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Norwich North

2010 Results:
Conservative: 17280 (40.59%)
Labour: 13379 (31.43%)
Liberal Democrat: 7783 (18.28%)
BNP: 747 (1.75%)
UKIP: 1878 (4.41%)
Green: 1245 (2.92%)
Christian: 118 (0.28%)
Independent: 143 (0.34%)
Majority: 3901 (9.16%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 19133 (47.5%)
Conservative: 12437 (30.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 6361 (15.8%)
Other: 2339 (5.8%)
Majority: 6696 (16.6%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 15638 (33.2%)
Labour: 21097 (44.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 7616 (16.2%)
Green: 1252 (2.7%)
UKIP: 1122 (2.4%)
Other: 308 (0.7%)
Majority: 5459 (11.6%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 15761 (34.6%)
Labour: 21624 (47.4%)
Liberal Democrat: 6750 (14.8%)
UKIP: 471 (1%)
Green: 797 (1.7%)
Other: 211 (0.5%)
Majority: 5863 (12.9%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 17876 (32.5%)
Labour: 27346 (49.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 6951 (12.6%)
Referendum: 1777 (3.2%)
Other: 1107 (2%)
Majority: 9470 (17.2%)

Boundary changes:


portraitCurrent MP: Chloe Smith (Conservative) Born 1982, Ashford. Educated at the University of York. Former aide to Gillian Shephard and Bernard Jenkin, proir to her election worked in professional services. First elected as MP for Norwich North 2009 by-election.

2010 election candidates:
portraitChloe Smith (Conservative) Born 1982, Ashford. Educated at the University of York. Former aide to Gillian Shephard and Bernard Jenkin, proir to her election worked in professional services. First elected as MP for Norwich North 2009 by-election.
portraitJohn Cook (Labour) Former bank clerk. Ipswich councillor. Former Broadland councillor, former Norfolk county councillor.
portraitDavid Stephen (Liberal Democrat)
portraitJess Goldfinch (Green) Teaching assistant. Norwich councillor 2003-2006..
portraitGlenn Tingle (UKIP) Contested Norwich North by-election 2009.
portraitThomas Richardson (BNP)
portraitAndrew Holland (Christian Party)
portraitBill Holden (Independent) Contested Norwich North 2005, 2009 by-election.

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 83507
Male: 48.8%
Female: 51.2%
Under 18: 20.4%
Over 60: 24%
Born outside UK: 3.5%
White: 98.3%
Black: 0.2%
Asian: 0.5%
Mixed: 0.7%
Other: 0.4%
Christian: 69.2%
Full time students: 2.2%
Graduates 16-74: 12.4%
No Qualifications 16-74: 33.1%
Owner-Occupied: 69.2%
Social Housing: 21.4% (Council: 16.5%, Housing Ass.: 4.9%)
Privately Rented: 6.9%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 7.1%

2009 By-election

The by-election was held on the 23rd July 2009, following the resignation of the former MP Ian Gibson. Gibson announced his immediate resignation from Parliament on the 5th June 2009, having been banned from standing as a Labour candidate at the next election after being criticised in the expenses row. The by-election was won by the Conservatives with a 16.5% swing from Labour, the second Conservative by-election gain of the Parliament. The Labour candidate, Chris Ostrowski, was hospitalised with Swine Flu during the campaign, and was represented by his wife at the election count.

By-election result
Chloe Smith (Conservative): 13591 (39.5%)
Chris Ostrowski (Labour): 6243 (18.2%)
April Pond (Liberal Democrat): 4803 (14.0%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP): 4068 (11.8%)
Rupert Read (Green): 3350 (9.7%)
Craig Murray (Honest Man): 953 (2.8%)
Robert West (BNP): 941 (2.7%)
Bill Holden (Independent): 166 (0.5%)
Howling Laud (Loony): 144 (0.4%)
Anne Fryatt (NOTA): 59 (0.2%)
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian): 36 (0.1%)
Peter Baggs (Independent): 23 (0.1%)
Majority: 7348 (21.4%)

By election Candidates

portraitPeter Baggs (Independent) Plastering contractor
portraitThomas Burridge (Libertarian) born 1991, Kings Lynn. Educated at Litcham High School.
portraitBill Holden (Independent) Contested Norwich North 2005 as an independent.
portraitAlan Hope (Offical Monster Raving Loony) born Mytchett. Publican. Leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party since 1999. Contested Teignbridge 1983, 1987, 1992, Aldershot 1997, Eddisbury by-election 1999, Kensington and Chelsea by-election 1999, Brent East by-election 2003, Hartlepool by-election 2004, Aldershot 2005, Blaenau Gwent by-election 2006, Sedgefield by-election 2007.
portraitCraig Murray (Put an Honest Man Into Parliament) born 1958, West Runton. Educated at Paston School and Dundee University. Former civil servant, he served as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. He was recalled in 2003 over disciplinary charges including exchanging visas for sex, but was later cleared of all charges. He was later quoted by the press as saying that MI6 utilised Uzbek intelligence data that had been gained by torture. It was claimed that Murray had lost the confidence of his colleages, and he resigned from the civil service. He has subsequently campaigned against torture and written several books. Contested Blackburn as an independent 2005.
`portrait`Chris Ostrowski. (Labour) Educated at University of East Anglia in Norwich. Works in retail and e-commerce. Contested East of England in 2009 European elections.
portraitApril Pond (Liberal Democrat) born 1962, Mulbarton. Educated at Norwich High School. Self employed retailer. Former Norwich councillor. Had previously been selected as PPC for the neighbouring Broadland seat.
portraitRupert Read (Green) Reader in Philosophy at East Anglia University. Norwich councillor. Contested Eastern region in 2009 European elections.
portraitChloe Smith (Conservative) Educated at the University of York. Former aide to Gillian Shephard and Bernard Jenkin, now working in professional services.
portraitGlenn Tingle (UKIP)
portraitRobert West (BNP) Former lecturer who has set up his own church in Holbeach. Former South Holland District councillor, elected as a Conservative but defected to the BNP in 2006. Contested East Midlands region 2009 European elections.
Anne Fryatt (NOTA)

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838 Responses to “Norwich North”

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  1. “All the things on that list pale in importance compared with the necessity of dealing with the massive structural deficit overhanging the country.”

    Except they’re not dealing with it.

    When Cameron starts sacrificing his pet projects and stops handing out money to every foreigner he meets they’ll have started dealing with it.

    And the government’s economic plans were based on household debt rising by a further £500bn.

    Merely substituting one form of debt with another is not dealing with debt.

    Fortunately this planned for increase in household debt is not occurring, which has been one of the factors behind the weaker than expected economy.

    “What’s really remarkable in hindsight was that the ‘answer’ to the D-Mark shadowing disaster that the Tories adopted was ‘more Europe’ in the shape of the ERM. A lesson there for the present also, when similar ‘more Europe’ solutions are being peddled as the ‘answer’ to the Eurozone’s current problems.”

    Very true.

  2. I still think the poll tax could have worked though if it had been connected with some sort of capping mechanism, like what was used with the rates in Liverpool and Lambeth.

    Most peoples problem with it was not the principle, but the fact that many Labour councils used it as an excuse to charge excessively high charges in the hope that people would blame the government for it. And they got away with it. It’s something the Labour party still need to appologise for in my opinion.

    I was a teenager at the time and in the autumn of 1990 my parents relocated from Conservative controlled Northavon to Labour controlled Wolverhampton, and I remeber them complaining about how much their Community Charge bill was in 1991 compared to 1990. And they’re both life long Labour voters!

  3. It is perhaps hard for the younger ones here such as HH and TJ to understand how much local government finance was such a big issue in the mid 1980s.

    It had significant effects at the 1987 general election in a variety of ways.

    The big Conservative performance in parts of London (see Ealing and Walthamstow) and Lancashire was partly caused by big rates rises from Labour councils.

    While the Conservative disaster in Scotland was likewise partly caused by a rates revaluation.

    As England and Wales were by then long overdue for a rates revaluation themselves it was inevitable that the government would do what was needed to avoid such a hit on swing voters.

    What is also rarely mentioned is that many of the loudest complainers against the poll tax were people who had not previously paid domestic rates.

  4. “It is perhaps hard for the younger ones here such as HH and TJ to understand how much local government finance was such a big issue in the mid 1980s.”

    How old are you Richard? I had guessed we were about the same age.

    I think there was a very stark north-south divide in terms of the popularity of the poll tax. In the south including London many voters were in favour. In the north and midlands, where property values were lower, it was extremely unpopular. The vast majority of anti-poll tax Tory MPs came from usually marginal seats in the midlands and north.

    I do not accept the argument that just because the rates bill was addressed to the owner of the house, the other people in that house could be classified as not paying rates. Just as with council tax, in most cases all members of the household contribute to the bills. The big problem was the huge jump in total household bills for low-income couples in low-value housing.

  5. And it’s probably for the same reasons that the current government will do absolutely nothing regarding council tax so long as they remain in office, apart from the occasional freeze. If the government were even to mention the possibility of a major reform of local government finance, people on the left will start acting irrationally and claim they’re trying to bring back the poll tax.

  6. Why on earth would any government want to pursue “a major reform of local government finance”? It is not an issue with the voters like it was in the 70s and 80s – partly of course because local government is mostly centrally funded these days. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…..especially when so many other things are broke and need fixing first.

  7. “I think there was a very stark north-south divide in terms of the popularity of the poll tax. In the south including London many voters were in favour. In the north and midlands, where property values were lower, it was extremely unpopular.”

    As the same total amount would have been collected under either domestic rates or the poll tax what did property values have to do with it?

    What certainly happened was that some people were gainers from the poll tax and some were losers.

    Naturally enough the losers had more to say about it.

    But under domestic rates many people were paying derisory amounts which was one of the reasons the poll tax was introduced – everyone was meant to pay a minimum of 20% of the tax. There was a widespread belief among Conservatives and the middle classes that people who weren’t effectively paying domestic rates were voting Labour at local elections for extra spending but without having to themselves pay extra rates.

  8. There was and is a need for accountability
    and a degree of the hard edged accountability that the Poll Tax offered,
    which reduces the incentive to redistribute costs onto others without taking the consequences onself.

    But a flat rate tax goes too far.
    On top of that, severe problems and costs with the register mean the scroungers and drop outs and middle class hippies all evade it whilst the working poor honestly pay it – people any Government should always be on the side of.

    Perhaps there should have just been a crude grading system of 2 or 3 levels of it.
    Yes that would be a trap – and traps should be avoided where possible but I sometimes think we get too hung up about “traps” in this country.
    We’re constantly told people can’t get themselves out of bed to do some work because they’ll lose benefit or only gain a few pounds.
    But the truth is they need a kick.
    And there are other traps anyway when you take into account total household income.

    I’m not sure this suggestion would have worked all that well for the Poll Tax though but I well sympathise with the need to bring profligate local authorities to book and I’m sure the electorate would respond, and it still is an issue.

  9. “As the same total amount would have been collected under either domestic rates or the poll tax what did property values have to do with it?”

    The same amount should have been collected in theory, but in practice many Labour councils massively increased their tax take and blamed it on the poll tax.

    As you suggested that Tim and I are too young to know anything about this, why did you dodge the question about how old you are yourself? I was about 14 when the poll tax was introduced which is old enough to remember it at least.

  10. Joe is completely right.

    It was the “Duke and the dustman will pay the same” argument that did most to sink the poll tax.

    Idiotically, Nicholas Ridley repeatedly used this very phrase to try to sell the poll tax.

    The people did not accept that there should not be banding, and the main reason for switching back to a property tax was that it is far harder to evade.

  11. HH

    I’m in the same age range as Joe and Pete.

    The arguments about domestic rates were at their peak in the mid 1980s, in particular in 1986 with the rates revaluation in Scotland and the big increases in London.

    It was a time when some Labour councils were using local government finace to pay for clearly political campaigns which had nothing to do with local government and as domestic rates were a tax which hit the middle classes disproportionally hard and voting was much more along class lines then domestic rates were much hated by Conservative supporters.

    The need to avoid a rates revaluation, as happened in Scotland, was also a major issue.

    Just as now council tax bands are due for a revaluation but that is something no government will want to do which will lead council tax to becoming increasingly erratic in its impact.

  12. In Ireland of course, domestic rates were abolished entirely in the 1970s and now a ‘household charge’ has been introduced.

  13. That’s why there needs to be an urgent council tax re-valuation combined with a re-calculation of the banding system so as few people as possible end up paying higher bills as a result.

    And more non-essential council services like library’s and leisure centres need to be paid for at the point of use, with little or no tax payer subsidy.

  14. I think its preferable to have things like leisure centres and libarys free if at all possible as they have an undoubted social benefit. However… there are certianly far too many. There is no point in running librarys in every suburban areas of the city and services should be centralised before costs on the individual are implemented.

  15. Library services are an obvious target for privatisation. Yes some people still use their local library but in today’s day and age when almost everyone has access to the internet at home, is it fair to expect people like me, who’ve never used their local library to pay for services they don’t want and don’t use?

    There could be council funded concessionary rates for under 16’s, over 65’s and benefit claimants like there is with public transport. But I think it’s becoming increasing difficult to justify keeping a free comprehensive library service that fewer and fewer people are using. Councils should either introduce charges or sell them off en-mass to the private sector.

  16. Richard

    Everything you say makes sense. Nevertheless, however much people hated domestic rates at the time, when it materialised the poll tax became far more unpopular and people were content to move back to a property tax. It is a textbook example of poor knee-jerk legislation and the old maxim that “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

    And you have reminded me of the one of the biggest misjudgements which the Thatcher made on this issue – namely introducing the poll tax one year earlier in Scotland, laying them open to the charge that they were using Scotland as a kind of guinea pig. This decision was a major contributing factor to the present non-existence of the Tory party north of the border.

    With regard to Adam and Joe, my view is that with universal internet access and widespread gym memberships,public libraries and leisure centres are an anachronism and should be privatised and either run as free standing businesses with no subsidy, or closed.

  17. How much of the area outside Norwich City is still in this seat (2010)?
    I think the Mousehold Heath area probably is (Broadland).

    If this seat is unchanged, it could be tight pretty regardless of the national situation,
    because Labour did pretty appallingly here in 2009 and 2010.

    Perhaps the Tories can get some extra votes from elsewhere though.

  18. The seat was extended for the last general election and contains quite a bit of the Norwich suburbs outside the city boundaries. Basicallt Hellesdon, Sprowston, and Thorpe St Andrew with a combined electorate of 35,000, or more than half the electorate of the seat.

  19. The seat actually contracted for the last election as prior to that Drayton and Taverham were included so some 12,000 voters were lost then to Broadland, though there was a small net gain of voters from Norwich South.
    Moushole Heath is actually within Norwich city – there used to be a ward called Mousehold but the area is now divided between the Catton Grove and Crome wards

  20. I live in the constituency and can advise that much of the former Mousehold ward now forms part of the Sewell ward.

  21. Graham – how do you rate the Tories’ chances of holding the seat at the next election?

  22. Labour have selected Jessica Asato to be their GE candidate.
    SpAd to Tessa Jowell, Islington councillor, Fabian Society Vice-Chairman, director of Progress…basically the standard CV for a Labour candidate

  23. Still, that’s still some CV for a Labour candidate to have in a marginal seat!

  24. Chloe Smith MP as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office

    Sounds a bit like filing Cabinet.

    Summer holiday work
    which would you prefer,
    labouring work
    as a clerical assistant filing clerk at Hillingdon civic centre.

  25. Andy JS.
    It’s not an easy seat to call! Allowance has to be made for the strong personal vote formally enjoyed by Ian Gibson as well as the incumbency and post byelection boost which is likely to have flattered the Tories in 2010.
    In 2005 Gibson would have had a notional majority of circa 6,500 on present boundaries which suggests to me that any other Labour candidate would have won by 2,500 to 3,000 in a year when Labour enjoyed a national lead of 3%. In an even year the result would be close – with Labour perhaps slight favourites given the fading of the byelection factor.

  26. Andy JS,
    sorry – ‘formally’ should be ‘formely’ !

  27. Cabinet Office really does sound like filing cabinets and paper clips.

  28. Norwich N 2015 most likely

    Con 39 (-1.6)
    Lab 38.1 (+6.7)
    LD 11.5 (-6.8)
    UKIP 5.5 (+1.1)
    Grn 4.4 (+1.5)
    Others 1.5

    Turnout 66%

  29. I’m inclined at this albeit early stage to think that Labour will just take this. The effects of the by-election will have mainly worked themselves off by 2015 and the Tories will be very weak in the Norwich city part of the seat. They will continue to outpoll Labour in the part outside the city boundaries, but I have a sneaking feeling that it may not be by enough. I’ll revisit it however nearer the time.

  30. I don’t really understand why anyone would care to predict the likely election results in three years time – and certainly not to the concise percentage pts that A Cairns has done

    I agree with his assumption (in all the ptredictions je’s decided to sgare over the past couple of days) that the Tories will almost certainly recover from where they are now – but trying to second guess how much is a thankless task

  31. UKIP got 15.6% at the by-election at Crome Ward here yesterday. Swing to them appears to have been from the Green Party.

  32. That may seem odd, but of course the Greens are no fans of the EU and perhaps have views on the matter which are rather like those of, for example, Tony Benn. Having said that, Europe wouldn’t be the major motivating factor in a local election.
    I see both by-elections in the City were held easily by the incumbent parties (one by Labour, one by the Greens).

  33. “UKIP got 15.6% at the by-election at Crome Ward here yesterday. Swing to them appears to have been from the Green Party.”

    UKIP had not contested this ward at the last local elections and actually all four of the main (in Norwich) parties saw their vote decline. Certainly the largest decline was in the Green vote but you cannot really deduce from this that there was a direct movement of Green voters to UKIP. There will have been some from that source no doubt and also from the other parties and from none. UKIP had done very well in this area of course in the parliamentary by-election here in 2009 when the candidate was the same Glen Tingle

  34. Most of Tingle’s vote in 2009 came from Labour voters angry with Gordon Brown, there has been enormous churn since then.

  35. I visited an industrial estate with my mother here last year (she studied at UEA in the 70s).

  36. ‘the Greens are no fans of the EU and perhaps have views on the matter which are rather like those of, for example, Tony Benn. Having said that, Europe wouldn’t be the major motivating factor in a local election.’

    Whilst that’s true I find it inconceivable that the two mainstream parties which are perhaps furthest apart from each other than any of the others, would be likely to attract similar types of voters

    Surely the middle class student activist-type who tends to vote Green is the last person in the world who would vote UKIP

    I even found it quite strange that in the Euro elections in the late 1980s ( might have been early 90s) where the Greens came third, most of their vote came from people who voted Liberal Alliance/SDP in 1987

  37. The Greens are indeed strongest amongst right-on younger voters, but they can and do attract some who have previously voted Conservative. That may seem strange, but it does happen.

  38. Chloe Smith has been in the media campaigning for more jobs for young people here. Norwich City Council have an industrial estate here which seems to have a lot of empty spaces. A more dynamic ) or different ) authority might be thinking about putting it up for sale. Norwich City
    Council seems sadly short of its best days under Sir Arthur South in the 1970’s.Of course you could say the same of the County Council which lurches from leader to leader. The former Comet store is here, hard to see any value in it although the political parties hope for more supermarkets. Arthur South had dreams of well-paid work for the skilled working-class and although a furrier who arranged for a chemical plant to pollute Norwich’s drinking water supply may sound like a nightmare to the Greens on the council somehow he was a symbol of ambition and progress.

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