Oxford East

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10076 (19.9%)
Labour: 25356 (50%)
Lib Dem: 5453 (10.8%)
Green: 5890 (11.6%)
UKIP: 3451 (6.8%)
TUSC: 108 (0.2%)
Loony: 145 (0.3%)
Independent: 160 (0.3%)
Others: 50 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 15280 (30.1%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: South East, Oxfordshire. Part of the Oxford council area.

Main population centres: Oxford.

Profile: An urban seat containing the vast majority of Oxford itself. It covers the centre of Oxford and the majority of the Oxford Colleges - the two city centre wards Holywell and Carfax are overwhelmingly made up of students. To the east the suburb of Headington also contains Oxford Brookes University and the teaching hospitals. It would be wrong however to characterise this seat as only being made up of academic quadrangles, ivory towers and Guardian reading students though- most people here are not students. Away from the city centre there a mixed residential suburbs including the industrial Cowley, home to BMW`s Mini production, and the large council estate of Blackbird Leys, with an unfortunate reputation for unemployment, crime and joyriding.

Politics: Oxford East was held by the Conservatives when first created in 1983, but by 2005 and 2010 had become a Labour v Lib Dem marginal. With the collapse of the Liberal Democrats the Conservatives retook second place, albeit a very distant one.

Current MP
ANDREW SMITH (Labour) Born 1952, Wokingham. Educated at Reading School and Oxford university. Former member relations officer for Oxford and Swindon Co-op. Oxford councillor 1976-1987. Contested Oxford East 1983. First elected as MP for Oxford East in 1987. Minister for Employment 1997-1999, Chief Secretary of the Treasury 1999-2002, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2002-2004.
Past Results
Con: 9727 (19%)
Lab: 21938 (42%)
LDem: 17357 (34%)
GRN: 1238 (2%)
Oth: 1391 (3%)
MAJ: 4581 (9%)
Con: 6992 (17%)
Lab: 15405 (37%)
LDem: 14442 (35%)
GRN: 1813 (4%)
Oth: 3138 (8%)
MAJ: 963 (2%)
Con: 7446 (19%)
Lab: 19681 (49%)
LDem: 9337 (23%)
GRN: 1501 (4%)
Oth: 1883 (5%)
MAJ: 10344 (26%)
Con: 10540 (22%)
Lab: 27205 (57%)
LDem: 7038 (15%)
Oth: 1703 (4%)
MAJ: 16665 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MELANIE MAGEE (Conservative) HR manager. Cherwell councillor since 2011.
ANDREW SMITH (Labour) See above.
ALASDAIR MURRAY (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Oxford University. Consultant and former journalist.
ANN DUNCAN (Green) Economist.
KEVIN PARKIN (Socialist Party GB)
CHAKA ARTWELL (Independent)
MAD HATTER (Loony) , real name Alasdair de Voil. Tutor and events organiser.
Comments - 243 Responses on “Oxford East”
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  1. Labour had a good result in Oxfordshire last week. They won 9 of the 14 divisions for the city itself. Unlike other southern counties, Labour’s vote was not just confined to one area as they also picked up all 4 Banbury seats and 1 each in Didcot and Witney. This was also the only southern county where Labour ended up in 2nd place. It still surprises me that the Conservatives lost their majority here albeit narrowly. Not doubt they will end up running the council anyway as with most of those that fell to no overall control.

  2. Is that likely? I think there will be a Labour/LD/UKIP coalition in some counties, although will still be minority control unless Independents also join.

  3. If anything Labour may be a bit disappointed to have won only a single seat in Didcot, and my party also lost in Chipping Norton for the first time in a while – though winning a seat in Witney rather compensates for it. Winning 4 seats in Banbury is certainly a decent Labour performance which doesn’t always happen even in a reasonably good year.

  4. I can’t see that kind of rainbow coalition happening, Joe. Sounds like a real basket case to me! In the case of Oxfordshire, I think the Tories will carry on as a minority administration although they may make a deal with the independent group to give them a working majority.

  5. Barnaby: its the District Chipping Norton seat we win – the County one includes too many posh villages to make it competitive

  6. The Tories have reached an arrangement with three of the four independents on the County Council, which I suspect is the best result all-round – the Lib Dems had no desire to be tainted with association with the Tories at City Hall, the Conservatives essentially have a minority administration, and all the non-Conservatives will still exert maximum leverage (I can’t imagine the independents will form a particularly reliable or cohesive bloc).

    Oxford East was, at least in comparison to the last round of city elections, not a bad result for the Lib Dems, who managed to save one of the two divisions they won in the constituency in 2009. Labour might be disappointed at not taking the new city centre student division or the other Green division in East Oxford. But seven out of ten divisions isn’t bad.

  7. Labour hasn’t won a city centre division in Oxford, however drawn or named, for several decades now, so it was hardly surprising really.

  8. @Barnaby – they won Carfax in the City elections in 2012, so they were potentially in with a decent shout. Given the current disillusionment with ‘politics-as-usual’ amongst students and the strong Green campaign, this year was a decent result for Labour.

  9. I missed that development. Silly me.

  10. Labour did win the Jericho & Osney County seat which includes a chunk of the city centre.

    They will be disapointed to have missed St Margarets by 70 and Headington by 30 though.

  11. How much do you reckon the GE results will differ from the locals?

  12. Green going labour.

  13. Damn. So you reckon this Green support is protest votes?

  14. “Barnaby: its the District Chipping Norton seat we win – the County one includes too many posh villages to make it competitive”

    Pretty sure Chipping Norton Division was Labour (along with Charlbury) in the 1993 and 1997 County Elections…

  15. RR – It was certainly held by Rob Evans for Labour in 1997, who sadly passed away from cancer a few weeks ago.

  16. ‘If anything Labour may be a bit disappointed to have won only a single seat in Didcot,’

    I would have had Didcot town as a Labour banker, given that it goes out of its way to look like Teeside

  17. It has been in the past – in Labour’s strongest years, they have been able to win all of the district council seats in the town. Before the SDP was formed in 1983, Wantage itself was also sometimes won by Labour in local elections.

  18. The vote in Didcot splits three ways, the newer Ladygrove estate has quite a high Tory vote and the old town is more Labour inclined.

    The Independent who won the Ladygrove County seat this time is a former Labour councillor and won with a lot of Labour support.

    Labour won Didcot West and the Tories won the Didcot East seat, but that does include a large number of Tory inclined villages outside the town itself.

  19. @Tim Jones – only someone who didn’t grow up on Teeside would say that about Didcot 😉

  20. Im from the North East and lived in Oxford – Didcot is not as hideous as Middlesborough but it is very modest indeed. Im not surprised that it is a fairly marginal town.

    I am a little surprised that it is not better for labour than Banbury is.

  21. ‘only someone who didn’t grow up on Teeside would say that about Didcot ‘

    There just aren’t many towns in the heart of Oxfordshire that have heavy industrial paraphernalia bellowing out smoke

    Indeed the South is known for lacking such eyesores – not Didcot though

  22. My prediction for 2015 here:

    Lab 49
    LD 19
    Con 16
    Green 11
    Others 5

    This prediction feels logical to me. The Tories don’t have any cllrs and the LDs are resilient in Headington.

    Neither of my parents went to Oxbridge but they did first meet here in 1984 at a Byzantine conference.

  23. LOL you’re not Owen Jones are you

    (only joking)

  24. These would be my Desert Island Discs if I was famous-

    1. The Chameleons- Second Skin
    2. Simple Minds- Alive And Kicking
    3. Love And Money- Strange Kind Of Love
    4. The Waterboys- The Whole Of The Moon
    5. Squeeze- No Place Like Home
    6. Manic Street Preachers- A Design For Life
    7. Radiohead- Fake Plastic Trees
    8. Julian Cope- World Shut Your Mouth

    Book- The Political Almanac
    Luxury Item- Boxes and boxes of small cakes

  25. Not too confident on predicting this one, but here goes:
    LAB 48
    LD 23
    CON 15
    UKIP 7
    GRN 6

  26. UKIP is too high, this really really isn’t their territory.

  27. Unusual for WindsofChange to be more pessimistic than another poster about the Green vote. It’s possible it could be a little more than that; the Greens are likely to benefit a little from the likely steep decline in the LD vote. However, Labour will benefit from this more. I wouldn’t be totally astonished if Labour goes slightly above 50% here – the party has generally performed very strongly in local elections all through this parliament, and Smith remains a pretty good incumbent. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since we in the Labour Party were worried we might lose to the LDs in 2010.

  28. Joe is right too. The Greens will beat UKIP here I should have thought.

  29. Talking about Didcot….Didcot is (with Bicester) increasingly the town where “normal” workers in Oxford now live.

    Oxford is now so expensive (esp v local earnings) and so constrained by its Green Belt Didcot is increasingly where its middle-income workers end up.

    In addition the fast rail links to London for commuters that might work there rather than Oxford, plus the lack of planning restrictions have resulted in Didcot (and Bicester) growing exponentially.

    A once fairly nondescript semi-industrial town has been transformed into a Lower-Middle-Class growth zone, and that has inevitably had political implications.

  30. 11% is far too high imho- with my estimate I’m trying to keep consistent with my more accurate later predictions. 😉

  31. my dear fellow – we can’t tell if their accurate yet – they haven’t actually counted the votes! We are all guessing when it comes down to it. But there are educated & uneducated guesses. Yours is more the former than the latter in this instance except the bit where UKIP are beating the Greens.

  32. Lab 53
    Lib Dem 20
    Con 15
    Grn 7
    Ukip 3
    Other 2

  33. awful mistake from me in my last post. Hangs head in shame. “Their” should of course read “they’re”.

  34. Andrew Smith is restanding, does anyone know if any of the other parties have selected yet? Selection this late by LDs suggests they are just going to pour all their resources into Oxford West and not put much effort into East at all.

  35. Check out my selections spreadsheet:


    Looking at it, the answer is only Smith has been selected so far.

  36. Sounds like a smart strategy to me. Andrew Smith holding Oxford East on an increased majority in 2010 pretty much ended Lib Dem chances there.

    Oxford West and Abingdon is on a knife edge and could be one of their few gains in 2015. Some commentators reckon Evan Harris was defeated based partly on a smear campaign by pro-lifers in the area.

  37. Sounds a bit unlikely to me to be honest. There can’t be a lot of fanatical pro-lifers in a wealthy and well-educated seat like OW&A.

  38. Indeed but I suspect Harris’ ‘Dr Death’ image, which reflected his views on subjects other than just abortion, may have put off some voters in the area.

  39. Late selection is not a reflection of deprioritisation by the LibDems.. a number of the top ten targets still haven’t chosen.. quite a lot of the selection process timing is down to invidual branches rather than central office diktats..

  40. Although the Dr Death image was promoted by the Daily Mail, he did come over as rather zealous and humourless and,er, compared with the present incumbent….

  41. ‘Neither of my parents went to Oxbridge but they did first meet here in 1984 at a Byzantine Conference’

    Indeed, at the Rhodes House Library. I went there a couple of years back.

    I also have plenty of time available to discuss Italy’s northern League and the politics of Rome, if anyone is interested.

    I am also listening to Eriko Imai on my iphone right now.

  42. ….we’re all just ignoring A Brown’s bizarre interludes, right?

  43. Anthony’s position is that blocking or even moderating A Brown’s posts might not be helpful for him as he deals with whatever issue he’s going through right now. Follows that the best thing is for us just to ignore these kinds of posts.

    [I suspect, actually, that whether such comments get through moderation or not is largely irrelevant on that front, so perhaps it is better I filter them out – AW]

  44. Mark Mann chosen as LibDem PPC


  45. He certainly will be a Mark-ed Mann in this constituency! Hahahahaha…

  46. I expect the LD vote to fall back here but maybe not as badly as some might expect. Andrew Smith’s majority should return to comfortable levels similar to what it was pre-2005 methinks.

    Their priority should obviously be Oxford West & Abingdon.

  47. Which seats do you all think will provide minor party (except UKIP) results in excess of 10%? It might be interesting to track where LD support is going to in some of the seats they hold as it could deny Labour gains in the likes of Bristol West and Hornsey and Wood Green.

    Personally I think that the following seats will see non-UKIP minor parties polling in excess of 10%:

    Brighton Kemptown (Greens)
    Brighton Pavilion (Greens)
    Bristol West (Greens)
    Edinburgh East (Scottish Greens)
    Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Greens)
    Holborn and St Pancras (Greens)
    Hove (Greens)
    Lewisham Deptford (Greens)
    Liverpool West Derby (Liberal)
    Norwich South (Greens)
    Wyre Forest (Health Concern)

    I am excluding Northern Ireland of course here of course. I think the BNP will fall behind the 10% in all 3 of the seats that they managed to reach the mark in back in 2010 (Barking, Dagenham and Rainham, and Rotherham). This seat and Cambridge could see Green votes over 10% potentially but I think that they will be squeezed in Cambridge in the battle between the LDs and Labour, never mind the fact that their organisation in the city has collapsed. There is potential for them here without a doubt but I cannot see significant past performance at a Westminster level despite significant amounts of local organisation. Bristol East, Liverpool Riverside, Meriden and Bury St Edmunds should provide promising Green results but I think that a performance in excess of 10% there is unlikely. I also think that they will fall just short of the 10% mark in Leeds West and the 2 Islington seats.

  48. Oh goodness I forgot Respect of course:

    Bradford West (Respect)
    Birmingham Hall Green (Independent if Salma Yaqoob chooses to stand)

    I am unwilling to call the 2 Tower Hamlets seats on this one as I will have to see what happens in May there. There is a good chance Galloway will try and revive his party there a bit and although I don’t expect it to get far, they could quite easily stay over 10% in Bethnal Green and Bow, and Poplar and Limehouse.

  49. I don’t think Salma Yacoob will stand against Roger Godsiff in Birmingham Hall Green. After all, she didn’t defend her council seat in the constituency. Don’t take it completely for granted there will even be a Respect candidate in Bradford W either.
    I don’t see the Greens reaching 10% in Edinburgh E, Hackney N & Stoke Newington, Bristol W or, even though they have council seats in the constituencies, Hove or Brighton Kemptown. Those are close Lab – Con battles & with Green Party workers out in force to make sure Caroline Lucas holds Brighton Pavilion I don’t see them doing anything like as well as in local elections. Similarly I can’t see that many switching from LD to Green in Bristol W. Those that desert the LDs will go much more towards Labour in that seat.

  50. Let’s hope for our sanity any shred of Respect is gone from Parliament next year. Any party which makes gains by creating racial and religious rifts between communities isn’t fit to be in politics.

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