Wirral South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15566 (37.2%)
Labour: 20165 (48.2%)
Lib Dem: 1474 (3.5%)
Green: 895 (2.1%)
UKIP: 3737 (8.9%)
MAJORITY: 4599 (11%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Merseyside. Part of the Wirral council area.

Main population centres: Heswall, Bebington, Bromborough, Eastham.



Current MP
ALISON MCGOVERN (Labour) Born 1980, Bromborough. Educated at Wirral Grammar School and University College London. Former communications officer for Network Rail. Southwark councillor 2006-2010. First elected as MP for Wirral South in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 15745 (39%)
Lab: 16276 (41%)
LDem: 6611 (17%)
UKIP: 1274 (3%)
MAJ: 531 (1%)
Con: 13168 (33%)
Lab: 16892 (43%)
LDem: 8568 (22%)
UKIP: 616 (2%)
Oth: 460 (1%)
MAJ: 3724 (9%)
Con: 13841 (35%)
Lab: 18890 (47%)
LDem: 7087 (18%)
MAJ: 5049 (13%)
Con: 17495 (36%)
Lab: 24499 (51%)
LDem: 5018 (10%)
Oth: 315 (1%)
MAJ: 7004 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JOHN BELL (Conservative) Born Liverpool. Educated at Keele University. Teacher and lecturer.
ALISON MCGOVERN (Labour) See above.
ELIZABETH JEWKES (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Newark Girls Grammar and University of East London. Businesswoman. Contested Ellesmere Port and Neston 1992, Vale of Clwyd 2005, City of Chester 2010.
DAVID SCOTT (UKIP) Educated at Quarry Bank High School and Aberdeen University. Teacher and lecturer. Contested Wirral South 2005, 2010.
PAUL CARTLIDGE (Green) Former police officer and teacher.
Comments - 224 Responses on “Wirral South”
  1. Possibly more than 17,000 actually. In terms of vote share they would have cleared 55%.

  2. If I was Tory HQ I’d pick a local and preferably somebody on the left of the party with sympathies to the public sector (a Sarah Wollaston type figure) that’s the Tories best hope here.

  3. Ha I doubt that – he was a LibDem PPC.

    In fact I can’t see any of that lot who the Cameroons recruited in 2006-2009 (including the Asian LD belly dancer) being Tory PPCs in 2020 under May.

  4. Rivers10 – that’s someone you as a Labour supporter would like.

    I agree a local would make sense though.

    Of course the last Tory to win here in the ’80s and ’90s was a right wing populist (Barry Porter). A Wet would probably suit Southport more than here.

  5. I agree I would obviously prefer a wet but I’m also thinking of the high public sector workforce in this seat these days, a union bashing small state Thatcherite is hardly going to go down well amongst affluent public sector professionals who the Tories will need to court here if they want to win.

  6. Rivers10 – well that depends if your aiming to attract Lab votes or UKIP ones I suppose. I agree both are options.

  7. Max – that’s already happened (esp with Scousers moving to Crosby in particular and Ormskirk and its environs to a lesser degree).

    But if anything Heswall and a part of Southport are the places where Tories from Lpool retired too. So they’re not places where Scouser automatically equals Labour voter. Quite the opposite. [It’s one of the reasons why the decline in the Tory vote in Lpool from over 100,000 in 1979 to 40k in 1992 wasn’t replicated with an equal surge in the Labour vote. People left the city (as well as voting LD and dying out largely.]

    Another reason Lpool has gone from 12, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4.5 to 3.5 MPs next time.

  8. Not really enough UKIP support to make a major difference especially when a lot of it will be WWC support on estates in Bromborough that certainly lean Labour.

  9. Lancs
    “Another reason Lpool has gone from 12, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4.5 to 3.5 MPs next time”

    For the sake of accuracy we’re going from 4.5 to 4.

  10. Haardy haar 😛

  11. Rivers10 – 4.5 to 3.5.

    As half of G & H is in Knowsley.

    Well there’s certainly more UKIP support than One Nation Tories here.

    Although neither are ‘needed’ to win the new seat. I was merely talking about how big the 3-5k Tory majority is.

  12. Lancs
    “As half of G & H is in Knowsley”
    Yes half of G and H is in Knowsley but half of the new Bootle is in Liverpool. Liverpool by itself is entitled to four whole seats.

    “Well there’s certainly more UKIP support than One Nation Tories here”
    That’s impossible to determine without surveying every Tory voter. Regardless I’d hazard their are WAY more one nation Tories here than UKIP voters of the Tory facing variety.

  13. A note on ‘The Merseyside effect’; yes, there has been a consistent flow from tory to Labour in these seats, but one can’t assume it will continue. Trends like these are often spoken of as if they are irrepressible natural laws; they aren’t. The difference between one GE and the next is influenced by the specific conditions at that time; one of the main causes of “THE MERSEYSIDE EFFECT” was culturally labour voters from Liverpool, doing well and moving out to the Wirral & West Lancs. Liverpools population has been steadier in recent years, and so any further drift may include the children of those people, whose vote will be less predictable (and arguably less reliable) than their parents.

    I suspect the factors that will influence swings will be down to demographics, like anywhere else (and they may have aided “TME” in recent elections-ie public sector workers have seen how red-toothed the tory attitude is towards them). Personally, I don’t see the swings here being much different from elsewhere in England & Wales (whatever they turn out to be).

  14. Eco is right that the Merseyside effect wont go on forever, its effects will taper off in a generation or so. As has been stated its well to do Scousers of my parents generation (who have first hand reason to hate the Tories) moving further afield and also Scousers of my generation (raised by people with first hand reason to hate the Tories) moving further afield but will the effect be as potent with say my 11 month old nephew (raised by people who were raised by people who had first hand reason to hate the Tories) somehow I doubt it.

  15. MP-R – they don’t need to come back (in the 1992 sense) to re-take Southport of course.

    Even before the boundary changes, ie a local PPC in 2015 or without Pugh, it seems 70% likely it’ll return to the Con column. With the boundary changes as proposed I imagine it’ll be as safe as the new Wirral seat.

    Sefton C I agree with, although that’s not just due to Scousers moving there. Shirley Williams famously managed to win it years ago and said she was pushing at an open door as it was a heavily RC seat.

    Rivers – I was speaking of UKIP voters. I agree it’d be hard to specify how many UKIP-inclined Tories there are. There are more UKIP votes than Tory Wets here was my point. Indeed the mismatch (between wealthy Wet PPCs and rightwing Tory voters) was identified as one of the reasons for the decline in Tories in Merseyside. The reason the Left hated Barry Porter MP (as well as Geoffrey Dickens et al) was because they were populist rightwingers from ordinary backgrounds who held onto marginal seats throughout the Thatcher era.

    The main reason the Merseyside effect can’t go on forever is that the population of Lpool has declined so much, ie they’ve already left and moved to Crosby, Wirral etc.

  16. Lancs
    I think your being a tad optimistic re Southport, the proposed boundaries are without a doubt the best amalgamation for the Tories but even so I anticipate they’ll only limp over the line there.

    As for Bebington and Heswall it isn’t really that safe (Tory majority of sub 10% I believe) and I anticipate above average swings to Labour there in the coming years.

  17. Rivers10 – merely stating the facts.

    Both will be Tory seats in 2020. Yes it’s possible Lab and the LDs could target them heavily, but that will only reduce the Tory majority from 3 or 4000 to 1500.

    Quite apart from the fact the current polls show the swings won’t be away from the Tories next time.

    There are thousands of UKIP votes up for grabs too, which was my point here. 9% of voters voted UKIP. It’s naïve to suggest more ie more than 25% of the Tory voters here or in other Merseyside seats are Wets. Indeed it suggests you haven’t met many of them.

    But glad you at least concede they’ll win Southport.

  18. MPR – I’m surprised you think they should give up on Heswall & Bebington; they must surely be strong favourites to win the seat!

  19. LANCS OBSERVER – The current polls absolutely aren’t a prediction of the 2020 election. Corbyn has just come through a bruising leadership contest, May is in her “honeymoon”, and nobody has any real idea how UKIP, LDs and Greens will be faring by then.

  20. Well by current take the last 12 months’ worth of polls.

    Corbyn’s ratings have got worse, not better.

  21. “The current polls absolutely aren’t a prediction of the 2020 election.”

    Unless Labour changes leader, IMO they probably are, at least in terms of Labour’s vote share. Corbyn is a real marmite figure and voters have had a year to decide whether they like him or not. I doubt they’ll change their mind from here on.

    Whether the Tory share holds up at 40% or so is much more uncertain, I agree, but Labour are almost certain to be so weak that some kind of Tory-led administration is virtually guaranteed even if they were to slip into the low 30s.

  22. We’ll have to wait and see re 2020, many here (myself included) have made bold predictions in the past only to be totally wrong hence I try to avoid them, perhaps others should do the same.

    When discussing seats at present I’m focused more on trends, demographics and respective parties core strength in said seats rather than polling. This far out the latter is of limited use in making predictions.

  23. Lancs
    “There are thousands of UKIP votes up for grabs too, which was my point here. 9% of voters voted UKIP”

    But as I keep saying many will be Lab facing, its lazy to presume most are going to dive for the Tories.

    “It’s naïve to suggest more ie more than 25% of the Tory voters here or in other Merseyside seats are Wets. Indeed it suggests you haven’t met many of them”

    I’ve met plenty of them, but I’m serious in my experience most Tory voters are wets, in my (admittedly relatively short) time campaigning I haven’t met a single Tory voter who espouses the type of free market stuff that most Tory MP’s seem to believe in, I’m sure they exist in swathes down South but amongst the NW? Not so much.

  24. Blackpool South rather

  25. ”But as I keep saying many will be Lab facing, its lazy to presume most are going to dive for the Tories.”

    @rivers H.Hemmelig explained this the other day but I don’t know if you saw it. Yes not all UKIP voters love the Tories but UKIP voters who do lean towards the Tories are far more likely to return to their ‘natural’ party than Labour facing ones. If UKIP do weaken at the next general election it will likely hugely benefit the Tories as the Tory Kippers ‘return home’ while the Labour ones largely carry on voting UKIP or stay home. Corbynite Labour has very little appeal to UKIP voters (his approval rating with them is nearly as atrocious as it is with Tory voters) and his ‘unlimited immigration is great’ pronouncement this week is hardly going to help matters. In fact Corbyn’s Labour seems hell bent on driving even more of their WWC voters out of their tent into the embrace of UKIP not the other way round.

  26. If we end up with a Blackpool South & Lytham St Anns and Blackpool North becomes the core Blackpool seat losing Cleveleys and gaining inner Blackpool from South the advantage of both respective parties in each constituency would be reversed.

  27. Pepp – exactly.

    Rivers10 can’t have it both ways: in claiming that the Tories underperformed here (true), but that the increased UKIP vote didn’t come from them disproportionately – and may be more likely to return to them under May than under DC as HH suggests.

  28. Rivers10 – well my experience is the direct opposite.

    There’s still a lot of Wets in the South, but fewer in the North West. Voters as a whole, but particularly Tory ones hold more right wing views in Blackpool, Bury, etc than many Tory voters in he Home Counties. That isn’t a controversial observation.

    A lot of the time you seem to state what you’d like to be the position rather than what it is (if the reality is something you dislike).

    It may also be what you view as ‘right wing’ (as TimJ is also guilty of this). By it you mean rich Toff MPs in a sort of ’80s trader stereotype closing homeless shelter or whatever.

    Whereas populist rightwingers (David Davis or Andrew Percy or Phillip Davies) tend to be popular just because they’re plain speaking from ordinary backgrounds and their views on crime, immigration etc resonate. On policy terms they opposed Tuition Fees, but that doesn’t make George Osborne more ‘right wing’ because he proposed them.

  29. Yes Tory voters In the Home counties and similar areas are more right wing on fiscal issues than Tory voters in less salubrious areas while these voters tend to be much more right wing on law, order, crime, immigration etc. than their more wealthy counterparts.

  30. PEPPERMINTTEA – I agree to some extent, although in my experience, few middle-class people are genuinely economically right-wing. Yes, they may grumble about taxation, particularly about examples of wasted taxation (however small) but they still generally want good quality services, accountable to the public, and support the concept of business paying its way for those services. I don’t think there is any enthusiasm from the public for TTIP, NHS privatisation & an insurance based scheme, privatisation of prisons, schools, social services, probation etc. This is one of the factors which makes parliament and the ‘westminster bubble’ so out of touch with the public, as so many of them have an ideological enthusiasm for all these things. This is partly why the tories & the media are scared of Corbyn; it might just click with the public that, contrary to what we are being told, he actually is going to say things which chime with the many voters who enjoyed (and still wnjoy what’s left of) the post-war settlement, which was ultimately a populist and popular left-wing movement.

  31. Wirral South won’t exist for anyone to win it.

  32. Wirral South will exist. From what I am hearing the boundary reforms have precious little chance of going through. Every opposition MP will vote against it. Charles Walker and Philip Davies, on the Tory side, have already spoken against them… word is about 50 tory MPs have expressed “concern” about them.

    Reducing the number of MPs was a classic Cameron gimmick of “cutting cost of politics”, while creating Police and Crime Commissioners and creating more than 200 peers, each of whom can claim £300 a day for attendance. I am delighted Cameron’s career is over, tbh.

    Will be amazed if the reduction is achieved.

  33. PC – every Opposition MP will not vote against.

    In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if 9 or 10 Unionists voted for.

    I agree there’ll always be a couple of Tories opposed and a couple of others who abstain.

    But I can foresee they’ll pass – maybe with only an overall majority of 5 – 10 rather than 25 though.

    *25 is the figure previously quoted by 2 lobby journos as the effective majority for the change. Not sure how they arrived at that figure (although its quite easy minus SF, plus the DUP with 5 MPs not voting)

    I have no idea where the ‘word is’ that 50 Tories will rebel comes from. Of course all MPs are concerned – their numbers are being cut by 50. There’s a difference between that and revelling on a three line Whip when it gives your Party both an advantage, was in the Manifesto twice and will now happen every Parliament. I think some MPs just preferred only having a review every 15 years – but they’ll have to get used to it- even if they didn’t realise it was what they were elected on.

  34. Lans obs

    Either you or i will be right…!

    there will be more than a couple of tories voting against it…if even you think it will pass with only a majority of 5-10, how likely is it that the whips will recommend a vote…

    we shall see. personally, I think the proposals are slightly ridiculous. Reducing the house of commons to fewer members than at any time since 1801, while maintaining a bloated house of lords doesn’t make much sense to me.

  35. Pepps
    Yes I saw HH’s post but ultimately its hypothetical, in theory what you say is correct but the reality just hasn’t been born out. For one UKIP’s vote hasn’t even collapsed yet nationally and in all the incidences where it has (local by-elections which are admittedly of dubious value) it has been in most cases to Labs benefit.

  36. Lancs
    “A lot of the time you seem to state what you’d like to be the position rather than what it is (if the reality is something you dislike)”

    In fairness that can be said about most people here including yourself.

    “It may also be what you view as ‘right wing’ (as TimJ is also guilty of this). By it you mean rich Toff MPs in a sort of ’80s trader stereotype closing homeless shelter or whatever”

    I do agree with you there and have made similar observations in the past, by “wet” I don’t mean on every issue rather economic issues but that extrapolates across the political divide. In my experience most people (including Labour voters) are far more socially conservative than we would expect (pro death penalty, tough on crime, anti immigration) but also far more economically left wing than we would expect (big support for nationalisation, increased spending on public services, taxing the richest etc)

    It was in this latter category I was referring, in fact its often a source of immense frustration for me when I come across die hard Tory voters who economically agree with Corbyn near enough 100% but there mind is made up cos their anti immigration and super patriotic and feel the Tories represent that better.

  37. Lancs
    “Rivers10 can’t have it both ways: in claiming that the Tories underperformed here (true), but that the increased UKIP vote didn’t come from them disproportionately – and may be more likely to return to them under May than under DC as HH suggests”

    I’m not having it both ways, I’ve said before that in some seats UKIP hurt the Tories more and others they hurt Labour more, I’d say both Wirral West and South where cases of the former but in both cases some of the (relatively small) UKIP vote will have come from Labour voters so tacking 9% onto the Tory vote here is silly, I’d say closer to 4% for the Tories and 2% for Labour (the rest sticking with UKIP or drifting elsewhere)

    In a seat like Wirral West that could pose problematic for Labour but in South Labs majority is high enough that I think they’d be OK.

  38. As for the BR I don’t know where Lancs is getting this figure of 25 from, the DUP may very well vote against (they don’t exactly benefit from it while Sinn Fein do) and I too have heard the various rumours both public and private to the effect of a great many Tory MP’s being opposed to the changes.

    If the final draft looks anything like the first draft it wont pass.

  39. @Ecowirral it depends who you are talking about. If you are talking about people on average salaries then yes they aren’t very right wing economically. But if you are talking about the upper middle classes of the home counties on well above average salaries that constitute their most loyal base vote then yes actually they are pretty right wing on fiscal issues, in fact they tend to be significantly to the right of me and most Tory posters on this forum. They do want good local services e.g. buses but they don’t want to pay any more taxes for them instead they strongly support their tax money being diverted from ‘some horrible council estate in Liverpool’ (or something like that) to their own local services. In my experience many think food banks are an excellent idea that is a good substitute for them having to pay tax. They tend to be pro or fairly relaxed about NHS privatisation (unlike the rest of the public) etc. you get the gist. You have to remember while a lot of the public don’t really like the Tories but vote for them anyway because they hate/fear Labour these are examples of people who actually really do like them. If you went to Windsor, Maidenhead, Esher and Walton etc. I think you’d be shocked at the amount of people who have only nice things to say about the Tories and think even less of Jeremy Corbyn than I do (which is difficult lol).

  40. Rivers10 – I think it’s fair to say I do always try to evidence my points.

    Although I think you’ve in part proven my point, in saying, “‘but more..than we expect” ie than YOU expect them to be.

    It isn’t news to most of us that WWC voters (Lab & Tory) are right wing on social issues. That’s why it stands to reason that there’s more socially conservative voters in the NW than London or the Home Counties.

    Nor did I in any way ‘add on’ the UKIP % to the Tory share. I merely stated that there are more voters like them than Tory Wets in marginal in the NW, so a larger potential pool to draw on if they return to a May Tory Party. (Plus Wets are hardly going to go anywhere else such as a Corbyn-led Party).

    In fact I doubt anyone on here would suggest WWC voters wouldn’t be more likely to vote for a May rather than a DC led Party.

    Pensioners in polls (even Tory ones) support nationalisation as that’s what they grew up with. Indeed polls showed people in the ’80s did. That doesn’t mean they’d vote for a Party proposing renationalisation of utilities or whatever. Or even decide how to vote on that matter. Industry & the unions just hasn’t been in the Top 5 issues for 30 years. If Labour want to make it an issue, it’ll hardly help them either. Blair’s ‘Clause 4 moment’ was symbolic but also effectively neutured the issue as a Tory attack line that had worked in the previous 4 GEs.

  41. LANCS OBSERVER – Yes, I agree with all that (other than the reason for pro-nationalisation being “they gew up with it” – people can see that there is no logic in franchising subsidised industries, privatising the profit and nationalising the losses, whilst reducing accountability).

    As your post suggests, I think that there is an enormous group of people out there who are moderately left economically, and moderately right socially. Labour tried to park its bus there under Miliband (tougher on immigration, moderate on austerity, moderately interventionalist on markets) but the whole thing just turned into a wet lettuce (partly because of Miliband’s image). Would it have worked under another leader? Possibly.

  42. EcoW – if Miliband tried to be tougher on immigration I must have missed that day/speech.

    Frank Field famously said Ed M refused to even recognise that immigration was a problem in any area, even the huge post-2014 influx.

    I can only think of one Labour figure who has held high office who I think was believable and tough in his area. He wasn’t Home Sec long though as most of them weren’t. At least him admitting it wasn’t ‘fit for purpose’ led to some rethinks.

  43. LANCS OBSERVER – He did in some of the rhetoric, although I don’t think there were any actual policies.

    Speaking of rhetoric- it would appear that May has been reading this page before writing her speech; talking about protecting jobs and intervening in “failing” free markets, whilst staunchly defending the right to wave the St.George’s Cross/Union Flag and grumble about immigration. Agian-no actual policies, but she is trying to get ‘on message’ with the great unwashed!

  44. May citing Attlee grates a bit, after she left Hunt in his job to continue breaking the NHS. Cynical, disengenous nonsense….anyone would think Cameron was still around!

  45. Plop Tory – to be fair the Tory PPC last time was a pensioner who lived in Wales, so I imagine anyone else would perform better – even without taking into account the poll gains under May v Corbyn.

    I won’t repeat all of what’s been said previously upthread, but the Tory PPCs clearly were the problem in both Wirral seats the last 2 GEs (hence the underperformance).

  46. Lancs
    I think its something of an apologists argument to blame the Tory under performance in Wirral S and W on the PPC’s. While I doubt they helped matters it has been discussed at length before that both seats are drifting away from the Cons, ultimately it was demographics and general Tory malaise on Merseyside that did it for them. Wirral S in particular is not going to be regained by the Tories simply by changing their candidate.

  47. From what I hear Alison McGovern is a very good local MP obviously if the boundary review passed on the current proposals then things may change.

  48. Rivers10 – we’ve discussed this previously.

    I disagree with your viewpoint (largely due to evidence from the 1990s – when you were a toddler).

    It clearly was not due to ‘demographics’ (unlike Sefton C where this could genuinely be cited as evidence).

  49. Yeah, this is one of those seats that Labour won from the Tories in 1997 that they’re unlikely to lose for the foreseeable future. Still, if anyone can manage the feat it’s probably the current leader of the opposition…

    Wirral West might drop. Possibly Southport too, especially if John Pugh steps down in 2020 (he’s getting on a bit). That’s probably the limit of the Conservatives’ ambitions in Merseyside.

  50. Edgbaston is another seat with a decent MP as long as Guisla Stuart hangs around it will be Labour

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