Eastleigh

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
2010
Con: 21102 (39%)
Lab: 5153 (10%)
LDem: 24966 (47%)
UKIP: 1933 (4%)
Oth: 496 (1%)
MAJ: 3864 (7%)
2005*
Con: 18648 (37%)
Lab: 10238 (21%)
LDem: 19216 (39%)
UKIP: 1669 (3%)
MAJ: 568 (1%)
2001
Con: 16302 (34%)
Lab: 10426 (22%)
LDem: 19360 (41%)
UKIP: 849 (2%)
Oth: 636 (1%)
MAJ: 3058 (6%)
1997
Con: 18699 (34%)
Lab: 14883 (27%)
LDem: 19453 (35%)
Oth: 446 (1%)
MAJ: 754 (1%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
DECLAN CLUNE (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 357 Responses on “Eastleigh”
  1. I actually really enjoy John O’Farrell’s books and think he’s reasonably funny, but he was a rather odd choice.

  2. UKIP has stopped the Tories getting this seat.

  3. UKIP has stopped the Tories getting this seat.

    Which may be why Cameron comes to regret not swinging the Conservatives behind a yes in the AV referendum. Had he done so, I think the Tories would have come close to, if not winning an outright majority and the boundary changes as part of the package would have been very favourable to them.

    The fact that Mike Thornton held the seat in a by-election in the worst of circumstances for the LDs does suggest they are very well-organised here and he will probably hang on.

  4. Since the comment above is on a subject I find most offensive, I shall start by saying that he is talking complete and utter nonsense.

    This now seems to be the latest tactic from the pro-electoral gerrymandering faction: try to convince Tories to back it by holding out the prospect of electoral victory.

    It is a siren song that can only lead the party onto the rocks of electoral oblivion!
    What they want of course is PERMANENT government by the left. Every single second preference system (with the one exception of Australia) has favoured the left wing parties.

    Under AV or any other alternative electoral system, there would-indeed COULD-have been no Thatcher, no radical reform, no privatisation.
    And of course, that is precisely what they want. I know that. They want to fiddle the system to keep a left wing coalition in power for ever, or at least neuter the Tories to ensure they have to accept and follow their left-wing agenda if they do actually win office.

    I was starting to move back towards voting Tory in this election anyway. But Nigel Farage’s comments today about embracing PR and moving UKIP more towards campaigning actively for electoral gerrymandering has completely turned me off them. I was wavering, but now Farage has lost my vote over this issue. If he can’t see the damage that PR would do to HIS point of view in the political debate, then frankly I wonder whether he has the nouce to be an MP…

  5. Lib Dem Hold. 3,000 maj.

  6. BBC suggesting that the Tories have gained this seat!

  7. comfortable Tory gain in the end. Never saw that coming

  8. Ashcroft poll from September 2014:
    LD 40%, Con 25%, UKIP 21%, Lab 12%, Greens 2%

    Result:
    Con 42%, LD 26%, UKIP 16%, Lab 13%, Greens 3%

  9. ..but Ashcroft poll Q1 (standard voting intention) from Sep 2014:

    Con 34 Lib Dem 25 ukip 21 Lab 17

    So again it looks like Q2 was a red herring

  10. If their local government base crumbles here as well, the ship has sailed on Eastleigh for the Lib Dems.

    In some of the closer contests like Eastbourne is there any chance they could ever come back?

  11. Bursledon & Old Netley

    Name of Candidate
    A lot of split voting here – looking at the local elections on the same day as the May 2015 General Election.
    6 Tory councillors in the Borough as a whole. I think they had 3 before and all were outside this seat, in Winchester constituency.

    Bursledon and Old Netley, a lovely area, still narrowly LD.
    The Tories took Hamble, and one of the Hedge End wards.
    Bishopstoke still heavily Lib Dem locally – the Tories must have won it in the General Election. Bishopstoke is to the north east of the town.

    Eastleigh Central has a presence for all 4 parties in votes.

    2015 seems to have been an election very very much on the national issues, in a two and four bits party system.

    Bursledon & Old Netley
    BURGESS, Frair Louise Conservative 1,403
    CRAIG, Tonia * Liberal Democrat 1,443 E
    EVANS, Denise Janet UKIP 645
    ROGERS, Chris Labour 370
    Lib Dem Hold % Poll 66.7%

    Eastleigh Central

    Name of Candidate Party Votes
    BARTER, Louise Labour 929
    GOODE, Michael Conservative 1,034
    HARDIMAN, James Green Party 292
    MOORE, Andrew Roy UKIP 1,103
    TRENCHARD, Keith Stanley * Liberal Democrat 1,743 E
    Lib Dem Hold % Poll 62.8%

    Eastleigh North

    ARNOLD, Nick Conservative 1066
    BABEY, Jack James Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 26
    BAIN, Sarah Louise Liberal Democrat 1578 E
    DAVIES-DEAR, Glynn William UKIP 901
    GOODALL, Stephen Labour 513
    HARRIS, Imogen Susan Green Party 222
    Lib Dem Hold % Poll 69.3%

    Eastleigh South
    BICKNELL, Paul * Liberal Democrat 1,378 E
    BRAIN, Dan Conservative 902
    COURTNEY, Susan Green Party 186
    JUDD, Tanya Louise Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 16
    PHILLIPS, Steve Labour 787
    SAUNDERS, Jim UKIP 1,047
    Lib Dem Hold % Poll 62.5%

  12. The first two lines are a copy and paste error – start from line 3.

  13. There is a by-election for Eastleigh BC, West End North on 11th February 2016, which should give some flavour

  14. Eastleigh West End North

    Lib Dem 582 53.0%
    Con 315 28.7%
    UKIP 115 10.5%
    Lab 58 5.3%
    Green 28 2.6%

    I wouldn’t draw too much from this as there are a large amount of voters in Eastleigh who vote LD locally but Tory in the GE. Indeed last year the Tories won every ward in the GE but the LDs remained dominant locally as detailed previously.

    Having said that it’s still at the high end of expectations for the LDs and they can probably look forward to defending all their seats this year and regaining some seats from UKIP here in 2017.

  15. Thanks AB… I am hoping the Tories are thinking that as well ….The more lulled they are the better.. but somehow I don’t think the MP will be quite as sanguine as you…

  16. There are not actually any UKIP seats for the Lib Dems to gain here — Eastleigh Borouth Council has 38 Lib Dems and 6 Conservatives.

    This result was a close to 10% swing from Conservative to Lib Dem. It shows that the Lib Dems will remain a force here. Whether or not they can make a challenge for the parliamentary seat in 2020 will depend on a significant uptick in the LIb Dem position nationally. Without that, local factors will not be enough.

  17. It was good local results in places like this – in fact Eastleigh was the archetypal example, probably because of the equally red herring by-election – that helped convince many LDs, and in turn pundits, that they’d hang on to more seats than their polling position suggested. In reality it didn’t work out that way so, whilst retaining the local base is clearly important if they are to challenge at future GEs, it shouldn’t be seen as an indicator that having got their punishment for coalition in 2015 the LDs are likely to sweep back in in the seats they previously held in 2020.

  18. Jack is absolutely right.

  19. I agree too. I think the Lib Dems would need to get back to at least 15% nationally to challenge seriously (not necessarily win) in this seat. That looks like a very uphill struggle right now, though four years can be a long time in politics.

  20. Tory… spoken like a true Tory…

  21. I think that the laws of political gravity mean that we are likely to see some swing back towards the Lib Dems during the course of this parliament, although not necessarily a big one as it’s likely to take a few years to purge their coalition guilt completely in the eyes of centre-left voters.

    It’s an interesting but under-remarked fact that the big changes in voting in the 2015 GE were not for Labour and the Tories who both increased their national share of the vote a bit, Labour by slightly more than the Conservatives. This was completely eclipsed by the overall majority for the Tories and Labour’s disaster in Scotland.

    The big changes were the drop in the Lib Dem vote (-15%) and the rise in the UKIP vote (+ nearly 10%). This suggests that the protest vote usually hoovered up by Lib Dems went to UKIP. As the Lib Dems slowly resume their destiny as the safe centrist repository of protest votes, then it is surely likely that the UKIP vote will correspondingly fall.

  22. “This suggests that the protest vote usually hoovered up by Lib Dems went to UKIP”

    To an extent but, and I’m not sure you’re actually implying this, that doesn’t mean that there were many direct LD>UKIP switchers. There were a few but far less than went CON>UKIP and LAB>UKIP. Most ex-LD voters went to CON, LAB or SNP. The demographic of the 2010 LD voters and the 2015 UKIP voters was very different so I’m not sure you can see them as the same group, even if numerically they formed a similar portion of the electorate.

    Also, I’m far from convinced that the LDs can simply resume their position as the safe party of protest votes in the near future. They have virtually no media profile any more, a policy platform not conducive to the current concerns of disaffected voters and the coalition experience has – whichever way you look at it – ended their appeal among some groups that used to form a good portion of their support base. Their best hope is that by 2020 people look back and think that the 2010-15 coalition was much better than the Tory majority or a potential Corbyn government but for the reasons I’ve said I think life will be very tough. Remember that the last time they fell to less than 10 seats (1950) it took 16 years for them to get back into double figures and well over 30 before they re-established a significant parliamentary party.

  23. The LDs kept the slide to within about 16 points where they had an incumbent I think. This is about as bad as the national drop but still better when they were much higher in those seats.
    I would hope (but not assume) that they can be reduced even further in those seats without an incumbent MP.

  24. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t think you could have considered 2010 Lib Dem votes “protest” votes considering they were a party defending their biggest ever seat total and with all the polls pointing to them holding the balance of power in a hung parliament.

    Part of the complication is that people voted Lib Dem for many reasons – tactically to keep out another party; in support of a well-liked local candidate; because it was felt that neither of the big two took notice of their concerns; or because they had core liberal values. Consequently their votes scattered to Labour, Tory, Green, UKIP & SNP in varying quantities, as the broad church disintegrated and left just the core vote behind.

    Meanwhile UKIP picked up support from different voters in different areas. In the South West, UKIP took lots of votes from the Lib Dems, usurping them as the main anti-Tory/anti-Westminster option. In Northern towns and the Welsh valleys they ate into the WWC Labour vote. Across the South East and the Midlands, it is somewhat up for debate how much they took from Labour and the Tories respectively – probably they took more from the Tories but it would have varied on a seat-by-seat basis.

    On top of all that, one could certainly make the case that Labour is the new go-to party of protest 😉

  25. Have to say I agree with the above. In the national polls UKIP’s vote has held up and there is zero indication that the Lib Dems are getting back any of that protest vote.

    I find it remarkable that, with a soft left leader, the Lib Dems have achieved no improvement in their poll rating whatsoever, despite Corbyn repelling more moderate Labour supporters. Despite Clegg’s unpopularity Farron is no higher in the polls than he was. With no media profile, fewer and fewer people will know anything of their policy profile and it will get harder for them to dig themselves out of this hole.

  26. The 1959 result was considerably better than the 2015 result for them. They just didn’t stand in nearly as many seats.

  27. ” Meanwhile UKIP picked up support from different voters in different areas. In the South West, UKIP took lots of votes from the Lib Dems, usurping them as the main anti-Tory/anti-Westminster option. In Northern towns and the Welsh valleys they ate into the WWC Labour vote. Across the South East and the Midlands, it is somewhat up for debate how much they took from Labour and the Tories respectively – probably they took more from the Tories but it would have varied on a seat-by-seat basis. ”

    I’d say UKIP gained predominantly wwc voters which means they gained from different parties in different areas of the country.

    In the South-East predominantly from the LibDems, in the South-East predominantly from the Conservatives, in the North predominantly from Labour.

    Many of the votes UKIP gained from the Conservatives in places like Boston and Havering would have been people who voted Labour in 1997/2001 and Conservative in 2005/2010.

  28. ” I find it remarkable that, with a soft left leader, the Lib Dems have achieved no improvement in their poll rating whatsoever, despite Corbyn repelling more moderate Labour supporters. Despite Clegg’s unpopularity Farron is no higher in the polls than he was. With no media profile, fewer and fewer people will know anything of their policy profile and it will get harder for them to dig themselves out of this hole. ”

    Indeed.

    And its not just Labour who are having problems – with the government having difficulties over eg doctors and floods the LibDems should have picked up some ‘wishy-washy’ votes in the polls.

    I has expected that the LibDems would gain councillors in the May elections but now its looking like they’ll lose yet more.

    Its also not inconceivable that the LibDems get fewer MPs at the next general election. Especially if there are boundary changes.

  29. H Hemmelig: I think Farron’s main problem is he triangulates too much. His pitch is “we’re not the Tories, but we’re not Labour either”. The problem is most voters will pick one or other of those two, and those who do not are unlikely to be persuaded by an ill-defined compromise between the two.

    His other problem is that he spends to much of his time explaining why his party deserves to exist. (“Britain needs a distinct liberal voice.”) The more he raises the issue, the more people will come to the conclusion that he is wrong, whereas it would never have crossed their minds if he had kept his mouth shut.

  30. I still find it hard to believe the LDs will lose councillors on 2012. They got absolutely thrashed that year.

  31. @Polltroll

    “His other problem is that he spends to much of his time explaining why his party deserves to exist. (“Britain needs a distinct liberal voice.”) The more he raises the issue, the more people will come to the conclusion that he is wrong, whereas it would never have crossed their minds if he had kept his mouth shut.”

    I don’t think people are hearing him at all. He’s a nobody, quite frankly. But those that do are, I agree, very likely to be put off by this. There is a small core of people who believe there should be a ‘distinct liberal voice’; unsurprisingly these were among the 8% voting LD already. A much greater proportion of their ex- (and theoretical future voters) voted for them in spite of the deeply held liberal views of people like Tim Farron rather than because of them.

  32. “I still find it hard to believe the LDs will lose councillors on 2012. They got absolutely thrashed that year” – I think they actually did reasonably well in their supposed strongholds that year (Cheltenham, Colchester, Eastleigh, Portsmouth etc.) I had thought they’d flatline this year but now think there could be some surprisingly heavy losses.

    “Its also not inconceivable that the LibDems get fewer MPs at the next general election. Especially if there are boundary changes” – true. They could well be notionally down to four or five seats with the boundary changes. If they continue with the heavy council losses and their downward spiral in national polls it’s not hard to see them going down to one or two, maybe even an outside prospect of zero although I think I’m in a minority of about one on that point

  33. Dream on Mike…. where is Barnaby when we need him? This should be renamed Torypollingreport.co.uk where the sun is always shining and DC is not about to get his ass whipped with the Brexit from hell…

  34. @Jack Sheldon

    Remember that the last time they fell to less than 10 seats (1950) it took 16 years for them to get back into double figures and well over 30 before they re-established a significant parliamentary party.’

    Not so. The last time the Liberals dropped to single figures was 1970 when only six were elected. By July 1973 following by election victories they were back at ten seats and went on to reach 14 at the February 1974 election.

  35. @Graham

    You’re right, sorry. But you know what I mean. From where they fell to in 1950 it took a very long time to re-establish significant representation. I don’t see it being any easier this time.

  36. I do see what you mean but we do not know at this stage whether 1950 is a better guide than 1970! In terms of again becoming a part of 30 plus MPs I have to agree it will probably take decades rather than years. The problem they face is that they now have so much competition from UKIP -The Greens – SNP- for any protest or NOTA votes that might be up grabs and that is not going to change anytime soon!

  37. With the Tories getting only 37% of the vote and Labour getting 30%, the LibDems are not the only ones subject to the vagaries of the NOTA crowd!

  38. It was a good by-election win for the yellows, but what I will point out (purely in the interests of balance), is that in 2014 the Lib Dems got 52% in West End North, UKIP 25%, the Tories 18%.
    It was not a good predictor for the GE one year later.

    Regarding the potential effect of boundary changes on the number of Lib Dem seats; off the top of my head they could certainly be down to a notional 6 seats.
    In the 2013 review both Leeds North West and Carshalton / Wallington would’ve been lost.
    However I’d be slightly surprised if they didn’t re-gain a couple. Perhaps St. Ives, Bath or Eastbourne.

  39. Not Bath I suspect – Labour might take advantage of LibDem weakness to resurge there and to return to the competitive position they enjoyed there until the 1980s.

  40. If they went down to 1 seat it probably would be Orkney and Shetland, so the Nordic fringe only.
    It’s such an unusual place, and I think it voted for Brexit in 1975.

    Although it would be quite funny if Farron held on and remained as leader – by a majority of 56.

  41. I agreed with Mr Sheldon because I think he is correct not because I am a Tory. Unlike some posters I have engaged in wishful thinking about my chosen party comparatively rarely.

  42. I agree you’re objective, Tory.

    However, I must say I really enjoyed the 2015 election night – it was a hugely funny spectacle the Lib Dems getting a real kicking and they had hardly any seats,

  43. Loved it when they went over to the Yeovil count “Lib Dems looking very very glum”
    lol

  44. I think Farron has now made Westmorland and Lonsdale a fortress. History suggests there must still be some underlying Tory prospects there – they’d held it for centuries until 2005 – but with Farron as leader it will probably only become even better for the LDs. Most of their other held seats are held because of opposition weakness – often a transition in which of CON or LAB is best placed to challenge. I doubt that will be solved in one election but in the long term, especially if there are changes of LD candidate, they are certainly vulnerable.

  45. “I agree you’re objective, Tory”.

    The political equivalent of the pot and the kettle agreeing they are both black?

  46. Antiochian I know like the stereotypical Lib Dem supporter you are an extreme optimist about your party’s fortunes, I thought you would have learned your lesson after their thrashing in 2015 but apparently not. In the run up to the election you were trying to convince us all that the Lib Dems had a chance of winning back Winchester and Romsey, how exactly did that work out for you?

    What other contributors are saying is actually pretty reasonable, if the Lib Dems do not get their act together it is possible, even likely they will end up with less seats than in 2020. Tim Farron is being drowned out and the party’s positions on current issues are a mere footnote in the news, if that. For example Farron announced Lib Dem proposals for the legalisation of Cannabis the other day, and exactly how much attention did this get given? If Cameron, Corbyn, Sturgeon or Farage had said the same thing it would have been big news. In fact Caroline Lucas’s opinions on different issues are treated by the media with far higher relevance than those of Tim Farron.

    The constituency boundaries will probably change dramatically and that along with the reduction in the overall number of seats makes Lib Dem seat loss more likely. For example Carshalton may get put in a seat with Coulsdon and other parts of Southern Croydon and then it is bye-bye Tom Brake. Sheffield Hallam could well be broken up between two constituencies allowing a Labour sweep of the Sheffield seats for the first time ever. Pugh could retire in Southport removing incumbency factor in a seat the Lib Dems only hung onto on an extremely weak vote share.

    I know in ‘hyper-optimist Lib Dem supporter world’ you think the Lib Dems will regain a lot of the seats that were lost in 2020. But I’m afraid there is no evidence at all that they can regain much at all and depending on the new boundaries losses of certain seats may even be likely…

  47. Now to consider possible LibDem gains:

    Cambridge – especially if Huppert stands again and if the constituency boundaries are extended.

    Eastbourne / Lewes – a problem being that neither Norman Baker and Stephen Lloyd will stand again.

    SW London – depends on any possible boundary changes.

    The LibDems problem is that they weren’t just defeated they were near obliterated in many of their former constituencies. There is now far more options for protest votes than when the LibDems gained strength from the 1980s onwards. Together with the loss of personal incumbency votes, tactical votes and relevancy votes its very hard to make a comeback.

  48. The best hopes of LD gains may well, oddly enough, be in Scotland. There are a number of seats there that they didn’t lose so badly and where they are clearly the only unionist party in the game – East Dumbartonshire, North East Fife, Caithness, Ross and Skye, even Edinburgh West.

  49. Peppermintea… I am far from being stereotypical and I am not making predictions and not being optimistic or even over-optimistic.. please quote where I made any over optimistic claims here…?

    I am referring to the cluster**** of Tories here who seem to have been arguing since Eastleigh was a railway workshop town that this is prime Tory territory. Have any of them ever been to Eastleigh??

    Don’t they know that Chandlers Ford is part of the Winchester constituency and that is the ONLY part of Eastleigh that could even vaguely be called classy?

    Saturday morning in the centre of Eastleigh you could imagine you were in Sunderland and watch out for getting run over by the mobility scooters..

    Its really quite farcical..

  50. I’d have thought Eastbourne was the most likely gain – the Lib Dems still run the council and it’s one of the few seats they’ve lost and managed to regain before.

    Would agree with Edinburgh West and Cambridge as the other big targets depending on boundary changes.

    Unless there’s a big improvement in their fortunes I can’t see them going after any other SW London seats unless Tom Brake decided to stand down – surely all the resources would go to holding his (notionally Tory?) seat. Can’t see many targets in the west country either as most of the seats were lost by such big margins – maybe the target list will be a yellow post-it note with “Torbay?, St Ives?” scribbled on it assuming they can persuade the former incumbents to run again.

    As for Eastleigh (and getting back on topic) it could be a viable longer-term target if they can hang onto the council but imho there’s next to no chance of a gain in 2020.

    Then again four years is a long time, who knows what state the party will be in then.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)