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. @Polltroll

    True, though she always gets very high ratings in those ConHome surveys which otherwise tend to favour people on the right of the party. At the moment I think she’s very popular with the grass roots – but that might change if/once she becomes a minister, of course.

  2. I don’t rate LEWIS myself but I agree he’s likeable and he certainly has an unusual CV and profile. My own tip for a dark horse emerging in the next three years is Richard BURGON who is an energetic and passionate speaker. He is just 37 though. He was a TU Lawyer and is uncle was a leftie Labour MP – so good pedigree for the Corbynite wing.

  3. The BBC’s John Pienaar states that Clive Lewis “punched a wall and threw his mobile phone” after hearing his Conference speech had been altered.

    He had to state that both the current Party policy is to maintain Trident; but, that they want multilateral disarmament and an end to nuclear weapons.

  4. All in all I thought it was a good speech

  5. I also thought Lewis gave a great speech.

    As for Burgon as much as I like him I wouldn’t have him down as a future leader. Politically he makes Corbyn seem like a moderate and his speaking style is very aggressive, this is capable of firing up your supporters but it makes you seem unhinged to those that disagree with you. He consequently just isn’t leadership material.

  6. Clive Lewis was denounced by a speaker at the anti Tory conference demo in Birmingham today. Accused of being anti Corbyn and that he should be deselected. In the week one respectable Journalist tweeted that a corbyn loyalist mp said to him that Lewis is not entirely trusted by all the senior corbynites.

  7. Bar John McDonnell or Ronnie Campbell, Clive is Corbyn’s loyalist MP after all he was the third person to nominate Corbyn.

  8. This story is reported locally today –

    It looks like the protest was about Clive Lewis’ conference speech, stating the party policy on Trident.

  9. If Clive Lewis does have ambitions to run for the leadership after Corbyn vacates the stage, this sort of nonsense will do him no harm. I think it also shows that the analysis that the party is split absolutely into a pro-Corbyn wing, who think he can do no wrong, and an anti-Corbyn group who think everything he does is hopeless, is, at best, a massive over-simplification.

  10. Clive Lewis sent to shadow business. Rumours of Dan Jarvis considering a post. If he doesn’t i wonder who will be shadow defence. Nia Griffith perhaps/

  11. Lewis moved from a department where he could claim some experience / background knowledge, to a department where he has neither?

  12. People have had enough of experts 😉

  13. Clive Lewis has said Kinnock Jnr’s use of the word indigenous (workers) is “dangerous”.

    He went on to say “the playbook is changing and we need to change” [but then refused to do so on immigration and agreed with Corbyn that there is no limit]

  14. John McDonnell has been in Norwich talking up Clive Lewis’ leadership chances. Is he preparing the ground for a change in 2018?

  15. Long may Corbyn live, in that case.

    Lewis has never struck me as a nice character, regardless of one’s politics. Was quite arrogant / tetchy at the count in 2015 according to reports, in spite of being comfortably the winner.

  16. The one thing he does have is a brain – he seems to me the smartest of the Corbynistas, his thinking certainly goes deeper than trotting* out the same tired left-wing mantras.

    Louise Haigh is a dark horse, though arguably she’s more soft-left than a fully-fledged Corbynista.

    *No pun intended

  17. I would just like to use this as a prime example of when I’ve been talking about the Lab leadership grooming a Corbyn replacement. As is I have Lewis as the favourite to succeed Corbyn and he’d probably be my preferred choice as well FWIW.

    As For Haigh I really like her too and see her going far, she isn’t really soft left though rather she’s probably best described as part of a new (small) group within the PLP that is basically the “non Corbynite left” they basically agree with him on most things but don’t really support him. As far as I can tell there are only four MP’s within that group as of yet, three of whom are intakes from 2015. Louise Haigh, Catherine West, Jo Stevens and John Cryer.

  18. THe Lib Dems coming 4th was very bad luck and not normal. With a good mood on the ground that stupendous momentum can get back into third gear. There’s a lot to do but the 13% swing required is not al that dramatic. I think the Lib Dems will win this back.

  19. Charles Clarke got decapitated here in 2010 and had a look of thunder afterwards as he left the count.

    2015 was a horrible result.
    I watched the awful results on my sofa then drowned sorrows at a pole dancing club.

    But all that has now changed.

  20. Not a hope in hell of the LibDems winning this back. I live just over the border in Norwich North but can assure people that the LibDems have ceased to be a major force in Norwich.

  21. In reality, the Lib Dems have not been a force in Norwich politics for quite a while now, going quickly downhill since 2004.

    2006: lost 5/7
    2007: lost 2/4
    2008: lost 5/7

    Since 2004 they have only won in 3 wards. Thorpe Hamlet has not been won since 2007 when the Greens took over, while Lakenham was only won in 2008 and 2009 (CC divisions identical to city wards) due to Labour’s extreme unpopularity and the lack of Green strength in that ward.

    The Lib Dems only won Norwich South in 2010 due to favourable boundary changes, and a large Lab->Grn swing – the Lib Dem vote fell, and they only won one Norwich ward in the local elections.

  22. Yes Norwich looks like another Lib Dem ‘crash ‘n burn’ story like e.g. Windsor & Maidenhead, SW Surrey and others where a short-lived surge is followed by a near-extinction event.

    That of course happened at a national level in 2015 as well…

  23. No – the Grenns are also a busted flush here.

  24. Con Estimate
    The boundary review does just that, adding two wards from South Norfolk but also removing the solidly Lab ward of Wesnum and adding it to Norwich N and thus makes the seat a quite bit more Tory friendly but probably not enough to put Lewis in any real danger, he’d still have a 5,500 majority which in such a split seat in not to be sniffed at.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised at the proposed Norwich boundaries, from the Tories perspective I don’t think the elevation of Norwich S into an outside Tory shot is worth it for making the already marginal Norwich N significantly more so..

  25. Indeed, while 16% isn’t a massive majority in comparison to other seats it is given the split nature of the seat. With Lewis as MP in particular I think the Greens are neutered as a threat here which leaves the Tories as the only potential challengers and I really struggle to see them ever getting above 30% here which as we’ve seen can just about sneak a win here but that’s it.

    Note this isn’t a prediction but (semi) regardless of the national picture I could see something in the ballpark of this happening next time.

    Lab: 47% (+8%)
    Con: 22% (-1%)
    Lib Dem: 14% (no change)
    Green: 9% (-5%)
    UKIP: 7% (-2%)

  26. ‘I was actually pleasantly surprised at the proposed Norwich boundaries, from the Tories perspective I don’t think the elevation of Norwich S into an outside Tory shot is worth it for making the already marginal Norwich N significantly more so.’

    When the seat was first split into two in 1950, Norwich North was the more reliable Labour seat and the party held it from its creation until 1983 whereas Norwich South could only be won by Labour in the election-winning years – 1964, 1966 & 1974

  27. Con Estmiate
    “Ah you’re making predictions too,”
    Not a prediction, a “guesstimation” 😉

    “When the seat was first split into two in 1950, Norwich North was the more reliable Labour seat…”
    Tis the case with many towns, Southampton Itchen used to be better for Lab than Test, Plymouth Moor View used to be better than Sutton/Devonport amongst others. Traditionally Lab did better amongst the WWC estates but right to buy, better Lab performance amongst middle class public sector workers and academics and increased student and minority voters have meant the traditionally more “middle class” seats are now better for Lab the WWC ones.

  28. Con Estimate, do you have a crystal ball?

    If so you might change your name to Mystic Max.

  29. Or Conservative Gain

  30. Of course the most famous reprersentative of this seat was the so-called dodgy doctor – Tory (of course!) Thomas Stuttaford, although he got booted out after a single term

    Rivers is right in that those middle class professional seats that were once Tory bastions have moved furthest away from them – Bristol West, Sheffield Hallam, Leeds North West, Birmoingham Edgbaston, Liverpool Wavetree, Manchester Withington

    I’d say Harrow West is a better example than Streatham as the demographic change in Streatham has been quite rapid, explaing its changing voting behaviour – if you went it looks like a Labour seat – whereas Harrow is still quite leafy in parts

  31. The post-1983 Norwich North is an entirely different – and badly named – constituency. Over half the seat comes from Broadland.

  32. Yes but those Broadland wards are essentially Norwich suburbs, I don’t know Norwich at all but I imagine the locals largely think of themselves as from Norwich.

  33. They are indeed suburbs and pre 1983 were part of Norfolk North and Great Yarmouth.

  34. Estimate is right in that the current harrow west has different boundaries than that labour won for the first time ever in 1997, but even if it didn’t it would not return tory mps with the sort of 20,000 circa majorities they used to enjoy, so like much of outer london on the western side harrow west has decisively moved from the tories to labour

  35. Lol. Love Runnymede’s post.

  36. ‘Yes but Brent North and Ealing North are better examples of that.’

    Brent North is a good example as the Tories used to enjoy pretty robust five-figure majorities there, although Ealing North less so as it used to quite marginal throughout the post war period, with Labour even winning in years where they lost the election – like 1950 or 1970

  37. “although Ealing North less so as it used to quite marginal throughout the post war period, with Labour even winning in years where they lost the election – like 1950 or 1970”

    Boundary changes made a big impact on the composition of Ealing North though.

    The 1997 boundary change made Ealing North far better for the Conservatives by adding in the most Tory parts of the former Ealing Acton seat. On those boundaries it’s quite likely Labour wouldn’t have won it in 1950 or 1970.

    The boundaries in North moved back in Labour’s favour in 2010 when the Acton seat was re-created.

  38. Streatham was also strongly impacted by boundary changes, which brought some of Brixton into the seat in 1983 and substantially more in 1997.

    I think the Tories would have won Streatham in 1992 on the 1974-83 boundaries. It doesn’t really alter your point though, just to say that boundary changes accelerated the shift to Labour in the seat.

    Hornsey is similar because the 1983 boundary change was very bad for the Tories by merging in Labour wards from Wood Green. I’m not sure the Tories could have held the 1974-83 Hornsey seat in 1992 though, given how big Labour’s majority was.

  39. “Lewisham West & Penge probably wouldn’t have gone Labour until 1997.”

    Pete Whitehead & I tried to calculate this and it would have been very close in 1992. Most likely a Con hold by a few hundred votes but had Labour campaigned hard in Penge and Crystal Palace (then in the ultra safe Tory Beckenham so no GOTV operation) they might have been able to squeak a win.

  40. “Croydon North is another one, as that most certainly wouldn’t have gone Labour until 1997 I shouldn’t have thought.”

    Very similar to Lewisham West & Penge. It was notionally Con in 1992 by about 200 votes IIRC, but as with Penge, Labour would not have worked the Thornton Heath area very hard as it was in Croydon NE, so in reality it could potentially have been a narrow Labour win too.

    The 2010 boundary change made Croydon North fractionally worse for the Tories IIRC due to changed ward boundaries which moved more of South Norwood into Croydon Central. On 2010 boundaries Labour might have won Croydon North in 1992.

  41. Yes, because it took in some of Ilford North which in turn absorbed some of Woodford.

  42. I think probably twice in 1974.

  43. An amusing piece on Order Order re Corbyn giving his inner circle a departure date.

    Both Long-Bailey & Clive Lewis are tipped as successors.

    The kids of Momentum really would be happy with either of these new MPs.

  44. Lewis has resigned from the shadow cabinet.

  45. And the Surrey County Council debacle lasted a full eight hours before attentions turned back to divisions on the opposition benches…

  46. I’m a soft-left Milibandite (Cooper 15, Smith 16) and I know next to nothing about Long-Bailey. I like Lewis. Good Michael Howard type possible candidate. I would also like to hope that his principled resignation specifically over Brexit not being safeguarded enough could stand him in good stead with both Labour members and Brexit Labour voters. Also military record could frustrate UKIP and nuclear compromise could frustrate Tories, as could his business record. Also motivated to fend off Lib Dems, strong in Norwich S, with progressive alliance talk as he has been wont to do.

  47. I don’t know that much about RLB either but her double-barrelled surname alone will probably cost Labour around 100,000 votes at the next GE. People really are that shallow…

  48. @Polltroll

    She was Rebecca Long until she married Steve Bailey.

    Some older and more traditional voters might carp at her not giving up her maiden name, younger ones won’t care.

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