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 - 302 Responses on “Sutton & Cheam”
  1. there are still a few constituencies in london where labour is in a non-competitive position in every ward. my own seat of richmond park comes into this category, and arguably twickenham (though labour are about 10% behind in heathfield ward now). then there are the 3 entirely bromley borough constituencies, ruislip/northwood/pinner, romford, old bexley & sidcup, and this one. so it’s not completely unique. not much changed in this respect in the 2014 elections, though carshalton & wallington at least left this list, since labour was only just over 100 votes away from winning a seat in st helier ward. the continuing lib dem-tory battle here, plus the popularity of the lib dem council (deservedly or otherwise), have conspired to keep labour’s vote lower than the seat’s demography might suggest. emily brothers is fighting an energetic campaign & it remains to be seen whether she can improve the party’s position here.

  2. Thanks Barnaby. This seat is not as posh as Richmond Park so I wonder if in 40 years time Labour could have a chance here as inner London moves further out towards the suburbs.

  3. maybe sooner even.

  4. This is precisely the sort of area which could become home to a large ethnic minority middle-class population in about 20 years’ time. If so both Labour and the Greens could be in business.

  5. ‘This is precisely the sort of area which could become home to a large ethnic minority middle-class population in about 20 years’

    It does collerate a little with Croydon South which is certainly going that way

  6. I don’t think Labour would win Sutton and Cheam in a million years.

    Labour are only competitive in Sutton Central and that’s in a good Labour year and they haven’t come close to winning a ward here since 1974.

    They will never get the votes in Cheam, Worcester Park, Belmont, Sutton West etc.

    If anything it will be a safe tory seat in 40 years time like it used to be.

  7. Labour are more likely to win in places like Woking, Epsom and Ewell, Spelthorne, Hertsmere, Wycombe etc. which contain more down at the heel areas than this seat like this.

    Not that Labour win any of thoes either.

    I know Labour have Wimbledon in the past but that covers Abbey and Cannon Hill the type of wards that Sutton and Cheam does not have.

    If anything Sutton and Cheam will go in the direction of Old Malden and Surbiton not Mitcham

    Carshalton and Wallington however could be Labour in 40 years.

  8. I canvassed here on the weekend and found a healthy labour and tory vote and suprisingly few liberals.

    It didnt strike me as natural liberal territory, more white van man.

  9. Labour should do much better in this seat then they do, and I suspect that if it hadn’t been for the Liberal presence they would now be in a much better position. The same is true to an even greater extent in Carshalton and Wallington which probably would be a marginal seat if it hadn’t been for Liberal Democrats.

    Sutton Central would be a safe Labour ward if it was in Merton or Sutton.

    If you take out Belmont, Cheam, Sutton South; the seat would have potential and I suspect we’ll be looking at this seat being about 25-30% BME by the next census.

  10. Tim Jones – You’re right about South Croydon. I know a few middle class black and Asian friends who live in Purley and Coulsdon. It’s too leafy to become a safe Labour seat in a million years but I can see it becoming a Tory / Labour marginal in about 30 years time with Labour winning in a landslide year.

  11. ….. should have mentioned these black and Asian families moved into this seat from other parts of the Croydon e.g Norwood and Thornton Heath about 15/10 years ago.

  12. I am not sure about this conventional wisdom that inner London will carry on shifting outwards indefinitely turning every single suburb even traditionally posh ones into the next Peckhams. Sure it will happen in some suburbs but not all, this outward ‘wave’ of urban rot seems to have completely bypassed both Richmond Park and most of Wimbledon which just seem to be getting posher and more Tory.

    While I accept that places in Sutton will go down hill I just don’t see it happening in the posh wards like Cheam, Belmont, Sutton South etc. I also happen the think parts of inner London will do a Putney/Battersea and go the other way and trend away from Labour. I don’t think this wave of decay will hit beyond the M25 though which I think will act as a suitable barrier to inner London’s advance.

    I think it must be quite sad being a member of the Labour Party as it seems rather perverse to cheerlead the fall of a previously respectable into the gutter, and I suppose it would be in the interests of a Labour council to make sure it stays there…

  13. I don’t know why everyone would assume that Sutton Central would be a safe Labour ward if not for the Liberals. It does indeed contain the Benhilton Estate would have a large Labour vote but it also contains some quite large Georgian houses too similar to neighbouring Sutton West ward. Yes it would won by Labour in good years like 1994 and 1998. But in 2006 the Cons probably would have had even Wandle Valley and St Helier considering they were still more WWC back then and similar wards ie Mottingham and St Mary Cray were gained by the Conservatives that year.

  14. Sutton, like Barnet in north London, and its neighbour Kingston, is to a degree insulated from decline by its outstanding schools. Respectable families continue to choose to live in these Boroughs because of the schools.

    Compare to Croydon and Merton where the schools are much worse. Not a real concern for the ultra-rich of Wimbledon Village, who can call on KCS and the Girls School on the hill, but a problem for middle-incomers.

    I think race is a bit of a red herring. One of Sutton’s most affluent wards, Sutton South, actually has IIRC the highest BAME population in the Borough, higher than both Sutton Central and St. Helier. Kingston and Barnet also have quite high levels of ethnic diversity compared to areas like, say, Havering.

  15. SURREY POLITICS – Sutton Central ward was won by labour in last year’s gla election.
    do you live in the mitcham area by any chance? just a guess.

  16. I think it does still hold that Sutton Central would only be a Labour ward in a good Labour year (and aside from Boris himself, 2012 was a good Labour year).

    Aside from some estates there are some quite pleasant residential areas. Some of the more characterful victorian terraces are starting to be updated by middle-income professionals of the sort who would have populated places like Wimbledon Town in the early 2000s but now, thanks to house prices, end up here.

  17. Revised Prediction for 2015-
    PAUL BURSTOW (Liberal Democrat) – 35%
    PAUL SCULLY (Conservative) – 34%
    EMILY BROTHERS (Labour) – 9%
    MAEVE TOMLINSON (Green) – 5%
    Others – 2%

    A knifedge LD Hold just this seat is different to C and W it has the ultra wealthy Cheam, Belmont and Worcester Park areas that the other seat does not have and less likely to vote for UKIP.

  18. This will not be nearly so close. Dear lord man, your predictions are ludicrous. Look at the Ashcroft polls when we have them! They are useful!

    Ashcroft poll here (June):
    LD 42
    CON 29
    UKIP 14
    LAB 11
    GRN 2
    OTH 1

    Ashcroft poll here (September):
    LD 45
    CON 27
    UKIP 14
    LAB 11
    GRN 3
    OTH 0

    So how exactly will the Lib Dems hold on by only one percent?

  19. PT Richards, I know what you mean by the polls being different however.

    Those polls were done a while ago although I agree it will be a Lib Dem hold, Sutton votes differently in a GE to how it does in a council election and is usually the most marginal of the Outer London Lib Dem seats.

    This is also a must win seat for the Conservatives to form a majority government so they will put up a lot of effort here.

  20. LD by 2500. This along with Maidstone, Eastbourne and probably Watford will be the only swings to the LD in the country.

  21. I can’t agree with you re. Maidstone or Watford. Eastbourne is a strong possibility.

  22. more likely a standstill result in Watford.

  23. LD 4000

  24. Revised prediction

    LD 38 CON 35 UKIP 13 LAB 8 GRN 4 OTH 2

    Cons won’t get as low as the ashcroft polls say. For example one of the Ashcroft polls had Labour to get 23 per cent in Twickenham which won’t even happen in Spelthorne let alone Twickenham otherwise Labour would have gained council seats there in 2014. Burstow will hold here but the Tories will throw the kitchen sink at this seat.

    I predicted this to be a Con gain at the last 3 elections and it stayed yellow as it very likely will in this election.

  25. LD hold 2000

  26. Lib Dem Hold. 2,500 maj

  27. Cons projected to win this. Seriously?

  28. Tory,

    Maybe. There has been as assumption that this would be a hold based on the Sutton council results but its a low majority and the Conservatives have genuine strength in the Cheam part of the seat.

  29. And just to prove it Tory:

    Full Result:

    Con 20,732 41.5%
    LDem 16,811 33.7%
    Lab 5,546 11.1%
    UKIP 5,341 10.7%
    Green 1,051 2.1%
    Other 424 0.9%

    Majority 3,921

  30. Rumours of local LD strength were greatly exaggerated

  31. Not so sure about that, 2015 had unique circumstances and the swing was lower than average. I suspect this may be their top target in 2020.

  32. Sutton LBC elections could be interesting in 2018.

    Though the Cons only got 9 seats in 2014. A lot of the wards the Lib Dems won where becuase of UKIP splitting the right leaning vote.

    I am sure wards like Worcester Park, Nonsuch, Cheam, Sutton South will return full slates of Con councillors.

  33. I see your ‘ludicrous’ prediction wasn’t nearly ‘ludicrous’ enough….

  34. I know it was a convincing Con gain.

    I think the Lib Dems could be in even more trouble in the next london locals.

    My new ‘ludicrous’ prediction is that Richmond will return a whole 54/54 Conservative council chamber (leaving the LD’s wiped out) as they no longer have the local MPs to gather up the support.

    The Liberals could be reduced to just a small group of around 7-8 councillors in Kingston and about 20-30 in Sutton probably wiped out everywhere else unless they are any popular incumbents maybe in Harrow, Hackney or Barnet.

  35. Or by the time of the next London locals, everyone is totally fed up with the Conservatives and opposition parties make gains wherever they are strongest on the ground. There’s a long time to go.

    I would be surprised at the suggestion of a total LibDem wipeout in Richmond, happening as they had a significant presence on the council long before the MPs.

  36. In some parts of London they will but Kingston, Richmond and Sutton are upscale outer London boroughs are which would be safely Conservative if not for the Liberal Democrat presence. A Boris led conservative party would have a strong chance of taking control of Sutton as the UKIP vote will have dropped heavily by then and the Tories wrestle back Hammersmith and Fulham from Labour which could be tricky though it’s a gentrified borough it’s not quite Wandsworth.
    Croydon could go either way depending on where the UKIP vote goes.

    I say conversely they would be a swing towards Labour in some parts of inner London. For example I believe they will take nearly every ward in Southwark apart from say College. They will also likely retake Tower Hamlets from No Overall Control.

  37. “or example I believe they will take nearly every ward in Southwark apart from say College. ” I meant Village not College.

  38. the next London locals are a long way off – wouldn’t like to make any predictions about them now (but then I predicted 28 Lib Dem holds so I’m not exactly much good at these things!)

    Some of the ideas like Con gaining Sutton council are actually not that ridiculous – the Lib Dems have lost seats for the last seven (?) years now. If they don’t look like making any kind of recovery (even to about 9-10%) then even their core vote could start to give up. If it continues we could even see the Tories retake Carshalton & Wallington at the next election assuming their vote holds up.

    But really no-one knows what the next few years hold

  39. Who knows.

    After all, Sutton Borough had a Lib Dem Council from 1986 onwards yet elected Conservative MPs in both seats until 1997 (alebit SC was Liberal in the 1972 by election).

    The irony is, as has been said before, Sutton isn’t really a Lib Dem “Core Vote” area…it isn’t Trendy Intellectual, nor is it Celtic Fringe. It is Lib Dem really because of hard, hard work on their part in what is a thoroughly “Normal” (see recent news reports) suburban area.

    Sutton Borough has a sort of Northern equivalent in the Cheadle/Hazel Grove area (I have always also though nearby Stockport was the Manchester Croydon) where the Conservatives have also just come back in local elections but the Lib Dems have a strong councillor base.

  40. *just come back in the GENERAL election*

  41. Wether the LDs hold this council in 2018 will be an interesting even if they lost control I would expect them to be in double figures here. Could even get a 27-27 split here which would mean a mayoral casting vote for overall control. I think the Cons will pick up a lot in this seat (some the UKIP vote in Sutton North and Stonecot etc will go back to the Tories which could mean seat gains in those wards.) but the LDs holding firmly strong in the Carshalton half the borough due to the presence of Brake.

  42. l’ll believe all of that when l see it. Rumours of the LDs’ demise on the local council have been going around for several elections now, and yet they actually increased their majority last time. The Tories did well to win this constituency in the general election, but depriving the LDs of control is a tall order from where they are. Remember, only one ward is entirely Conservative (Belmont) and there are several natural Tory wards which they don’t fully control (Cheam, Sutton S, Carshalton S & Clock House).

  43. The Lib Dems only really held on last time because of UKIP splitting the vote in key wards. If you added the Con + UKIP vote in all the wards they would beat the Lib Dems in every ward even St Helier. That said the Lib Dems are so organised here that they have held overall control of the borough since a by election in late 1986. I think the Cons will get the full slate in wards on the Sutton and Cheam because there is no Paul Burstow anymore. It’s hard to see them holding wards like Nonsuch and Worcester Park where the UKIP vote will go back to the Conservatives. However I find it very hard for anyone to push the Lib Dems in the Carshalton half of the borough. Wether Labour can a councillor or two in St Helier I believe that would be tougher than Heathfield as the Lib Dems may be irrelevant in that area so Labour can get the anti Tory vote where as in St Helier/Wandle Valley they fought very hard not to loose to UKIP they are more likely to squeeze the Lab vote there. 2018 is the probably the best chance for Labour to win councillors in Richmond or Sutton.

  44. I am really quite enjoying the amazing rush of confidence that the Tories are displaying… if it comes with a large dose of complacency even better. None of them seem to mention that the majority is only 12 seats and that they have been rolled several times in the Lords and things haven’t even started to get organised amongst the opposition parties.

    The concept that UKIP votes “migrate back to the Tories” flies in the face, in many areas, of the fact that the UKIP share in many places (South-West?) came out of LibDem protest vote quotient and out of Labour in the north. By-election results thus far show not much evidence of this “return of Kippers to the Tory mother-ship”.

    All in all, overweaning confidence is a good thing and I would well-recommend keeping it up..

  45. That’s a very good point Anitochian, the tories may be able to learn a few lessons about complacency from a party who confidently boasted they’d win far more seats than they did in May, despite losing 2/3 of their voteshare. Watching this arrogance stemming through all ranks from the party leader all the way down to the humblest of keyboard warriors really should make them realise the penalty for doing so, but will it …

  46. Robberbutton.. consider us chastened!

    I find some claims in here that the LibDems think its 2005 as laughable.. inside the party people think its the 1970s.

    The key difference being that we will be looking to recapture seats lost in 2015 and 2010, not seats lost in 1922..

  47. The Lib Dems will rebuild with suspendors momentum like after the 1979 election.
    Labour are in a mess aswell and that helps.
    My prediction is the Lib Dems will be on 50% in the polls in 2017 and with a large overall majority in 2020.

  48. Not sure that foolish posts like Gloy’s above particularly enhance the credibility/level of debate on this site.

  49. They never have but he’s an occasionally-slightly-amusing institution on here.

  50. Considering that he is complaining elsewhere of people pretending they are him, it’s rather odd that he continues to pretend being someone else. Even if that someone else is a caricature.

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