Thursday, 28 November 2019

IN FOCUS: BRISTOL

The city of Bristol contains four Parliamentary constituencies, all of which returned a Labour candidate in 2017 - the first time it has done so since 2001.


Population (2018 est):  463,400
City Council:  Labour, since 2016
Composition:  Labour (36 cllrs), Conservative (15), Green (11), Lib Dem (8)
Ethnic make-up (2011):  white 84.0%, black 6,0%, Asian 5.5%, mixed 3.6%, Arab 0.3%, other 0.6%
EU referendum:  62% Remain
Largest Parliamentary majority:  Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire, Lab) majority 37,336
Smallest Parliamentary majority:  Bristol North West (Darren Jones, Lab) majority 4,761

Bristol South and Bristol East have been held by Labour for decades, while Bristol North West is a marginal that has regularly changed hands between blue and red since its creation in 1950.  Bristol West has been held by all three main parties, but threw a curve ball in the 2017 election.  Having been recaptured by Labour in 2015 from the Lib Dems, the party inexplicably increased its majority from a mere 5,673 to more than 37,000 - the biggest swing to Labour in the entire country.  The result was totally unexpected, although there was no suggestion of anything untoward.

Bristol City Council has been controlled by Labour for most of its history, except for two years of Lib Dem control (2009-2011) and several periods of no overall control.  After being punished by voters for their part in the coalition government, the Lib Dems have gradually fallen behind the Conservatives and the Greens.

Following a referendum in 2012, Bristol chose to elect its mayor.  A local campaigner won the first contest on behalf of 'Bristol 1st', beating Labour into second place.  Labour turned the tables in the second mayoral election and since 2016 the post has been held by Marvin Rees.

Bristol returned a big Remain vote in 2016 and does not have any Leave-voting seats.  All of its MPs are Remainers, two of whom ignored party whips to vote against the triggering of Article 50.  Only one of the four MPs was born in Bristol.  Jeremy Corbyn found no support among Bristol's Labour MPs during the leadership challenge of 2016 as they all backed Owen Smith.

Bristol East

Incumbent:  Kerry McCarthy (Lab), majority 13,394
Born:  Luton, 1965
First elected:  2005
Leave/Remain:  Remain, voted against triggering Article 50
Notes:  Briefly a member of Corbyn's shadow cabinet for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, despite being a vegan and a vocal critic of meat-eating.  Endorsed Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership challenge.
Scandals:  Expenses scandal, electoral fraud, Twitter train outburst

Bristol East has been held by Labour since 1992

EU referendum:  53% Remain

General election 2017

Kerry McCarthy (Lab) 30,847 (60.7%) +21.5%
Theodora Clarke (Con) 17,453 (34.4%) +3.7%
Chris Lucas (Lib Dem) 1,389 (2.7%) -3.1%
Lorraine Francis (Green) 1,110 (2.2%) -6.1%

General election candidates 2019

Kerry McCarthy (Lab)
Sarah Codling (Con)
Nick Coombes (Lib Dem)
Conan Connolly (Green)
Tim Page (Brexit)

BTLP general election prediction:  Lab HOLD

Bristol North West

Incumbent:  Darren Jones (Lab), majority 4,761
Born:  Bristol, 1986
First elected:  2017
Leave/Remain:  Remain
Notes:  An ardent Remainer, following his surprise election in 2017 he stated that stopping Brexit was his number one priority.  Jones is also a solicitor and leads the Future Britain Group, a gathering of Labour moderates established by Tom Watson.

Bristol North West has been held by Labour since 2017, but has regularly changed hands between Labour and the Tories since its creation in 1950.

EU referendum:  61% Remain

General election 2017

Darren Jones (Lab) 27,400 (50.7%) +16.2%
Charlotte Leslie (Con) 22,639 (41.8%) -2.1%
Celia Downie (Lib Dem) 2,814 (5.2%) -1.0%
Sharmila Bousa (Green) 1,243 (2.3%) -3.4%

General election candidates 2019

Darren Jones (Lab)
Mark Weston (Con)
Chris Coleman (Lib Dem)
Heather Mack (Green)

BTLP general election prediction:  Lab HOLD

Bristol South

Incumbent:  Karin Smyth (Lab), majority 15,987
Born:  London, 1964
First elected:  2015
Leave/Remain:  Remain, but voted to trigger Article 50
Notes:  The daughter of Irish immigrants.  Endorsed Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership contest.

Bristol South has been held by Labour since 1935

EU referendum:  52% Remain

General election 2017

Karin Smyth (Lab) 32,666 (60.1%) +21.7%
Mark Weston (Con) 16,679 (30.7%) +6.3%
Ben Nutland (Lib Dem) 1,821 (3.3%) -5.3%
Ian Kealey (UKIP) 1,672 (3.1%) -13.4%
Tony Dyer (Green) 1,428 (2.6%) -8.9%
John Langley (Ind) 116 (0.2%) New

General election candidates 2019

Karin Smyth (Lab)
Rick Morgan (Con)
Andrew Brown (Lib Dem)
Tony Dyer (Green)
Robert Boutin (Brexit)

BTLP general election prediction:  Lab HOLD

Bristol West

Incumbent:  Thangam Debbonaire (Lab), majority 37,336
Born:  Peterborough, 1966
First elected:  2015
Leave/Remain:  Remain, voted against triggering Article 50
Notes:  Privately educated.  Endorsed Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership challenge.  She holds the fourth highest majority of any MP in the country.

Bristol West has been held by Labour since 2015, before which it was held by the Lib Dems from 2005

EU referendum:  79% Remain, the third strongest Remain vote in the UK

General election 2017

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab) 47,213 (65.9%) +30.3%
Annabel Tall (Con) 9,877 (13.8%) -1.4%
Molly Scott Cato (Green) 9,216 (12.9%) -14.0%
Stephen Williams (Lib Dem) 5,201 (7.3%) -11.6%
Jodian Rodgers (Money Free) 101 (0.1%) New

General election candidates 2019

Thangam Debbonaire (Lab)
Suria Aujla (Con)
Carla Denyer (Green)
Neil Hipkiss (Brexit)

Note:  This is a Remain Alliance seat, where the Liberal Democrats have stood down in order to give the Green Party a free run.

BTLP general election prediction:  Lab HOLD


NEXT WEEK:  Cardiff

Please support our work by donating what you can here