Coventry South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15284 (35%)
Labour: 18472 (42.3%)
Lib Dem: 1779 (4.1%)
Green: 1719 (3.9%)
UKIP: 5709 (13.1%)
TUSC: 650 (1.5%)
Others: 86 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 3188 (7.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands,. contained within the Metropolitan Borough of Coventry.

Main population centres: Coventry.

Profile: The six southern wards of Coventry. This includes the most affluent and middle-class parts of Coventry in Earlsdon and Wainbody, but also the post-war council estates in Binley and Willenhall and Coventry city centre. Coventry South includes the Jaguar motor works at Whitley and the University of Warwick, actually located on the outskirts of Coventry.

Politics: In its previous existance in the fifties and sixties Coventry South was sometimes won by the Conservatives, but has been held by Labour since its recreation in 1997. At a local level Earlsden and Wainbody tend to be some of the better Conservatives wards in Coventry and the 2012 local elections the only three Conservative victories in the City came in Coventry South. Until 2012 the councillor for the city centre St Michael`s ward was Dave Nellist, the former MP for the area who was expelled from the Labour party for being a member of Militant in 1991, contested the predecessor seat as an Independent Labour candidate in 1992 gaining almost 30% of the vote. He has since been a perennial candidate in Coventry North East and North West.

Current MP
JIM CUNNINGHAM (Labour) Born 1941, Rutherglen. Educated at Columba High School. Former Rolls Royce engineer. Coventry councillor 1973-1992, Leader of Coventry council 1988-1992. First elected as MP for Coventry South East in 1992.
Past Results
Con: 15352 (33%)
Lab: 19197 (42%)
LDem: 8278 (18%)
UKIP: 1767 (4%)
Oth: 1330 (3%)
MAJ: 3845 (8%)
Con: 12394 (30%)
Lab: 18649 (46%)
LDem: 7228 (18%)
UKIP: 829 (2%)
Oth: 1585 (4%)
MAJ: 6255 (15%)
Con: 11846 (30%)
Lab: 20125 (50%)
LDem: 5672 (14%)
Oth: 2453 (6%)
MAJ: 8279 (21%)
Con: 14558 (29%)
Lab: 25511 (51%)
LDem: 4617 (9%)
Oth: 4495 (9%)
MAJ: 10953 (22%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GARY RIDLEY (Conservative)
JIM CUNNINGHAM (Labour) See above.
GREG JUDGE (Liberal Democrat)
CHRIS ROONEY (Mainstream)
JUDY GRIFFITHS (TUSC) Contested Coventry South 2010.
Comments - 68 Responses on “Coventry South”
  1. Includes many of the nicer (relative to the rest of Coventry) parts of country as well as the horrible city centre (rebuilt after it was bombed in WW2).

    There are students and lecturers of the University of Warwick living here so I would expect the Labour majority to increase at the expense of Lib Dems.

  2. From my experience academics are surprisingly disinclined to vote labour, (although my German supervisor supports De Linke) they are well and truely the LD core.

  3. The Coventry constituency was abolished in 1945, Coventry city centre was in Coventry West until 1950, Coventry South until 1974, and Coventry South East until 1997. The area has been Labour since 1964, the last non-Labour MP to be elected was the Conservative Philip Hocking in 1959.

    The old Coventry East constituency which existed from 1945 to 1974 consisted of the following wards:
    1945-1950: All Saints, Foleshill, Hernall, Hill Fields, Longford, Lower Stoke, St. Mary’s, St. Paul’s, Upper Stoke and Walsgrave.
    1950-1974: Charterhouse and Binley, Longford, Lower Stoke, Upper Stoke and Walsgrave.

  4. Coventry South was regarded as a notionally Conservative seat when it was re-formed in 1997, but only because Dave Nellist had polled so heavily in Coventry SE as an independent socialist against Jim Cunningham in 1992. It was generally agreed that it was Labour’s surest-fire gain in the election, which of course in 1997 was really saying something.

  5. Would the Tories have won Coventry South West in 2010?

  6. My figures suggest

    Con 15152 36.8%
    Lab 14825 36.0%
    LD 8233 20.0%
    UKIP 1396 3.4%
    BNP 570 1.4%
    Grn 512 1.2%
    oth 482 1.2%

    Too close to call really

  7. Many thanks Pete. I had an idea it would have been really close. Nevertheless the Tories have clearly held up better in Coventry since 1992 than Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

  8. H Hemmelig- interesting question. I would have thought it would have been on absolute knife edge-

    (1) The Conservatives and Labour were pretty much neck and neck in Westwood and Earldson

    (2) The Conservatives will have carried Wainbody by about a thousand votes;

    (3) The Conservatives and Labour were neck and neck in Woodlands, which I think was in Coventry SW until 1997.

    (4) Labour carried Whoberley by a few hundred- again I think that was in Coventry SW until 1997

    (5) Labour may have narrowly carried Cheylesmore- by about 200.

  9. Pete- of what wards did Coventry SW consist before 1997? I wasn’t completely sure- though I am pleased to see that I’m in line with you about the closeness of the result. I think every ward bar Wainsbody will have been incredibly tight either way.

  10. *Wainbody

  11. All the wards you mentioned excluding Cheylesmore. I have the Tories ahead by a whisker in Earlsdon and Woodlands and Labour ahead by not much more than a whisker in Westwood and by a bit more in Whoberley. As you say a Tory lead of about 1,000 in Wainbody would have decided it. Back in 1992 Labour would have been massively ahead in Westwood and the Conservatives massively ahead in Earlsdon. I wonder if the local election result flattered the Tories a bit in Westwood and Labour may actually have been a bit further ahead in the general election than those figures would imply. It does show though the classic realignment we have seen in so many other places with WWC Westwood trending Tory while middle class Earlsdon has trended the other way.

  12. Thanks for that, Pete.

  13. I seem to remember Cheylesmore as being the aberrant middle-class ward in Coventry SE before 1997.

  14. LAB HOLD MAJ : 19%
    LAB 47
    CON 28
    LD 12
    UKIP 8
    GRN 4
    OTH 1

  15. Given that Geoffrey Robinson (75) was reselected in NW before Christmas, is there any indication whether Jim Cunningham (73) intends to carry on here?

  16. Dave Nellist featured on the Daily Politics. He chairs TUSC who are fielding 600 candidates next month. He’s also standing for the No2EU slate on the same day in the European elections.

  17. prediction for 2015-

    lab- 41%
    con- 32%
    Lib- 14%
    UKIP- 13%

    UKIP will make an impact here , probably preventing the tories from taking control of the seat. The demographics of this seat are changing fairly quickly, (the white British population is going down. Just a fact), this will mean it will be a pretty safe labour seat soon. UK independence will definitely be prevalent and while they have a chance of overtaking the lib dems I highly don’t think it’ll happen. I might be wrong about that though.

  18. Labour’s Harjinder Sehmi defected to UKIP last month. I don’t think he’s still a Cllr (although UKIP refer to him as a Cllr defector). He did represent Cheylesmere ward on the City Council previously however but was defeated. He intends to stand for UKIP as a council and Parliamentary candidate.

  19. Would be nice to see a Green Member stand next year

  20. Apparently UKIP are want to stand the homophobe Rev George Hargreaves here. He is most famous for founding the Christian party, campaigning for the dragon to be removed from the welsh flag and writing the pop song So Macho!

  21. Mark Taylor selected for UKIP here. He was chair of Coventry UKIP last year.
    UKIP candidates for Coventry here :-

    Mark Taylor’s Twitter :-
    Mark Taylor UKIP
    UKIP member. Determined to stand in future elections (Coventry). Zany guitarist, Christian, and watches Bagpuss or Pingu!

    Joined August 2011


  22. Rumours that the current candidate is being asked to stand aside. Could be rubbish I suppose.

  23. Thanks County D Boy. Yes, I have now caught up and the article in Coventry Teleg, is claiming that Mark Taylor will step aside.

    Perhaps I will wait until the dust settles . . .


  24. Pink News reported that Rev George Hargreaves is standing here for UKIP, but Suzanne Evans insists he isn’t a UKIP candidate at all.

  25. UKIP member here , Our candidate is Mark Taylor , Hargreaves never was and never will be our candidate.

  26. So Macho is a great 80s pop song though.

  27. You’ve got the song in my head now.

  28. Shall we leave you two alone together?

  29. What did happen with Mark Taylor then, Thorshammer3? His Twitter feed makes it clear he was intending to step aside. Was there another potential candidate, rather than the ‘bonkers’ Hargreaves?

  30. Umm I think there might be a bit of an age gap…I’m 18 , and I just happen to like a lot of pop/rock from the 1980s (some of it is very camp), not the stereotypical Kipper I know, I’m encouraged by the quality of the candidates we have in Coventry, and am awfully glad that we didn’t select that nutter Hargreaves. We won’t win , but solid seconds all round won’t be hard to envisage.

  31. @Etienne,
    he was briefly deselected and then was brought back and stuck with this time , IMO we shouldn’t mess candidates or the electorate around like this. Still there’s no real harm done and we have Mark Taylor as our candidate there (Look at James Carver MEPs twitter feed).

  32. A bit, but it still doesn’t explain why Taylor was deselected – quite a substantial step this close to the election.

  33. Thor:-
    NOI – since you are a UKIP supporter, what’s your prediction for UKIP seat total?

  34. The Rev looking delighted here with Nick Griffin:

  35. Thor:-
    NOI – may I ask you, since you are a UKIP supporter, what’s your prediction for UKIP seat total?

  36. My prediction is 6-8 seats (optimistically) , I think we will retain our two seats (purely on the basis that Kelly Tolhurst is just awful) , and take Thurrock, South Thanet , Boston and Skegness , Heywood and Middleton (we have a better chance than we are given credit for their). I think the dead certainties are Clacton, S Thanet and Thurrock currently.

  37. *There (as an English student it annoys me when I make schoolboy errors in grammar like that).

  38. I think UKIP will be lucky to get 4 seats. South Thanet for one is going to the conservatives. Even though the polls are tight, there are enough floaters who will go the tory way.

  39. Tories at 6/4 make a nice bet to win Thanet South.

  40. Labour Hold. 7,000 majority.

  41. My prediction would have been pretty much the same as Shaun’s. For the Labour majority to actually be 3,188 is a big surprise.

  42. Not a good result for Labour here. I don’t know if there is any demographic change underway in this seat, but for Labour to fall back slightly here should get the alarm bells ringing like no one’s business for Jim Cunningham.

  43. The city centre was in Coventry West from 1945 to 1950

  44. Because of boundary changes it is difficult to compare the Coverntry seats over time. Coventry did elect a Conservative MP in 1959 and from 1931 to 1945. However, this seat is now Number 34 on the Tory target list, which is well within range for them.

    Jim Cunningham will be 79 in 2020, so the likelihood must be that he will stand down.

  45. Deepthroat has posted figures on the Oldham West site suggesting that 8500 voters might be removed from the electoral register in Coventry because of individual voter registration.

    The implication is that the Labour majority here might have been much smaller if indiividual voter registration had been in force last May.

    Given that the MP is well into his 70s, without wishing the individual concerfned il I would have thought it worth the while for national parties, particualry the Tories and UKIP, to look closely at whereabout in the constituency people have been removed from the registe, and whom they voted for according to canvass returns.
    If there does happen to be a by-election here this could be a major issue.

    Could I point out that this issue of voter registration cannot be said , in the absence of more specific evidence, to be race related as similar issues are arising in Stoke, which is overwhelmingly white.

  46. For the latest in my “What will the Boundary Commission propose here” series I look at Coventry. As you all likely know under the new figures Coventry falls just short of the quota for three seats and will thus have to take some territory outside of the city boundaries. This shouldn’t really pose much of a threat to Labour’s three seats in Coventry but as always I get the sneaking suspicion we’ll see something kooky.

    Now as far as I cant tell (please correct me if you disagree) the most logical proposals are as follows.

    Given that NE is within quota it can be left totally alone.

    South gains Whoberly from NW since Woodlands would send it above quota.

    This leaves a much reduced NW which would gain two wards from the Nuneaton and Bedworth authority (Heath and Exhall) This certainly isn’t ideal for Labour as it takes two strong(ish) wards from a marginal seat (Warwickshire North) but it does at least keep their main areas of strength in that seat undamaged and this is sorta made up for by turning two not exactly unbreachable Lab seats into very Labour inclined seats, greatly reducing the risk of a shock defeat in the future.

    However despite that being the least disruptive and most obvious solution I get the distinct impression the BC will propose something weird like the following.

    NW gains Foleshill from NE and gains St Michaels from South but loses Woodlands to South. South also looses Binley and Willenhall to NE. This leaves both NE and NW in quota but a much reduced south which is then paired with the bulk of Kenilworth (three wards, Stoneleigh and Cubbington, Park Hill and Abbey) creating a reliable Tory seat.

    Now obviously such boundaries would be a blatant gerrymander, so lets hope the BC propose something better alas I’m not hopeful. Anyone any other ideas?

  47. No, you aren’t. The Boundary Commission is specifically told to ignore party political factors. Now their only concern is to produce constituencies of equal size (within the mandated 5% tolerance).

  48. “Nevertheless the Tories have clearly held up better in Coventry since 1992 than Birmingham and Wolverhampton.”

    Is there more evidence towards my theory of industrial cities trending rightwards and ‘metropolitan’ cities trending leftwards.

    How industrial is Coventry nowadays ?

  49. The Boundary Commission might add a ward from the old West Midlands County before taking one from Warwickshire. Hence a ward from Solihull Borough, such as Meriden, which is massively Conservative and would swing one of the Coventry seat to marginal status. Warwickshire would likely go down to five seats from six today. The seats touching Coventry are marginal except Kenilworth and Southam.

    Coventry is probably trending against Labour. The Conservatives held the council in the 2000’s. The impact of the two Universities is probably moving the western part of the city politically. UKIP has also done quite well in other parts of the city.

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