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. I like to have a laugh at my own expense on here by looking back at what turned out to be some ludicrous predictions on my part ages ago for the election just gone…

  2. you’re not the only one

    but still 4% swing and stupendous momentum 2020 will see this seat return a yellowy orangey tingy

  3. tingey even

  4. Good one.

  5. Leave doing pretty well in Outer London. Huge wins in Barking and Bexley and now a reasonably comfortable win here.

  6. Sutton and Cheam CLP nominates Corbyn 32-11.

  7. I wonder if the Liberal Democrats or even Labour could potentially win Sutton and Cheam in the future. Figures have shown that many wards had become more deprived between 2004 and 2010. It appears that the London Borough of Sutton is experiencing a decline like many other outer boroughs.

    I use to live here and the area could always be characterised as a nice leafy lower-middle class area. Nowadays Sutton is very run-down and has definitely experienced a decline. It seems to resemble more of a mini Croydon. Many people I know from the area have moved away, many into Surrey.

    Cheam and Belmont still come across as nice desirable middle-class Surrey/SW London neighbourhoods, which could ensure that the Tories remain competitive. However lots of areas in the borough have become more deprived.

  8. Didn’t the Boundary Review stick a bit of Walthamstow into C&WG? That would help Labour.

  9. I may be wrong but I just don’t see a Labour gain in Chipping Barnet, except in a 1997/2001 style landslide. There is a bit of suburban decline in the south east of the seat – wards proposed to be transferred to Finchley and Southgate in the boundary review, incidentally – but the core of seat remains as Tory as ever and, knowing the area as I do, I just don’t see it as credible that those areas will trend towards Labour any time soon. Plus there is also some quite substantial gentrification going on in parts of the seat – particularly Underhill ward where the Dollis Valley sink estate is being demolished and controversially eplaced by a much nicer development likely to be mainly middle class.

  10. The only seats to change hands in 2020 in this part of the world will probably be Croydon Central, Tooting, Brentford and Isleworth and Twickenham. Though it’s interesting to discuss how demographics changes in London might change its political landscape. The 2020 is likely to be won or lose in the Northern and Midlands marginals.

    Also I feel seats such as Chipping Barnet, Chingford and Woodford etc could be winnable for Labour in the future. However this will only be achievable in a 1997/2001 type result (which seems unlikely in the foreseeable future).

  11. @James Sutton and Cheam has the lowest child poverty rate in London. It would rapidly have to turn demographcally into Morden for Labour to stand a remote chance in this seat. The less affluent parts of the seat are far too white van man/UKIP/thatcherite to ever vote Labour. Apart from Sutton Central the Labour vote is absolutley abysmal. Carshalton and Wallington could be won in years like 1997 and 2001. One significant factor is to why Sutton would never go Labour is that it voted LEAVE.

    Kingston and Surbiton would be a better Labour prospect in my opinion, it’s wealthier but has more run down areas like Norbiton and Tolworth, it also has a university.

  12. The Labour vote if anything, is likely to go down not up in 2020 in this area and in Carshalton and Wallington. Corbyn is toxic in this borough. ditto Bexley and Havering

  13. I agree that the less affluent parts of the borough can be described as more ‘white van man’. However these less affluent parts of Sutton have become a lot more diverse and multicultural in the recent years. Nowadays Sutton feels a lot more like London than a Surrey town. Consequently I wonder if this will disadvantage the Tories in the future.

    I’m surprised Sutton voted out considering nearby Croydon, Epsom and Bromley all vote remain. However I have heard that the Sutton and Cheam seat did narrowly vote in. High leads for leave in the north of the borough probably swung it for Leave overall.

  14. Labours potential in Sutton very overestimated. Labour did win the Carshalton GLC seat narrowly in 1973, bear in mind they almost won Twickenham and Chislehurst that year too. But in both general elections in 1974 Carshalton wasn’t particularly marginal to Labour, which points to that Labour would only win Carshalton in a landslide Labour year.

  15. @james

    Re: Epsom and Ewell

    I agree, just I think the LDs will become irrelevant here which will help Labour in the student areas and the council estate areas in the West, Labour could do okay here (for an affluent seat) in a good year, yes they would still be 7,000 odd behind the tories at best.

  16. “Nowadays Sutton is very run-down and has definitely experienced a decline. It seems to resemble more of a mini Croydon. Many people I know from the area have moved away, many into Surrey. ”

    Do you mean the HS or wider area? Agree it is now more London than Surrey, but I would say the High Street is actually now improving with much new development after years of decline (in common with a lot of suburban High Streets and thanks to competition from Kingston, Croydon and London). The Suttion Central area was always relatively working-class with labour potential (indeed, the old wards there voted Labour in the 1970s).

    The rest of the Borough is stil pretty leafy and affluent and (unlike Croydon) there are no tracts of serious poverty. It also (like Kingtson and Bromley and unlike Croydon) has very good schools (still has Grammar Schools for instance).

    I grew up in the wider area in the 90s and now live in Sutton so know it well. The main demographic change I would say is a tranche of incoming Asians (primarily Hindu Indian) who like the suburban feel and the schools. Not exactly a harbinger of decline.

  17. Have to say I agree 100% with the above comment. I also know Sutton borough pretty well and for the most part it remains the nice leafy suburb it always was. When you drive across the border into Carshalton from Waddon / Broadgreen in Croydon you get a palpable feeling that the area around you has just got so much nicer….I’ve been doing that for 20 years and it still feels exactly the same. No way is Sutton turning into Croydon (yet).

  18. Unique for London there is actually potential for Labour to lose their deposit in these seats because of Corbyn’s politics. Kingston and Twickenham have student vote unlike Sutton.

  19. I go with Con Hold 10,000 maj.

    Sutton and Cheam is more like Orpington than Richmond Park

  20. ‘Sutton and Cheam is more like Orpington than Richmond Park’

    I think that’s right

    A better comparison might be Epsom & Ewell with Epsom/Sutton being a sort of mini Croydon, with Ewell/Cheam being much more middle class

    The Epsom & Ewell vote was one of the Remain votes that surprised me most

  21. I think this will go Lib Dem by 6-8,000 but I’m still nervious as it would have been better to have had a template where the Lib Dems could come out for Brexit in specific seats only like this one.
    In Kingston, Richomnd and Twickenham definitely need to be for remain.
    Need more paper than usual, it’s so excriting.

  22. The LD candidate here is a Muslim woman, and I honestly think that could hurt them, sad as it is to say it.

  23. “A better comparison might be Epsom & Ewell with Epsom/Sutton being a sort of mini Croydon, with Ewell/Cheam being much more middle class”

    East Ewell and Ewell Village is very much like Cheam, West Ewell is different is rather more similar to the Northern bits of Carshalton and Wallingon, there is a large council estate area called Watersedge located near Ruxley Lane hence where the name for the Ruxley ward comes from.

    Epsom remain vote is surprising considering the area is a lot like Havering and even the most affluent wards like Upminster voted leave.

  24. Labour candidate for GE2017 is Bonnie Craven.

  25. final prediction

    Conservative: 28,661
    Lib Dem: 15,775
    Labour: 4,681
    Green: 1,252

    maj: 12,886

  26. Excellent Tory performance in this constituency both at the general election and in this year’s general election.

    There is now a striking split at a local level between the 2 constituencies

    Sutton and Cheam

    Con 16
    LD 11

    Carshalton and Wallington

    LD 22
    Ind 3
    Con 2

  27. With the London mayor a foregone conclusion the only interesting election I’ll be voting for is whether the Tories can hang on to their Sutton and Croydon assembly member….
    Just under 12k ahead of Labour but around 25k lib and green votes which may be crucial. Must surely have been a lot of demographic change in last 5 years probably more in Croydon.
    I’m thinking the Tories will scrape it by around 5k votes

    Con 70k
    Lab 58k

  28. I wonder if the state of the Labour administration in Croydon will also hamper their chances here. The financial mismanagement of the council seems clear in people’s minds, and there is a lot of noise in the north of the borough (the more usual Labour strongholds) about the imposition and impact of LTNs. This may more directly impact a couple of local by-elections happening today, but it could drift into Assembly voting too.

  29. There is also a lot of disquiet in the south of Croydon borough with the crazy planning situation. Large numbers of leafy residential streets in Coulsdon/Purley have had houses knocked down and replaced with low rise flats. Along with the flats already built on Cane Hill and the 5/6 storey flats being built in the town centre there could easily be a couple of thousand new flats built in a relatively short timeframe.
    Long term this should help Labour but probably not at this election.

  30. “Long term this should help Labour but probably not at this election.”

    People vote Tory and they have an interest in raising the area and gentrifying it to shore up their vote.

    People vote Labour and they have an interest in letting it go to wrack and ruin in the hopes that those with any ambition move out and solidify their vote.

    There is a lesson in there somewhere…

  31. “People vote Tory and they have an interest in raising the area and gentrifying it to shore up their vote.

    People vote Labour and they have an interest in letting it go to wrack and ruin in the hopes that those with any ambition move out and solidify their vote.

    There is a lesson in there somewhere…”

    Leaving aside how offensive that sounds about Labour and the people who choose to vote for them, in London it’s just plain wrong. Islington, Highgate, Hampstead, Bloomsbury….barely a Tory to be seen in any of them these days despite some of the richest and most powerful people in the country living there.

    Gentrification in London isn’t helping the Tories at all these days, even in places where it helped them in the past (Wandsworth, Westminster, Hammersmith, Docklands…). I lived in Stoke Newington (Hackney North) as an impoverished student in the mid-90s. It was a shithole. Today it is immeasurably nicer and far more gentrified, but even fewer Tory voters now than then, even though its new wealthy residents now contain bankers as well as media luvvies. Talk to any Tory council candidate in Hackney or Islington and they’ll generally tell you their staunchest support comes from WWC types on council estates (who are very few and far between these days).

    Race, age and housing tenure have stuffed the Tories in London. Gentrification that brings in white middle income owner-occupiers (like Wandsworth in the 1980s and old mining towns today) hugely improves Tory prospects. Gentrification bringing in younger voters, minority voters, the very rich, and liberal elite types seems to damage the Tory vote further.

  32. Thank you for that measured comment. I do think Shaun’s post above was a rather crass generalisation.

    I previously lived around Salford Quays – huge gentrification, and it doesn’t seem to have helped the Tories much from what I’ve seen.

    But HH, your last paragraph is exactly why the Tories would have failed in the London mayoral election even with a “better” candidate than Bailey. It simply isn’t friendly territory for them these days. Boris got in after 11 years of a Labour government, and he’s fairly unique as a politician. He had the incumbency factor (and an unpopular rival) to get him re-elected. I’m honestly doubting a Tory can win London’s mayoralty for the next few elections. Maybe a generation, if ever. A Rory Stewart type would get a few more % points than Bailey will get, and still lose to Khan. The only exception to all this is Khan screwing up very badly, and another Labour government.

  33. Fair comment Trade Mark.

    Not sure Rory Stewart would do any better than Bailey. Bailey’s a bit of a chump but his background and social conservatism might help him a bit with older, religious non-white voters.

    No Tory will be able to become London mayor in the future without winning 30-40% of the ethnic vote. In Boris’s day, London was still just about white enough to be able to ignore the ethnic vote and still narrowly win.

  34. Thanks, HH. I do enjoy reading your comments, even if I don’t always agree with them!

    Rory was just a bit of a random example of a liberal Tory type. It’s an interesting experiment to see if an ethnic minority Tory can appeal to those voters – my hunch is that they will still largely have plumped for Khan.

    And you make a good point about the demographics. They’ve got worse for the Tories, who I think might be writing off their chances in London.

  35. There are reports of a v v low turnout in London and consequently talk of a Shaun Bailey win.

  36. On London (at least Sutton’s a London seat) the BBC’s reporting is dire.
    The lady at the Ally Pally said Khan is expected to win because London’s multiethnic, a lot younger, more graduates. In case you didn’t know that, she repeated exactly the same when they went back to her some time later. Now, Bailey running Kahn close should be a big story. I assume the clue is (haven’t bothered to look them up it’s like excavating) that the constituencies counting tonight are ones where the Tories do better but nobody until Munira Wilson,and then as an aside, mentioned this.

  37. I saw a comment that the BBC’s reporting is like Aston Villa bragging they’re top of the Premier League in August, when the season is only two games in.

  38. Actually some results now… Bailey ahead in Brent/Harrow and in Hillingdon.

  39. “There are reports of a v v low turnout in London and consequently talk of a Shaun Bailey win.”

    1. They seem to be counting more Tory areas first (like Bexley, Bromley etc)

    2. If a miracle happens and Bailey is ahead in the first round, Khan will surely mop up most of the second preferences from Greens and Lib Dems and still win

    People forget that Boris picking up a large number of Lib Dem second preferences was key to his victory, especially the 2012 one.

    Anecdotally it seems like the Greens will probably do really well and could well come 3rd.

  40. This site gives the London results in PDF (which handily can be compared to 5 years ago).

    Can’t see any problem whatsoever for Khan based on the comparisons I did and then got bored! To complex to work out the assembly from limited declarations.

  41. I also heard Lawrence Fox’s alt right, anti black party was outperforming expectations in London

    Surprised Bailey is winning in places like Ealing

    Certainly some evidence of a slight tilt to the Right in the capital.

  42. In Ealing & H and in Brent and Harrow , they voted Bailey for Mayor but voted in a Labour constituency assembly member. (Both by decent margins, esp in B and H). I don’t think this happened before. What’s going on?

  43. Oh it was the constituency results as well! Ally Pally said these are only the mayoral results!

  44. The Tories won’t win this but they will do well enough to convince themselves that the London majority is not a lost cause. Their 2024 (or will it be 2025?) candidate will be a lot more credible than Shaun Bailey.

  45. “a lot more credible”
    Bit harsh on Bailey who’s doing far better than expected.

  46. He’s had a poor campaign though, he’s been buoyed by a general lift for Tories nationwide, as well as flaky support for Labour/complacency from Sadiq Khan (who, while likeable, is a lightweight who trades in soundbites, rather than someone who gets things done).

  47. Khan should win this once votes are counted in safer London constituencies (though even there there’s swings away from Labour) or goes to a 2nd round. But given Bailey’s poor campaign riddled in gaffes, poor public statements and the generally pro-Labour demographics, this is not a good result for the incumbent. Shaun Bailey is not an Andy Street or a Ben Houchen by any stretch, so for him to be running Sadiq Khan closer than expected should be a concern for Labour.

    Labour as a whole need to scout more independent-minded mayoral candidates, not just bland party politicians from the Westminster system.

  48. On the other hand, Andy Burnham has arguably established that kind of profile, even though he came from that “Westminster machine.”

  49. I voted for Tessa Jowell, but had she won, we’d have sadly had a mayoral by-election. And then Khan would probably have got it.

  50. One issue that has come to my attention is the confusing layout of the ballot papers. I’m hearing that up to 5% of the votes in London are being accientally spoiled.

    Probably in the end it won’t affect the outcome – there is no reason for something like this to disproportionately damage voters for one candidate over another – but it’s still scandalous.

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