Gower

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15862 (37.1%)
Labour: 15835 (37%)
Lib Dem: 1552 (3.6%)
Plaid Cymru: 3051 (7.1%)
Green: 1161 (2.7%)
UKIP: 4773 (11.2%)
TUSC: 103 (0.2%)
Loony: 253 (0.6%)
Independent: 168 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 27 (0.1%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Wales, West Glamorgan. Part of the Swansea council area.

Main population centres: The Mumbles, Port Eynon, Pontarddulais, Clydach, Gorseinon.

Profile: Consists of the Gower peninsula, a tourist area of beaches, campsites and caravan parks, the seaside resort and residential villages of The Mumbles and the more working class and industrial, former mining and tin making towns to the north of Swansea like Pontarddulais and Gorseinon (the birthplace of former Tory leader, Michael Howard).

Politics: Long a Labour-Conservative marginal on paper, Gower remained tantalisingly out of Conservative reach even at their high tide marks of support. The Gower peninsula itself contains much Conservative support, but more industrial towns to the north of Swansea vote Labour and more than balance this out. Gower was held by the Labour party continously for a century between 1910 and 2015 before falling to the Conservatives on the tiniest of margins, the smallest majority of the 2015 election.


Current MP
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Former police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011. First elected as MP for Gower in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 13333 (32%)
Lab: 16016 (38%)
LDem: 7947 (19%)
PC: 2760 (7%)
Oth: 1615 (4%)
MAJ: 2683 (6%)
2005*
Con: 10083 (25%)
Lab: 16786 (42%)
LDem: 7291 (18%)
PC: 3089 (8%)
Oth: 2293 (6%)
MAJ: 6703 (17%)
2001
Con: 10281 (28%)
Lab: 17676 (47%)
LDem: 4507 (12%)
PC: 3865 (10%)
Oth: 1024 (3%)
MAJ: 7395 (20%)
1997
Con: 10306 (24%)
Lab: 23313 (54%)
LDem: 5624 (13%)
PC: 2226 (5%)
Oth: 1867 (4%)
MAJ: 13007 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Retired police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011.
LIZ EVANS (Labour) Born Hafod. Trade union officer, works for the Land Registry.
MIKE SHEEHAN (Liberal Democrat)
COLIN BECKETT (UKIP) Educated at Oxford Brookes University. Chiropractor and former army officer.
JULIA MARSHALL (Green)
DARREN THOMAS (Plaid)
STEVE SPARKY ROBERTS (Independent) Party organiser.
MARK EVANS (TUSC)
BARON BARNES VON CLAPTRAP (Loony) , real name David Barnes. Retired optometrist.
Links
Comments - 348 Responses on “Gower”
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  1. Strong possibility of a Conservative gain in 2015

  2. I wouldn’t have thought so, Dalek. Read the profile again. Tories got closer to winning this in 1983 and still didn’t pull it off. I don’t see them managing it in 2015.

  3. Intresting that Labours majority in 1992 was much higher than in 2010 though (15% vs 6%) perhaps that suggests labour are weakeing here.

  4. Even so, Labour haven’t lost here in over 90 years. It seems a little unlikely they’ll do so at this particular juncture, though they are less well here than in the past.

  5. If we didn’t win this in 1983 or 2010 there is little hope of winning this in 2015. Maybe this is a longer term prospect for the Tories however.

  6. Thinking about things a little further it would be a good idea for the Tories to start to plan a strategy for long term prospects like Gower. The party has to look to seats in Wales, Scotland and Northern England and needs to stop relying so heavily on the South of England. We have to be more inclusive and look to the whole country, not just Notting Hill.

  7. I agree with the posters above. Although this seat does appear to be drifting from Labour, I can’t see the Tories winning it in 2015. However, if they can keep the likely pro-Labour swing down, Gower would be a viable target in 2020.

  8. That yellow bar will probably more than halve. The blues need to get some of it.

  9. I naturally presumed that Dalek’s prediction of a Tory gain here in 2015 had been written in 2011 or something, and that I’d navigated to an earlier page by mistake.
    Very surprised that the prediction was made yesterday! It must be a joke, surely?

    And yet AKMD’s complacent comment about Labour didn’t lose it in 1983, so why should they now is also wrong, I think.

    This seat is definately and most certainly swinging towards the Tories.
    One day, they will win here whilst still not winning a general election outright.

    But it just won’t be in 2015.

  10. I think the 2010 con share is above 1992 actually – the boundsary changes after 2005 lost a number of con votes. Right now l would have to say the most likely result is a big drop in the loib dem vote with labour pushing their majority up, but tories probably will win one day

  11. I would not say I was being complacent, Shaun. There is clearly long-term potential for the Conservatives here and they could well win it at some point but it won’t be in 2015 despite what Skaro’s finest seems to think.

  12. Both AKMD & Shaun are right. The Tories will probably win here one day, & it wouldn’t take a gigantic boundary change (in which an ex-coalfield area in the north of the seat gets lopped off) to accelerate that. But that time isn’t with us yet.
    Of course, on the other hand, it’s always possible that a more Tory area in the south could be reunited with Swansea West, or a similar seat, as it was before 1983 – if that were to happen, Labour would still probably fancy their chances in such a Swansea seat against a rather divided opposition, depending on how it were drawn, while being safer in the remainder of a redrawn Gower seat.

  13. I think we’re all in agreement.

  14. I’m not sure what was propsoed in this area for the ‘zombie review’ but it is quite likely that in some future review that the Tory voting Gower peninsula itself could be united with the more Tory parts of Swansea West. I think something along these lines was proposed and actually would seem to be an inevitable consequence of ending the gross over-representation of Wales at Westminster

  15. Gower is one of those seats in the Conservatives’ top 50 targets which the party did not win in 1983/1987. Others include:

    Great Grimsby
    Walsall North
    Newcastle-under-Lyme
    Morley and Outwood
    Wakefield
    Walsall South
    Tooting
    Derbyshire North East
    Penistone & Stocksbridge
    Stalybridge & Hyde

    Obviously boundary changes complicate the picture.

    Like Dalek, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Conservative gain in 2015, but would not say it was a strong possibility.
    I do however think people need to look beyond the present mid-term political climate and consider the possibility of things changing – unforeseen events – in the next two years and two months. We’ve seen it happen before 1981-3 and 1990-2.

  16. Incidentally, these vote share bars are a great addition and help me think of where things could go next time.

  17. The Gower peninsula is one of my favourite coasts in Britain. We usually go at least once a year.

    The Conservative-voting peninsula maybe gaining population faster than the former mining towns in the north of the constituency.

    More Tory Bishopston’s population rose by 10% while Pontardulais and Gorseinon (both mainly Labour) rose by 3% and 5%.

  18. All Women Shortlist here for Labour. Applications close on Monday 23 September. I wonder what the local party thought of an AWS? Does anyone know if they voted for it or was it imposed by region? My gut instinct is that AWSs don’t go down well in Wales. Look at Blaenau Gwent!

  19. Too early for calling this one with no candidates having been chosen! LibDem shares has been creeping up while Tory share is not exactly healthy compared with what it has been..

    All depends on the candidates each party serves up…

  20. Byron Davies has been reselected by the Tories.

    In 2011 Welsh Assembly contest Labour won by 18.2% here.

  21. Wasn’t he selected a while ago? Although it hasn’t been posted on here until now.

  22. Liz Evans is the new Labour candidate.

  23. Can’t find anything about Liz Evans. Judging by some posts on Twitter, seems that she could be on the left of the party. Michael Meacher retweeted someone’s congratulations to her.

    Guessing she’d be the type of candidate Bob dislikes. In other words, she’s alright ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. yes, the people congratulating her on twitter (apart from the UK and Welsh General Secretaries) are on the left of the party.

  25. This is tempting fate by the Labour party…. a barrage of Tweets does not a majority make.. sounds like a candidate out of touch with the local vibe.. time will tell…

  26. Being a left winger would probably go down ok-well in Barry. Less so in the rest of Gower.

  27. Apololgies Barry is in the Vale of Glamorgan isn’t it – being an idiot.

    I should have written Pontarddulais and Gorseinon.

  28. “sounds like a candidate out of touch with the local vibe.”

    we don’t know who she actually is…so how can you already say she sounds out of touche with the local vibe??

  29. Well of all Welsh labour seats. I wouldn’t put Gower as one of the more left-wing examples.

  30. In that it may be best to have a moderate in a tory trending semi-marginal.

  31. The retiring MP, Martin Caton, was on the left of the party too.

    IMO not all leftish candidates are disasters in the making like Peter Tatchell and Deirdre Wood.

    Some of the few leftish Labour MPs left in the Commons are pretty low profile nationally (for ex Mike Wood, Katy Clark, Linda Riordan…..and outside the old Campaign Group, people like Teresa Pearce, Yasmine Qureshi). So that generates less baggages for them to carry on during an election campaign. And so less chances to create a “stop them” bandwagon.

    And there’re various types of “leftish” candidates. The “populist” old left candidate can have a different impact in some areas than the London radical leftish type of candidate.

  32. Looking at recent results in Gower

    in terms of GE, 2001 showed an above average swing Lab to Con. In 2005 the swing was below average while in 2010 it was similar to national average.

    In Assembly contests, there was a big swing Lab to Con in 2007. In 2011 Con held up well but Labour went up 13 points producing an above than average swing in their favour.

    Putting it into the context of Labour leaning Welsh semi marginals, the 2011 Assembly majority was on par with Newport West and Vale of Clwyd and higher than Delyn and Clywd South. It must be said that those areas fell in 1983 (and some weren’t captured back in 1987).

    In 2011 Labour lead here was similar to their Welsh national lead. In 2007 it was lower but in 2003 the majority was higher than the overall lead in Wales. In Westminster contests, Labour usually poll better in Wales than Gower.

    Local election results aren’t particularly indicative in this part of the world. Conservatives contested only 12 out of 19 wards within Gower constituencies. Cllrs elected: Lab 12 Ind 7 Con 3 LD 1

    It was suggested in some other places at the time of 2007 Assembly election that one of the things that exagerate the swings against Labour in bad times here is differential turnout between the peninsula and Pontardulais/Gorseinon

  33. I’m not sure Yasmin Qureshi is on the left of the party really. She supported David Miliband for leader. Having said that, so did Dennis Skinner, though he nominated Abbott. Martin Caton certainly is more on the left than the right.

  34. Someone passed a magnet over the Labour party, they don’t know where Left or Right or North or South are these days… Blair fiddled with the moral compass….

  35. Barnaby, you could be right. I may have been misguided by the fact she has been a SpAd (about human rights) to Livingstone during his second term or that she was portrayed as a bit leftish (possibly in search of an electoral advantage) at the time she stood in Brent East. Looking at her voting record since elected, it seems pretty standard.

  36. Liz Evans was selected by a small amount of members. Wrote a letter to NEC calling to find out how many people selected her and if it was below a certain threshold, there should be a primary.

  37. The standard reply is that internal rules don’t allow voting figures to be reveleaed. Even if in some cases they are circulated to the media.

    How do you know the turnout was low?

    I think it could be pretty problematic to have primaries when the turnout is below a certain threshold as it means the normal selection should be run first and then a primary. So basically 2 selection contests in 1. OK, they could hold the primary a couple of weeks after the regular selection if it fails. However, there could be the risk of not having enough time to publicize it

  38. Bob – helpful as usual.

  39. And annoying as usual.

  40. That’s what I meant Neil. Bob’s post makes it likely that Liz Evans is not of those Blairites he so adores. I have never heard of him except through this site but maybe he has some influence in such circles. I’d like to know what help it would be to the Labour Party to have the selection re-run. I don’t think the site’s main purpose is to deal with things like this but wished to reply to his post.

  41. Not to mention that there’s virtually nothing about her online as it is. Yet he seems to be in the know about what happened at the Gower branch (i.e. that allegedly a small amount of members selected her). The only thing I noticed on Twitter was that she was congratulated by some trade union members.

    Maybe if it was a Progress type candidate who got selected by limited numbers of a CLP, we’d be hearing another tune from Bob.

  42. Prediction for 2015-
    Labour- 44%
    Conservative- 31%
    Lib Dem- 10%
    PC- 7%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 2%

  43. Probably about right.

  44. No one knows who she is. I have called people up and the only record was when the Labour History Group revealed her selection on Twitter. A bloody nightmare. Gower should not have been an AWS because Jeremy Miles should have got the seat.

  45. It was a guess TBH. Given the obvious trend towards the Tories here, I can see their vote share standing still. I would be surprised if UKIP beat Plaid here, but you never know.

  46. The Welsh Labour Party says she’s โ€œBorn and raised in Hafod, Liz is an elected national officer for the PCS union and works at the Land Registry.โ€

    She has beat 2 Swansea Cllrs and a lady backed by Unision.

  47. Wanted: One Safe Seat in Wales…

    http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/shortcuts/2014/jan/15/stephen-kinnock-labour-candidate-danish-prime-minister

    are there direct flights from Cardiff to Copenhagen?

  48. As it happens, Antiochian, yes there are, but they take a few hours apiece to travel the distance. I am of course pretty disappointed that Stephen Kinnock won that nomination, as he will be in reality as uncaring about his constituents as his father Neil was.

  49. When are you going to give this sanctimonious shit a break, and stick to the comments policy.

    This site is about discussing election results.

  50. I’m not aware that Mr White was ever a constituent of Neil Kinnock’s. If so, I retract what I’m about to say, but otherwise could you put a sock in it. I disagree with the failure of Neil Kinnock to support the miners’ strike properly, unlike the majority of those who comment here no doubt, but to say didn’t care about his constituents without any evidence is not on.

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