2015 Result:
Conservative: 8117 (15.7%)
Labour: 18646 (36%)
Lib Dem: 18047 (34.9%)
Green: 4109 (7.9%)
UKIP: 2668 (5.2%)
Others: 187 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 599 (1.2%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Eastern, Cambridgeshire. Most of the Cambridge council area.

Main population centres: Cambridge.

Profile: Covers almost all of the City of Cambridge. While Cambridge is best known for its university, it is also an important regional and retail centre and a home to much hi-tech industry and engineering. Around one in five of the adult population are in full time education and the seat has an well above average proportion of graduates, with just under half of adult residents holding an undergraduate degree.

Politics: All three of the main parties are competitive here, it was held for the Conservatives by the historian Robert Rhodes James until 1992, then was a Labour seat for thirteen years before, like many university seats, swinging strongly to the Liberal Democrats in 2005. The 2005 Lib Dem victor, David Howarth, served for only one term before successfully passing his seat onto Julian Huppert. In 2015 it was regained by Labour.

Current MP
DANIEL ZEICHNER (Labour) Educated at Trinity School and Cambridge University. Former trade union officer. South Norfolk councillor 1995-2003. Contested Mid Norfolk 1997, 2001, 2005, Cambridge 2010. First elected as MP for Cambridge in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 12829 (26%)
Lab: 12174 (24%)
LDem: 19621 (39%)
GRN: 3804 (8%)
Oth: 1702 (3%)
MAJ: 6792 (14%)
Con: 7193 (17%)
Lab: 14813 (34%)
LDem: 19152 (44%)
GRN: 1245 (3%)
Oth: 1166 (3%)
MAJ: 4339 (10%)
Con: 9829 (23%)
Lab: 19316 (45%)
LDem: 10737 (25%)
GRN: 1413 (3%)
Oth: 1541 (4%)
MAJ: 8579 (20%)
Con: 13299 (26%)
Lab: 27436 (53%)
LDem: 8287 (16%)
Oth: 1055 (2%)
MAJ: 14137 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHAMALI FERNANDO (Conservative) Barrister. Sought Liberal Democrat nomination for London mayor in 2007 before defecting to the Conservatives in 2009.
DANIEL ZEICHNER (Labour) Educated at Trinity School and Cambridge University. Trade union officer. South Norfolk councillor 1995-2003. Contested Mid Norfolk 1997, 2001, 2005, Cambridge 2010.
JULIAN HUPPERT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1978, Cambridge. Educated at The Perse School and Cambridge University. Research scientist. Cambridgeshire county councillor 2001-2009. Contested Huntingdon 2005. MP for Cambridge 2010 to 2015. One of relatively few scientists in the House of Commons, Huppert has been prominent as a defender of science, evidence-based policies and as an opponent of pseudoscience.
PATRICK O`FLYNN (UKIP) Born 1965, Cambridge. Educated at Cambridge University. Former Daily Express journalist. Contested MEP for Eastern region since 2014.
RUPERT READ (Green) Educated at Oxford University. Academic. Norwich councillor 2004-2011. Contested Eastern region 2009, 2014 European elections, Norwich North 2009 by-election.
KEITH GARRETT (Remove the Politicians)
Comments - 977 Responses on “Cambridge”
  1. Dismore was instrumental in setting up Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, for which he has rightly received strong support from the Jewish community. I suspect that positive personal support would override problems relating to his party affiliation.

  2. Chris Hanretty’s analysis shows Cambridge to be the most pro-Remain place in England, with the possible exception of the tiny City of London council area.

    Remarkably, the same figures also show the most pro-Leave council area as Fenland, just 20 miles north of Cambridge, narrowly followed by Boston, and South Holland.

  3. I wouldn’t describe it as remarkable. Fenland has been well-known as one of the most Eurosceptic areas in the country for a long time. One of the main reasons is that is has a small population for a district council and there aren’t any towns with a large population.

  4. March has a population of 22,000.

    There are plenty of other council areas with smaller ‘largest towns’ – including for example South Cambridgeshire, which is shown in the same figures as a strongly Remain area.

  5. Incidentally, staying with the University Towns, has anyone noticed how strikingly Bremain the County of OXFORDSHIRE is, with Remain leads in all its LAs aside from a narrow Brexit in Cherwell…

    Oxon has always had a tradition of wet Europhile Toryism…I wonder if that’s had any influence on DC (Witney) of late…

  6. “March has a population of 22,000.

    There are plenty of other council areas with smaller ‘largest towns’ – including for example South Cambridgeshire, which is shown in the same figures as a strongly Remain area.”

    South Cambridgeshire isn’t a good example because it’s home to many people who work in Cambridge which is probably the number one pro-Remain place in England.

  7. This tweet has a graph of ward breakdowns for the referendum but fails to give a link to the data itself:

  8. Anyone else think this could be a Lib Dem gain in a snap GE? Labour are in a proper state and the Lib Dems can mop up the Remain vote.

  9. They would definitely be in with a good chance. I’d make them narrow favourites.

  10. For sure. Only things that might save Labour are a squeeze on the Green vote, and the unwinding of the Lib Dem vote back to Conservatives who had voted tactically.

  11. The tactical unwind would be what would stop the Lib Dems if they were stopped, as well as possible loss of incumbency vote if it wasn’t Huppert who stood.

  12. Depends what the mood is in the student/academic community I guess. Talking to mainly academics/post-grad students/politics department research staff in London who support Labour I know very few who are supporting Corbyn. But then I’m not sure many of the people I know supported him to begin with. And however unhappy they are with Corbyn I don’t sense that they are going to vote for other than Labour (perhaps partly because they don’t have viable alternatives in the seats many of them live in – Holborn and St Pancras, the Islingtons etc.).

    The Lib Dems may like their membership growth and council by-election results but national polls all still put them in single figures. 2015 showed that it is unrealistic to imagine that they can somehow perform very badly nationally but well in their held seats/targets.

  13. Jack Sheldon: but I do think the Lib Dems are beginning to rediscover the ability to do what they did in the Paddy Ashdown days, and successfully target winnable seats. We have already seen this in the Scottish Parliament election where against all expectations they recaptured Edinburgh Western & North-East Fife, despite their miserable nationwide vote share.

  14. You may be right, though I think circumstances in Scotland are a bit special – in those seats they attracted a catch-all anti-SNP vote as the best placed challenger in unionist majority seats where the electorate wished to avoid the split vote that led to an SNP MP being elected at the GE ; the dynamics are quite different in England where it is mostly straight Lab/LD and Con/LD contests with the third and fourth placed parties have already been squeezed as far as they are realistically likely to be.

  15. A Cambridge lecturer has protested against Brexit by turning up to a departmental meeting nude, with the words “Brexit leaves the UK naked” painted onto her body. Apparently none of her colleagues commented – though whether that was through politeness or failing to notice is unclear.

  16. Julian Huppert has confirmed he will seek re-election for this seat (as the Lib Dems have begun the candidate selection process in anticipation of a snap general election)

  17. Ah it’d be good to see the mad scientist back in the House (if only to hear all sides groaning each time he stood up).

  18. Julian is well liked in the city. I think cambridge is different to other parts of the country in that this will be a labour hold with Corbyn as leader but a possible loss with a more centrist/blairite leader. A lot of the green vote will go to labour if Corbyn is leader and also some campaigners. anti war libdems are also part of Daniel’s support base and might well go back to hurbert if labour has a leader that is stained by the Iraq war

  19. Yes. It’s one of the few seats in the country where he’s an asset rather than a liability.

  20. I’d expect the Lib Dem vote to fall further and the Tory vote to rise more as tactical unwind takes place

  21. Just for the record people often keep talking about Cambridge gaining rural wards in the BR, it won’t it will just gain the one Cambridge ward currently not in the seat (Queen Edith’s)

  22. Don’t tell Gloy…

    Seriously though why have the BC added Milton? Could have very easily just added Queen Edith’s and had a nice seat comprising a local authority, didn’t have to tack extra bits on.

  23. I imagine the Tories would have just hung on in 92, they still wouldn’t have come particularly close to winning the seat in 2010.

  24. All British Ex-Pats will be able to vote in the UK (rather than those who left within the past 15 years), under Govt plans expected to be in the Queen’s Speech:

    (From memory, Cambridge had the most – around 300 Overseas’ electors – although I haven’t seen figures published for a decade).

  25. Ah Tory partisan manoeuvrings at their finest, a load of parliamentary time wasted in order to enfranchise a few thousand people, most of whom won’t even vote and probably shouldn’t even be able to but are primarily Tory voters so its all worthwhile yet every time we on the left propose lowering the voting age or compulsory voting its supposedly only for partisan reasons and nothing else…

  26. Labour support the policy, so should only take half a day.

    Or at least they did in 2015.

    Millions, incidentally are affected (although I agree, only a few thousand will bother).

  27. I suppose millions are effected given there will be kids born in this country who haven lived here for 50+ years who are now suddenly finding themselves with a vote. Why anyone thinks this is necessary is beyond me, the current 15 year cut off is more than generous in my opinion.

  28. Well I think it’s commonly accepted, and not just by Labour-bashers, that Tony Blair deliberately increased immigration as high as he could get away with, partly as a way of importing Labour voters. And good lord has that one backfired.

  29. My point being that both sides try and game the system. That’s politics.

  30. I disagree with this idea that Blair simply wanted to improve his standings by inviting in pro Labour voting immigrants. Especially as the numbers show that while Black African immigrants are more likely to vote Labour, Asians are often more likely to vote Tory. It comes down to socio-economic class divides again, Black Africans tend to be less well off on average while Asians to be better off than their counterparts. I’m not sure Blair believed in a great deal, but the liberal attitude he had to the market I think extended to freedom of movement.

  31. “Asians are often more likely to vote Tory”

    I think that you need to both (a) source that claim and (b) give sources that were available when Tony Blair’s government was deciding its migration policy.

  32. And unless you mean “more likely to vote Tory than Labour”, rather than “more likely to vote Tory than Labour than Afro-Carribbean immigrants”, then it would still be in Labour’s interest to have mass Asian immigration, given that both groups are more likely to vote Labour than average.

  33. Matt W – it isn’t an idea, it’s what was said by TB’s advisors (as well as ‘rub the Tories’ noses in diversity’).

    Rivers10 – not sure what you mean.

    I was merely referring to the 6m overseas Brits the Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office referred to.

  34. The current fifteen year cut off is already far too generous imo. I really don’t see why people who don’t live here, and don’t pay taxes here should get a vote.

  35. They soon will be “paying taxes here”. The government has, stupidly, proposed moving to the American system of forcing expats to submit tax returns.

  36. Simon – service voters don’t “live here” all year either.

    Lots of voters don’t pay any income tax here.

    The UK is in the minority at the moment.

    France even has a constituency here for Overseas’ voters so their concerns can be addressed.

  37. ”Asians are often more likely to vote Tory”

    ”I think that you need to both (a) source that claim and (b) give sources that were available when Tony Blair’s government was deciding its migration policy.”

    @Bill available evidence does show Matt is correct.

    Brief summary:
    Asian: 50% Labour, 38% Conservative
    Black: 67% Labour, 21% Conservative
    Mixed race: 49% Labour, 26% Conservative

    Christian: 56% Labour, 31% Conservative (just BME Christians)
    Muslim: 64% Labour, 25% Conservative
    Hindu: 41% Labour, 49% Conservative
    Sikh (small sample): 41% Labour, 49% Conservative

    England: 53% Labour, 33% Conservative
    South: 43% Labour, 40% Conservative
    Midlands: 60% Labour, 28% Conservative
    North: 60% Labour, 26% Conservative
    London: 54% Labour, 34% Conservative

  38. So Asians still break comfortably for Labour, just not as comfortably as black voters

  39. Also with regards to Corbyn over performing a standard Labour leader in Cambridge, I’m not quite sure I agree. Cambridge is more ‘social democratic’ than it is ‘socialist’ and the well educated public sector high fliers are likely to be rather put off by Corbyn’s more extreme positions as well as the knuckle dragging part of his base. Obviously these people hate the Tories so they won’t benefit but there is a rather convenient alternative in the Lib Dems. I imagine Farron’s pious, do-gooder vibe will go down very well here especially if Huppert tries again.

    As to where Corbyn will likely over perform my guess would be anywhere with either large Muslim populations or lots ‘hipsters’/counter cultural vibes like for example Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Birmingham, Bristol West etc. The problem is Labour already have all of these seats so Corbyn is effectively packing their vote into smaller and smaller areas and the gains Corbyn will make for Labour (e.g with Green voters) will largely come in places where Labour don’t need it.

    As to the worst Corbyn underperformances compared to a generic Labour leader will probably be in places with large Jewish populations e.g Hertsmere and Hendon, historical ties to the military e.g Portsmouth and its suburbs and places with a lot of the ‘white van man’ demographic e.g South Essex and North Kent.

  40. PMT,

    As noted, Asians are more likely to vote Tory than some other groups, but they are not more likely to vote Tory than Labour. Furthermore, IIRC, they split far more uniformly in favour of Labour when Labour was deciding its migration policy back in the day.

    That doesn’t prove anything, of course. It’s just to say that Labour had some potential political gains to make from mass immigration, including mass Asian immigration.

  41. certain LD gain if Huppert stands again.

  42. I believe Huppert had already indicated he was up for a re-match but while he probably is the Lib Dem most likely to recover a seat lost to Labour in 2015, I would not consider it a dead cert by any means.

    Labour did well in the 2016 locals (see above) and I think Zeichner has shown the required level of enthusiasm for Europe to placate his remain constituents.

  43. ”Manchester, Withington”

    ”Conserative Estimate” – Manchester, Withington is now a safe Labour seat. Labour will hold it even with Corbyn at the helm.

  44. Yes, Labour led the LDs by 21% in the 2016 locals in Cambridge, which was more than in any year from 2010-15 when They were leading with 40-45% in national polls. Clearly Corbyn has gone down well with many here, and it should be remembered that the LibDems won this seat in 2005 while appearing to be to the left of Labour.’s clear that Julian Huppert can outperform his party here, because Labour led by 8 points in the 2010 locals, but only 1% in the 2015 GE. In fact, I think that despite losing Huppert managed to retain more of his 2010 vote share in 2015 than any other Lib Dem candidate in England.

  45. Well, he probably still lost quite a few voters to Labour, but he was the beneficiary of tactical voting from Conservatives so the losses didn’t look so bad.

    The only thing that’s tempering my confidence that the Lib Dems will take this back is that he’ll struggle to hold on to those tactical voters this time around. In 2015 the Tories thought that they would need the Liberal Democrats again. Not so this time around, so not as much incentive for Tories to keep lending their vote.

  46. Yes, I don’t really see why Tories would vote tactically for the Lib Dems anywhere this time

  47. They might in Scotland. Scottish Tories are Unionists first and foremost – and this was in evidence in Holyrood seats like Edinburgh West. But they won’t vote tactically for the LDs against Labour, not to the extent they did here and in Sheffield Hallam two years ago.

    I still think the Lib Dems are favourites here but it’s the only seat they’re likely to take from Labour.

  48. It depends really how low Labour drop in the polls Polltroll. If they gain back up into the 30s you’re likely right. If they drop even more towards the 20% mark, its not going to be good.

  49. “certain LD gain if Huppert stands again.”

    He was already selected for a snap GE.

    Nailed-on LibDem gain in my view. Even if the LibDems were still on 8% nationally I’d have this down as a confident gain.

  50. I think they’ll win, yeah.

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