Thursday 12 December 2019


The major seaport of Southampton has been a city since 1964, although it did not obtain full unitary authority status until 1997.  Before this Southampton was administered as a district within Hampshire County Council.  Since then Southampton City Council has been administered by all three of the main parties.  For Westminster elections the city has been fought over by the same parties for decades.  Going into this election the Tories have two of the three seats.

Population (2017 est):  252,400
City Council:  Labour, since 2012
Composition:  Labour (29 cllrs), Conservative (18), Ind (1)
Ethnic make-up (2011):  white 85.9%, Asian 8.4%, black 2.2, mixed 2.4%, other 1.1%
EU referendum:  54% Leave
Largest Parliamentary majority:  Romsey & Southampton North (Caroline Nokes, Con) majority 18,006
Smallest Parliamentary majority:  Southampton Itchen (Royston Smith, Con) majority 31

Southampton City Council consists of 16 electoral wards, each returning three councillors.  Labour has controlled the council twice - from 1997-2000 and since 2012.  The Conservatives had control between 2008-2012.  There were eight years of no overall control in the noughties, during which Labour ran a minority administration for two years, followed by the Lib Dems for four years, followed by the Tories for two.  The Lib Dems lost their last council seats in 2014, due in large part to their role in the coalition government.

The last time a party won all the Parliamentary seats in Southampton was following the 1987 general election when the Tories won a clean sweep.  At this time the seat of Romsey did not include any Southampton territory, but boundary changes in 1997 took in one Southampton council ward.  Further boundary changes in 2010 took in another Southampton council ward and it was re-named Romsey and Southampton North.

The constituencies of Test and Itchen are named after the two major rivers that meet here.

Southampton returned a Leave vote in 2016, although the Labour member for Test opposed the triggering of Article 50.  His constituency returned a narrow 50.59% Remain vote.  Leave voting Itchen is currently held by the Conservatives with one of the smallest majorities in the UK at just 31 votes.  None of these seats are expected to change hands at this election.

Southampton Itchen

Incumbent:  Royston Smith (Con), majority 31
Born:  Southampton, 1955
First elected:  2015
Leave/Remain:  Leave
Notes:  Former RAF engineer.  Former leader of Southampton City Council.  Elected to Parliament at second attempt.  Recipient of George Medal in 2012 after helping to apprehend an armed killer.

Southampton Itchen has been held by the Conservatives since 2015, before which it was Labour.  Smith is defending one of the smallest majorities in the country.

EU referendum:  60% Leave

General election 2017

Royston Smith (Con) 21,773 (46.5%) +4.8%
Simon Letts (Lab) 21,742 (46.5%) +9.9%
Eleanor Bell (Lib Dem) 1,421 (3.0%) -0.5%
Kim Rose (UKIP) 1,122 (2.4%) -11.0%
Rosie Pearce (Green) 725 (1.6%) -2.6%

General election candidates 2019

Royston Smith (Con)
Simon Letts (Lab)
Liz Jarvis (Lib Dem)
Kim Rose (UKIP)
Osman Sen-Chadun (Green)

BTLP general election prediction:  Con HOLD

Southampton Test

Incumbent:  Alan Whitehead (Lab), majority 11,508
Born:  Middlesex, 1950
First elected:  1997
Leave/Remain:  Remain, voted against triggering Article 50
Notes:  Another former leader of Southampton City Council.  Elected to Parliament at the fourth attempt.  Endorsed Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election.

Southampton Test has been held by Labour since 1997, before which it was held by the Conservatives

EU referendum:  51% Remain

General election 2017

Alan Whitehead (Lab) 27,509 (58.7%) +17.4%
Paul Holmes (Con) 16,006 (34.1%) +1.6%
Thomas Gravatt (Lib Dem) 1,892 (4.0%) -0.9%
Andrew Pope (S'oton) 816 (1.7%) New
Keith Morrell (Ind) 680 (1.4%) New

General election candidates 2019

Alan Whitehead (Lab)
Steven Galton (Con)
Joe Richards (Lib Dem)
Philip Crook (Brexit)
Katherine Barbour (Green)
Kev Barry (Ind)

BTLP general election prediction:  Lab HOLD

Romsey & Southampton North

Incumbent:  Caroline Nokes (Con), majority 18,006
Born:  Hampshire, 1972
First elected:  2010
Leave/Remain:  Remain, but voted to trigger Article 50
Notes:  Nokes was elected to Parliament at the third attempt.  A member of Theresa May's cabinet until she was sacked by new PM Boris Johnson.  She was one of 21 MPs to have the whip removed after voting to extend Article 50, but later had the whip restored.  She is defending her seat in this election as a Conservative.

Romsey & Southampton North has been held by the Conservatives since it was created through boundary changes in 2010.  The new entity largely resembled the abolished Romsey constituency, this had been held by the Liberal Democrats since a by-election in 2000.

EU referendum:  54% Remain, strongest Remain vote in Southampton

General election 2017

Caroline Nokes (Con) 28,668 (57.1%) +2.8%
Catherine Royce (Lib Dem) 10,662 (21.3%) +3.5%
Darren Paffey (Lab) 9,614 (19.2%) +7.3%
Ian Callaghan (Green) 953 (1.9%) -2.8%
Don Jerrard (Justice) 271 (0.5%) New

General election candidates 2019

Caroline Nokes (Con)
Craig Fletcher (Lib Dem)
Claire Ransom (Lab)
Geoff Bentley (UKIP)

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

BTLP general election prediction:  Con HOLD

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