Broadband slower in Conservative constituencies, study finds

Dan Howdle | June 26th, 2024

Houses of Parliament

This was quite a job. Not least because parliament decided to redraw the entire constituency map of the UK last year in preparation for a 2024 or 2025 General Election, making assigning postcodes to each constituency that much harder. In this blog we'll take a look at the most interesting data points. Just remember, we make no comment, positive or negative about any political party, we are merely reporting the numbers we uncovered.

Labour constituencies are faster than Conservative constituencies on average

By grouping constituencies into groups according to the parties that held them up to the dissolution of parliament prior to the 2024 General Election, we were able to form averages by party. What this showed was that Labour constituencies are the fastest on average, putting Conservatives constituencies on second place. You may think, ah, well, that's because more Conservative constituencies are rural, and you may or may not be right. But these are the numbers, including the other parties:

Party Average download
Labour 126.75Mbps
Conservative 121.20Mbps
Independent and other 116.41Mbps
Liberal Democrat 112.97Mbps
SNP 111.46Mbps

Don't forget, you can download the entire list of 650 constituencies and speeds on the study's source page.

Most of the fastest constituencies were Labour, most of the slowest Conservative

The averages have a habit of smoothing things out a bit too much. Taking a different scoop from the sample can sometimes make the differences a little more clear/stark. Looking at the top ten fastest constituencies in the UK, six of them are Labour, while only three are Conservative. On the flipside, six of the ten slowest constituencies in the UK are Conservative, while there are no Labour constituencies to be found there at all.

Here are the fastest and slowest constituencies in the UK, along with the political party whose MP resided there up to the dissolution of parliament prior to the 2024 General Election on 4 July:

Top 10 fastest constituencies

Rank Constituency MP Party Constituency download speed in Mbps
1 Swansea West Geraint Davies Independent 192.61
2 Southampton Itchen Royston Smith Conservative 187.34
3 Southampton Test Alan Whitehead Labour 184.10
4 Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan Labour 178.39
5 Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt Conservative 178.38
6 Gower Tonia Antoniazzi Labour 174.39
7 Kingston upon Hull North and Cottingham Diana Johnson Labour 167.92
8 Neath and Swansea East Christina Rees Labour 167.56
9 Sutton and Cheam Paul Scully Conservative 166.96
10 Kingston upon Hull West and Haltemprice Emma Hardy Labour 166.02

Top 10 slowest constituencies

Rank Constituency MP Party Constituency download speed in Mbps
650 Na h-Eileanan an Iar Angus Brendan MacNeil Independent 40.69
649 Whitehaven and Workington Trudy Harrison Conservative 51.81
648 Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat 57.06
647 Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat 62.27
646 Aberdeenshire North and Moray East Douglas Ross Conservative 62.97
645 North Norfolk Duncan Baker Conservative 63.73
644 Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood Conservative 66.76
643 Ynys Mon Virginia Crosbie Conservative 70.21
642 Argyll Bute and South Lochaber Brendan O'Hara Scottish National Party 71.05
641 North Devon Selaine Saxby Conservative 73.94

Labour's Shadow Cabinet is faster than the Conservative Cabinet

Another of the 'just for fun' findings of our research is that Labour also has faster broadband when exclusively including the Conservative government cabinet and pitting it against Labour's Shadow Cabinet. The Labour cabinet is a fair bit larger than the current Conservative one, and there are some members of both who are either not MPs (so don't have constituencies, such as Lord Cameron), or had presided over constituencies that have been too substantially redrawn to assign them to one in this upcoming election.

Here is the comparison of constituency broadband speeds when facing off the cabinet against the shadow cabinet:

Cabinet Ministers Constituency download speed in Mbps Shadow Cabinet Constituency download speed in Mbps
Rishi Sunak 97.26 Keir Starmer 131.06
Oliver Dowden 117.97 Angela Rayner 97.16
Jeremy Hunt BOUNDARY CHANGES Rachel Reeves 132.51
Lord Cameron NOT AN MP Bridget Phillipson 108.52
James Cleverly 102.83 Yvette Cooper 137.64
Grant Shapps 135.94 Wes Streeting 127.06
Alex Chalk 146.70 Edward Miliband 114.81
Michelle Donelan 114.23 David Lammy 113.23
Michael Gove 133.28 Pat McFadden 123.78
Victoria Atkins 92.73 Nick Thomas-Symonds 109.81
Steve Barclay 101.69 Jonathan Ashworth 128.12
Penny Mordaunt 178.38 Shabana Mahmood 116.59
Lord True NOT AN MP Jonathan Reynolds 105.60
Kemi Badenoch 122.88 Liz Kendall 117.90
Claire Coutinho 122.07 John Healey BOUNDARY CHANGES
Mel Stride 95.81 Louise Haigh 117.82
Gillian Keegan 91.26 Thangam Debbonaire 117.78
Mark Harper 108.36 Anneliese Dodds 133.93
Lucy Frazer BOUNDARY CHANGES Steve Reed 138.16
Richard Holden BOUNDARY CHANGES Peter Kyle 130.64
Chris Heaton-Harris 146.33 Hilary Benn 133.90
Alister Jack 79.19 Ian Murray 123.45
David T C Davies 105.05 Jo Stevens BOUNDARY CHANGES
Emily Thornberry 98.46
Lisa Nandy 128.11
Darren Jones 128.10
Ellie Reeves 113.15
Lucy Powell 125.96
Alan Campbell 101.48
Angela Smith NOT AN MP
Roy Kennedy NOT AN MP
Average: 116.22 Average: 120.55

Liberal Democrats' Ed Davey is the fastest party leader

Finally, it's the face of of broadband speeds in the constituencies of party leaders. Here, the Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey trounces the opposition. His constituency of Kingston and Surbiton is by far the fastest of the three leaders. Why three leaders? Well, because a fair few other party leaders do not have a constituency. See Greens, for example. The SNP – the UK's third largest party by seats – on the other hand is led by John Swinney, whose own constituency was substantially redrawn in the boundary changes made public last year, so technically he doesn't have a constituency either.

Here are the broadband speeds in the constituencies of the main party leaders:

Leader Party Constituency download speed in Mbps
Ed Davey Liberal Democrats 163.49
Keir Starmer Labour 131.06
Rishi Sunak Conservative 97.26

Closing comments

This is, at the end of the day, a data set others will be able to use to make points about broadband where they live, and prompt a little healthy competition among MPs to improve connectivity for their constituents. If you want to know how fast the broadband is in your constituency, you can download the full data from the source page of this research.