2015 Result:
Conservative: 23464 (42.3%)
Labour: 7181 (12.9%)
Lib Dem: 14317 (25.8%)
Green: 1513 (2.7%)
UKIP: 8783 (15.8%)
TUSC: 114 (0.2%)
Others: 133 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 9147 (16.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Most of the Eastleigh council area.

Main population centres: Eastleigh, Hedge End, West End, Netley, Hamble-le-Rice, Bursledon.

Profile: Eastleigh curves around the north and east of Southampton and is essentially the affluent, owner-occupied suburbs of the city. Eastleigh itself is a railway town, while West End and Hedge End are villages that have grown into Southampton suburbs. Netley is a quaint coastal village and Hamble a yachting centre. The constituency includes Southampton International Airport and Hampshire County Cricket team`s home at the Rose Bowl.

Politics: Eastleigh was once a safe Conservative seat, held by the the party from the seat`s creation until the death of MP Stephen Milligan in 1994. The bizarre circumstances of Milligan`s death - accidental death due to autoerotic asphyxiation - were widely publicised and came at the height of the Back to Basics series of sleaze scandals, the Liberal Democrats won the seat on a huge swing at the subsequent by-election. The by-election victor David Chigley stepped down in 2005 to be replaced by Chris Huhne, who had a a meteoric rise and fall in the party, contesting the leadership less than a year after his election, narrowing missing out on the leadership in the 2007 contest, being appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Energy, and then resigning from Parliament after he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by falsely claiming his wife was driving his car to avoid a speeding fine. The 2013 by-election coincided with the rise of UKIP and saw the Liberal Democrats hold the seat with UKIP in second place, but at the subsequent general election the seat fell to the Tories.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in CON GAIN FROM LD. For full details see here.

Current MP
MIMS DAVIES (Conservative) Former radio producer and director. Mid Sussex councillor. First elected as MP for Eastleigh in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 21102 (39%)
Lab: 5153 (10%)
LDem: 24966 (47%)
UKIP: 1933 (4%)
Oth: 496 (1%)
MAJ: 3864 (7%)
Con: 18648 (37%)
Lab: 10238 (21%)
LDem: 19216 (39%)
UKIP: 1669 (3%)
MAJ: 568 (1%)
Con: 16302 (34%)
Lab: 10426 (22%)
LDem: 19360 (41%)
UKIP: 849 (2%)
Oth: 636 (1%)
MAJ: 3058 (6%)
Con: 18699 (34%)
Lab: 14883 (27%)
LDem: 19453 (35%)
Oth: 446 (1%)
MAJ: 754 (1%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MIMS DAVIES (Conservative) Former radio producer and director. Mid Sussex councillor.
MARK LATHAM (Labour) Born Eastleigh. Business publisher.
MIKE THORNTON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1953, Farnham. Educated at Manchester Polytechnic. Business and development manager. Contested Eastleigh councillor since 2007. MP for Eastleigh 2013 by-election to 2015.
PATRICIA CULLIGAN (UKIP) Born Manchester. Educated at Manchester University. Businesswoman. Contested South East region 2014 European election.
RON MELDRUM (Green) Cognitive Therapist.
RAY HALL (Beer, Baccy and Scratchings) Retired businessman. Contested Eastleigh 2013 by election.
Comments - 348 Responses on “Eastleigh”
  1. I think this’ll be a relatively easy LD hold. I actually think Thornton will beat Huhne’s majority, albeit on a reduced vote share, thanks to split opposition. The Tories will claim that the UKIP surge was a one-off and people voting against the LDs should vote for them, UKIP will claim that they’re second and have the only real chance to beat Thornton. The Ashcroft polling was good for the LDs here, too.

    Based on the by-election, the locals, the Ashcroft polling, etc., this would be my current prediction:

    LD 40
    Con 28
    UKIP 21
    Lab 9
    Oth 2

  2. No Pete – she’s just a joke. Is it optional to possess a brain to be a Ukip candidate? first McKenzie now this one……
    And having her battle it out with a right wing anti EU Tory will simply help the LibDems

  3. I do not respect anyone who says something so blatently stupid as “the left despise the poor” (though this was Daniel Hannan’s comment she was linking to). No decent person of whatever persuasion despises the poor.

    Also I smiled at the article she linked to “why the Eurozone is bound to fail”. That they have been wrongly predicting this every day for 15 years seems not to register with UKIP and ConHome types.

  4. I would like to see a picture of one of us leftie types actually wringing our hands or having a bleeding heart. I suppose the old clichés are the best. Or maybe not.

  5. Survation polling for this constituency done on behalf of UKIP last week shows that it is a 3-way marginal.
    The results from survation shown for the Eastleigh constituency show:
    UKIP- 32%
    Conservatives- 28%
    Lib Dems- 27%
    Labour- 12%

    A close fight in Eastleigh…

  6. Similar to the previous poll in the constituency. It therefore is likely to be accurate. It won’t be easy for the LDs but I still suspect they will just about squeak home in the end.

  7. The May locals, which everyone would agree were diabolical for the LibDems, showed UKIP getting less traction.. I would be more inclined to PT Richards view of things

  8. If the lib dems lose this seat then I’d imagine that nationally , they’d be wiped out. Not totally but , mostly.

  9. Antiochian,

    Eastleigh council’s Lib Dem group is much more popular locally than the Liberal Democrats as a national party. This would explain why UKIP didn’t repeat their 2013 success here earlier this year.

  10. Shame UKIP didn’t select Diane James following their good showing at the by-election with her as the candidate.

    Diane is one of UKIP’s most impressive members of those who have been in the media. While the party has its share of odd balls, there is some talent in their ranks now. Suzanne Evans and Steve Crowther also come to mind from what I’ve seen. When I saw Crowther on the local election coverage, he seemed a lot like a moderate Labour backbencher.

  11. Antiochian, I’m afraid that line of thought isn’t right. 111 is right in saying that the Lib Dems locally here will get much more support than in a general election. This is shown by the survation Eastleigh poll done just before the local elections. The General election 2015 result for Eastleigh in that poll showed the following results:
    UKIP- 32%
    Conservative- 28%
    Lib Dems- 27%

    They also asked the same set of voters in the same poll how they were intending to vote in the local elections and those poll results showed:
    Lib Dems- 39%
    UKIP- 27%
    Conservative- 23%

    Now that clearly shows how the local election results win for the Lib Dems can’t be used to say that the Lib Dems will clearly win in the Westminster election.

    Now the actual local election results turned out to be almost identical to the local elections poll done from survation which leads me to believe that the parliamentary GE poll is also very close to reality, which makes me think that UKIP are currently in the lead in Eastleigh and have a good chance of winning in 2015.

  12. The lack of UKIP gains in the local elections will starve them of ground forces to some extent though, whereas the solid Lib Dem base I suspect can provide them with the edge in door-knocking and GOTV operations that they need to cling on here.

  13. prediction for 2015-

    Lib- 31%
    UKIP- 29%
    Con- 28%
    Lab- 12%

  14. Mike Thornton is much more seamless with local govt here than his predecessor ever was…

  15. UKIP did fine in 2013, so why did they decline in 2014?

    The idea of UKIP winning this in 2014, after failing in a mid-term by-election, is just not credible to me.

  16. I don’t think Diane James has actually been selected for anywhere yet. There must be a few seats she has an eye on though.

  17. I tend to agree with Iain. However it is not unknown for a party making large gains in a by-election then completing the job in the following general election. One example that comes to mind is Dundee E which was held by Labour in 1973 but then lost to the SNP in February 1974. It wasn’t regained by Labour until 1987.

  18. “The idea of UKIP winning this in 2014, after failing in a mid-term by-election, is just not credible to me.”

    You have missed the whole point that Eastleigh by-election made.

    Until they came a close second there, no-one believed that they could win seats – and it was widely recognised in political circles that had polls not showed them in 3rd throughout the campaign, they would have picked up many more votes from people who thought they couldn’t win and would have in fact won.

    I’m a little bit suspicious of a Lib Dem with such a close interest in politics allegedly being unaware of this, but we’ll let that rest.

  19. “The lack of UKIP gains in the local elections will starve them of ground forces to some extent though”

    That is true. Their failure to win any seats from the Lib Dems in Eastleigh this year must have been a let down for them after a promising 2013. A few months after the by-election they took a few of the Eastleigh divisions on Hampshire County Council. So they failed to build on that this year at borough level. They did top the Eastleigh polls at the Euros so there’s some wind in their sails but I doubt that’s enough to help them against a very strong Lib Dem ground campaign.

  20. ‘Until they came a close second there, no-one believed that they could win seats – and it was widely recognised in political circles that had polls not showed them in 3rd throughout the campaign, they would have picked up many more votes from people who thought they couldn’t win and would have in fact won.

    I’m a little bit suspicious of a Lib Dem with such a close interest in politics allegedly being unaware of this, but we’ll let that rest.’

    Of course, it could just has easily been a Newark type situation, where many voters coalesced around the anti-UKIP candidate.

  21. The Ashcroft poll out today shows:
    Lib Dem 40%
    Conservative 25%
    UKIP 21%
    Labour 12%
    Green 2%
    Others 1%

    This is more what I would expect

  22. Could it be… designed to motivate the Conservatives at the conference?

  23. Probably a Lib Dem hold, given the by-election result last year and the good resilience locally for the party- the battle for second place is what will be interesting, maybe the Tories will stay in touch.

  24. Could someone link to the Ashcroft poll here?

    And that really is a marvelous result for the Lib Dems. They should be thrilled with that. It could be that, while their majorities in Eastleigh are often untenable seeming, they might actually have solidified so much that they’ll be entrenched for the foreseeable future.

  25. I will only believe the accuracy of that Ashcroft poll if the result actually turns out that way. Didn’t a poll come out yesterday showing UKIP in the lead here?

  26. Had it not been for the by-election, this would probably not be amongst UKIP’s very best results. As I have posted before, the wider Southampton area is currently enjoying some of the strongest growth in the country. There are business parks all over the place and they are all hiring. It’s perhaps no surprise that much of the pro-government vote may coalesce around the Lib Dem incumbent here, given their local dominance. The legacy of the by-election may allow UKIP to sneak 20% here but I think that will be tops for them, probably the Tories will go back into second place.

  27. Its amazing how different the responses are to the questions of GE VI and GE local constituency VI! They produce completely different results. Just shows the extent of the tactical vote in our horrendous FPTP voting system.

  28. The poll which put UKIP ahead was commissioned by UKIP & Anthony did say it was advisable to take it with a hefty dose of salt. This one is likely to be more accurate, although the earlier poll was also an Ashcroft one & that was quite good for UKIP too.

  29. So what if it was commissioned by UKIP, the poll was done by survation and they used their normal methodology in it. The only caution is the sample sizes were only 600 which was small and therefore increases the margin of error, but it still is a valid poll

  30. I’m only repeating what Anthony said. I’m sure he wouldn’t have sounded a cautionary note without a good reason.

  31. “Of course, it could just has easily been a Newark type situation, where many voters coalesced around the anti-UKIP candidate.”

    No it couldn’t – there wasn’t a significant ABUKIP vote out there then. That all changed with the gloves off during the Euro campaign, when the attacks from much of the press and from Cameron did actually hit their target – leaving UKIP somewhat damaged goods though still retaining their same core vote and obviously still ‘alive and kicking’ enough to continue quite a big impact.

    The fact that in spite of greater publicity nationally since this by-election they are further behind in this latest poll for Eastleigh – perhaps not entirely natural UKIP territory – rather proves the point.

  32. The Ashcroft polls look far more believable than Survation and they back up some of the patterns seen in the local elections and indeed predicted by some on this site. The LDs over performing in Cheadle, Sutton and Eastbourne and the tories gaining the likes of Berwick, Wells and Solihull. Which is why I tend to believe they are roughly in the right area.

  33. I’d agree, Durham Boy, but I might note that the figures for the LDs in Berwick aren’t dreadful. That’s still a battleground, to be sure. Three points back means they’re alive and kicking. I will finally change my prediction on Cardiff C, however: LD loss. I’d thought they’d manage to hold it until these numbers came out.

    I’d’ve thought the LDs would be further back in Torbay, so that was surprising for me, as was Cambridge. A one point deficit seems low there. They should also take heart in the St. Austell figures. It’s a straight four-way marginal, but they’re polling second, and that’s something for them.

    On the flip side, they should be doing better in Taunton Deane and Chippenham. Those numbers are gory and really don’t bode well. Also, not holding a lead in North Cornwall now isn’t great, although I’d still think they’d hang on. And we now have even more evidence of David Rendal doing nothing to help the LDs in Somerton & Frome.

  34. Could a UKIP slipback bring the Tories into serious contention here?

    I’d be amazed if Thornton didn’t hold – UKIP will be trying hard here but in my opinion have too low a ceiling to win, and hence split opposition. But over the past several months we’ve seen UKIP gradually but steadily slip back nationally, with the Tories moving (more tentatively) in the other direction.

  35. I think we’ll see something along the lines of:
    Lib Dem: 35%
    Conservative: 30%
    UKIP: 19%
    Labour: 12%
    Others: 4%

  36. I continually marvel at the people in here who think that Eastleigh is a Conservative bastion in waiting.. Its a former railway workshop town…. There is no gentrification here.

    There is a far better chance of Labour getting a higher percentage here than the Tories challenging the LibDems.. UKIP have a very much inferior candidate here this time and are ripe for slippage… to Labour NOT the Tories..

  37. another LD prediction, probably the most optimistic of the lot;


    LD – 38
    CON – 27
    LAB – 15
    UKIP – 18
    O – 3

  38. I don’t disagree with your conclusion, though the area of the “former railway town” makes up probably less than half of the constituency.

    From personal experience I’ve noticed that Southampton and its surrounds have boomed somewhat in recent years. That may help the Tories in seats like Romsey and even Itchen, but here it’s equally likely to bolster the Lib Dems, who have an extremely dominant local organisation. I’d guess their majority will be closer to 10% than 5%.

  39. Antiochan I agree with you about the Lib Dems comfortably holding but the idea that Labour will challenge here in the short to medium term is blatantly ridiculous. Haven’t you noticed Labour’s serious problems with the Southern C2 demographic? Labour will probably come a poor fourth and will not be competitive in this seat.

  40. Surely you’ve also noticed the Tories’ problem with the C2 demographic (in the north as well as the south)

  41. But there are a fair number of professionals here as well. Note what I said – greater Southampton has had one of the highest growth rates in the country the past few years.

  42. True but the Tories are still doing ok in some Southern seats with (I presume) a high C2 population such as those in South Essex and North Kent. The Tories massive problem in my opinion is with the public sector middle class. I was just challenging the suggestion that Labour will do well in Eastleigh.

  43. He didn’t say Labour will do well, just better than last time (at least how I read it).

  44. Antiochian – might be worth taking a look at the 1992 result in this constituency..

  45. 1% local authority housing? Doesn’t sound like a very fertile area for Labour…

  46. Exactly, I didn’t say Labour would challenge… but the possibility of them rebuilding exists… I suspect their organisation is as battered here as in most of Hampshire.

    Much of what people driving into Eastleigh think is Toryish is actually the Chandler’s Ford parts which are in Winchester constituency..

  47. Plus Labour’s by-election candidate was a smug one-man ego trip.

  48. There are still pockets of Labour support in Basingstoke and Aldershot (they’re currently the main opposition in those local authorities) so it’s not impossible if they limp towards very distant second place finishes there.

  49. …In reference to Antiochian’s comment about Labour’s generally derisory organisation in Hampshire.

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