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 - 201 Responses on “Exeter”
  1. The campus accommodation is overwhelmingly occupied by first years. The people who were there last year don’t live there any more so there’d be no point tranferring them over. Even if there is a way, clearly the ERO or university haven’t bothered to get it done.

    scan.lusu.co.uk/news/only-22-students-on-campus-are-registered-to-vote/

  2. OK….”The campus accommodation is overwhelmingly occupied by first years…”…That explains it…thanks MR N.

  3. Yes, most halls are for first years, across the Country.

  4. Ben Bradshaw is an excellent and much loved MP. If he ever goes, however, the seat might become more vulnerable to the Tories.

  5. I’m aware that favorable boundary changes have been a factor, but this seat seems to have entirely bucked the 2005-10 trend by staying firmly in the Labour column where other university cities (such as Cambridge and Norwich) have fallen to the Lib Dems or the Tories.

    I am working down here at present and it has the same marginal feel as the other seats mentioned – relatively prosperous, mixed population, some bohemianism, students etc. In a strongly anti-Labour region of the country, Labour have done well to hold onto it.

  6. I feel like it might be a Bradshaw effect that prevented the Labour vote in this seat swinging to the Lib Dems heavily. I imagine it’ll have good fundamentals for the Liberals a while though – if the Liberals are in a better position in the 2020s and Bradshaw retires, Labour will want to be careful here. Of course, it also depends how demolished the Liberal organisation is locally after 2015 and how far off the pace they end up…

  7. Info from ONS website on largest declines in parliamentary electorates Dec 2013- Dec 2014, not surprisingly the seats are all urban areas or university towns with a high proportion of students where the impact of Individual Electoral Registration may have had a dramatic effects:

    Cardiff Central (-18%)
    Liverpool Riverside (-15%)
    Newcastle East (-14%)
    Nottingham South (-13%)
    Ceredigion, City of Durham (-12%)
    Loughborough, York Central (-11%)
    Brighton Pavilion, Leicester South, Oxford East (-10%)

    Not all urban areas or university have suffered such a decline in their parliamentary electorate so much must depend on the practices of local electoral registration officers in adapting to IER. The other big falls, albeit less than 10% were in:

    Blackpool South, Coventry South, Nottingham East , Swansea West (-9%);

    Cities of London & Westminster, Hornsey & Wood Green, Salford & Eccles, Tottenham (-8%);

    Bath, Crewe & Nantwich, Guildford, Holborn & St Pancras, Huddersfield, Hull North, Nottingham East (-7%).

  8. l find it hard to believe the Observer ran a full-page article about this supposedly marginal seat. lt’s going to be an overwhelming Labour hold.

  9. The Observer make it look like Labour are in more trouble than they are? Well that’s unexpected.

  10. They couldn’t find any evidence that Labour were in trouble. A cursory glance at a) recent local election results and b ) the national polls would have informed them that this simply isn’t a battleground seat this year.

  11. That Exeter Green Twitter account saying that Bradshaw knocking on certain doors isn’t “their” idea of democracy is pathetic. I’d love to see some of the Green supporters on here like D. Alex try to rationalise messages like that.

  12. Yesterday Bradshaw was campaigning in Plymouth Moor View…it pretty much show how comfortable they believe they are here

  13. I mean, how very DARE he campaign in his constituency by knocking on doors…!

  14. If Bradshaw was that confident, then he would have been campaigning in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport (PSD).

    I predict that he will win in Exeter, but not so sure about Labour gaining PSD

  15. Oh that Exeter Greens tweet is absolutely golden stuff hahaha

  16. EVERGREENADAM

    Swansea West has the University Campus and student villiage, which could contribute to it’s -9% in registrations.

  17. Evergreenadam – thanks for the date. That doesn’t surprise me re Lpool Riverside. The Central ward electorate has fallen by 40%, as it’s where all of the freshers’ halls are for John Moores Uni and some for Lpool Uni.

    It would have fallen by more if Lpool had removed those not returning forms, but they’ve allowed them to say on for this year, ie they have a clear out of the Roll every 3 or 4 years.

    At least it’ll mean the artificially low turnout figures there won’t be repeated, as a lot of it was caused by transient apartment dwellers still being on the Roll, as well as polling stations not being anywhere near where city centre residents lived.

  18. Neil – he HAS been campaigning in Plymouth.

  19. @MrNameless

    On some other thread Labour folk were saying that the Lib Dems doing this somewhere in London was a “dirty trick”

  20. Expect a below average fall in the Lib Dem vote here. It’s pretty squeezed already, due to tactical voting for Bradshaw. And plus, there was a Liberal candidate last time around.

    Exeter feels like it should be a Lib Dem/Tory marginal. Ben Bradshaw’s personal vote must be what has kept Labour afloat here all these years.

    Prediction:
    Labour: 42%
    Conservative: 30%
    Liberal Democrat: 16%
    UKIP: 8%
    Green: 4%
    Others: 0%

  21. Labour Hold. 5,000 maj.

  22. Ben Bradshaw tweeted his concern about the news of Lord Sugar leaving the Labour party. As if the last few days weren’t bruising enough. Sugar cited the obvious reasons for his decision, but going forward this isn’t the type of thing Labour needs. Regardless of your views, he was someone from the that the party requires going forward. Seems like the final kibosh on the Miliband era and their business policies.

  23. ”Ben Bradshaw tweeted his concern about the news of Lord Sugar leaving the Labour party. As if the last few days weren’t bruising enough. Sugar cited the obvious reasons for his decision, but going forward this isn’t the type of thing Labour needs. Regardless of your views, he was someone from the that the party requires going forward. Seems like the final kibosh on the Miliband era and their business policies.”

    Yes, I agree. Sugar is the type of person Labour needs on their side right now. Hope he returns to the party one day.

    Regarding this seat, the result here for Labour was unexpected. I think this is Ben Bradshaw’s seat as long as he wants. The Tories will be back in the game only when Bradshaw stands down.

  24. ”Ben Bradshaw tweeted his concern about the news of Lord Sugar leaving the Labour party. As if the last few days weren’t bruising enough. Sugar cited the obvious reasons for his decision, but going forward this isn’t the type of thing Labour needs. Regardless of your views, he was someone from the that the party requires going forward. Seems like the final kibosh on the Miliband era and their business policies.”

    Yes, I agree. Lord Sugar is the type of person Labour needs on their side right now. Hope he returns to the party one day.

    Regarding this seat, the result here for Labour was unexpected. I think this is Ben Bradshaw’s seat as long as he wants. The Tories will be back in the game only when Bradshaw stands down.

  25. It also has a relatively high proportion in full time education, so it’s one of those seats where they were always going to do well off the back of the Lib Dem collapse.

  26. Its interesting that Labour now do better in the middle class urban constituencies along the south coast than the working class ones.

    Not only better in Exeter and the Brighton areas than the Kent ‘marginals’ but also better in Plymouth Sutton than Plymouth Moor View and better in Southampton Test and Southampton Itchen.

  27. Labour hold Exeter with a slight increase in seats. This was a council some feared would’ve gone NOC even though it has seemingly trended to Labour in recent times.

    Ben Bradshaw is over the moon on Twitter.

  28. I think Labour will lose this seat.

  29. Why, Thomas? I can’t see Labour losing votes to LD or Green in what’s essentially a direct race with the Tories. And the UKIP / leave vote here is small, so not much for the Tories to gain.

  30. The only thing counting against Labour here is the timing of the election meaning the students will have packed up and gone home. But I expect them to hold on regardless.

  31. Actually, the student vote is less of a factor here. It’s actually the votes of the academic and administrative staff that will be more significant as these people are more likely to be on the electoral register and therefore more likely to vote. The same goes for other university seats. Another factor in Exeter is the wider public sector in the city. As well as the university, you also have employees at the Met Office and NHS staff. Public sector workers are, for the most part, less likely to abandon Labour than voters in their more traditional heartlands. This is why I think they will do better than average in Exeter compared with the rest of England outside London.

  32. Of course this could easily be a Tory gain. If you look at the national polls, the switchers from UKIP – CON and that Labour appear to be losing much more to the Lib Dems then the Tories are. It’s only slightly a REMAIN area (55%/45%).

    Yes Bradshaw is favourite but I would say probabilities are:
    Lab 57% Con 43%. Remember vast majority of voters vote on National considerations and the personal vote element is almost always over estimated.

  33. There are plenty of seats with similar majorities where the Tories have a chance, but Exeter is clearly trending to Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership does not appear to have damaged their performance here, as it has in many Labour heartlands. Only last year Labour increased their majority on the City Council compared to previous elections held in 2012-15.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2016-36219465

  34. Yes they would have pleased with 6 more seats but Lab votes dropped 44% – 41% overall 2012 – 2016. If BB does hold it’ll be much closer that in 2010 when he beat Tories by just 2,700

  35. Labour held a substantial polling lead as of May 2012, with a VI averaging around 43%, compared to 31% in both the 2015GE and polls around 2016. I know this isn’t a like-for-like comparison, given changes to polling methodology post the 2015GE, but even so it is clear that demographically this is increasingly strong ground for Labour,

    I’d guess a Labour majority here of around 7-8% on 8th June.

  36. I think that it will be bye bye Ben on June 8th

  37. Ben Bradshaw is a well liked and popular MP. His majority actually rose in 2015 despite general Labour losses overall. The overall national polls do look much worse this time, of course, so the seat must be at least in contention.
    Exeter was generally Tory before Bradshaw’s first election (against a terrible homophobic Tory candidate) in 1997. Bradshaw’s success (despite some hostility from the Left over Bradshaw’s criticism of Jeremy Corbyn) must be an asset. Exeter voted Remain by a 10% margin.
    On balance, I’d expect Bradhaw to win, but it might be close.

  38. I would be surprised if Labour lost this for the reasons others have mentioned. Also, Bradshaw has been a very vocal critic of the Labour leadership which might help him out a bit.

  39. Bradshaw has written in the local press basically urging voters to vote for him rather than “the party” (i.e. the leadership).

    I think he’ll hold fairly easily, as ChrisH says above he is very popular as MP in the constituency.

  40. UNS would barely see Tories home here, on a 20-point lead nationally. They would obviously gain some seats with > 13% margin in that scenario, but this is a seat more Remain than the national average (though not on inner London level).

    Lab hold.

  41. Labour have again done quite well in local elections here. This will be quite a tough gain for the torries in June through the could gain it narrowly.

  42. Exeter Council Area

    2017
    LAB 15,588 (45.88%)
    CON 11,796 (34.72%)
    LD 2,952 (8.68%)
    GRN 2,539 (7.47%)
    UKIP 1,016 (2.99%)
    Total 33,974

    Changes from 2013
    LAB +5.83%
    CON +10.34%
    LD -1.76%
    GRN +1.21%
    UKIP -14.42%

  43. Based on those local election results I can’t see the Tories having much chance here. Some of those Grn and LD votes will probably go to Bradshaw, and there is hardly any UKIP to squeeze (and based on the change from 2013, a fair share of the UKIP vote here has gone back to Labour).

  44. If they get Exeter it will be a Conservative landslide.

  45. Of record proportions.

  46. Am increasingly less confident about Mr Bradshaw’s prospects despite Labour’s good showing in the council elections.
    1. Every indication is that we ARE heading for a Tory landslide, perhaps with a national majority way in excess of 100.
    2. The Tory candidate James Taghdissian seems vaguely credible.
    3. Bradhaw is harming himself with his defeatist comments. “Let’s get real, it’s the Tory manifesto people need to be focusing on, seeing what they’ll do in government, and we Labour MPs are trying to save as many good Labour MPs as possible.” He’ll alienate all his core supporters at this rate!
    I’d say his chances are about 50-50 currently.

  47. I don’t know, I still think his tactical game of emphasising his history as a good local MP should see him home fairly comfortably.

  48. One of the few traditional Conservative seats from the 1997 landslide election that has remained continuously in Labour hands. I guess this seat will be Bradshaw’s as long as he wants it, unless Labour have a really bad night.

  49. I came into Exeter earlier this month, on a small plane coming back from the Scilly Isles.
    I tend to think Labour will hang on here, although it’s not a given.

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