Nottingham South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 13761 (31.7%)
Labour: 20697 (47.6%)
Lib Dem: 1532 (3.5%)
Green: 2345 (5.4%)
UKIP: 4900 (11.3%)
TUSC: 230 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 6936 (16%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire. Part of the Nottingham council area.

Main population centres: Nottingham, Clifton.

Profile: The most varied and politically competitive of the three Nottingham seats. Nottingham South contains the city centre of Nottingham and some deprived and troubled residential areas nearby, such as the The Meadows estate. To the west it covers the far leafier and more desirable Wollaton area of Nottingham, an affluent residential suburb set around Wollaton park. Further south on the other side of the Trent is the large post-war council estate of Clifton, although much of it is now privately owned through the right-to-buy. The seat contains the main campuses of Nottingham University (just south of Wollaton) and the Clifton campus of Nottingham Trent University and as a result has one of the highest proportions of students of any seat in the country.

Politics: The seat was held by the Conservatives in until 1992, but Alan Simpson built up large Labour majorities during the Blair years. In the 2010 election Labour support dropped below 40%, but they managed to cling on thanks to the opposition vote being divided between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. In 2015 the Tory vote stayed much the same, but the Lib Dems collapsed and Labour prospered, changing this from a tight marginal to a relatively comfortable Labour hold.

Current MP
LILIAN GREENWOOD (Labour) Born 1966, Bolton. Educated at Canon Slade School and Cambridge University. Former UNISON official. First elected as MP for Nottingham South in 2010. Shadow Transport Secretary since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 13437 (33%)
Lab: 15209 (37%)
LDem: 9406 (23%)
BNP: 1140 (3%)
Oth: 1597 (4%)
MAJ: 1772 (4%)
Con: 9020 (26%)
Lab: 16506 (47%)
LDem: 7961 (23%)
UKIP: 1353 (4%)
MAJ: 7486 (21%)
Con: 9960 (27%)
Lab: 19949 (54%)
LDem: 6064 (17%)
UKIP: 632 (2%)
MAJ: 9989 (27%)
Con: 13461 (28%)
Lab: 26825 (55%)
LDem: 6265 (13%)
Oth: 446 (1%)
MAJ: 13364 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JANE HUNT (Conservative) Parliamentary caseworker and former civil servant. Charnwood councillor since 2003. Contested Leicester East 2010, Leicester South by-election 2011.
LILIAN GREENWOOD (Labour) See above.
DEBORAH NEWTON COOK (Liberal Democrat) Contested Derbyshire South 2005, East Midlands European region 2004, 2009, 2014.
Comments - 171 Responses on “Nottingham South”
  1. The three Nottingham seats have all had major demographic change.

    Whereas the constituencies around haven’t.

  2. Nottingham University has a high percentage of engineering / science students which means it’s more right-wing than most universities.

  3. The University also has a very middle class student profile, many who grew up in Conservative-voting areas in the south of England. The proportion of students who were privately educated tends to fluctuate between 28% and 34% each year (but is usually lower than 10 or so other universities), but in terms of pure numbers this number is extremely high, considering that there are 34,000 students across its Nottingham campuses.

    Universities with higher percentages of privately educated students (e.g. Oxbridge, Durham, Bristol and the London Universities) tend to around half the size of Nottingham University, and so the actual numbers tend to be relatively small.

    A lot of the academics at Nottingham (particularly in social sciences) are incredibly left wing, but most university staff (whether admin or academic) tend to live outside this seat in neighbouring seats, such as Broxtowe.

    Students form Nottingham Trent University tend to be more local and less well-off, but the vast majority live in Nottingham East.

  4. both main parties have lost out in vote numbers since 1992 in part due to a 23000 drop in voter numbers plus i guess lower turnout from the increased amounts of students + non white british

  5. i ment for the whole of nottingham not just this seat

  6. There has been a by-election in Wollaton West ward yesterday. Labour gained it in a 14% swing compared to 2011.

    Lab 46.9% Con 33.8% UKIP 12% LD 4.6% Greens 2.2% Elvis 0.6%

  7. When I was growing up in Nottinghamshire, Wollaton was an extremely Conservative area. I would have thought it would have elected Conservatives even in their darkest years of 1993-96 (does someone know if this is the case?).

    It is known as the area where high-end university academics and other senior public sector workers like to live.

  8. I assume that Wollaton West is following a Nottingham trend.

    In recent years some of the wards that returned Tory councillors have either falled of disappeared under boundary changes (Dale, Dunkirk, Abbey and Basford).

    I am ceratin that the old Dunkirk ward (a safe Conservative seat in the 1990’s) would now be Labour, as the current Dunkirk is a very safe Labour ward now indeed.

  9. That result will be very good news for Lilian Greenwood, who must now feel that this marginal seat is about to become a stronghold; of course, Labour would willingly swap the swing in Wollaton for one over the city boundary into Broxtowe where it would really count.

  10. Looks like a classic case of edge-of-conurbation, public sector middle-class blues for the Tories.

  11. Looking on electoral calculus (not perfect I know), the Tories look to have carried Wollaton W by 1650 over Labour in the general election(3355 to 1709). It is their best ward in Nottingham South.

  12. I was interested to read a comment from Nick Palmer on another website where he said the Broxtowe Labour party didn’t get much help from their Nottingham counterparts in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

  13. That is a bad result.

  14. high public sector and a growing ethic vote plus bad warding could see nottingham become a tory(and any other party) free zone in 2015

  15. Myth11- I fully agree. The last ward boundary changes which came into effect in 2003 generally favoured labour by lumping safe labour areas with tory areas (particularly in dales, sherwood and mapperley wards). IIRC the previous wards were smaller and only had two members.

    That said, the changes in Wollaton West were designed to create a Tory stronghold by removing the Lenton Abbey estate from the old Wollaton ward, and so the by-election result here was exceptionally bad, despite a fairly good turnout – I imagine that on current boundaries it would have returned a full slate of Tory councillors in 1995 and 1997, although I don’t have the notional figures.

    With Labour also winning in West Bridgford and all of Gedling last month, there are now very few Labour free areas in Greater Nottingham, This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, but follows the trends seen elsewhere. (Cf Harborne and Sutton Vesey in Birmingham, or Roundhay and Moortown in Leeds). Largely due to the ethnic and public sector middle class vote. Bristol seems to be going in a different direction though.

    However, I’ve said this before on another thread- I do think that the massive student vote here (over one third) was one of the reasons why the tories erformer

  16. performed so well here last time. I remember a survey being done at time which showed that they came first amongst Nottingham University students, with Labour coming third.

  17. That doesn’t surprise me. Nottingham is noted for having an unusually high proportion of public school entrants.

  18. Interesting post, Cavendishlaw. Is it possible to compare the % of public sector workers living in these places between 2001 and 2011? I have tried mining the census figures but with little success.

  19. Durham’s student vote was split more or less equally between LD and Lab, Con and Green both closely behind.

    Oxford’s LDs out infront of both Con and Lab. Con and Lab both a lot nosier though!

  20. The recent Wollaton West by election seems similar to the Wollaton East & Abbey By Election earlier this year, with the exception that the Lib Dems did much better in the former.

    Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey Ward, Nottingham UA. Lab hold. Lab 627 (52.9%, +10), LD 368 (31%, +1.4), Con 116 (9.8%, -14.3), UKIP 75 (6.3%, +2.8). Swing of 4.3% from LD to Lab since 2011.

    Wollaton West Ward, Nottingham UA. Lab gain from Con. Lab 2211 (46.8%, +11.2), Con 1594 (33.8%, -16.9), UKIP 565 (12%, +12), LD 216 (4.6%, -9), Green 106 (2.2%, +2.2), Militant Elvis 28 (0.6%, +0.6). Swing of 14.1% from Con to Lab since 2011

  21. Martin Brandon-Bravo is still around and writing articles for local newspapers:

  22. its amazing how smaller ethnic groups can have a bigger impact than the major group as in 2010 labour most likely came 3rd with white British voters in this yet still won this seat.

  23. There must be a large number of constituencies where this is the case, even possibly including safe Labour seats like Croydon North and Ilford South but certainly many of their more marginal seats. Similar of course in the US where the white population gave Romney a clear lead nationally and did so in almost every state with just a few in New England, New York and the Pacific NW voting for Obama (based on exit polls). I’m pretty sure that the indigenous French would have returned sarkozy to the Elysee as well and M Hollande owes his position to the muslim voters from the Magreb

  24. Not sure that Labour came third here with white voters. Probably a lot of white public sector workers in this seat who would have favoured Labour.

  25. But those who can vote are not only ‘indigenous’ .

    Perhaps those who feel they do not benefit from this might want to think why?

  26. The maths works out something like this
    (36/100)x 68 = 24.48
    then adjust for turnout and lower reg
    (24.48 / 60)x 50= 20.4
    so lab vote is 20.4 + 16.9 w brit = 37.3(lab vote in 2010)
    of course i don,t know the exact voter demographics of Nottingham south and different exit polls have different figs but most show lab 60%+ among ethnic voters and i know the cons do a fair bit better with Indian/Hindu group than most others .
    con vote 28.1 wb+ 4.8
    lib dem 18.9 wb +4.2

  27. Dear God I am plainly not the only one still awake at ungodly hours!!!

  28. Andy is right.

    Labour’s core demographic must now be white middle class public sector workers, particularly those in management positions in the NHS, Government, local councils, teaching or some other public body. This makes sense considering the salary growth under Labour over the last decade. I’m sure it was for all their hard work, especially in the NHS. Many of those hospitals were run particularly well (don’t mention Mid Staffs)

    Labours second core demographic are the various established immigrant groups who arrived in the UK after the war until the 70s, although, as discussed, some of these groups are more Tory leaning these days like the Hindus.

    Labours newest core vote, those they invited into the UK from every corner of the globe from 97-10. This group is by far the largest and I think are yet to make an impact. Give it a few decades and the effect will be permanant Labour governments if the Tories do not sort themselves out.

  29. It’s always hilarious when people attempt to discern the core demographics of other parties armed with nothing but their own prejudices.

  30. The success of Tony Blair’s middle England strategy in 1997 is well illustrated by the fact that the actual number of Labour votes in the three Nottingham seats was down by about 1,000 whilst they gained Broxtowe and Gedling.

  31. Edward- I don’t think L Bernard’s post was wildly inaccurate (though it was phrased in a somewhat partisan way). Regardless of the reasons, I don’t think anyone would deny that ethnic minorities are overwhelmingly pre-disposed towards Labour. Similarly, there is no denying that Labour fared very well in middle class seats with above average percentages of public sector workers, be they Sefton Central, Broxtowe, Birmingham Edgbaston, or Gedling. I don’t see what is wrong with pointing that out. If I was posting myself, I might have added that the unskilled working class remains an important part of Labour’s core vote (albeit perhaps not as reliably as before).

  32. It depends which part of the country you’re looking at. For example the white working-class vote in Merseyside appears to be a strong as ever for Labour (although turnout is down of course compared to previous times) whereas in south Yorkshire there’s been a drop in Labour support with that demographic.

  33. Andy JS- absolutely right, yes.

  34. That’s quite correct. The unskilled white working class vote is clearly much weaker for Labour in outer London than it is in Knowsley, for example. The same almost certainly applies to the skilled white working class vote.

  35. Cumulative votes for the three Nottingham constituencies in 1992 and 1997 (with no boundary changes):

    Lab: 79,849
    Con: 58,245
    LD: 13,580
    Others: 2,085
    TOTAL: 153,759

    Lab: 78,783
    Con: 31,199
    LD: 13,574
    Others: 6,109
    TOTAL: 129,665

    So what basically happened in 1997 was that the Tory vote fell by around 27,000 votes and the other main parties stayed the same.

  36. I missed off the unskilled WWC as over the past decade this particular group has bounced between Labour and the BNP, and possibly UKIP in some parts of the country. They were/are a little less reliable.

    I’d like Edward to tell me where I am wrong? There is nothing wrong with me stating the obvious.

  37. You’re wrong in that you ignored the WWC, and you’re equally wrong to suggest that they’ve bounced between Labour and the BNP, because the latter party only had moderate support in extremely geographically limited parts of the country. In general they remain a core demographic for Labour, and this is especially true where we’re the locally dominant party.

    Even in areas where we probably don’t win the WWC vote, I suspect we tend to perform better amongst them than the general population, because our potential middle-class support is more likely to vote tactically if we don’t have a shot at victory.

    I speak from painful experience when I say that public sector workers are not a core Labour demographic everywhere. I’ve no doubt we do extremely well amongst them in places like Wirral West, but frankly in Merseyside we do extremely well with most social groups. In other places the picture is more mixed and my experience is that we do much better with junion than senior staff.

    Outside London, I’m also sceptical that there are enough votes from post-1997 immigrants for them to constitute a core demographic. It is a point of fact that it is not ‘by far the largest’, but let’s not let reality intercede into this discussion. There have been reasonably significant increases in the census percentage of black Africans in some outer London seats, but generally not where we actually need them to win and in any case registration and turnout will lag their actual physical presence.

    As for Eastern European immigrants, few of them vote and of those who do I think I’ve encountered one Labour voter in the past four years of canvassing (most of the rest were Lib Dems). Which is hardly surprising – they’re often young, highly qualified, enterprising workers in the private sector. They want to earn enough money to go home and start their own businesses. Why would they want increased funding for the NHS?

  38. Interesting post, thanks Edward.

  39. Hi Cavendishlaw.

    Very good post. Totally agree with everything you’ve written.

    ”The University also has a very middle class student profile, many who grew up in Conservative-voting areas in the south of England.”

    I have friends that have been to Nottingham University and have stayed with them for weekends. Totally agree with what you’ve written. Most of the students are from very middle class backgrounds and are extremely affluent.

    I was speaking to one of my friends who has just graduated from Nottingham University and he told me he met very few students who didn’t go to private or grammar schools (he went to his local comprehensive). He said throughout his time at the university he could count the number of people who went to a comprehensive on one hand!!

    I went to stay with him one weekend and all the people in his halls were ”rahs” and most of them dressed head-to-toe in Jack Wills and drove brand new Golfs Mini’s etc, etc and some even drove brand new BMW’s and Mercedes’ (no, I’m not joking)!!

  40. Apart from wealth, another reason why Labour are relatively unpopular with students in Nottingham is because the Council is seen as incredibly anti-student. Most second and third years students prefer to live in HMOs in Lenton which has a vibrant student community – having their own house with a garden gives students more freedom, compared to catered halls where students spend their first year (in some respects, it can feel a little like boarding school). In the last few years the Council has introduced parking charges which apply only to student residents (and not to long-term residents) and the Council is trying to shift students away from HMOs into instutionalised purpose-built student flats, and this has caused a lot of anger amongst students.

    The problem is that students generally do not vote in local elections, and so even in wards where students make up over 50% of the population, Labour councillors have been elected, and in some cases on a rather anti-student platform. For example, there have been two by-elections this year in student-majority wards – Wollaton East & Lenton Abbey and Radford & Park – and Labour won over 50% of the vote in both cases albeit on a turnout of 16% and 13% respectively. In the former, students made up 68% of over 16s at the last census, and yet the by-election was held during the Easter holidays.

    Things are very different when there is a general election, as many students do turn out, and they are quite a significant force as they make up one third of over 16s in this constituency. Without the students, this seat would not have been marginal in 2010.

    One possible counter-argument is that the Tories actually came first in this constituency in the 2003 and 2007 local elections, when the student turnout would have been just as low. However, there has been some quite significant demographic change amongst the “local” population here, in particular the rise in the non-white population, the displacement of Tory-voting families with non-voting students, and the rise in the public sector workforce. There are now fewer and fewer Tories who are locals, and I get the impression that the local Conservative association relies heavily on support from Nottingham University Conservative Association which has become quite a renown society on campus and which even holds alumni events.

  41. Radford and Park by-election result-

    Lab 1146 (65.2%)
    C 355 (20.2%)
    Ukip 123 (7.0%)
    Green 80 (4.6%)
    Elvis Loves Pets Party 31 (1.8%)
    Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts 22 (1.3%)

    11.2% swing Conservative to Labour since May 2011.

  42. Recent majorities in this seat:
    1983 Conservatives 5,715 over Labour
    1987 Conservatives 2,234 over Labour
    1992 Labour 3,181 over the Conservatives
    1997 Labour 13,364 over the Conservatives
    2001 Labour 9,989 over the Conservatives
    2005 Labour 7,486 over the Conservatives
    2010 Labour 1,772 over the Conservatives

  43. I recal the Conservatives won Dunkirk and Abbey wards a few years ago by large margins. I assume that even on the old boundaries…these wards would now be as safe for Labour as Bestwood or St Anns.

  44. If I’m allowed to talk about ‘tenuous connections’ on here, my Dad completed his PhD in Nottingham and one of my cousins studied sociology here.

    I am also well aware that Ed Miliband’s wife comes from Nottingham.

    Just because I have not been to Nottingham does not mean that I don’t know about the psephology here!

    This was a very bad result for Labour in 2010 but Labour seems to now be recovering strongly here.

  45. They might have finished with a better majority had Alan Simpson contested again, given how long he’d been the MP.

    Likely for Labour to increase their majority here in 2015 though.

  46. Having never been to Nottingham so I don’t know the area terribly well. From the decription though, this seems like the sort of seat where Labour should see a 10% plus increase in their vote with the Lib Dems being squeezed.

  47. The Lib Dems were wiped out locally in 2011 and the Tories were reduced to five seats. So it’s evident that 23% LD vote from 2010 is going to get cut down a lot next time.

    Like Derby and Leicester, Nottingham’s demographics make it the most diverse in the county (ditto for Derby in Derbyshire and Leicester in Leicestershire).

  48. ‘The Lib Dems were wiped out locally in 2011 and the Tories were reduced to five seats. So it’s evident that 23% LD vote from 2010 is going to get cut down a lot next time.’

    Absolutely right. As a student at UoN this is currently my home seat and I can echo everything that’s been said here about this seat’s politics and likely result in 2015. The Lib Dem vote will definitely suffer and will mostly go to Labour imo, the LD vote here probably being largely of the urban and therefore somewhat left-leaning variety – including many people caught up in Cleggmania, no doubt.

    Labour’s electoral performance and apparently inexorable growth in Nottingham since 2011 has been formidable. 50 of the city’s 55 councillors are Labour, a number which seems likely only to grow at the 2015 locals here. Indeed, Labour’s victory in the Wollaton West b/e was notable in a ward that’s long been a Tory stronghold.

    Despite the strong Tory undercurrent here which originates in the constituency’s leafier parts (particularly Wollaton) and amongst UoN’s largely white, middle-class student community (excellent analysis from Cavendishlaw by the way), in my humble opinion this seat will trend Labour for at least the next few years, and though remaining the most marginal of the Nottingham City seats, will become less precarious during this same timescale. Such is the influence and strength of the Labour party locally these days. I believe Lilian Greenwood is also quite popular locally, and we certainly have had plenty of correspondence from her and Nottingham Labour through the letterbox since moving to Lenton.

  49. It’s also fascinating to see comment further up stating that the former Dunkirk ward, amongst others abolished in 2003, once returned Tory councillors, and returned hem with considerable majorities. Such results seem near-impossible today, indeed I’m surprised an area like Dunkirk could ever have been Tory in recent times (the place is not exactly salubrious). Are there any figures for these old wards? Even better, does anyone by any chance have a link to Nottingham’s pre-2003 ward boundaries? I’d be fascinated to see how they changed.

  50. For anyone who is also interested in Nottingham’s wards pre-2003, here’s a map. Annoyingly it isn’t overlaid onto an actual map of the city, which would be pretty handy! No doubt some computer wizardry could sort that, though.

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