South East England

South East England consists of the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex. It is solidly to the right of the country as a whole, in fact, all eight counties in the region voted more strongly for the Conservatives than the UK as whole in the 2019 election. This is pattern that has held since at least 1955.

The counties themselves do vary from the very blue (Kent, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex) to light blue East Sussex and Oxfordshire. Since 1955, the region has never had fewer than 48 Conservative MPs. This low came in 1966, when Labour won a solid majority nationwide and had 12 MPs in the South East. Labour were virtually wiped out in 1979 and did not recover until 1997.

This reflects a Labour vote that is very thinly spread, it can take a lot of votes to elect Labour MPs in the South East. In 2017 they won 29% of the vote but only 10% seats (8 Seats). This problem is even more apparent for the Lib Dems; who consistently win 20 to 25% of the vote in the South East but have struggled to convert that vote share in to seats. They rose as high as 8 seats in 2001 but then fell back later in that decade.

However, the Liberal Democrats are stronger at the local level and were for a time in the late 90’s the biggest party in local government in the South East. Their falling support during and after their coalition with the Tories (2010 to 2015) has been mostly reversed in recent years. They currently hold 854 council seats compared to the 1,214 for the Conservatives and 624 for Labour. The Conservatives remain the dominant party in the South East and hold 74 out of 83 seats in the House of Commons.

General Election Time Series

Seats Won in South East England 1955-2019

Share of the Vote Won in South East England 1955-2019

2019 General Election

Seats Won in South East England in 2019, by County

Share of the Vote Won in South East England in 2019, by County

Share of Seats Won in South East England in 2019, by County

Change in Vote Share and Seats Won in South East England in 2019, by County

Local Government Composition

Local Councils Held 1973-2023 in South East England

Local Council Seats Held 1973-2023 in South East England

Election Model Forecast for Next Election

ConstituencyCountyNotional Winner 2019Forecast WinnerClassificationForecast Party ChangeBattleground
Arundel and South DownsWest SussexCONCONLikely0NA
Bexhill and BattleEast SussexCONCONLikely0NA
Bicester and WoodstockOxfordshireCONToss-Up0NA
Bognor Regis and LittlehamptonWest SussexCONCONLikely0NA
Brighton Kemptown and PeacehavenEast SussexLABLABSafe0NA
Brighton PavilionEast SussexGREGRESafe0NA
Buckingham and BletchleyBuckinghamshireCONLABLikely1NA
CanterburyKentLABLABSafe0Southern England
Chatham and AylesfordKentCONCONLikely0NA
Chesham and AmershamBuckinghamshireCONCONLikely0NA
ChichesterWest SussexCONCONLikely0NA
CrawleyWest SussexCONLABSafe1Southern England
Didcot and WantageOxfordshireCONToss-Up1Southern England
Dorking and HorleySurreyCONLIBLean1NA
Dover and DealKentCONLABSafe1NA
Earley and WoodleyBerkshireCONLABSafe1Southern England
East Grinstead and UckfieldEast SussexCONCONLikely0NA
East HampshireHampshireCONCONSafe0NA
East SurreySurreyCONCONSafe0NA
East ThanetKentCONLABSafe1Southern England
East Worthing and ShorehamWest SussexCONLABSafe1Southern England
EastbourneEast SussexCONLIBSafe1Southern England
EastleighHampshireCONLIBLikely1Southern England
Epsom and EwellSurreyCONToss-Up0NA
Esher and WaltonSurreyCONLIBSafe1Southern England
Fareham and WaterloovilleHampshireCONCONLikely0NA
Farnham and BordonHampshireCONCONLean0NA
Faversham and Mid KentKentCONCONLikely0NA
Folkestone and HytheKentCONLABLikely1NA
Gillingham and RainhamKentCONLABLean1NA
Godalming and AshSurreyCONLIBLean1NA
GuildfordSurreyCONLIBSafe1Southern England
Hamble ValleyHampshireCONCONSafe0NA
Hastings and RyeEast SussexCONLABSafe1Southern England
Henley and ThameOxfordshireCONToss-Up1NA
Herne Bay and SandwichKentCONCONLikely0NA
HorshamWest SussexCONCONLean0NA
Hove and PortsladeEast SussexLABLABSafe0NA
Isle of Wight EastIsle of WightCONToss-Up1NA
Isle of Wight WestIsle of WightCONLABLikely1NA
LewesEast SussexCONLIBSafe1Southern England
Maidstone and MallingKentCONCONLikely0NA
Mid BuckinghamshireBuckinghamshireCONCONSafe0NA
Mid SussexWest SussexCONLABLean1NA
Milton Keynes CentralBuckinghamshireCONLABSafe1Southern England
Milton Keynes NorthBuckinghamshireCONLABSafe1Southern England
New Forest EastHampshireCONCONSafe0NA
New Forest WestHampshireCONCONSafe0NA
North East HampshireHampshireCONCONSafe0NA
North West HampshireHampshireCONCONLikely0NA
Oxford EastOxfordshireLABLABSafe0NA
Oxford West and AbingdonOxfordshireLIBLIBSafe0NA
Portsmouth NorthHampshireCONToss-Up1NA
Portsmouth SouthHampshireLABLABSafe0NA
Reading CentralBerkshireLABLABSafe0NA
Reading West and Mid BerkshireBerkshireCONToss-Up1NA
Rochester and StroodKentCONLABLikely1NA
Romsey and Southampton NorthHampshireCONCONLikely0NA
Runnymede and WeybridgeSurreyCONToss-Up0NA
Sittingbourne and SheppeyKentCONCONSafe0NA
Southampton ItchenHampshireCONLABSafe1Southern England
Southampton TestHampshireLABLABSafe0NA
Surrey HeathSurreyCONCONLikely0NA
Sussex WealdEast SussexCONCONSafe0NA
Tunbridge WellsKentCONCONLean0NA
Weald of KentKentCONCONSafe0NA
WinchesterHampshireCONLIBLikely1Southern England
WokingSurreyCONToss-Up1Southern England
Worthing WestWest SussexCONLABLikely1NA
WycombeBuckinghamshireCONLABSafe1Southern England

Abbreviations used in the table: CON = Conservative, LAB = Labour Party, LIB = Liberal Democrats, GRE = Green Party, UKI = UK Independence Party (UKIP), REF = Reform UK