South Suffolk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 27546 (53.1%)
Labour: 10001 (19.3%)
Lib Dem: 4044 (7.8%)
Green: 2253 (4.3%)
UKIP: 7897 (15.2%)
Others: 166 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 17545 (33.8%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Suffolk. The whole of the Babergh council area and two wards from the St Edmundsbury council area.

Main population centres: Sudbury, Hadleigh.

Profile: A long rural seat, stretching horizontally along Suffolk`s border with Essex, from the Shotley penisula south of Ipswich, through the Dedham Vale area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and westwards to Sudbury. The main population centres are the two historic market towns of Sudbury and Hadleigh and the villages clustered around the fringes of Ipswich, like Sproughton and Pinewood.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, represented by the Conservative frontbencher Tim Yeo between 1983 and his retirement in 2015.

Current MP
JAMES CARTLIDGE (Conservative) Born London. Educated at Manchester University. Former businessman and former journalist. Babergh councillor since 2013. Contested Lewisham Deptford 2005. First elected as MP for Suffolk South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 24550 (48%)
Lab: 7368 (14%)
LDem: 15861 (31%)
UKIP: 3637 (7%)
MAJ: 8689 (17%)
Con: 20471 (42%)
Lab: 11917 (24%)
LDem: 13865 (28%)
UKIP: 2454 (5%)
MAJ: 6606 (14%)
Con: 18748 (41%)
Lab: 13667 (30%)
LDem: 11296 (25%)
UKIP: 1582 (3%)
MAJ: 5081 (11%)
Con: 19402 (37%)
Lab: 15227 (29%)
LDem: 14395 (28%)
Oth: 211 (0%)
MAJ: 4175 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JAMES CARTLIDGE (Conservative) Born London. Educated at Manchester University. Businessman and former journalist. Babergh councillor since 2013. Contested Lewisham Deptford 2005.
JANE BASHAM (Labour) Educated at Gravesend Grammar and Suffolk College. Former Chief Executive of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality. Contested Suffolk police commissioner 2010.
GRACE WEAVER (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 186 Responses on “Suffolk South”
  1. “also ‘wet’ Tories are realising that the Conservative party is no longer representing them by pursuing UKIP so some will go LD.”

    Utter horseshit. As several others have said upthread, there is no evidence whatsoever for that assertion in any of the polling since 2010.

    There is no reason for wet Tories to be displeased with this government. It is led by a wet Tory, in coalition with an even wetter Liberal Democrat. It’s plausible though not that likely that the Lib Dems might pick up the odd Tory seat if enough Tory voters go to UKIP. Though the chance of the Lib Dems directly picking up Tory votes is pretty non existent.

  2. There is going to be LD/Con switching in either direction, though as I said, I can’t argue that the net effect will be a weighty shift to the Tories.

  3. *won’t be

  4. HH – I agree with you. Does any other species of animal dropping deserve to be used as an insult? We should at least have some pigshit or bullshit for variety.
    There are bound to be some voters who will desert the Tories for the LDs but the numbers will be minuscule of course and they may well be outweighed by those going in the other direction. My best mate for example voted LD (for the first time ever in a general election) having always voted Conservative before, except once in a local election when he got drunk the night before, promised his vote to his local LD candidate, and being a man of honour kept his promise the next day. (The Tories still won anyway.). But he now tells me the LDs are a bunch of wankers & he’ll vote Conservative. There will be a few others who were caught up in the so-called Cleggasm who will do the same.

  5. That’s what I was saying Barnaby- the LD/Con switching overall will be heavily towards the Tories, but mitigated slightly by voters going in the other direction.

  6. Well maybe just for windsofchange’s posts we could use the droppings of a different animal….how about bat shit, which is quite apt as winds seems blinder than a bat when it comes to seeing poll evidence.

    I am myself a “wet Tory” so can perhaps speak with a tiny bit of authority on this subject. Despite being inevitably irritated by some things the government has done, overall I remain a supporter, and there are some issues where I believe the input of the Lib Dems has been very valuable. Wet Tories basically have exactly the kind of government they believe in right now so it will be they who stay loyal in 2015 and the Shaun Bennett wing of the party in unknown numbers may go to UKIP.

    For me there are a couple of red lines, which if the Tory party crossed it would not get my vote next time. One would be a commitment to withdraw from the EU. Due to this I probably wouldn’t vote for them either if they did a deal with UKIP, though it’s not necessarily a given. I don’t see these lines are in any danger of being crossed however.

  7. Prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 45%
    Liberal Democrat- 25%
    Labour- 18%
    UKIP- 10%
    Others- 2%

  8. Being centrist is where the Tories achieved success, yet they are veering right to try to combat UKIP. Ineffective badger culls, attacks on social and environmental levies on energy bills, vans telling immigrants to go home… these are issues that large groups of voters care strongly about, yet the Tories diverge from public opinion to attack a splinter group of the far right they’d be much more electable by dropping anyway.

    This is what leads me to suspect these drops in Tory support. The further right the Tories go, the more they diverge from public opinion. Crosby’s plan is seeing far right policy permeate Conservative policy every day now.

    This is going to cause a growing gulf in the types of voters the Tories will be able to attract. Tory support will drop back to somewhere between 2001 and 2005 levels in quite a few seats as a consequence I would expect.

  9. I’m shocked by the complete lack of basic knowledge or insight by some posters here. I will not single out anyone in particular but I will make some basic points to my Tory supporting friends:

    1) You did not win the last election – you should stop behaving like you did. To win the next election you need to attract voters who voted for other parties to the left of the Tory party or, an even harder prospect, non-voters. What makes you think by going further right you will attract people who voted for parties to the left of you? Are you suggesting that they voted Labour or Lib Dem last time because the Tories weren’t rightwing enough? Or are you saying they are stupid, presumably the 16% of the population with sub-normal IQ, who will suddenly think to themselves, “I was stupid last time. I voted Labour/Lib Dem but I actually wanted an even more rightwing party than the Tories. Now the Tories have moved right I’ll vote for them!”

    2) Lord Ashcroft’s polls show that for every vote you gain from UKIP by shifting right you lose 4 centrist voters to Lib Dem or Labour. That’s a net loss of 3 votes!

    3) YouGov polls consistently show that the 2010 Lib Dem vote is split roughly equally three ways for next time: Lib Dem; Labour and Don’t Know. Hardly any are shifting to the Tories.

    4) Local Tories here have sent a clear message. If you care about the environment or are vaguely sensible about the EU you are not welcome in the Tory party. The Tory party is moving to Republican Party style litmus tests. That is a core vote strategy and will not win you an election just like it didn’t win you an election in 2001 or 2005.

    For these reasons I think the most likely outcome at the next election is a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party.

  10. BigD.. great post.. one of the most thoughtful analyses in here of this issue…

  11. Big D- I don’t quite know at whom you were directing that post. I, for one, have made very clear my view that the likeliest outcome of the next election is a hung parliament with Labour the largest party. Other Conservative-minded posters like H Hemmelig have expressed similar views so far as I can see.

  12. Neil (though I realise he’s an ex-Tory) and Joe R spring to mind.

  13. Big D- I thought your post was interesting. I agree that it would be electorally damaging for the Conservatives to move rightwards, if by moving rightwards you mean implementing the chilly neoliberal agenda of people like Dominic Raab and Adrian Beercroft. But if, by moving rightwards you mean culling badgers and abolishing environmental levies, I don’t think it will make much difference either way. It may irk a few urban ABs but they are viscerally anti-Conservative anyway. I don’t think most voters have terribly strong views about government environmental policy.

  14. It’s hard to see why ditching deeply unpleasant individuals like Tim Yeo will do the Tories any harm, if indeed that is what actually happens.

  15. Not just the environmental policy but the compassionate Big Society policy and traditional conservationist outlook of 2010 Cameron all contributed massively to a holistic, untoxic, electable image. These have been de-constructed and made to look like lies by the actions of the Government- I don’t need to point out examples, they are both numerous and obvious. I contend that this was the biggest factor in the Tories’ success, so remove that, and the Tories will return to pre-2010 levels. Add in a de-toxifying Labour image and unsavoury Lib Dems, and Labour looks an even better choice in comparison. This will damage the coalition’s polling further. I say this as someone who views them all to be comparably poor.

  16. Unfair to Dominic Raab there. he has been the most prominent critic of NSA spying on the government benches (and I include the rather stony silence from the LibDems – excepting Huppert)..

  17. I was referring to Raab’s co-authorship of ‘Britannia Unchained’, a book which appears to conceive of people simply as economic units.

  18. all economists talk about units… housing units, energy units, economic units… Marxists love workers as units… why shouldn’t neoliberals?

  19. Big D – I thought Yeo was more interested in his own environment and bank balance? The centre ground can move. Even Cameron seems to slowly be realising this.

  20. BigD

    – I totally agree with your analysis. A hung parliament with labour as the largest party is what I expect. I might seem like a tory ramper, but in reality that is just compared to the ludicrously low tory predictions by some on here that would result in a 1997 style victory – which we know is very unlikely to happen.

  21. I’m not sure that anyone here’s predicting that, except our occasional uberBlairite visitor “Bob”. Most predict an outcome somewhere between a Labour majority of 30ish & a Tory one of 15ish. Like you Joe I sit in between those figures, and at the moment think your predicted share of the vote is not a million miles from mine. I see Labour as the largest party at present, not very far from a majority, but just a few seats short of one. Pete seems to be one of those who thinks the Tories will hold on to more of their marginals than most on here – for example he thinks they will hold Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, which would really surprise me a great deal unless the Tories are in a very clear lead over Labour of at the very least 5%.

  22. Yes, the double incumbency is rather cancelled out by the large LD vote.

  23. I wonder what number of seats Labour would need to govern without the LDs. Could they perhaps rely on the SDLP, and do some sort of non-aggression pact with certain minor parties such as Plaid Cymru or the Greens, assuming the latter hold Brighton Pavilion? In my current thinking, I have Labour winning possibly enough to do this, but not quite enough to govern with the support of the SDLP only. That would appear to require 320 seats, assuming that there are 3 SDLP members & 5 Sinn Fein elected. It is conceivable though that the SDLP could win as few as one, though more likely that they will hold all the 3 they currently have. Sinn Fein themselves can’t be assured of holding Fermanagh though I’d be surprised to see a Unionist take it after failing (however narrowly) in 2010. The assumption must be that the DUP would remain in opposition as they are now but what the Alliance & Lady Sylvia Hermon would do (if the former manages to hold Belfast E, which could be very difficult) would be interesting.

  24. I thought the Alliance were strongly allied with the Lib Dems?

  25. They have been previously, but Naomi Long sits on the Opposition benches along with all Northern Ireland MPs. She was not at all keen on the coalition with the Tories, just as was the case with Lady Sylvia.

  26. “I wonder what number of seats Labour would need to govern without the LDs.”

    History shows us that a majority of 30-40 is necessary for a stable one party government to last a full parliament.

    John Major’s overall majority of 21 was not enough to prevent his government losing its majority through by-elections and defections and rapidly turned into a shambles.

    Similarly the 1974-79 Labour government.

    IMO it is absolutely inconceivable that a minority government of either party will last longer than 6 months.

  27. I think it will be very surprising if Naomi Long holds on in E Belfast, especially given the peculiar circumstances in which she won (featuring her being supported by the loyalist paramilitaries) and subsequent events e.g. her stance on the flags issue.

  28. ‘Due to this I probably wouldn’t vote for them either if they did a deal with UKIP, though it’s not necessarily a given. I don’t see these lines are in any danger of being crossed however.’

    If the Tories lose in 2015 I see some kind of right-wing alliance with UKIP is inevitable

    Whereas most of the left leanoing Tories number was wiped out in 97, what remains of a defeated Tory Parliamentary party followeing a defeat in 2015 will be ultra right wing and not so much Euroskepotic but Europhobic – ie favoyring outright withdrawal

    Such a scenario could see 1) the Lib Dems start to rebuild – if they are not involved in a lib/lab coalition government and 2) give credibilty to labour’s inevitable charge that the tories are a bunch of right wing loons

    So as tempting as a future alliance with UKIP sounds, I think it leaves the Tories in a position where the US Republicans currently find themselves – unelectable

  29. We all need to remember that most people don’t follow politics one bit. This hit home to me recently when YouGov found only 9% of people had even heard about the Ed Miliband/Daily Mail bust up (that isn’t the number who knew the details) despite it being on the news for a whole week. So many people now don’t even bother to watch the news. Indeed I’m seen as something of a freak for insisting that I watch the news at least once a day. What the vast, vast, vast majority of people will vote on is what in their gut they think is best for them and their family. It won’t necessarily be based on any firm evidence or an assessment of the parties’ policies but it will (IMHO) be whether they feel any better off than they did last time and who they think will make them better off in the future. The Coalition has been in power when living standards have fallen for the longest period since Victorian times. The only thing that can save them is wages starting to outstrip inflation from literally now until polling day. It won’t be any good it starting to do that in early 2015 as people won’t have felt richer by polling day – most people don’t have a clue what the headline inflation rate is. They will notice if after a few months of a pay rise they can consistently afford to buy more of the things they want. If that happens then I’d expect the Tories to close the gap and probably pull ahead. But not before!

  30. ‘ it will (IMHO) be whether they feel any better off than they did last time and who they think will make them better off in the future.’

    The coaslition better hope that’s nbot the case as if it is they hgaven’t a chance of winning the next election

    The result on 1992 disproves your theory somewhat and highlights the role ‘fear’ can play in affecting peoples votong behaviour

    There weren’t many voters who felt better off in 1992 compared to 1987, yet by running a primarily negative campaign ably helped by their friends in the foreign-owned press, the Tories were able to turn the issue of the campaign into not whjether voters were feeling better off than five yrars ago, but by the perception that they would be even worst off under a Labour government

    And it worked – the Tories got the highest number of votes in their history

    Likewise in this campaign if the Tories can paint Labour as the party that will wreck the recovery (as they will do), it’s a powerful narrative, and until Labour has an answer as to how they will improve poublic services when there’s no money to throw at them, the Tories have a potent line of attack

  31. BigD is of course right. The depressing fact is the majority of people troop down to the polling station on election day and vote for the party they’ve always voted for, and whom their family and friends have always voted for. They would probably laugh at someone like me who solemnly sits down and reads all the party manifestos from start to finish during the election campaign in order to decide which party to support.

  32. @ Tim – 1992 proves my point. I said voters look at whether they are better off compared to last time AND which party will make them better off in the future. Government’s can get re-elected if they fail the first test but pass the second, as the Tories did in 1992. The Tory attack on Labour’s tax policy (even though the £1000 tax bomb shell was only for the top) was very effective. Voters saw it and thought it meant each and every person would be £1000 a year worse off under Labour – quite a large amount in 1992. Labour canvassers reported pensioners on only the state pension telling them they would like to vote Labour but can’t afford £1000 a year extra in tax. It was complete nonsense of course. Labours tax plans would of never required pensioners with only the state pension as income to pay £1000 a year tax but it was highly effective piece of political campaigning – one I take my hat off to!

    Personally I think the second question is more important than the first, as 1992 shows. The average voter tends to be an ungrateful bastards and bank any good deed the Government goes. They only care about the future. What are you going to do for me? Not what have you done for me?

    Of course I’m not necessarily including pure money issues in this better off/worse off calculations. One of the reasons Labour won in 1997 (IMHO) was because even though people were generally much better of than they were in 1992 people believed they would be better off with Labour because improved public services would make them better off – better education for their kids, elderly parents treated faster on the NHS etc – and Labour promised not to raise taxes (I don’t want to debate whether they actually achieved this, I’m just saying that they said this and voters believed them).

  33. ‘One of the reasons Labour won in 1997 (IMHO) was because even though people were generally much better of than they were in 1992 people believed they would be better off with Labour because improved public services would make them better off – better education for their kids, elderly parents treated faster on the NHS etc – and Labour promised not to raise taxes’

    I have always thought it ironic that the Tories got absolutely no cxredit for steering the coumtry to recovery in the mid-90s, courtesy of a very good Chancellor (1993-97)

    Just as ironic as in 1945 – when their leader had almost single handedly won his country a just war, and the result was a landslide defeat

  34. single-handedly? I rather suspect that the Americans, Russians & the British military may have played a part too

  35. ‘I rather suspect that the Americans, Russians & the British military may have played a part too’

    Churchill was easily the best strategist on the allied side in the whole war

    The Russians certainly played their part on the Eastern front and the Americans helped tidy things up later on, but from a British point of view, it was all about Churchill

    Without Churchill it’ds doubtful the allies would have won the war – certainly not before the Americans joined in

    And the whole world should be grateful for that

  36. Gauntlets being thrown down and picked up here.


    Tim Yeo organising for a vote of Conservative party Association members in Jan 2014. Voting papers to be sent out on 20 Jan. Outcome of vote to be ‘binding’.


  37. Seems like Yeo is fighting his deselection.

    One of the articles mentions a membership here of about 600, which seems quite high these days.

  38. some hints that Cameron hopes Yeo will not be deselected.

  39. Some Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) have several hundred members. A few in London have 700-800 members with a few council wards having 200 members alone. However when you go outside Labour’s urban strong holds it get much lower. I know that Corby CLP has less than 200 members. Which surprised me given the strong Labour tradition of Corby town. It is of course a Labour seat now following the recent by-election.

  40. “some hints that Cameron hopes Yeo will not be deselected.”

    It is Cameron’s official policy always to support MPs threatened with deselection, with the exception of those facing criminal charges.

  41. “Some Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) have several hundred members.”

    In 2010 there were 29 CLPs with over 600 members. 20 of them were in London.
    The 9 not London CLPs were: Luton North, Manchester Withington, Oxford East, Cambridge, Brighton Pavilion, Slough, Middlesbrough, Bristol West and Sheffield Central.

    Luton North, Middlesbrough and Slough had awful turnouts in the leadership election. So I suspect some bizarre membership patterns there…Slough CLP is now under special measures, Middlesbrough had a couple of ward branches suspened with local selection taken over by regional party.

    54 CLPs were over 500 members at that time (including Oxford West and Richmond Park).

    “I know that Corby CLP has less than 200 members.”

    Corby had 345 members in 2010. 229 voted in the leadership election.

    IIRC Walsall North won the award for Labour held seats with lowest membership at the time: only 109 people.

  42. I think there’s less than that in Corby now – less than 200 when they selected Andy Sawford.

  43. Andrea – Richmond Park CLP still has well over 500 members but under 600.

  44. @Winds of Change

    The truth about me is that I’m a sort of 21st century pragmatic Social democrat type person who thinks more of less the same way as Ed Miliband about stuff such as economic and environmental sustainability and also life expectancy and pensions.

    I came out nearly bang on where the Dalai Lama is on the scale and I have done plenty of Iyengar yoga classes (including one on Thursday night).

    I have been abroad twice this year. Once to Athens and once to Rome (wwhere I stayed at someone’s apartment who works for the Austrian tourist board). I had my rucksack stolen on a tram when I wasn’t looking in Rome but there was no trouble in the centre of Athens (because ‘begging’ is ‘banned’ there similar to Aberdeen IIRC).

    I can assure people that my political views haven’t really changed over the past 8 and a half years.

    (my mother can also speak fluent Italian and knows a fair bit about publishing (and art history, languages etc.))

    I still have a DEFRA sustainable development indicators in your pocket guide from 2009 as well.

    I do have some time for ‘sensible’ Greens such as you and Robin Harper who justify your opinions properly.

  45. A Brown: why don’t you post these comments somewhere on the VoteUK message forum where they would be better appreciated?

  46. Or perhaps phone a helpline

  47. I was quite puzzled a few months ago to hear that, as an intelligent graduate, A Brown was finding it hard to get a job.

    I have to say I’m a lot less puzzled about that now.

  48. I concede A Brown’s contributions to this site have rather deteriorated into a series of bizarre ramblings. However, if there’s an issue that A Brown’s going through, comments like yours, Runnymede and H.H, are hardly helpful.

  49. Well for our enjoyment of this site it’s hardly helpful to have to wade though all this shit either.

    Plenty of people have given A Brown good advice and Anthony has told him to give it a rest – hopefully he will listen.

  50. I feel for A Brown quite a bit actually.

    I wonder if he has ever tried VoteUK or Political Betting? Regardless, I can understand why he posts the way he does- he’s highly personal about himself, but it’s this very sort of revealing style that I think is of benefit to him and this site, he’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and that takes guts, so I commend him.

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