South Ribble

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24313 (46.4%)
Labour: 18368 (35.1%)
Lib Dem: 2312 (4.4%)
UKIP: 7377 (14.1%)
MAJORITY: 5945 (11.4%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Part of South Ribble council area, part of West Lancashire and part of Chorley.

Main population centres: Leyland, Penwortham, Eccleston, Croston, Hesketh Bank, Longton, Mawdesley.

Profile: The major settlements are Leyland and Penwortham. Penwortham stands on the opposite bank of the River Ribble to Preston, and is effectively the outer suburbs of Preston. Leyland is a manufacturing town best known for the former British Leyland automobile company. One of the successor companies that emerged from Leyland DAF`s bankrupcy in 1993 continues to operate in the town as Leyland Trucks, employing 1000 people and producing over 20000 trucks a year. As well as the two major settlements the seat also contains many smaller villages between Preston and Southport.

Politics: A key marginal between Labour and the Conservatives. It was won by the Conservatives on its creation in 1983, gained by Labour in 1997 and retaken by the Tories in 2010.

Current MP
SEEMA KENNEDY (Conservative) Educated at Westholme School and Cambridge University. Former solicitor. St Albans councillor since 2014. Contested Ashton under Lyne 2010. First elected as MP for South Ribble in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 23396 (45%)
Lab: 17842 (35%)
LDem: 7271 (14%)
UKIP: 1895 (4%)
Oth: 1054 (2%)
MAJ: 5554 (11%)
Con: 18244 (38%)
Lab: 20428 (43%)
LDem: 7634 (16%)
UKIP: 1205 (3%)
MAJ: 2184 (5%)
Con: 17594 (38%)
Lab: 21386 (46%)
LDem: 7150 (15%)
MAJ: 3792 (8%)
Con: 20772 (38%)
Lab: 25856 (47%)
LDem: 5879 (11%)
Oth: 1249 (2%)
MAJ: 5084 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Ribble South

2015 Candidates
SEEMA KENNEDY (Conservative) Educated at Westholme School and Cambridge University. Solicitor. St Albans councillor since 2014. Contested Ashton under Lyne 2010.
VERONICA BENNETT (Labour) Educated at Sacred Heart College and Cambridge University. Caseworker for Bill Esterson. Sefton councillor since 2012.
SUE MCGUIRE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1964. Educated at Tarleton High School and Newcastle University. Director of a software company. Sefton councillor since 2006.
DAVID GALLAGHER (UKIP) Educated at Nottingham University. Chartered insurer and translator.
Comments - 176 Responses on “South Ribble”
  1. Thanks Alan. I’ve seen the video of the declaration for your seat that you uploaded to YouTube BTW.

  2. What did you think of said declaration video, The Results?

  3. Interesting to say the least- especially given there were a few candidates not present as you said.

  4. I actually think a Lib Dem candidate will as a general rule avoid the count in their own seat like the plague if they’re standing as a paper candidate in a no hope seat to simply make up the numbers, since a lot will probably just assume they’ve lost their deposit in any case; not wanting to be humiliated in public when their figures are announced, and having to make a speech thanking what few voters supported them, and what makeshift campaign team or lack of they had in a seat with a barren local party.

  5. Barnaby, you are right that Penwortham was in South Fylde until 1983, along with Longton, Hutton and Hoole. 1983 was a nightmare election here from a Labour point of view trying to canvass a third of the seat which had just been moved from the safest seat in Britain into what we hoped was a marginal but where in the event Labour did well to keep the LibDem in third place.

    At local level Penworthan is very volatiile. in the 1980s Labour had difficulty getting any seats from ther Tories, but in the 1990s there was a sweep of LibDem gains.

    If you are local, Penwortham is not all the same. Lower Penwortham includes Middleforth Green, which has some late Victorian overflow from Preston, as well s the Knigsfold council estate (as was). Upper Penwortham, around the Church has thirties middle class overflow from Preston. In between there is a mass of, modestly quite small, later twentieth century housing which is typically marginal suburbia.

  6. Penwortham at local level has been swings and roundabouts,

    the best way to look at it is to view the two lancashire county seats,

    penwortham north and penwortham south, as they follow parish and borough wards,

    Penwortham North – County seat
    consists of
    Howick and Priory Ward (recently amalgamates with whitefield ward)
    Broad Oak ward,

    this is near enough everything north of the penwortham bypass, it does include a small section opposite booths and one side hill road south though,

    then Penwortham South – county seat
    consists of
    Middleforth ward (formerly 2 separate wards, kingsfold and middleforth)
    Charnock ward.

    before the last election there were boundary changes,

    Penwortham North County seat has been held by the Liberal Democrats since 2001, prior to that it was solid conservative for years.

    Howick and Priory ward and Broad oak ward and its many prior wards in that area before boundary changes, have changed hands between the liberal democrats and the conservatives at town and borough level since the mid 90’s, the liberal democrats made gains in these wards in the 90’s up until 2003 where they wiped the conservatives out.

    Since 2007 the conservatives gained back many of these seats in a local landslide, but have never managed to get rid of the liberal democrats in penwortham north. 1 at borough level and up to 4 at town level have always remained the lowest.

    Its mainly a lib dem vs tory in penwortham north, labour have more or less come third or worse at most elections locally, even in the landslide years nationally they came 2nd a few times.

    Penwortham South County seat has mainly been a labour stronghold for years, but lost it to the conservatives in 2009, then gained it back in 2014.

    The kingsfold and middleforth wards again are mainly labour strong holds but the conservatives won these borough seats and at town level during their landslide on the borough in 2007. They over the past two elections have now all returned to labour control.

    Charnock ward however has always been a conservative stronghold, not sure if it was labour in the past, but as far as 1995 or 1999 local elections it has on records been conservative, up until labour won it at the 2015 local elections.

    Current make up in penwortham as a whole at the moment is as follows –

    Penwortham North County 1x seat – 1 Lib Dem
    Howick and Priory Borough 3x seats – 2 Con 1 Lib Dem
    Howick and Priory Town Council 5x seats – 5 Lib Dem
    Broad Oak Borough 2x Seats – 1 Con 1 Lib Dem
    Broad Oak Town Council 4 x seats – 4 Lib Dem

    Penwortham South County 1x seat – 1 Labour
    Middleforth borough 3 x seats – 3 Labour
    Middleforth town council 5x seats – 5 Labour
    Charnock borough 2x seats – 2 Labour
    Charnock town council 4x seats – 4 Labour

    Liberal Democrats and Labour make up the 18 seats on the town council, with whoever is mayor having the casting vote, this year and next the mayors are Liberal Democrat. Although at local level they both get on quite well.

    Prior to this election the conservatives had the most seats on the town council since 2007.

    On the borough council the conservatives still hold the majority for the whole of the borough, but when sectioned down to ‘forum’ areas for the borough, labour and lib dems out number them.

    A lot of cross voting at general elections happened in this area, with labour when a general election falls on the same day as local elections, they generally do a lot better.

    When its not a general election the liberal democrats and conservatives tend to do better.

    Hope thats enough in depth detail in Penwortham for you!

  7. Thanks for the very detailed information, PRDevoMax.

    In 1983 the Charnock Ward as then constituted, at that time a one member Ward, was actually gained by Labour from the Conservatives n the South Ribble Borough Council elections.

    In 1983 Labour did considerably worse in South Ribble at the General Election than in the local elections a month earlier. Voters locally particularly hated Labour’s anti-nuclear defence policy because many of them worked at BAe. It didn’t do any good to say that if the nuclear submarines were scrapped there could be more money for conventional weapons.

  8. Indeed, Labour won Basildon easily in the May 1983 local elections for example.

  9. Mawdesley, a tiny, commuter enclave in the middle of nowhere in West Lancashire is the most Tory place in the country. The population is tiny but voter turnout is high and almost 100% Tory.

  10. This seat is within the quota for the proposed boundary changes. It is difficult to see why impartial Boundary Commissioners should seek to change it.

    The actual proposals involve taking the rural West of the consituency into a seat crossing the boundary with Merseyside, involving highly debatable revision of the boundary with Southport.

    Replacement of the rural Western wards of South Ribble with part of the Bamber Bridge area is likely to make this seat a better prospect for Labour, albeit in their current low state Labour might not get past the winning post here.

    Somebody with a nasty mind might woder if the “impartial” Boundary Commissioners have it in for Southport.

    The initial propsals for this seat are likely to attract major challenges by objectors wishing to keep the status quo.

  11. Walton-le-Dale East Ward By-election Result:

    Conservative 359 49% (-5%)
    Labour 262 36% (-9%)
    LD 106 15% (+15%)

    Cons Hold.

  12. Conservatives have won control of Lancs.

  13. Very good majority increase here for the Tories in a semi-marginal South Lancashire seat. Strong incumbent perhaps?

  14. Yes, and I think there is a slight drift to the Conservatives here- the results since 2005 have been consistently strong.

  15. Compare this seat’s recent trajectory with neighbouring Chorley and West Lancashire, which both last had Conservative MPs in the 90s- this area looks as though it’s got even better for the Tories and probably looks more to Wyre and Preston North in terms of voting patterns. There must be a commuter element at work here for the people who are employed in Preston itself but likely live in Penwortham, Hesketh Bank or one of the many villages?

  16. I suspect the main driver is the improving Conservative vote in wwc Leyland. Penwortham has, if anything, got a bit better for Labour iirc.

    Wyre & Preston North was a pretty comfortable Conservative win but Labour does well in the Preston suburb of Fulwood these days.

  17. Councillors here have voted against a proposal to ban them from drinking alcohol whilst on official business.

    Cllr Paul Wharton proposed the ban after “two councillors turned up smelling of alcohol” at full council last month.

    [I’m used to Groups going for drinks after full Council but hadn’t realised some drink during their caucus before they vote]

  18. People shouldn’t be turning up drunk. Official Business is quite broad in being a councillor. I often got dragged on ‘official business’ as a child with no one else to look after me. It often meant spending time in the car while mum visited a constitent on some planning matter. Not overly sure if sge was offered a drink while she was there idk or if there were drinks at the opening of the bowls club when visiting on ‘official business’

  19. Just about every workplace prevents you from drinking during office hours now. However, I suspect that in many workplaces, there are people over the limit while at work quite frequently.

    There were random drug & alcohol tests when I was working at a building site, and failures were surprisingly common. They mostly came on Friday morning, where people still had booze in their bloodstream from the night before. (Many people lived too far away to commute, so they stayed in hotels during the week and had long drives home on a Friday, so Thursday became the day for after-work do’s.)

  20. True. I realised MPs had subsidised booze on the taxpayer at Westminster, but I had thought Cllrs merely got tea and biscuits for free.

    Perhaps with it being December they’d had a Christmas meal or boozy lunch pre-Council meeting (at their own expense – well sort of).

  21. I’m not sure if it’s directly linked, but a friend of mine, a former Labour PPC who now lives in the area and stood for election in the locals last year and a by-election shortly before Christmas, has linked on Facebook to some proper in-fighting here as a result of inflammatory comments / social media posts by a councillor who was thrown out of the Labour group and now sits as an Independent.

  22. Hesketh with Becconsall (West Lancashire) result:

    CON: 41.2% (-18.5)
    LAB: 34.9% (+4.0)
    IND: 23.8% (+23.8)

    Conservative HOLD.

    No LDem (-9.3) as prev.

  23. Seema Kennedy has been made a junior health Minster.

  24. Has Theresa May appointed a new PPS yet?

  25. She has had two for a while so Andrew Bowie (MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) will be her only one I suspect until the end of premiership.

  26. Ecclestone & Mawdsley ward by-election, 04.07.19:

    Caused by the death of a Cons Cllr aged, 71. The victor is his widow.

    Cons 1,055 63% + 17%
    Lab 611 37% -3%

    (No UKIP this time)

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