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29 April 2017
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Who will our Itchen general election candidates be? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:04

candidates montage who will stand
Updated Despite expectations that the next general election would be in 2020 given the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, you may, just possibly, have heard the news that a ‘snap’ election has been approved for June 8. So what will the voting choices be for residents in the Southampton Itchen constituency in about seven weeks’ time?

Well, given the snappy nature of it all, it isn’t yet completely clear!

It does seem a dead cert that the current MP Royston Smith (Con) will be standing [update: it's now been confirmed that he's been selected.]

He wrote in an email to some constituents on the day Theresa May called for the election (April 18):

“Last year, the British people voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. It is incumbent on the Government to deliver on the will of the people. The Prime Minister is doing just that. But in order to make her negotiating position stronger she needs a fresh mandate from voters.”

He said he’s found being MP for two years “enormously rewarding”, and hopes to be returned to Parliament in June.

Smith, who tweeted that he has “no idea” who he’ll be up against, took the Southampton Itchen seat in 2015, winning by 2,316 votes. Labour had held the seat since 1992, but were defending a majority of just 192 votes.

pie chart GE 2015 Southampton Itchen
How votes were distributed across the parties in Southampton Itchen in 2015

pie chart GE 2015 Southampton Itchen inc non voter
Itchen constituency including those who didn't vote



Eleanor Bell 200pxMeanwhile Liberal Democrats claim their campaign is already “in full swing in Southampton”, and have confirmed that Eleanor Bell, left, who stood in the 2015 general election, will again be the candidate for the Itchen constituency.

In a statement, Southampton Lib Dems said: “Whilst Labour and the Conservatives have been caught napping following Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise call for a snap General Election on Tuesday, Southampton Liberal Democrats have already confirmed our candidates, and are on the front foot with our campaign to deliver meaningful change for the people of Southampton.”

So far it seems unclear who will stand for Labour, although Alan Whitehead has said he will in next door Southampton Test, which includes St Denys and Portswood. However the Guardian has reported a Labour email suggests local members won’t be able to select their parliamentary candidates as usual, “due to the exceptional snap general election circumstances”.

It's thought other parties are yet to reveal their candidates for our constituency.

So while, perhaps unsurprisingly, we can’t yet fully answer our own question, we hope to bring you more local general election news and information as the campaign progresses: stay tuned!

Meanwhile, if you’re really keen, there are always 2015’s candidate statements to look back upon… 

• Is there a particular question you’d like to put to all the candidates, through your local website, when we know who they are? Email us using the contact form, or DM us on social media, and we’ll try to put a selection to them.

Updated 21/4/17 to clarify that Royston Smith has been selected're reader powered!
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