Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A Look @: Southampton

Southampton is one of the few Labour strongholds in the South East. The two Parliamentary seats in the city are held by the current Government and they enjoy healthy majorities in both. However, in 2008 the Conservatives gained control of the council with 26 of the 48 seats. They are the first party to secure a majority on the city council since 2000. A bad election for Labour could see them lose both their seats in Southampton.1




Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Southampton Itchen

John Denham




LAB Hold

Southampton Test

Alan Whitehead





LAB Hold



John Denham, the Local Government Secretary, won his Southampton Itchen seat in the 1992 election, defeating the Conservative incumbent by just 551 votes. Denham now has a large majority to defend and if loses his seat in May then the Labour Party will be in trouble. Denham has had to pay back £1,265 relating to mortgage claims and an armchair, which isn't going to help his chances. The Conservatives have selected local councillor Royston Smith to challenge Denham and he certainly has a chance of taking this. But as it has been a while since the polls have shown a 10 point swing so I think Labour will hold.

Andy Whitehead is in a similar position to Denham. A large majority but still very much in danger; as most Labour MPs in the south are! Another similarity between the two Southampton representatives is that Whitehead has also had to pay back mortgage claims in the expenses row. In 2005 the Lib Dems were the big gainers at Labour's expense, almost snatching third from the Conservatives, but I expect the Tories to be the main challengers this year. They are running another Southampton councillor, Jeremy Moulton, to challenge Whitehead adding to the parallels between the two constituencies. With so many similarities between Itchen and Test I feel almost obliged to predict Whitehead holding on. At current polling levels the Tories need a swing twice the national average in Southampton and that doesn't appear likely at the moment. But with 6 weeks left anything is possible.


1 Romsey & Southampton North will be discussed in a later post.


Post a Comment