Oxford West & Abingdon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26153 (45.7%)
Labour: 7274 (12.7%)
Lib Dem: 16571 (28.9%)
Green: 2497 (4.4%)
UKIP: 3963 (6.9%)
NHA: 723 (1.3%)
Others: 66 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 9582 (16.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Oxfordshire. Part of the Oxford council area, part of the Cherwell council area and part of the Vale of White Horse.

Main population centres: Oxford, Abingdon, Kidlington.

Profile: The larger and much more rural of the two Oxford seats. Oxford West contains some of the northern suburbs of Oxford and a few colleges on the outskirts of the city centre but not much else of it - the vast majority of the city`s residential population sits in Oxford East. Instead this seat contains the rural hinterland to the west of the city, the large village of Kidlington and the town of Abington. Oxford airport lies in the north of the seat.

Politics: A marginal contest between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, up until 1997 it was held by the Conservatives, though on only modest majorities. In the historic Tory defeat of 1997 it fell to Liberal Democrat Dr Evan Harris, who was a high profile voice in favour of abortion rights, euthanasia and secularism within Parliament and, after his defeat in 2010, has been a high-profile supporter of press regulation from outside Parliament.

Current MP
NICOLA BLACKWOOD (Conservative) Born 1979, Johannesburg. Educated at home and Oxford University. Former researcher for Andrew Mitchell MP. First elected as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 23906 (42%)
Lab: 5999 (11%)
LDem: 23730 (42%)
UKIP: 1518 (3%)
Oth: 1327 (2%)
MAJ: 176 (0%)
Con: 16653 (32%)
Lab: 8725 (17%)
LDem: 24336 (46%)
GRN: 2091 (4%)
Oth: 795 (2%)
MAJ: 7683 (15%)
Con: 15485 (30%)
Lab: 9114 (18%)
LDem: 24670 (48%)
GRN: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 876 (2%)
MAJ: 9185 (18%)
Con: 19983 (33%)
Lab: 12361 (20%)
LDem: 26268 (43%)
Oth: 1326 (2%)
MAJ: 6285 (10%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
NICOLA BLACKWOOD (Conservative) See above.
SALLY COPLEY (Labour) Head of UK Campaigns at Oxfam.
LAYLA MORAN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Imperial College. Maths and physics teacher. Contested Battersea 2010, West Central 2012 London election.
LARRY SANDERS (Green) Born New York, brother of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Retired social worker, lecturer and lawyer. Oxfordshire councillor 2005-2014.
MIKE FOSTER (Socialist Party GB)
Comments - 371 Responses on “Oxford West & Abingdon”
  1. Lib Dem gain here and Layla Moran who follows me on Twitter is now this seat’s new MP!

  2. Congrats on the follow? I guess?

    But well done to her. I, for one, am pleased by this.

    I hope Evan Harris is giggling to himself somewhere.

  3. I am too and I’m not a Lib Dem. I say this from a nonpartisan, psephological perspective. Thanks for the congrats- she probably liked the look of me 😉

  4. Me either, though I backed them this time. (I’m very pro-Europe.)

  5. I’m the opposite but that’s mainly because I’m a left-winger.

  6. Incredible result here really…

  7. Well I never…this has to be the shock Libdem gain of the entire Election!

  8. She must have come across very well as a candidate…

  9. Killersbee: How’s that “LibDem wipeout” prediction going for you?

    Still 4 potential LD seats to declare: Ceredigion (rumors have it as a Plaid gain), Richmond Park (rumored to be a Tory hold/gain), St Ives (supposedly close, but it’s early), and NE Fife (Lib Dems 1 vote ahead, at last report).

  10. Mr. Pitt. My prediction went right out the window the moment the exit poll came in. But I am so glad that I was proven wrong and the Libdems did a lot better than expected in some places.

  11. The reversal of the “Cameron Effect”?

    In 2010, the Conservatives had some notably strong performances in West and Central Oxfordshire which might have been linked to a local MP being the high profile party leader. His coat tails might have contributed to Ms Blackwood’s narrow and unexpected victory in that year.

    Now with Dave no longer a player, perhaps that bonus has gone.

    Also worth pointing out that Open Britain, the successor group to the official Remain campaigning organisation, specifically supported Layla Moran.

  12. Glad to hear you’re pleased too, Killersbee. 12 is the upper end of what I thought they’d get, and overall I think at the very least they have to be happy with their targeting operation.

    Apparently LD HQ was totally surprised when they won Eastbourne.

    And yes, I think Cameron did have a role in it, Stephen.

  13. Good god the poor Lib Dems have had a lot of near-misses in this election.

  14. The gain here will have been off the back of a very strong Lib vote in the strongly anti-Brexit Oxford part of the seat. Now they’ve got it back if the Cons don’t start recovering their appeal to small-l liberals I can see it becoming a stronghold again.

  15. One for Plop T: did you do any doorstepping here? And did you foresee this result based on the feedback you were getting?

  16. With May at the helm the Tories will struggle to appeal to any small l liberals – a group who Cameron – a liberal himself – even struggled to get to vote for him – although he had partial success

    By adopting this stance May cost herself many seats last thursday and could have dented the Tories chances of winning a majority in the foseeable future her advisors have done a horrendous job and deserved their immediate sacking

  17. The LDs squeezed Lab remarkably well here – on trends elsewhere they ought to have surged in this kind of seat.

  18. WW- ‘partial success’ is being generous. We have to be careful not to forget that Notting Hill modernisation wasn’t exactly a conspicuous success either and that but for a disastrous manifesto we’d be now looking at a comfortable Conservative majority even if we lost the odd liberal area.

  19. ‘We have to be careful not to forget that Notting Hill modernisation wasn’t exactly a conspicuous success’

    It certainly wasn’t but Walt’s right in that Cameron did have some success in courting that vote and managed to win big Tory swings in small ‘l’ liberal seats like Bath, St Albans, Richmond Park, Cardiff North, Batthersea, Putney et al

    It perhaps wasn’t as successful as he would have liked – and other old Tory seats like Edgbaston, Bristol West, Brighton Pavilion, Leeds North East, Sheffield Hallam, Crosby/Sefton stayed out of their reach, but the last elrction has shown you ignore the liberal vote to your peril

    ‘either and that but for a disastrous manifesto we’d be now looking at a comfortable Conservative majority’

    You can’t really go on what the Opinion Polls said during the campaign because they have essentially been found wanting yet again, but personally I think Labour started closing the gap a week or so before the social care debacle with May’s car crash of an interview with Andrew Neil and the focus on her refusal to debate with the other leadership candidates

    It didn’t seem like too much of a big deal at the time but in light of what;s happened, I think both are factors in explaining why Labour did so well

  20. Does anyone think, now their parliamentary party is a bit bigger, the LDs will try to revive the post of deputy leader? Swinson, maybe?

  21. To be honest, politics is counter-cyclical – people generally want whatever the remedy to the current government’s ills are, which invariably means the opposition. People have now had seven years of public spending squeezes under a Conservative government and they’re getting a bit sick of it. Maybe the only cure is a period of higher inflation and unemployment under a Labour government.

    But I do agree that with a half-decent campaign the Tories would now be looking at a majority in the 50-100 region. Even if Labour had held their own, gains north of the border would have pushed the Tories to a majority of 40-odd. The snap election was a politically rational, if morally self-serving, decision, but the campaign sucked big-time.

  22. Mr Pitt – don’t think the Lib Dems require a deputy leader but, like everyone else, think Jo could & will be a future leader of the party.

  23. I’ve never voted Lib Dem in my life but I’m very happy for Jo Swinson.

  24. Walt White

    You lost our £20 bet on the Lib Dems gaining Lewes

  25. Tim- not for the first time I am afraid you are factually incorrect. The interview wirh Andrew Neil followed the social cate debacle abd was uncomfortable because of it. You Gov’s accurate model was projecting a Conservative majority of 70 before the manifesto- Gideon and other continuity Cameroons might so well to remember that before trying to rewrite history to suit their agenda.

  26. *do well

  27. I don’t recall betting 20 on the outcome of lewes – i wasn’t that convinced myself but show me the link and the money is yours

  28. The social care debacle followed by u turn was utterly devastating. Strong and stable became weak and wobbly, and Tory the lead among over 65s fell precipitously… Smith son has a good piece on this.

  29. It did seem like May was pulling it back in the last week but maybe the postal votes from a week or two earlier sealed her fate.

  30. Walt White

    To be fair I don’t recall whether you accepted the offer, it is somewhere either on the Lewes thread or one of the generic Lib Dem ones. Not bothered about the money but was satisfying given that in the same post you were calling me a useless forecaster 🙂

    Ditto Peter Crawford – after all your comments on my 2015 performance you must be upset to have been even wronger than me this time 🙂 🙂

  31. HH

    Fair point i think prediction wise we have all made some shockers recently – much like the pollsters themselves

    I’ve always found May dislikeable, aloof and untrustwoethy so it struck me as odd that she was as much as 20+ pts ahead of Labour, but I still thought she would hammer Corbyn – with a little help from her friends in the press

  32. I still cannot quite believe the result. Minutes before the exit poll I thought the Tories would get a majority of 70-80. I think Labour have gone a bit too far in their triumphalism, but in a way you can’t blame them. They were staring down the barrel of an almighty thrashing. I think their reaction is more relief than anything.

  33. Labour are like the rats I’ve spent 5 years trying to exterminate from my garden….you’re pretty sure you’ve got rid of them then all of a sudden they are back with a vengeance.

  34. Thsnks HH

  35. I meant more from a Plopwellian Tory viewpoint than mine. cf all his comments that Labour are going to die, Corbyn is going to do worse than Foot, etc etc. And you could arguably say the same about the Tories’ refusal to die out after 1997 despite many dire predictions of a thousand year New Labour reich.

    Personally I think it’s good that May’s awful campaign got its just desserts, that a more inclusive Brexit is going to have to be pursued, and that the young finally made their voices heard. Despite the fact that I reluctantly stuck with the Tories, though my wife didn’t.

    In retrospect Matt, your reports of positive canvassing in Derby North were a very early indication of what was to come, well done and I’m sorry I/we were too blinkered to take it seriously.

  36. HH
    “In retrospect Matt, your reports of positive canvassing in Derby North were a very early indication of what was to come, well done and I’m sorry I/we were too blinkered to take it seriously”

    As I said to Pepps HH don’t beat yourself up, you in particular have been arguing for weeks that the Tory campaign has been dire and despite your disagreements Corbyn ran a good campaign, indeed as far as I recall you were one of the first to break ranks ( a couple of weeks into the campaign) and retract your prediction of a Tory landslide in favour of a slightly increased Con majority which given the standard of most of the predictions on this site probably ranks you as one of the most accurate.

  37. What is very weird indeed is that neither party seemed to have much sense of what was going on on the ground. The Tories continued to talk up a landslide and focused on unlikely targets. Meanwhile, Labour sources continued to brief to various media outlets that they were in deep trouble and, Corbyn’s personal tour aside, fought a very defensive campaign. This was true even in London where Sadiq Khan hardly stepped foot in a Tory held seat. As a Chipping Barnet voter I didn’t get one Labour leaflet through the door and they were virtually invisible until polling day, when there were a gaggle of leafleters outside the station. Only in Scotland did the campaign focus seem to broadly reflect where the real battles were.

  38. “Ditto Peter Crawford – after all your comments on my 2015 performance you must be upset to have been even wronger than me this time

    Fair enough. you got brexit more wrong than me…i thought remain would win but i wasn’t as certain as you, HH. about this election, I freely confess I was totally wrong. I am too data driven I admit that. and didn’t take yougov seriously.

    I am frankly, on a wider note, horrifed by the result. We are closer to a genuinely socialist government than at any time in my entire life, and i am in my mid 40s, putting it generously.

    Corbyn played a blinder. Even I was impressed by his sincerity and his refusal to buckle under media pressure. He stuck to his principles, seemed jovial and genuinely appeared to enjoy debate.

    The Maybot was a total disaster. Her manifesto was the worst Conservative manifesto in history. She squandered a 15-20 point lead and seemed genuinely not to like the public. She seemed to think voters were a squalid unnecessary nuisance. A terrible candidate, a lot worse than Heath, who I do not remember. To have done this badly against a man who has backed Chavez, Hamas, the IRA etc. is deeply depressing.

    I don’t know what more to say, except that a hard left government is now more likely than not in the next five years.

  39. Jim Messina – who is held in almost as high regard as Lynton Crosby – as far as right-wing pollsters are concerned – apparently chuckled when the first You Gov poll pointing to a hung Parliament came out

    The shoe is now clearly on the other foot and a it woulds be a huge positive for politics worldwide if people like him and Crosby lose their lustre, not to mention their money too

  40. ‘She seemed to think voters were a squalid unnecessary nuisance.’


    I doubt she actually did but that’s how it came across

  41. Tim
    “Jim Messina – who is held in almost as high regard as Lynton Crosby – as far as right-wing pollsters are concerned – apparently chuckled when the first You Gov poll pointing to a hung Parliament came out”

    Its even more comical, he tweeted something to the effect of “if you want a good laugh, YouGov have a new model that has Lab winning Canterbury”

    His Twitter account has been very quiet since the election…

  42. The Tories have named James Fredrickson as their PPC for Oxford West.


    As far as I’m aware, it’s the first selection they’ve made this parliament. With Labour’s process already well underway in the key marginals, I wonder whether the Tories are beginning to gear up for another general election well ahead of schedule…

  43. Will the Tories win back Oxford?

  44. Hard to know, to be honest. I don’t see any reason why the Tories should do any better than they did in 2017.

    If there’s a snap election within shortly after 29th March 2019 in the wake of a disastrous no-deal, there’s no way the Tories will win back seats like this. If they avoid the apocalypse and govern merely badly, they might take back seats like this. Personally I think they stand a better chance in many of the middle-class seats they lost last year than trying to win over the likes of Ashfield or Bishop Auckland that have never been Tory seats before (that seems to be a minority opinion). But if Brexit triggers another recession, they can forget about gaining seats altogether.

  45. I’d have thought the Tories were pretty much perma-f**ked here thanks to Brexit.

  46. Well, possibly. It’s not going to be easy to win back seats like this, but to my mind it’s going to be easier to win back the middle classes than make further advances into the working classes, whom they are about to betray (unavoidably really, the promises made in the referendum were undeliverable).

  47. Polltroll

    Are we talking middle class remainers or leavers? If they are remainers and Brexit goes badly, they will stay in deep trouble with those voters. How is a Brexit that is bad for the working class leavers going to be okay for the middle class leavers?

    No wonder anti-left wingers are panicking about Corbyn right now.

  48. The Tories do at least have other things to offer to the middle-classes though, for when Brexit goes wrong.

  49. But yeah, I agree with you, they are likely screwed after next March, and their real problem is that, even when Labour get into power, no matter how much damage they subsequently do to the country, Corbyn can pull a Cameron and blame everything on the failings of the previous administration.

  50. What else could they offer if Brexit went wrong? Tax cuts would hardly be viable even without Brexit, let alone with it.

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