Southampton, Itchen

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18656 (41.7%)
Labour: 16340 (36.5%)
Lib Dem: 1595 (3.6%)
Green: 1876 (4.2%)
UKIP: 6010 (13.4%)
TUSC: 233 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 2316 (5.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Southampton.

Profile: Southampton is a large container and cruise port on the south coast. This is the eastern of the two Southampton seats, covering the city centre itself and the post-war council and private housing developments in the east of the city. The seat is named after the river Itchen, which runs through Southampton and forms part of the western boundary of the seat.

Politics: Both the Southampton seats have traditionally been marginals, but Itchen was traditionally seen as the more Labour of the two, only having been won by the Conservatives at the height of their power in the 1980s. In recent years the position has reversed, Itchen was the more marginal seat in 2010 and in 2015 it fell to the Conservatives.


Current MP
ROYSTON SMITH (Conservative) Former PR consultant and RAF engineer. Southampton councillor since 2000, former leader of Southampton council. Contested Southampton Itchen 2010. First elected as MP for Southampton Itchen in 2015. Received the George Medal in 2012 for disarming a gunman on board HMS Astute during a visit.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16134 (36%)
Lab: 16326 (37%)
LDem: 9256 (21%)
UKIP: 1928 (4%)
Oth: 768 (2%)
MAJ: 192 (0%)
2005*
Con: 11569 (27%)
Lab: 20871 (48%)
LDem: 9162 (21%)
UKIP: 1623 (4%)
MAJ: 9302 (22%)
2001
Con: 11330 (27%)
Lab: 22553 (55%)
LDem: 6195 (15%)
UKIP: 829 (2%)
Oth: 466 (1%)
MAJ: 11223 (27%)
1997
Con: 15289 (28%)
Lab: 29498 (55%)
LDem: 6289 (12%)
Oth: 1122 (2%)
MAJ: 14209 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ROYSTON SMITH (Conservative) PR consultant and former RAF engineer. Southampton councillor since 2000, former leader of Southampton council. Contested Southampton Itchen 2010. Received the George Medal in 2012 for disarming a gunman on board HMS Astute during a visit.
ROWENNA DAVIS (Labour) Born 1985, Lewisham. Educated at Hampstead School and Oxford University. Journalist. Southwark councillor since 2011.
ELEANOR BELL (Liberal Democrat) University administrator.
KIM ROSE (UKIP) Jeweller. Contested Southampton Itchen 1997 for Socialist Labour Party, 2001, 2005 for UKIP.
JOHN SPOTTISWOODE (Green) Educated at Bristol University. Former Suffolk councillor. Contested Southampton Itchen 2010.
SUE ATKINS (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 364 Responses on “Southampton Itchen”
  1. It’s an interesting place to consider IMO. The wider Southampton area (taking in Eastleigh, Winchester, Romsey as well as the city itself) is one of the strongest growing economies outside central London. It certainly doesn’t fit alongside the Wigans and Walsalls where deprivation and neglect allegedly explains so much of the Leave vote.

  2. Exactly.

    I feel like the reason the leave-voting middle classes have been ignored is because they are not seen as an electorally important demographic – most of them are locked in for the Tories and a significant minority have died in the past three years. Whereas working-class leavers are a key battleground between Labour and the Tories, and a big influence on the political direction of both parties.

  3. A lot of the working class leavers will have died as well – perhaps more than the middle class ones given lower life expectancy.

  4. Mortality is rather over-stated as a reason for the overall movement away from Leave in the polls.

    As a rough estimate, we will have lost about 800,000 Leave voters since June 2016, 400,000 Remainers and 400,000 or so who did not vote. I’m working on the basis of a higher turnout among older voters, and a 2 to 1 majority of Leave voters.

    This alone would only shift the Leave VI from 51.9% to around 51.3%. There is a much larger effect from those joining the electoral register (today’s 18-20 year olds) who divide more than 80:20 to Remain. There has also been some swing – presumably about 3-4% – among those eligible to vote. The interesting thing is that several different polling sources suggest that this has been far larger in Labour-voting working class seats then in places which vote Tory. See this for example, from late last year.

    https://www.survation.com/what-does-the-british-public-now-think-about-brexit/

  5. “The interesting thing is that several different polling sources suggest that this has been far larger in Labour-voting working class seats then in places which vote Tory.”

    Tory areas are richer and the Leave voters in them are more insulated from any economic impact.

    I’m guessing immigration control and 300bn for the NHS were much more key factors in poorer Labour areas (as evidenced by John Harris’ videos) and lack of progress on either of these factors, together with economic concerns, may have peeled more of the Labour leavers away.

  6. James E – although there is a statistic that if you survive to live to the age of 70 you’re something like 80% likely to survive to the age of 85.

    Indeed I was able to pass a list of names and addresses to a junior reporter from my days in Liverpool – because he was following up on the Royal Hospital debacle – and I added the caveat that they may no longer be with us and it turned out two all but one of those OAPs from 2000 was still alive and living in the same terraced roads opposite the hospital.

    Conversely Cllrs seem to drop like flies – I think the last time I checked elsewhere A Teale’s by-election previews averaged Cllrs dying at the age of just 63 (with almost a third doing so in their 50s). But we’ve discussed previously the disproportionate levels of obesity and generally unhealthy lifestyles politicians live.

  7. “Conversely Cllrs seem to drop like flies – I think the last time I checked elsewhere A Teale’s by-election previews averaged Cllrs dying at the age of just 63 (with almost a third doing so in their 50s). But we’ve discussed previously the disproportionate levels of obesity and generally unhealthy lifestyles politicians live.”

    That’s true.

    Not pursuing a political career path 20 years ago is the best decision I ever took.

  8. Certainly, I wouldn’t want to be an MP right now.

    My fear is that this becomes a vicious circle – political malaise discourages the sort of people this country needs from becoming MPs, deepening the crisis of representation, further putting applicants off, etc.

  9. Incidentally MPs are probably younger and healthier than the past (New Labour influx etc). It’s Cllrs who are stereotypically often red-faced.

    After all MPs have to be able to travel regularly, whereas Cllrs can – if they want to – merely attend full council.

  10. 20 years of all-women shortlists, A lists, and obsession with diversity ahead of how good someone will be at the job, are all also coming home to roost as well.

    A white middle class heterosexual male needn’t bother applying for a Labour candidacy in most of their London safe seats for example, no matter if they are the best thing since sliced bread.

  11. All good comments. The likes of Fiona Onasanya et al are the end result of this process. Of course,there have been plenty of very very mediocre to poor white heterosexual male MPs in the past, so you could argue it is only fair that everyone else gets a look in to be similarly underwhelming.

  12. Yes there’s no disagreeing with that.

    The box-ticking just seems to lead to bad candidates winning for some reason. There are many women, ethnic minorities and gay people who would shine through even in a fully meritocratic and unbiased process but largely they are not the ones who get into parliament (as you say, same with the white heterosexual majority as well).

  13. Yeah…I’ll live up to my cynical reputation and say ‘that’s life’. Luck and circumstances play a far greater role in ‘success’ than perhaps any of us would like to admit.

  14. In 2015 and 2017 several white Middle class male heterosexual Labour candidates were selected in safe seats(Including in London). Has not been any safe seats selection for the next election yet as CUK replacements have not been selected. But lots of rumours that one specific white male candiate is being pushed to replace one the london defectors.

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