Portsmouth South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 14585 (34.8%)
Labour: 8184 (19.5%)
Lib Dem: 9344 (22.3%)
Green: 3145 (7.5%)
UKIP: 5595 (13.4%)
TUSC: 235 (0.6%)
Independent: 716 (1.7%)
Others: 99 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 5241 (12.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal 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. It has a strong naval history as the home of the largest Royal Navy base, with defence the main local employer. Portsmouth South contains the main naval base, the docks and shipyards and many of the post war council estates like Buckland and Portsea. It also contains Portsmouth University, and is the more student heavy of the two Portsmouth seats.

Politics: Historically a Conservative seat, Portsmouth South was first won by Mike Hancock as the SDP candidate in the 1984 by-election following the death of Bonnor Pink. Hancock was not able to hold it at the subsequent general election, but continued to fight the seat, becoming leader of Portsmouth council in 1989, unsuccessfully standing again in 1992 and finally regaining the seat in 1997. He remained the MP until 2015 but ended his career in disgrace, suspended from the Liberal Democrats and standing against them as an Independent after allegations he had made inappropriate sexual approaches to a constituent. The Conservatives regained the seat.

Current MP
FLICK DRUMMOND (Conservative) Educated at Hull University. Former insurance broker. Former Winchester councillor. Contested Southampton Itchen 2005, Portsmouth South 2010. First elected as MP for Portsmouth South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 13721 (33%)
Lab: 5640 (14%)
LDem: 18921 (46%)
UKIP: 876 (2%)
Oth: 2106 (5%)
MAJ: 5200 (13%)
Con: 13685 (34%)
Lab: 8714 (22%)
LDem: 17047 (42%)
UKIP: 928 (2%)
MAJ: 3362 (8%)
Con: 11396 (29%)
Lab: 9361 (24%)
LDem: 17490 (45%)
UKIP: 321 (1%)
Oth: 647 (2%)
MAJ: 6094 (16%)
Con: 16094 (31%)
Lab: 13086 (25%)
LDem: 20421 (40%)
Oth: 465 (1%)
MAJ: 4327 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
FLICK DRUMMOND (Conservative) Educated at Hull University. Former insurance broker. Former Winchester councillor. Contested Southampton Itchen 2005, Portsmouth South 2010.
SUE CASTILLON (Labour) Educated at Burton on Trent Girls High School and Brunel University. Family group worker.
GERALD VERNON-JACKSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1962, Hampshire. Portsmouth councillor since 2003, Leader of Portsmouth council since 2004.
STEVE HARRIS (UKIP) Born 1948, Aldershot. Former US Navy officer. Contested South East 2009 European elections.
IAN MCCULLOCH (Green) Delivery driver.
DON GERRARD (Justice and Anti Corruption) Born Southampton. Educated at Cambridge University. Retired solicitor. Contested East Hampshire 2010, Hampshire Police Commissioner election 2012.
MIKE HANCOCK (Independent) Born 1946, Portsmouth. Engineer. Portsmouth councillor since 1970, originally elected for the Labour party he defected to the SDP in 1981 and subsequently joined the Liberal Democrats. Leader of Portsmouth council 1989-1997. Hampshire county councillor 1973-1997.Contested Portsmouth South 1983 for the SDP. SDP MP for Portsmouth South 1984 by-election until 1987. Contested Portsmouth South again 1992 for the Liberal Democrats, Isle of Wight and Hampshire South 1994. MP for Portsmouth South 1997-2015. A colourful figure, Hancock had a four year affair with an aide who MI5 suspected of being a Russian spy and was arrested for indecent assault in 2010 over accusations that he had behaved inappropriately towards a constituent. The charges were subsequently dropped, but the constituent began civil action against Hancock in 2013. Hancock resigned the Liberal Democrat whip in June 2013 to contest the claim. Awarded the CBE in 1992.
SEAN HOYLE (TUSC) RMT organiser.
Comments - 462 Responses on “Portsmouth South”
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  1. Nick Clegg asked Mike Hancock to resign from the party earlier today. He refused so Clegg expelled him.

  2. This is IMO a resigning from the commons issue.

    It is reported today that Hancock could pocket £80,000 in severance pay (including expenses) if he stands again in 2015 and loses his seat. Expect him therefore to stand as an independent for financial reasons, massively hindering the Lib Dem attempts to hold the seat and probably gifting the it to the Tories or UKIP.

    Clegg is between a rock and a hard place….he really should push Hancock to resign immediately, but the by-election will be horrendous for him, especially if Hancock stands. On the other hand it would get rid of the issue in time for the general election.

    I really despise Hancock, who seems to have not a shred of decency and is quite obviously clinging on just to trouser as much money as possible. I hope his son goes to jail. In any normal job, such appalling sexual harassment would certainly lead to instant dismissal with no payout, and possibly even criinal charges.

  3. If he is smart he would realise that he can stand anywhere. Why stand here where he might hurt the Lib Dems?

  4. Stand anywhere and still pocket 80k*

  5. Not true, you can only get the severance payout if standing in the same seat.

  6. An in-depth preview of Portsmouth South from the ElectionData blog:


  7. prediction for 2015-

    Lib- 35%
    con- 29%
    UKIP- 16%
    lab- 15%
    green- 3%
    BNP- 1%
    English- 1%

  8. Could be, but what if Hancock stands as an Independent? He would be bound to get at least a fair number of votes. Whether it would be enough to help the Tories gain the seat is open to question.

  9. I simply cannot see how the Lib Dems can possibly hold this seat after the Hancock fiasco/debacle. I know that UKIP are a wild card here (although they only got 2% last time). Also, what if Hancock stands again as a spoiling Independent?

  10. The Portsmouth Lib Dem machine is clearly well oiled, they had superb results in both 2011 and 2012. The UKIP surge obviously came as a bit of a shock this year, but in future I’d probably expect the Lib Dems to do better (as per Eastleigh). It should also be pointed out that the Lib Dems still carried Portsmouth South this year, even though they stood aside for Hancock in Fratton.

    Now that Hancock has admitted his misdemeanours I cannot see him winning many votes as an Independent. Prior to his admission I could see him being a decent spoiler, but not now.

  11. I actually tend to agree with Iain. The LDs have done well enough in this constituency to remain ahead of the Tories even though Hancock was an independent candidate in Fratton. The Tories are less strong than they used to be even in Southsea which used to be their strong area in the seat, and neither Labour nor UKIP can win. Even if Hancock stands I currently expect the LDs to win nonetheless, though his candidacy would be a nuisance to the party on more than one level.

  12. A few weeks ago one of the newspapers, the Mail I think, published allegations that the former local Tory MP Bonner Pink had sexually abused his transsexual adopted daughter. This is likely to prevent the Tories taking the moral high ground locally against the LDs over Hancock. This will be a Lib Dem hold now.

  13. I think it’s slightly odd that as soon as someone dies people can say anything they like about that person without any evidence. But there’s no way round it.

  14. There has been a rush of accusations against the dead in recent days, I notice.

  15. Yes. Interestingly some are very long-dead, including Mr Pink, who died more than 30 years ago.

  16. Cheap and easy copy. Some of these allegations are reheated from long long ago as well.

  17. I tend to think the Lib Dems and the Tories will both lose votes, and the Lib Dems will probably lose more, but it will be just enough that the Tories are kept out. Something like this seems about right to me:

    LD 34%
    Con 27%
    Lab 21%
    UKIP 14%
    Grn 2%
    Oth 2%

  18. 6,5% swing from con to lab? Not sure about that.

  19. It’s hard to think that Labour won’t be back to around what they were at in ’97, ’01, and ’05 (25, 24, and 22 percent, respectively).

  20. And of course most of the swing to Labour would come from the Lib Dems.

  21. In the 2002 all up elections Labour won 4 seats in Portsmouth South, two in each of Charles Dickens and Central Southsea. These were the last they won in Portsmouth South.
    Since 2010 they have failed to win any councillors in the seat, and indeed have only three councillors in the whole of Portsmouth.

  22. I would have put labour in the 18-20 region. Its more the tory figure that is off. There would need to be a good reason to predict -6 from the last GE, especially given that there is more of a reason to swing LD->Con here than most other places given Hancocks behaviour.

  23. UKIP is the reason, Joe. This is a seat with pretty good UKIP potential, and while they’ll take some from all the parties, the Tories are, in my opinion, going to be the most impacted, especially here with the Lib Dems mop up most of the centre-left vote.

  24. Prediction for 2015-
    Liberal Democrat- 33%
    Conservative- 30%
    Labour- 19%
    UKIP- 14%
    Green- 2%
    Others- 2%

  25. Plausible prediction, Results. Wouldn’t shock me at all.

  26. I think this will be a Tory gain if Hancock stands, and the fact that he refused to resign from the party suggests to me that he will almost certainly stand.

    The LD majority would have narrowed without the Hancock factor, and while on the one hand I agree with HH that he will not get anywhere near as many spoiler votes as some are making out, I question whether he would need that many to cost his former party the seat.

  27. Agreed entirely, ChrisHornet. I tend to think that the Lib Dems will lose this, but the field will likely be so crowded that who knows, really.

  28. My prediction for this seat, one of the most interesting seats of all in my opinion:

    LD: 29%
    CON: 25%
    UKIP: 22%
    LAB: 18%
    GRN: 4%
    TUSC: 1%
    OTH: 1%

  29. I’m not particularly optimistic about this seat, as a Tory.
    I’ve not given much thought about the comings and goings here or whether there will be a fragmented vote or not.
    Just a feeling from past form the LD and Con votes could go down in parity or any Con progress pretty limited.

    Not out of the question though.

  30. G V-J is who I tipped in here many months ago… he is about the best positioned LibDem to surmount the “legacy” of disorder left by Hancock.. I had also said at the time that the kid gloves from the council powers that be with dealing with Hancock were to try and effect this transition… while not a LibDem fan any longer I do think that G V-J stands a very strong chance of hanging onto this one for them..

  31. I still stand by my earlier prediction of a Con gain if Hancock stands.

    Although given that I’m in an anarchist sort of mood today, I just thought I’d float the remote possibility of a LD hold despite Hancock running because UKIP do better than expected at the Tories expense.

    99% sure that’s not possible, and that even if it did happen it would be difficult to prove that those extra Kippers would have voted Tory, but there’s always at least one result in a GE that makes you scratch your head and wonder how on earth it happened.

  32. How much extra would Hancock get if he stands?

  33. He’d be 69, so my understanding is that he would get 60% of salary.

    www taxpayersalliance com/resettlementgrants pdf

    (dots removed)

  34. Might the Lib Dems still hold this in 2015?

  35. I still think they will. The anti-LD vote is too split between the Cons & UKIP.

  36. Agreed. I think a challenge from Mike Hancock will split the vote, but nowhere near enough to allow the Tories to make a gain after nearly 18 years out in the cold.

  37. and the local election result this year suggests that there are clear limits to Hancock’s popularity.

  38. Regarding the resettlement grant.

    I’m fairly sure for MPs elected prior to the 2010GE the old rules apply. i.e. those standing down get the payment (in addition to any deffeted). But those elected at/after the 2010 GE only get the payment if defeated.

    If that’s the case Hancock will get it either way and is standing out of determination or just spite. Either way he has no chance of winning.

    Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

  39. Hancock resigned from the party tonight.

  40. Douglas Denny has been deselected as UKIP candidate.

    Maybe UKIP are lining up Diane James as candidate instead.

  41. UKIP are apparently very strong in this seat and did well in the local elections. Its unusual because this is such a young seat and has a big student population.

  42. An estimated 40% of students voted lib dem in 2010. A predicted 5% will come 2015, all these student liberal seats are doomed.Labour polled at about 22% among students in 2010, in 2015 they’re looking at around 41%. A very small amount of students voted green in 2010, about 10% will come 2015. The tories both got 22% among students in 2010 and are polling a very similar amount now.

    A very small amount of them vote UKIP, although it’s an increasing number, infact a titchy titchy amount of UKIP voters have degrees.

    By this logic the liberal democrat will fall to a thousand pieces in 2015, here’s my stab at it.

    Con- 30%
    Lib- 27%
    Lab- 19%
    UKIP- 17%
    Green- 6%
    others- 1%
    If mr Hannock stands it’s worse news for the liberal democrats.

    Con- 29%
    Lib- 23%
    Lab- 18%
    UKIP- 16%
    Hannock- 8%
    Green- 5%
    others- 1%

    okay. This might sound totally crazy but based from what I’ve seen this sounds about right. Okay going to go hide before the intense criticism kicks in.

  43. “all these student liberal seats are doomed”

    This isn’t a “student liberal seat”.

    At least read the description of the constituency before posting a mountain of crap.

  44. What Hemmelig said.

    Also, I don’t see Hancock saving a deposit given his antics.

  45. “THE man dropped as Ukip’s parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South has branded the party ‘immoral’ over its handling of the affair.

    Douglas Denny announced his resignation from Ukip yesterday after the decision was taken nationally to strip him of the role, without the consent of the local branch.

    Giving his reasons behind his decision to quit in an angry email to members, Mr Denny said his position in the party was now ‘untenable’ and it was ‘impossible to support the party’ any longer.”


  46. Douglas Denny’s wife is a UKIP city councillor too (in a Portsmouth North ward, though the UKIP party locally is Portsmouth wide) so it will be interesting to see if she stays in the tent.

    Robbie, dear oh dear. I can’t even begin to tell you how erroneous your prediction is and your reasons behind it. Have you not even considered that UKIP came third in the local election vote and the Lib Dems came first in this seat even though the latter contending only six of the seven wards (UKIP, Labour and the Tories contested all seven)? Have you not taken into account that Mike Hancock came third as an independent in a ward he had represented for 41 years? Have you not considered the fact that UKIP beat Labour in every ward in Portsmouth South?

    I’m all for people making predictions but please try to base them on something tangible rather than just pandering to your own prejudices/making them fulfill what you want to happen.

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