Portsmouth North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 21343 (47%)
Labour: 10806 (23.8%)
Lib Dem: 2828 (6.2%)
Green: 1450 (3.2%)
UKIP: 8660 (19.1%)
TUSC: 231 (0.5%)
Others: 72 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 10537 (23.2%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of Portsmouth council area.

Main population centres: Portsmouth.

Profile: Portsmouth is a densely populated city on the south coast, technically situated on a island though the numerous causeways mean it is effectively a peninsula. Portsmouth North contains the northern part of the island and the suburbs to the north, such as Cosham (home of IBM`s UK headquarters) and Drayton. Portsmouth has a strong naval history as the home of the largest Royal Navy base, with defence the main local employer. Portsmouth North contains the Navy Command Headquarters on Whale Island.

Politics: A key Conservative-Labour marginal and bellwether seat, having been won by the party that obtained the largest number of seats at every election since its creation in 1974.

Current MP
PENNY MORDAUNT (Conservative) Born 1973, Torquay. Educated at Oaklands RC Comprehensive and Reading University. Former communications director. Contested Portsmouth North 2005. First elected as MP for Portsmouth North in 2010. Undersecretary for Communities and Local Government 2014-2015. Minister of State for Defence since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 19533 (44%)
Lab: 12244 (28%)
LDem: 8874 (20%)
UKIP: 1812 (4%)
Oth: 1655 (4%)
MAJ: 7289 (17%)
Con: 14273 (38%)
Lab: 15412 (41%)
LDem: 6684 (18%)
UKIP: 1348 (4%)
MAJ: 1139 (3%)
Con: 13542 (37%)
Lab: 18676 (51%)
LDem: 3795 (10%)
UKIP: 559 (2%)
Oth: 294 (1%)
MAJ: 5134 (14%)
Con: 17016 (38%)
Lab: 21339 (47%)
LDem: 4788 (11%)
Oth: 370 (1%)
MAJ: 4323 (10%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PENNY MORDAUNT (Conservative) See above.
JOHN FERRETT (Labour) Born 1965, Landport. Educated at City of Portsmouth Boys school and Open University. Trade union official. Portsmouth councillor since 2012.
DARREN SANDERS (Liberal Democrat) Born 1971, Portsmouth. Educated at Cambridge University. Former Lambeth councillor, Portsmouth councillor since 2012. Contested Portsmouth North 2001, Streatham 2005, Portsmouth North 2010.
MIKE FITZGERALD (UKIP) Born 1968. Educated at Oaklands RC Comprehensive and Hull University. International business manager. Contested Portsmouth North 2010.
GAVIN ELLIS (Green) Chartered certified accountant.
STEVEN GEORGE (Justice and Anti Corruption)
Comments - 297 Responses on “Portsmouth North”
  1. I have zero sympathy for the Labour moderates. What goes around comes around, and 20 years of parachuting smarmy SPADs and diversity officers from Islington into the party’s plum seats has created a talentless parliamentary party which appears to have no sincere beliefs and couldn’t fight its way out of a paper bag.

    As with the Lib Dems, the non-Corbyn segment of the Labour party has played Brexit terribly. One day I see Chuka Ummuna saying we need to stay in the single market at all costs, the next he’s saying that controls on free movement should be a red line. They are totally out of their depth.

  2. You were a mere glint in the milkman’s eye at the time young Max, but I vividly recall The Sun’s cartoon the day after the 1987 election. Kinnock, Owen and Steel were all hanging from the same noose and Maggie was walking past them saying “told you it would be a hung parliament”. Feels eerily similar at the moment. With the exception of the SNP all the main opposition has committed suicide.


    Difficult to disagree with you regarding the Labour moderates.

    Good job the Tories under Cameron did not make the same mistake by filling their party with SPADs and Estate Agent types, or the country would really be up the creek without a paddle. Oh…

  4. If Labour are such an irrelevance, perhaps we should be focussing on examining the Government’s detailed and coherent [sic] position on Brexit rather than looking at what a lot of people consider to be left-wing fringe group.

    If the Tories mess this one up, who knows what might happen in the following election?

  5. The Tories’ parachutes, by and large, aren’t as useless or remote from their voters’ lives as Labour’s, nor has parachuting been as all-encompassing in the Tory party, which hasn’t yet suffered the indignity of AWS. Irritating as an estate agent is, I can relate to him more than I could relate to a minorities outreach officer or a lecturer in gender studies, that’s probably true of most swing voters.

  6. If my memory of Oxford Tories are correct from my time there as a student, the group that contained future SPADs such as Sheridan Westlake also contained future MPs and Ministers such as Sam Gyimah.

  7. “If Labour are such an irrelevance, perhaps we should be focussing on examining the Government’s detailed and coherent [sic] position on Brexit rather than looking at what a lot of people consider to be left-wing fringe group.”

    That’s precisely what Labour should be doing. And so far they’ve totally fucked it up. They are more divided in terms of what they want Brexit to look like than Tory MPs are.

  8. “If my memory of Oxford Tories are correct from my time there as a student, the group that contained future SPADs such as Sheridan Westlake also contained future MPs and Ministers such as Sam Gyimah”

    But you’re proving my point. Gymiah is much less unlike his voters in the prosperous home counties than eg. Tristram Hunt is in Stoke. Unfair sure, but this is a problem that bites harder on Labour because they have traditionally obtained most support from the poorer places in society.


    I would suggest that both right-on and spivvy types are not really representative of swing voters.

    Does either party really represent centre-ground swing voters right now? Liam Fox certainly has an interesting interpretation of being pro-business for example.

    A lot of the wailing about politics seems to me to be from voters who until recently were well served by centrist parties, but now find themselves confronted by both parties being captured by their extreme wings.


    I am not that familiar with North East Somerset, but I don’t think that most of the people there are like Jacob Rees-Mogg.

    Both parties are equally divided on the details of Brexit, as the recent intervention of George Osborne demonstrates.

    The truth is that the “centre-ground” position on Brexit is to curb immigration whilst remaining in the single market. Since that is almost impossible to achieve, the fun starts when Theresa May has to actually take a decision on what is more important.

    At that point, reality might start to re-enter the political debate, and at that point I will start to make firm predictions about 2020. My current expectation is that the Tories will smash themselves in two as they are not scared of losing to Labour.

  11. ”The Tories’ parachutes, by and large, aren’t as useless or remote from their voters’ lives as Labour’s, nor has parachuting been as all-encompassing in the Tory party, which hasn’t yet suffered the indignity of AWS.”

    I guess it is also because Tory parachutes into safe Tory seats will often have somewhat similar backgrounds to Tory voters in those seats i.e. well paid, white collar private sector managerial. The same obviously can’t be said for parachutes into safe Labour seats in the north. I mean you can’t parachute in people who think mass immigration is an amazing thing into places where the electorate thinks the complete opposite and expect nothing to go wrong.

    As for all women shortlists yes they are a terrible idea as they push people who a completely unfit to be MPs, the fact that useless people like Pat Glass and Helen Goodman were selected by them tells you all you really need to know. The Tories approach to increasing female representation is a slower but far, far better approach, which is to nurture the talent pool, remove barriers to women standing and let it grow naturally. The Tories obviously have some duds (like Helen Clark) though the Tories have got far more talent amongst their female MPs than Labour has. It just goes to show that forced social engineering is not a good idea.

  12. Following on From the discussion on the Edinburgh SW thread I wonder if Penny Mordaunt is a plausible choice to succeed May. She could pull the wool over Tory members eyes WRT soft Brexit in a way that e.g. Gove couldn’t.

  13. Gove seems to have reincarnated himself as Environment Sec as a liberal minded greenie with strong interventions on the environment and public health

  14. Penny Mordant has tweeted in response to cheers in the Question Time audience for no deal that the upside of leaving the EU is better than the downsides staying/No Deal disruption and that the EU need to understand that No Deal is better than a Bad Deal before the chance of a deal is maximized.

  15. May’s deal took months of painstaking negotiation to get all 27 members to sign off on it, and some are still moaning that it is too generous to the UK. The idea that they will substantially renegotiate it is for the birds. No Deal would certainly cause pain to the rest of the EU but they’ll suck it up if they need to. Mourdant must know this really and is positioning herself for the forthcoming leadership contest.

  16. Mordaunt does have a chance in the upcoming leadership contest and could be considered something of a dark horse. She’s a Brexiteer without being demented about it, and is sufficiently liberal on many other issues to keep everyone else in the party happy enough.

  17. A thick but more attractive version of Gove

  18. By the way she goes on about No deal I would say she is actively trying to be seen as a staunch no deal supporter – unlike Gove who seems to not want to be seen as advocating No Deal.

  19. ‘A thick but more attractive version of Gove’

    Harsh but probably fair. Tremendous hair.

  20. The closest thing Britain has to Sarah Palin.

  21. Penny Mordaunt has hinted that she is planning to drop the 0.7% foreign aid target.

    Given the prevailing political weather, which is increasingly isolationist, and that foreign aid has always been dead last in “what should the government be spending its money on?” polls, it’s actually quite impressive that the pledge has lasted as long as it has. If its time is nigh, I will be saddened but not surprised. What might be more interesting is how Labour respond – in their heart of hearts they will feel this is a bad move but they will also recognise that it is a broadly popular one.

  22. Labour will oppose it – this is one issue where I think Corbyn and the shadow cabinet don’t care if they out of touch with the public.

  23. I would certainly hope so, and if they do I shall be very pleased. But their track record on things like welfare and freedom of movement is quite disappointing, to be honest. If only they could get as agitated about these issues as they do about renationalising the sodding railways.

  24. They have turned on welfare more recently – Universal Credit has gone from changing it to scrapping it (through that might reflect popular thinking to an extent)

  25. I agree at the moment we seem to be the only one that is campaigning on Universal Credit

  26. On a related issue, if there are serious food shortages, food banks are gonna be absolutely hammered. Donations will collapse both from individuals and supermarkets. At the same time an eyewatering increase in food prices would impact the poorest most. I do not believe a modern day rationing system could be implemented or enforced.

  27. To be honest, food shortages will affect everyone. No matter how rich you are, you can’t buy something that isn’t on sale.

  28. That isn’t how capitalism works mate. It will be on sale somewhere for 10 times the normal price. The rich will be OK, if a bit out of pocket and having to use a few less avocados. Those on low wages, benefits and basic pensions are going to get hammered. Those of us somewhere in the middle will be significantly inconvenienced but won’t starve.

  29. It also probably affect the poor outside London more.

  30. ‘It also probably affect the poor outside London more’

    You mean that group that by and large voted for Brexit

    They will soon be reaping what they sowed

  31. “It also probably affect the poor outside London more.”

    Not sure about that. There’s plenty of local food production in eg Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Devon. Plenty of electricity generation and water reservoirs as well. London has nothing. In a really bad shortage I can imagine unrest in the provinces at “their” food, electricity and water being sent to London. A bit like the controversy about the new Welsh reservoirs in the 1960s.

  32. The above could, of course, quite easily become quite racial. “The proper English people in the Yorkshire Dales going hungry so the immigrants in London can eat”. Tommy Robinson is going to make hay.

  33. Certainly. Not even exceptionally bad shortages will cause those sort of tensions to increase.

  34. Hemmy: as soon as I posted that I then had exactly the same thought as you. I wonder, how quickly would the price rises take effect? Within days? How responsive are these kind of markets?

  35. Penny Mordaunt is the new defence sec.
    She will remain Women and Equality Minster (perhaps that is an hint a Man will replace her at DFID.)

  36. First ever female Defence Secretary.

  37. Penny Moudant looking like she might enter the leadership race as well.

  38. She could be the John Major dark horse candidate who unexpectedly gallops into contention. She ticks a lot of boxes. Genuine leaver, female, defence background, attractive, cabinet experience, competent compared to many of the others, lacks enemies.

    I’m pretty sure the final two will be between a moderate leaver and a no deal leaver. We have to see whether the advantages of Mourdant as I listed above would be enough to outweigh her not having resigned from cabinet over May’s deal, if facing a Baker, Raab or Boris.

  39. Your knowledge of that era is far greater than mine, but Mordaunt winning would be a far bigger shock/ dark horse victory. Major was Chancellor and had been Foreign Secretary (albeit rapidly promoted into both positions). I quite like Mordaunt and she has had a very interesting life.

  40. I think Mordaunt is the best placed candidate to bring the headbangers to a more reasonable place (eg defending our current foreign aid policy), rather than either pandering to their prejudices, or confronting them and losing the confrontation.

  41. “Your knowledge of that era is far greater than mine, but Mordaunt winning would be a far bigger shock/ dark horse victory.”

    Fair comment, which just highlights how much lower calibre our politicians are now compared with 30 years ago. In 1990, Major was seen as more inexperienced than Heseltine and Hurd despite having been Chancellor, Foreign Sec and Chief Sec to the Treasury. In the 2019 contest he’d be seen as by far the most experienced of the field.

    BTW according to Guido, Mourdant isn’t running, so this is probably academic. A shame as she is pretty close to the best choice for the Tories IMO. Guido also suggests Hammond may run, he’d get my vote if I had one, but I suspect few others.

  42. Couldn’t agree more about the low calibre of the current crop. I respect Hammond but don’t think he’ll run…he’s a hate figure for the nuttier wing of the party. Second Tory Chancellor in a row who is seen as having no chance of becoming leader subsequently…strange.

  43. Quite unusual for Tory chancellors to have much chance of becoming leader – Major was the exception that proved the rule, perhaps because he hadn’t been in post very long. And importantly and decisively, Thatcher actively campaigned for him to succeed her. Another contrast with 1990 – whomever May came out in support of would immediately see their chances die.

  44. Surely Hammond won’t run. He has zero chance being most Tory Mp’s see him as a second referendum supporter.

  45. Three quarters of those who are running have zero chance but that hasn’t stopped them from standing.

  46. Through there is now reports the rules are going to be changed to trim them before the voting beings. Iain Duncan Smith was calling for 12 nominations being needed instead of 12 and more than one to be eliminated each time.

  47. With 59% of Tory members voting for the Brexit Party last week according to You Gov any candidate currently being cool on No deal will surely shift to full on no deal to try and win the membership.

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