Norwich South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 11379 (23.5%)
Labour: 19033 (39.3%)
Lib Dem: 6607 (13.6%)
Green: 6749 (13.9%)
UKIP: 4539 (9.4%)
Independent: 60 (0.1%)
Others: 96 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 7654 (15.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Eastern, Norfolk. Part of the Norwich council area and one ward from South Norfolk council area.

Main population centres: Norwich, New Costessey.

Profile: Norwich South covers the majority of the wards in Norwich City Council, including the town centre, and the Norwich suburb of New Costessey which falls under South Norfolk District Council. The seat inclues the "Golden Triangle", the south-western part of Norwich near the University of East Anglia consisting of victorian properties, with a large proportion of students and young professionals. Norwich Union is the largest local employer. The 2011 census found Norwich had the highest proportion of people without a religion of any local authority, something that appeared to go hand-in-hand with areas of high support for the Green party.

Politics: The seat has normally been Labour`s strongest seat in Norfolk due to the relatively high proportion of council tenants on estates like Lakenham, Bowthorpe and West Earlham. The fell to the Liberal Democrats in 2010, unseating former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, but was regained by Labour in 2015. This is a target seat for the Greens, who came third here with 14%.

Current MP
CLIVE LEWIS (Labour) Former television journalist. First elected as MP for Norwich South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 10902 (23%)
Lab: 13650 (29%)
LDem: 13960 (29%)
GRN: 7095 (15%)
Oth: 1944 (4%)
MAJ: 310 (1%)
Con: 9567 (23%)
Lab: 15904 (38%)
LDem: 12251 (29%)
GRN: 3101 (7%)
Oth: 1367 (3%)
MAJ: 3653 (9%)
Con: 10551 (25%)
Lab: 19367 (45%)
LDem: 9640 (23%)
GRN: 1434 (3%)
Oth: 1600 (4%)
MAJ: 8816 (21%)
Con: 12028 (24%)
Lab: 26267 (52%)
LDem: 9457 (19%)
Oth: 1585 (3%)
MAJ: 14239 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LISA TOWNSEND (Conservative) Educated at Simon Balle School and Sheffield Hallam University. Parliamentary assistant.
CLIVE LEWIS (Labour) Television journalist.
SIMON WRIGHT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1979. Educated at Imperial College London. Teacher. Former North Norfolk councillor. MP for Norwich South 2010 to 2015. PPS to Sarah Teather 2011-12. PPS to David Laws since 2012.
STEVE EMMENS (UKIP) Born Dronfield. Fundraiser. Contested Norwich South 2010.
LESLEY GRAHAME (Green) District nurse. Norwich councillor.
DAVID PEEL (Class War)
CENGIZ CEKER (Independent)
Comments - 594 Responses on “Norwich South”
  1. County Durham Boy’s v concise post of 25th April was very perceptive – accurate on all 4 points!: winner, margin of victory, 2nd place and position of LDs.

    No-one else’s surmises seem to have come close.

  2. Was the decline in Green vote share ( despite proportionately large national increase) due to lack of campaigning, Labour squeeze, simply reaching vote ceiling or something else?

  3. Clive Lewis is supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

  4. This MP has an annoying delivery. He even said “shame on you!” in the Commons today. Although he was a former Student Union President.

  5. To be honest I really like him, but that might just be me.

  6. He’s certainly popular with the Left outside Parliament.

    The Speaker did remind MPs to stop saying “you!”

  7. The Speaker did have to remind a lot of MPs of Parliamentary procedure today.

  8. “Shame on the Honourable member!” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, surely?

  9. Clive Lewis suggests that Labour MPs who support air strikes in Syria will be blamed if there are more terrorist attacks.

  10. It’s pretty telling of Corbyn’s lack of full support from the PLP that he’s appointed some newly elected MPs as shadow junior ministers. Clive Lewis is apparently one of them. Don’t most new MPs get junior frontbench positions only 2 to 3 years into a Parliamentary term?

  11. @Neil

    Yes and no. Miliband also promoted new MPs quickly, as did Cameron (who even put Theresa Villiers and David Mundell straight in the shadow cabinet; Corbyn didn’t put any new MPs in the shadow cabinet). But the likes of Richard Burgon and Clive Lewis probably entered parliament expecting to be left-wing eccentrics, not frontbenchers, and without having counted there are probably more new MPs on Corbyn’s frontbench than there were on Miliband’s and Cameron’s.

  12. People are already tipping Clive Lewis as a rising star within the Labour Party. It’s not like these people are completely unknown to the party before they enter Parliament.

    Oh, and there wasn’t a lot David Cameron could have done about the appointment of David Mundell, seeing as he was the only Scottish Tory MP (and has been ever since). He clearly didn’t impress enough that he retained the position during the coalition when other options were available.

  13. I hope so, I like Clive and thought his maiden speech was brilliant. I also enjoyed his interview with John Harris, he is very at ease with people and doesn’t seem to take himself that seriously.

  14. Just a cautionary note though: many people (myself included) tipped Chuka Umunna as another MP who could go right to the top and he seems to have ruined his chances in the most spectacular manner possible.

  15. Well, if Labour remains in its current state I guess Lewis has a chance of going far… but to me he comes across as a leftie of very little substance, and he has already offended moderate Labour opinion greatly by saying moderate MPs should be labelled ‘destablilising elements’ and by attacking Gordon Brown’s economic record. I’m not sure he cares at all what people outside his little Momentum bubble think.

  16. Clive Lewis apparently threatened John Woodcock MP, and said “If you want to start this, we’ll finish it. F*ck you!”

    Stella Creasey said her staff were abused on the ‘phone too, by Corbyn supporters.

  17. Norwich based regional newspaper has published a referendum poll –

    The breakdown by age is striking, although not surprising.

  18. There have just been posts on the Lancaster and Fleetwood thread disagreeing about the ability of the new MP here, Clive Lewis.

    Can we have more reposts as to how Clive Lewis is getting on as the MP for this seat?

    My personal view is that an MP who gined his seat in 2015 is unlikely to be a complete dumbo, although it may have been easier to roll over a LibDem than a Conservative. In addition, somebody who has held down a job as a televsion journalist is likely to have intelligence and ability. Against that, Lewis’ Wikipedia entry does perhaps indicate an-over broad range, as opposed to depth, of interests. What will he do when the going gets tough politically?And personally when it comes to castng my floating vote (not in Norwich, admittedly) I am unlikely to be impressed by an MP who behaves as agressively (on the edge of violently) at Westminster as Lewis is reported as having done.

  19. Seems a totally deluded leftie with no sense that anybody else might have a valid opinion to me… almost every time he opens his mouth he says something stupid… I appreciate Corbynistas will have a different view. In Norwich South being on the hard left may not have been so bad a thing as the seat was seen as a Green target, though in fact they ended up a distant third.

  20. For someone with a television background, Clive Lewis is not very high profile in the local press here in Norfolk. I could only recall one story in the local daily this year, which concerned a city centre music venue whose lease had expired and was a chance to berate greedy developers/ landlords. Then he popped up again today taking credit for the solar energy vat u turn.

    Maybe he has realized that his skill in putting his foot in it, is best served by keeping quiet.

  21. Boundary history:

    1950-1974: The County Borough of Norwich wards of Ber Street, Conesford, Earlham, Eaton, Lakenham, Nelson, St Stephen, and Town Close.

    1974-1983: The County Borough of Norwich wards of Bowthorpe, Earlham, Eaton, Lakenham, Mancroft, Nelson, St Stephen, and Town Close.

    1983-1997: The City of Norwich wards of Bowthorpe, Eaton, Heigham, Henderson, Lakenham, Mancroft, Nelson, St Stephen, Thorpe Hamlet, Town Close, and University.

    1997-2010: The City of Norwich wards of Bowthorpe, Eaton, Heigham, Henderson, Lakenham, Mancroft, Nelson, St Stephen, Thorpe Hamlet, Town Close, and University, and the District of South Norfolk wards of Cringleford and Colney, and New Costessey.

    2010-present: The City of Norwich wards of Bowthorpe, Eaton, Lakenham, Mancroft, Nelson, Thorpe Hamlet, Town Close, University, and Wensum, and the District of South Norfolk ward of New Costessey.

  22. Today saw a vote on Norwich County Council resulting in a change of leader. The Conservatives took over after their leader beat the Labour council leader 41-37.

    Interestingly, four Green councillors abstained. Quite what they think they’re doing I’m not sure, since that’s surely hefty ammunition for Labour to use against them at the next council elections.

  23. *Norfolk County Council, apologies.

  24. Very strange decision from the Green party based apparently on the Eastern Powerhouse agreement not having any mention of climate change, which cannot help them in future.

    Conservatives now have the leadership, but still lack a majority, so will need to negotiate with others.

  25. Given Labour have been governing in a coalition with UKIP for the last three years, Norfolk has history with weird governance. If Labour and UKIP can coalesce, I’m sure the Tories can cobble something together.

  26. I think Norwich city centre has always been in this constituency

    Boundary history:


    County Borough of Norwich: Ber Street; Conesford; Earlham; Eaton; Lakenham; Nelson; St Stephen; Town Close

    1950-1955: Henry Strauss, Conservative
    1955-1964: Geoffrey Rippon, Conservative
    1964-1970: Christopher Norwood, Labour
    1970-1974: Thomas Stuttaford, Conservative


    County Borough of Norwich: Bowthorpe; Earlham; Eaton; Lakenham; Mancroft; Nelson; St Stephen; Town Close

    1974-1983: John Garrett, Labour


    City of Norwich: Bowthorpe; Eaton; Heigham; Henderson; Lakenham; Mancroft; Nelson; St Stephen; Thorpe Hamlet; Town Close; University

    1983-1987: John Powley, Conservative
    1987-1997: John Garrett, Labour


    City of Norwich: Bowthorpe; Eaton; Heigham; Henderson; Lakenham; Mancroft; Nelson; St Stephen; Thorpe Hamlet; Town Close; University
    District of South Norfolk: Cringleford and Colney; New Costessey

    1997-2010: Charles Clarke, Labour


    City of Norwich: Bowthorpe; Eaton; Lakenham; Mancroft; Nelson; Thorpe Hamlet; Town Close; University; Wensum
    District of South Norfolk: New Costessey

    2010-2015: Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat
    2015-present: Clive Lewis, Labour

  27. Clive Lewis had written that he wants to go into Gov’t with the Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

    Politicshome has a piece on the Guardian article, including a great quote from a Labour MP, “They’re welcome to each other. Maybe they could job share as Defence Secretary, turn army bases into recycling centres. The possibilities are endless.”

    Being far Left, black and gay really is a sort of 1980s wet dream for the Corbynistas.

    At least he’s a good public speaker and long term activist, unlike some of the Cameroon ethnic Tory MPs.

  28. Am I the only person who always found Javid to be a really slimy piece of work?

  29. Slimy is a bit harsh. I don’t know what the hype is about though all I know about him is that he was a paratrooper

  30. Matt
    Are you sure you’re talking about Javid and not mixing him p with someone? I can’t find anything on him being a paratrooper or being involved with the military whatsoever

  31. I don’t really understand the appeal of Javid either, although I suppose as someone who would never vote Conservative, I’m not meant to.

    The first time I really noticed him was when he penned an article for ConHome suggesting that what the UK really needed was a US-style debt ceiling. This was around the time the Tea Party Republicans were threatening to shut down the US government by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. I have considered him to be both dangerous and quite mad ever since.

  32. I think Matt has confused Sajid Javid with Dan Jarvis. Easy mistake to make.

  33. , haven’t heard much from Adam Afriyie

    He must be the most overhyped MP in Parliament

    After a brilliant business career he was expected to be one of the fastest rising stars on the Right of the party and always said in interviews that he saw himself as a future leader

    He’s been so quiet that its easy to forget that he was elected back in 2005

  34. Sorry misread it

  35. Afriyie is a funny one. Not at all liked on the Tory benches it would seem. Gyimah is very likeable but I’m not sure he has Cabinet- level talent. Alan Mak is apparently extremely ambitious and pushy- even by MP standards. Quentin Letts has written about him a few times. Again, he’s not endearing himself to the Tory benches.

  36. Afriyie has been extremely quiet in recent years, ever since he was rumoured to be preparing to challenge Cameron. He was seen as a rising star at one point (though I would suggest he only got this tag because at the time he was one of so few BME Tory MPs) but has never come remotely close to living up to this, never even being a minister. He is seen as a bit of a joke figure these days.

    I’ve never really been that impressed by Sam Gyimah and Theresa May seems to share this view having only moved him sideways (from Under-Secretary at Education to Under-Secretary at Justice) in the reshuffle, despite being linked with making the cabinet.

    Alan Mak has indeed very quickly got a reputation for toadiness. Usually a sign of limited talent and in fact not as career-enhancing as those who toady think it is.

    Among the 2015 intake there are some strong BME MPs who will probably become ministers in the next reshuffle in a year or two – James Cleverly (who although 2015 intake was previously a senior member of the London Assembly), Nus Ghani, Seema Kennedy, Suella Fernandes.

  37. About promotions…what outsiders don’t seem to realise is that promotions have very little to do with ability and everything to do with patronage and influence within the party…

    May’s moves, like Cameron and Osborne, are designed to shore up her power base. Gyimah was perceived to be a Cameroon, and his sideways move reflects this. Karen Bradley’s elevation from PUS to Cabinet, reflects her loyalty and usefulness to the PM…ability is neither here no there, as there are so many civil servants, spads etc. that ministers aren’t really executive agents the way they used to be.

    Someone being promoted or not has far more to do with intra party dynamics, loyalty, whose gang you’re in than anything else.

  38. as an addendum.

    It was striking that May promoted three of her former junior ministers, Green, Bradley and Brokenshire to Cabinet…so either the home office had a uniquely able string of junior ministers or the PM was rewarding loyal lieutenants who served her well when she was at the home office.

    The best junior minister, acc. to many, was nick herbert, a former cameroon who fell out with May…he was left firmly on the back benches…there’s an awful lot of naivety in political comment, which i find surprising.

  39. There was certainly some score settling in May’s reshuffle. But also I thought she promoted more people because of their ability than Cameron did. Cameron tended to like promoting younger, telegenic MPs rather than long-serving and reliable older MPs. May reversed that somewhat by giving Green and Lidington cabinet jobs and a number of Minister of State jobs to people also in that category. Even though the fact most female Tory MPs are from the 2010 and 2015 intakes meant that promoting older MPs caused her not to make any real progress on gender balance.

    I actually think Karen Bradley was a very good junior Home Office minister who had been overlooked for promotion previously, perhaps because she’s not been part of the Cameron/Gove/Osborne clique. Though Culture is not an obvious fit for an ex-tax manager who has spent her ministerial career focusing on issues like domestic violence and modern slavery.

    Brokenshire I’m not so sold on. He’s just very dull. He was with May at the Home Office throughout her six years and his promotion probably does fall into the category of promoting loyal lieutenants. I guess his experience as Immigration Minister might come in handy dealing with the border issues in NI.

  40. Jack,

    I think you’re right that May is perhaps a little more meritocratic than Cameron, but not by much. She is certainly less cliquey. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves. She is sharper even than Osborne in rewarding loyalty and punishing enemies.

    Able people were demoted or booted, while dull loyalists were promoted. Brokenshire is very dull indeed. Bradley is quite junior… Nicky Morgan, Claire Perry, whatever their other qualities, were out largely because of their association with the old regime… nearly all of Gove’s associates and supporters- Boles, Vaizey, Morgan and Vara- were demoted. Raab was moved sideways but turned down a job.

    It was noticeable that every single minister in the justice department under Gove- Vara, Selous, Raab, Gove himself and Lord Faulks- was sacked or resigned… this isn’t about ‘merit’ whatever that may mean in the context of politics.

    Nick Herbert, one of the best junior ministers in home office in the last parliament, is one of the best communicators in the party; he was good on gay marriage. He crossed swords with May and has been left in the cold. He has publicly described her as “micro manager” and is unlikely to get preferment from her.

    Most people would think that Herbert is probably “more able” than James Brokenshire, yet he is a backbencher and Brokenshire is in Cabinet. This is how politics actually works.

  41. It was certainly the case that if you had anything to do with Gove you got the sack (except Nick Gibb, the great survivor in all this), if you had anything to do with Osborne you got taken down a rung (except Amber Rudd and David Gauke).

  42. yes, it was brutal. the gove people were largely sacked, not even demoted.

  43. Dull vs Able is a false contrast. Lots of dull people are very able, (and sometimes less enamoured with the glamour and attention, therefore more reliable).

    Of course, lively and able is also just fine. 🙂

  44. Local press are reporting that Clive Lewis is favourite with Ladbrokes to be next leader of Labour party after his conference speech today.

  45. Unless there is a significant change in the make-up of the PLP, I wouldn’t bet on any prospective leader from the left of the Labour Party getting on the ballot in future contests.

  46. Andy54: leadership election rules can be changed by the membership, through conference, or through the NEC. That 20% of MPs requirement might well be dropped altogether.

  47. Rivers 10 did comment that there were moves to make the requirement just 5% of the PLP, but even remaining at 20% it might still be possible after a disastrous General Election.

  48. MPR,

    Saqid Khan has a very good shot. I have never had much of an opinion about him until the last year or two, but he’s grown into a very able politician.

    Ruth Davidson’s biggest problem right now is (a) keeping out of trouble until she has some more experience and (b) somehow getting a reasonable safe seat in Westminster. She has a decent chance of (a), but I don’t know how she does (b), except by becoming a political migrant.

  49. To that we can add (c), appealing to some of the more hardline, old-fashioned members of the Tory party.

  50. Re Ruth Davidson I don’t think she’d find it too difficult to get a Westminster seat if she wanted one. The nature of Scottish politics means there is no safe seat for her, but with her profile and genuine popularity (some opinion polls now remarkably show her having better rating than Sturgeon) she would surely have a good chance in Scottish Tory target seats. I struggle to see when she would make the leap, however. The election calendar doesn’t work out very well because if, as I assume is the case, she wants to lead the Scottish Tories into at least one more SP election then there is no chance to get in at a GE until 2025 (and a by-election in the right seat is unlikely to come up). She’s young enough that she could still make it to the top of the national party if she entered Westminster around then, but it might be difficult to retain her current level of popularity for that long. And of course she might be too late to be May’s direct successor, especially when you account for

    Khan may have similar issues with Labour. Would he really want to give up the mayoralty after just one term? I doubt it. If not, and assuming he wins in 2020/21 (a loss would damage his case anyway), it will be the middle of the next decade before he can come back to Westminster.

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