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. Regarding student voting habits, have there actually been any polls/studies done to show exactly how far Lib Dem support among students has collapsed.

    A friend who’s a Labour activist told me a couple of years ago that nationally the Lib Dem’s can expect the get less than 1% of the student vote in 2015, but surely that’s pushing it a bit?

  2. I’m not aware of any such studies, but as a Lib Dem member at the University of Nottingham I would probably say from my experience that the student feeling towards the Lib Dems here is at worst quite hostile and at best somewhat indifferent. Our fellow Liberal Youth society at Trent university has very recently had to fold due to a lack of membership amongst first- and second-year students there and the resulting failure to put a society executive in place (necessary under Student Union rules).

    Our performance in the Wollaton West and Lenton Abbey by-election in March 2013 was encouraging in a ward we used to represent (and which contains the main UoN campus) – we achieved 31% – but importantly the poll took place during the Easter holidays and so was made offered little to no insight into the student Lib Dem vote in this particular place.

    Anecdotal I know but I guess you could call it experience from the coal face!

  3. That should of course have read Wollaton *East and Lenton Abbey.

  4. Was Alan Simpson considered a good constituency MP? From 97, those majorities were pretty substantial. His retirement surely hurt Labour’s performance here (loss of incumbency) in 2010, although I expect them to recover well enough next year.

  5. Adam – your friend is speaking a load of tosh.

  6. Labour held Clifton North tonight, although UKIP certainly played a major role in dividing the Tory vote. At the last election, it was a tightly contested race. Feel pretty uneasy about victories like this, because a confident result would have been Labour pulling ahead without UKIP.

    Apparently the Bus Pass Elvis party polled higher than the Lib Dems. I know these by elections have poor turnouts but that is embarrassing.

  7. Neil – Alan Simpson was a popular likeable Leftwinger which is quite rare. I don’t think I’ve heard this MP speak once. The UKIP vote shouldn’t be that surprising. Even in 2010, the UKIP/BNP vote was a lot higher than the Labour majority.

  8. Jane Hunt has been selected for the Conservatives.

    Hunt is a councillor for Loughborough Nanpantan ward on Charnwood BC. She stood for Leicester East in 2010, and in the 2011 Licester South by-election.

    Twitter: @JaneMHunt

    Her PPC site from 2010:

  9. This is a very interesting seat, with a wealthy demographic around Wollaton and the university, containing a sizeable Guardian-reading vote, and the more deprived WWC areas around Clifton.

    It must be quite a challenge for a Labour candidate to keep the very different elements of their vote happy here. The wealthy bits have trended strongly to Labour, as the WWC parts have to a certain extent moved to the Tories and UKIP. Without checking I presume this is also Nottingham’s whitest seat.

  10. 2015

    Lab 48
    Con 24
    UKIP 15
    LDem 9
    Oth 4

  11. nope Nottingham north is the whitest seat in Nottingham. i have visited the area recently plus i worked in the area in 2000s and this seat has changed a fair bit in the last 15 years with a drop of the white brit pop of 15% and a 3% fall in home ownership. There is hope for the cons in the Clifton wards but the rest of the seat is moving including Wollaton west is moving away from them.

  12. HH you’re forgetting the grim inner-city areas like Radford and Meadows which is the most reliable element of the seat for Labour

  13. Yes that’s true. I forgot how much of the city centre this seat takes in.

  14. The Conservatives were closer to wining here in 2010 than in 1992 which must be rare in an urban constituency.

    Although they had suffered a huge drop in both vote total and vote percentage over that time.

    How did the Conservatives do in other urban constituencies between those two elections?

  15. There was a boundary change here in 2010 but I don’t know how much that affected their vote compared to 1992. Also the Lib Dem performance was significantly higher in 2010 than 92 hence a lower vote share for both Labour and the Tories.

    It’s incredible how varied this constituency is. Must explain why it’s the most interesting of the three Nottingham seats.

  16. This was one of the most unexpected results of the 2010 election for me. I never thought Nottingham South and Broxtowe would converge to such an extent.

  17. The seat is perhaps less varied than people think. Indeed is the most varied of the Nottingham seats, but still, the only part of the seat that isn’t rather run-down is Wollaton, and even that will now vote Labour if it’s given a nudge (see Wollaton West by-election, 6 June 2013). I live in the seat in the student area of Lenton and honestly feel that the student vote here does more to diversify the seat’s politics than does the presence of Tory Wollaton. Most students at my university definitely seem to be less left-leaning than the stereotypical student. This is probably because many come from private school backgrounds, or at least from privileged families, mainly in the south-east of England. It could also be down to the fact that Nottingham is more of an engineering and science university than one of the arts – resulting in a broadly less left-wing, idealistic student demographic. In any case, the Conservative vote in this seat undoubtedly gets a boost from a good chunk of students. The Lib Dems’ very respectable performance here in 2010 is of course also explained to a large extent by the student vote, not to mention the small local base the LDs had here, with three of the four wards they had councillors in being ones of Nottingham South – namely Leen Valley, Bridge and Wollaton East & Lenton Abbey.

    Despite all this, Nottingham is for sure becoming a Labour stronghold. One need only look to Labour’s taking a seat from the Tories in Wollaton West and their recent win in Clifton North in by-elections, both wards being the Tories’ best areas in the city of late, and their strong performances in other council by-elections here since 2011, to get the picture. Come 2015 it seems likely that Labour will take all but about two or three of the seats on the city council (if not all of them), with a few Tories maybe just hanging on in Wollaton West and Clifton North. Lilian Greenwood is safe here for the forseeable future (disregarding any extraordinary events, of course).

  18. Thanks Matthew, interesting summary.

  19. There’s no question that Nottingham University has a more right-wing student body than most. The public schools have strong links with the university. That probably however only makes it RELATIVELY right-wing; after all, look at municipal election results in Oxford & Cambridge & you’ll see that none of the student-dominated wards has had a Tory councillor for decades. I don’t think there can be many student bodies of any size, if any, which actually have a Tory majority.

  20. The private university of Buckinghamshire must be the bet bet.

  21. I would have thought Loughborough must be one of the more Conservative with its science and sports ethos.

  22. Ooh I can weigh in on this. Students at Sheffield seem fairly right wing, although that might just be compared to their surroundings.

    Last I heard, our Liberal Youth branch has membership in the low single figures and our Conservative Future branch fell apart after they failed to organise an executive.

    Young Independence have a relatively active branch I think, although Sheffield isn’t very fertile ground for them and we’re not really in contact.

    Sheffield Labour Students has campaign sessions twice a week and an engaged (as opposed to those who signed up and forgot about it) membership in the low dozens. Apparently we’re considered the most left wing Labour Students branch (or were, until we voted to disaffiliate last week) which puts me technically on the right.

    I’d put the Lib Dem vote among students next year higher than 1%, but certainly no higher than 4%, and most of them will be savvy tactical voters.

    Interestingly, I actually know a student who intends to vote Lib Dem, although he’s a card-carrying Tory who just personally dislikes his local MP.

  23. “Young Independence have a relatively active branch I think”

    Independence for where….South Yorkshire?

  24. It’s interesting from the examples given that they’re northern predominantly working class cities ie you can’t make an assumption about the university from the city.

  25. @Hemmelig,

    Although the idea of a Yorkshire Independence Party might actually get some traction in certain places, they’re the UKIP youth wing!

  26. I never would’ve guessed there was a Young Indepenence branch there. All I ever see are Socialist Worker flyers posted outside the union building (I work not far from there and often have to cross it to get to my bus stop), so it’s interesting to read that the students there seem right wing. Maybe that particular society just shouts the loudest. If we correlate political views with courses, I’m not sure where Sheffield lies. They don’t have a heavy focus on one discipline like e.g. Nottingham. There’s a medical school but it also has a lot of engineers as well as the arts/humanities side.

  27. Oh I see. I’d completely forgotten UKIP, actually I’d assumed you were talking about Scotland.

    How active are UKIP on campuses?

  28. On campuses, virtually nothing, but I seem to recall they’ve got three student candidates standing in the local elections (Labour have two).


    The SWSS is basically tiny but with a lot of printing credit (which they need because their posters are normally torn down within a couple of days, often by me).

    In terms of political societies, Labour are the biggest, closely followed by the Socialist Students (AKA Militant) but among the lay students there seems to be an acceptance of things like low wages for staff and tuition fee rises that doesn’t indicate a particularly left-wing student body.

    Sheffield has a lot of medics/dentists, scientists, economists and engineers, which does suggest a rather more rightwing slant not least because many of them are from wealthy backgrounds. On the other hand there are a lot of English, politics and journalism students who maybe balance it out.

  29. All that waste of paper/trees too. They should advertise online more instead of hurting my eyes every time I walk by.

    It’s interesting you mention that lay students are like that, because one of my friends who does a PHD there said that there was support for a recent strike. Can’t remember if it was about pay or the Vice Chancellor raking it in. Again that might have been from the politically active.

  30. Going back to the political nature of Nottingham students. I study Politics at Nottingham and just recalled an informal survey carried out by the lecturer in a lecture about voting and elections last semester. It asked how we would vote were there to be a general election tomorrow. I managed to dig out the results:

    Con – 39%
    Lab – 34%
    LD – 11%
    Grn – 6%
    UKIP – 2%
    Other – 2%
    None – 6%

    Make of that what you will!

  31. Was it a secret ballot or a show of hands? If the latter, people were likely to be worried about what others thought – ie. very low UKIP and BNP %. Tories very high though.

  32. It was a matter of marking a ballot paper at your seat, then taking it to a ballot box at the front of the lecture theatre near the lectern. So obviously, people were seeing how their neighbours were voting and so being swayed. The high Conservative figure doesn’t surprise me in the slightest – but the fact that Labour were only 5 points behind does. I’ve yet to hear anyone voice anything like left-wing or Labour-ish views in seminar discussions, for example. But then again, that’s the trouble with anecdotal evidence!

  33. At a place like Nottingham, I’d expect courses like Politics and Law to be particularly full of hoorays…however I was at university 20 years ago and times are different.

  34. I definitely think that’s still the case, at least for Politics. As someone from a working-class family brought up in the Wakefield area I’m definitely in a minority on my course. Lots public-school types (or rahs!) and only a few people from anywhere outside the south-east or the southern Midlands.

  35. “It’s interesting you mention that lay students are like that, because one of my friends who does a PHD there said that there was support for a recent strike. Can’t remember if it was about pay or the Vice Chancellor raking it in. Again that might have been from the politically active.”

    There was some support but as you say it was mainly from those who already cared. Most students in my experience saw it at best sympathetically and appreciated the day off, while others were actively hostile.

  36. It doesn’t surprise me that UKIP are that low with Nottingham politics students. I very rarely find supporters of that party in my similar demographic surroundings.

    Brasenose Oxford was probably more like 50-60% Con, but that stood out socially even within Oxford as the home of privilege and wealth. (Absolute majority public school – with a good proportion of the state schoolers being grammar school pupils)

  37. That’s interesting Joe, I had a girlfriend (well sort of) at Brasenose College Oxford when I was at “the other place”, and she went to a grammar school, was well left of centre like the rest of her family & didn’t seem atypical of her contemporaries at the college – it didn’t seem to be a particularly right-wing or overly posh college at the time. Perhaps Brasenose has got “posher” since then.

  38. % White British Population
    2001 / 2011

    Wollaton West – 82.2% / 69.2%
    Wollaton East & Lenton Abbey – 73.8% / 60.2%
    Dunkirk & Lenton – 71.8% / 60.1%
    Radford & Park – 67.8% / 51.4%
    Leen Valley – 73.1% / 49.2%
    Bridge – 71.8% / 60.1%
    Clifton North – 92.8% / 86.9%
    Clifton South – 94.9% / 89.0%

    Some quite significant change, but not in any way atypical for an urban seat. I’ve lived in this seat for a number of years now, and can say that things really have changed over the last 10 years.

    Wollaton is quickly becoming the favoured place for upwardly mobile South Asians and contains mostly interwar and post war housing of varying quality. White British people are in a minority in the run-down inner city areas (Radford/Aspley/Meadows). On the other hand, there has been a huge increase in student numbers in Lenton and they tend to be white British and originally from London and the home counties; non-white students tend to be international students who do not vote. There is also an area near the city centre (Park Estate) with around 2000 residents where houses are worth £500k to £1.7m bracket and flats between £250k and £450k (to put this into context, the average house price in Nottingham is barely above £100k) – this area remains largely white and one of the most prestigious areas in greater Nottingham,but even here there has been a surge in student numbers (albeit wealthier students). The only areas which haven’t changed much are the two Clifton wards which are largely WWC and lower middle class.

  39. Thanks Cavendishlaw, interesting stuff. The change between 2001 and 2011 has been more marked than I ever would’ve guessed. Interesting background about the changing characteristics of Wollaton, too.

  40. Does anyone know if Bridge has ever voted Tory or what what their best result has ever been

  41. @LabourCookieMonster

    In its current (post-2003) form, Bridge has never elected Tory councillors; rather it has been a Lib Dem-Labour marginal. The Conservatives’ best performance was in 2007 when they took 11% of the vote, which of course is hardly a remarkable share.

  42. Dunkirk and Abbey wards use to be strong Conservative wards until fairly recently. What on earth happened in Dunkirk to now make it so Labour?

  43. Dalek, there wasn’t a ‘Dunkirk’ ward pre-2003; rather Dunkirk itself was within the Abbey ward. Abbey was, to my knowledge, safe Tory territory as the bulk of its electorate lay in Wollaton. See here:

    I would say Dunkirk itself has been safe Labour territory for some time: it’s rather run-down and studentified now. Indeed, the Dunkirk and Lenton ward in which it now lies is safe Labour, in common with most of Nottingham City these days.

  44. Given the size of the student vote here, the LIbDems can expect a particuarly bad result next year.

    I am surprised that the Greens do not do better here.

    My recollection is that the Nottingham University campus is effectively separated from the City. In addition the university is very attractive for comparatively well-heeled students. So this is perhaps not the seat for student radicalism.

  45. Nottingham has one of the highest proportions of public-school-educated students of any university & I wouldn’t be at all surprised if its students voted more Conservative than Labour in 2010. They are very active in seeking students from schools such as Hampton (ironically the former school, as a public-sector grammar school in those days, of 2 Labour MPs, Martin Salter & Barry Sheerman).

  46. After the by-election result in nearby Newark, the Conservatives must have high hopes of winning this seat at the next General Election.

  47. On what basis?

  48. Conservatives are increasing weak here in local government.

    I think the Newark result will be encouraging to the Conservatives in Sherwood but the three Nottingham constituencies and the 2 suburbs or Broxtowe and Gedling are becoming better demographically for Labour.

  49. High hopes – high apple pie in the sky hopes.

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