South Leicestershire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28700 (53.2%)
Labour: 11876 (22%)
Lib Dem: 3987 (7.4%)
UKIP: 9363 (17.4%)
MAJORITY: 16824 (31.2%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Leicestershire. Most of Blaby council area and part of Harborough council area.

Main population centres: Braunstone Town, Blaby, Lutterworth, Broughton Astley, Narborough, Whetstone.

Profile: South Leicestershire is a slice of Leicestershire to the south of Leicester itself, with most of the population in commuter towns and villages clustered close to Leicester itself, both in the suburb of Braunstone Town, including the large modern development of Thorpe Astley, and commuter villages like Whetstone, Blaby and Narborough. Further south it is more rural, with the largest settlement the old market town of Lutterworth. Nearby is the former site of RAF Bitteswell, since redeveloped as Magna Park, one of the largest distribution centres in Europe.

Politics: The constituency name of South Leicestershire was new for 2010, but the seat was not massively change from the old Blaby division. Both this as its predecessor are safe Tory seats held by the party since Blaby`s creation in 1974. The best known MP to represent the area is the former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.


Current MP
ALBERTO COSTA (Conservative) Educated at Glasgow University. Former solicitor. Contested Angus 2010. First elected as MP for Leicestershire South in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 27000 (49%)
Lab: 11392 (21%)
LDem: 11476 (21%)
BNP: 2721 (5%)
Oth: 1988 (4%)
MAJ: 15524 (28%)
2005*
Con: 22487 (46%)
Lab: 14614 (30%)
LDem: 9382 (19%)
BNP: 1704 (3%)
Oth: 1201 (2%)
MAJ: 7873 (16%)
2001
Con: 22104 (46%)
Lab: 15895 (33%)
LDem: 8286 (17%)
BNP: 1357 (3%)
MAJ: 6209 (13%)
1997
Con: 24564 (46%)
Lab: 18090 (34%)
LDem: 8001 (15%)
Oth: 920 (2%)
MAJ: 6474 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Blaby

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ALBERTO COSTA (Conservative) Educated at Glasgow University. Solicitor. Contested Angus 2010.
AMANDA HACK (Labour)
GEOFFREY WELSH (Liberal Democrat)
BARRY MAHONEY (UKIP)
Links
Comments - 64 Responses on “Leicestershire South”
  1. I don’t know how far one can compare 2010 with past elections because of the boundary changes but it looks like Labour is a bit stronger here these days (though it obviously remains a very safe Tory seat). Is that the case? Are the suburban wards adjoining Leicester beginning to exhibit the characteristics of Leicester itself?

  2. I have a question: are the suburbs of Leicester beginning to acquire the characteristics of Leicester proper? I ask because Labour seems to have improved in this seat in the last 20 years or so. Even in 2010, I have them carrying Ravenhurst and running the Tories close in Winstanley- places which would have gone into Leicester West had the boundary changes gone through?

  3. *gone through.

    PS- obviously this remains a firmly Tory seat but the % majority is somewhat down on what it was in 1992 even if you factor in boundary changes (which I don’t think were considerable in any case).

  4. Tory, I don’t know this area atall – could never get excited about Leicester but have been curious about this seat.

    I Google mapped it and I thought it looked more urban than I expected.
    You’re right Labour seems to have improved a lot – even in 2010 they are doing considerably better than in 1983 when there was a recount in Blaby – I think it must have been to do with Labour’s deposit around 12.5%
    rather than Gloy getting excited about the Alliance winning.

    Perhaps there has been some change in the area.

  5. Looking at the admittedly imperfect electoral calculus figures, it looks like the Tories are still very strong in the Lutterworth area. To be fair, they’re still doing pretty well in the Blaby council area as a whole but the wards adjacent to Leicester definitely show signs of Labour strength. It is perhaps telling the proposed Blaby (which did not include those adjacent wards) would have seen the Tories 20,000 ahead of Labour rather than the 15,500 by which Robathan was ahead in South Leicestershire.

    I wonder if ethnicity might be part of it? Successful Asian families moving out of Leicester itself and settling in the nearby suburbs and taking their voting preferences with them.

  6. *that the proposed Blaby

  7. http://idocs.blaby.gov.uk/external/community-living/equality-diversity/Blaby-District-Profile.pdf

    The BME population in the Blaby council area is 9% compared with 49% in Leicester. The report states:

    ‘Since 2001 the population (of Blaby) has grown by 4% with the largest change contributed by Asian or Asian
    British people with an increase of 2% or nearly 2,000 people.’

    So there has been a change but 2001 but hardly significant numerically. I would be interested to hear others’ views on why Labour seems to be doing better here than in the past.

  8. I do not know this area but I would suspect that along with the established Asian British community trickling out of Leicester, White Brits from the city have probably also moved out into this seat but are also still voting Labour as they would have done in Leicester itself?

  9. L Bernard- yes, I think that is a very sensible suggestion. It is also interesting that the BNP got 5%- possibly a wwc element that might otherwise have voted Tory?

  10. I don’t think you can assume that BNP voters second preference would be Conservative – I think a fair few are ex Labour (especially somewhere like Rotherham)

  11. I would have thought in this seat the BNP voters would most probably be ex Labour voters more than Tories.

  12. I guess you’re right actually (though remember that in Keighley, the presence of the BNP in 2005 seemed to hurt the Tory vote).

  13. I think the percentages didn’t change notionally when this became Leicestershire South instead of Blaby.

    The Tories are therefore 9% down on 1992, when IIRC they also fell 3% here (although increased 79/83/87)
    and Labour is the same as in 1992 and a lot better than in the 80s.
    It is possible the Labour performance in the 80s was not their natural state and they have just held up better post 2001 but the comments about some change in the area sound sensible to me.

  14. Blaby, Lutterworth, and Glenfield were in Harborough from 1885 to 1974 and then Blaby until 2010.

  15. The village of Glen Parva is where the Leicestershire professional snooker player Tom Ford originally comes from.

    He had the unlucky distinction of making a maximum break at the 2007 Grand Prix without the television cameras present at his match!

  16. There must be someone better known than that from this constituency. Perhaps someone has a suggestion.

  17. There’s a strong association between Lutterworth and Sir Frank Whittle, the man who singlehandedly invented the turbojet engine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Whittle

  18. Tom Ford will be known to people in Leicestershire and the East Midlands, and to people interested in the game of snooker, like myself. For others, he may be lesser known. I would be surprised if his own MP Andrew Robathan hasn’t heard of him.

  19. I am not ignorant of snooker but can’t say I’ve heard of either Tom Ford or Andy Hicks.

  20. That’s probably because neither player has ever been on television enough for them to be well known enough by a large number of people. There are comparisons with MPs in a way here. You’ll have heard of David Cameron and so Ronnie O’Sullivan, or Ed Milliband and so you’ll have heard of John Higgins.
    There will be a large number of MPs who are hardly ever on TV, and the same goes for a lot of snooker players sadly.

  21. “Blaby, Lutterworth, and Glenfield were in Harborough from 1885 to 1974 and then Blaby until 2010.”

    Glenfield has been in Charnwood constituency sincw 1997

  22. Andrew Robathan achieved a higher majority when he was first elected for Blaby in 1992 than Nigel Lawson his predecessor had ever managed, and that remains his biggest majority.

  23. That’s partly because it was very close between Labour & the LDs for second place, Labour narrowly scraping into that position.

  24. Indeed. Since then Andrew Robathan’s results have seen small swings towards him in 2001 and 2005, then a more emphatic result here in 2010.

  25. Actually further to the above, the Conservative results here in 2001 and 2005 were quite static in terms of increase. I’m not 100% but I get the feeling that they may have gone up since 1997 by less than the national average of 5.4%, albeit marginally- I might be wrong however given the boundaries were changed for 2010 to create this successor to Blaby.

  26. Grinder (LD) 16,139
    *Robathan (C) 16,083
    Helmer (UKIP) 14,742
    Blackman (Lab) 10,132
    Fist (White Newsagent) 153
    McGuinness (SF) 101

    LD GAIN FROM CON
    LD Maj 56

  27. Did anyone like my prediction (building on the recount here in 1983, and the stupendous momentum)?

  28. Ha ha. Very funny Joe. Is fist a reference to the Sylvester Stallone film or something else entirely? I like Roger Helmer being the UKIP candidate.

  29. Lutterworth would be a better name for this constituency.

  30. We need the Scottish Boundary Commission for this one! It needs to be Lutterworth, Narborough, and Whetstone!

  31. I posted a bit about this earlier.
    Blaby doesn’t look like a particularly exciting place – perhaps it is pleasant though.
    Does anyone know much about this area?

    I wonder why this is such a strong Tory seat (although rather closer than it was in the 79-92 period).

  32. ‘I wonder why this is such a strong Tory seat (although rather closer than it was in the 79-92 period).’

    I wondered that after the one and only time I visited – just before the 2001 election

    It seemed a drab, dull and charcterless Leicester suburb. I also went to Lutterworth (or rather went passed), which although more rural wasn’t in anyway picturesque and didn’t look particularly affluent

    From what I saw of the seat it didn’t sem like the sort of place you’d expect to be a Toruy fortress – in comparison to similarly safe seats in places like Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, that certainly do

  33. Are there a lot of London commuters here as there are in Market Harborough? That could explain some of it.

  34. I think that it is classic ‘white flight’ territory is part of it – similar to South Staffordshire which isn’t exceptionally upmarket either but is very right-wing politically.
    I think Lutterworth is one of the more Labour inclined parts of this seat after Braunstone (which is taking on more characteristics of Leicester itself)

  35. I’d agree with South Staffordshire being white flight territory, but that’s starting to become less of the case now. We’ve started to see a small but growing trickle of Asian and black families moving into places like Great Wyrley.

  36. Well that always tends to occur in such areas as it is also in Braunstone here which I mentioned (and in places like Thurmaston on the other side of Leicester)
    I think in South Staffs this is more apparent in areas closer to Wolverhampton like Perton and Codsall where affluent Asians are moving – much less so in Great Wyrley which is somewhat further out (Great Wyrley Town was still 97.4% White British in 2011. The least ‘White’ ward in South Staffs appears to be Featherstone but I expect the prison population plays a part there

  37. Good replies and info. Ta. More later.

  38. I’m not sure I agree with Tim. An area doesn’t have to scream ‘wealthy’ to be recognisably Tory. Webs of private semis and bungalows will do and there are plenty of those in this seat. And to be fair some of the villages in the south of the constituency are pretty desirable and picturesque in a Gin and Jag kind of way.

  39. I think that is quite right, Tory,
    but to be fair to Tim I did Google map Blaby itself and it seemed less suburban and more urban/drab than I expected.

    You’re quite right about bungalows and private semis.

    Gin and Jag has been used to describe Reigate constituency (I think in comparison to others in Surrey).

  40. Bungalow and private semi-land perfectly describes what I saw of Newark during the campaign there. Lots of old people and lots of relatively wealthy people – it’s actually probably better Tory territory than some of the really well-to-do areas in big cities.

  41. The “gin & Jag belt” was an expression I remember Robert Waller using too, in the Almanac of British Politics a few years ago. He was referring to the Macclesfield constituency I think, especially with reference to the Tory smaller towns & villages in that seat rather than Maccesfield itself. Congleton is also a constituency which is very much part of that belt.

  42. Barnaby- indeed. For me the term is synonymous with smart villages with ‘traditional’ pubs frequented by Ken Clarke lookalikes.

  43. There’s a half-decent comedy sketch buried somewhere in there.

  44. I would say ‘Gin and Jag’ describes a Denis Thatcher set of attitudes rather than a Ken Clarke one.

  45. Blaby – same boundaries

    1979
    *Con 33,221 58.1%
    Lab 12,581 22.0%
    Lib 9,277 16.2%
    NF 2,056 3.6% (quite high)
    C maj 36.1%

    1992
    Con 39,498 57.9% -2.6%
    Lab 14,151 20.7% +6.2%
    LD 13,780 20.2% -4.8%
    BNP 521 0.8%
    NLP 260 0.4%
    C maj 37.2%

    So during the 1980s, particularly 1987 the Tories continued to add share, but suffered a 4.4% regional swing to Labour in 1992 who almost won their way back to the 1979 figure – with the Tories almost maintaining that over the 13 year period.
    But a much swollen electorate with all the parties up.

    Robert Waller’s book says some areas were removed to the Charnwood seat in 1997 so the 1992 majority would have dropped to about 19,000.

    Even so, the Tories did flatline in 2001 and 2005 here and look as though they are about 8% down against 1992.

  46. Dr John- I said ‘lookalike’. Politically, they’ll be to the Right of Ken on immigration on Europe but they won’t necessarily be better off outers as they’ll probably fret a bit about the trade. That’s why UKIP doesn’t actually do that well in places like Newark contrary to the stereotypes that one hears about UKIP supporters.

    JJB- there’s clearly been some slippage- much of it in the area adjoining Leicester I would guess.

  47. Sounds credible to me.
    I wonder whether the Pete could reconstruct the old Blaby constituency to give us the 2010 result (and if possible 2005).

  48. It seems odd at first glance that the Blaby seat donated acreage to Charnwood in 1997 because the two seats would seem to have been on opposite sides of Leicester. Obviously the seat curled round the edge of a the city at that time.

  49. Charnwood had a particularly bad swing against the Tories in 1997 (but Loughborough quite a low one).
    I thought there could be some mess up with the boundary calculation – particularly as here they thought it made virtually no difference to the percentages IIRC.

  50. The Blaby area is heavily working class Tory with many one man businesses (painters & decorators, welders, fence erectors etc.) who bought their council houses during the 80s. Many first time buyers. The Asian population of Leicester mainly live in the North of the City and tend to move into Charnwood with new found wealth. The only remaining employer of any size is Alsthom who employ a few graduates. There are only a few leafy villages and Labour have worked hard. Many SDP defectors returned to the fold rather than become Lib Dem

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