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 - 352 Responses on “Eastleigh”
  1. I think we could well end up with one seat in Scotland in 2020, and I think it is probably not going to be Orkney and Shetland.

    East Dunbartonshire has a 9% Conservative vote to squeeze as well as a 14% Labour vote. If Jo Swinson stands again I think ED is our most likely gain. Whereas in most places people don’t have much of a reason to vote for us, our blindingly obvious position as the unionist vote in this seat I think makes this our best chance of a gain.

  2. isn’t East Dunbartonshire likely to be butchered in the boundary review though?

  3. And if it does get butchered so will our chances of gaining it , but if it stays it is going to be our best chance of a gain anywhere.

  4. I predicted that Labour would Form the next government in 2015. And as it happens I thought that the Liberal Democrats would hold many more seats than they did. There are posters on this site for whom realism about their party’s prospects doesn’t come easily. I am not one of them.

  5. I would have expected Labour to hold Cambridge next time – incumbency boost etc.

  6. Lib Dems tend to be bad losers, tiresomely ramping themselves beforehand and going off in a big silent sulk afterwards if they have lost. This is my experience of them at election counts and also on here. To his credit, Antiochian has hung around, but most of the other incessant Lib Dem rampers on here like Mark Senior and Tim Dumper have just vanished into thin air since the election. You can probably judge Lib Dem prospects by the number of members prepared to ramp, and at the moment on here there is pretty thin gruel on that front. Aside from Antiochian we only have posters like Khunanup and James Baillie who have stuck around, who have tended not to be big rampers.

    Tories tend to stick around on blogs even when they aren’t doing well, as in almost the entire 1997-2007 decade.

  7. Its interesting that on Political Betting LibDem supporters still have a bizarre obsession with council byelections.

    Even when the LibDems fail to do well they manage to become overjoyed if the Conservatives or UKIP do badly.

  8. I’ve stuck around.

  9. With stupendous momentum, no doubt.

  10. We hope Mims likes mountain climbing because the previous proposal for the boundary review makes it look like uphill all the way…


    True she picks up Chandlers Ford, which is the most Tory part of the Eastleigh borough but she loses the Tory seaside bits. To make life more difficult the most hardcore LibDem pieces of Test Valley, i.e. North Baddesley and Valley Park are added onto her seat.

  11. @Antiochian North Baddesley and Valley Park may be Lib Dem strongholds at the local level but the are not at the national level (the Tories would have comfortably won both in 2015) just like most of Eastliegh borough. A lot of people in this area for whatever reason seem to like voting Lib Dem locally and Tory nationally.

    Your arguments don’t even make sense. You were insinuating on the Meon Valley thread how it would be hard for the Tories to hold off the Lib Dems in a proposed Hedge End and Hamble (which is pretty silly though not quite as stupid as the Lib Dem threat in New Forest East and Romsey but still) but here you are saying that the Tories are doomed because the seaside bits i.e Hamble are being removed. I’m sorry but it is not possible for the boundary changes to be good for the Lib Dems everywhere, if removing Hamble harms the Tories in Eastleigh how the hell does its presence in another seat damage the Tories there too?

    I know this will probably upset you but with the rather drastic boundary changes coming and the axing of 50 seats nationwide it is probably more likely than not that the Lib Dems will end up with the same or fewer seats in 2020.

  12. No he/she is right. We can easily turn these into Lib Dem seats just on re-drawing alone.
    (with stupendous momentum)

  13. Peppermintea… your assessment of Bristol West is still ringing in my ears… LoL

  14. The boundary commission’s final proposal was in fact for Eastleigh to remain unchanged: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/cgi-bin/calcwork.pl?seat=Eastleigh

  15. Antiochian and your ‘assessment’ of Winchester and Romsey are still ringing in mine… lol.

  16. It would be logically possible for an area to be moved from one constituency to another, with a particular party being strengthened in both seats. The area moved would have to be worse for the party than the average in the first seat but better than the average in the second seat.

  17. Looking at Antiochan’s link Westmorland and Londsdale would’ve been butchered – if that happened then zero seats wouldn’t sound quite so outlandish. Of course that wasn’t in the final proposal though as well as leaving Eastleigh unchanged.

  18. Just looking at the final proposals from Cumbria, they were very unfavourable to Labour – majority notionally slashed in Barrow (and v 2015 results almost certainly eliminated), Carlisle made safer for the Tories by addition of wards from Penrith and the Border, most of the good Labour wards from Copeland and Workington bolted together into ‘Cumbria West’. I wonder if the new recommendations will be similarly bad for Labour, to add to the Trident problem…

  19. Diane James elected leader of UKIP. A curious choice in my view.

  20. Her speech was awful

  21. She seems very short on charisma to me, much more of a party chairman or similar than party leader. She’s especially unsuited to leading a party positioning itself as an anti-establishment force IMO. Will struggle for media attention/name recognition. Under her I see UKIP support slipping back a fair bit.

  22. I agree, as a Lab supporter I’m actually vey relived at her election. Of all the potential leaders I had her pegged as the least likely to cut through to and retain Red Kippers, but she’ll probably struggle amongst blue Kippers as well.

  23. ‘Diane James elected leader of UKIP. A curious choice in my view.’

    Was she not the front runner

    I agree with Paul that her speech was awful but unlike many UKIP members, she comes across as relatively normal and is usually a fairly polished (by UKIP standards at least) media performer

    She’s no Farage though and I agree with Rivers that as fairly conventional right-winger she seems very poorly placed to win over the ex Labour and Lib Dem) voters that Farage has been so successful at

    They could well revert to the laissez faire libertarian party they were prior to 2010

  24. “They could well revert to the laissez faire libertarian party they were prior to 2010”

    A sure fire way to head to electoral oblivion. There just aren’t that many people of that economic outlook and of that reasonably small group the majority would be very happy to vote Tory. UKIP’s best hope in my opinion was becoming what I would deem “the acceptable face of racism” an anti PC, anti immigration uber patriotic party for the WWC. Diane James is a terrible choice to lead such a party primarily because she herself is so slick.

    I think UKIP have achieved enough critical mass to not fade totally (so long as they choose not to) but I can now see them polling around 5% in two/three years time.

  25. I think she is the continuity candidate, prepared to do whatever Banks, Kassam and Farage are wanting her to do.

    It’s a shame she never really improved on the Eastleigh showing, considering she came from nowhere to come a close second.

    Then vanished. Then got elected MEP, then re-appeared again as leader.

  26. ‘UKIP’s best hope in my opinion was becoming what I would deem “the acceptable face of racism” an anti PC, anti immigration uber patriotic party for the WWC. ‘

    I agree and under Farage that was essentially what it became – and that’s why it has made so much progress since 2012

    As a staunch economic right-winger, I don’t see James taking UKIP where they need to go

    At the moment, the biggest winner of today’s vote in the long-term looks like the Labour Party

  27. Farage appeared false enough when making crass comments about foreigners to try and win attention.

    She’ll seem far worse, given her rather ‘proper’ persona.

  28. “At the moment, the biggest winner of today’s vote in the long-term looks like the Labour Party”

    Lab seem to think so, a very bombastic piece has been written on LabourList about James’s election basically equating it to the end of them threatening them in their former industrial heartlands.


  29. It would certainly help Labour in places like Rotherham or Merseyside where the Tories aren’t a consideration. In a seat such as Penistone & Stocksbridge (if it survives) or a Grimsby or Hartlepool where the opposition was split between blue and purple… I’d suggest these seats become a lot more vulnerable

  30. But even places like that it assumes the UKIP vote will break overwhelmingly for the Cons. I’d argue in most places (especially with Diane James as the leader) it would break evenly if not disproportionately for Lab.

  31. Depends on the place really. Comparison of 2010 and 2015 result in Grimsby, and particularly bearing in mind the UKIP candidate in 2015 was the CON candidate in 2010, I’d suggest that the vote would go more to the Tories than Labour if UKIP’s vote collapsed.

  32. Not just dangerous, highly delusional IMO. The best Labour can hope for in the short to medium term is that the former UKIP vote largely stays at home, allowing them to limp across the finishing line in the Hartlepools and Grimsbys on an appalling turnout.

  33. I’d say on current boundaries Grimsby is a seat that UKIP’s collapse might benefit the Cons but in Stoke South and Hartlepool it would probably benefit Lab.

  34. HH
    “In some recent polls, Theresa May has had a higher approval rating from Labour voters than Corbyn”

    That’s not new, the same thing happened with Milliband at times.

  35. So my first impressions are that UKIP are retreating from the self-styled “people’s army”, back to a party of “fruitcakes and loonies”. Diane James is just – well I don’t know how she’s going to maintain visibility for her party, and she already seems to be shying away from media events.

    UKIP still has structural problems, with a dysfunctional NEC that refuses to co-operate for the greater party, and rapidly-dwindling finances – low membership, Brussels gravy train disappearing, Aaron Banks looking for a new project.

    Still, there were a couple of sensible decisions from Diane James – especially appointing a spokesman for Northern England (I’m assuming that will be Stephen Woolfe). I doubt Diane James will appeal much in Stoke-on-Trent

  36. UKIP’s big issue is that it’s not that Lab always had the attack line of “more Tory than the Tories” the reason that’s failed so spectacularly in recent years is because UKIP’s two main spokespeople where Farage who was always seen waving a pint or a fag around or Nuttall and its hard to brand anyone with such a strong scouse accent a Tory.

    I don’t know where Nuttall fits into all this but I assume he must be taking a back seat (lest why didn’t he contest the leadership) but with him and Farage gone UKIP’s main conduits to the WWC and Northern England are go with them. If Diane James tries to sound “northern” or if she develops a smoking habit, well it will look plain feeble.

  37. Reports tonight suggest Diane James has resigned as UKIP leader. Possibly due to her husband’s ill health, at least officially.

  38. Source please

  39. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ukip-leader-diane-james-resigns-latest-a7345286.html

    A shame in a way. She was UKIP’s best performer after Farage. Fluent and a seemingly sensible person to have on board. Always saw her as his successor ever since she raised her profile from the Eastleigh by-election.

    Completely understand if she stood down for personal issues. Question is, just who will take over?

    Douglas Carswell isn’t someone who you’d want leading a party. Paul Nuttall is out of the question. John Bickley who contested a few northern by-elections in the past could have serious appeal to the disaffected Labour voter, but his profile may not be big enough.

  40. Stephen Woolfe?

  41. Ah right, knew I’d forgotten someone. Suppose he’ll be a frontrunner. He was only DQ’d from the recent leadership election for a late submission so presumably he’s not in the dog house like e.g. Suzanne Evans.

  42. It should be Woolfe. His performance on QT last week was pretty respectable (not hard to sound good next to Priti Patel and Richard Burgom however). I also think Neil is being far too generous re: Diane James’ abilities.

  43. Now confirmed through a statement to The Times. She cites not having ‘sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believed necessary’. All very strange, but we’ve got used to strange things happening in British politics in 2016.

    I said when she was elected that she was a curious choice. It is possible UKIP end up with somebody better (more able to communicate with their voters) as a result. On the other hand the immediate outcome is very likely to be more chaos. And I would imagine the situation will only encourage those tempted to go back to the Tories in this post-Cameron era or to form new parties/’movements’ as Arron Banks has floated.

  44. Tbf as someone who doesn’t support UKIP I”ve always been impressed by Diane James. She really was thrown into it after the Eastleigh by election but has done okay. Stephen Woolfe is certainly a man to be reckoned with. He and Richard Burgon appeared to agree on quite a few things like investment, etc. often saying ‘I’m probably with Richard on this’. He could prove a good leader in the north of England.

  45. It’s an obvious stitch up to get Woolfe back on the ballot. Farage and James most likely planned it from the moment Woolfe was prevented from standing.

  46. Woolfe will be made a very strong favourite to win the leadership and I would agree – and expect him to triumph.

  47. I saw Stephen Woolfe on Question Time the other day and he was pretty impressive IMO. Also, of course, the racism charge that people like Corbyn and McDonnell love putting to UKIP will be a lot more difficult to sustain with Woolfe as leader.

  48. Good grief there is a lot of love for Stephen Woolfe here…

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