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
Con: 16134 (36%)
Lab: 16326 (37%)
LDem: 9256 (21%)
UKIP: 1928 (4%)
Oth: 768 (2%)
MAJ: 192 (0%)
Con: 11569 (27%)
Lab: 20871 (48%)
LDem: 9162 (21%)
UKIP: 1623 (4%)
MAJ: 9302 (22%)
Con: 11330 (27%)
Lab: 22553 (55%)
LDem: 6195 (15%)
UKIP: 829 (2%)
Oth: 466 (1%)
MAJ: 11223 (27%)
Con: 15289 (28%)
Lab: 29498 (55%)
LDem: 6289 (12%)
Oth: 1122 (2%)
MAJ: 14209 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 364 Responses on “Southampton Itchen”
  1. I wouldn’t call 8 points in a seat you hold a blowout. I still think this is the most likely Con gain but the Tories would need a 4-5% lead nationally. I wouldn’t however give up on this seat if I was CCHQ.

    Ashcroft did a focus group here last week and found that the public had a very positive of Denham and were unaware he was standing down. They also had no idea who the Tory and Labour candidates were perhaps something for us think about before we over analyse seats. If then, there is to be a pro-tory candidate effect here, as has been speculated it won’t be visible just yet.

    There is the always the possibility of an unwind after an exceptional swing such as there was here in 2010.

  2. I am looking back a few days, but I am very surprised at Runnymede’s post. It would be outrageous for homeless people to be denied a vote.

    The Goverment has a duty under human rights laws, which they have flouted for years, to provide everybody with somewhere to live,

  3. Of course the homeless are denied a vote. Someone as intelligent as yourself surely knows that voter registration is based on your address. If you have no address you have no vote. AFAIK only military personnel are treated differently.

  4. That is the system – don’t think it makes it any less unfair, there really should be some system whereby people who are homeless can register.

  5. This is one is going to be on a knifes edge but I’m thinking this is a CON gain. If Conservatives will be able to build upon their promising 2010 result, with hard fought local campaign and Royston’s very strong local connections (vs the Labour candidate!) …and don’t forget there is usually last minute swing to incumbent which appears at nearly every election, which could make a difference in a seat as marginal as this! I predict a CON gain with a very small majority.


    rowena davis is pictured in riverside park overseeing cobden bridge the place I use to feed the ducks when I was 3.

    Definite labour gain.

  7. sorry labour hold ^

  8. The ducks are going to swing it? or save it.. if they are Labour ducks..

  9. AW is correct. There was a flurry of interest when the law was changed around a decade ago IIRC. Journalists from BBC NW Tonight and Granada Reports both went to Manchester city centre to highlight the fact that you could state your address in theory as “bench/doorway outside M&S.” In the event most they asked didn’t want to register as they owed Poll Tax, fines or didnt want to be located for other reasons. I think 4 were registered in City Centre ward but none voted (presumably as they’d moved on or didnt know where the polling station was).

  10. UKIP candidate involved in Sausage Roll Bribery Scandal !!

    Honest – I’m not making it up.

  11. Guardian article here

    is interesting for Great Grimsby comments but also that personalised letters from PM to constituents in Southampton spell the seat as Itchin

  12. Crass beyond belief to misspell the constituency name. Surely that alone will lose a few hundred votes.

  13. Cameron’s lack of attention to detail will be his final undoing. Maggie would never have made such a silly mistake.

  14. Seems like another completely avoidable gaffe from the Tories

    There’s been much criticism of UKIP’s unprofessional start to the campaign but the Tories have been every bit as bad – and it’s nearly all been self inflicted.

    It seems that Britain isn’t going for the Lynton Crosby-inspired negative campaign so far and one wonders how long the Tories will pursue this line of attack

    It might be a predictable claim to make but it does again show how little Cameron and his team know about the country they aspire to govern for another five years

  15. Why have the Tories felt the need to be this negative though? In recent days, I personally have been impressed with Miliband’s stance on non-dom status for example- meanwhile Cameron and friends feel the need to just slag the poor man off left right and centre without good reason.

  16. The Conservative approach is being driven by Lynton Crosby. He was very successful in running campaigns for the right of centre Liberal party in Australia, virtually inventing “dog whistle” politics. But what works in the very personalised climate of Australian politics – where attacking the politician rather than the policy is routine – does not necessarily work in the UK.

  17. Agreed completely. I think the Tories are going to be very disappointed on the night if they end up behind Labour on seats and are pushed out of office.

  18. I am unsure who will end up with the most seats but, unless the Conservatives raise their game sharpish, I can easily see them having insufficient seats to allow them to form a viable minority government. They are going to be very short of potential allies after the election.

  19. Absolutely. And that’s a problem they need to address. I am not a Conservative Party supporter however, indeed I’m personally a left-winger politically but I must view these matters from a purely non-partisan objective. So that considered, they could do worse than pointing to achievements that Cameron and the coalition as a whole actually have to their credit from over these past five years, for example.

  20. Those of you who were gripped by the UKIP Sausage Rolllgate (see my posting April 10th) may be relieved to know that Kim Rose will not be facing any further action.

  21. Tory’s have conceded this according to channel 4. They have apparently given up in all labour held constituencies except B’ham Northfield and Halifax!

  22. strangely, l am visiting this constituency tomorrow. Not on election business though – taking a weekend off from the election to mess around on my sister’s boat.

  23. I’ll be interested to hear your field report Barnaby.

  24. pub report more like.
    l’ve canvassed every day this week in either Brentford & Isleworth, or Ealing Central & Acton. The returns in B&I are very solid with a very high & still rising contact rate. EC&A still looks very good too but certainly no room for complacency there. my next electioneering will be early next week, not quite sure where yet.

  25. CON Gain – !!

  26. what time is this seat expected to declare the result

  27. I think the Conservatives could be in with a good chance of gaining this seat tomorrow for the following reasons.

    – The seat is very marginal and was only won by Labour at the last election by a slender margin of just 92 votes.
    -The longstanding Labour MP John Denham stood down at the end of the last parliament and I don’t think the new Labour candidate profile is a good fit with the area. As nice as she may be she is an Oxford graduate, Gaurdianista ex journalist, career politician who was parachuted in from London with no local connections. Royston on the other hand is very well known locally and has very strong local ties and although not all will agree, I believe he is fairly popular. I think the name recognition will count for extra votes in the polling both. I also find it fascinating that his election communications have put a greater emphasis on his name and local ties, rather than the Conservative name, which I think will serve him well.
    – The Ashcroft poll in March did show a movement towards Labour, but I believe this could be because of the large student population in this constituency. However the reality is that many won’t vote and in fact I expect many probably forgot to re-register since individual registration was introduce, so will not be voting tomorrow. If they do vote I think these days they are more likely to vote green, which leads onto my next point…
    -The Greens and TUSC have been canvassing harder in this seat than in previous elections and run a higher profile campaign than usual which I suspect will help split the left vote and I believe Labour will hemorrhage lots of votes to them. I think the Greens and TUSC are more of a threat to Labour than UKIP to the Conservatives. I actually believe the UKIP threat in this sort of constituency is more damaging to Labour than the Conservatives.
    – Also I think it’s possible that many of the centre or ever so slightly right of Lib Dem who voted for them last time, if approve of the coalition, will lend their vote to the Conservatives as they could see this as the best way to maintain the Con – Lib coalition.Those of the Lib Dem party faithful, who didn’t like the coalition with the Cons last time round may stay with them or vote for Green. I don’t think so many will move to Labour.
    – As the Conservatives are the current government, they can expect a slight swing back towards them last minute as is usually the case with incumbent Government. Usually the case with Phone Polls such as Ashcrofts, there is the phenomenon of ‘shy tories’ who end up voting Tory on the day.

    Time will tell if this for correct, but I think a possible CON gain. A very close race indeed!

  28. i lived here for 20 years not happening you wasted your time typing that all up.

    labour hold 5000

  29. Sorry that was meant to be 192 votes, still slender nonetheless.

  30. Interesting comments from Alfieg, but I have to agree with Darkarts. A close friend lives in the constituency and when he told me that Royston Smith is the Tory candidate my ears picked up as he is well known locally. However with a 21% share of the vote for the Lib Dems which is likely to collapse and a UKIP vote that at the least will double I don’t see anything other than a Labour hold. The only other argument would be a Green surge, but that is a distant possibility in this seat.

    Lab – 43%
    Con – 34%
    UKIP – 10%
    Lib Dems – 8%
    Greens – 4%
    TUSC – >1%

    Lab majority of between 3-4000.

  31. DARKARTS, ok well I’ve lived here longer than that… not that I think that has much bearing on anything…. I’m only analysing the facts here you… you should try it… I never said CONS had it in the bag, I just think they have a good chance here that’s all. You may be right though, people here do indeed blindly vote Labour like sheep… I do still think this could well be a CON gain.

  32. Well, for what it is worth my daughter lives in Southampton Itchen and told me she already voted Labour by post because she particularly likes the Labour candidate.

    She may not be all that typical though!

  33. Labour Hold. 2,000 maj

  34. Well, it happened.

  35. What happened?

  36. Huge sigh of relief.

  37. Wait…sorry, they’ve held Test not Itchen. Bad decision to field Rowena.

  38. Struggling to keep up but this is at least the 3rd direct gain by the Conservatives from Labour:

    Con 18,656 41.7%
    Lab 16,340 36.5%
    UKIP 6,010 13.4%
    Green 1,876 4.2%
    LDem 1,595 3.6%
    other 233 0.5%

    Majority 2,316 : Swing 2.8%

  39. Hate to say this, but…

    ….told you so!! (See earlier post) Said this all along, I don’t know why more couldn’t see it coming!

    A decent healthy majority for Royston considering how marginal this was last time round.

    Also I do feel sorry for Rowenna, she should never have been fielded for this seat. I could genuinely see she put a lot of effort into fighting for this seat.

  40. Sorry for the loss Darkarts. The Tory canvass return data was predicting this.

  41. The declarations for both Southampton seats start at about 10:12:00

  42. This is a seat where the Lib Dems were not involved and Ashcroft got it very wrong!

    I notice he has been remarkably silent on the enormous waste of money on those constituency polls! Although randomly he got Battersea about right and has tweeted that!

    Strangely enough the much derided lib Dem poll in Dunbarton East was much closer than most of the Ashcroft polls…

  43. I feel obliged to acknowledge the contribution of ALFIEG on 6 May, who dissected this seat brilliantly and nailed the right result. Probably the best

    The only thing he didn’t mention is the poor choice of candidate by Labour – Hampstead girl, Oxford educated, very young, middle class.

    One wonders how many seats Labour lost by insisting on the (laudable) policy of AWS. I can think of HARROW E as well where this backfired.

  44. It’s probably also worth pointing out that the UKIP candidate has stood previously for the Socialist Labour Party which could have made him more appealing to some Labour inclined voters.

  45. ‘I notice he has been remarkably silent on the enormous waste of money on those constituency polls! Although randomly he got Battersea about right and has tweeted that!’

    But Ashcroft’s polls ended up aiding the Tories greatly as they helped create the idea that an Labour government propped up by the SNP was a certainty – which caused many who might have voted for other parties, to back the Tories

    Given that he’s one of the Tory Party’s biggest ever donors, is it so far-fetched to believe the polls he published were intentionally missleading, exaggerating the suppprt of the Tories opponents – whether they be Labour, Lib Dem or SNP

    He’s ceratainly earmt his peerage for services to the Conservative Party – as opposed to anything he’s ever done for Britain

  46. I think it’s unwise to risk getting Anthony into trouble by putting up posts like that.

  47. That would rely on the premise that Ashcroft knew what was going on but none of the other pollsters did, and that a reputable polling company was willing to go along with deliberately misleading the British public in this way (as it’s not exactly a secret who Ashcroft used to carry out his constituency polling). Also, in general, he underestimated SNP support in most seats, although that’s likely due to genuine late movement in the west of Scotland.

  48. It’s a conspiract theiry too far

    I’m not saying I believe Ashcroft did fiddle it – his findings were in line with the other inaccurate polls which were in circulation at the time

    I’m just saying it wouldn’t be far fetched to think that given the result

  49. It would be completely impossible. All of Ashcroft’s polling was carried out by reputable mainstream pollsters who would be put out of business instantly if they engaged in such practices.

    Ashcroft is a generous philanthropist with respect to causes that interest him – not just Tory politics but also war veterans, journalism and history. I view his foray into polling in this light, but there is no doubt in retrospect it was a foolhardy venture which he probably now wishes he’d stayed away from. No doubt it will damage his reputation in business just as it will for YouGov, ICM, MORI and all the others.

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