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. I live in Norwich and will be surprised if Labour fail to win over 35% here. The Greens have certainly lost momentum locally since 2010 and – in my view – are unlikely to come second.

  2. The Greens talked up this seat, as they did Norwich North in the parliamentary by-election in 2009. They got a press team in to do a presentation to the national and local press before 2010 to show how they were set to win, providing a long list of stats which subsequently failed to add up.

    The Greens have made no gains in Norwich since 2010, losing seats on the City Council in that time, and will not win here in 2015. They will hope for a Labour government to ride off the back of any future anti Labour feeling to get closer in 2020, but given their repeated claims they can win, few people believe them.

  3. I’m puzzled by the assertiion that the Green party has lost momentum. It appears that their active membership has increased almost ten-fold in a year. I believe this is their number one target seat (besides holding on to Brighton), so I expect they’ll do well and could pull off a win.

  4. John, the other puzzling part of the assertion is that it ignores the Ashcroft opinion poll in the constituency that put the Greens in 2nd place. Generally, a party that has moved from 4th to 2nd in a constituency is judged to have momentum, and gains further momentum from that opinion poll.

  5. Momentum comes and momentum goes… ask Nigel in South Thanet how that one works..

  6. I’m convinced this will be a Green gain. Their candidate is very well respected and the decline of the Liberal’s will just give them the edge. I predict a recount.

  7. I think this will be a Labour gain with the Greens having a string 2nd place finish and being well placed to challenge for the seat in 2020. I don’t know how far the Lib Dems will fall though. They could finish in any of 3rd, 4th or 5th place.

  8. Well Benny there was an Ashcroft poll here. It did have the Greens in second, but only just, and 13% behind Labour. There’s no evidence that things have improved for the Greens since, so you’re very unlikely to be right. Always look at polls before making predictions. If you have seen it but chose to ignore it, you’d need to explain in detail why you think it was inaccurate. l don’t think it was.

  9. I think Simon Wright has a chance of clinging onto third here on the basis of incumbency, but even that’s clutching at straws a bit on my part somewhat.

  10. Barnaby i looked at the ashcroft poll and was going to comment much in the same way you did. What stopped me in my tracks was that the ashcroft poll is so old (june last year). The greens have moved up nationally since then and have probably peaked or peaked and declined. But a lot has happened since the poll. FWIW i think it is highly unlikely that the greens will win here but not impossible.

  11. Labour first Greens second Lib Dems third Tories fourth?

  12. Looks about right to me.

  13. Thanks. Don’t know how likely it is that Wright’s vote will collapse enough to see him come fourth TBH.

  14. This is going to be Labour’s most certain gain in East Anglia. Whether the Greens pose the main opposition after 2015 depends on: 1. How well they can do in May (2nd place is a real possibility) and 2. Whether they can consolidate their support base in Norwich for the next five years.

  15. the Greens did go up quite a lot, but have clearly declined a good deal since. They’re in a similar position to last year now, maybe a very small touch higher but no more.

  16. Maybe the Greens can benefit longterm from the large fall in support for the Lib Dems from the student demographic who are heavily disillusioned with the major parties in general?

  17. For the Greens it’s crucial to get second place in order to convince people to vote for them at the next election, a bit like the LDs in Solihull in 2001 when they came within 155 votes of being knocked into third place by Labour. If they had they almost certainly wouldn’t have had any chance of gaining the seat in 2005.

  18. That’s true. I would have thought them coming second here looks almost a given when one considers what fate likely awaits Mr. Wright and the Tory candidate here…

  19. Just completed Straw Phone Poll yesterday, LAB GAIN


  20. Please give the breakdown of both age and gender of your respondents?

    How many refused to answer?

  21. Jesus not again…


  23. Actually, many of his guesses are not a million miles away from what I expect to happen in the election. He should be upfront that they are purely guesses though.

  24. But he isn’t and that’s what really matters I’m afraid.

  25. People getting upset about Paul Way’s pretend straw polls: He enjoys your frustration and anger. That’s why he does it.

  26. Very interesting four-way seat. I’d predict an easy Labour win, but 2nd, 3rd and 4th places being hotly contested.

    Something like:
    Labour: 32%
    Liberal Democrat: 19%
    Green: 19%
    Conservative: 19%
    UKIP: 6%
    Others: 5%

  27. I was in Norwich for a couple of days last week. Admittedly I was only in the City Centre, staying at a hotel near the station, but what surprised me for a four-way marginal was that I saw practically no evidence whatsoever of there being an election.

    Are UKIP really going to be squeezed to the verge of losing their deposit? I doubt it.

  28. Lab gain 8000 over Con (LD 4th)

  29. The count for Norwich South is at St Andrews Hall, and the count for Norwich North is at the County Showground. It should be an exciting night in both constituencies. My money 9( If I had any ) is on Labour to take both seats.

  30. The small number of comments for this seat is surprising given the 2010 result. Admittedly, give the number of postal ballot these days there is not much to do now in any seat except canvas a few last voters and wait for the result.

  31. All the residential areas of Norwich South are fully postered. Whole streets in some areas have every other garden sprouting placards. The striking thing to note after all this sterling effort by the parties, is that the Greens and Labour have almost a monopoly of coverage. The yellow posters of the incumbent LIb Dem are noticable by thier absence. If posters won elections it would be a Green / Labour recount on Friday morning. I think Simon Wright is doomed.

  32. I cant believe that anyone takes much notice of boards and posters around the constituency?
    It is clear that Tory voters don’t put their signs up, Labour overly do it (same with Greens I imagine, as have never been in a constituency where they have been taken seriously) and Lib Dems have the same Shy Kipper type of value.

    Basically the Labour supporting voter is akin to the Gold Chain wearing bulldog owning man in the pub who cant wait to spout his views to anyone within earshot. People pretend they listen but privately have their own (generally more informed) views

  33. I do find people commenting about likely results based on posters and boards to be quite amusing as well.

    I’m a Labour supporter and I have a poster up but let’s be honest sadly in some places rightly or wrongly people won’t put Tory posters/boards up publicly as they fear threats/negative reaction.

    I think the comment about Labour supporting voters in your last paragraph which you make is unduly partisan, it doesn’t do you any credit, but the point about a bias in which people put boards up and it not proving much is valid.

  34. Sorry MIKE S you are right, I apologise, however the point I was making, you gratefully received.
    I grew up in Eltham during the Peter Bottomley years and never once did the Tory posters outweigh the Labour ones, and I lived on the Council Estates of Middle Park. It beared no resemblance to the result that Conservatives held Eltham during the 80’s and early 90’s.
    Also apologies to anyone taking offence to my post above!

  35. Labour Gain. 5,000 maj. Greens 2nd.

  36. A note on the Ashcroft poll here, where he showed Greens 13 points behind Labour. At the same time he polled Brighton Pavilion and showed the Greens behind. Several months later he polled Brighton again, this time prompting for the Greens, and the Greens gained 11 points on Labour that time. That might not be entirely on account of the prompting change, but it suggests that not prompting may lead to a significant underestimate in the Green vote in constituencies where they are serious challengers (i.e. here and Bristol, where he also showed them 13 behind).

    Even if this were the case, I can’t see the Greens winning this seat, I don’t believe they have enough momentum here. But it does suggest they could do a little better than expected, say 20-25%, which would probably land a second place.

  37. Reports on Guardian website of an hour wait at Jessop Road polling station. Long queue pictured.

  38. BBC reporting that Norwich South is the Exit Poll Green gain.

  39. Based on the seats the BBC seem to think the Tories will win I suspect the BBC doesn’t have a clue.

  40. Could be Lesley Grahame’s night.

  41. Clive Lewis wins for Labour, he doesn’t look at all happy in his victory speech which is good to see.

  42. This can only be described as an utter humiliation for Simon Wright.

    I can’t think of a previous occasion where a sitting MP has fallen to fourth place.

  43. “This can only be described as an utter humiliation for Simon Wright.”

    But less of a surprise than to him than when he won in 2010.

  44. Not often a paper candidate beats the sitting MP and the second favourite

  45. This must be very disappointing for the Greens. Even losing. What happened? Local elections results for the Norwich South wards (without New Costessey [where LibDems were strong, Labour weaker and the Greens without candidate):

    Labour – 33.37 % (15,539)
    Greens – 29.19 % (13,593)
    Cons – 20.24 % (9,423)
    Lib Dems – 12.53 % (5,833)

    In the GE Labour gained three times as many votes and the Torys are almost 100 points away. Lesley Grahame not the right GE candidate?

  46. Were there any other seats where the Green share of the vote was down on 2010?

    It’s as I had assumed. Areas where the Greens were shiny and new and alternative, they did well (mainly safe Tory and Labour seats). Areas where they’d been established for a while and some of the shine had come off (here, Bristol West, Sheffield Central) they underperformed.

  47. The Greens vote share rose by 23.0% in Bristol West and 12.1% in Sheffield Central im not sure you can call that under performing.

  48. This is surely the one of the only seats where they went backwards AFAIK. There were swathes of seats where they didn’t stand in 2010 so there’s nothing to compare with, and I’m fairly sure they recorded increases in most other seats. Norwich South’s Labour candidate, now MP, is firmly on the left of the party so could conveniently squeeze Green waverers. Plus the former Green candidate who was quite popular moved away from the area.

    They ended up doing relatively OK in some SW seats that weren’t targets like Bath, Somerton & Frome (I guess a town like Frome would have some Green votes) and Truro & Falmouth.

  49. Ceremony,

    Their target seat performance was patchy. Far and away best was Bristol West. A 12% increase in Sheffield Central was fine, bit considering the hype had been that they’d win it, getting 15% is not ideal.

    In other targets (York Central, Solihull, Reading East) they were very unimpressive.

  50. I live in Norwich and did try on several occasions to point out that Green support had peaked in the city – and that second place here was unlikely.

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