Exeter

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17879 (33.1%)
Labour: 25062 (46.4%)
Lib Dem: 2321 (4.3%)
Green: 3491 (6.5%)
UKIP: 5075 (9.4%)
TUSC: 190 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 7183 (13.3%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: South West, Devon. Most of the Exeter council area.

Main population centres:

Profile: Covers all but the south-eastern part of the city of Exeter. Exeter is the county town of Devon and headquarters for Devon county council, an affluent city that is a service, administrative and retail centre for much of Devon. The seat contains the University of Exeter and, since 2004, the Met Office weather forecasting headquarters. Along with the county council offices, they are the three largest employers in the city.

Politics: Exeter is a rare example of a Labour constituency in the South-West, one of just four in what is mainly a battleground between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Unlike the other three Labour seats in the region Exeter does not have a strong history of Labour representation - prior to 1997 it had only ever been won once by Labour, by Gwyneth Dunwoody in their 1966 landslide. Ben Bradshaw`s 1997 victory came after a particularly bitter campaign against the Conservative candidate Adrian Rogers who was the head of the Conservative Family Institute and a vocal critic of homosexuality. Bradshaw has retained the seat ever since.


Current MP
BEN BRADSHAW (Labour) Born 1960, London. Educated at Thorpe St Andrew High School and Sussex University. Former BBC journalist. First elected as MP for Exeter in 1997. PPS to John Denham 2000-2001. Parliamentary under-secretary at the Foriegn office 2001-2002, Deputy leader of the House 2002-2003, Under-secretary of state for environment 2003-2006, Minister of State for the environment 2006-2007, for Health 2007-2009. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2009-2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 17221 (33%)
Lab: 19942 (38%)
LDem: 10581 (20%)
UKIP: 1930 (4%)
Oth: 2573 (5%)
MAJ: 2721 (5%)
2005*
Con: 14954 (27%)
Lab: 22619 (41%)
LDem: 11340 (21%)
GRN: 1896 (3%)
Oth: 4259 (8%)
MAJ: 7665 (14%)
2001
Con: 14435 (27%)
Lab: 26194 (50%)
LDem: 6512 (12%)
GRN: 1240 (2%)
Oth: 4235 (8%)
MAJ: 11759 (22%)
1997
Con: 17693 (29%)
Lab: 29398 (48%)
LDem: 11148 (18%)
Oth: 3625 (6%)
MAJ: 11705 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
DOMINIC MORRIS (Conservative) Educated at Birmingham University. Stabilisation and Governance Consultant.
BEN BRADSHAW (Labour) See above.
JOEL MASON (Liberal Democrat)
KEITH CRAWFORD (UKIP) Property developer and former soldier. Contested Exeter 2010, South West region 2014 European election.
DIANA MOORE (Green)
EDMUND POTTS (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 200 Responses on “Exeter”
  1. Comments on this website need to carry some insight. A mere comment that you think x or y will win is not helpful. There is loads of evidence to support opinions reached, the local elections and past performance are good places to start.

    To my view, Exeter is a seat that is moving towards Labour as have a number of other seats with significant university and health employment. Also see Norwich, Cambridge, Oxford, Lancaster, York where Labour and lately the Greens have polled better than elsewhere. Ben Bradshaw hung on last time and is running a very independent campaign this time and will hope to draw support as the only viable Labour seat outside Bristol and Plymouth in the South West. The Devon county results will give him some hope, in contract to the Devon Lib Dems who did poorly in their target areas. In the end national trends may overwhelm him.

  2. It seems very odd that so many people here attribute Labour holding this seat in 2010 and 2015 to a personal vote for Ben Bradshaw when the recent local elections showed Labour more than 10 points ahead of the Tories in Exeter.

    Locally, Labour was clearly not ‘overwhelmed by national trends’ on May 4th, so it seems odd that so many on here are predicting that Ben Bradshaw will be in trouble on June 8th.

    Incidentally, I don’t think Plop’s comment re Oxford East is correct either. Exeter has moved towards Labour in just the same way as Oxford, but here the party started from a lower base.

  3. https://countrysquire.co.uk/2017/05/12/last-red-in-the-south-west/

    Absurd pro-Tory piece on Exeter and Bradshaw’s prospects. The author seems to neither know or like Exeter very much.
    1. “The local logic goes that the reason Bradshaw wins is because Exeter is a university town – students tend to vote Labour. ..Maybe he is worried the election is happening on June 8th when many of Exeter’s students are focused more on their exams rather than getting out to vote.”
    I don’t think this is the “local logic” at all. Bradshaw won the last four elections in May and June. The seat was Tory before 1997 anyway and had a university then too. I don’t get the impression many Exeter students have ever been overwhelmingly pro-Labour.
    2. “only 55% of Exeter voters voted to Remain” ONLY 55%? That’s quite high! A 10% margin over the Leavers.
    3. “Exeter houses plenty of voters who’d love to see a repeal of the Hunting Ban” Really? I’ve not noticed this. Odd that none of them have vented their feelings in the last few elections then.
    The author assumes everyone in Exeter thinks like people in the eccentric offices of Country Squire magazine!

  4. I would read a victory here as a personal success for Ben Bradshaw and a loss as the tide against the Labour Party.

  5. Others have gone into detail already, but Bradshaw is far from the only thing in Labour’s favour here. And personal votes rarely have much impact against the national picture, see Lib Dems in 2015 who lost many popular local MPs.

  6. While students obviously help Labour here I think its plain silly to attribute Labs success here down to them. One weird anomaly which probably demonstrates the limited impact of the student vote in seats like this is the ward of Duryard which is the most heavily student populated seat in Exeter with 62% of the electorate in full time education, so one would expect it to be a bastion for Labour then? Not at all its actually the Tories strongest ward in the constituency.

    As for the repeal of the hunting ban being popular here? That’s a real ROFL comment, polling shows its not popular anywhere even in large rural areas the majority are against it. Fox hunting is such a niche issue, I’m not saying it does the Tories much harm but it most definitely costs them more votes than it wins them.

    To conclude that Country Squire piece is quite possibly one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read and that really is saying something.

  7. My small kids love south Devon and I’ve spent a fair amount of time around here over the years.

    Exeter reminds me very much of York – a city with a lovely historic centre and a grand and picturesque stereotype in peoples’ minds – but away from the centre there are a surprising number of quite shitty neighbourhoods. Remember also that Exeter is first and foremost an old railway town with all the traditional unionised working class history that goes with that (again like York).

    I don’t see the Tories winning here unless they push Labour below 150 seats….very unlikely IMO.

  8. I met an Exeter graduate at an interview for the london assembly elections, from what I could gather Labour are no where near as popular as the Methodist society…..

  9. In fact, recent results here suggest that the chances of Labour falling below 150 seats is greater than them losing Labour – that’s not an exaggeration.

    Obviously both could happen – but I think that would be with Labour closer to 120 seats. Hardly what anyone is predicting.

  10. I suspect it’s more about good organisation.

    I recall Exeter CLP winning some award for achieving the most absent votes a decade ago, in the same way that Putney Cons Assoc did years before.

    Personally I find Bradshaw sanctimonious but he does appear to be hard working and on that basis deserves to win, even if he doesn’t agree with much of the manifesto.

  11. Lancs
    “even if he doesn’t agree with much of the manifesto”
    Doesn’t he? What’s that based on? I know he made some dismissive remarks about it but that was dismissing the chances of it being implemented not the merit of the policies included. From what I’ve heard even the hard-core Blairites quite like the manifesto or at the very least large tracts of it.

  12. “From what I’ve heard even the hard-core Blairites quite like the manifesto…”.

    It won’t be difficult to find a fair few swing voters who quite like parts of the manifesto. Renationalising the railways polls well, and the same is probably true of water if it’s presented as a way of reducing bills.

    Unfortunately for Labour it needs to earn the right to put forward policies that will be seen as being left wing by challenging voter’s perceptions that it can’t be trusted managing taxpayer’s money. This it has failed to do. Consequently the party will not reap the electoral rewards that many of its supporters expect to derive from supporting policies that appear to be popular.

  13. Just read any of his Express columns: it’s all his personal manifesto; how it’s a vote for him not who will run the Country and he’ll say when his Party is heading in the wrong as it is now.

    Incidentally, Rivers10 I admire that you still believe the manifesto is/will be popular. It’s only fair that every 30 or 40 years the far Left’s offer is given an opportunity – if only to be proven again that just isn’t what the British public want.

  14. In his letter to his local paper the member for this seat has gone as far as you can reasonably expect him to go during an election campaign to distance himself from the current leadership of his party.

    http://m.devonlive.com/a-letter-from-ben-bradshaw-a-vote-for-me-will-not-affect-who-governs-nationally/story-30295011-detail/story.html

    “When you vote on June 8th you are electing the person you want to be your local MP for the next five years. You are not electing a Party leader or a Government. Exeter is not a seat the Conservatives need to win to stay in power or even to have a significantly increased majority. So supporting me in Exeter will not affect who governs nationally”.

  15. As this is a polling site I’ll bring it back to polling, when asked in polls on individual policies such as renationalising the railways, increasing the top rate of tax, a £10 an hour living wage, etc. more people support the policies than don’t and in some cases it’s the majority of people. However, when asked how ‘sensible’ or ‘workable’ people think these policies are most people polled say they aren’t. The policies individually are popular according to the polls but when combined into one document they aren’t.

  16. ”Doesn’t he? What’s that based on? I know he made some dismissive remarks about it but that was dismissing the chances of it being implemented not the merit of the policies included.”

    @Rivers
    Well did you see the video of him running away from reporters asking about the manifesto leak. He repeatedly refused to say whether he’d campaign on it but instead insisted he had his own ‘local manifesto’ he’s campaigning on.

  17. “From what I’ve heard even the hard-core Blairites quite like the manifesto or at the very least large tracts of it.”

    Well, what’s not to like?

    It gives people everything they’ve told the pollsters they want, and reassures them not to worry about the bill because a few greedy rich bastards and evil tax-evading corporates are going to pay for it all.

    Unfortunately liking a fantasy and thinking it is in any way realistic are two totally different things.

    Labour going off with the fairies has enabled the Tories to cherry pick the best bits of Milibandism which Labour should have claimed as their own.

  18. Overall the manifesto isn’t actually that left wing. 75% of it or thereabouts is exactly what a leader from the mainstream of the party would be likely to have proposed. The rest mainly just goes a little further in areas Lab would have had proposals with another leader. It is true that most of the policies are individuallt popular. The reason the public disapprove of it as a whole is that they’ve already made their minds up about Labour under Corbyn and policies can do little to change that at this stage.

  19. Some of the above miss the dynamic of university areas. The students probably vote in lower proportion to the general population and some prefer to vote in their home constituencies. Universities are big public sector employers. They have many low paid staff and many highly skilled and educated staff who probably earn less than their friends in private industries. These seem to be target audiences for Labour and also the sort of people who will join and be active in local Labour party organisations. The areas around universities have more than average proportions of rented accommodation too.

    As universities have got bigger, the influence on small towns or the suburbs of larger ones is more significant. Often the boundaries mean new conservative leaning suburbs fall into rural seats and not the towns and cities. Hence the trend in the handful of places listed above. This defines Corbyn country or in this case Bradshaw’s.

  20. Lancs
    “Incidentally, Rivers10 I admire that you still believe the manifesto is/will be popular”

    Lancs we’ve been over this about a million times. the policies are popular, literally every scrap of polling and evidence from speaking to voters reinforces that however I wholly concede Corbyn is a liability and like Kieran says it is with that in mind that people will vote.

    If a competent Lab leader ran on this manifesto they would have a very good chance of winning alas we don’t have that but you do nobody more a disservice than yourself if you have lead yourself to believe that the majority o the country are all Thatcherite monetarists who would still reject these policies regardless of who is leader.

  21. You don’t have to be a Thatcherite monetarist to think that raising taxes is a bad idea, or that mass renationalisation would be a tremendous waste of money and effort. Especially at a time when all efforts should be focused on getting Brexit right. Labour haven’t won on this kind of manifesto for well over 40 years. They would still lose heavily without Corbyn.

  22. Indeed we have – that’s why I admire that you’re sticking to your beliefs that they will someday prove popular, contrary to all the evidence.

    The public do reject the far Left at every opportunity.

    It’s not if you had a different leader that it’d result in a different outcome. McDonnell would go down even worse, as would Abbott.

    As Sky said, the tax take would be the highest as a % of GDP for 70 years, quite apart from the anti-militarism, anti-Israel sentences.

  23. HH
    Lets not discuss the merit of the polices, that’s not what the site is for.

    Lancs
    “Indeed we have – that’s why I admire that you’re sticking to your beliefs that they will someday prove popular, contrary to all the evidence”
    Name one piece of evidence cos polling certainly doesn’t support it. Or did you miss the poll on Labs manifesto?

    “The public do reject the far Left at every opportunity”
    You mean like 1945,50,64,66,74 etc Of curse you’ll say “of late” but we know full well that both 83 and indeed this election have overriding mitigating circumstances.

    “It’s not if you had a different leader that it’d result in a different outcome. McDonnell would go down even worse, as would Abbott”

    Agree I meant a good leader that the public actually liked.

    “As Sky said, the tax take would be the highest as a % of GDP for 70 years, quite apart from the anti-militarism, anti-Israel sentences”

    Yet the actual rates and tax burden would be lower than under Thatcher…

  24. IMO nothing sums this waffly debate up better than a quote from the late great Sir Ian Gilmour, whom Rivers should know was most definitely neither a Thatcherite nor a monetarist.

    The quote is
    “The British public have never had a proper left-wing government, and with the arguable exception of 1945 they’ve never wanted one”

    I don’t expect that quote to be proved wrong in my lifetime.

  25. I think it’s important to remember that inequality in UK has been decreasing since 2006, which suggests to me – and others concerned about social justice I would hope – that the current tax recipe (income rax/corporation/VAT etc) is just about getting it right

    Interesting that the Tories haven’t yet said anything about decreasing the top rate of tax back down to 40%

    Will the pledge even be in the manifesto?

  26. I doubt it

  27. HH
    Depends how you define left wing but if you don’t class the Wilson gov of the late 60’s in that category then practically no western democracy with the exception of France, Portugal and perhaps Italy have ever had a “left wing government”

  28. ‘The British public have never had a proper left-wing government, and with the arguable exception of 1945 they’ve never wanted one”

    Whilst Sir Ian Gilmour – a Tory so wet that he’d be in the Labour Party in today’s Britain – is one of my political idols, were not the Wilson governments pretty left-wing, particularly the latter one were Britain was continually held hostage by their allies in the Unions

  29. Tim
    “I think it’s important to remember that inequality in UK has been decreasing since 2006”

    That’s not actually true, depending on how you measure it the best case scenario has inequality stagnant after having risen massively post 1979.

  30. In the sense that the left wing of the Labour party were very critical of it, personified by Benn and the IMF cuts furore of the 70s, no. I think Gilmour was making a distinction between social democracy and radical left governments. It’s hard to argue we’ve ever had a radical left government, especially from a foreign policy perspective.

  31. Rivers

    You’ve answered your own point.

    Radical left governments are incompatible with western democracy, the best examples being Venezuela et al.

  32. ‘I doubt it’

    Then why hasn’t May – who seems at pains to underline her One Nation credentials – even mentioned it

    She could mention the fact that since its introduction inequality has been on a downward spiral and say that under the Tories she plans to keep it that way

    It just seems a bit of a no-brainer to highlight in a week in which she’s decided to directly appeal to Labour voters

  33. It’s hard to argue we’ve ever had a radical left government, especially from a foreign policy perspective.

    That’s true – although it was the genuinely left-wing Atlee administration that set the course for British foreign policy by establishing NATO with their American allies

  34. HH
    If the criteria for “radical left” is that it mustn’t have any critics further to the left then your right we will NEVER have a radical left gov.
    Just look at Corby’s Twitter page, he’s being stalked by the official page for the Socialist Revolutionary Party and being accused of being a soft right Capitalist enabler.

    At the end of the day the Lab manifesto is trying to emulate something not dissimilar to the Scandinavian model. regardless of whether one agrees with that platform or not, it is neither particularly radical nor incompatible with Western Democracy.

  35. Just picked up a copy of tonight’s Standard and reading it on my train home. Brutal headline for Corbyn. “Comrade Corbyn Flies The Red Flag…Labour in £48bn raid on better off…316000 Londoners face higher tax…New rates for earnings over £80k”. Maybe he’ll get some unexpected setbacks even in London.

  36. HH
    Saw that on Twitter, Gideon was getting slated for it.

    At the end of the day though what do people expect most of the papers are biased, we all know this. Any impact it has is surely already factored in, its not like the Standard was all friendly towards Corbyn and this is their first headline. Indeed their headline when the manifesto first leaked compared the ideas to fantasy economics.

  37. Plop
    If Lab lose those seats that headline, indeed that policy wont have made much of a difference. Labs vote in both seats are overwhelmingly made up of people who cannot under any circumstances be deemed “wealthy” and those few who are wealthy are probably of the Champagne socialist variety and don’t care all that much. A harder sell for Lab in such seats is the mansion tax which would actually hit people on reasonably modest incomes in such seats.

  38. “Just picked up a copy of tonight’s Standard and reading it on my train home. Brutal headline for Corbyn. “Comrade Corbyn Flies The Red Flag…Labour in £48bn raid on better off…316000 Londoners face higher tax…New rates for earnings over £80k”. Maybe he’ll get some unexpected setbacks even in London.”

    Labour has done well in London in both 2010 and 2015 despite the Standard backing the Tories. I would have though that such influence as the paper has is already factored into Corby’s ratings.

  39. Im increasingly thinking of Hampstead as a hold for Lab. The Tories mustered all their forces last weekend and got 25 people. Labour had about 6-9 groups out, two of which were about 20 people big. I know lab have always traditionally had the volunteer advantage but it really could make the difference in a marginal. They have already covered the constit three times over. Plus data indicated the libd vote is coming back more at the expense of the tories but only slightly. We’ll see but that one could be a real surprise come election night…

  40. Isn’t this page supposed to be about the electoral prospects of Exeter?
    Why are we discussing Hampstead and London?
    There are separate pages for discussing other areas and another one for discussing the polls in general.

  41. ‘Isn’t this page supposed to be about the electoral prospects of Exeter?
    Why are we discussing Hampstead and London?
    There are separate pages for discussing other areas and another one for discussing the polls in general.’

    Sorry…

  42. I didn’t mean to kill the conversation stone dead!

  43. I think Mr Bradshaw will succeed again.

  44. Labour Ben Bradshaw 34,336 62.0% +15.6
    Conservative James Taghdissian 18,219 32.9% −0.2
    Liberal Democrat Vanessa Newcombe 1,562 2.8 −1.5
    Green Joe Levy 1,027 1.9 −4.6
    Independent Jonathan West 212 0.4 N/A
    Independent Jonathan Bishop 67 0.1 N/A
    Majority 16,117 29.1
    Turnout 55,423 71.7 +1.5

    Bradshaw’s biggest ever win!

  45. I wonder how much of this result Mr Bradshaw will attribute to Corbyn? Bradshaw claims to have ran as a quasi independent but In a seat like Exeter I imagine Corbyn’s appeal with young voters made all the difference.

  46. I thought we might all like another look at this article

    https://countrysquire.co.uk/2017/05/12/last-red-in-the-south-west/

    Think the folks at countrysquire need a large order of humble pie XD

  47. Country Squire article looked ridiculous even at the time. Now it just looks insane.

  48. There’s hysteria, and then there’s that Country Squire article. Really loopy stuff.

  49. There were also 2 by-elections held on Wednesday unusually:

    Newtown & St Leonards ward (here), 13.12.17

    Labour 1,044 55% (+1%)
    Cons 512 27% (+2%)
    LD 179 9% (+1%)
    Green 137 7% (-6%)
    UKIP 40 2% (-3%)

    and Godalming C & Oakford ward in Waverley, where the LDs gained a seat:

    LD 266
    Con 246
    Lab 151
    Green 40

    [There was no UKIP this time – who polled 17% last time, as did the Something New Party]

    The Council there is now: 50 Cons, 6 Residents and the new sole LibDem.

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