South Cambridgeshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31454 (51.1%)
Labour: 10860 (17.6%)
Lib Dem: 9368 (15.2%)
Green: 3848 (6.3%)
UKIP: 6010 (9.8%)
MAJORITY: 20594 (33.5%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Cambridgeshire. Part of South Cambridgeshire council area and one ward from Cambridge council area.

Main population centres: Great Shelford, Sawston, Cottenham, Haslingfield, Comberton, Girton, Bar Hill, Cambourne.

Profile: A mostly rural seat to the East of Cambridge. There are few significant centres of population, with most of the electorate scattered across many small and prosperous villages. Cambridge itself is too large for a single seat so one ward, the affluent Queen Edith`s with includes Addenbrooke`s Hospital, is included in this seat. Notable settlements include the purpose built new villages of Bar Hill and Cambourne, Duxford which houses the Imperial War Museum`s aviation museum, and Great Shelford, an affluent village that in 2009 was traced back as the home of Barack Obama`s ancestors.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, held by the party on various boundaries since 1950.

Current MP
ANDREW LANSLEY (Conservative) Born 1965, Hornchurch. Educated at Brentwood School and Exeter University. Former civil servant and head of the Conservative Research Department. First elected as MP for South Cambridgeshire in 1997. Shadow health secretary 2003-2010. Secretary of State for Health 2010-2012, Leader of the House of Commons 2012-2014. Awarded the CBE in 1992 for political services. Suffered a minor stroke in 1992.
Past Results
Con: 27995 (47%)
Lab: 6024 (10%)
LDem: 20157 (34%)
UKIP: 1873 (3%)
Oth: 3007 (5%)
MAJ: 7838 (13%)
Con: 23676 (45%)
Lab: 10189 (19%)
LDem: 15675 (30%)
UKIP: 1556 (3%)
Oth: 1552 (3%)
MAJ: 8001 (15%)
Con: 21387 (44%)
Lab: 11737 (24%)
LDem: 12984 (27%)
GRN: 1182 (2%)
Oth: 1051 (2%)
MAJ: 8403 (17%)
Con: 22572 (42%)
Lab: 13485 (25%)
LDem: 13860 (26%)
Oth: 466 (1%)
MAJ: 8712 (16%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HEIDI ALLEN (Conservative)
DAN GREEF (Labour)
SEBASTIAN KINDERSLEY (Liberal Democrat) Contested South Cambridgeshire 2010.
SIMON SAGGERS (Green) Contested Cambridgeshire South 2010.
Comments - 292 Responses on “Cambridgeshire South”
  1. But if the Lib Dems can’t win here – with its educated, middle class, Remain-backing, socially liberal electorate – you can’t see them winning anywhere

    Today’s forecast has them winning just Cheltenham, st albans and Sheffield Hallam, whilst losing Norfolk North and Eastbourne

    It’s hard to fathom how Jeremy Corbyn’s quite frankly nonsensical stance on Brexit seems to have managed to win back the support of the bulk Remain voters

    It now seems that tactical voting is the only way to deprive Johnson of a majority – a factor opposition leaders ought to ponder

  2. To be fair on Corbyn, his Brexit policy I thought was reasonably sensible up until the point he confirmed he would be “neutral” on his own deal.

    The strangest thing was that was a much more credible fence-sitting playing-both-sides option he could have chosen – why on earth didn’t he say, “I don’t know what Brussels would give me, how on earth can you expect me to pass judgement on a deal which hasn’t been agreed yet?”

  3. I have now had 21 (twenty-one) separate communications from the Lib Dems through my letterbox since the start of November here.

    If they don’t win this seat, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

  4. That’s nothing. The Ashfield Inds have sent their millionth piece of paper out there.

    Indeed Mr Z seemed rattled when other candidates and a member of the public raised this at the hustings event.

  5. Meanwhile my apparently knife-edge marginal seat is seeing no more electoral activity than what I was used to when I lived in a rock-solid Tory bastion. It feels somehow like the election is passing Bedford by.

  6. That’s odd.

  7. Yes, I haven’t seen Bedford mentioned much. Odd considering it’s a classic Con Lab marginal in England.

  8. Maybe it’s a thing in knife-edge marginals. I’ve posted elsewhere about the relative lack of political activity in Colne Valley.

  9. I am across two seats. Alyn & Deeside, where there is a fairly active, but small in number Labour campaign but other than that not much else. The other is Bradford West which is a very safe Labour seat and honestly you wouldn’t even know there is an election on. I haven’t had a single piece of literature though my door and nor are there any of the Labour garden stakes which used to be pretty ubiquitous here when Galloway and Respect were in town.

  10. I don’t think Alyn & Deeside, formerly Flintshire East has ever elected a Tory MP

    Even by the standards of North East Wales, the towns of Shotton, Queensferry and Buckley are about as delapidated as it gets, and even during the 1980s when the Tories won in Delyn, and what now would be Vale of Clwyd and Clwyd South, they didn’t win there

    This is also the sort of seat where Jeremy Corbyn would go down like a lead balloon

    Brexit really has really has redefined the political landscape if the Tories top the poll there but personally I think Labour will hang on

  11. Duxford (Cambridgeshire) result:

    LIb: 59.6% (+26.3)
    Tory: 40.4% (-14.7)

    GAIN from Conservative.

    Responses to : Floods; Patel; Eugenics; civil service; Covid19, Huawei, ministers on long expensive holidays….it seems people are not impressed with the government the UK has at this time.

  12. Context: the Conservative Party’s national polling lead has consistently been 15+ since the election.

  13. I don’t think that’s surprising with the Labour party a shambles at present. But people didn’t think the Tories would impress…it was simply the lesser of two evils and, as you say, they soon ran into difficulties.

  14. Agreed, but Deepthroat’s point was that these problems are hurting the government electorally. That doesn’t (thus far) appear to be the case.

  15. Deepthroat is making the mistake of assuming that the public don’t agree with the Govt on Priti and the Civil Service.

    IIRC other than medical receptionists and driving examiners, civil servants were the most disliked occupation. The consumer programmes and papers are full of items of petty bureaucrats, although they’re usually to be found in local govt.

  16. I’m not sure that’s quite right; I think they simply haven’t noticed.

    Everything he lists falls into one of three categories: “public haven’t noticed”; “public noticed but have since forgotten”; and “this is not on any objective analysis the government’s fault”. Hence the stubborn Tory leads.

  17. Getting a reputation for banging heads together in the Home Office isn’t going to do Patel any harm with most people who voted for Boris last year. Rather, it will embellish her tough guy self-image.

    The proof of the pudding is going to be whether her crackdowns on crime actually work in visibly reducing crime. That is what the public is going to judge her, and Boris, on.

  18. This whole affair shows Brexit Britain at its best, or worst, depending on your perspective

    Patel has effectively been proven to be an exceptionally nasty piece of work who is routinely vindictive to the people who have the misfortune of working for her, and yet nobody away from the political anaracks seems to give a flying f*ck

    What I find most ironic is that she herself is the best argument against immigration that’s ever existed, and yet that’s the very agenda she herself supports

    15 years ago she’d be brown bread in 2020 she’s thriving in today’s Britain

  19. Priti Patel is every day finding new ways to prove her detractors’ suspicions, but it would be nice if people could criticise her without invoking her race. The tropes progressives invoke against Priti Patel are oftentimes not so different from the right’s treatment of Diane Abbott (another deeply flawed politician, who finds it too easy to deflect criticism because that criticism is so often racially tinged).

    At the same time the anti-snowflake right shouldn’t be so quick to take performative offence at the sort of crap they routinely dish out to their opponents. The whole issue is a cess pit of hypocrisy.

  20. Speaking with a Hindu (albeit quite unreligious) friend, it is quite clear that Boris has made big strides with the non-muslim British Indian community. Careful promotion of Patel and Sunak is part of it, as is the intellectual alliance of convenience between Trump-Boris-Modi, the perception of Labour as increasingly the Muslim party, and Corbyn’s sharp criticism of Modi before the election.

    Patel arguably embodies more of the Boris project than anyone else in the cabinet and it’s inconceivable he could let her go, unless absolutely forced to. British Indian tick, hard right views on crime tick, pretty on TV tick, staunch Brexiter from the beginning tick, hated Theresa May and Cameron tick.

  21. ‘Patel arguably embodies more of the Boris project than anyone else in the cabinet and it’s inconceivable he could let her go’

    I’m not so sure she does any more

    As well as being much more right-wing than Boris on social issues – wanting to bring back the rope – she’s also waaay to his Right on the economy too – have long been sympathetic to the old Tory Thatcherite ideas of scrapping the minimum wage and introducing a flat rate of income tax

    More importantly, Patel lacks the talent, temperament and human decency to be one of the great ministers of state, and whilst Boris desperation to hold onto her might save her this time, I’m sure it won’t be too long before another controversy with Patel’s name all over springs up, causing him another headache

  22. “have long been sympathetic to the old Tory Thatcherite ideas of scrapping the minimum wage and introducing a flat rate of income tax”

    Not even the most right wing Tory government imaginable would be stupid enough to do that, unless it fancied a dose of the 1997 treatment. Certainly not a government relying on votes from Burnley and Blyth Valley.

    Looming recession and the fallout from the coronavirus is likely to twist public opinion in a more statist direction IMO. Which could be both good and bad.

  23. I agree. Tories under Johnson are unlikely to be Thatcherite in policy. Wouldn’t make electoral sense. They are more likely to more like a Blairite govt than Thatcherite one.

    Imo Patel is a bad fit and is unlikely to hold onto high office for a long time. I would be surprised if she’s Home Secretary come the Conference season.

  24. economically the Johnson government is about as left-leaning as any Tory government could be, yet I doubt that has anything to do with Patel I’m sure if she had her way the Tories would be doing all they could to turn the UK into the Singapore on sea than the true Brexiteers have always dreamed

    Let’s not forget that Patel has already been sacked from the cabinet – for an offence so serious it should have disqualified her from future office on a permanent basis.

    It’s inconceivable in my view that this is the last of Patel’s misdeeds in high office and Mr Johnson’s loyalty and patience will be tested to its very limit

  25. In terms of “misdeeds in high office”, IMO Gavin Williamson outranks Patel. And having a former fireplace salesman in a government which inexplicably refuses to ban wood burning stoves in urban areas (where burning coal is illegal) stinks! Wood is dirtier than coal.

    Deepthroat might be right though. If Patel goes it will be because she puts her foot in something too sticky to get out of.

  26. Tory govt is already got Sunak and Alok Sharma to represent the British Indian constituency and also – if they need it – a ready made substitute for Patel (not at Marsham St necessarily), Suella Braverman. 2nd gen, brought up in Brent/Harrow and went to a v good selective school. And a consistent Brexiteer. Has none of the edginess of PP.

  27. “the Tories would be doing all they could to turn the UK into the Singapore on sea”

    Wonder if Tim mis-spoke here….Singapore is already very much on the sea…in fact it is surrounded by it!

  28. Haha. I expect the hardcore brexiteers would be all for some libertarian wank fantasy but the party’s newly acquired base is not a demographic that cares so much nor is likely to benefit. Boris has the advantage in that he can now tell that wing of the party to f*CK off and supposing he quite fancies winning another term is as likely to be as much an obstacle to morphing the UK into Singapore lite as any other politician

  29. Grayling remains the worst ever Cabinet minister. Indeed we keep hearing of his mis-deeds years later from his times at the DWP, Transport and MoJ.

  30. In terms of sheer incompetence it’s unlikely Grayling will ever be beaten but there are still quite a few in Johnson’s cabinet who seems unsuited – Patel and Williamson being the most notable examples

  31. “Grayling remains the worst ever Cabinet minister.”

    That’s a pretty bold statement.

    At least he wasn’t jailed for perjury like Jonathan Aitken.

    He isn’t brazenly corrupt like Ernest Marples, who later had to flee to Monte Carlo to escape his creditors (interestingly he was Transport Secretary too)

  32. I could also add the allegations of child abuse against one or two ex-cabinet ministers (though how reliable these are is questionable, given what happened to Leon Brittan). But there does seem to have been a very bad smell around George Thomas, for example.

  33. Perhaps he could be considered the most incompetent SoS ever?

  34. “Grayling remains the worst ever Cabinet minister

    That’s a pretty bold statement.’

    I don’t think it is at all

    Grayling was a complete and utter unmitigated disaster in every cabinet position he held, and whose sheer incompetence cost Britsh taxpayers millions of pounds

    From a man who used to wax lyrical about benefit cheats defrauding the treasury of the odd £50 or so whilst he himself took the absolute p*ss with MPs expenses this is completely indefensible

    He didn’t even have the decency to stand down in 2019

    He’s a complete and utter disgrace and the fact that May didn’t sack him after his lamentable performance as Transport secretary suggests that she’s little better

  35. There must be some reason why he keeps getting jobs.

    I sympathise with Transport ministers, as it’s a pretty impossible job to do well in (like health). But Grayling did make some silly errors. Note though that, after making noises in the opposite direction, Shapps now supports Grayling’s stubborn defence of smart motorways.

  36. Hemmy: motorways is my career, and I can tell you that the impetus to build more Smart Motorways has, for the last five years since Highways Agency became Highways England with its greater autonomy over strategic decisions, come from us and not the Department for Transport.

    We’re rethinking at the moment, largely because we have realised that we didn’t sufficiently consider driver behaviour on Smart Motorways. We considered them safe from an engineering standpoint and thought that was sufficient. The roads would be safe if people drove safely on them, but they feel unsafe, that makes them nervous/stressed as the drive and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  37. Looks like the Lib Dem’s have swept up most of the council seats at local level – largely thanks to Labour withdrawing many of their candidates.

    This is very much one of the few former very safe Tory seat where the current realignment of British politics ought to hurt them.

    The tories might have perhaps helped bucked the trend by selecting a succession of liberal tories as PPCs – Pym, Grant, Lansley, Allen, Browne.

  38. Tories have lost the mayoralty here too. Fantastic result for them – yes, we know places like South Cambs and Huntingdon are trending away from them, but the county also includes North West Cambridgeshire, were the Tory vote in 2019 was north of 70%.

    Funny how politics turns out, isn’t it? Cambridgeshire was supposed to be David Cameron’s sop to Tory MPs who didn’t want to vote to create a bunch of elected positions controlled by Labour politicians. And yet the Tories roar ahead in Teeside while dropping the ball here…

  39. Of course, when I said “fantastic result for them”, I meant for the Labour Party.

    Interesting results breakdown. Tories were first on the first ballot, with the Lib Dems not far behind Labour in third place. Is this the first time in a British mayoralty where the first-round winner has not been elected after the second round?

  40. Polltroll, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor position was supposed to cover the whole of East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk as well), but a load of district councils vetoed the idea, and only Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were left. A second attempt was made at establishing a Norfolk and Suffolk Combined Authority, but that failed too. Possibly a mistake, as these two counties now lose out on investment they could have had.

    By the way, the Conservatives lost the West of England mayoralty too. Here again, North Somerset refused to join when it was set up, saying it was just Avon County Council being recreated. Now they want to join, but have been vetoed by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

    Looks like the Lib Dem’s have swept up most of the council seats at local level – largely thanks to Labour withdrawing many of their candidates.

    I didn’t think Labour ever did that intentionally – it goes against the party rule book (well, for parliamentary elections). I would guess they simply didn’t bother to organise candidates. There are lots of areas where Labour don’t put up candidates. I suspect it’s because the party lacks organisation in those places.

    In London and other cities, Labour will have candidates in every ward. It’s when you look at the rural shires (etc) that Labour often don’t. My mum’s ward in Herefordshire was held by the Lib Dems on Friday – it was a straight contest between them and the Tories. No Labour candidate. Perhaps local Labour members decided not to bother, for tactical reasons. I don’t think the membership is particularly small there, but it’s not a county Labour have much strength in.

    Polltroll, it’s no wonder the Tories want to introduce FPTP for all these elections. They could have won this one with 40%!

  42. PT – no it’s happened a few times.

    Labour and an Ind were beaten by the EngDems’ Davies (father of Phillip Davies MP) in 2009 in Doncaster, even though he wasn’t ahead after 1st Prefs.

    But the BNP and Cons 2nd prefs won it for him.

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