Morecambe & Lunesdale

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19691 (45.5%)
Labour: 15101 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 1612 (3.7%)
Green: 1395 (3.2%)
UKIP: 5358 (12.4%)
Independent: 85 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4590 (10.6%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Part of the Lancaster council area.

Main population centres: Morecambe, Carnforth, Heynsham.

Profile: A seat at the very northern edge of Lancashire. The urban south-western part of the constituency along the coast includes the industrial ferry port of Heysham, along with its nuclear power station, and the holiday resort of Morecambe. In past decades Morecambe has been in steep decline, both its piers are gone, the Frontierland themepark closed in 1999 and a Crinkly Bottom theme park closed after only a few months in 1994. North of Morecambe the constituency includes much of Morecambe bay (including Warton Bank, the site of the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster where 21 chinese cockle pickers were cut off and drowned by advancing tides), Carnforth and the villages of Bolton-le-Sands and Silverdale. To the east the constituency stretches up the Lune valley into the pennines, taking in the small rural villages of northern Lancashire.

Politics: Once a reliable Conservative seat, like many others this fell to Labour in their 1997 landslide and was only narrowly regained by the Tories in 2010.


Current MP
DAVID MORRIS (Conservative) Born 1966, Leigh. Former hairdresser. Contested Blackpool South 2001, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire 2005. First elected as MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 18035 (42%)
Lab: 17169 (40%)
LDem: 5791 (13%)
UKIP: 1843 (4%)
Oth: 598 (1%)
MAJ: 866 (2%)
2005*
Con: 15563 (37%)
Lab: 20331 (49%)
LDem: 5741 (14%)
MAJ: 4768 (11%)
2001
Con: 15554 (37%)
Lab: 20646 (50%)
LDem: 3817 (9%)
UKIP: 935 (2%)
Oth: 703 (2%)
MAJ: 5092 (12%)
1997
Con: 18096 (37%)
Lab: 24061 (49%)
LDem: 5614 (11%)
Oth: 165 (0%)
MAJ: 5965 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
DAVID MORRIS (Conservative) See above.
AMINA LONE (Labour) Born 1972. Director and founder of a social enterprise research foundation. Manchester councillor.
MATTHEW SEVERN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Ripley St Thomas High School. Insurance sales advisor. South Lakeland councillor since 2014.
STEVE OGDEN (UKIP) Bike retailler.
PHIL CHANDLER (Green) University technician.
MICHAEL DAWSON (No description)
Links
Comments - 111 Responses on “Morecambe & Lunesdale”
  1. Easy Labour gain this one.

  2. As a bit of speculative fun, any guesses as to how ‘Morecambe and Lonsdale’ would have voted in 2010? I think the Conservatives would have won fairly comfortably despite weakening in Morecambe itself. There would be no Skerton for the Tories to worry about, after all.

  3. That must be right. Lonsdale, as opposed to Lunesdale which is something different altogether, is overwhelmingly Tory ahead of Labour, with the sole exception to some extent of Ulverston.

  4. My rather sketchy workings out suggest something in the order of:

    Tory 48%
    Lab 24%
    LD 23%

  5. Interesting – wonder whether the old Lancaster seat would have been Tory? The Tories are very weak in Lancaster itself and in particular in Skerton – where they had a councillor in the early 80’s when I was at University there.

  6. The BBC ITN 1983 Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies suggests that Morecambe & Lonsdale was only slightly more Tory than Morecambe & Lunesdale. A 1979 majority over Labour of 30.1% as opposed to a notional 29.6%.

    12179 electors of Morecambe & Lonsdale (the rural part of the Furness peninsula) was annexed by Barrow in Furness to form Barrow & Furness. Its impact was to cut the 1979 Labour majority from 18.2% to a notional 10.5%.

    It is fair to say that Labour might have just retained Barrow in Furness in 1983, and the Furness peninsula cost Labour the seat.

    While Morecambe & Lonsdale may have only slightly more Tory than Morecambe & Lunesdale in 1983, I would assume that the wards forming the latter may have moved less towards Labour than the former.

    Morecambe & Lonsdale may have had a 3000 – 4000 Conservative majority in 2010 had it continued but that is well down on the five figure majorities in the 1970’s

  7. This is a seat which most people thought Labour would be able to hold in 2010 because of demographic change. It’s interesting how it didn’t conform to expectations, which is of course what makes elections interesting.

  8. I think the Tory majority in Morecambe and Lonsdale would have been rather greater than that, Dalek. The seat won’t have included Skerton which is massively Labour (there are surely grounds for thinking that Morris would have won Morecambe and Lunesdale by 3000 or so had Skerton not been included). Furthermore, it will have included places like Cartmel (now in W and L) where Labour is miles behind the Conservatives.

  9. I did say that although Morecambe & Lonsdale may have only slightly more Tory than Morecambe & Lunesdale in 1983, the former latter has moved more to Labour.

    Perhaps the Conservatives would be 6000 – 7000 votes ahead on the old boundaries.

  10. There are 6 county council divisions wholly within the constituency and they voted as follows:

    Lab: 5,996
    Con: 5,804
    UKIP: 2,904
    Green: 877
    LD: 281
    Others: 1,369

    Lancaster Rural East, which is split between this seat and Lancaster & Fleetwood, voted as follows:

    Con: 1,958 (43.2%)
    Lab: 963 (21.3%)
    UKIP: 803 (17.7%)
    LD: 474 (10.5%)
    Green: 333 (7.3%)

    The division consists of these wards:

    Within the Lancaster & Fleetwood constituency:
    1. Ellel
    2. Lower Lune Valley

    Within the Morecambe & Lunesdale constituency:
    1. Halton-with-Aughton
    2. Kellet
    3. Upper Lune Valley

    In 2011 the combined result for these wards was:
    Con: 4,234 (59.3%)
    Lab: 1,157 (16.2%)
    Green: 898 (12.6%)
    LD: 846 (11.9%)

    In 2011 the 3 wards in Morecambe & Lunesdale voted:
    Con: 2,195 (74.3%)
    Green: 476 (16.1%)
    Lab: 285 (9.6%) — {2 candidates}

    It looks like these three wards are better territory for the Tories than the two in Lancaster & Fleetwood

    My estimate is that these 3 wards would have voted as follows this year, assuming that if a Labour candidate had stood in Upper Lune Valley they would have received the lowest share from the other two wards where they did stand (taking those votes from the Greens):

    Con: 1,015 (50.4%)
    UKIP: 333 (16.5%)
    Lab: 327 (16.2%)
    LD: 196 (9.8%)
    Green: 142 (7.1%)

    That means my estimate for the “result” this year for the Morecambe & Lunesdale constituency is as follows:

    Con: 6,819 (35.4%)
    Lab: 6,323 (32.9%)
    UKIP: 3,237 (16.8%)
    Green: 1,019 (5.3%)
    LD: 477 (2.5%)
    Others: 1,369 (7.1%)

    Changes since GE2015:

    Con: -6.1%
    Lab: -6.7%
    UKIP: +12.6%
    LD: -10.9%
    Green: +3.9%
    Others: +7.1%

    Swing, Lab to Con: 0.3%

  11. What a poor result for Labour- and in an area which is becoming increasingly favourable to them, demographically. I still think Labour will regain the seat in 2015 though.

  12. It looks as if this could be another declining coastal area where UKIP might actually hurt Labour more than the Conservatives.

    I wonder if such deprived coastal areas saw a shift in working class votes from Conservative to Labour as they became more deprived and these votes are now being picked up by UKIP.

  13. Not really, Richard. Labour did really appallingly here in 2008. They only retained two seats and lost previously safe seats to the Tories.
    I think there is a question of turnout in some of Labour’s best Morecambe areas at local elections. Labour tend to do slightly better here nationally – locally there has been a longstanding Independent group which appears to be declining but has tended to depress the Labour vote. The Tories haven’t a good record of running candidates in Morecambe itself

  14. This is what happened to Labour’s target list when you input this year’s local election results. (A lot of areas are grey because they didn’t have elections this year, and also there are a few seat I haven’t calculated yet):

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At91c3wX1Wu5dGRabkF6R2dtNkxqZnRHUHk0cE5fM0E#gid=0

  15. I don’t see how this can be considered a poor result for Labour. If they are neck and neck on some of these pitiful turnouts then they’ll be actually fairly likely to win.

    Turnout in Skerton and the West End only just topped 20% in the county elections, I’ll wager it’s a lot higher in 2015.

    And as some comments have suggested, the high UKIP share here is very far from being all ex-Tory voters, which gives Morris less of a squeeze vote option.

  16. And let’s put it this way. This 2013 vote is a big jump up from Labour’s 2009 performance – which despite being horrific for them they still were less than 1000 votes off defending the seat a year later.

  17. The results were certainly poor in relation to Labour’s performance in other marginal (and indeed less marginal) seats. But as I said, I still think Labour won’t have a problem regaining the seat, which is trending towards them long-term in any event.

  18. Labour is in for a rude awakening if all its campaigners share the complacency of Carl.

    If an opposition can’t top the poll in a seat in circumstances of mid-term government unpopularity then they’re highly unlikely to win it at the general election.

  19. I’m interested by the theory underlying some of these predictions, which seems to run that Labour will always either hold or rebound from its mid-term position, whether in government or in opposition (but the Conservatives apparently will not).

  20. Exactly.

    Many Labour people got so used to appalling local election results when they were in government that they’ve forgotten how much better they need to be now they’re in opposition for them to have much hope of general election success.

    It’s the same with turnout. Why does Carl assume low turnout in mid term elections represents Labour people staying at home. It’s usually government supporters who turn out less enthusiastically mid-term. If Labour can’t turn its people out at mid term elections when in opposition then it is a worrying state of affairs for them.

  21. This seat does have a history of low labour turnouts at locals, though.

    The Skerton seats are monolithically safe to the extent that there’s hardly a campaign in them.

    The Morecambe town seats are odd because of the long-term presence of the MBI’s – whose vote is slipping away but who UKIP benefitted from this time. However, the pattern is for higher labour votes nationally – Labour only just lost this one last time

    Then there is the third factor, that Morecambe still has its posh Tory north end and all those villages which are monolithically Tory but always vote more in locals. Just happens to be a fact that old posh ladies vote no matter what.

  22. @Andy JS

    V interesting. If you overlay most recent results on to 2013, e.g. 2012, suggests that a good chunk of Labour’s target seats are sticking with the Tories. Also given 2013 UKIP vote some of results may have flattered Labour.

  23. Whilst local election results here – and in many other Labour target seats – where underwelming if not downright unsatisfactory for Labour, so few people bother voting in local elections that you just can’t read too much into them

    The Tories have always been better at mobilising their vote than Labour in such contests – and the same applies to their voters who ‘lent’ their votes to UKIP in 2013

  24. The question perhaps is how much lower the turnout was in Skerton, and one or two of Labour’s strongest areas, than in the rest of the seat. In a general election with a seat at stake it’s going to be higher everywhere, but it’s not difficult to see how voters in Skerton, who know that Labour will almost always win local elections there, might be particularly less motivated in local elections to come out & vote

  25. The three safest Labour wards had turnouts well below those of the others

    We’ve won this one nationally before without winning most of the local seats

  26. Yes, when Labour were in government.

    Look back at 1979-97 and you will see it was mostly the Tory voters staying at home in mid term elections when they were in government.

  27. I know this. But I think its irrelevant, simply because ALL politicians are generally regarded with the same negative feeling. Its the reason, in my view, that the polls aren’t showing a great deal of movement. There is no great enthusiasm for anyone. The main shift has been the LD’s losing voters to Labour because of the coalition, and they are probably gone for good. Otherwise, the polls have been pretty much static. So are by-elections for that matter.

    I don’t perceive there being a lot of change either. The big parties will retain their core votes plus a few more.

    Turnout may well be back to 2001 levels, though, because there is no great enthusiasm for anyone.

  28. Exactly Barnaby. Re-elect a local Labour councillor who’ll win anyway has far less appeal than kick out Tory government to someone in Skerton.

  29. Interesting theory Mike.

    Are you expecting a Labour majority?

  30. I think the Tories will hold on here – with a 5,000 majority, and stupendous momentum.
    Dreadful Labour local election results.
    Perhaps the voters thought they were in government.

  31. HH. A small one. 20-30 seats. Remember that we are still on the current boundaries.
    I have honestly never known such absolute negativity towards the entire political enterprise

  32. This is ludicrous. Labour made gains in these county elections and had large increases in their vote shares on 2009.

    It is a categorical fact that Labour do better on bigger turnouts, especially in more deprived areas. Look at the turnout in Skerton and Morecambe West (which includes the West End) and it’s evident a lot of Labour voters stayed at home – probably because Labour didn’t mobilise them because unlike the general election they’d have likely been focussing their attention on marginal county divisions.

    I think my ‘assumption’ (which has bags of evidence) is far more believable than the idea that there is a horde of Tory voters who stay at home not only at local elections but many also in 2010 since Morris only scrapped to victory?

    I think this is frankly wishful thinking and the need to believe in a ‘way out’ for a couple of people here who are clearly hoping the Tories can cling on.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible. It’s just very unlikely looking at this evidence.

  33. Wouldnt go as far as *very* unlikely.

    Yes the things you have mentioned are clearly factors, but governments do tend to do worse mid-term than in a GE year, so its one factor agaisnt the other.

    I agree labour are clear favourites.

  34. ‘Labour made gains in these county elections and had large increases in their vote shares on 2009.’

    I don’t deny that. Nevertheless, I think Labour’s performance was more mixed than you are suggesting. Yes, Labour did do very well in some areas (particularly Derbyshire) but in other areas like Staffordshire etc, they struggled to achieve momentum. I don’t say that to be partisan, Carl; there are plenty of others on here of all stripes who would agree with that assessment. As it happens, I think that Labour will be at least the largest party in 2015 and may even win a narrow majority so I wouldn’t say that I am trying to believe my way of anything.

  35. Against 2009 though.
    It’s like saying nothing is a firm base to build on.

  36. The Labour results in Morecambe were perhaps more worrying than those in Lancaster.

    The pairing of Lancaster with Fleetwood remains very peculiar, it’s no wonder the results are hard to predict.

  37. I think that Merseymike, and some others, are broadly right – Labour has rarely done all that well in local elections in Morecambe compared with how the town votes in general elections. This seat will broadly go with the national polls – if there is a nationwide swing of any statistical significance it’ll be a Labour gain, if the Tories stay well ahead of Labour then they’ll hold on.

  38. How is the lunesdale area trending?

  39. Lunesdale as a whole remains Tory but with lower leads. Labour vote share up, UKIP splintering off a chunk of Tory votes (in a far more clear way than Morecambe where it seems a little more even who they are taking the votes from). We can speculate about which elements of Lunesdale account for the increased Labour vote share and which parts are staying Tory with UKIP split voting but I suspect that’s not going to be a surprising answer.

  40. From Andrea in another place:

    Labour longlist appears to be:

    Margaret Pattison – Lancaster Cllr
    Karen Leytham – Lancaster Cllr
    Sarah Hall – Warrington activist, backed by USDAW, on the shortlist
    Amina Lone – Manchester Cllr
    Patricia O’Brien – Liverpool activist

  41. david cameron dislikes the unions

  42. Amina Lone selected for Labour.

    She’s a councillor for Hulme ward on Manchester council:

    http://www.manchester.gov.uk/councillors/234/amina_lone

  43. “I think the Tories will hold on here – with a 5,000 majority, and stupendous momentum.”

    Are you sure you are not Gloy Plopwell, Joe 🙂

  44. Surely I’d only be doing a Plopwell if I said Con hold by 10,000.

  45. New candidates selected so far in seats held by their party:

    1. Bristol South (Lab): Karin Smyth
    2. Cardiff North (Con): Craig Williams
    3. Dorset Mid & Poole North (LD): Vikki Slade
    4. Hampstead & Kilburn (Lab): Tulip Siddiq
    5. Lewisham Deptford (Lab): Vicky Foxcroft
    6. Southampton Itchen (Lab): Rowenna Davis

  46. Labour should stick two fingers at the southeast and campaign hard in all these coasta/market towns in the north/midlands. Do what the democrats did in 2002, create a firewall. Pull resources out of all races long term in the tory heartland and focus heavily on the core vote. Street by street, ward by ward, get a rock solid vote. Don’t rely on urban votes, get representation in rural counties in the north to make winning impossible for the conservatives.

  47. Release the Hounds- I’m not sure I follow. On the one hand you think Labour should focus on the core vote. On the other hand you think they should not rely on urban votes. Unless I’m very much mistaken, Labour’s core vote IS the urban vote. Outside the conurbations, they’re firmly on the back foot, even in the Midlands and parts of the North.

  48. The Labour Party will not be foolish enough to follow that strategy. Instead they will quite rightly campaign hard in marginals in whatever region they are. If your logic were followed for example Labour would abandon Brighton Kemptown, Hove & Hastings, which would be quite ridiculous, possibly even Hendon or Brent Central. The party could of course shift resources if there is perceived to be a particular problem in a particular seat which cannot readily be overcome – for example, they might decide that despite appearances on paper they are more likely to gain Redditch than Worcester, and shift resources accordingly. But abandoning whole swathes of the country would be totally counter-productive and it won’t happen.

  49. Tory – No I mean in the marginals you put resources in every single ward in the constituency. You campaign hard and aggressive in the most conservative wards of the marginals over a prolonged period of time. You build up a network. So instead of losing by 1200 you take a deficit of 800. Like the democrats have in Wisconsin, they have a street organiser in every county, in every village in the state. They transferred this model to Virginia, Colorado and North Carolina. It didn’t work in North Carolina in 2012, but the democrats got much closer to winning than people thought. Its because they had a turnout machine that surpassed all political pundits. That is the secret to out polling polls. Do better where your expected to be weak. I saw a program on c-span about how democrats win in montana, alaska and north dakota and its the same strategy. Put every ward on the map and campaign from day 1 not 6 weeks before the election.

    Labour has 4 mps from the southeast. It isn;t going to be 20 after the election and whatever happens they will remain marginals. Why sit fighting the same pitch battles with the same voters when you can build a network with huge numbers of people who don’t vote. The turnouts in the north are a disgrace.

  50. ‘It didn’t work in North Carolina in 2012, but the democrats got much closer to winning than people thought. Its because they had a turnout machine that surpassed all political pundits. . That is the secret to out polling polls.’

    You’re right that in the US Democrats were successfully able to mobilise their core vote – and that won them the election in 2012

    American politics is verey personality driven. Merely meeting one of the candiudates in the US can be enough to ensure that voters loyalty

    I don’t follow your logic though because on the one hand you say Labour should abandan Southern England (one of their weakest areas) altogether, and then on the other you say the secret to outpolling the polls is to do better were your ‘expected to be weak’

    Labour are very weak in Southern England but there’s still at least half a dozen or so marginal seats in urban areas that you would expect them to have a chance in. It would vve foolish for them not to campaign in these

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