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”
  1. Lancs

    Was that meant to say ‘now apologised’ or ‘not apologised’?

  2. One for Plop Tory:

    Tories lead amongst UK law undergrads – although it was close – Con 29%, LD 27%, Lab 26%, Green 6%, UKIP 1%.


  3. The Lib Dem figure looks suspiciously high and Labour suspiciously low. The Tory share is about right I would think as the Tories usually get roughly a quarter of the student vote and law is probably one of their better subjects. Apparently those who go into corporate law are a monolithically Tory voting block (not overly surprising I guess) though the Tories will get essentially zero votes from those who go into human rights law.

    My uni (Bristol) periodically does online polls of student voting intention. Here was the most recent one I could find from November 2016 with a sample of 1,883:

    Labour: 41%
    Tory: 24%
    Green: 15%
    Lib Dem: 13%
    UKIP: 2%
    Other: 5%

    (this is not scientific or weighted)

  4. “Back in the 80s the Tories would’ve been far stronger in Headington and Headington Hill & Northway.”

    The ward boundaries were very different before 2003. The old “Headington” ward covered everything north of the A40 (also including Barton). South of the A40 was the old Quarry Ward including lots of what is now in Headington and Churchill.

    In the 1980s they were certainly both capable of voting Tory (Quarry generally more than Headington), though began to drift in some of the annual elections from the mid 80s onwards. They both voted Tory, for the last time ever, in 1992.

    Iffley used to also be OK for the Tories, though the last time it voted Tory was 1987. The weird, two-part “Old Marston and Risinghurst” ward that came in from S Oxon in 1991 was split Con/Lab that year, but Labour thereafter.

    Of course, there was also a (very aberrant) Tory win in (New) Marston (a ward not Tory since the early 80s) in 2000, that was quickly reversed.

  5. Pepp – you’re probably right.

    Although of the 250,000 lawyers in the UK, there’s probably only 0.1% who work in Human Rights law. Indeed the only ones to make a living out of that solely are a few QCs who are Labour or LD members and sit in the House of Lords.

  6. ”running for the Conservatives in Isis ward.”

    That’s a rather unfortunately named ward. I wonder if they’ll change it’s name next time Oxfordshire’s boundaries are reviewed.

  7. What’s wrong with being named after Lord Grantham’s dog? 😉

  8. I doubt it – it’s a famous name in the Boat Race.

    I think an MP’s dog (in the annual comp they have) was named Isis too.

  9. ”What’s wrong with being named after Lord Grantham’s dog?”

    Wasn’t the dog killed off because it was called isis if I remember correctly?

  10. There have been so many organisations called “Isis” that have been renamed that there is a Wikipedia page about it:


  11. Andrew Smith standing down.

  12. Andrew Smith’s departure will damage Labour. He (and his wife who I think served as a local councillor for the area) appear to have a significant personal vote. Given the split nature of the non Labour vote, it seems improbable that this seat is at risk but it has been marginal between Labour and the Conservatives in the 80’s, and Labour and the Lib Dems in the 00’s. So potentially a big swing.

  13. I’ll be surprised if Labour’s majority falls much below 10,000 here. This is their safest seat in the whole of Southern England outside London.

  14. It’s refreshing to see MPs who are pensioners – and eligible to take their State pensions etc – stepping down.

    Although amusingly the 7 so far are all of course younger than Corbyn.

    Any news on Skinner yet?

  15. You must be joking. They’ll carry Skinner out in a wooden box.

  16. It will be interesting to see if the Lib Dems can reclaim second place here…

  17. I would think so, given its Remain vote. The Tory vote probably won’t change too much but there’ll be an appreciable Lab -> Lib move

  18. ”You must be joking. They’ll carry Skinner out in a wooden box.”

    AKMD – I wrote the exact same thing in another thread on this site yesterday.

  19. Great minds and all that…

  20. Yes, Lib Dems shouldn’t struggle to take second. It’s just a matter of if they can run it at all close.

  21. LIBDEM 25000
    LAB 10000
    CON 5000
    GREEN 3000
    OTHERS 2000

  22. Absurd. What are you high on?

  23. Oxford Mail suggest that Anneliese Dodds is being lined up for this seat.

    Anneliese will make an outstanding MP.

  24. A few of my Labour friends (I am Labour as well) think this will quite likely go Lib Dem. If so then Labour will quite likely be wiped out in the south East as even Slough will quite have likely fallen if Labour are doing that badly
    Fair chance Labour could be wiped out also in the south west (all the Bristol seats and Exeter are at serious risk) and in the east of England (Norwhich South and the Luton Seats all at risk with Luton North the safest of the three.

  25. I think Labour are pretty secure here.
    Blackbird Leys, Northield Brook (part of Leys) can command 80% votes. Cowley is closer – against the Tories, and there are quite a few Greens around.

    There is a rump of Tory support aswell which probably can’t go much higher or lower.

  26. “Oxford Mail suggest that Anneliese Dodds is being lined up for this seat.

    Anneliese will make an outstanding MP”

    Well maybe Hawthorn but as a candidate she was pretty ineffectual in Reading East in 2010.

    I’m sure Labour could do better, and with the present state of the polls and the loss of Andrew Smith’s personal vote, they would be well advised to do so.

  27. Hawthorn,

    “Oxford Mail suggest that Anneliese Dodds is being lined up for this seat.

    Anneliese will make an outstanding MP”

    Well maybe but as a candidate she was pretty ineffectual in Reading East in 2010.

    I’m sure Labour could do better, and with the present state of the polls and the loss of Andrew Smith’s personal vote, they would be well advised to do so.

  28. Sorry about the near duplicate guys.

  29. AKMD & Christian – I think Qs arose as Skinner said this would be his ‘last term’ as an MP.

    Unlike Pugh (Southport) who said 2015 was his “last election.”

    In part semantics but crucial when unexpected GEs occur.

  30. @bm11

    Your friends clearly have no understanding of this seat’s politics. Even without Andrew Smith, Labour will hold this seat easily. I’m sure the Lib Dems will come second but they will be concentrating their efforts on Oxford West & Abingdon where they are more likely to receive tactical votes. However, I don’t think they are particularly to win there either.

    I also think that Labour will not be wiped out in the SW and East. Bristol South, Bristol West, Exeter and Norwich South are all likely to be held even with current polling in mind. All these seats voted Remain and I expect Labour to hold up better in remain areas than Leaves ones. Also, the national swing is unlikely to be uniform and I can see these seats withstanding a meltdown for Labour nationally if it does indeed happen.

  31. Result here could be similar to 2010, actually. I don’t think an LD gain is impossible, but not very likely.

    If Labour selects a Brexiter, they will substantially weaken their position, though.

  32. He is a bit doom mongering. He thinks Labour will certainly be under 125 seats and that there is a 10% chance of a total Labour wipeout in everyone single seat in the country.

  33. It would be Unlikely for Labour to select a Brexiter through it could be someone strongly connected to the current Leadership as is rumoured in other seats.

  34. Yes, my strong impression is that Oxford Lib Dem resources will be going into OXWAB rather than here. It may be possible for us to target Ox E again at some point in the future, but I think OXWAB will take priority for this election and quite possibly the next as well.

  35. James Baillie, do you think the LDs have a serious shot at Oxford W? Is Blackwood vulnerable?

  36. This and Exeter will stay Lab. I do think the Luton, Bristol and Slough seats are more vulnerable – though obviously it would be one serious wipe out if they all fell! It’s not impossible they are all held – though I wouldn’t recommend putting money on it.

  37. If Slough and both Luton fall then Exeter will probably go despite its middle class remain labour vote.

  38. Bristol South is arguably the most interesting as it’s the only southern seat outside London that has voted Labour throughout the post war period, yet current polls have the Tories ahead and it looks much more vulnerable than this seat which was of course in Tory hands between 1983-87

    On current polling this is the only seat that looks likely to remain Labour in the entire South outside London

  39. I think Bradshaw has a 50/50 chance in Exeter, though I’m leaning toward his losing.

  40. Bradshaw and Kelvin Hopkins in Luton North – presuming he’s standing – both have strong personal votes which they will be relying on to buck the trend

  41. Not Sure personal votes count that much through it could be the difference in a close race.

  42. The thing about personal votes is this: they do exist, but they don’t change very much between elections. There might be, say, 2000 people who support Ben Bradshaw in Exeter because of Ben Bradshaw rather than his rosette, but there were also 2000 such people in the previous election, so this won’t have any bearing on the swing in the seat. As such personal votes tend to manifest themselves in an MP’s second term (the so-called “incumbency bonus”) but not much thereafter.

  43. I’d say Bradshaw’s chances of holding on are about 70/30. See my last contribution on the Exeter page for my reasoning.

  44. In their GE study, Butler and Kavanagh suggest that personal votes are greater in marginals – understandable – and estimated that personal votes in the 1979 GE was about 750 in an average marginal constituency.

  45. I think it’s really hard to say what the LD chances in OXWAB are. My impression is that Blackwood probably doesn’t have a strong personal vote, that the local Lib Dems like Layla Moran as a candidate, and that we’re throwing a lot at it and feeling good to be fighting. But a lot comes down to the big imponderable of whether Tory swing voters in remain-leaning seats will really swing our way when push comes to shove, and whether 2015 is now long ago enough that Labour/Green voters are prepared to take the tactical plunge to unseat Tories like Blackwood. I think the local elections may enlighten us a bit more as to how some of the EU-related swings might play out; the mood music is good for us in Tory-held remain areas, but I’m cautious about our prospects of actual gains at the moment given the lack of many significant national swings our way and the uncertainty over how well distributed our modest gains in support actually are.

  46. Nice to see you on the forum again James

  47. Good analysis, James. I tend to agree with your outlook — OXWAB is one of my “to watch” bellwethers for LD/Tory marginals. I think it’ll indicate a lot.

  48. ‘the mood music is good for us in Tory-held remain areas, but I’m cautious about our prospects of actual gains at the moment given the lack of many significant national swings our way and the uncertainty over how well distributed our modest gains in support actually are.’

    I agree – with the national polls as they are it’s hard to see beyond a handful of gains for the Lib Dems

    I hope I’m wrong and perhaps I shouldn’t give that much weight to the polls after they got it so wrong in 2015, the EU referendum and Trump

  49. Annelise Dodds MEP is the new Labour candidate

  50. Anyone know why the LAB maj here is so high? The Prime Minister is in this constituency today.

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