South Swindon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22777 (46.2%)
Labour: 16992 (34.5%)
Lib Dem: 1817 (3.7%)
Green: 1757 (3.6%)
UKIP: 5920 (12%)
MAJORITY: 5785 (11.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Wiltshire. Part of the Swindon council area.

Main population centres: Swindon, Wroughton.

Profile: Swindon originally grew to prominence as a railway town - Brunel built the Great Western Railway works here in the 1840s, and for most of the twentieth century railway manufacture remained the major employer in Swindon before the final closure of the industry in the 1980s. Industry remains important - several industrial estates in the town include a BMW plant (in Swindon North), a Honda plant just north-east of the town, Motorola and Intel plants. Swindon South was also home to the collapsed Christmas hamper savings company Farepak. With economic expansion has come population growth, with Swindon being split into two seats in 1997. Swindon South also includes some more rural areas to the south of the town, including several villages and the town of Wroughton, whose former RAF base is now home of the Science Museum`s storage depot.

Politics: Both the Swindon seats are key marginals, both won by Labour in 1997 after the previous Conservative held Swindon seat was split in two, both gained by the Conservatives in 2010. Swindon South is now the marginally more Labour seat, with a slightly higher proportion of social housing and a slightly more ethnically diverse electorate.

Current MP
ROBERT BUCKLAND (Conservative) Born 1968, Llanelli. Educated at St Michaels School, Bryn and Durham University. Former barrister, specialising in criminal law and planning. Contested Swindon South 2005. First elected as MP for Swindon South in 2010. Solicitor General since 2014.
Past Results
Con: 19687 (42%)
Lab: 16143 (34%)
LDem: 8305 (18%)
UKIP: 2029 (4%)
Oth: 955 (2%)
MAJ: 3544 (8%)
Con: 16181 (37%)
Lab: 17534 (40%)
LDem: 7322 (17%)
GRN: 1234 (3%)
Oth: 1201 (3%)
MAJ: 1353 (3%)
Con: 14919 (34%)
Lab: 22260 (51%)
LDem: 5165 (12%)
UKIP: 713 (2%)
Oth: 327 (1%)
MAJ: 7341 (17%)
Con: 18298 (36%)
Lab: 23943 (47%)
LDem: 7371 (14%)
Oth: 277 (1%)
MAJ: 5645 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ROBERT BUCKLAND (Conservative) See above.
ANNE SNELGROVE (Labour) Born 1957, Wokingham. Educated at Ranelagh School and City University London. Teacher. Contested Bracknell 2001, MP for Swindon South 2005-2010. PPS to Gordon Brown 2009-2010.
DAMON HOOTON (Liberal Democrat) Contested South Swindon 2010.
JOHN SHORT (UKIP) Retired local government officer. Contested Wiltshire police commissioner election 2012.
TALIS KIMBERLEY-FAIRBOURN (Green) Singer songwriter.
Comments - 44 Responses on “Swindon South”
  1. Going back in time to 9th February 1997:


    A barrister, aged 28, Buckland claims to be the first Conservative “in living memory” to be elected to Dyfed County Council. He is the Tory candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire, a new seat with “a notional Conservative majority of circa 600,” he says. He has 10 years of local party activism behind him, serving for three years as chairman of Llanelli Conservative Association; he fought (but didn’t win) the 1994 European elections in South West Wales.”

  2. Quite an interesting read, seeing who made it and who didn’t. It’s also interesting to note that a certain Economic Correspondent for The Independent wasn’t even mentioned…

  3. This seat could be renamed South of Swindon (like the old Euro seat South of Scotland)

  4. South Swindon is a horrible name IMO. It should be Swindon South. I can just about put up with the compass point being before the name for shire constituencies but I think all town and city seats should have it afterwards.

  5. Andy JS- yes I agree- town and city constituencies work best with the compass point after the name. Constituency names are starting to become a real problem actually- there were some appalling examples in the botched boundary review.

  6. The independent candidate who stood here in 1997 uploaded a clip of the declaration for this seat from a News West report of the West results- Diana Organ could also be seen at the start, and Dan Norris at Wansdyke at the end, but the full report hasn’t been uploaded.

  7. Julia Drown did very well to increase her vote share in 2001 in this seat. Did she have quite a big personal vote?

  8. I’m not sure. But the Labour vote collapsed when she stood down in 2005, so she might have made the difference between Labour holding the seat marginally and fairly comfortably.

  9. Ladbrokes:
    8/11 Cons
    Evs Lab

  10. That looks about right – a very narrow Conservative hold is what I would tend to go with. But a Labour gain is still very possible indeed.

  11. These seats in places like Swindon and Reading seem to stay Tory unless Labour wins a comfortable overall majority when they tend to be won by Labour with relative ease. They exaggerate the national situation.

  12. ‘These seats in places like Swindon and Reading seem to stay Tory unless Labour wins a comfortable overall majority when they tend to be won by Labour with relative ease. They exaggerate the national situation.’

    I don’t really know what you mean by that

    Up until 1983, Swindon was a pretty reliable Labour seat, with the only time the party had a problem since the war was the 1969 by-election at the height of Harold Wilson’s unpopularity, by electong a Tory MP who got kicked puyt a year later in 1970

    If it shows anythging its that how the WWC especially in the South have fallen out of love with the Labour Party, and when you look at whose running the party it’s not hard to see why

    Reading has always been more marginal, but Labour were able to win in the 1920s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s – before it was broken up into two seats, which hasn’t helped Labour much

    I think you’re right in that Labour would have to be ahgead signifcantly of the Tories for them to take both seats again

  13. Robert Buckland could hold this next time with a majority of about 1500 with incumbency added in, but given the Lib Dem vote is high enough for Labour to eat into, might there be a chance that they may come even closer, or might win it back perhaps?

  14. ‘but given the Lib Dem vote is high enough for Labour to eat into, might there be a chance that they may come even closer, or might win it back perhaps?’

    As one of the few from the 2010 intalke decisovely on the Leff of the party, Robert Buckland ought to be the sort of liberal(ish) Tory Lib Dem voters can feel comfortable voting for

    I’d certainly vote for him were I an elector here

  15. He will probably hold this seat, as things stand on the likely national swing, but it could be a very close one for 2020, I feel…

  16. Depends who wins the 2015 election. Labour could get a majority without winning this seat – in which case you would think he would most likely be safe in 2020.

  17. Swings and roundabouts. This is definitely an interesting seat.

  18. There’s little point looking at Swindon pre-1983 since the boundaries were totally different. And part of the reason Labour are doing much worse especially in the North constituency is the enormous reduction in manufacturing in the town, and the resultant change in the local economy to a largely office-based one. What is rather odd is that Labour has in every election since Swindon was divided into 2 seats done considerably better in South than North; perhaps that part of Swindon has changed a little less than the other.

  19. …..and this is despite a favourable boundary change in North, too.

  20. Quite a hgh swing seat and a largeish LD vote to collapse.

    I think the large LD vote is not necessarily Labour leaning in other seats though.

    I’d be quite worried here though – either way

  21. Tories gained a seat on Swindon council.

    Final result, Swindon popular votes:

    Con 18,476 (32.99%)
    Lab 17,593 (31.41%)
    UKIP 12,331 (22.02%)
    LD 4,741 (8.46%)
    Green 2,507 (4.48%)
    Ind 347 (0.62%)
    Others 14 (0.02%)


    Con -9.54%
    Lab +0.94%
    UKIP +19.99%
    LD -13.31%
    Green +3.35%
    Ind +0.46%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 5.24%

    Obviously Labour did well in the wrong places.

  22. 1992 notional result in Swindon South:

    Conservative 27,312 (48.9%)
    Labour 92 17,209 (30.8%)
    LibDem 92 10,439 (18.7%

    I am very dubious about that.

  23. I’ll try that again-

    Conservative 27,312 (48.9%)
    Labour 17,209 (30.8%)
    LibDem 10,439 (18.7%)

  24. PS- will the 2015 general election be fought on the pre-2012 wards here?

  25. From Ashcroft:

    All respondents, no constituency prompt:

    Con 20%
    Lab 23%
    LDem 5%
    UKIP 17%
    Green 4%
    BNP <1%
    Other <1%
    Would not vote 12%
    Refused 5%
    Don't know 14%

    DK breakdown:

    Con 17%
    Lab 13%
    LDem 15%
    NOTA 54%

    Excl. DK/WNV/refused. Weighted by turnout and past vote:

    Con 31%
    Lab 33%
    LDem 7%
    UKIP 23%
    Green 6%
    BNP <1%

    Reallocating DK:

    Con 31%
    Lab 34%
    LDem 7%
    UKIP 22%
    Green 5%

    Constituency prompt:

    Con 23%
    Lab 24%
    LDem 5%
    UKIP 16%
    Green 4%
    Other <1%
    Would not vote 12%
    Refused 3%
    Don't know 13%

    DK breakdown:

    Con 14%
    Lab 18%
    LDem 15%
    NOTA 54%

    Excl. DK/WNV/refused. Weighted by turnout and past vote:

    Con 34%
    Lab 34%
    LDem 6%
    UKIP 20%
    Green 5%
    Other <1%

    Reallocating DK:

    Con 34%
    Lab 34%
    LDem 7%
    UKIP 20%
    Green 4%

  26. And today Ashcroft Poll:

    Con 37%
    Lab 37%
    UKIP 16%
    LD 5%
    Green 4%
    Oth 1%

    So still a dead heat.

    This is shaping up to be a seat to watch come May 7th.

  27. The third time Ashcroft has polled this seat. Seems like he could’ve polled just about any other tight race as they’d be tacked onto the Clegg and Farage challenges.


    CON: 37%
    LAB: 36%
    LD: 6%
    UKIP: 16%
    GRN: 4%

    I’m very surprised by how tight this one is shaping up to be. I don’t know a lot about Swindon, but assumed it would be one of those traditional marginals where Labour would struggle nowadays (look at the uphill challenge they face in Harlow where they seem to be headed for a disappointing result).

    Still too close to call. If it turns out this tight I won’t be surprised if the winning candidate takes it with a three digit majority.

  28. Kind of sums up how much UKIP and Green have upset the apple cart. UKIP vote holding up fairly well. Probably more opportunity for Conservative to pick up late votes from UKIP, but still very close.

  29. Conservative Hold. 1,000 maj.

  30. CON hold but only by about 500, if LAB get this they’ll be having a great night.

  31. Con hold, 200 majority.

  32. Conservative Hold Majority 5,785

    2.2% swing to Conservative

  33. Again the Conservatives improving their majority where it matters.

  34. Full result:

    Con 22,777 46.2%
    Lab 16,992 34.5%
    UKIP 5,920 12.0%
    LDem 1,817 3.7%
    Green 1,757 3.6%

  35. Labour Cllr Matthew Coutliff defected to the Conservatives here.

    However, today he appears to have re-joined the Labour Group.

    Many however appear to want to ‘kick him out’ as a careerist now so it may go to the region or NEC to adjudicate.

    He represents Lydiard & Freshbrook.

  36. Cons hold this but their majority has been slashed. UKIP vote seems to have transferred mostly to Labour.

  37. Actually don’t mind this result. I thought based on what we are seeing it could have been vulnerable.

  38. I imagine in the next election this will be key target seat, especially as it is an early counter and would show what ever way the wind is blowing whenever the next election is.

  39. Apparently Swindon is the UK’s most “average” town, according to some arbitrary definitions of what constitutes “average” (I’m assuming it’s a combination of different demographic measures, where Swindon is pretty close to the middle for all of them.)

    Central thrust of the piece is that “average” is a meaningless concept and policies based on “average” have actually served Swindon (and many other places) rather poorly.

  40. Worcester will be devastated, isn’t it normally Britain’s most average town?

    I have to say though even the name “Swindon” sounds boringly average to my ear.

  41. Robert Buckland has been appointed Prisons Minster.

  42. Sounds like the role of Lord Chancellor is being reverted to it’s pre 2007 version – surely not with them becoming the speaker of the Lords again.

  43. Unlike Sajid Javid Robert Buckland accepts his Spad’s getting the bullet and remains Justice Secretary.

  44. Swindon’s former Labour MP David Stoddart, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, died on 14 November, aged 94. He was expelled from the Labour benches in the House of Lords in 2002 for backing a Socialist Alliance candidate at the 2001 general election, because he opposed the parachuting of Shaun Woodward into St Helens South. Stoddart was also a staunch Brexiteer. He also led Reading council from 1967 to 1972.

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