Enfield, Southgate

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22624 (49.4%)
Labour: 17871 (39%)
Lib Dem: 1518 (3.3%)
Green: 1690 (3.7%)
UKIP: 2109 (4.6%)
MAJORITY: 4753 (10.4%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Enfield council area.

Main population centres: Southgate, Hadley Wood.

Profile: This the the prosperous, leafy western part of the Borough of Enfield and natural Conservative territory. It is more cosmopolitan than the Conservative suburbs of south-east London, there are sizeable Muslim, Jewish and Cypriot populations here, and the Bowes Park area to the south of the constituency is solidly Labour, but overall Southgate tends towards a middle-class Conservative area. To the north the seat becomes semi-rural as it takes in Trent Park and the Middlesex University campus and stretches into the hugely expensive Hadley Wood area.

Politics: Enfield Southgate is normally a reliable Conservative seat that was famously won by Labour in 1997. Many elections have particular contests that capture the public imagination and Stephen Twigg`s victory over Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate symbolised the Labour victory in 1997 in the same way that David Amess`s defence of Basildon characterised the Conservative win in 1992. A book about election night 1997 by the journalist Brian Cathcart was later published with the title "Were you still up for Portillo?". Enfield Southgate was won back by the Conservatives in 2005 and its brief time as a Labour seat seems to have been an aberration in its otherwise constant representation by the Conservative party.

Current MP
DAVID BURROWES (Conservative) Born 1969, Cockfosters. Educated at Highgate School and Exeter University. Former solicitor. Former Enfield councillor. Contested Edmonton 2001. First elected as MP for Enfield Southgate in 2005. Founded the Conservative Christian Fellowship along with Tim Montgomerie.
Past Results
Con: 21928 (49%)
Lab: 14302 (32%)
LDem: 6124 (14%)
GRN: 632 (1%)
Oth: 1366 (3%)
MAJ: 7626 (17%)
Con: 18830 (45%)
Lab: 17083 (40%)
LDem: 4724 (11%)
GRN: 1083 (3%)
Oth: 490 (1%)
MAJ: 1747 (4%)
Con: 16181 (39%)
Lab: 21727 (52%)
LDem: 2935 (7%)
GRN: 662 (2%)
Oth: 403 (1%)
MAJ: 5546 (13%)
Con: 19137 (41%)
Lab: 20570 (44%)
LDem: 4966 (11%)
Oth: 518 (1%)
MAJ: 1433 (3%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAVID BURROWES (Conservative) See above.
BAMBOS CHARALAMBOUS (Labour) Educated at Liverpool Polytechnic. Solicitor. Enfield councillor since 1994. Contested Epping Forest 2005, Enfield Southgate 2010.
PAUL SMITH (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Oxford University. Contested Enfield North 2010.
DAVID SCHOFIELD (UKIP) Enfield councillor 2002-2006 for the Conservatives.
Comments - 296 Responses on “Enfield, Southgate”
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  1. I strongly doubt that Labour will win in Enfield Southgate. It is a stronger seat for the Tories and David Burrowes is a very strong constituency MP, not even a target seat. However, he did say that loads of Tory voters won’t vote for him because of gay marriage. Put it this way, if Labour wins in Enfield Southgate then it is winning in Battersea, Harrow East, Finchley and Bermondsey.

  2. I agree, something like:

    Con – 47
    Lab – 38
    LD – 8
    OTH – 7

  3. I think the Lib Dems will probably do worse than that, but possibly. I think we are all forgetting UKIP.

  4. It is interesting that Burrowes has been able to stabilise the Tory position here. How did the Tories do here in the Mayoral/GLA vote?

    Based on 2005 and 2010, I think Burrowes will hold Southgate by somewhere in the range of 3500-5000.

  5. I can’t see UKIP doing much in this seat – they might get up to 5%

  6. @Tory – You could be right, although Labour increased their share of the vote in Enfield and Haringey – they did very, very well.
    @Bob – Who knows about UKIP, unknown entity when it comes to Tory areas. They will stand and if the polls say what they are saying, they could split the vote. Seeing as Burrowes is worried about his seat because of gay marriage, UKIP could use it against him.

  7. Have UKIP actually said they are against gay marriage?
    Anyway, I doubt the Tories will have problems here.

  8. Con 46
    Lab 37
    Lib Dem 9
    Ukip 5
    Other 3

    Also why did respect stand here. Surely there are a whole host of places where they would have done better.

  9. Interestingly, George Bruce stood here for the Liberals seven times from 1955 to October 1974.

  10. “Also why did respect stand here. Surely there are a whole host of places where they would have done better.”

    The description mentions that there’s a sizeable Muslim population. About the only demographic they exploit in the most cynical way possible. I’d like to think that the recent mass of resignations from the party in Bradford will make them disappear soon eough.

  11. “The description mentions that there’s a sizeable Muslim population.”

    Yes, mostly in the southernmost part of the seat which borders Edmonton and Wood Green and to some extent resembles those areas.

    It strikes me that David Burrowes isn’t really the right sort of Tory MP for this kind of seat, though you have to say that his electoral record has been very good.

  12. A couple of the Somalians who were picked up in the aftermath of 7/7 lived in Arnos Grove, in those grotty tower blocks

  13. There must be Turkish Cypriots who are Muslim as well, though they are not the first community people tend to think about when they hear the word “Muslim” perhaps.
    I was just thinking about this seat today in fact. It’s interesting to note that even though David Burrowes has now had 2 consecutive above-average performances here, the Tory lead is still only about half what it was in 1992. I guess you’d say that there’s a rather gradual, gentle demographic change, which perhaps appeared rather more sweeping than it actually was because of the 2 utterly disastrous Tory performances of 1997 & 2001. I think there may be some evidence that John Flack was an unusually poor candidate in 2001; Burrowes seems to be more clued-up altogether. This seat is still one, therefore, which Labour can only really aspire to win in a landslide year; maybe in 10 years or so it may be winnable in a rather less heavily Labour year, such as 2005 was.

  14. “This seat is still one, therefore, which Labour can only really aspire to win in a landslide year; maybe in 10 years or so it may be winnable in a rather less heavily Labour year, such as 2005 was.”

    Or if the seat starts to transform demographically the way Enfield North has (which is probably going to be a Labour gain in 2015). For that to happen in Southgate, it’d likely take a full generation for that to occur if it all.

  15. It does seem that the grottier areas haven’t spread north on this side of Enfield, unlike the east side of the borough which has rapidly gone downhill all the way up to the Herts border. It would be interesting to consider why that is.

    John Flack ran an appalling campaign in 2001 which didn’t go unnoticed by CCHQ, who made sure he never got a second chance to become an MP. He seriously misjudged the seat, believing that engaging in doorstep whispers about Twigg’s colourful private life would be in any way helpful in a relatively liberal London seat. Flack was a farmer from East Anglia who would have done far better had he stood say in rural Norfolk.

  16. You may be partly correct but are areas like this really all that liberal?

    More like it was an inevitable second Labour term from a country that simply didn’t want the Conservatives who had been thrown out only 4 years before after 18 years.

    I don’t know much about the 2001 campaign here.

  17. “It does seem that the grottier areas haven’t spread north on this side of Enfield, unlike the east side of the borough which has rapidly gone downhill all the way up to the Herts border. It would be interesting to consider why that is.”

    Are you sure they haven’t?

    The swings in those wards were above average in 2010 from 2006 and Labour looks likely to win Southgate Green, Winchmore Hill and Bush Hill Park in 2014.

    Its certainly possible that there will be more Labour councillors in this constituency than Conservative ones.

    The rot of the Conservative position in Bush Hill Park (which is in Edmonton constituency but adjacent to here) is prenounced:

    2002 58%
    2010 38%

    Enfield council will probably never be Conservative controlled again.

  18. The results here are rather similar to Battersea, Putney and Wimbledon where they were notably poor in 2001 for the Tories who then recovered in 2005. I think in 2001 middle class Londoners thought (New)Labour was financially OK but they’d gone off them by 2005.
    I have a feeling though that Southgate is more vulnerable to a demographic change favouring Labour.

  19. Sounds about right – change may be happening here but I think the C share is still only down about the average against 1992 so far.

  20. I think 1997 and 2001 were an aberration in terms of support for Labour. In historical terms 2005 was a good election result for Labour and Enfield was taken back by the Tories. It may not be the safe seat it had once been but it is likely to return Tories in all but the worst years for them. I would class 2005 as a bad year for the Tories nationally by the way!

  21. I would just like to take this opportunity to apologise for my recent behaviour on this site, particularly on the Bosworth and Witney threads. I hope people haven’t been offended by any of my remarks and I would like to officially draw a line under what has happened in the past few days- I will stick with psephology.

  22. The one thing saving the Tories bacon here from the same type of demographic change that has forcefully shoved Enfield North into Labour hands is the 25% other White group present throughout this seat. The Tories have done well with the slightly wealthier and older Turkish Cypriot/Greek communities here as well as the Jewish community. As long as they keep buying properties in Southgate and West Enfield then this seat will remain blue. Once they start to move out en masse to Herts then Labour will start to advance here more rapidly.

    It also probably helps the Tories that Enfield North (Eastern half) and Edmonton are so run down, in a similar situation to Chingford not that far away. People here are more reluctant to back Labour as they do not want to see their towns going the same way at such a fast pace.

  23. I don’t agree with Richard that Labour will win Winchmore Hill next year. That would require a big swing & I think a Tory hold is almost certain. I think that Labour will also struggle to win Bush Hill Park – indeed, there was a by-election in the ward since 2010 in which Labour made no progress at all despite being by that time ahead in the opinion polls. In fact, Chase is a better bet for a Labour gain – it was quite close in the GLA list vote between the Tories & Labour. I don’t think that Greek Cypriots in general are all that good for the Tories. They don’t quite vote en bloc for Labour like most Indian subcontinental communities, but they do tend to vote predominantly for that party.

  24. “The rot of the Conservative position in Bush Hill Park (which is in Edmonton constituency but adjacent to here) is prenounced:

    2002 58%
    2010 38%”

    Richard the 2010 figure is wrong. In May 2010 the Tories got 50.6% of the vote in Bush Hill Park. Labour won’t win it in 2014.

  25. Its the old problem of how you calculate multiple member constituencies.

    The result was:

    C 3451
    C 3225
    C 3224
    L 2230
    L 2077
    L 2049
    D 1747
    G 942
    U 618

    Taking the first in each party that gives 8988 individual votes and a Conservative total of 38.4%.

    Even assuming that the LibDem, Green and UKIP votes all came from the same people that would still give the Conservatives only 46%.

    It looks like they’re losing 2% per year.

  26. I think you’re both right.
    The recognised way of calculating it (as you’ll see in those GLA former London research centre books) is to average the scores per party regardless of how many candidates htey put up – and then there is a tweak to make it add up to the number of ballots used.
    In practice that will inflate the parties that only put up one or two candidates from what in reality they probably would have got if they put up all 3

    but the other method of just adding it up completely raw is worse.

    So on the recommended method (which I support – as there isn’t a better way) the Tory vote will have dropped heavily in % terms but it’s not really the reality.

  27. I’d say that Labour would need approximately an 8% swing from 2010 to take Bush Hill Park and Winchmore Hill.

    Now IMO Labour are highly unlikely to lead nationally by 8% next May.

    But if demographic change is occurring in these wards then that required national equivalent would drop.

  28. I’m hoping we can about draw level by May – although it seems we are on the back foot over the energy costs campaign.

  29. Have the Conservatives ever tried to get Bush Hill Park ward moved into either Enfield North or Enfield Southgate at a boundary change?

    Or did they still think that Edmonton was winnable with it?

    I remember Edmonton being described as winnable by Justin Hinchcliffe and perhaps the Enfield Conservatives were just as delusional.

  30. I’m assuming Bush Hill Park was placed in Edmonton to make up the numbers in that seat. Its natural home would be in either Enfield seat.

  31. Historically most of the area of the Bush Hill ward was part of the old Edmonton MB although demographically it is clearly a better fit now with Southgate

  32. My forecast for 2015 here

    Con 46
    Lab 39
    LD 7
    Others 8

    Great Continental Railway Journeys was good the other night.

  33. This seat is most definitely not semi-marginal as the blurb above states… it was first strong Tory… then redistricted.. then marginal Labour, then redistricted again.. now safe Tory…

  34. For a change I agree with A Brown.

  35. You are mistaken Antiochian. There were no boundary changes prior to the 1997 election and those prior to 2010 had minimal partisan impact

  36. Prediction for 2015-
    Con- 47%
    Lab- 37%
    Lib Dem- 7%
    UKIP- 4%
    Others- 5%

  37. I think A Brown is about right, though it could perhaps be very slightly closer than that. I don’t think however that Labour will be that close to winning this time. The description “safe Tory” isn’t quite right but the seat remains one which will, for the time being at least, only be won by Labour in landslide years. This may change in a few years but not yet.

  38. Semi marginal is probably about right for the time being. Definitely has the potential to become a true marginal, in 2001 it was so.

  39. Southgate should probably remain Tory for a few more elections IMO. If the changes in the rest of Enfield extend over to this seat, we will be seeing much tighter contests.

    Then again, David Burrowes could be an effective local MP (don’t know much about him) so that may work in his favour.

  40. CON HOLD MAJ: 2%
    CON 40
    LAB 38
    LD 9
    UKIP 6
    GRN 5
    OTH 2

  41. The Labour vote share is plausible but I really don’t see the Tory vote dipping 9.5% points. I tend to think:

    CON 45
    LAB 37
    LD 10
    UKIP 5
    Oths 3

  42. The Labour majority in 2001 was quite substantial and one that could have suggested that this had become a bellweather seat…if not one that was more naturally Labour. The Conservative gain here in 2005 and margin of victory in 2010 displayed a recovery similar to Harrow East (not replicated in Brent North or Ealing North).

  43. Grange ward councillor Chris Joannides deselected over burka remarks:


    Think the Tories’ decision is just PC nonsense to be honest.

  44. So do I.

  45. You can see why CCHQ gets very frustrated with idiots like this though. It reinforces negative perceptions of the party amongst minority voters, some of whom are potential supporters. I would not make racist comments or jokes on my Facebook page and I suggest that in this day and age it’s a pretty weird person that would, in London especially.

  46. @h hemmelig

    Silly comment that practically every Tory agrees with.How
    many people wearing burqas are going to vote Tory – probably about as rare as Jews voting NSDAP in Germany in 1933

  47. The most silly comment is yours. Where is your evidence that practically every Tory agrees with that type of comment? For plenty of minority voters, whether or not they wear burkhas, a steady drip drip of silly remarks like this reinforces their negative views of the Tory party. Plenty of Tories agree, including the esteemed Lord Ashcroft.

  48. The number of burqa-wearing electors voting Conservative would undoubtedly be small, but it would certainly be more than the proportion of German Jews who voted NSDAP. Many of them, of course, would have been tempted to vote LD up to & including 2010.

  49. I am surprised, HH, that you are surprised that Wolf has made a silly comment. He clearly only visits us to wind people up.

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