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. So why comment?

  2. Wonder what their reasons were.

    Tory – Lib Dem defections have happened before at a number of levels. One of the Tory MEPs for my region Edward Macmillan Scott came over to the Lib Dems a while back. Watford lost its final Tory councillor to the LDs, citing his disappointment with Tory language/policy on welfare. Pretty sure there’s an ex-MP or two who defected in the 90s.

    At Parliamentary level I’d still go for a Conservative hold. Even with a good candidate, just can’t see the Lib Dems making a decisive gain here.

    Not sure how a UKIP surge would figure in Winchester. And although Labour has a morsel of representation on the council they have barely any Parliamentary vote for the LDs to tactically squeeze.

  3. Winchester’s only “foreigners” are the ex-Gurkhas.. I suspect even the staff at the Indian restaurants in town commute in from Southampton

  4. and the LibDems in Winchester are probably more “socialist” than the Labour party members in the zone..

  5. Now now. Don’t start making claims like that. They are not at all likely to be true.

  6. ‘Tory – Lib Dem defections have happened before at a number of levels. One of the Tory MEPs for my region Edward Macmillan Scott came over to the Lib Dems a while back. Watford lost its final Tory councillor to the LDs, citing his disappointment with Tory language/policy on welfare. Pretty sure there’s an ex-MP or two who defected in the 90s.’

    Emma Nicholson (Torridge & Devon West) and Peter Turnham (Bolton North East) were the only MPs to defect to the Lib Dems in the 92-97 Parliament

    There were plenty of other Tores who defected to the Lib Dems after they lost their seats – John Lee, Hugh Dyke, Keith Raffan, Ralph Elletson

  7. notably all those non-entities are now residing in the ‘where are they now?’ file…

  8. So much so that Tim got Harold Elletson’s name wrong! I’ve a feeling there were more than those four, though I can’t think of the names off hand. Ernie Money, former MP for Ipswich, defected to the Lib Dems shortly before the 2010 election and helped them campaign in Eastbourne, sadly he is dead now.

  9. Glass houses on getting names wrong HH! It was Ernle Money, not Ernie Money. Unusual name.

  10. Anthony – this discussion has occurred before! Money’s name was indeed Ernle, but he was quite commonly known as Ernie Money (quite an euphonious combination) – H.Hemmelig himself pointed this out, quite correctly. Another former Tory MP who has switched sides to the LDs (at least in his former constituency) was Matthew Banks, who was MP for Southport from 1992 until 1997, but who supported the sitting LD candidate John Pugh at the last general election.

  11. ‘I’ve a feeling there were more than those four, though I can’t think of the names off hand. ‘

    There were plenty who defected to Labour too – Alan Howarth, Anthony Nelson, Alan Amos, Bob Jackson, Quinton Davies, Shaun Woodward, Peter Temple-Morris to name but a few

  12. Ahh… then my apologies.

    I shall attempt to make up for it with the trivia that it also pops up as part of the quadruple barrelled name of Richard Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, MP for South Dorset.

  13. yes, can’t imagine why he prefers to style himself plain Richard Drax!
    I have an old friend (he was my running-mate in the 1986 local elections) who has quite a strong resemblance to the Bond villain Drax. However, he is considerably less cruel & infinitely less bent on global domination. Perhaps Ian Fleming, who was well acquainted with many rich & powerful people, got the name from a family member of Richard Drax.

  14. Yes Barnaby I believe he did. Strangways in Dr. No was named after another member of the Dorset gentry.

  15. The Draxes traditionally sat for the Wareham constituency, now part of Mid-Dorset and N Poole I think.

  16. Yes Wareham is in Mid-Dorset etc. The Draxes’ property spans that constituency and the South Dorset one.

  17. Only 2 constituencies and they call themselves real toffs? Pah

  18. Actually I’m not sure – it might stretch over three even.

  19. having a rotten borough under your aegis was the real test of patronage

  20. Wareham was a pocket borough, rather than a rotten one, for part of its history at least. The worst period was actually after the Draxes had sat for it (which was in the first half of the 18th century).

    Corfe Castle in today’s South Dorset was closer to a classic rotten borough with only around 40 voters and most of them non-resident, although again strictly speaking perhaps more pocket than rotten.

    In both cases the controlling interests were able to effectively nominate the MPs by artificially creating a reliable electorate, brought in from outside to vote on the day – if necessary, which it often wasn’t.


    “Ms Porter – a Lib Dem county councillor – told the BBC: “It feels like the king is dead long live the king.

    “We have to make decisions to save the party not the person.”

    She has signed a petition calling on Mr Clegg to stand down so a new leader can be chosen in the summer. The Lib Dems lost Winchester at the last election.”

    Not happening. If there’s one thing that makes the Parliamentary party unique to the other two main parties, it has to be (so far) their relative unity amid such heavy losses. Perhaps in their minds they don’t want in-fighting to blight the party and show a disunited front based on what happened to the Tories under Major and Labour under Brown.

    Those activists who were upset by the party probably quit or defected long ago.

  22. Whilst nothing will come of this, I doubt it will hurt among the Winchester electorate.
    This seat will be very close in 2015.

  23. Tory hold…easy, i ‘m afraid. don’t think Steve Brine has too many worries here.

  24. Fair enough if you have some knowledge here, my thinking was that the locals for us have been okay, and without Oaten we could do well.

  25. Con-LD contests are probably the worst regarding local – national election result similarity.

    They would tell us that Wells is a 100% certain gain – I am nowhere near that confident!

  26. And yet you seem confident here? Locals aren’t always an indicator, but I think this seat will remain marginal.

  27. I am confident-ish, but don’t expect a massive win.

    I think we will probably make more gains from AND more losses to the liberal democrats than people think,

  28. That’s fair. I think there are probably ten Tory seats that COULD go Lib Dem, and probably 15 Lib Dem seats that could go Tory, probably with around a net of 5-8 to the Tories.

  29. Does anyone know much about Steve Brine as an MP? He seems fairly rightwing from the little that’s available on his wiki page, but I don’t know how he’s seen locally or indeed how socially conservative Winchester tends to be, though I’d imagine that it’s not the sort of place where opposing marriage equality will give the MP a great boost?

  30. I think this will be held in 2015 but will be Lib Dem in 2020. To speculate wildly:

    Con 47 (-2)
    LD 33 (-10)
    Lab 8 (+3)
    UKIP 8 (+6)
    Grn 3 (+3)
    Oth 1 (+0)

    LD 45 (+12)
    Con 43 (-4)
    Lab 5 (-3)
    Grn 3 (+0)
    UKIP 3 (-5)
    Oth 1 (+0)

  31. Have I missed something obvious here, why do the Lib Dem think the are going to gain this seat in the 2015 General Election? There was mention of internal polling that showed them winning here and Watford and only losing 11 seats, which I thought was optimistic.

    There was some clear blue water between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems here in 2010, so what would cause a switch back to the lib Dems?

  32. Put all ideas about a Lib Dem victory here from your mind. This will remain blue, without a doubt.

  33. The only doubt for me here is the Tory margin of victory. I reckon this could be surprisingly close, but surely there’s no way there’ll actually be a swing to LD here.

    As for UKIP, this is the sort of place they’d have some potential under a leader like Carswell, but precious little under Farage (I’m talking about political tone on UKIP’s main messages, rather than how the individuals are suited to leadership).

  34. LDs will hope to keep the majority within 8-10% for another crack in 2020

  35. Chris Hornet…

    I wonder if this is the same Winchester I used to live in until last year… I have visited Winchester, Virginia though and would agree that UKIP stand a better chance there than in the Hampshire version..

  36. Toby… and this is the Winchester that the LibDems came within one seat of taking back in last May’s council elections?

    Maybe some local input, instead of wild guesses from the “my train went through there” pundits, might help..

  37. Antiochan to give you a sense of perspective the Tories gained the Winchester parliamentary seat in 2010 which was the same year the Lib Dems gained a majority on the council overthrowing a Tory majority administration. I think it is not unreasonable to say there may be a fair amount of split ticket voting. Also as of the 2014 locals the Lib Dems had 25 seats (-2), 4 seats away from the majority (29 seats required). This does not indicate to that the Lib Dems having lost nearly 2/3 of their national vote share are on the cusp of winning this seat back. Though I concede 2020 may be a different matter.

  38. Drove through the village of Northington in the rural north of the constituency this morning and there was a sprinkling of boards for Jackie Porter amongst the ones for Steve Brine. So clearly the competitive spirit survives in this seat.

  39. Tory win – 5000 majority

  40. Peppermintea.. to give some perspective I was on the executive of the Winchester LibDems until June of last year… Tories are not a bunch of happy campers as two of their councillors had defected to the LibDems in early 2014.. Since then the group has been riven with disaffection over the Silver Hill retail development in the centre of the city. It went to a High Court challenge which resulted in decisions being described as “unlawful” prompting the Tory leader of the council, Robert Humby to resign.

    The Conservatives have 28 seats on the council, Liberal Democrats have 25, Labour has three and there is one Independent councillor.

    The bulk of the Tory council seats are NOT in Winchester but are in Meon Valley is the independent..

  41. l reckon for once Neil is being unduly pessimistic from a Tory point of view. The Tories should win here by at least 6,500, probably more.

  42. Antiochan if you look at the amount of seats won by each party in the local elections in Winchester constituency 2007, 2008, 2010 and compare it to the amount of seats won in the elections in 2011, 2012 and 2014 (ignoring for defections as these do not represent the view of the electorate) you will see there has been a significant (though not overwhelming) decline in the strength in the constituency.

    The council 45 seats in Winchester constituency 2007, 2008, 2010:
    Lib: 30
    Con: 15
    Lab: 0

    The council 45 seats in Winchester constituency 2011, 2012, 2014:
    Lib: 22 (-8)
    Con: 20 (+5)
    Lab: 3 (+3)

    Counter to your argument the Lib Dems have actually done relatively better locally in the Meon Valley part of Winchester borough council picking up two seats one in Boarhunt and Southwick, the other in Whiteley. Though this has been offset by three losses to the Tories in the East Hampshire part of the seat.

    It is highly likely that the Lib Dems will remain competitive in Winchester but highly unlikely they will improve on 2010. If I had to guess Con majority of approximately 10%.

  43. My argument remains what it was.. most of the wards in the Meon Valley part of Winchester City are Tory and this is what gives them the position they have on the council, whereas most of the seats in .Wnchester’s urban area are either LibDem or Labour. Even the most populous villages, Twyford/Colden Common, Alresford and Kings Worthy (which Jackie Porter represents) are LibDem redoubts.

    Moreover, many fail to realise that Winchester constituency also includes four wards from Eastleigh borough including its most Tory wards, the Hiltingbury East & West wards.

  44. Antiochian- so are you going to predict a Liberal Democrat gain then?

  45. No it doesn’t Antiochan because the evidence suggests this is a seat with substantial split ticket voting which suggests that the Lib Dems need to be out performing the Tories a fair margin locally (not just marginally) in order to stand a shot at the parliamentary seat. Seen as the Lib Dems have gone backwards locally in the Winchester seat, it is highly unlikely that they can gain the parliamentary seat which will very likely produce a higher Tory majority.

  46. James Baillie:
    ” I’d imagine that it’s not the sort of place where opposing marriage equality will give the MP a great boost?”

    As in “marriage equality” for mothers and sons/daughters, “marriage equality” for brothers/sisters, “marriage equality” for two men and a woman, etc, etc. Or does this “marriage equality” slogan only apply to certain cases? And, if so, why?

  47. Marriage equality, John, usually refers to the political position of supporting allowing any two individuals of legal age, regardless of the sex of birth and of identification, to marry.

    Hope that clears up your confusion.

  48. Indeed – to expand on that, marriage equality simply implies that every citizen should be playing by the same rules, without arbitrary categorisation of gender or sexuality by the state.

    The law on marriage within close families is complex and apparently is gender categorised, and in a way that doesn’t make very good sense. I think there’s an argument against intra-familial marriage on the grounds that it’s proportionally more difficult to be certain that the power relationships within it are workable and fully consensual, as well as the biological issues caused by inbreeding. Those arguments don’t apply, fairly obviously, to marriage between two non-related adults.

    As for poly marriage, it’s a very different legal concept with regards to inheritance, shared allowances, etc. It doesn’t come under the broad heading of “marriage equality” because it wouldn’t just be opening up the current legal definition of marriage to all citizens, it would be putting a whole new set of tax and family laws and arrangements (which is ultimately what marriage is, in this discussion) in place that people could use.

    So basically marriage equality is generally just about ensuring that any two individuals – except in the very unusual case of close family relationships – have access to the current legal provisions for two-partner marriages. It’s fairly clear where the boundaries of the concept lie!

  49. Cant wait to see Lib Dem loose massively here, with 5,500 students on the electoral role in winchester Jackie is in for a shocker.

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