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. “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.”

    Strongly disagree. House prices are 30-40% too high by most sane metrics. Falling house prices would be extremely beneficial in the long run, and the only way of ensuring that the younger generations aren’t condemned to rent forever. In the near term it would be hell for many but I’ve little sympathy with those who haven’t been prudent when taking out mortgages (I say all this as a home owner myself).

  2. The housing boom is running into the buffers.. the mere threat that Help to Buy might end has had a dampening effect on the most recent properties put out into the market. RBS and Lloyds trimming risk in the overheated capital is also a good sign..

    The problem the government will have if this impacts negatively on their recovery… this was a process that could have been managed but Greenspan-like “let ‘er rip” attitudes to bloated valuations always come back to bite finance ministers who fall for that dialogue.

  3. H Hemmelig- Amen to that.

  4. The most pleasant solution would be house prices remaining stationary with a decade of inflation making them more affordable.

  5. In what way would a decade of high inflation be pleasant?

  6. (except to the government of course, who could inflate away the national debt)

  7. HH, please don’t misunderstand me…I do think prices need to fall, but then they need to follow a steady course as rollercoaster rises and falls benefit no-one.

    What is really worrying at the moment (and I speak as someone actively trying to buy, formerly in London, but hysteria in that market now means it will prob now be 47 miles out in the Home Counties, which I HOPE I wont regret), is that there is nothing on the market at the moment and the chain is simply not working. The cost of moving has become so prohibitive, and it has become so expensive to “trade up”, that more and more people are simply adding value by adding loft extensions and the like rather than moving up the ladder and freeing up their stock to second steppers, who in turn would have sold to a FTB.

    On the train into work through high-value areas like Wimbledon I have lost count of the number of ubiquitous bathroom-window-plus-bedroom-doors-with-Juliette-balcony buildouts on show. It is as if they all appeared overnight.

  8. “What is really worrying at the moment (and I speak as someone actively trying to buy, formerly in London, but hysteria in that market now means it will prob now be 47 miles out in the Home Counties, which I HOPE I wont regret), is that there is nothing on the market at the moment and the chain is simply not working.”

    We sold our flat in Beckenham and bought a house in Sussex last autumn, just as the market was really hotting up. At least at the middle to lower end, the London market is dominated by cash buyers with no need for a mortgage. When you accept their offer they expect to be able to complete the transaction extremely quickly – if you can’t they won’t buy your flat. In Sussex the market for mid range houses is dominated by families who are all in chains and can’t move till the person moves out of the place they are buying etc etc. It means that it takes ages to complete the transaction. If you’re moving somewhere like this (we’re about 40 miles outside London too) be prepared to wait for an eternity before you can move in.

  9. Well even if inflation was 2 or 3% and house prices static then the prices would be far more reasonable within a decade.

  10. Thanks for the sage advice HH. We currently rent in the same town about 47 miles outside of London. I have been very very lucky and inherited a bit of money for a deposit, plus we have savings.

    We saw a number of flats in London, but “open days” now standard there these days, as you say cash buyers everywhere, and the market has gone crazy. We had offers on rubbish flats rejected and they went for way over the asking price. How other people my age without a bit of cash are supposed to deal with this I have no idea. It is a scandal.

    We have now found a house(!) within budget literally round the corner from where we rent, within budget and are considering an offer. But main drawbacks are commuting costs (which don’t affect my partner but do me), plus I worry that if the market goes t*ts up the exurbs will fall faster than London. I also work in a property-related profession (not estate agency but still vulnerable), so if property takes a hit I could be on the dole.

    But it is a lovely house, our removal costs will be almost zero and chains on vendors’ side don’t concern us as we are on a Periodic Tenancy and can give notice whenever.

    A real quandary!

  11. Likewise we had several offers of 10% over the asking price turned down in the Balham Wandsworth type area.

    Eventually got one for 295k when it was listed at 240k in Putney. That seems to be the norm

  12. Highest vote method:

    Lab 11,302 (35.9%)
    Con 10,753 (34.2%)
    Green 3,997 (12.7%)
    UKIP 2,101 (6.7%)
    LD 1,885 (6.0%)
    Ind 1,093 (3.5%)
    TUSC 172 (0.5%)
    BNP 158 (0.5%)

  13. Barely better for the Tories than tooting.

  14. Terrible Con result here. I didn’t expect the demographic change to be happening so fast in this seat. I still think a narrow CON hold though.

  15. There could be other reasons of course, such as poor candidates for the Tories, good ones for Labour.

  16. David Burrowes has stepped down as a PPS to spend more time in his constituency. Must have been spooked by the local elections.

  17. The Tories will probably be forced to put in major campaign resources here and let Enfield North go.

  18. Apparently he’s recently had surgery, which might have something to do with it.

  19. I know that the eastern part of Enfield is firmly Labour territory, but would the Tories really let Enfield North go without a fight? Nick de Bois strikes me as a hardworking MP. The writing is on the wall regarding what political direction it’s going in, but would seem like a bit of a waste to allow a decent MP to lose his seat.

  20. Well if they’re not careful they could lose both Enfield seats.

    It also depends whether Labour eases off on North and shifts some serious resources into Southgate. They might also move resources from Finchley, which is now clearly less winnable than here.

  21. Im still not convinced that this seat will actually be all that close.

  22. I absolutely think David Burrowes is concerned about his seat and wants to spend as much time as there as possible. The local elections were a horror story for the tories here in 2014. PPS jobs aren’t paid, so, with 8 months to go, as a White male who hasn’t received a promotion this entire parliament, he is looking make sure he’s back for the next one.

    I expect he’ll retain the seat with a reduced majority, but the fact that this seat is competitive for labour shows which way the wind is blowing in 2015.

  23. “Im still not convinced that this seat will actually be all that close.”

    On a general election turnout Labour can be expected to benefit significantly in this kind of seat. Therefore for them to be ahead in a local election is certainly a concern for the Tories and they would be well advised not to adopt a dismissive/complacent attitude. It is clear the demographics have moved quite substantially here even since 2010/2011.

  24. places like enfield southgate lead me to believe that labour could actually sneak a slim majority next year. the consensus is that there’ll be swingback and the major parties will be level-pegging in vote share next year, leaving labour the largest party in the house of commons with about 300-320 seats, but without a majority.

    I actually think they could get a few more. the widening labour poll lead this month, some of the london results last month, the spike in the oil price and rumblings of interest hikes- all lead me to believe that the economic picture might not be so great at the beginning of next year…. i think a labour majority might be the value bet at the moment.

  25. You could be right. It’s certainly a risk that the economy has peaked too soon. The good times can never last forever because interest rates are going to have to go up….probably before the end of the year, according to the City. Indeed mortgage companies have increased their rates already despite no move yet in the bank rate.

  26. The economy may have peaked too soon, but at least a couple of Labour’s policies are not the ones that will resonate with all the constituents of slightly tougher marginals which currently aren’t out of reach for the party, but are not guaranteed wins. It was stupid to pledge a return of the 50p tax rate as it it looks like they’re trying stifle the aspirations of SMEs wishing to expand. And the broad brush approach to zero hour contracts, despite the legitimate use of them in certain specialist fields is unwise.

  27. I lived in this constituency 20 years ago. Some of the councillors are the same. David Burroughs knows his patch, and will also be aware that complacency contributed to Michael Portillo’s defeat.
    There is demographic shift and the rise of Canary Wharf is probably making this less of a “City” commuting area.
    The ethnic mix will also be moving in Labour’s favour.
    The choice for David Burroughs would be helping out in rural marginal seats for a year or looking after his own and his neighbours in Enfield. The former is more glamorous,, the latter more productive.

  28. H.Hemmelig is right re demographic change having happened since 2010. I’d submit that it hasn’t really stopped, albeit gradually, since the massive Labour defeat here in 1992 (even that 16,000 Tory majority was quite a bit less than in the comparable election – in terms of national vote share – of 1979, when it was 20,000). The Tories have enjoyed 2 above-average performances in 2005 & 2010, but not massively so in the latter, and I think they signified NOT that demographic change had stopped, but merely that it was slow & that a reversion to some sort of relative normality had taken place. After all, not only did this seat swing by about 18% to Labour in 1997, way way above the national average which was 10%, but it swung quite heavily further in 2001, by something like 5% in fact. Some thought that this dreadful result was something to do with the extreme coolness (to say the least) with which John Flack’s candidacy for the Tories was received. Burrowes was a better candidate & was able to recoup some of the Tories’ losses in 2005 and again in 2010, but the fact remains that the Tories are only half as far ahead of Labour as they were in 1992. Some think he isn’t all that good a fit with this constituency, and that could be a factor if it is close. This one isn’t completely in the bag for the Tories yet, though I’d be very surprised if Labour actually won it.

  29. Excellent post, Barnaby.

    I agree that in hindsight at least, the first signs were there in 1992 with Labour’s vote increasing by 7.2% points. Indeed, the Labour vote share of 26.2% was the highest it had managed in the Southgate seat at that point.

  30. Well already by that time Labour had won the now-abolished Arnos twice, and Bowes once. They had however yet to win Palmers Green which was still safe Tory at the time. Now it looks unlikely the Tories will win that ward again in the future unless Labour has a total disaster year.

  31. and thanks for your kind words.

  32. I vividly remember watching a Newsnight report in around 1996, about local residents trying to stop McDonalds opening up in Southgate. The town was portrayed as being twee and snooty, with the locals being extremely angry with the then right wing Michael Portillo for failing to support them. It does show you how the seat has changed over the past 20 years or so. Southgate is not at all like that now.

  33. The Croydon Central seat is clearly undergoing similar changes to Enfield Southgate. That seat is moving into “too close to call” territory from Tory hold in my calculation…the local election results were not encouraging from a Conservative point of view there.

  34. I know Croydon Central well and it is a very different seat, and its demographic changes have been moving more slowly than in Enfield. It is polarised core vote territory for both parties, and the result in 2015 will come down to GOTV. Southgate is in a sense more troubling for the Tories in that, unlike Croydon, it is the kind of suburbia which has a slight intellectual/liberal tinge about it, hence its white middle class residents are at times willing to vote Labour whereas in Croydon they generally are not. See my comments about McDonalds above. You certainly would not see complaints about McDonalds opening up a branch in Croydon. Plus there is a big increase in ethnic minority Labour voters, perhaps at a faster rate than in Croydon Central, and greater penetration of minorities into the middle class wards. No doubt that 2015 will be a fascinating (if perhaps somewhat depressing) election in London.

  35. Labour 10/1 Ladbrokes

  36. Worth a flutter. But seriously, Enfield Southgate is a REALLY odd seat. Although it is subject to London trends (therefore Labour will do respectably) it also pulls towards Tory Hertfordshire and therefore has a lot of residual support for the Tories that was only unlocked for Labour when Tony Blair was leader. I’d expect the Tories to win by 10% here but who can tell!

  37. I’m pretty sure it will be closer than that.

  38. I’ve been looking back at the 1986 local election results here (some of the wards were different back then). The constituency result was:

    Con 54.6
    Lab 23.6
    All 20.8

    Labour was winning Bowes and Arnos Grove by this point but the Conservatives carried Palmers Green 49-28 and enjoyed big leads in areas in like Winchmore Hill and Southgate Green and even bigger ones in the now defunct wards of Trent and Merryhills which I presume correspond roughly to Cockfosters.

  39. Merryhills corresponded roughly to the current Highlands ward which is now in Enfield North. Trent ward was indeed subsumed into the larger Cockfosters ward but was even safer because it was limited to the area north of Bramley road and was therefore dominated to a greater extent by ultra-wealthy Hadley Wood. The area to the south of Bramley Road is far less salubrious and includes substantial pockets of social housing. This area was previously in the Oakwood ward

  40. Many thanks, Pete. I note that even in Oakwood, the Conservatives were doing reasonably ok in 1986, carrying it 47-29 over the Alliance with Labour on 24.

    Also interesting to see the Conservatives managing over 72% in Grange and over 58% in Winchmore Hill.

  41. It would be interesting to get an estimate of which wards voted Tory & which ones Labour here in the 1997 general election. The BBC reporter on site here at the count was none other than Lance Price, later a Labour spin-doctor, who said “Labour thinks it’s done particularly well in wards where it didn’t think it had a chance”. I have often wondered which wards he meant. Labour did indeed win a councillor in Oakwood ward in the local elections next year, but not Winchmore Hill IIRC.

  42. Naturally I have figures for these wards. Labour of course carried Arnos and Bowes by massive margins (well over 2 to 1) and HIghfield and Palmers Green very easily. I have them narrowly ahead (by about 3%) in Oakwood with Southgate Green ward virtually a dead heat and Grovelands and Winchmore Hill narrowly Tory (by around 2%). The margins are sufficiently narrow that in reality Labour may have carried all these wards or none of them or any possible combination of them. Grange, Merry Hill and Trent wards were still easily carried by the Tories and in 2001 these would be the only Tory wards with Labour winning the four intermediate wards comfortably.

  43. Thanks very much Pete. I had a butchers at the 1998 election results after posting above. I was interested to see that Daniel Anderson, who seems to be a friend of my cousin who is Rabbi of Reading, was elected for Southgate Green ward in that election, and has this year gained a seat from the Tories for Labour after what must have been a fairly longish absence from the council. (My friend Vivienne Lukey was elected to Hammersmith & Fulham council this year after over 20 years’ absence!). My cousin is a Conservative Party member I think & he can’t have many other friends who are Labour supporters. Relatives, yes.

  44. Thanks, Pete.

    The 1994 figures are interesting- Labour leading by two to one in Arnos Grove and Bowes and carrying Palmers Green and Highfield pretty comfortably. However, the Conservative carried Southgate Green 47-32, Winchmore Hill 37-27 Oakwood 48-35 and Grovelands 46-32. Had Portillo managed to replicate those figures in 1997 he would surely have clung on which goes to show Price had a point.

  45. I lived in the seat in 1997.

    It is quite likely that Michael Portillo did worse than expected in the Winchmore Hill. There was local controversy as Southgate Conservative Association trid to sell its office to MacDonalds, which the locals did not appreciate.

    There was also a local press story about the closure of hospitals in the area in the week of the election, but nothing came of it later.

    The local Conservative Association largely neglected Southgate and were order to help in Edmonton, which was lost by over 10,000.

    At the start of the campaign Stephen Twigg was leafletting on his own outside Southgate tube station. By the end of thw campaign I saw large canvassing teams in Palmers Green, as Labour activists were sent from central London to have a go at Michael Portillo.

    The Lib Dem candidate was Jeremy Brown, now MP for Taunton. He ran a very weak campaign and saw the complete unwinding of the Alliance showing in the 1984 by-election.

  46. I live in this seart. Whilst the result will probably be closer than I was expecting a year ago I would still expect to David Burrowes to win reasonably comfortably. He is very well known in the constituency and is very assiduous in terms of casework, attending events, etc. He is also very involved with Cyprus and the local Greek Cypriot community, which to some extent neutralises Bambos Charalambous’ natural appeal to that constituency.

  47. “Since 2002, the Conservative share of the vote in Enfield
    has steadily fallen from 50 per cent to 26 per cent in
    2014” – v interesting report on 2014 elections from the GLA.

    This matches the Con share of votes cast across London which was 26% lower than in 1994. Labour didn’t quite match its 40% + shares in 1994 & 1998 (TH probably contributed to that). The % of others up from 5.4% in 1994 to 20.7% in 2014.

    LD share in London halved from 22% to 10%.


  48. I note that people are atributing a change in demographics and an incrrased BME vote as positive for labour however reports are that the bmr
    Bme vote for Labour is set to collapse.
    How will this affect here and the previous comments?

    Read http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ed-miliband/11294984/Labours-crucial-ethnic-minority-vote-set-to-collapse.html

  49. I know that D.Alex can be relied on to refer to any story, however tenuous, which suggests doom for Labour. But this isn’t a good story actually. Forecasts of impending collapse of Labour’s non-white vote have been around for the whole of the last generation, and so far there has been very little sign of it actually happening, in national terms. In fact, there was a very large swing of Muslim voters away from Labour in the 2005 general election in many constituencies, but it has been totally reversed since then, which is pretty much the opposite of what this article says. Basically, since there hasn’t been a general election since 2010, there is no data as to whether there will be a major increase in abstentions amongst BME voters. Don’t get too excited D.Alex – oh sorry, you already did.

  50. Quite right – such support is and will remain a core part of the Labour vote. There have been surveys going as far back as the 1970s suggesting that the growth of the BME middle-class vote will inevitably mean that Labour will gradually lose these voters and this hasn’t really happened either.

    Additionally, in the face of such latent and open hostility from other parties towards ‘immigration’ and related issues, Labour remains the obvious choice even though (from time to time) they too have been pulled in this direction.

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