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
Con: 18035 (42%)
Lab: 17169 (40%)
LDem: 5791 (13%)
UKIP: 1843 (4%)
Oth: 598 (1%)
MAJ: 866 (2%)
Con: 15563 (37%)
Lab: 20331 (49%)
LDem: 5741 (14%)
MAJ: 4768 (11%)
Con: 15554 (37%)
Lab: 20646 (50%)
LDem: 3817 (9%)
UKIP: 935 (2%)
Oth: 703 (2%)
MAJ: 5092 (12%)
Con: 18096 (37%)
Lab: 24061 (49%)
LDem: 5614 (11%)
Oth: 165 (0%)
MAJ: 5965 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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)
Comments - 111 Responses on “Morecambe & Lunesdale”
  1. Frankly, the Americans do a much worse job of voter contact than we do, so I don’t think there are many lessons to learn there. We’ve been campaigning in unwinnable wards in marginal seats for generations anyway.

    There is not a huge difference in turnout between northern and southern England (and what there is is down to class, not region), nor is a program of intensive voter contact going to be more effective in the north than the south. Indeed, that sort of program is precisely why we held some southern seats in 2010.

  2. “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.”

    The few Democrats who win in those states
    1. Have a substantial personal following
    2. Repudiate the Democrats’ national positions on healthcare, the environment etc

    Sometimes, as in the case of Alaska’s Democratic senator, they were elected only because of a scandal involving their Republican opponent.

    Americans also split their votes more than British do and do not like to be 100% represented by one party at all levels of government, even in the deepest red and deepest blue states.

  3. Hemmelig is right about American vote splitting, but for federal elections this has declined because of the greater party polarization in the Senate and especially the House. In a Democratic state, for instance, a moderate Republican has to defend against the charge that his/her presence in Congress will help ultra-conservative Republicans take charge of Congressional committees.

    Vote splitting remains more prevalent for elections for Governor. This can be healthy in strongly Democratic or Republican states, as extended one party rule anywhere often leads to complacency and corruption.

  4. All absolutely true, and because of what you say there is little chance of Democrats winning ND, AK or MT in a presidential election, though Obama did come fairly close in 2008.

  5. ‘All absolutely true, and because of what you say there is little chance of Democrats winning ND, AK or MT in a presidential election, though Obama did come fairly close in 2008’

    Clinton won Montana in the Presidential election – but then again he won Southern states like Tenessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, which you could never see the Democrats wining in a Presidential election today

  6. Clinton only won Montana because Ross Perot took over 20% of the vote, and in the Interior West he seems to have drawn primarily from the Republican column,

  7. Yes. It’s true also that in all three states, there is a very strong libertarian streak, making their Republicanism very different from the deep south. Democrats who can tap into this do sometimes win statewide elections on that basis, but not in presidential elections.

  8. Interesting how little movement there was in this seat politically in 2001 and 2005. I’m aware that Morecambe has undergone/is undergoing regeneration so not sure what future impact that’ll have on voter trends (i.e. if new investment attracts outsiders to buy property in the area and turn it into some sort of commuter or weekend/bank holiday get away spot). But given where it was electorally in 1992 compared with 2010 it’s either trending to Labour or Geraldine Smith was a good MP (little swing against her in 2005 after Labour lost support at that election elsewhere) who ultimately fell victim to the wider anti-Labour vote nationally.

  9. Not many MPs have divided opinion as to their qualities as constituency members than Geraldine Smith. Some said she was useless, others that she was hardworking & popular. The above-average swing to the Tories in 2010 suggest that many voters had tired of her by then.

  10. Prediction for 2015-
    Labour- 44%
    Morris (Conservative)- 39%
    UKIP- 9%
    Liberal Democrat- 7%
    Green- 1%

  11. Ashcroft poll:
    Lab 37%
    Con 34%
    UKIP 18%
    LD 6%
    Green 4%

  12. Pretty good numbers for the Tories given their small majority.

  13. Agreed. Thought Labour would be much further ahead, especially as in notionally stronger Tory seats, Labour has 7ish point leads.

  14. This will be a close result next time but I’d be very surprised if Labour didn’t take this back.

  15. Depends if Geraldine Smith is standing here again?

    I understand that she was extreemly popular.

    David Morris will have first time incumbancy next May.

    Labour will a clean sweep of the Lancashire seaside constituencies (Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Lancaster & Fleetwood and here) if the long term drift coastal towns to Labour continues – but this trend did reverse in 2010.

  16. The result here last time suggests that Smith was not particularly popular although she seems to have been a hardworking MP. She isn’t standing again no. I think this seat is very similar to Stockton S in psephological terms – it isn’t a straightforward Labour gain if local elections are anything to go by, but would be a surprise Labour miss if they failed to win here despite a decent national swing.

  17. Amina Lone is the PPC for Labour here. There’s a high volume of independent councillors in the wards that make up this seat so I’m not sure who their voters would turn out for in a general election. It’s a seat where UKIP could very well finish with a respectable third place result. It’s certainly not the seat it was in 1992 given the Tory majority being defended next year. Maybe if UKIP remains a political force after 2015, this could become a 3-way marginal eventually.

  18. Labour candidate Amina Lone writing in May:

    “Every week, I knock on doors and I am told “Sorry, we are voting Ukip”. Alongside the none of the above party, Ukip has become an enticing option.”

  19. I didn’t notice that article at the time. Bold of her as a PPC to come out and make a thinly veiled attack on, among others, her own party. She doesn’t say it out loud, but the implication of ‘political elite’ and who she was speaking to make it seem like she’s criticising Labour.

    Demographically the constituency is prone to a good UKIP performance in 2015. Should be a Labour gain but maybe not a comfortable one.

  20. Amina is from the prospect wing of the Labour group. Not sure how much she has in Labour in Morcambe. This could be an interesting one to watch, another struggling seaside town like Clacton, a not especially popular Tory MP. a local secondary school closed by Labour, no Lib presence at all. UKIP have a town council seat, the Greens have 10 district council seats and a good local candidate being selected. Umm – very open

  21. Bookie watch. MORECAMBE & LNSDEN at Ladbrokes:
    8/15 equates to 65%

  22. And what exactly has that post added to our understanding?

    Labour favoured to gain ultra marginal seat with majority of 866… that’s big news. You’re not going to post this on all of Labour’s top 50 targets are you?

  23. “Amina is from the prospect wing of the Labour group.”

    What’s the Prospect wing?

  24. Progress?

  25. Yes, thanks for correct – Progress

  26. There is a trade union called Prospect though. Progress is of course the Tony Blair fan club within the Labour Party.

  27. Bit quiet on here – the Greens have a solid local candidate who lives in the constiteuncy, so at least there is one candidate who lives here.

  28. Morecambe is a very deprived seaside town hit very hard by public spending cuts. Only major employer is the local Nuclear power station in Heysham.
    UKIP do not currently have a PPC, their chosen candidate a local pub landlord pulled out due to I’ll health.

    David Morris is incredibly unpopular in the constituency, refusing to visit the local foodbank. making false promises to keep open a popular secondary school for children needing extra support

  29. A bit of mess of a seat, unpopular Tory MP, local labour party alledgedly divided about an outside candidate being chosen over the local one, UKIP do have a reasonable candidate and town councillor, Steve Ogden. Libs have a paper candidate who lives up in Farronland. The Green Candidate is far and away the most impressive, say him playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing with the Morecambe Warblers last week and speaking at hustings where he wept the floor with 9 other speakers

  30. labour gain 3000 to 3500

  31. Been a trades Union member all of my working life, became secretary of TGWU for 15 years at Lancaster university. Now retired I have time to concentrate on what I want for Lancaster/more amble. Jackie smith was a working girl and a hard working MP, somehow lost her seat in last election. Immigration is the ONE issue that will scupper the main 2 parties, because of brushing it under the carpet for two long. We Have to face up to the truth, we are such a small island, everywhere I go in morecambe, poles seem to rule supreme. The west end is a ghetto area, what do they all do for a job? Sorry Ed its ukip for me this time round, I quite like the idea of buying Nigel a pint in their hotel. Good luck

  32. Latest set of polls has Labour pulling ahead to a more comfortable 6 point lead compared to the smaller leads in May and July last year. Labour is up 5 points, Tories up 2 from July. UKIP contracted 6 points continuing this downward trend in the recent Ashcroft polls.

    Outside of London, I think Labour will fare well in the North West, although Pendle and Blackpool North & Cleverlys are headed for very disappointing results. Those lower down their list like Crewe & Nantwich and Rossendale & Darwen probably needed a poll, although I’m not certain about Labour’s chances in those two (even with some obvious C&N by-election unwind). Chester *might* be a surprise gain of the night although that recent Ashcroft poll could’ve been an outlier rather than a trend towards Labour..

  33. With a Tory majority of just 866 the onus is overwhelmingly on Labour to win rather than the Conservatives to hold. Labour should indeed win but it’s not in the bag yet which of course means they can’t spend as much time and resources on more difficult targets like South Ribble for example.

  34. Labour will get this by about 9,000.
    My prediction at the moment is

    Lab 22,196
    *Con 13,061
    LD 4,835 (Sadly)
    UKIP 3,939
    Green 910

    Lab maj /gain 9,135

  35. Ed is very popular in these parts. Can’t stop the Lib Dem vote collapsing. very sad.

  36. Good hustings last night – 130in the audience. UKIP guy to nervous to speak, Labour women scared to commit to anything, Lib guy wants to rebuild mega-zone as his main policy, Green guy sounded a really character of substance. Head and shoulders above the rest, OH and the Tory MP did not turn up which is par for the course

  37. Labour Gain. 2,000 majority.

  38. Newsnight covered this in their look on coastal seats. One person interviewed who has voted both ways said she’s going Tory because of the MP’s strong local reputation and support for residents’ interests. Interestingly she said that the previous Labour MP was hard working and supportive though.

  39. I think from standing in the town centre speaking to folks in Euston Rd that utter disgust and dis-interest might win this seat. Not hard to see why when the area has been so left to rot by so many previous governments. I miserable sad setting but only 50 yards from some of the best views in the country over the Lakes

  40. On the ‘independent’ candidate, for our information: Michael Dawson is actually a Northern Party candidate who, like Harold Elletson, forgot to put the correct description on his nomination papers (either that or his election agent failed to get it on there).

  41. LAB gain 3000

  42. The Tories increased their majority from 866 to 4,590:

  43. Another embarrassment for the pollsters

  44. And for those claiming Morris was ‘very unpopular’ – clearly not an accurate perspective of the whole constituency.

  45. Dreadful result for Labour here. I can only assume that David Morris has proven to be a popular first-time incumbent here, and that Labour will have to wait for quite some time now to even think about winning this seat again, despite the demographic changes which have supposedly favoured them in recent years.

  46. Heysham will be ppredominantly Labur, and perhaps Morecambe too, but both these towns are comparatively small and from Anthony’s description thre is a lot of rural hinterland whcih is “naturally” Tory.

    The MP can hardly be worse than in a couple of other Lancashire seats, whose Conservatve incumbents are absolutely ghastly.

  47. Interesting to compare the results in Morecambe and Lancaster. The main difference is probably the university and public sector influence in the latter constituency. Maybe it’s slightly more urban as well.

  48. Fleetwood is presumably also subject to the Blackpool effect to a certain degree, with the Tories on a steep downward slope long term.

  49. Also, anyone who has come across Eric Ollerenshaw during his long career in London local government will most likely tell you that he is a complete arse (that goes for many on his own side as well as opponents). By contrast David Morris seems to have been a particularly diligent and popular MP here.

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