2015 Result:
Conservative: 30425 (55%)
Labour: 4613 (8.3%)
Lib Dem: 13511 (24.4%)
Green: 2645 (4.8%)
UKIP: 4122 (7.5%)
MAJORITY: 16914 (30.6%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of Winchester council area and part of Eastleigh council area.

Main population centres: Winchester, Twyford, New Alresford, Chandler`s Ford, Hiltingbury.

Profile: An affluent and fast growing city in Hampshire, the seat contains Winchester itself, once the capital of England, picturesque surrounding towns and villages such as Twyford and New Alresford, and now the housing estates of Chandler`s Ford and Hiltingbury. In 2006 a Channel 4 programme announced that Winchester was the best place in the UK to live.

Politics: The constituency has an equally picturesque political history. The seat had been Conservative since 1950, but in 1992 the then Conservative MP John Browne was deselected having been suspended from the Commons for accepting cash for questions. Browne subsequently stood as a independent Conservative against the new Tory candidate, former MP Gerry Malone. Browne lost and has subsequently stood for UKIP in various elections. Five years later Malone himself was defeated by 2 votes by Mark Oaten in 1997, despite the intervention of serial spoiler candidate Richard Huggett, who stood as a "Liberal Democrat Top Choice for Parliament" and won 640 votes. The Conservatives successfully challenged the result in court and the election was re-run, but the perception of being a sore loser saw a huge swing against Malone at the subsequent by-election, making Winchester one of the safest Liberal Democrat seat in the country. In turn Mark Oaten suffered his own fall from grace, with tabloid newspapers alledging he had paid a male prostitute for an act `too disgusting to be described in a family newspaper`... or, indeed, in the News of the World. Oaten stood down at the general election and the seat was regained by the Conservatives.

Current MP
STEVE BRINE (Conservative) Born 1974, Portsmouth. Educated at Bohunt Comprehensive and Liverpool University. Former BBC radio producer, CCO researcher and Conservative Party Area campaign Director. First elected as MP for Winchester in 2010. PPS to Mike Penning until 2015. PPS to Jeremy Hunt since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 27155 (49%)
Lab: 3051 (5%)
LDem: 24107 (43%)
UKIP: 1139 (2%)
Oth: 503 (1%)
MAJ: 3048 (5%)
Con: 23749 (39%)
Lab: 4782 (8%)
LDem: 31225 (51%)
UKIP: 1321 (2%)
Oth: 581 (1%)
MAJ: 7476 (12%)
Con: 22648 (38%)
Lab: 3498 (6%)
LDem: 32282 (55%)
UKIP: 664 (1%)
Oth: 66 (0%)
MAJ: 9634 (16%)
Con: 26098 (42%)
Lab: 6528 (11%)
LDem: 26100 (42%)
Oth: 1730 (3%)
MAJ: 2 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
STEVE BRINE (Conservative) See above.
JACKIE PORTER (Liberal Democrat) Former retail buyer and teacher. Hampshire councillor since 2005.
Comments - 122 Responses on “Winchester”
  1. Morgan Morgan Giles, who was the oldest living MP, died on 4th May aged 98. The oldest living MP is now John Freeman, Labour MP for Watford 1945-55.

  2. *former*

  3. …and the sole survivor from that parliament as far as is known. I don’t know how many other survivors there are from the 1945 field of losing candidates though Denis Healey is surely the most eminent.

  4. I wonder if Winchester should become a target for UKIP.

    Today I was in the local garden centre and because they have such difficulty keeping non-customer traffic out of their car park they have introduced a system whereby you collect a token from the cashier when you pay to let yourself out of a barriered car park.

    Should be no problem you would think…BUT…the token turns out to be minted as a “London EURO Coin”!

    I would have thought if one was of a Con voter with a “swivel-eyed” tendency over Europe (and I have no doubt the garden centre in Winchester has more than its fair few of such people) it might just send you clean round the bend.

    Or at least into the comforting arms of the nearest UKIP candidate.

  5. I often wonder what would have happened here in 2001 without the by-election in late 1997- Would Oaten have still held the seat that year and in 2005 or would the Tories have taken it back a lot sooner than 2010?

  6. Winchester strikes me an unikely target for UKIP. They did only get 2% of the vote here in 2010, which is (I think) less than average for those seats they contested then.

    UKIP territory tends to be more working class or lower middle class, more small-town or suburban, and less prosperous.

  7. The Army is quite pro-UKIP

  8. If the Army is ‘quite pro-UKIP’, then it might partly be because they have promised them the moon on a stick in the event of coming to power.

    But I digress. My message is that the Lib Dems have selected Jackie Porter, County Councillor for Itchen Valley, as their PPC.

  9. She was elected with 51.3% of the vote in the CC elections which is pretty impressive.

  10. One of the few good Lib Dem performances in Hampshire last month

  11. The Lib Dem squeeze on Labour here is pretty severe, and some of that is going to inevitably unwind. Any progress they make in this seat will rely on either (a) Tory voters defecting directly to them, or (b) Tory voters defecting in large numbers to UKIP.

  12. Incidentally, what is it about Lib Dem MPs from Hampshire and their sex lives? Huhne and his mistress, Oaten and his rent boys, and Mike Hancock and his Russian lover with a suspiciously strong interest in military affairs… is there something in the water here?

  13. Maybe it’s time to fluorinate.

  14. Perhaps Sandra Gidley feels left out in the circumstances.

  15. Jackie Porter represents (and lives) in one of the most upscale and Conservative parts of the Winchester City territory… so one might expect her to appeal to some of the more Tory-leaning wards…

  16. A closer look at the result here in 2001-
    (Changes are against 1997, not the 1997 by-election)
    Oaten (Liberal Democrat)- 32, 282 (54.6%, +12.54%)
    Hayes (Conservative)- 22, 648 (38.3%, -3.76%)
    Wyeth (Labour)- 3, 498 (5.9%, -4.62%)
    Martin (UKIP)- 664 (1.1%, +0.33%)
    Rous (Wessex Regionalist)- 66 (0.1%, N/A)

    Majority- 9, 634 (16.3%)
    Swing- +8.15% From Con to Lib Dem.

  17. Prediction for 2015-
    Brine (Conservative)- 50%
    Liberal Democrat- 38%
    Labour- 7%
    UKIP- 5%

  18. The 2001 result is a bit of an outlier though because of the after-effects of the byelection.

  19. Indeed. If one were to look at the changes here from the byelection, they were-
    Lib Dem- -13.4%
    Con- +9.9%
    Lab- +4.2%
    UKIP- +0.1%

    Swing against byelection- +11.65%


    Interesting report here. It’s optimistic and ambitious but I’m not wholly sure they’ll manage to pull all of it off. For some reason, I’d be most confident of a Lib Dem gain in Oxford West and Abingdon. Not sure about Winchester or Newton Abbot. The report doesn’t mention the obvious Camborne and Redruth, but somehow I’m on the fence there.

  21. ‘A Lib Dem source said: “These are places where some people voted Conservative in 2010 because they liked what David Cameron had to say about things like the environment. Now he’s abandoned the green agenda, there is every reason to think they could come to us.”‘

    Somehow I doubt it.

  22. I think some Conservatives are excessively frightened of the Lib Dems. Yes, they have had success against the Conservatives from 1997 but it can be over-estimated. After all, what became of the much-vaunted ‘decapitation’ strategy in 2005 or the Clegg bounce in 2010? Nothing. In fact in 2010, the Conservatives made net gains off the Lib Dems. This does not mean that I think the Lib Dems will be reduced to 20-odd MPs in 2015- personally I think they’ll manage about 40. However, I’m not going to lose any sleep about articles like these.

  23. As it happens, I think the Lib Dems have a decent chance in Oxford West and Abingdon. Elsewhere I think they’ll be very much on the defensive, but with some success. I think the Tories will come up short in places like Cheadle, Chippenham, and Eastbourne etc as well as in Lib Dem bankers.

  24. I have the Liberal Democrats down for taking this seat. I think that their loss in 2010 was largely due to the stories about Mark Oaten. This is probably Lib Dem target number 2 after Oxford West and Abingdon despite the fact that there are constituencies which require less of a swing for the Lib Dems to gain.

  25. Jackie Porter’s campaign is based on a lot more than Green issues..Most of the rural expanses of the constituency were carved off into Meon Valley before the last election.. Those parts that remain are so circumscribed by other consideration (South Downs Nat Park to the east) that its hard to do anything non-Green in Winchester.

    She has more cards up her sleeve as a veteran councillor than just Green issues… housing is a hot button issue in the city as there is (in theory) no land to build anything.. while fares to London are another issue.. Steve Brine doesn’t worry about fares as he has a London place at taxpayer expense despite the trip being commutable…that is if you want to suffer with the plebs..

  26. 111- on what basis do you think that? The Labour vote has been squeezed severely already here so the Lib Dems are require direct Tory defections or defections to the UKIP. It’s not completely impossible of course but I personally think that the 1992 result is the likeliest outcome i.e. a Tory win but with the Lib Dems staying in a fairly competitive second.

  27. CON HOLD MAJ : 11%
    CON 41
    LD 30
    LAB 13
    UKIP 10
    GRN 5
    OTH 1

  28. Tory, as so often in matters psephological, is surely right. WindsofChange’s prediction isn’t too bad but I think UKIP will poll rather less than that here.

  29. Not sure how Harrogate will go either.

    St Albans is a marginal possibility seeing as how the Labour vote has virtually collapsed since they lost the seat and that the Lib Dems have done well locally.

  30. I just think that the LDs will win this seat. Psephologically it may not make complete sense, but the performance that we (Conservatives) had in 2010 seems a bit inflated to me.

  31. The Labour vote is so small so there isn’t really anywhere for that Lib Dem share to go to. UKIP will take some votes from the Conservative column of course, not a lot but potentially enough for them to come 1-2% short of winning.

    Maybe something like:

    LD: 40%
    CON: 37%
    UKIP: 12%
    LAB: 8%
    GRN: 3%

    It is quite far out at present though to be making predictions for seats like this though to be honest

  32. That wouldn’t leave the Tories down 12% nationally though, probably at about 30% I think.

    This is my present 2015 vote share national prediction (without the extreme UKIP values that I like to predict):

    LAB: 32%
    CON: 30%
    UKIP: 15%
    LD: 12%
    GRN: 3%
    SNP: 3%
    PC: 1%

    OTH: 4%

  33. Over generous to the Greens considering how many seats they won’t challenge in.. by at least one percentage point..

  34. I honestly think that if they ran in all of the seats back in 2010 and didn’t have their vote squeezed by Labour across the country they would have polled 2% nationally. I expect that they will contest about 450-500 seats this time therefore 3% nationally is surely a realistic possibility for them.

  35. The phrase “the Labour vote is so small so there isn’t really anywhere for that LD share to go to” is completely illogical & nonsensical. The fact that the Labour share is very small doesn’t prevent it from rising at the partial expense of the LDs; what the size of the share of the vote actually does, as Tory says, is make it extremely difficult for the LDs to extract further tactical votes. The very low share of the Labour vote makes it harder, not easier, for the LDs to win. Nor is there any evidence in local elections that the LDs are about to win, either. There is a point of view that, since the LDs have managed a left-field gain in each of the last 4 elections, they are bound to do so this time. There is no such rule that this must happen. If the party is doing badly nationally, or indeed any party, there is no reason why they should not fail to make any gains, as for example happened to the Liberals in 1970, and the Tories in 1966.

  36. The local elections point strongly towards a LD gain, Barnaby. There is no indication of a Labour vote share above 8%. I have done extensive modelling for this constituency. I use a variety of different types of software for electoral modelling, including some that I have constructed myself.

    My prediction is entirely logical.

  37. My predictions are all on the back of the Greens attaining 3-4% nationally, which is fair enough considering: they are likely to stand in more seats than last time; are likely to have a boost from doing well in the Euros; are on the back of a LD decline; are at a time where the Tories can no longer claim to be ‘green’/’caring and conserving’, not even pale environmentalists unlike in 2010 where this contributed massively to their detoxification; are in with a chance at 2nd in Norwich S; are likely to increase their vote share in the seats where they stood in 2010, in some of the better ones e.g. Bristol W/Lancaster & Fleetwood quite considerably.

  38. I think Oaten was a huge factor in the Lib Dems loss of this seat even though he was not a candidate. I cannot see the Lib Dems retaking it in 2015 or any of the other seats such as Oxford and Abingdon mentioned in the newspaper reports over the last few days.

  39. “I think the Tories will come up short in places like Cheadle, Chippenham, and Eastbourne etc as well as in Lib Dem bankers.”

    Chippenham is an interesting one. Clearly a marginal which possibly Duncan Hames won due to strategic votes from natural Labour supporters in the area. Wilfred Emmanuel Jones was certainly an interesting candidate though.

    I’m personally quite torn on the outcome of that at the moment. If Labour manages to increase their share of the votes and UKIP manages to mop up the protest vote (as opposed to splitting the Tory vote so much), Chippenham could go to the Tories.

  40. Rum & Coke is correct re this seat, and I feel probably correct in the assumption that the LDs will not gain any seats. Otherwise, there’s a hell of a lot of bollocks being talked here. With the greatest of respect.

  41. Labour gained a seat from the Lib Dems in 2010.

  42. About three if I recall. One in Scotland (I think), Rochdale and Chesterfield.

  43. Dunfermline & W Fife was a regain from a by-election defeat. Rochdale was arguable as a gain – some psephologists called it a Labour notional hold because of the boundary change. Chesterfield was a proper gain though.

  44. I wonder if Oaten was a huge factor when he was not even a candidate. The Tories had encountered an exceptional string of difficulties, as described in “politics” above, in what should be a safe seat for them, and Oaten was a Libdem incumbent when the Tories were still doing poorly nationally. Winchester may be reverting to its status as a safe Conservative seat.

  45. @Tory

    I think the Libs are pushing this ‘We’re the Green Party’ agenda quite hard. Strikes me as a bit weird – putting up power bills so your granny freezes to death as a vote -winner.

  46. Oaten must have been popular to have won the re-run of the 97 election by 20,000-odd votes, which was the Lib Dems biggest swing from the 92′ result

    This seat did fit the pattern of the sort of place where the Lib Dems did well – middle class, affluent with quite a high proportion of high-earning young professionals and public sector employees – and it will be interesting to see if Steve Brine can build on the good result he pulled off in 2010

  47. That result wasn’t primarily down to his popularity. There could not have been a huge spike in his personal popularity between his winning by 2 votes in May 1997 & the re-run a short while later. Instead, the electorate clearly felt that he’d won fair & square in May, and didn’t like being dragged to the polls, as they clearly predominantly felt, unnecessarily. There was also a huge tactical squeeze on the Labour vote.

  48. I think that Oaten suffered a backlash with the glass table allegations but come polling day the fresh candidate for the Lib Dems suffered the usual loss of incumbency.

    What will ve interesting is to gauge whether the Lib Dems will now become victim of incumbency and consequential loss of votes. I think a backlash is heading the lib dems way. Eastleigh would have been a loss had the Tories and UKIP not have performed as they did. Coincidently I suspect Eastleigh will be a Tory gain in 2015.

  49. ” the usual loss of incumbency.” by this i mean they got less votes because they were never the MP for the place.

  50. “Eastleigh would have been a loss had the Tories and UKIP not have performed as they did.”

    That is a singularly pointless sentence.

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