Southend West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22175 (49.8%)
Labour: 8154 (18.3%)
Lib Dem: 4129 (9.3%)
Green: 2083 (4.7%)
UKIP: 7803 (17.5%)
Others: 165 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 14021 (31.5%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. Part of Southend on Sea council.

Main population centres: Southend.

Profile: A compact seat tightly drawn around the western part of Southend-on-Sea, a seaside resort at the south-eastern corner of Essex at the end of the Thames estuary. Southend was a popular Georgian sea-side resort, with miles of beaches and the longest pleasure pier in the world, but like many English seaside resorts went into long decline with the growth of overseas package holidays. Tourism is still important, but Southend is also home to London commuters, to HM Revenue and Customs` main VAT office and a campus for Essex University. Southend West is the smaller of the two Southend seats and contains the residential western areas of the town, including Leigh-on-Sea, Prittlewell and Eastwood.

Politics: A safe seat for the Conservatives, often (such as in 2001 and 2005) helped by a relatively even split between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Since 1997 it has been represented by David Amess, who iconically held Basildon for the Tories in 1992, but looked for a safer berth in the 1997 election.

Current MP
DAVID AMESS (Conservative) Born 1952, Plaistow. Educated at St Bonaventure Grammar School and Bournemouth College of Technology. Former recruitment consultant and chairman of an accountancy group. Redbridge councillor 1983-1986. Contested Newham North West 1979. MP for Basildon 1983-1997. First elected as MP for Southend West in 1997. PPS to Michael Portillo 1987-1997. Amess`s election in 1992 was emblematic of the unexpected Conservative victory, as his Basildon seat was one of the first Conservative defended marginals to announce its result.
Past Results
Con: 20086 (46%)
Lab: 5850 (13%)
LDem: 12816 (29%)
UKIP: 1714 (4%)
Oth: 3140 (7%)
MAJ: 7270 (17%)
Con: 18408 (46%)
Lab: 9072 (23%)
LDem: 9449 (24%)
UKIP: 1349 (3%)
Oth: 1552 (4%)
MAJ: 8959 (22%)
Con: 17313 (46%)
Lab: 9372 (25%)
LDem: 9319 (25%)
UKIP: 1371 (4%)
MAJ: 7941 (21%)
Con: 18029 (39%)
Lab: 10600 (23%)
LDem: 15414 (33%)
Oth: 737 (2%)
MAJ: 2615 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAVID AMESS (Conservative) See above.
JULIAN WARE-LANE (Labour) IT consultant and former civil servant. Contested Rayleigh 2005, Castle Point 2010.
PAUL COLLINS (Liberal Democrat)
JEREMY MOSS (English Democrat)
Comments - 90 Responses on “Southend West”
  1. Rob, Joe has a habit of doing satirical predictions & seemingly has an obsession with majorities of 56 votes. Take no notice 🙂

  2. UKIP will get a strong 2nd place here imo

  3. Not so sure. The LDs still have a fair local base here.

  4. Pete Whitehead started it with a swapped result in Kingston and Surbiton – Leadbertter over Davey with all the other 1997 results the same, including the Mountshaft candidate for UKIP.
    hysterical laughter.

  5. UKIP may come second here if they do well in the General Election overall. However it will be a distant second, and they will certainly do less well here than in neighbouring South Essex seats, as this one is much more up market, with a much more solid Conservative base.

    We have agreed on this site that Castle Point is one of the very best UKIP possibilities. Southend East, another unmentioned seat, also holds out chances of a good UKIP result. This seat doesn’t.

  6. Thanks Barnaby. Wasn’t responding specifically to Joe, although I can see how it looked that way. Just throwing my tuppence worth into the thread in this seat I know well. A boring one though.

  7. David Amess has received a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours.

  8. This is actually my ‘home’ constituency (I now live in Hong Kong, but I grew up here, and my parents still live in Leigh- on- Sea). This is overall a fairly nice slice of suburbia, with a very solid Conservative base as other posters have noted. Sir (!) David Amess is not wildly popular but he is regarded as a hard working and conscientious MP nonetheless.

    This is not a typical Essex ‘white van man’ area (a la Basildon or Halow), nor is it particularly deprived or ‘left behind” (like Clacton), so I’m not expecting to see UKIP do particularly well here. There are many commuters to London here who I would have thought are much more resistant to the anti- immigrant, anti- EU message. UKIP may come second but it will be a very distant second.

    In summary, a very comfortable Tory hold at the 2015 election.

  9. David Amess’s question to the PM today was on the subject of Southend being made a city.

  10. ‘David Amess has received a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours.’

    Good for him

    Amess has always struck as one of the more approachable and likeable Tory Parliamentarians and he did well to buck the trend when he was Labour MP for Basildon – both in 1987 and 92

    You certainly couldn’t accuse him of being elitist or out of touch

  11. Tim Jones- you are certainly correct re: the approachability factor. My mother (a Scottish Labour voter who moved to this constituency when she was 21- she’s now 58) teaches at one of the local primary schools, which is subjected to regular ‘state visits’ by Amess. She has always found him courteous and unaffected- if a little loud and rather…common, frankly. His reputation as an assiduous local MP is well established however, and, as you say, he certainly isn’t some elitist, snobby old Etonian MP. I have always felt that he would perhaps still be a better fit for the Basildon/ Romford/ Harlow areas of Essex, but nonetheless he has done well here.

    I have to take issue with your assertion that he ‘bucked the trend’ in Basildon in 1987 and 1992. If anything, he exemplified the trend in those two elections. His narrow win in Basildon in ’92, one of the first marginals to declare, gave notice that the Tories were very likely to secure an overall majority (which was not predicted by the exit polls).

  12. the swing in basildon in 1992 was distinctly less than the national average.

  13. As Tristan points out, perhaps ‘buck the trend’ was the wrong phrase but he did well to hold what looked like a nailed-on Labour gain and back in 92 he was one of a rare breed of comprehensively-educated right wing Essex MPs

    The county is full of such types now

  14. though the swing to labour was indeed below average, the tories would still have won even if the swing had been up with the national average.

  15. Conservative Hold. 11,000 maj.

  16. 2020

    McGuinness, Natasha (LD) 16,411
    *Amess (Con) 16,355
    Helmer (UKIP) 12,414
    Winterton (Lab) 5,781
    Ike (Green) 2,133
    Jenkin (Ind Con) 434

    Con gain from LD
    Majority 56

  17. Food blogger and Katie Hopkins lawsuit-bringer Jack Monroe is standing here (I think) as an independent. She previously appeared in a Labour PPB under Ed Miliband then joined the #GreenSurge. A different time.

  18. Long time no see MrNameless

  19. I can’t see many people pondering between Monroe and Amess so I’d think all she’ll do is split what opposition there is and bolster his majority.

  20. UKIP Cllr James Moyies has defected to the Conservatives here (via the Southend Independence Group).

  21. Labour Cllr Judith McMahon (Kursaal ward) has resigned from the Party to sit as an Ind.

    She cited dissatisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn and said his supporters were, “chasing an ideology of a past age.”

  22. Kursaal Ward is in Southend East I think. I am Pedantic.

  23. One day this will become a Labour seat- Rochford and Southend East next door will probably go first.

  24. Not sure about this one. I could see Rochford and Southend East falling if a majority Labour goverment happens.

  25. Both Southend seats swung by 5% to Labour. It’s another case of more urban seats moving in their direction, even without additional factors such as a significant ethnic minority population or a University.

    But with Majorities of 21% here and 12% in East it may be some time before an actual Labour gain.

  26. This is my ‘home’ constituency (albeit I only visit occasionally these days). This seat is quite a bit more middle class than Southend East, with some very nice residential areas. It’s much harder to envisage this seat going Labour under any circumstances really, other than a total wipeout for the Tories.

  27. My mother grew up and went to a nearby boarding school in Southend after moving from Brighton, her father owned a B&B and a staunch Tory; her mother joked that their votes cancelled each other out. She returned after University and I’d probably have been born here if we hadn’t moved so my brothers could attend Heathland’s School for the Deaf.

  28. Sir David Amess MP has been stabbed multiple times at his constituency surgery today.

  29. David later died; very sad news, beyond words. Unbelievable this could happen. Police are looking at it as potential terrorism. Did the suspect live in Southend?

    I suppose there will be a by-election in due course, I wonder if the other major parties will contest it?

  30. I read somewhere that Labour have said they won’t contest it.

  31. Apparently the Lib Dems won’t either.

  32. Given the Tories (and Lib Dems) didn’t contest Batley and Spen in 2016, I can’t imagine Labour or the Lib Dems contesting this by election.

  33. Hi everyone. This site really has pretty much died hasn’t it. There were no posts at all between August and the death of James Brokenshire a few weeks ago. A sad end for what used to be a great site, once full of fiercely argued debate (sometimes bad tempered but always interesting and thought-provoking), real knowledge and expertise, characters across the political spectrum. Various councillors, candidates and even a few MPs posted here regularly. The main site kept going for some time after the rot set in here, but even that hasn’t been updated now since the May elections.

    A parable for our times perhaps, as people have switched off from paying much attention to conventional politics in their droves in the last few years (to the current advantage of Boris).

    It looks like the wicked murder of David Amess is being used as cover to justify banning anonymous social media comments, presumably including most of those here, so will that be the final final nail in the coffin? If so, RIP UKPR. I must say, I can’t see how banning anonymous social media contributions would have done anything to prevent a maniac Islamist but there we are.

  34. Nice to see you again here, HH. Yes, the constituency comments section has certainly gone dead – I never really looked at the rest of the site. I wonder if the fact Anthony hasn’t updated the profiles since the 2015 election has something to do with it. I know a lot of people use the Vote 2012 boards, but I think I could be one addicted to that quite easily, hence I haven’t registered.

    You are completely right in your assessment of the reaction to David’s death. The two issues are separate and should not be conflated. I can see the need for less online anonymity, but banning it altogether seems excessive. UKPR is a fairly civilised place, and if it’s moderated, there’s nothing wrong with some of us using pseudonyms – we don’t all feel comfortable using our real names. It’s those using their anonymity to send abuse who need clamping down on.

  35. The site does seem to have died a death – and a pretty slow one at that. It’s disappointing, not lest as there’s been a new set of boundary proposals recently published and Tory sleaze has returned to be headline news – always one of the my favourite topics!

    I used to enjoy they keyboard debates with the likes of Shaun Bennett, Barnaby Marder, and the multitude of Joe’s amongst others, and I remember Pete Whitehead in particular being a font of all knowledge when it came to constituency particulars. It’s fairly ludicrous that people like him and Barnaby aren’t on the boundary commission as its fairly unlikely any member currently on the board knows as much as they do.

    Even when they all left you still could rely on pertinent political observations from the likes of TradeMark, Hemmelig, Polltroll, Tristam – who stuck around a little longer.

    With no updates post-2015, I guess from a research point if view it’s no longer a particularly useful source of material and thus visits will be far less frequent than they once were.

  36. I agree with both Tim and HH that it’s a great shame that this site has died a death. To be honest it does seem that Anthony is too busy to update the site so it is hardly surprising that the rest of us have (eventually) followed his lead!

    There’s still quite a lot of action on the main site for those that can stomach it.

    Hope everyone is well. Even Lancs Observer 🙂

  37. Sadly Tristan spoke too soon, Anthony has confirmed that the entire site is soon to be closed down.

    Adding to Tim’s name dropping aka “where are they now?”….Joe James B (formerly a centre-ish Tory) seems to have swung significantly to the right and has been posting masses of anti lockdown stuff on FB right through COVID. Meeting the infamous Maxim Parr Reid in person was perhaps a personal highlight though perhaps inevitably that turned out very badly. You may or may not be surprised that he is now a dripping wet pro European Lib Dem who is way to my left, he still can’t go back in time and un-vote for Brexit though, much as he would like to. Take care everyone.

  38. Nice to see you mention me Tim, that raised a smile. Even if I did vehemently disagree with you at times, I still enjoyed reading your contributions, and those from other seasoned observers, like the ones you mentioned.

    Shame the site is being closed down, I suppose it’s one less distraction for me but still…

    How funny that the archetypal Toryboy himself, MPR, has become such a liberal. I remember seeing a photo of him in Radio Times from his University Challenge appearance. Still can’t get over him ramping the chances of seats like Westminster North going blue in 2020 due to the “Boris factor”!

    I hope you are all well. I think I’ve only knowingly met one UKPR commenter in person, Barnaby Marder at the 2015 Labour conference in Brighton. We got chatting at a conference fringe event in a pub quite by chance. He lived up to my expectations!

  39. The site is still open. It seems. My favourites? Shaun, Hemmelig, Max, Matt W and that northern Tory git, Lancs Observer. And who could forget Deepthroat and his/her unbelievable success in forecasting election/ref results?

    Merry Christmas one and all.

  40. Apologies, just realised this was Mr Amess’s seat. I would disagree with a good deal of his politics but he was well liked by many, many – especially in Essex. A working class boy from the East End made good & with tons of style – and a good man.

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