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. “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.”

    Ffs. So you’re going to have an army of officials permanently stationed in every supermarket checking that the volme of alcoholic drinks doesn’t exceed the volume of non-alcoholic drinks?
    Christ i thought I’d seen all the horeshit that was possible posted on this site but this beats them all

  2. It’s just a suggestion and could be easily enforced by trading standards and the Food Standards Agency. After all, how many thousands of pages of other regulations on things like food hygiene and health and safety do retailers have to follow?

  3. So if you pop in for a bottle of wine with dinner you have to buy a soft drink? FFS

  4. Oh sorry I read that wrong – I would think it very rare that there are more alcoholic drinks than non alcoholic ones in supermarkets, so it would be pointless as well as overly nannying.

  5. Like I said, that’s just a less radical alternative. I’d still prefer a total ban on alcohol being sold in supermarkets. If people in other countries can mange it then so can we. And it’s hardly as if I’m advocating full on prohibition.

  6. ‘I’d still prefer a total ban on alcohol being sold in supermarkets.’

    I don’t see what that would achieve

    All government policies that had attempted to solve the binge-drinking problem, and it is a problemn in the UK – such as the unimaginative minimum pricing – only end up making it more expensive for those who like to drink responsibly

    As if the taxes already imposed on alcohol aren’t high enough

    Banning it from supermarkets would just be another one

    I personally think the best way of stamping out our binge-drinking culture and all the problem it entails – fights, vandalism, etc – would be to stiffen up the sentences handed down to people convicted of such offences – maybe add on a couple of years if they were found to have been drunk and disorderly whilst commiting the offences

    I’m sure there are practical reasons why such an approach might not work, but it no less practical that some of the measures the governmernt has taken, and some that are being suggested

  7. Or alternatively, just treat people as adults.

  8. I’d agree with Tim – the majority of people drink responsibly and shouldn’t be penalised. In fact a large majority of those who drink more than the recommended weekly limit (myself included) also don’t cause any problems.

    The problem as always is the small minority that behave badly (many of whom I suspect would be inclined to do so even in a ‘dry’ society). The answer is to ensure that the range of penalities available represent genuine deterrents that the culprits won’t like, and won’t want to incur.

    If you need any evidence

  9. …….go back to the riots in 2011. I accept that there are some areas which do have significant social issues and that not everyone gets a fair start.

    Nonetheless, two nights of severe rioting when people weren’t scared they’d be arrested. The public demand action, and 16,000 police are placed on the street bringing the realistic chance of arrest and prosecution – and very little incident occured.

    Some people behave badly because, broadly speaking, we let them.

  10. Pete: I’m very much opposed to prohibition and support drug legalisation, so I really don’t know why you are having a go at me as usual.

    I was trying to explain how things are in Scandinavia – I agree with you that it doesn’t stop binge drinking in the least but there is a surprisingly high level of acceptance of the restrictions. Both parties of the left and the right support the current situation

    In Finland, the EU proved the greatest liberaliser. The presence of Estonia less than an hour away by ferry led the Finnnish government to reduce taxation on alcohol by 40% overnight. It didn’t stop the huge number of booze ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn, full of Finns with backpacks and suitcases to be filled at Tallinn’s very well stocked alcohol shops.

  11. And I guess you can draw comparisons with the thousands of Britain’s who flock to the wine warehouses dotted around the Pas De Calais every year?

  12. And I thought public attitudes towards alcohol in Scandinavia were along the lines of ‘legal but frowned upon’. That’s just going on what a friend who used to live there told me.

    And that goes to explain why we Brits might see some of their alcohol trading laws as draconian, but the local population are perfectly fine with them.

  13. Whilst a wide range of things are expensive in Norway, a pint would set you back about £20-25 – which is absolutely absurd – but to think that extortionate prices are the sole reason why scandanavian countries don’t have a binge drink culture is wrong

  14. And remeber the fact that Scandinavia went dry along with the US and Canada in the 1920’s, so that might have something to do with how public attitudes have been formed.

    Iceland didn’t repeal its prohibition laws until 1989!

  15. It would be wrong to lump Denmark in with the other Scandinavian countries in regard to attitudes to drink.

  16. IMHO ketamine is far worse than drink for violence.

  17. Its not £20 a pint, more like £8.

  18. It was £20 in an airport – but £8 is more accurate for a general place, which isn’t actually that bad

    I paid about £12 for a stein in Brugge

  19. “to think that extortionate prices are the sole reason why scandanavian countries don’t have a binge drink culture is wrong”

    Scandinavian countries DO have a significant binge drinking culture. I spent 3 years living in Oslo. Anybody who thinks that the draconian Scandinavian alcohol laws are a good way to stop people from drinking excessively can’t have ever spent much time there. Their alcohol laws are completely potty and achieve nothing other than to drive prices for sensible drinkers up to the crazy prices Tim mentions. Poorer people, students and piss-heads are frequently forced by high alcohol prices to resort to DIY-brewed moonshine which can be extremely dangerous, causing numerous deaths every year. There is an astronomical amount of smuggling of alcohol through not just airports and ports, but across the land borders with eg. Germany, making it impossible to effectively police. And it is a massive pain in the arse if you are entertaining in the evening or just fancy a drink at home, because the alcohol can only be sold in special alcohol stores which close at about 5pm.

    The big difference between the binge drinking culture in the UK compared with Scandinavia is that the UK is far more violent. The Scandinavians get just as drunk but don’t end up fighting each other. That I think is a cultural difference which has nothing to do with availability or price of alcohol.

  20. Ive only ever been offered drugs twice in my life. Both times in Norway. Ive also never felt as unsafe as there walking at night. They are subsiding drug dealers with their policies.

  21. Yes that is a fair comment. The east side of Oslo, in particular, is very dangerous at night these days.

  22. At Christmas I had a funny experience when I went to select a few of my favourite Fentiman’s beverages, which are very fine soft drinks manufactured in Northumberland.

    Anyway, I knew instinctively to go look for them in my Tesco down the dual carriageway by the alcoholic drinks section for some strange reason, but they were still difficult to find. I would recommend them to any poster who, like me does not drink alcohol.

  23. “The east side of Oslo, in particular, is very dangerous at night these days.”

    ah our old friend ‘cultural enrichment’ again

  24. It sounds very ‘vibrant’ ?

  25. Norway tends to be the immigrants’ destination of last resort, due to its horrible weather and horrible language. You very quickly get tired of snow for 6 months of the year and minus 20 degree temperatures for much of that time. Little wonder that it tends to be attractive only to those who weren’t allowed to settle elsewhere – by definition that often means the least desirable and least skilled.

  26. I thought Norways strict alcohol laws were only in place because public attitudes towards drink are very different compared to Britain and therefore laws which we would see has draconian and perfectly acceptable to the public there.

    I don’t have accurate figures at hand but I’m guessing that more than half of Norwegian adults would describe themselves as teetotal, when I Britain I think it’s more like 10%.

  27. I don’t know much than a dozen or so Scandinavians, but I very much doubt that is true.

  28. Although to be fair to the majority of British teetotalers don’t drink for health rather than moral reasons. And then there the matter that many people still think that all teetotalers are reformed alcoholics when that isn’t always the case.

  29. “I don’t have accurate figures at hand but I’m guessing that more than half of Norwegian adults would describe themselves as teetotal”

    Complete and utter horseshit. You clearly know little of Norway and Norwegians. When did you last visit?

  30. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of Norwegian teetotallers do so for cost or religious reasons. I would think about doing so for the former reason at those prices.

  31. Why is Norwegian ‘horrible’?

  32. Alko shops in Finland are quite tasteful.

  33. Clearly all Scandanavian countries are social democratic utopias of non-alcoholic milk and permissive honey.

    We would do well to emulate them.

  34. “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.”

    2 of 34 aisles in my local supermarket.

    I don’t think that’s excessive.

  35. The danger of the east end of Oslo is vastly exaggerated. It’s not the most pre-possessing area in the world, but no worse than plenty of places in Britain. I didn’t feel in the slightest bit threatened when I was there last winter. I get the impression it has improved in the last couple of years, though not particularly because of tightening of restrictions – a significant proportion of the inhabitants of the student housing block I was in seemed to have overstayed their visas.

    I certainly wouldn’t recommend the Vinmonopolet system, nor the largely arbitrary rules about when the supermarkets will sell you beer. All it really does is lessen productivity, by making sure people slope off from work early to make sure they get to the shop before it closes.

  36. The area around nygardsparken in Bergen is really really ropey and the policing seemed very poor.

  37. Nygardsparken has a dreadful reputation – probably worse than anywhere in Oslo. Chronic problems with drug addicts and the criminality associated with that.

  38. I thought it would be a nice walk through the park. It turned out there was what appeared to be a cartel war going on. I legged very very sharply.

  39. Ben Nicholls chosen as LD PPC for Romsey et al..

  40. Interesting information about Scandinavia on this thread. I’m thinking of going there some time in the next few months.

  41. Just noticed H.H’s ‘horseshit’ remark here.

    Boy oh boy, if I had a penny for everytime H.H. called a post horseshit… 😛

  42. Well at least in this case I’m afraid the comment was indeed complete horseshit. Or are you also arguing that more than half of Norwegians are teetotal?

  43. Lol. No, I won’t be leaping to Adam’s defence here on that one. Tbh, the alcoholic culture of Norway is not exactly something I can speak with any expertise on.

  44. Darren Paffey selected as Labour candidate. He’s a lecturer in Spanish and linguistics at Southampton University:

  45. Given that part of Southampton is included in the seat, surely there is potential for a Labour vote of 15-20% here. I would expect quite a substantial unwind from the Lib Dems and an increased Tory majority.

  46. well it’s 2 wards & one of them, Bassett, is very poor Labour territory, though admittedly not quite as poor as most of the rest of the seat. Swaythling however was won by Labour in 2012 & Labour should poll a good proportion there at least.

  47. IIRC, Labour had been third in Swaythling in 2010.

    Labour has done well at the expense of the Lib Dems in Basset since 2010, However, even in 2012, they managed only 27% with the Conservatives holding the seat on half the total vote.

  48. Looking at the 2 Southampton Wards electoral fortunes from 2010 to 2014 for Labour:
    Bassett: 2010 3rd, 2011 2nd, 2012 2nd, 2014 2nd
    Swaythling: 2010 3rd, 2011 2nd, 2012 1st, 2014 2nd.

    Re Tory’s point, the Conservative candidate in 2012 is 1 of the longest serving Cllrs in the City, and has a sizeable personal vote.

    The LDs lost their last 2 City Cllrs in 2014 – 1 of them having been in Swaythling – coming in 3rd place, only 4 votes ahead of the Green.

  49. There is going to be a Green candidate this time around. Should be an interesting election.

  50. Here is my prediction :-

    BEN NICHOLLS (Liberal Democrat) 21000
    CAROLINE NOAKES (Con) 19000
    DARREN PAFFEY (Labour) 2500

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