

    Upwards, is not a direction the Labour vote goes here.

  21. ”Is there anywhere in the entire country that Corbyn is “relatively popular” that Ed Miliband wasn’t ‘relatively [even more] popular’?”

    He’s more popular than Miliband in this seat with the 2015 Green voters. This is what could cause Labour’s vote to rise. It may not but this is one of their best shots at increasing their vote share and Bristol West will likely be one of their best (or least bad) results in the country.

  22. Isn’t this very similar to when IDS led the tories? They recovered from their ‘extreme’ leader. No reason labour can’t. Eventually.

  23. I think we have to bow to Pepperminttea’s local knowledge when it comes to this most singular and volatile seat.

    The 2016 local election results are interesting (were all the seats up for election due to boundary changes). The only ward where Labour had a clear lead was Lawrence Hill. All the other wards saw the Greens in contention or winning. Several wards had split representation between Labour, Greens and Lib Dems. The Conservatives only barely showed outside Clifton – and failed to win a seat even there.

    Given that this is probably the only seat the Greens can hope to gain, they might as well throw the kitchen sink at it.

  24. I think Thangham is vulnerable, although she is a good local MP. Much depends on who the Lib Dems and Greens choose as their candidates, made more interesting by the fact that the former Lib Dem MP, Stephen Williams, and Green 2015 candidate, Darren Hall, are both running for Metro Mayor this May, so are presumbly out of the running. Back in the early spring there was a rumour going round that Natalie Bennet may stand as the Green candidate. Most of the local Lib Dem candidates are pretty dire, so that may count against them in otherwise promising conditions. Unlike Pepperminttea I think the Corbynista strength in the internal local Labour party is a weakness electorally, as the soft left vote of a chunk of voters will drift to the Lib Dems. Also Thangham publically saying that she thinks Corbyn is crap is not a strong platform for seeking re-election. I think the Brexit dominate theme of this election favours the Lib Dems over the Greens, as they have a more distinctive public position, and the immediacy a d emotion of May vs Remoaners will trump any longer term sustainable pitch.

  25. Election being held in June means a lot of student voters will have left the area which is bad for Greens. It would be good to see another Green MP join Caroline Lucas for sake of better diversity in the HofC.

  26. I think this could actually be a gain for the Greens. They’re close, and I can’t see this seat loving Corbyn. Thoughts?

  27. Actually I think this seat might have a fair bit of love for Corbyn, but the (otherwise impressive) Labour candidate is probably on Corbyn’s “enemies” list which complicates things. I think it’s hard to say how enthusiastic people will be about Labour here.

    As for the Greens, I think there is one big upside and one big downside. The upside is that a clear second place last time may help them to hoover up tactical votes from the natural tories in the constituency (which in the past would have gone to the lib dems). The downside is that they have lost their impressive local candidate from last time – although Molly Scott Cato is a star of the party, she may carry less of a personal vote in Bristol.

    My instinct says Labour to hang on, but Greens will take heart from the fact that they are closer here than they were in Brighton pre-2010 (and on that occasion too Caroline Lucas had replaced a strong local candidate).

  28. To add to that: I think it is highly unlikely that Williams will stand again, since he is focused solely on the mayoral election here.

    This is one of few formerly LD seats I can see an actual decline in the LD vote share occurring, largely tactically.

  29. If the Greens cannot win this seat with Labour on 36% and so many Lib Dem votes to squeeze they will never have more than one MP.
    The irony is that they will displace one of the most “progressive” Labour MPs in the process!
    Tory vote will probably go up a bit but this is not a seat where they have got above 30% for 20 years and I suspect it is too Remainy for a Tory surge this time. Looking at past results this seat has been a cradle of multi party politics for ever so results are unpredictable!

  30. That’s one of the most absurd predictions I’ve ever seen. Good lord.

  31. Other than Brighton Pavilion, the perception is that the Greens struggle to break through on FPTP.

    The did poll strongly in Glasgow Kelvin and Edinburgh Central I’m Holyrood last May so they could experience the same increase in their vote here.

    Clifton is an area of the constituency where the Conservatives and the Greens will both be very strong.

  32. 0 Chance that Thangham loses this, she will substantially increase her majority. She is a great local MP.

  33. The Lib Dems had dozens of “great local MPs” in 2015. They nearly all lost their seats. Politics isn’t always fair.

    TD is probably favourite but the Greens will descend upon here like a plague of environmentally friendly locusts. I wouldn’t care to put money on the outcome.

  34. Labours advantage here over the Greens is that they had some prospect of forming a government. Now neither party have any prospect of forming a government.

  35. Polltroll is dead on there. One of the best posts I’ve seen here recently.

    And does Labour really have the prospect of forming a government? Green does not, but… Labour is about a 99% favorite to have no shot at it, too.

  36. Bernie Sanders of all people is making a public appearance here five days before the election. Interestingly, and i think purely coincidentally, his brother was a Green Party candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon at the last election.

  37. The Green Party are already out campaigning I received a leaflet today and saw them knocking on doors on the way to the shops. Evidently they are going to throw all they’ve got at this one being their only chance at a second seat.

    Their literature appears to be taking a leaf out of the Lib Dem dodgy bar chart playbook. The bars are in proportion but all other parties bars are coloured various shades of grey with the Green bar being the only one coloured in the ‘right’ colour.

    As for my projection on the previous page I think I have probably underestimated the Greens and they will do better than I projected and I suppose with a good campaign which they appear to be running their vote share may actually rise.

    Here is my more bold projection the Lib Dems will be squeezed from all sides, their vote share will fall and they’ll come forth.

  38. “Interestingly, and i think purely coincidentally, his brother was a Green Party candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon at the last election.”

    He also stood for them at the Witney by-election.

    “Here is my more bold projection the Lib Dems will be squeezed from all sides, their vote share will fall and they’ll come forth.”

    I agree. In fact didn’t you vote for them last time around?

  39. Do the LibDems even have a candidate here? Stephen Williams was but them he was selected to run in the West of Eng Mayoral.
    AFAIK it’s still all up in the air and that’ll hurt them

  40. My detailed analysis:

    Who knows?

    Certainly it will be in range for a party to challenge Labour. Who that party will be is anyone’s guess. And if not enough people guess the same way, as I suspect is going to be the case, anything could happen.

  41. If the LDs were in second last time, they should’ve targeted this like no other, but from third, they should just let it die for now.

  42. Greens are obviously throwing everything at this seat but they’ve got fewer local activists than 2015 and Labour have massive numbers. In a snap election and in a seat where the Tories are irrelevant I think that will help Labour.

    STEPHENPT mentioned last year’s locals on the previous page as reason the Greens might do well here, but I think it’s worth pointing out that last year’s results represented a decline in the Green vote since the previous local elections – some BW residents might recall them printing a lib dem style bar chart of cumulative local election votes showing the Greens as frontrunners in their 2015 literature.

  43. Funtypippin,

    One of the problems with the Bristol local election results in the past has been their bizarre arrangement of having 2 member wards on a 3 year cycle. It meant that an entire constituency never polled during a single cycle. To some extent this concealed the fall of the Lib Dems / rise of the Greens in this seat before the last general election because, as chance would have it, the wards where the switch was largest were not contested in 2014.

    (Please correct me if I am wrong but) it appears there was an “all out” election for Bristol council last year, which meant for once you got an overall view of what was happening in this volatile seat. The Greens clearly outpolled Labour in the wards making up this seat. It is difficult to compare their performance with the past because 2015 locals were obviously distorted by being held on the same day as the GE, and in earlier years some wards voted and some didn’t!

    All I can infer is that the Greens still appear competitive in this seat. And given that they have so few targets nationally, they have nothing to loose by concentrating like hell on it. After all that strategy worked in Brighton in 2010.

  44. Wasn’t the election last year the won where Labour won this council gaining from the Greens

  45. StephenPT

    I’m not sure a follow your logic on the previous local election schedule – if the old Bristol election scheme had been hiding a green surge, we’d surely expect big green gains in 2016 rather than a small net loss.

    I’d be interested to see your maths on this statement:
    “The Greens clearly outpolled Labour in the wards making up this seat”
    I make it 14883 to 14578 in Labour’s favour when totaling votes cast for each party’s most popular candidate.

  46. Funtypippin,

    To deal with your first point, in 2014 – the last locals prior to the 2015 general election – only 2 wards in this seat actually had elections : Bishopton and Redland. Crucially Cabot, Cotham, and both Cliftons did not – all Lib Dem wards – and so the extent of the Lib Dem collapse / Green advance was difficult to gauge. Trust that makes sense. My comment was not about 2016 versus 2015 – which I think is how you have interpreted it.

    I am happy to do my sums – I must admit I did not got ward by ward before making the statement but noted that Labour’s only decisive lead was Lawrence Hill, and as expected they were quite some way adrift west of the city centre – but I think you make my point anyway. A Labour lead of only 305 votes over the Greens , out of 29,000 votes cast for the new local “big 2”, suggests the game is still very much afoot!

  47. I think Labour are probably favourites here, and if it is lost it will be Green but by default.
    I think it will be a pretty close 4 way contest – would be surprised if the Tories got into 2nd or 3rd but they could.

  48. That is credible – have a feeling the LDs will keep third but they may not.
    (Obviously I hope not).

  49. *LAB 18,411
    GRN 18,355
    LD 13,022
    CON 11,616

    LAB Hold

    Maj 56
    0.1

    Think they’ll probably manage 1-2,000 though

  50. Well if I had to put money on it, I would plump for Labour to hold but given how very volatile this constituency has been over the last 20 years, I would do so with little confidence.

    Apart from the relative standings of Labour and the Greens, the 2 big unknowns are whether the seeming national decline in Labour’s position will impact here (I suspect not as much as elsewhere but total immunity is not guaranteed) and whether the Greens can get Lib Dem and Conservative supporters to vote tactically for them.

    I suspect we will only get a clear answer in the early hours of June 9th, unless milord Ashcroft gets his polling mojo going again!

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