2015 Result:
Conservative: 12330 (28%)
Labour: 8468 (19.2%)
Lib Dem: 13652 (31%)
Green: 1230 (2.8%)
UKIP: 7429 (16.8%)
Others: 992 (2.2%)
MAJORITY: 1322 (3%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

Geography: North West, Merseyside. Part of the Sefton council area.

Main population centres: Southport.

Profile: The northern part of Sefton borough council, following the coast up west of South Ribble. Southport is an up-market seaside tourist town, with the second longest pier in Britain and six golf courses. Less brash and more genteel than nearby Blackpool, it has also become a commuter town for Liverpool and Preston.

Politics: A Conservative seat for most of the time since the First World War, it was finally won by the Liberals in 1987 (Ronnie Fearn having previously contested the seat four times) and has since been a marginal Lib Dem/Conservative contest, returning to the Tories in 1992 but being won back by Fearn in 1997.

Current MP
JOHN PUGH (Liberal Democrat) Born 1948, Liverpool. Educated at Prescott Grammar School, Maidstone Grammar School and Durham University. Former RE and philosophy teacher. Sefton councillor 1987-2001, former leader of Sefton councillor. First elected as MP for Southport in 2001.
Past Results
Con: 15683 (36%)
Lab: 4116 (9%)
LDem: 21707 (50%)
UKIP: 2251 (5%)
MAJ: 6024 (14%)
Con: 15255 (37%)
Lab: 5277 (13%)
LDem: 19093 (46%)
UKIP: 749 (2%)
Oth: 827 (2%)
MAJ: 3838 (9%)
Con: 15004 (36%)
Lab: 6816 (17%)
LDem: 18011 (44%)
UKIP: 555 (1%)
Oth: 767 (2%)
MAJ: 3007 (7%)
Con: 18186 (36%)
Lab: 6125 (12%)
LDem: 24346 (48%)
Oth: 571 (1%)
MAJ: 6160 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAMIEN MOORE (Conservative) Born Cumbria. Educated at University of Central Lancashire. Supermarket manager. Preston councillor.
LIZ SAVAGE (Labour) Born 1973, Liverpool. Educated at St Bedes RC High School and Bradford University. Teacher. West Lancashire councillor since 2011.
JOHN PUGH (Liberal Democrat) See above.
Comments - 441 Responses on “Southport”
  1. When Labour won Sefton Central easily in 2010, against many predictions on this site (in all modesty that was a seat I got right), there were no Labour councillors until after polling day. I think I’m right in saying that there are no Labour councillors here at the moment, though there must be a great likelihood of some being elected next year.

  2. I must point out that the Lib Dem vote didn’t collapse – McGuire won just 1,000 votes fewer than Pugh did in 2015.

  3. Good points. The Lib Dem vote didn’t collapse, although it did so in 2015 just like almost everywhere else in the country- coupled with continuing local strength that probably limited the decrease this time even without Pugh’s personal vote being available any longer.

  4. I’ve been looking at Southport on Google maps and there seems to be a lot of large detached housing them. I’ve heard that the town centre has suffered from closures but it doesn’t seem down-and-out in the slightest imo.

  5. Not downandout no I agree but I think at the same time you could appreciate the factors at work having made this area a lot worse for the Tories over the last twenty five years or so- I genuinely believe Southport is starting to exhibit strong characteristics of what a Labour voting town looks like, and there are pockets of deprivation scattered throughout the area that should help them- it is after all a large town, much bigger than say my own hometown of Crosby, for example, which once upon a time was considered the Esher of the North- my word those days have long since been a thing of the dim and distant past. My point is, however, that really Southport isn’t any longer a hotbed for the Tories like it was- I think they really hit the self-destruct button in the 70s/80s but it took until 1987 for them to actually lose it to the hugely popular Ronnie Fearn, Mr. Southport himself, and just about the biggest Liberal name in the area by and large responsible for the party’s strength going back to the early 70s. Also maybe not helping the Tories was their choice of candidate to defend the seat following Ian Percival’s retirement- Nigel Thomas had indeed come fairly close in Carmarthen incredibly in both 1979 and 1983, but I’m not sure he had any local connections? I don’t think Matthew Banks did either, but at least he produced the swing necessary to take it back in 1992.

  6. Longstanding LibDem Cllr & Deputy Group Leader Tony Dawson has been suspended by LibDem HQ for bringing the Party into disrepute.

    He was named as an internet troll in 2013, but the latest allegation relates to a different matter.

  7. Two more Southport Cllrs have left the LibDems to sit as Independents.

    Norwood ward Cllrs Bill and Marianne Welsh have joined Tony Dawson.

    Although there are now 9 Ind Cllrs on Sefton MBC, they sit as 3 different groups!

  8. The above mentioned ex-LD Cllrs Bill and Marianne Welsh have now joined the Labour Group on Sefton MBC.

    (Although Merseymike says that both were ex-Labour who left over Blair and Iraq).

  9. Indeed and they will fancy winning that ward in their new colours if selected.

  10. Interesting council by-election happening here tonight in the Dukes ward caused by the resignation on health grounds of the Conservative Councillor.

    The ward is split – it had been two conservatives and one Lib Dem.
    The Lib Dem quit earlier this year.

    The Lib Dem candidate today seeking to gain a seat off the Conservatives is the former Lib Dem MP John Pugh.

  11. LD – 1680 votes – 56.0% (+28.4%)
    Con – 790 votes – 26.3% (-9.4%)
    Lab – 417 votes – 13.9% (-2.3%)
    UKIP – 69 votes – 2.3% (-13.5%)
    Grn – 45 votes – 1.5% (-3.1%)

    Lib Dem gain from Con.

    (Lib Dems also gained Braunton East in North Devon and Arun in Aldwick West, both from the Conservatives overnight)

  12. Former Southport MP Matthew Banks has pleaded guilty to being more than twice over the drink drive limit, after crashing his Jaguar into a parked camper van where a 71-year-old woman was sleeping. (The woman survived, only suffering minor injuries)

    Police arrested Banks after he was found a few hundred yards away, stumbling away from the scene.

    He pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified (after a two year ban was imposed in February); driving without insurance and guilty to fraud for lying in documents to his insurer. The offence of failing to stop and report the RTC was left on file.

    A full psychiatric report has been requested before sentence is passed on December 13th, as Mr Banks, aged 56, has been said to have been behaving erratically of late.

  13. Worrying to hear of his erratic behaviour; we must hope for his sake that it’s nothing serious or incurable

  14. Losing 2017 LibDem PPC here, Cllr Sue McGuire has resigned as Group Leader and put her house on the market for £400k.

    She’s rumoured to be moving abroad with her (Irish) husband, citing Brexit.

    If it happens, I make that the 8th losing LD PPC from a target who will have emigrated, as did Cllr Colin Eldridge after losing Liverpool Wavertree in 2010.

    Perhaps “LibDems Winning Here” should be changed. “Committed To You for 5 Years” certainly should be!

  15. It’s just one disaster for the Libdems after another and it’s not even 2022 yet.

  16. It was changed it now says standing up for you i think

  17. The Liberal Party has placed ads on Facebook and elsewhere in the North West:

    “To fair and liberal minded folks who believe the LibDem position on Britain exiting the EU is undemocratic & illiberal, there is a home for you in the Liberal Party.

    Together we can make Liberalism great again.”

    In orange with sunburst logo.

    Apparently they plan to stand in Southport, W & L, Rochdale, Cheadle etc. It’ll be interesting how many PPCs they muster. If they return to 1992 levels that could not only stop any LD gains but help to knock out Farron et al.

  18. Just spotted this on Facebook:

    I imagine if I saw it (in a seat which is only 0.5% Jewish), it’s doing the rounds in Finchley, Hendon & Bury S.

  19. My postal vote arrived today. [Incidentally the only potential error I spotted was that they have pre-printed 19 for the year of birth. Not that there will be that many 18 or 19 year olds with postals in this seat, but I imagine if they cross it out the computer won’t scan it]

    I haven’t lived here long enough to get a proper feel for mood in the town and so I’ll still with my 2017 prediction of a Tory win here. The lack of the Brexit Party should see them home.

    Of the leaflets received to date, I actually thought Labour’s looked the most impressive visually, although it’s bar charts were perhaps more for psephologists and might well confuse OAPs here. It said if 1 in 3 Labour voters vote LD the Tory wins by 1,300. But if 1 in 3 LDs go Labour Labour win by 900. All a bit confusing and I’m not even sure it’s accurate. Whilst in Costa awaiting a colleague I heard negatives of all 3 candidates from 2 elderly women. In short they thought the Labour woman was short and dumpy [tbf she is about 5ft even in heels], the LibDem was unknown and the Tory wasn’t very visible. They seemed to long for Ronnie Fearn. Both were churchgoers however and bemoaned the fact that LDs had leafleted them on “the Lord’s Day.”

    I’m told the Southport Party are leafleting even though they aren’t standing, so I can only assume that they’re endorsing the Tory as they did here I think in 2005 and 2017.

    The few people I know how they’re definitely voting are as follows: neighbour A (Labour as he always does presumably even when they polled <10% here), neighbour B (LibDem but she isn't sure why) and myself and my wife (Cons x 2). So in the smallest voxpop ever that may reflect the % here in this 3 way marginal.

  20. Probally a Tory hold but who knows.
    It’s one of the seats where best for Britain recommendation for tatical remain voting is for Labour not the Lib Dems, They predict the Tories are on 40% – Lab about 33% and the Lib Dems about 26-27%.

  21. Southport poll
    Con 43 (+4)
    Lab 35 (+2)
    Lib dem 22 (-4)

  22. I have Southport as a fairly comfortably hold for CON.

  23. Same. But I think it will be one of those seats that in 2024/2029/2034 if the Tories lose power they will lose.

  24. There was a suggestion in one of the local LD blogs that Labour had pretty well given up here. Don’t think the LDs are trying that hard either, so likely Tory hold.

  25. The forecast for Polling Day is:

    Usual temperature for the time of year (7C), but wet, windy with sleet for the NW coast and parts of Scotland.

  26. Turnout was high at my polling station: I made a point of asking and got lucky (he even offered to get his calculator out – probably assuming I was a candidate – to check how much it was up on this time last time). In some years, the staff look clueless when you ask that!

    The weather certainly hasn’t put off pensioners. The forecast has actually improved here: meant to be dry between 4pm – 7pm (for the after school/work surge).

  27. Its meant to be wet here all day in Sheffield but its supposed to be improving

  28. I think people forget that it isn’t ‘the first Winter election in 100 years’ as Lucy Meacock just said.

    We had that in Feb 1974 and it was colder.

  29. Yep I said exactly the same when she said it. Poorly informed presenters nowadays.

  30. I hate this time of the day (all day really). Turnout figures don’t necessarily mean a lot. I mean we can tell that Wandsworth looks good and perhaps good for Labour but London isn’t likely to decide the election.

    “Red wall” I haven’t a clue whether that would be good or bad for Labour- could be bad if it is repeating “get brexit done” higher turnouts in 2016, could be good if it’s trad Labour voters keeping Johnson out. In any normal election high turnout in “red wall” would probably be good for Labour and all the working class/left behind who have moved to will not vote come back to Labour but in a Brexit election who knows?

    Polls have to be a long way out for there not to be Tory majority tonight- more out than in 2017.

  31. It’s the calm before the storm once that exit poll is released at 10.

  32. This is the only seat I have spotted so far where the Labour vote share went up.

  33. Happened in several London seats, among them Chingford, Bermondsey, and of course Putney which Labour took from the Tories.

  34. Labour’s vote share went up in Portsmouth South as the Lib Dem share continues to decline. The Conservatives stayed static.

  35. I think you posted this on the wrong seat but thanks anyway.

    Yes. I believe that the only other C to LAB swings were READING EAST, LEEDS NE and CARDIFF NORTH.

    There were also an unusual LD to LAB swing in BERMONDSEY. As in the case of CARDIFF N & LEEDS NE, the candidates to suffer were Muslim candidates. Perhaps a sign that parts of the population heard the Johnson dog whistle.

  36. Add PUTNEY ofc

  37. Also BATTERSEA!

  38. Shevii – AFAIK Labour said their vote was up in 30 seats but not checked whether they meant % or votes. Both fell in every Lpool seat (but then it had surged in 2017).

    Here, I’m told Tories underperformed on the day (c 40%) but must have got 50% in the postal. Plus usually Labour voters here vote LD to keep the Tory out; but, this time some voted Cons to keep the Remainer LD out.

    This seat actually becomes safe under the Boundary proposals: from memory it gains 3 West Lancs wards such as Banks and Tarleton. So I’ll no longer be on the v edge of the new seat.

    Also spotted that Cons missed out on 9 seats by 100 votes from Weaver Vale to Coventry, so could have been a majority of 100.

  39. Imagine going back to 2015 and being told that Labour would have just over 200 seats in December 2019, and Putney and Battersea would be among them

  40. Yes, it’s a shame bookies wouldn’t allow doubles, as I wanted to bet on eg Canterbury Lab & Ashfield Cons; Cheltenham Cons & Edin LD.

    Apparently it would have been 800/1 for Leigh, Redcar & Hyndburn in a Tory treble!

    Just spotted that H’s new MP is 24 and Redcar’s is 25!

  41. Quite sensible that bookies don’t allow accumulator for politics because the results of varying seats aren’t independent. If Leigh and Redcar have turned blue, then it’s pretty clear that the red wall has been breached and Hyndburn is pretty likely to go as well.

  42. It isn’t sensible.

    They offer 1 million to one accas on every other field.

    I picked an extreme example but most seat trebles in this GE would have only paid out 4/1. In fact you’ve just prompted me to email them to request multiples next time.

  43. If they have any sense they won’t offer them.

    Sports results are statistically independent. Political results are statistically correlated.

  44. Yes…in the industry its known as a ‘related contingency’. Same reason why a treble wouldn’t normally be allowed (using the individual prices) on a football team winning the Premier, FA Cup and League Cup in a season.

  45. Talking of boundary changes. Boris gained 5 seats on Thursday that won’t exist in the next election

  46. PT – not wholly.

    eg You can bet on Dettori winning all races that day: indeed someone did and won £250k.

    deepthroat – but that’s not true either. 3 bookies offered that treble Liverpool for example.

    [I can’t complain anyone – I received a prompt reply that it should indeed have been offered and next time, I should ring up and just ask for a price from a dealer/manager as the person answering may not be aware]

  47. Stalybridge and Hyde had a non white tory whose vote share declined by 0.1 (the tories probably glad as his dad was the suspended for antisemtism candidate in Leeds North east.) 7

    I do wonder if a non white tory allowed labour to hold Alyn and Deeside.

  48. And Halifax – tory share dropped there.

  49. Lancs..You’re wrong.

    I’m not saying you can’t get a price on a team doing a treble but not at the individual prices. It would have to be a special price. So if a team was 16/1 & 20/1 to win the FA Cup and League Cup, no bookie is going to offer you 356/1 (16×20 ). It would be no.than approx 100/1. This is because if that team is good enough to win one cup they are good enough to win the other.

  50. If you try to do doubles, trebles, accas like this on bookies website the site won’t allow it.

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