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What Happened to the Youthquake?

We don't know youth turnout yet, but only four out of the 23 student-heavy marginals identified by VICE voted out the Tories.

by Zing Tsjeng
13 December 2019, 11:36am

Photo: Luis Kramer

As the dust settles on the election results, it's clear that a youthquake failed to materialise this year.

In November, VICE identified 20 universities located in some of the most marginal Tory-held seats. In some cases, it would have only taken a few dozen votes to unseat the incumbent Conservative MP.

But only four of the 23 marginals highlighted by VICE voted for a political party other than the incumbent Tories. The majority of them were in Scotland, where the Scottish National Party (SNP) performed incredibly strongly and won 48 seats overall.

There were anecdotal reports of long queues of predominantly young people lining up to vote, as well as an impressively large line of people at the University of Kent. We won't know youth turnout for a while yet, but it's now clear that it wasn’t enough to swing the election: the Conservatives won a comfortable victory and now command a majority in parliament – their largest since 1987.

Did your university succeed in unseating your local Conservative MP? Read on to find out.

LONDON

1. BRUNEL UNIVERSITY - UXBRIDGE AND SOUTH RUISLIP

This was the big one – Boris Johnson was up against 25-year-old Labour contender Ali Milani. Even after a strong performance from Milani, Boris Johnson cruised to an easy victory here, increasing his majority to 7,210.
Winner: Conservatives (Boris Johnson)

2. MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY - HENDON

Conservative candidate Matthew Offord won his fourth term here, but his majority was reduced ever so slightly to 4,230.
Winner: Conservatives (Matthew Offord)

3. UNIVERSITY OF LONDON AND IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON – CITIES OF LONDON AND WESTMINSTER

This was described as a true three-way marginal between the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Chuka Umunna left the Labour seat of Streatham to stand for the Lib Dems here, and he didn’t get in – he placed second to Conservative candidate Nickie Aiken, who won a 3,953 majority.
Winner: Conservatives (Nickie Aiken)

4. UNIVERSITY OF ROEHAMPTON – PUTNEY

Labour candidate Fleur Anderson took this constituency from the Conservatives in one of the night's few bright spots for Jeremy Corbyn. She won a majority of 4,774.
Winner: Labour (Fleur Anderson)

MIDLANDS

5. LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY – LOUGHBOROUGH

Despite the best efforts of student activists here, the Tories held on to power in this Midlands seat and increased their majority to 7,169.
Winner: Conservatives (Jane Hunt)

6. UNIVERSITY OF NORTHAMPTON – NORTHAMPTON SOUTH AND NORTHAMPTON NORTH

Northampton residents told us that the town was literally "rotting from the inside", but that wasn't enough to deter voters. The Tories won both Northampton South and Northampton North.
Winner: Northampton South – Conservatives (Andrew Lewer); Northampton North – Conservatives (Michael Ellis)

7. UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER – WORCESTER

Conservative MP Robin Walker was reelected in this seat and now commands a majority of 6,7758 votes.
Winner: Conservatives (Robin Walker)

SOUTH EAST

8. SOLENT UNIVERSITY - SOUTHAMPTON ITCHEN

This knife-edge marginal was won by the Conservatives in 2017, with 31 votes. This year, the Tories increased their majority to 4,498.
Winner: Conservatives (Royston Smith)

9. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON - SOUTHAMPTON ITCHEN, ROMSEY & SOUTHAMPTON AND WINCHESTER

Students from Southampton could vote in three constituencies, depending on which halls they lived in. Southampton Itchen, Romsey & Southampton North and Winchester all stuck with the Conservatives.
Winner: Conservatives – Southampton Itchen (Royston Smith); Conservatives – Romsey & Southampton (Caroline Nokes); Winchester: Conservatives (Steve Brine)

10. UNIVERSITY OF SURREY – GUILDFORD

Guildford has been called a true-blue Tory seat. Even though it was described as a four-way marginal between the three main parties and independent MP Anne Milton, it stayed true-blue Tory this time.
Winner: Conservatives (Angela Richardson)

SOUTH WEST

11. FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY – TRURO & FALMOUTH AND CAMBORNE & REDRUTH

University halls for Falmouth fall into two different constituencies: Truro & Falmouth and Camborne & Redruth. Both have stuck with the Tories – Truro & Falmouth gave them a 4,561 majority and Camborne & Redruth gave them 8,700 more votes than Labour.
Winner: Conservatives – Truro & Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory); Conservatives – Camborne & Redruth (George Eustice)

12. UNIVERSITY OF EXETER – TRURO & FALMOUTH AND CAMBORNE & REDRUTH

Exeter students who attended the Penryn Campus and lived in halls could also vote in Truro & Falmouth or Camborne & Redruth – both of which stayed Tory.
Winner: Conservatives – Truro & Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory); Conservatives – Camborne & Redruth (George Eustice)

13. UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE – CHELTENHAM AND GLOUCESTER

Gloucestershire students live in halls for two different marginals. The Tories increased their share of the vote in both Gloucester and Cheltenham, despite a longed-for Liberal Democrat victory in the latter.
Winner: Conservatives – Gloucester (Richard Graham); Conservatives – Cheltenham (Alex Chalk)

14. UWE BRISTOL - FILTON & BRADLEY STOKE

UWE Bristol students failed to budge the Conservative vote here – Tory MP Jack Lopresti was elected with a 5,646 majority.
Winner: Conservatives (Jack Lopresti)

EAST ANGLIA

15. UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX – COLCHESTER

This was a three-way marginal between the Lib Dems, Labour and the Conservatives – but the Tories triumphed here. Their candidate, Will Quince, increased their share of the vote by 4.6 percent and now has a majority of 9,423.
Winner: Conservatives (Will Quince)

SCOTLAND

16. UNIVERSITY OF THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS - MORAY

Tory MP Douglas Ross held on to this Scottish marginal seat with a tiny sliver of a majority, 513 votes. He’s one of the few Conservative MPs who have managed to fight off the SNP in Scotland.
Winner: Conservatives (Douglas Ross)

17. ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY (ABERDEEN SOUTH)

The SNP were one of the few parties that had a good night, with huge gains across Scotland – Aberdeen South included – leaving them with a total of 48 seats.
Winner: SNP (Stephen Flynn)

18. UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING – STIRLING

The Tory bloodbath in Scotland continued in Stirling, where SNP candidate Alyn Smith won it off the Tory MP Stephen Kerr with an impressive 9,254 votes.
Winner: SNP (Alyn Smith)

19. UNIVERSITY OF WEST SCOTLAND (UWS) AND SCOTLAND’S RURAL COLLEGE (SRUC) – AYR, CARRICK & CUMNOCK

This was very closely contested, but the SNP triumphed here again, gaining 9.4 percent more of the vote share and earning a 2,329 majority.
Winner: SNP (Allan Dorans)

NORTH WEST

20. UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA – CARLISLE

The Tories comfortably held on to Carlisle, with Conservative candidate John Stevenson winning 8,319 more votes than second-placed Labour candidate Ruth Alcroft.
Winner: Conservatives (John Stevenson)

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