Romsey & Southampton North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26285 (54.3%)
Labour: 5749 (11.9%)
Lib Dem: 8573 (17.7%)
Green: 2280 (4.7%)
UKIP: 5511 (11.4%)
MAJORITY: 17712 (36.6%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of the Test Valley council area and two wards from Southampton.

Main population centres: Romsey, Basset, Stockbridge, Kings Somborne, Barton Stacey.

Profile: Mostly consists of the affluent towns and villages of the Test Valley, stretching northwards from Southampton. Romsey itself is an affluent town - partially a commuter town for Southampton and it also has some high tech manufacturing industry in its own right. To the south the seat includes two wards from Southampton, relatively wealthy suburbs that include some of the University of Southampton halls of residence.

Politics: The Romsey seat was created in 1983 and was initially a safe Conservative seat. The Conservative MP Michael Colvin died in a house fire in 2000 and the Liberal Democrats won the subsequent by-election on a 13% swing, mostly from an extreme squeeze on the Labour vote. Unlike some other Lib Dem by-election gains the party did not manage to build this into a large majority, the seat was held only very narrowly in 2005, regained by the Conservatives in 2010, and by 2015 was once again a very safe Tory seat.

Current MP
CAROLINE NOKES (Conservative) Born 1972, Lyndhurst. Educated at La Sagesse Convent and Sussex University. Test Valley councillor 1999-2011. Contested Southampton Itchen 2001, Romsey 2005. First elected as MP for Romsey and Southampton North in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 24345 (50%)
Lab: 3116 (6%)
LDem: 20189 (41%)
UKIP: 1289 (3%)
MAJ: 4156 (8%)
Con: 22340 (44%)
Lab: 4430 (9%)
LDem: 22465 (45%)
UKIP: 1076 (2%)
MAJ: 125 (0%)
Con: 20386 (42%)
Lab: 3986 (8%)
LDem: 22756 (47%)
UKIP: 730 (2%)
Oth: 601 (1%)
MAJ: 2370 (5%)
Con: 23834 (46%)
Lab: 9623 (19%)
LDem: 15249 (29%)
Oth: 1824 (4%)
MAJ: 8585 (17%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Romsey

2015 Candidates
CAROLINE NOKES (Conservative) See above.
DARREN PAFFEY (Labour) Educated at Southampton university. University lecturer. Southampton councillor since 2011.
BEN NICHOLLS (Liberal Democrat) Born Stoke. Educated at Cambridge University. College manager and former civil servant.
SANDRA JAMES (UKIP) Born Nantwich. Educated at Rochester Grammar School and Portsmouth University. Businesswoman. West Sussex councillor since 2013.
Comments - 176 Responses on “Romsey & Southampton North”
  1. A closer look at the result here in 2001-
    (Changes are against 1997, not the 2000 by-election)
    Gidley (Liberal Democrat)- 22, 756 (47.0%, +17.57%)
    Raynes (Conservative)- 20, 386 (42.1%, -3.89%)
    Roberts (Labour)- 3, 986 (8.2%, -10.37%)
    McCabe (UKIP)- 730 (1.5%, -2.02%)
    Large (Legalise Cannabis)- 601 (1.2%, N/A)

    Majority- 2, 370 (4.9%)
    Swing- +10.73% From Con to Lib Dem.

  2. These results are at the top of the page and any one can take a ‘closer look’ (in other words get the names of the losing candidates) from the Keele site. I’m bound to say (having held my tongue for a few days now) that I don’t see much point to all these posts.

  3. why is he doing it on every single seat

  4. I am doing it because I like to think that other posters may find these past results interesting to look at and analyse. Sorry if I’ve annoyed anyone.

  5. I don’t find it annoying – but maybe you could just do two or three at a time perhaps? It’s just that if you do a large number it obviously knocks all of the current discussions off the “latest comments” section.

    Just a thought 🙂

  6. I agree with Chris K- I don’t have a problem with posting results in full detail but it’s probably better if done in batches of two or three.

  7. The problem is though is that I want to cover comprehensively the results I want to get out of the way as quickly as I can, so it is somewhat unfortunate that it interferes with any current discussions that may still be going on.

  8. 2001 was a miserable election I’d rather forget…..
    I do find some of these past results interesting actually but probably 2 or 3 at a time is best. Thanks for what you do though.

  9. Thanks JJB. I do understand where you’re coming from.

    Do you think the Tory vote held up well here in Romsey after the by-election despite them not holding the seat for 10 years?

  10. Well it’s pretty appalling to lose a by-election in opposition – but that was the kind of background in 2000 and 2001 – it was sort of fashionable to give the Tories a kicking as the country basked in the New Labour honeymoon with “nice” Lib Dems around the edges.

    But given that background, the 2005 result was respectable,
    and the 2010 result was a success although there is still an above average drop from 1992 given the big notional drop in 1997 and a slight ripple remaining from that by-election.

  11. Thanks for that response, JJB.

    I suppose the only reason why the Lib Dems held on to this in 2005 was because of Sandra Gidley and her work in the constituency. 2010 was a continuation of the unwinding of the effect the by-election had here and although the vote share is higher than 1997, the majority isn’t and is as you say still below 1992 because of the by-election.

    What must have annoyed most Tories including yourself though I would suspect was that in 2000 your vote dropped by only 3.99%, while in 2001 it wasn’t as bad albeit extremely marginally against 1997- 3.89%.

    It was another of those instances where the Tories were powerless to stop the realignment in centre-left support coalescing around the Liberal Democrat candidate where the Labour Party didn’t have any realistic chance of winning as so to beat the Tory candidate.

  12. I’m prepared to admit Gidley seemed like one of the better Lib Dems – like Lorely Burt who is ex Tory.

    I’m not sure I follow your argument about the vote shares.
    Any drop atall from 1997 is depressing from my point of view- whether it was in 2000 or 2001.

  13. Romsey must have been one of the safest Tory seats in the country going into the 1997 election. The 1992 notionals were:

    Conservative: 34,218 (63.2%)
    Lib Dem: 12,496 (23.1%)
    Labour: 6,982 (12.9%)
    Others: 420 (0.8%).

  14. I wonder whether that 17.3% drop was slightly wrongly constructed but whatever it was, you’re right it was a safer seat than was mentioned,
    and losing it was Solihull territory

  15. Ah, so in actual fact the result in 1997 here was actually quite good for the Lib Dems as it was now Romsey, as opposed to the old Romsey and Waterside.

    So the changes were-
    Colvin (Conservative)- 46.0% (-17.2%)
    Cooper (Liberal Democrat)- 29.4% (+6.3%)
    Ford (Labour)- 9, 623 (18.6%, +5.7%)

  16. ”I’m not sure I follow your argument about the vote shares.
    Any drop atall from 1997 is depressing from my point of view- whether it was in 2000 or 2001.”

    But Joe it could have been a lot worse for you in the circumstances. As I said it was only really because of Labour supporters voting tactically that you lost the seat at the by-election.

  17. Romsey, the town, has lots of Eastleigh-like characteristics.. not an upscale place by any measure.. and neither are locales like Baddesley…

  18. I wonder if without the by-election the Tories would have increased their majority here in 2001?

    Certainly on paper it looks like the sort of seat that would have a five-figure majority by now but for the unusual circumstances created by the by-election. It seems to be that in the Lib Dem by-election seats won in the 90’s and later that the ones where they had local government strength anyway are the ones they have managed to hold on to much longer- Whereas seats like Ribble Valley and Christchurch were lost right away as there was no history of them doing well in those areas.

  19. How does Newbury fit into that pattern? I’m not sure it does.

  20. Well a good number of them were.

    The Lib Dems have all the same done very well in Eastleigh for example.

  21. I think that the Tories should have retaken this straight after the by-election – as it was, it took them the best part of a decade. I think that it was remarkable that the Tories contrived to lose the seat in general elections – Romsey, I’d contend, is definitely rather more prosperous & less down-at-heel than Eastleigh, and the Tories ought to be at least competitive in the town. Really only Chandler’s Ford in the old seat was anything like a Lib Dem centre, and whole swathes of it – Stockbridge, Hiltingbury, Bassett & the villages – should have been heavily Tory.

  22. Of course otherwise the Lib Dems wouldn’t have got anywhere near winning here. They might have kept the Tory majority in the four figures once again, but it would now be more safely held then it in fact is.

  23. Second from the bottom here are 2010 results:

    one sees the ward by ward breakdown…

    Cupernham is the northern “suburb” of Romsey.. Valley Park is a part of Chandlers Ford that wasn’t hived off to Winchester..

  24. I’d have to agree with Barnaby re Romsey – a very good friend of mine lives in Chandlers Ford and we go Romesy quite often. Romsey is not overwhelmingly affluent but is certainly more upmarket than Eastleigh.

  25. Shocking that 601 people voted for the cannabis party here in 2001.
    You’d expect the LDs to have squeezed that.

    Cannabis smoking seems to belong to baby boom middle class liberals – but 2001 is 12 years ago I suppose.

  26. I don’t think that’s entirely correct. It is not at all unusual to smell cannabis being smoked in council estates, both by black & white people.

  27. I would agree that Romsey town is better than Eastleigh .. they are different beasts in size and make-up.

    Romsey does though look like one of the more ho-hum towns in Hampshire. Transport wise it looks to Eastleigh because that is where the only commuter service runs to… unlike near-by Winchester, Romsey is forced to look south, rather than north because of this.. despite being near to Winchester as the crow flies it is a longish and indirect drive to get from one to the other..

    As for the other towns and villages in the electorate most are pretty small in population. Stockbridge is better known than its size might suggest it should be. It doesn’t even have a service station.

    This seat might be better called Southampton North & Romsey rather than the other way around for when it comes down to it there are the Southampton suburbs of Swathling and Bassett (with strong student populations), North Baddesley as an overblown commuter village gone to seed, Romsey as a commuter town and Valley Park as part of Chandlers Ford, which is in reality the better part of Eastleigh…

    These are the characteristics that made it more LD over the last 10 years.

  28. As other posters know, I oppose convoluted constituency names. I don’t see why Southampton has to be in the title at all when just two Southampton wards are in the constituency. I think ‘West Hampshire’ would be quite a nice name though I’m just as okay with plain ‘Romsey’.

  29. I think Romsey itself was in Eastleigh from 1955 to 1983 but not sure which seats before then

  30. Harry- IIRC in the modern era:

    (1) From 1918 to 1948, Romsey was in the ‘New Forest and Christchurch’ constituency (remember that Christchurch is in fact in the traditional county of Hampshire);

    (2) Between 1949 and 1973, Romsey was in the Winchester division.

  31. I strongly favour cannabis legalisation and vote tory – would probably shock JJB. I am not a smoker of it myself though.

  32. My son is the same, in fact he would like to see all drugs legalised.

  33. I would treat cannabis as a trial with the hope and expectation that results are good and then move on to your son’s suggestion.

  34. Romsey discussion has taken a strange turn… is there something growing in the constituency that some of you would like to share with the rest of us?!

  35. Lol!

  36. Though I respect Joe James Broughton’s views on many things, his opinions on cannabis belong to the planet Zog.

    There has been a massive change of policy on cannabis here in the US in recent years, with several states having already legalised it and more in the pipeline. Where the US goes, the UK will inevitably follow. I would argue the exact opposite of Joe – as the baby boomers retire from positions of authority, they will be replaced with those from younger generations who have much less of a problem with soft drugs and consider it ridiculous to spend so much police resources on criminalising a substance which is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco.

    I would be absolutely flabbergasted if cannabis isn’t legalised in the UK 10 years from now.

  37. Agree with H.H. I have no desire to use cannabis, but I struggle to understand just why some many people of an older generation are so vehemently against decriminalisation. I guess just because of its associations with the supposed anarchy of the counter-culture movement, and its associations with crime. Well, policy ought not to be made on perceptions of associations, particularly because it’s only associated with crime precisely because it’s illegal.

    My views are still formulating on this issue, but you can tell where my sympathies lie. I’m inclined to see this as merely a health issue, unworthy of police attention.

    By the way, if anyone wants a laugh, see Reefer Madness. Sometimes reading the Daily Mail, I wonder if a few too many writers there have formulated their views on cannabis just from that film.

  38. Neither my son nor I are interested in smoking cannabis but I’ve always favoured its legalisation. It’s a plant when all’s said & done. My best friend does indulge & votes Conservative.

  39. “I would be absolutely flabbergasted if cannabis isn’t legalised in the UK 10 years from now.”

    I’d say 10-20 years to be more realistic.

    But I guess many people would think my views on drugs are as equally barmy as Joe’s.

    Concerning tobacco and alcohol I’d like to see plain tobacco packaging (already on the agenda) along with a total ban on all forms of alcohol advertising, tobacco style health warnings on packaging, a ban on alcohol being sold in supermarkets and US style open container laws.

    I’m going to stop there because you only need to type ‘Volstead Act’ into Wikipedia to see what total prohibition does when it’s introduced in a society where public support for it is at best 50/50.

  40. I don’t see how it is at all justified for supermarkets to not sell alcohol. Why not let people enjoy themselves on occasion? Its not medicinally dangerous unless done to excess. Its quite rare to smoke without it being to excess – so the two issues are not equivalent.

  41. Not that I would condone banning supermarkets from selling cigarettes.

  42. Would you ban them from selling biscuits, chips and pies while you are at it?

  43. It isn’t accurate to describe this seat (as in the profile at the top of this page) as having been created in 1983. This was a new seat in 1997 made up from a number of former seats and in which electors from Romsey & Waterside made up the largest single element, but not a majority. 63% of the electorate of Romsey & Waterside went to the New Forest East seat and it is therefore that seat which is the successor to the seat created in 1983

  44. I forgot to mention banning supermarkets from selling tobacco products.

    I’m only suggesting these things because it would bring Britain into line with most other European countries. It’s no wonder people from other countries think we’re a nation of irresponsible drinkers considering how lenient some of our drinking laws are. I think Britain and Germany are the only countries in Western Europe where drinking on the street is perfectly legal.

  45. In Sweden for example, you can only by alcohol for home consumption from a state owned chain of convenience stores which aren’t allowed to sell alcohol after 7.30pm or at all on Sundays.

  46. This is something you would like to emulate here is it?
    Why not just nationalise the entire retail sector?

  47. There is a strong tradition of control of alcohol sales across Scandinavia. This is largely because of the perception that binge drinking is common but not desirable. It has nothing to do with ‘nationalisation’ or the views of left or right – its something which is generally supported.

  48. No, I’m not condoning nationalisation, hell no.

    I just think that the amount of floor space supermarkets now dedicate to booze is a sad sign of hos drink obsessed society has become. I know many people would disagree with me, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to limit alcohol sales for home use to off-licences and small convinced stores.

    I guess a watered down version of that (excuse the pun) could be to limit the amount of alcoholic beverages by volume supermarkets can have in stock at any one time to no more than the amount of non-alcoholic soft drinks they have in stock.

  49. I agree with Mike, this is something that isn’t really a left v right issue.

  50. I didn’t say anything about left or right but it is certainly a very draconian way of operating and while I have not been to Sweden I have encountered enough Swedes in other parts of Europe to gain the impression that they are not put off binge drinking by the nannying of their government. Indeed one has the impression of Scandinavians generally that Adam frets about other people from other countries having of us. They have the same kind of setup in Finland and I have been there and again I can confirm that this does not prevent binge drinking – far from it. Finns are amongst the heaviest drinkers in Europe. This is not a criticism.
    As to whether it is ‘generally supported’ that may or may not be true but it is neither here nor there in relation to this discussion. I do not think this kind of approach would be generally supported in this country but even if it was supported by 99% of the population that is no reason why I shouldn’t argue against it.
    I think you’ll find Merseymike that many of the restrictions on homosexuality which you have expended so much effort on opposing were generally supported at the time that they were in place

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)