2015 Result:
Conservative: 26364 (55.3%)
Labour: 6926 (14.5%)
Lib Dem: 3298 (6.9%)
Green: 1707 (3.6%)
UKIP: 9266 (19.4%)
Independent: 104 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 17098 (35.9%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. The whole of the Gosport council area and part of the Fareham council area.

Main population centres: Gosport, Hill Head, Lee-on-the-Solent, Alverstoke.

Profile: Gosport consists of a built up peninsula on the western side of Portsmouth harbour. It is mostly affluent private housing (particularly Alverstoke), though there are some large areas of high rise council housing around Rowner. Like Portsmouth across the harbour Gosport has traditionally been associated with the military and the Royal Navy, although many of these facilities have been closed and it is now more a dormitory town. The Royal Navy retains a presence at HMS Sultan, a large onshore training base.

Politics: Gosport is a safe Conservative seat, held by the part since its creation in 1974. The previous MP, Sir Peter Viggers, was forced to retire at the 2010 election after being reponsible for one of the most iconic claims in the MPs expenses scandal - a sixteen hundred pound floating duck house.

Current MP
CAROLINE DINENAGE (Conservative) Born 1971, Portsmouth, daughter of TV presenter Fred Dinenage. Educated at Wykeham House and Swansea University. Former Sales director. Winchester councillor 1998-2003. Contested Portsmouth South 2005. First elected as MP for Gosport in 2010. Junior justice minister since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 24300 (52%)
Lab: 7944 (17%)
LDem: 9887 (21%)
UKIP: 1496 (3%)
Oth: 3312 (7%)
MAJ: 14413 (31%)
Con: 19268 (45%)
Lab: 13538 (31%)
LDem: 7145 (17%)
UKIP: 1825 (4%)
Oth: 1258 (3%)
MAJ: 5730 (13%)
Con: 17364 (44%)
Lab: 14743 (37%)
LDem: 6011 (15%)
UKIP: 1162 (3%)
Oth: 509 (1%)
MAJ: 2621 (7%)
Con: 21085 (44%)
Lab: 14827 (31%)
LDem: 9479 (20%)
Oth: 426 (1%)
MAJ: 6258 (13%)

2015 Candidates
CAROLINE DINENAGE (Conservative) See above.
ALAN DURRANT (Labour) Semi-retired tutor.
ROB HYLANDS (Liberal Democrat) Contested Gosport 2010.
JEFFREY ROBERTS (No description)
Comments - 48 Responses on “Gosport”
  1. The little synopsis above claims this is very safe for the Tories but the size of the majority in 2001 was not much at all… going back further in history do any of the statistics wonks in here know if it was more marginal since 1974 or even before that when it had a more industrial character….

  2. Whilst Gosport is strongly working class in part, it also has some very strong Conservative areas like Alverstoke and Lee-on-the Solent which counteract the better Labour areas. In addition the Fareham areas of Hill Head and Stubbington ensure the Tories get over the top in years such as 2001. Indeed without those Fareham wards, Labour would have run Viggers ultra close.

    Labour did actually win overall control of the council in the inaugural election of 1973 – helped in large part, as in council elections in the late 1990s and early 2000s by having an efficient distribution of votes as opposed to Tories who pile up the votes in places like Alverstoke.

    What hampered Labour doing better was the 1980s lurch to the left especially on defence. Given until recently a third of locals had jobs connected to MOD, Labour’s position on unilateral disarmament would have gone down like a lead balloon. In addition the Lib Dems filled this vacuum and until they had the first of their many local implosions picked up the opposition mantle and ran the local council. It was in part this implosions and the election of the Blair Govt that gave Labour its chance to both run the council as a minority administration and firmly secure 2nd spot at the GE. I’m sure that the 1997 figure would have been closer had anti-Tory voters worked out the party best placed to beat them – tho as in 2001, i am sure the Tories would have won.

  3. There has only been an independent Gosport constituency since 1974. The only time it has been close was in 2001. The naval vote has always skewed the seat to the right; the surge to Labour in 2001 (which was also seen in neighbouring Fareham) suggested that the factor was coming to an end, but instead the Tories have recovered to the large lead they now have. The seat has as far as I know always included Hill Head & Stubbington, even though they are essentially parts of Fareham, and these areas together with Lee-on-Solent have always helped the Tories to keep the seat safe.

  4. In 1966 the Tories had a majority of 11,000 in Gosport and Fareham – in percentage terms 52% / 34% so safe enough but one may surmise that the Gosport part of the seat will have been closer (but probably no closer than it was in 2001. In 1945 the Fareham seat was quite close (only a 5% lead). That seat in addition to Gosport included the whole of what is now Havant borough and that part of Portsmouth which lies on the mainland. This would include areas like Paulsgrove and Leigh Park but as these estates were not built then it’s probable that Labour did best in Gosport and probably would have carried it then, probably then assisted by the naval vote

  5. Thanks for that… the Town wards seem to have a strong Labour showing with a bunch of councilors… I still remain surprised that this constituency is as Tory as it is…

    The place is a transport nightmare… its surprising the locals don’t want to lynch someone (their past MPs?) for allowing the railway to be ripped up..

    It used to have a special extension for Queen Victoria to arrive at the pier for taking the boat over the Osborne House on the IOW.

  6. Pete you mention that pre-1950 the Fareham seat included the borough of Havant. After that time, there was a seat for many years called Portsmouth Langstone. The Portsmouth prefix always puzzled me somewhat – was any of it actually within the Portsmouth city boundaries?

  7. Your point is even more pertinent concerning the Isle of Wight. Harold Wilson’s government destroyed almost all the railways on the IOW, with the exception of the short stump which remains today from Ryde to Shanklin. The railways on the IOW were extremely well used; it was an act of complete indifference by Labour over a part of the country they had no interest in.

  8. Reviving the line into Gosport.. where the trackbed is all still in place and the area has had a massive surge of population since 1953 when service was withdrawn would make a load of sense.. business and otherwise.. I guess the former MP thought it was “for the birds”

  9. i didn’t know about the iow railways

  10. “The Portsmouth prefix always puzzled me somewhat – was any of it actually within the Portsmouth city boundaries?”

    Yes quite a lot – all the mainland territory and parts of Portsea Island like Copnor. Basically it covered the majority of what is now Portsmoouth North

  11. The line to Leigh on Solent was also closed, in this constituency (which I presume it might have been in in the 1960s if it happened then).
    It is very regretable, and some lines are being put back in other areas, subject to cost.

  12. I cant imagine what the Gosport peninsula was pre-1953 when the line closed but I imagine it was a small town perched opposite Portsmouth with the naval yards and the distant suburb of Lee on Solent.. most of the populous looked to Portsmouth at the time and took the ferry…

    A look at Goggle-maps shows that since then its become solid sprawl to Fareham. Ironically all this sprawl would have made a great rationale for the railway line’s retention however the growth happened post-closure! Indeed, the line might even have survived Beeching 13 years later because of so much building in the meantime… there is clearly a potential for reinstatement but this looks like another of these “taken for granted” safe Tory seats with do-nothing MPs (and councils) which sprawl across the South Coast.

  13. So it was closed before Beeching.
    You may have a point.
    I have seen a photo of it very well used in the summer
    but alas probably not all year.

  14. The main trainline from Fareham to Gosport is now the rapid transit busway linking the two towns. There was talk of a tram going along the route and going onto Portsmouth. However this was deemed too costly and instead the busway was funded instead.

    Alas even with the increased population, heavy rail in Gosport would be expensive and inflexible. Much better solutions involve light rail, rapid transit buses, improved cycle paths, as well as some road improvements.

    As to the next GE, the key thing for Labour is to win back second place. I think that they will do that, however given their inability to win some wards across the town that they should win (Rowner, Bridgemary South, Grange etc), I cannot see any challenge to the Tories anytime soon – either at the GE or on the Council. Perhaps the 2001 surge was just a local response to Blair as opposed to any longer term trend back to the Labour Party (which given the demographics should do better).

  15. Places like Gosport should be much more densely built up then they are rather than just continuing sprawl into the countryside. Gosport is a transport black hole.. Buses seem to have a lot of fans in the UK but they are one of the most inefficient methods of transport, particularly mass transit. Gosport basically doesnt have a connection to the rest of the country… all it has is a bus to Fareham and a ferry to Portsmouth. Even the ferry drops you off at the Gunwharf/Navy zone of Portsmouth (which makes historic sense) but not near the “downtown” of Portsmouth.

    The fast bus lane is a total band-aid… The line should be reinstated.. its only 5 miles and all the trackbed is unencumbered. The journey would be five minutes in train to Fareham.. The cost would be a mere bagatelle compared to the HS2 boondoggle and a whole complex could be built up around a new station (the 1840 station has since become the country’s most glamorous example of affordable housing…)

    All the trains that currently run to Portsmouth Harbour via Basinsgtoke and Winchester could be run to Gosport instead.

  16. For a “very safe” Tory seat this must have one of the wildest swings to and from Labour… 14% in 1992 to 37% two elections later and then back to 17%…. quite surprisingly volatile for this neck of the woods..

    btw the council is 24 Tory, 5 LD and 5 Labour….

  17. @H Hemmelig

    I have a copy of ‘The Great isle of Wight Train Robbery’ which is an interesting read. A more sensible country might have kept the Ryde – Ventnor line for summer services only and closed the rest in the 1950’s.At the moment the taxpayer gives 11 pounds in subsidy for every
    pound taken in fares on the Ryde – Shanklin line.

  18. Another case of slack MPs not going into bat for transport…. solutions need to come from outside the box for such situations.. at least a steam railway would be a tourist draw…

    The current service appears to be pretty intense with a train every half hour as it stands.. that is better than many of the stations on the Soton/London mainline for places like Shawford and Micheldever…

  19. My forecast for 2015:

    Con 42 (-10)
    Lab 25 (+8)
    UKIP 15 (+12)
    LD 13 (-8)
    Others 5

  20. Caroline Dineage and Mark Lancaster (Mlton Keynes North) were married at the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in Westminster on 14th February:


  21. Tories down three seats… Labour, LibDems and UKIP up one each here.. Portsmouth effect not evident 200 metres across the harbour..

  22. Looks like Chris Wood is the UKIP candidate for Gosport:


  23. Labour came within 2621 votes here in 2001.

    Why has their advance been so effectively pushed back here but not in Hastings & Rye?

  24. Two completely different seats I think. That part of East Sussex has changed dramatically in Labour’s favour, but this urban area of Hampshire is still heavily influenced by the Royal Navy, which will no doubt keep this safe for the Tories for the foreseeable future. Labour did very well in quite a few Hampshire seats in 2001, and though there looks to be some kind of demographic shift to Labour here long-term, the seat has not changed in their favour to the extent they can actually win the seat.

  25. Also Labour’s progress here in 2001 was possibly delayed. There had been an above-average increase for them in 1997, well above the national average for the party- They had not moved much in 1987 and 1992, back when the Lib Dems were still in a clear second to Peter Viggers. It may have been the case that once Labour had established themselves as the clear challengers in 1997, the Lib Dems fell back more at their expense- this did happen in a lot of Tory-held seats in the South in 2001.

  26. Conservative Hold. 10,000 maj

  27. With the usual caveats – low turnouts, local issues – the Liberal Democrats probably just had their best week of local electoral results in many years – perhaps since the beginning of the coalition.

    Four seats up for grabs – in Gosport, Torridge, Tandridge and Maidstone – and the Lib Dems had a clean sweep, with some monster swings. This was the best result of the lot.

    Bridgemary North (Gosport) result:

    LD: 57.9% (+57.9%)
    Lab: 22.9% (-49.0%)
    Con: 19.2% (-8.9%)

    Full details here: https://twitter.com/britainelects

  28. What a crazy night. Gosport had a popular candidate. Dunno bout the rest

  29. Certainly a good night for the Libs but Polltroll is right to throw in the caveats, remember before the election the Libs where having a great time with local by-elections and where winning practically everything and some excitable peeps were talking about the revenge of the 48% and expecting a Lib Dem surge in the polls, as we know though it just didn’t happen.

  30. Results like this are important for the Lib Dems’ long-term survival, though. Their biggest problem (beyond the whiff of coalition) is that they aren’t getting any airtime (and the little they got at the election focused more on Tim Farron’s private beliefs than they did on actual Lib Dem policies). They just aren’t a feature of the national conversation at the moment.

    So they’ve got to go local. Build a support base that way. Results like this may not be extremely relevant to current national polling, but if the Lib Dems ever want to be a party of 20%+ vote share and 50+ MPs again, this is how they are going to have to get there.

  31. Incidentally I don’t believe they will get into such a position until at least the 2030s – basically they need to wait for Labour to form a government and then become unpopular themselves. It’s a long way off.

  32. I really don’t know what the future is for the Lib Dems, there are some obvious targets in more Remainy Liberal Tory seats but I only count 5 of them (Richmond Park, Cheadle, Cheltenham, St Ives and St Albans) all the others the Tories either significantly increased their majorities or Lab eclipsed the Libs as the main challenger. There is then a handful of potential miscellaneous gains off the nationalists (Ceredigion, Fife NE) but not many

    I really don’t see the Libs advancing much against Labour, Sheffield Hallam and Leeds NE are ones to watch but I do think the student vote will really hamper the Libs in both. Cambridge is demographically very good for them but on paper it looks pretty much safe for Zeichner now.

    I really do think the 97-15 period was something of an aberration for the Libs. They somehow appealed to a dozen different groups including those that wanted something to the left of Labour in the studenty inner cities but also those who wanted a slightly nicer Tory party in the rural SW and they were faced with a deeply unpopular Tory party between 97-07 and a deeply unpopular Lab party from 03 onwards which resulted in their high watermark of 62 MP’s in the 05 election. I just don’t see the stars aligning in the same way for the foreseeable future.

  33. I’m struggling as well.

    Their decline in Lab facing seats would be of concern, because in Tory facing marginals where they are in contention, the current position of the Labour Party would have swing voters erring toward the Tories, against their natural judgement.

    Socially liberal, centrist to centre right types in particular.

    I’ve not studied this but I would reckon that most of their bigger majorities going into 2015 were in those seats? And they were annihilated.

    In addition, the ‘UKIP in reverse’ won’t help win seats… sure there are lots of people who would like a second EU referendum (or it being scrapped altogether) but that support will be spread reasonably uniformly across much of the country (with hot spots in certain parts) – many of whom might have a sitting Labour MP of a similar view anyway.

    They must be commended for being true to their beliefs but if they want to establish electoral success again without having to have selfies next to pot holes or dog poo… their anti Brexit stance needs to be tempered. If only slightly.

  34. They ought to win back Hallam, if Labour make the mistake of re-selecting Jared O’Mara.

    Leeds NW… I think if Greg Mulholland couldn’t hold in 2017 their prospects are pretty much over for the foreseeable future.

    It does seem odd having a Lab MP though for an a seat where realistically the Tories ought to be in contention, with the Lib Dem’s. The only hugely studenty ward is Headingley. Adel is classic Toryville, Otley isn’t hugely dissimilar to parts of Harrogate constituency.

  35. “In addition, the ‘UKIP in reverse’ won’t help win seats”

    This in particular is the big problem for the Libs when up against Labour, all the inner city Lab held Remaniac seats that the Libs once held or challenged in are just not in play anymore. the likes of Islington South, Sheffield Central, Bristol West, Manchester Withington, Liverpool Wavertree, Cardiff Central, Hornsey etc didn’t just swing heavily to Labour in 2015 they swung just as heavily again in 2017 meaning these are literally some of Labs safest seats now with majorities in excess of 50% and since when has it been a viable political strategy to literally target your opponents safest seats.

  36. Cant see Jared being around by the next election.

  37. Yes, their target audience, the ‘abolish Brexit at all costs’ have gone to Labour. Something of a paradox considering their leader isn’t much of an EU enthusiast.

    Corbyn has succeeded in being lots of things to lots of people, and his popularity with swathes of the young can unbalance anything. A friend of mine in his mid 30’s who isn’t that different to me in any way – less right wing economically but that’s about it voted Labour (for Angela Rayner) for the first time ever… having voted UKIP in 2015 and being pro Brexit… ex armed forces etc.

    It seems that the road back is the hard slog, rather than the easier than anticipated ‘let’s just stop Brexit’ mantra. It’s potentially a road to electoral oblivion really, lots of staunch Brexit supporters are liberals, lots of swing either way are too…

    Ashdown and Kennedy were staunchly pro EU but I don’t recall either being as one eyed as Farron was at the time, and Cable has inherited as leader with the new members…

  38. Like I said, it’s going to be a long slog. I think that ultimately they will live on as the only significant NOTA option, as although they went nowhere in the election, other minor parties did even worse than they did.

    I thought for a while that the political polarisation that has emerged in this country would suit them, but rather it seems that it has forced people into two trenches with the Lib Dems caught in no-man’s land. Plenty of people in June voted either Conservative or Labour while holding their noses, purely to stop the other one – perhaps a scenario where the big two aren’t so far apart suits the Lib Dems, as it means people can cast a vote for them without risking letting in a party they despise. You all well know I’m a small-L liberal but there’s no way I’d vote for the party in my current Lab/Con marginal seat where my vote actually matters.

    I think the ideal scenario for the Lib Dems would be similar to 2005 – where both red and blue were unpopular, with the political distance between them below the historical average, and where general election result wasn’t really on a knife-edge. They also had the leadership of the late, great Charles Kennedy. That was almost a perfect storm for them.

  39. Yes I’ve thought this too and mentioned it during the election. However, ultimately its down to not risking the spoiler affect rather than ideology 1983 and 1997 are similiar in landslides that bore the cork of liberalism.

  40. ‘It seems that the road back is the hard slog, rather than the easier than anticipated ‘let’s just stop Brexit’ mantra.’

    I think the stop Brexit mantra was convenient for the Lib Dems as staunch support for remaining in the EU is one of the few things all their MPs agreed on – rather than pure opportunism

    ‘It’s potentially a road to electoral oblivion really, lots of staunch Brexit supporters are liberals, lots of swing either way are too…’

    Whilst there might be plenty of ex-Lib Dem voters who supported Brexit, I’m sure they are those who supported the Lib Dens because they were neither Labour nor Tory than anything to do with the policies they advocated.

    I’ve yet to met a Lib Dem voter who supported Brexit

  41. There are Lib Dems who voted for Brexit

    Paul Keetch the former MP for Hereford was one. There was a group called ‘Liberal Leave’ although tbh it didn’t achieve much.

    I’d say 90% of Lib Dem voters voted remain though.

  42. I suspect that most of the rather small Leave/LD overlap comprised tactical votes in a dozen or so Con/LD marginals.

  43. Paul – 27% of LDs voted Leave according to that org.

    A quarter did in Southport according to former MP John Pugh.

    Most Liberals voted Leave according to Cllr Steve Radford.

    The demographics in a lot of the former (1997-2015) LD seats are elderly and so I’d say there’s no way 90% voted Remain. But it’s probably true of LDs in Bath or Southwark.

  44. The Liberal Party is completely different on Europe from the Liberal Democrats so what Steve Radford is less surprising.

  45. The Liberal Party is completely different on Europe from the Liberal Democrats so what Steve Radford says is less surprising, that should have read.

  46. True, but unusually Liberal Leave had both LDs & Libs delivering their leaflets.


    I’m not saying for one moment that 90% of Lib Dem voters from 2005/2010 voted remain, but as a guestimate around 90% of people who voted Lib Dem in 2015/2017 voted remain in 2016.

  48. And as Barnaby said, Steve Radford is the Leader of the Liberal Party – not the Lib Dems – and they are a staunchly anti EU party.


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