The UKPollingReport election guide for 2010 has now been archived and all comments will shortly be closed. The new Election Guide for the 2015 election is now online at The old site is archived at the UK Web Archive.

Southampton Test

2010 Results:
Conservative: 14588 (33.01%)
Labour: 17001 (38.48%)
Liberal Democrat: 9865 (22.33%)
UKIP: 1726 (3.91%)
Green: 881 (1.99%)
Independent: 126 (0.29%)
Majority: 2413 (5.47%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 17850 (44.1%)
Conservative: 10302 (25.4%)
Liberal Democrat: 9726 (24%)
Other: 2639 (6.5%)
Majority: 7548 (18.6%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 10827 (25.9%)
Labour: 17845 (42.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 10368 (24.8%)
Green: 1482 (3.5%)
UKIP: 1261 (3%)
Majority: 7018 (16.8%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 10617 (25.5%)
Labour: 21824 (52.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 7522 (18.1%)
UKIP: 792 (1.9%)
Other: 820 (2%)
Majority: 11207 (27%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 14712 (28.1%)
Labour: 28396 (54.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 7171 (13.7%)
Referendum: 1397 (2.7%)
Other: 765 (1.5%)
Majority: 13684 (26.1%)

Boundary changes:


portraitCurrent MP: Alan Whitehead(Labour) born 1950, Isleworth. Educated at Isleworth Grammar school and Southampton University. Southampton councillor 1980-1992. Leader of Southampton counil from 1984-1992. Former Professor at Southampton Institute. Contested Southampton Test 1983, 1987, 1992. MP for Southampton Test since 1997. PPS to Baroness Blackstone 1999-2001. Under-secretary of State for local government 2001-2002 (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitJeremy Moulton (Conservative) Souhampton councillor since 2002.
portraitAlan Whitehead(Labour) born 1950, Isleworth. Educated at Isleworth Grammar school and Southampton University. Southampton councillor 1980-1992. Leader of Southampton counil from 1984-1992. Former Professor at Southampton Institute. Contested Southampton Test 1983, 1987, 1992. MP for Southampton Test since 1997. PPS to Baroness Blackstone 1999-2001. Under-secretary of State for local government 2001-2002 (more information at They work for you)
portraitDavid Callaghan (Liberal Democrat) born Lyndhurst. Educated at Testwood secondary school and London University. Former news editor on the Guardian website, now a freelance journalist. Sutton councillor since 2006.
portraitChris Bluemel (Green) Educated at Cantell Secondary and York University. Music teacher.
portraitPearline Hingston (UKIP) Born Jamacia. Educated at Leeds University. Teacher and lecturer.
portraitCharles Sanderson (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 98008
Male: 50.4%
Female: 49.6%
Under 18: 20.2%
Over 60: 17.4%
Born outside UK: 10.2%
White: 90.3%
Black: 1.1%
Asian: 5.7%
Mixed: 1.5%
Other: 1.3%
Christian: 61.9%
Hindu: 0.9%
Muslim: 2.8%
Sikh: 2%
Full time students: 13.9%
Graduates 16-74: 21.8%
No Qualifications 16-74: 25.9%
Owner-Occupied: 54.8%
Social Housing: 23.4% (Council: 18.2%, Housing Ass.: 5.2%)
Privately Rented: 18.8%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 12.4%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at

79 Responses to “Southampton Test”

1 2
  1. We live in this constituency and the pot-holes in our road (which we having been waiting ages to have sorted) are being done this week. Coincidence?!

    I guess if the Conservatives win seats like this they will be home and dry with a very comfortable majority. Hard to tell what the mood in the city is – the local council has gone Conservative in the most recent local elections having previously been Lab/Lib. Alan Whitehead is quite well regarded I think, though not as prominant nationally as fellow Soton MP John Denham.

  2. Lab Hold= 2,000 maj

  3. I might of voted for Alan Whitehead if he was independent, but I can’t stand his party.

    Thats why i’ll be backing the Conservatives.

  4. Lab Hold

    Maj 3400

  5. Lab maj 500

  6. I’m surprised there haven’t been more posts about this seat.

    Notionally, the Lib Dems and Tories were almost neck and neck for second place last time out. You could say that, courtesy of the Lib Dem surge, they will overtake the Tories and run Labour close. The national swing from Labour to the Lib Dems is around 8% and the Lib Dems need 10.5% to take this seat. The swing here could be larger due to the student population.

    However, the student population in this seat is slightly smaller than last time, as Swaythling and Bassett are no longer in this seat. In addition, the Lib Dems did very poorly in the last round of local elections and the most plausible explanation was that putting Labour in charge of the council for a few months went against the wishes of the local voter. Could the elector here be mindful of the prospect of the Lib Dems doing the same in Westminster?

    It will also be interesting to see how the Tories are affected by the Lib Dem surge. I suspect they will be less affected than Labour.

  7. Interesting point – the LD surge has made this seat more interesting. It still seems unlikely that they could win it from third place, but a high LD vote and turnout could either deliver this seat to the tories, or split the anti-labour vote and allow Labour to hold it.

    It’s true that the boundary changes have made it safer for Labour, but it’s also possible that – following the Independen’ts campaign, and the TV debates – more students will vote this time around. Anectotal evidence and polling suggests that, if so, they will vote LD in significant numbers. Quite how many of them vote, and how many will vote in Southampton is difficult to say.

    Another factor, is that here has been little publicity or campaigning by the LDs, perhaps because it didn’t seem winnable before the “Clegg bounce” but there has been a very visible poster and leaflet campaign by the Conservatives. They have highlighted their man’s local credentials and leafleted heavily that they were in clear second place in the European elections last year. Voters may conclude that the Conservatives are best placed to oust Labour here, although the conservative candidate has annoyed some local pressure groups by appearing to ‘hijack’ local campaigns and issues, or try to take credit for them.

    Alan Whitehead is quite well regarded here, although has far less public profile than Southampton’s other Labour MP John Denham (I’ve got a sneaky feeling that John Denham is far more vulnerable ..).

    I’d guess that the most likely outcome is still a Labour hold, but with a chance that the national LD swing could give the seat to the Conservatives.

  8. Lab hold by 4,000 – But it could be a lot closer if one of the other parties persuades the voters here they are the real challengers


  10. Interesting the more comforable Lab win here than in Itchen, it wasnt that far off being a Labour win in Test and Conservative in Itchen

  11. The removal of Bassett and Shirley (1997 and 2010), and addition of part Central Southampton (1997) have helped Labour hold on here.

    The 1997 boundary cahnges had the effect of a 3% swing from Con to Lab with a further 1% swing in 2010. Tories would have won by 1000 on the pre-1997 boundaries.

    1997 boundary changes apparently made Itchen more Tory than Test, but this was not evident in 1997, 2001 or 2005 –

    1992 –

    Itchen – Lab maj 500
    Test – Con maj 500

    1992 (Notional) –

    Itchen – Lab maj 1053
    Test – Lab maj 2722

    1997 –

    Itchen – Lab maj 14229
    Test – Lab maj 13684


    I would explaid the 1997 result through –

    Sir James Hill’s brave attempt to defend his seat.

    John Denham incumbancy.

    The notional result will have included many Labour votes who may have voted Lib Dem when their Southampton ward was part of Eastleigh.

  12. Alan Whitehead has fought this seat for Labour at every election since Brian Gould was defeated by Keith Hill in 1979.

  13. That’s James Hill – Keith Hill was an ever-grinning Labour MP, in London.

  14. Is the local authority strike having any impact on polling?

  15. Southampton Test gains the Southampton wards of Bassett and Shirley from Romsey and therefore must see a Labour inclined ward returned to Itchen.

    I assume this would this mean that it is now a notional Tory marginal?

  16. Correct. This is one of around 15 seats that change hands on the Boundary Commission’s provisional proposals. However changes are highly likely in the Southampton area. Chris Huhne is unlikely to be pleased with splitting his seat in half .

  17. I don’t think Chris Huhne will mind too much because the UKPR notional result for Eastleigh is almost the same as the actual result in 2010.

  18. Politicians hate uncertainty, and splitting seats in half (whatever the notionals say) always creates annoyance.

    There may be comments elsewhere, but what do other people think about the proposals for the Southampton area? (and indeed Portsmouth too)

  19. Been looking at maptube and noticed how it’s possible to travel along the coast in an easterly and then northerly direction from Southampton to Grimsby without encountering any Labour seats in between.

  20. I take it that is so, and it is significant.
    Although, I’m not sure too much weight should always be placed on that because there is usually a route through, depends whether you draw a line or not.
    Even after the 1979 election I believe two former Cabinet Ministers, Merlyn Rees and another member, said they were shocked to find they could travel down from Leeds to London without going through any Labour seats atall,
    but that is not necessarily that significant as that’s only via one route, and there would be a dispoportionate number of marginal seats near motorways around that time I think.

  21. They would have had to drive east from Leeds and then go across the Humber bridge – the loss of Brigg & Scunthorpe in 1979 made it possible for the first time to do this route without crossing Labour seats. They would then have travelled south through a series of minor A roads until joining the A1 south of Retford. The more obvious route, down the M1 would of course have taken them through numerous safe Labour seats. So yes it is rather contrived

  22. That’s a bit surprising, actually, but I’m sure Pete is right.
    I thought the safe Labour seats near Leeds were away from the M1 (Elmet covers the M1 /perhaps Barkston Ash did) but I guess Ikeston may have been a Motorway seat.

    Of course Labour were pretty much wiped out in the SE in 1979 despite doing fairly well on the national share – ironically the 1983 boundary changes gave them some seats back on doughnutting but they didn’t hold them.

  23. “I thought the safe Labour seats near Leeds were away from the M1 (Elmet covers the M1 /perhaps Barkston Ash did)”

    Surely youa re thinking of the A1 here Joe. The M1 goes through Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley adn Wakefield. But even going on the A1 it would not have been possible to avoid Labour seats starting from Leeds asit would transit Pontefract, Doncaster etc. In 1979 there was no point West of the river Derwent where one could have crossed from the North to the South without going through Labour seats. It would therefore have been necessary to go over the Humber Bridge and of course nobody would travel this way from Leeds to London unless they had the specific objective of avoiding Labour seats. This avenue is no longer available of course as Hessle is in a Labour seat. It is now possible to do this though by travelling instead to the west of Bradford and travelling through Calder Valley and Colne Valley into High peak and on through West and South Derbyshire. This would doubtless involve some appaling back roads and country lanes and nobody would choose this route other than for this specific and eccentric purpose. In any case that route would not have fitted the bill in 1979, as the northern tip of Derbyshire in Tintwhistle was then part of Stalybridge & Hyde

  24. Yes, that’s funny – thank you for correcting me.
    Perhaps somebody very very right wing might have done so, but not members of the ex Government.

    I did think I might have to go and live in Buckinghamshire after 1993 to be absolutely sure of living in a Conservative area at all levels of governance, although after 1995 even that wasn’t possible.

  25. Perhaps you could find a route using rivers, at least part of the way, but I don’t think that is permitted into the test.

  26. I made a slightly similar observation not long after the 2010 election about journeys I had made one sunday. It did not involve going through no Labour seats though I could probably have contrived that if it was my objective but I made the observation after the event and it was the more telling for being a genuine journey rather than a contrived one.
    I travelled from my home in Hertfordshire to my daughter’s house in Ruislip (M24, A40), thence to my parents house in Bushey (via Northwood, Pinner, Hatch End, Harrow Weald) and back to Ruislip. On my return home, because the traffic on the M25 was bad I came a different way via the A40, A406 (North circular), M1, A1.
    I worked out afterwards that I had travelled through 13 constituencies of which only one (Ealing North) was Labour. Had I done the same journey before the election I would have travelled through 7 Labour constituencies and had I done so eight years earlier I would have travelled through 10 Labour constituencies.
    It would always have seemed strange to me, driving through somewhere like Hatch End, to think that I was in a Labour seat. Now I was presented with perhaps the even stranger phenomenon of driving through Stonebridge and not being in a Labour seat.

  27. Actually the Humber Bridge wasn’t opened until 1981.

  28. If that is the case and there was no other crossing of the Humber East of Goole, then Merlyn Rees and his friend were incorrect. There is not any way on land they could have done what they claim

  29. Yes the Humber Bridge was famously over-budget and late in being completed.

    I’ve got a book about planning disasters which includes a chapter on the Humber Bridge. The whole project was based on the assumption that the population of Humberside would increase at the same rate between 1971 and 1981 as it had done between 1961 and 1971. In fact the population hardly increased at all up to 1981 so the bridge has never had the traffic it was expected to cater for.

1 2