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”
  1. The London local elections will be good indicators of how well organised in local constituencies the parties are. In local elections strong activist bases can win against the national trend on low turn out. The same activity can lead to above swing results later, but not always. Wandsworth has been a clear Conservative council despite periods when all the MP’s were Labour. This time, the elections will tell how weak the Lib Dems are in their marginal areas – Hampstead, Brent will be particularly worth watching. If Labour do well in the wards of Hendon, Enfield N or Harrow E, then they will be strongly placed to regain the Parliamentary seats. Equally Labour performances in Ealing and Hounslow will be worth watching. For Conservative improvement in London, Westminster N and Eltham. would be positive signs. Also in Sutton.

    Southgate should be good for David Burrows for a few years yet. It was a surprise win for Labour in 1997 and the Conservatives won’t be so complacent again.

  2. I think Labour’s success here in 97 and 2001 is unlikely to ever be repeated

    As many people’s bogeyman of an exceptionally unpopular government I have little doubt that Portillo’s canditure cost the Tories this seat in 97

    Stephen Tims was seen as a fairly decent, hard-working chap, which probably enabled Laboir to hold on in 2001, but it was hardly a surprise when Burrows won in 2005, and even less of one that he increased his majority quite substantially in 2010

    Southgate doesn’t seem like a natural fit for an evangelical Christian on the Tory Right but Burrow’s electoral record suggest otherwise

  3. The demographics of Southgate look on the face of it increasingly favourable to Labour, but as it’s a middle class area it might be that ethnic minority voters are more willing to vote Tory, or if it’s like Brent North it might change hands somewhere in the future.

    In Enfield North, the seven wards are split 4-3 on the side of Labour.

  4. Tim Jones

    I think you have an over attachment to your name. The bloke you are thinking of was Stephen Twigg.

  5. The Tories would be better off with more of an east-west split in Enfield. They’re going to lose Enfield North to demographic change anyway so they’d be better off with a shored-up of Southgate including Highlands- their best ward from the current Enfield North.

    Saying that, it’s possible that the Tory position has stabilised here. And when one looks at the demographic profile one can see why the Tories have managed a decent if nevertheless partial recovery from 1997. It’s still a private sector middle-class kind of area.

  6. David Burrowes will have no problems here in 2015, and should hold comfortably with a majority of about 4-5,000.

  7. Tory – it’s still worth noting that, though David Burrowes has done pretty well here in the last 2 elections, the Tories are still only about half as far ahead of Labour as they were in 1992, a comparable election – and there’s been virtually no boundary change. Perhaps there is still slow demographic change very gradually weakening the longterm Tory position. We’ll know next year. Certainly Labour are far stronger in Palmers Green & Southgate Green than they were a generation ago, though the Tories still look pretty good in the other 4 wards they hold (Southgate, Cockfosters, Winchmore Hill & Grange).

  8. An indication of how much this seat has changed is that Labour only just managed to overtake the Liberals in elections such as 1966 and Oct 1974 when they were well ahead in the popular vote nationally. In 2010 they were miles ahead of them despite being 7% behind overall.

  9. Labour fell 11.3% here in 2005, but because of the incmbuency boost that Stephen Twigg had received in 2001, Labour were only 3.7% where they were in 1997, and still well ahead of their 1992 result. They still are now as well.

  10. Barnaby- oh I very much agree with you, which is why I said the Tories have enjoyed only a partial recovery.

  11. As Tory says, the suggestion of an East/West split in Enfield makes much more sense. East Enfield is horrendous. It’s so run down now that there s no telling the area apart from Tottenham and Edmonton. Having said that it was always a bit grim but not to the extent that it is now.

    I would rather all the ruined areas (Enfield Lock, Ponders End, Southbury and the northern Edmonton wards) in one seat and the nicer bits, like Highlands and Bush Hill Park in another seat. One super safe seat for Labour, One safeish seat for the Tories in this part of London.

  12. Well that was the old arrangement before 1974 of course. Enfield W safe for Cecil “Don’t be silly Parky!” Parkinson, and before that Iain Macleod, Enfield E safe for Labour (it was John Mackie there for years, later a peer), and a separate safe Labour seat in Edmonton. Enfield W would certainly still be safe, Southgate would still trend somewhat Conservative.

  13. Yes, a faithfully recreated Enfield West would still be a safe Tory seat because it would include Potter’s Bar. Alas, such an arrangement would sadly not be possible under the Commission’s rules). I think L Bernard and I are hinting at a new Enfield West, which would perhaps run from Chase, through Cockfosters down to Southgate itself, and taking in Grange, Highlands, and Winchmore Hill (I am thinking aloud on that).

  14. If the election results in the 1960s and 1970s are anything to go by, Southgate was almost an upper-middle class seat at that time, whereas today it could probably be best described as just middle-class.

  15. Well solidly middle class I’d say, rather like Twickenham, but obviously with very few ethnic minorities in those days.

  16. “Yes, a faithfully recreated Enfield West would still be a safe Tory seat because it would include Potter’s Bar. Alas, such an arrangement would sadly not be possible under the Commission’s rules). I think L Bernard and I are hinting at a new Enfield West, which would perhaps run from Chase, through Cockfosters down to Southgate itself, and taking in Grange, Highlands, and Winchmore Hill (I am thinking aloud on that)”

    That is exactly what I was thinking. Enfield East would take in the eastern wards along the A10 and into Edmonton, with the remainder of Edmonton joining North Tottenham.

  17. There is of course the issue that whilst Enfield is slightly small for three seats, Haringey is almost exactly the right size for two seats, so there are no good grounds to pair them.

    Even if you did pair them, the net effect would be to add only one (or at most two) Haringey wards to Edmonton. That doesn’t let it drop anything more than Bush Hill Park or Ponder’s End, which means that you still end up with basically the same North and Southgate arrangement – the suggestions for an Enfield West are much too large and Enfield East much too small.

    And that’s before we even get into the fact that gerrymandering Enfield in this way to corrall BAME voters would make Edmonton and the Haringey seats much worse representations of community identities.

  18. Edward- I was simply making a factual statement that from a purely partisan, purely self-interested perspective, the Conservatives would be better off with a west-east split of some description in Enfield. I wasn’t submitting any proposals to the Commission. And I certainly wasn’t making any proposals based upon the methodology for the aborted 2013 review.

  19. Yes, but the fact remains that an Enfield West seat of the sort you suggest just isn’t possible, because the numbers don’t work. You can get three smallish seats out of Enfield, and within the numerical confines that creates you can’t unify all the strongest Tory areas. You have about one and a half seats either side of the A10, which means one seat has to be more or less bisected by it. If you do it in Enfield, you get the current seats, give or take a ward here or there. If you do it in Edmonton, you make seats that don’t respect local community identities, but the southern safe Labour seat still has to take in fairly strong Tory areas.

    You obviously don’t want to cross the Lea, and neither Barnet nor Haringey are helpful pairs, not least because the seats there work fine on their own. Unless the number of MPs is reduced sharply enough to allow two constituencies covering the entire borough, I don’t think there’s any way to create a constituency you could reasonably call Enfield West with current population distribution.

  20. Numerically, I think it would be possible (not that that bothers me as I was being entirely hypothetical). You could have an Enfield West from Chase to Southgate Green; an Enfield East including the town and going from Enfield Lock in the north to Jubilee in the south. The rest would be in a redrawn Edmonton, which would include Bowes, Palmers Green and an orphan ward from Haringay.

    A total gerrymander of course, but I was never thinking of anything other than a total gerrymander!

  21. ps- it’s good to see you on here, Edward. 🙂 How are things in Harwich?

  22. Labour selection: Bambos Charalambous.

  23. Labour have come first in vote share at the local elections here, apparently.

  24. Yes I worked out that the votes per top candidate for the constituency are C 10,753, Lab 11,302. Not sure we saw that coming. The results for the Tories in Enfield N are as expected not good either.

  25. Amazing result for Labour. Maybe David Burrowes should be getting a bit worried about next year.

  26. A pretty dire set of results for the Conservatives in Enfield. When I saw that Labour had gained a seat in Chase of all places, I realised something awful had happened.

  27. It’s called demographic change and it is happening fast.

  28. Absolutely, Andy- when you consider that the Conservatives managed 60% in Chase as recently ago as 2002, it just goes to show how fast the pace of change is.

  29. I’ve said it before and I’ll say again how important housing tenure is.

    London is increasingly a City of renters, and unless the Conservatives address this they will get themselves locked out.

  30. And I would add that Enfield is stuffed full of homeless families from inner London – literally thousands of them, in all the now rented houses.

  31. TBF most homeless families won’t vote..I was thinking of the legions of young professionals in London seats who would have bought 20 years ago but are now stuck in rented accommodation; and in a country where who you vote for is so closely linked to whether you own or not, this is a long-term problem for the Conservatives.

    Many of these people will no doubt have been tempted by Mlliband’s promise on rent controls etc. however counterproductive such a proposal might actually be.

  32. Surprised no-one has pointed out that Labour polled the most votes here on Thursday – perhaps their best result in London.

    In many ways more serious for the Tories than Croydon Central, because UKIP’s performance was very poor here yet Labour still won.

    (aggregate of all local election votes, Enfield Southgate)

    Lab 42.2%
    Con 41.2%
    Grn 8.8%
    UKIP 2.4%

  33. LD 2.6%

    Just saw that it has already been pointed out above….getting late

  34. The Tory position in the southern end of the seat is looking pretty alarming. Labour lead the Tories by three to one in Bowes and by over two to one in Palmers Green. The Tory hold in Southgate itself was worryingly tight with the top Labour candidate just 50 votes short of the bottom Tory candidate.

  35. “When I saw that Labour had gained a seat in Chase of all places, I realised something awful had happened.”

    Labour gained a seat in Winchmore Hill, which was even more surprising. Tories polled 51% of the vote there in 2010 versus 33% for Labour. In Chase it was 47% versus 31%.

    I hadn’t considered that Burrowes might lose in 2015 but these results suggest he might. As I said, with Croydon Central the Tories can console themselves that enough of the 11% UKIP vote will probably return to enable them to narrowly hold the seat. In Southgate UKIP only polled 2% so in that respect it will perhaps be a more difficult hold.

  36. My final comment tonight – as I generally despise preachy, churchy MPs of whatever party or religion, I wouldn’t be very sorry to see the back of David Burrowes. Nick de Bois will however be a big loss to parliament.

  37. H. Hemmelig – I saw Burrowes a few years ago at a church service in Palmers Green. He’s one of the rudest / most pompous people I’ve met!!

    I smiled at him as I was on my way out when the service ended and he literally turned his nose up and walked off.

    I don’t live in this constituency but if that’s the way he treats his constituents (for all he knew, I could have been a Tory voting resident of this seat) then he deserves to lose his seat.

  38. I’ve seen it suggested that the main reason behind Labour’s strong London performance was EdM’s rent control proposals.

    Any thoughts Barnaby?

  39. Although the Tories had a good result in 2010, the present result reflects my feeling about the way the seat’s moving.
    I do n’t know whether it would have a particular effect here but Burrowes is very socially conservative and there have since been votes on gay marriage etc. in which his position was made clear.

  40. I wouldn’t mind Burrowes losing either, the man is a pompous, preachy unpleasant windbag.

  41. I think Burrowes will narrowly hang on but these results suggest that the rot he appeared to have stopped in 2005 and 2010 is now setting in again.

  42. I too have this down as a Tory hold. But with Enfield seemingly moving in one direction this could go Labour in the future. Assuming more affluent Southgate voters move out of London to commuter towns/villages demographics would change too.

  43. Neil- oh I think it is only a matter of time before this goes Labour again. It is the kind of seat that could even go Labour against the grain of a Tory victory in 2020 (I am not suggesting that the Tories will win in 2020- I am just trying to illustrate how inexorable the process could become).

  44. “I’ve seen it suggested that the main reason behind Labour’s strong London performance was EdM’s rent control proposals.”

    You’ve been reading too many Conservative newspapers. Labour isn’t proposing rent controls – not even a return to the 1970s position where tenants of non-resident landlords had security, and rents could be referred to the Rent Officer Service for the setting of “fair rents”. All Labour is proposing is that there be 3-year contracts with rent increases limited to inflation. There is no proposal to control rents that can be set in the first place.

    This will nonetheless please those who rent for whom security is a major issue. Note that again, contrary the Conservative newspapers, this won’t upset landlords either, who like long-term tenants, who look after the property and pay the rent. The villain, as so often, is the banks, who are the people who insist on 6 month contracts.

  45. “this won’t upset landlords either, who like long-term tenants, who look after the property and pay the rent.”

    But what about long term tenants who trash the property and don’t pay the rent? How are you going to get them out during Ed’s three year tenancy?

  46. It works in rest of Europe; the UK is the extreme outlier here. If you want rent controls look at NYC. No civilised country has the system we have ended up with.

  47. Not saying I disagree with you but it is a 30 or 40 year old problem at least, rooted deep in our national obsession with property ownership and rising property prices. It won’t be solved by half baked rent controls. A rise in interest rates would be a better start.

  48. A combination of a return to a base rate of something like 5% and the new stricter lending policy should stop the runaway house price inflation.

    i have literally just got on the housing ladder this week and don’t really know what to wish for personally.

  49. I thought the constrast between the results in Enfield and Ilford was very interesting. I’m guessing because the non white population in Ilford is Asian and more likely to vote tory?

  50. Really Rising AND falling prices are bad news.

    What is needed is STABLE prices, that ebb and flow in correlation with wages. Then people can trade up and down the ladder easily, and mortgages are easily available at sensible multiple.

    People mislead themselves that if they own rapidly rising prices will benefit them. In fact the reverse is often true as the growing differential makes it far harder to trade up in the same area.

    Rising prices are most helpful to BTL investrors or people who can cash in for whatever reason. Falling prices hurt most people, even those looking to get a mortgage and buy as credit dries up and building stops dead.

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