Sutton & Cheam

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20732 (41.5%)
Labour: 5546 (11.1%)
Lib Dem: 16811 (33.7%)
Green: 1051 (2.1%)
UKIP: 5341 (10.7%)
NHA: 345 (0.7%)
TUSC: 79 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 3921 (7.9%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Sutton council area.

Main population centres: Sutton, Cheam.

Profile: A solidly middle-class suburban seat on the south-western fringe of London.

Politics: Sutton and Cheam was won by the Liberal Democrats in 1997 when a swathe of affluent south-west London swung heavily towards the party, although this was not the first time they had been successful here - the Liberals briefly held the seat between 1972 and 1974 after winning a by-election on a huge swing. It was narrowly retained by the Liberal Democrats in 2010, probably helped by the Observer running a prominent story a couple of days before the election making (strongly denied!) claims that the Conservative candidate, Philippa Stroud, had once founded a church that offered to cure homosexuals. In 2015 it was regained by the Conservatives.

Current MP
PAUL SCULLY (Conservative) Former public affairs consultant. Sutton councillor 2006-2010. First elected as MP for Sutton & Cheam in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 20548 (42%)
Lab: 3376 (7%)
LDem: 22156 (46%)
BNP: 1014 (2%)
Oth: 1414 (3%)
MAJ: 1608 (3%)
Con: 16922 (40%)
Lab: 4954 (12%)
LDem: 19768 (47%)
Oth: 288 (1%)
MAJ: 2846 (7%)
Con: 15078 (38%)
Lab: 5263 (13%)
LDem: 19382 (49%)
MAJ: 4304 (11%)
Con: 17822 (38%)
Lab: 7280 (15%)
LDem: 19919 (42%)
Oth: 287 (1%)
MAJ: 2097 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PAUL SCULLY (Conservative) Public affairs consultant. Sutton councillor 2006-2010.
EMILY BROTHERS (Labour) Head of policy for equalities and human rights commisson.
PAUL BURSTOW (Liberal Democrat) Born 1962, Carshalton. Educated at Carshalton College and South Bank Polytechnic. Campaigns officer of the Association of Lib Dem Councillors. Sutton councillor 1986-2002. Contested Sutton and Cheam 1992. MP for Sutton and Cheam 1997 to 2015. Lib Dem Chief Whip 2006-2010. Minister of State for Care Services 2010-2012.
ANGUS DALGLEISH (UKIP) Born 1950, Harrow. Educated at Harrow County School for Boys and University College London. Consultant oncologist.
MAEVE TOMLINSON (Green) Educated at University of Arts London. Cycle instructor.
DAVE ASH (NHA) Technical manager.
Comments - 279 Responses on “Sutton & Cheam”
  1. It’s not just that actually Andy – I dislike liberalism and have some time for our main opponents – but I wasn’t seeking to reopen all of that.

  2. I have to say JJB, that it’s a shame that we have to actively dislike other parties, I would own up and admit I don’t really like any of the main parties, but that’s alright for me because I don’t support any of them. I understand it must be difficult when you’re a main party member and you have to actually campaign against others in elections and the like.

  3. Quite. It should be about policy and it is a necessary job to offer people a choice.

  4. Hear hear. The saddest thing for me is when you get these horrible negative campaigns mounted against other parties, and I think you’ll realise I’m obviously not referring to your party, I’ll leave it there I think.

    I agree it should be about concentrating on policy, that’s what elections are meant to be fought on- not on who you should like more than the other, that’s more like personality politics, devoid of any meaningful substance I fear. At the end of the day, parties on the ground locally and nationally should be judged on what they stand for, not on trying to get one over their opponents.

  5. It’s interesting, because I’ve always considered myself a small-L liberal, and yet I fairly regularly vote Tory. Funny how that works. Parties are truly quite big-tent affairs.

    To see a truly awfully negative campaign, I would also suggest spending some time in the states. It’s even worse there.

    I’ve never actually been down to Australia, but I hear it gets almost as awful there, as well. I think FPTP contributes greatly to anti-party campaigning, rather than actual policy and ideology-based campaigns.

  6. It’s a shame though because politics isn’t really about that. It’s democratic to disagree with other people, but if you actually set out to intend to make enemies out of your opponents, then that’s another matter altogether.

    I would agree that FPTP sadly increases the apathy and indifference in campaigning as well as voting, which can lead to negativity.

  7. Quite right. I like the voting system they have in New Zealand myself. I think that solves almost all problems, with the list allowing for complete proportional representation, but the constituencies allowing for local representation.

  8. Maeve Tomlinson has been selected as Green Party candidate for Sutton and Cheam.

  9. Burstow will make mincemeat of her

  10. Sorry?

  11. Prediction – Marginal Lib Dem Hold

    Paul Burstow Lib Dem: 19,613
    Paul Scully Conservative: 17,153
    Angus Dalgleish UKIP: 6,064
    Emily Brothers Labour: 3,772
    Maeve Tomlinson Green: 1,155

    Maj: 2,460

  12. Uh…… is there something I’m missing?

  13. Major party candidates:

    Con: Paul Scully
    Lab: Emily Brothers
    LD: Paul Burstow
    UKIP: Angus Dalgleish
    Greens: Maeve Tomlinson

  14. I predict the LD’s to hold this in 2015 though if there is a Lab/LD coalition and it’s as unpopular as the current Con/LD coaltion I believe the council and parlimentary seats could turn blue in future.

  15. Prediction for 2015-
    Burstow (Lib Dem)- 43%
    Scully (Tory)- 38%
    Brothers (Labour)- 9%
    Dalgleish (UKIP)- 8%
    Tomlinson (Green)- 2%

  16. UKIP will do better than that and the tories worse sadly.

  17. One of very few seats where the Lib Dems will increase their majority next time…

  18. The Evening Standard has run a story tonight claiming that the Labour candidate here is the “First Transgender candidate to Run for Commons”.

    This is not the case. Steven Rae fought Midlothian in 1966 for the SNP and then Glasgow Provan in 1992 as Sandra MacRae.

  19. Expecting a 5-8% majority for Burstow here.

  20. “Ed Miliband hails transgender Labour candidate Emily Brothers”

  21. Iain Dale is predicting a Tory gain here. Dear lord, is the man a simpleton?

  22. Just ignore him. He’ll go away.

  23. I wholeheartedly endorse Barnaby’s exhortation.
    We are as a group quite capable of generating enough horseshit of our own on here and there is no need to introduce that deposited elsewhere by the likes of Iain Dale

  24. Sutton is the Lib Dems’ main London heartland these days. That as well as Burstow’s incumbency will obviously get him through easily. Labour are still without a councillor there, and were way behind in St Helier (that’s in Carshalton & Wallington but was held by the party until 2006) in the 2014 locals.

  25. Iain Dale is a second-rate self-publicist who adores everybody talking about him. His predictions should be seen in that light. He is effectively an employee of Lord Ashcroft and therefore well aware that he has made numerous horseshit predictions in deliberate ignorance of his boss’s polling.

  26. “Iain Dale is predicting a Tory gain here. Dear lord, is the man a simpleton?”

    That really takes the biscuit. I had thought his prediction of an increased Labour majority in Corby compared to the by-election would be the most ridiculous.

  27. I think the Corby prediction is sillier than the Sutton one. Though I think the Lib Dems will hold here, the Tories tend to outperform their local election performance in general elections in Sutton & Cheam. If some UKIP votes drift back to the Tories the LD majority might only be 2000 or so.

  28. Yes I agree. Predicting a Tory gain in Eastbourne in the face of clear polling evidence to the contrary is almost as silly, in my opinion. I also think that his idea that the Tories can win Eastleigh is way off the mark too.

  29. Yes I agree with that. IMO Eastbourne will be a mini version of Westmorland & Lonsdale. The key ingredients are there – local Conservative association in complete & utter disarray and a Lib Dem incumbent who dispatched a very unpopular Tory MP by being Mr Patronising Cleaning Up Dogshit extraordinaire. In Eastbourne the demographics have also clearly moved against the Tories, whose core voters are now more likely to retire to Spain than Eastbourne.

  30. Let’s just assume that if the seat has “East” in its name and is held by the LDs, Dale is dead wrong.

    And I agree with Hemmelig. Eastbourne is one of those seats that should be thoroughly LD now. Lloyd and Burstow are probably the only LD MPs who can expect a greater majority in 2015 than in 2010 (although Thornton might manage it in Eastleigh, too, over Huhne’s 2010 majority). And I suppose Brake and Webb have a shot, although I think their Ashcroft leads probably won’t materialize to quite those lofty levels in the election.

  31. I should n’t be at all surprised if Brake increases his majority and the Torbay MP may do as well.

  32. There was however an Ashcroft poll showing the Tories & LDs dead level in Torbay.

  33. I too thought it odd that Dale had the Tories down to win this seat. There is no reason for the residents in this wedge of South West London to vote Conservative. Burstow, like Brake, is deeply entrenched in Sutton and lets not forget that Sutton also has a seemingly popular Lib Dem council.

  34. It was the only borough in London where the LDs made net gains. The only gain they made in any other ward in London, as far as I can see, was to turn St Margarets & N Twickenham in my borough from a split ward to a totally LD one.

  35. What also stood out about Sutton is its high UKIP vote, especially relative to Kingston and Richmond. This split a lot of the Centre-Right vote in the Borough and helped the Lib Dems gain and retain seats on a reduced vote share.

    Sutton is odd in being a non-intellectual, lower-middle class, quite Eurosceptic (one of only 3 London Boroughs UKIP won in the Euros) area with a solidly Lib Dem Council and MP. On that basis, I suppose it is best understood as a London equivalent of Eastleigh or perhaps Colchester (minus the strata of Essex Uni students).

  36. RR- yes, good point- though it’s not all that unusual for places to be simultaneously Lib Dem and strongly Eurosceptic- one thinks of the south west of England (though there at least there is an established Liberal tradition with the legacy of non-conformism).

  37. The apparent dichotemy indeed well understood in the Westcountry. Of course, Lib Dem adherence there is also related to that area’s “otherness” as part of the Celtic fringe, and nonconformism, as you state.

    However, given they are nowehere near the Celtic Fringe (being in London and the SE), Lib Dem strength in the likes of Sutton and Eastleigh are, I suppose, the result of by-election successes (1972 and 1994), hard work and perceived local government competance.

  38. The comparison with Eastleigh is a good one, but the comparison with Colchester is very unfair to Sutton.

    Colchester is frankly an utter shithole of a town, which would be safely Labour were it not for its staunch military heritage and geographical location. Of the Lib Dems current seats it mostly resembles Portsmouth South in this regard, certainly not a broadly nice place like Sutton.

  39. Colchester also has a university campus. This must have helped Bob Russell in the past. Probably it still will to some extent. It does have some outlying owner-occupied Tory wards but it isn’t classy.

  40. The university is in the Harwich and North Essex seat though many people associated with university will live in Colchester. Funnily enough I first knew Bob Russell when he was the University of Essex publicity officer.

    I certainly would not call Colchester “an utter shithole of a town” as it does have some very nice parts. Having lived here and in Sutton it is somewhere that I would be quite happy to call home.

    As for Sutton as a seat, it is different to suburbs like Bromley, Romford and Sidcup and the electorate as a whole is more London than Surrey. It is also very much a crossover town with a very affluent south of the town coupled with a very different makeup north of the town. Only a mile north of Sutton and you hit the Labour stronghold of Mitcham and Morden.

    Suspect Labour would’ve won a few seats in Sutton if the Liberals were not so entrenched. The seat also has a growing non-white population, although still fairly small by London standards.

    Should be a close result but Burstow will be hard to dislodge.

  41. Burstow will increase his majority almost definitely.

  42. There are many grim towns in Essex but Colchester is definitely not one of them but it is not similar to Sutton in any way shape or form.

    The comparison with Eastleigh is a fair one however.

  43. I take some of what I said back. If Martin has lived in Colchester, it immeasurably improves the town’s class.
    However, I recall that several decades ago I did have a girlfriend from this constituency (in fact she was rather posh). What was I thinking?

  44. sorry, I meant she was from Colchester, not from Sutton or Cheam.

  45. Totally agree with L Bernard

    Essex certainly isn’t short of grim, concrete-heavy towns, but most of those are in the south of the county – Basildon, Grays, Harlow, Billericay, Stanford Le Hope, Pittsea, Canvey Island, Southend – I could go on – but i wouldn’t say Colchester was one of them.

    It’s not exactly Saffron Walden, but it does at least have some history


    Just how on earth do they think there is going to be a green surge in Sutton and Cheam to split the Liberal vote.

    There is no university here for a start. Have they got this seat mixed up with Kingston and Surbiton by any chance.

    I can see the Liberal Democrat vote there being lost there to the Greens as well as Labour but I believe that will still stay Yellow as well.

  47. Sheer lunacy. Don’t worry about it.

    There are a few seats that the Lib Dems can expect to hold on very, very good majorities in May. That list is pretty much as follows:

    Westmoreland & Lonsdale
    Orkney & Shetland
    Sutton & Cheam
    Carshalton & Wallington
    Thornbury & Yate
    North Norfolk

    It would be impressive if much apart from that had a majority of over 10%, frankly. Those 11 seats are what will be at the core of the Lib Dems in the new parliament.

  48. “As for Sutton as a seat, it is different to suburbs like Bromley, Romford and Sidcup and the electorate as a whole is more London than Surrey. It is also very much a crossover town with a very affluent south of the town coupled with a very different makeup north of the town. Only a mile north of Sutton and you hit the Labour stronghold of Mitcham and Morden.”

    Also note that at the 2014 locals Mitcham and Morden had the highest Labour share of vote where as Sutton and Cheam had the lowest despite the two seats bordering.

    The less affluent parts of the Sutton borough are in the Carshalton and Wallington seat not this one. There were Labour councilors last elected in that seat in the 2002 local elections where as in this consituency there haven’t been Labour councilors for over 40 years and in 1968 the Conservatives unsurprisingly had every councillor in very ward in Sutton and Cheam.

  49. In St Helier last year they were way down. The highest polling Labour candidate was lower than the one UKIP candidate standing in the ward.

  50. For a seat in Greater London. I’m surprised the Labour vote is so low. The party nearly lost their deposit here in 2010!

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