2015 Result:
Conservative: 20558 (52%)
Labour: 8835 (22.4%)
Lib Dem: 1330 (3.4%)
Green: 826 (2.1%)
UKIP: 7751 (19.6%)
Loony: 197 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 11723 (29.7%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands. Part of the Walsall council area.

Main population centres: Aldridge, Brownhills, Streetly, Pelsall.

Profile: Covers the eastern part of the Walsall Metropolitan Borough on the northern edge of the West Midlands conurbation. The seat consists of the two towns it takes its name from as well as surrounding villages and suburbs. The seat is generally Tory voting suburbia although there area areas of deprivation and Labour hold some council seats. The Streetly ward has more in common with Sutton Coldfield and Brownhills retains strong links with other ex-mining towns across the border in Staffordshire. The anomalous name of the constituency is a hangover from the old Aldridge-Brownhills local government district which was abolished in 1974.

Politics: Was held by Labour from 1974 to 1979, but has since become increasingly safe for the Conservatives.

Current MP
WENDY MORTON (Conservative) Former Richmondshire councillor. Contested Newcastle Central 2005, Tynemouth 2010. First elected as MP for Aldridge-Brownhills in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 22913 (59%)
Lab: 7647 (20%)
LDem: 6833 (18%)
GRN: 847 (2%)
Oth: 394 (1%)
MAJ: 15266 (40%)
Con: 18744 (47%)
Lab: 13237 (33%)
LDem: 4862 (12%)
BNP: 1620 (4%)
Oth: 1093 (3%)
MAJ: 5507 (14%)
Con: 18974 (50%)
Lab: 15206 (40%)
LDem: 3251 (9%)
Oth: 379 (1%)
MAJ: 3768 (10%)
Con: 21856 (47%)
Lab: 19330 (42%)
LDem: 5184 (11%)
MAJ: 2526 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
WENDY MORTON (Conservative) Former Richmondshire councillor. Contested Newcastle Central 2005, Tynemouth 2010.
IAN GARRETT (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - No Responses on “Aldridge-Brownhills”
  1. (cont’d) kind of way. Above average percentages of residents work in construction and manufacturing and secretaries are well-represented. There are in fact below average proportions of professionals living in the seat.

  2. Tory – do you think that the Harry Enfield character with a strong Midlands accent who said he was “conSIDerably richer than yow” would have lived in this constituency?

  3. Absolutely- he might well have lived in Streetly if reality lived up to his rhetoric; if not, then a comfortable semi in Aldridge!

  4. Stan (for that was his name) would almost certainly vote Conservative, and would no doubt like Richard Shepherd for his forthright Euroscepticism (though might be a bit miffed about Mr Shepherd’s interest in civil liberties).

    I rather like guessing how fictional characters would vote. Over on the Rugby thread, we agreed that the now-octogenarian Hyacinth and Richard would be voting UKIP from their redoubt in Binley Woods (Richard not having much of a choice in the matter).

  5. * of Keeping Up Appearances fame.

  6. I am not quite sure about how Reginald Perrin would have voted (in Kingston & Surbiton, perhaps?). He had some rather varied views & seems to have been somewhat more to the left of the actor who portrayed him, Leonard Rossiter. Mr Rigsby could have been attracted to UKIP, as well as to Miss Jones.

  7. I’m not convinced Hyacinth would vote UKIP, she’s a very establishment- minded person. UKIP is anti-establishment, and I think there’d be an element of her seeing them as being below her.
    I also think she’d rather like the fact that we have a Prime Minister who went to Eton.
    I think she’d be a Tory voter come what may… just instinctively.
    Richard, though, would I think have voted Lib Dem or Labour in 1997 ( it is a secret ballot after all).

  8. Stanley “considerably richer than yow” would most certainly not be voting UKIP. He was always talking about his ownership of a manufacturing business in the West Midlands, usually whilst propping up a bar in Spain or Greece. Do you think he would vote to erect trade barriers for his manufacturing exports, to send home his Polish cleaner, or risk his ability to live part of the year in Spain? I seriously don’t think so. He’d be a Tory voter through and through.

  9. John D is right – Hyacinth would be an establishment Tory and probably too snooty for UKIP. Richard often shows his social conscience (eg. by sympathising with Onslow and Daisy). Unless Hyacinth frogmarched him down to the polling station and insisted on him voting Tory, I’d put him down as a textbook Lib Dem.

  10. YouGov have done some polling on this:

    87% think Hyacinth Bucket would vote Tory, a more unanimous verdict that anyone else – even beating out the very obviously Labour Duckworths.

  11. Interesting list Mr Nameless

    i would massively take issue with Del Trotter as a Labour voter

    He’s a classic working class Thatcherite Tory (aspirational) through and through – with his brother Rodney of course being the complete opposite (at least in the early days of the show)

  12. I agree with Tim there. The perception of Ken Barlow as a Tory is almost certainly wrong too, and surely is down to the known fact that Bill Roache who plays him is a big Tory supporter. In fact in the soap Ken Barlow is a Guardian-reading teacher, and surely votes Labour in general elections – not that it would matter greatly in what would obviously be a safe Labour seat. It is a bit silly that from time to time soap operas have their characters standing in and winning local elections, invariably as Independents (as did Arthur Daley!) whereas in real life it’s highly unlikely that in the area covering Coronation Street anything other than a Labour councillor could ever be elected. Maybe with its rather labyrinthine local politics the East End could be different – it’s not at all unlikely that some Independents could win in Tower Hamlets, though certainly not at the moment either in Hackney or Waltham Forest.

  13. “in real life it’s highly unlikely that in the area covering Coronation Street anything other than a Labour councillor could ever be elected.”

    Alf and Audrey Roberts were both councillors on Coronation Street, and though officially “Independent”, they would surely have been closer to the Tories than Labour. Going further back, the same applies to Len Fairclough.

    Ken Barlow has been explicitly described as a Labour supporter many times on Coronation Street.

    Similarly Del Trotter identifies himself as a Thatcherite on many occasions, often in arguments with his socialist brother Rodney.

  14. The other mistake in the list is Victor Meldrew, who many times identifies himself as a Thatcher-hating Labour supporter who flirted with the SDP in the 80s.

  15. The only member of the Eastenders cast who could get elected in Tower Hamlets as an Independent nowadays would be Shabnam Masood standing on a ticket supporting Mayor Luftur Rahman

  16. Dot Cotton (or Branning now) got 53% Labour, yet I remember reading that the actress June Brown is a Conservative.

    Vera Duckworth got 78% Labour, and in real life Liz Dawn supports the party.

    Not sure how Phil Mitchell was rated 23% BNP by participants to that poll.

  17. I was amused by that. I think it says more about public perceptions of the BNP than about Phil MItchell

  18. Interesting that all parties claim Postman Pat as one of their own.

  19. Phil Mitchell wouldn’t be able to stand living in the East End if he were a BNP supporter. Not that East Enders looks like the East End. Perhaps it slightly resembles how the East End was in 1985, when it began, but its demographics have been frozen in aspic since then.

    It amuses me greatly that people who work in pubs, market stalls and launderettes are somehow able to own sought after Victorian houses in Albert Square that must be worth upwards of half a million.

  20. A lot of them are council owned properties as many such properties were in Tower Hamlets (maybe still are?). Certainly Dot Cotton is a council tenant. The Beale family originally lived in the tower block which is actually Canterbury House in Borehamwood (Hertsmere’s only residential tower block), but market traders can make a very good living. I knew a couple of brothers at school who were actually very reminiscent of the Mitchell brothers and you would have imagined they came from somewhere like South Oxhey but they actually lived in a massive house in Sarratt. There father owned the fish stall at Watford market

  21. Fair point, but I would imagine most such people using their equity to buy a nice house in Essex rather than choose to stay in Albert Square.

    The other hilarious thing about both Coronation Street and East Enders is that everything revolves around the pub, and that every resident pops into the pub 3 or 4 times a day, even those who have got kids. Who looks after them in the evenings? I would have thought that if dying trade hadn’t shut the Vic already, the mayor of Tower Hamlets would have done so.

  22. I seem to remember there was a very good documentary about The Archers and Politics once. Neil Kinnock famously said it should be called “The Grundys and their Oppressors”. Indeed, Brian Aldridge once stood as a Tory Candidate I seem to recall.

    Politically, I think most Archers characters are conservative. However, there are a fair few who certainly are not. Linda Snell, the busy-body, is Labour or Green, I’m almost certain.

  23. As well as the factors mentioned, one utterly unrealistic thing in EastEnders is that the Queen Vic doles out so many drinks on the house. In real life the pub would have been bust years ago if it had been so profligate. I’m not sure that Phil Mitchell displays any racial bias – he has people beaten up & does other blags irrespective of his victims’ racial origins as far as I can see. However, it is a number of years since I even had a glimpse at an episode, so who knows things may have changed. I didn’t know that Victor Meldrew was Labour; he must therefore be a bit like me, a Labour man with a distinctly fogeyish streak. I know several other Labour supporters, ranging in age from early 30s to OAP, who have fogeyish streaks too. Of course Richard Wilson who plays him is a strong Labour supporter too.
    Surely Dr Who would have voted in elections both past, present & future? (Of course, he is actually “The Doctor”, not Dr Who.) A plurality of respondents see him as a non-voter, I see.
    Finally, thanks Pete for the above info both real & fictitious, it was very interesting!

  24. I don’t follow Dr Who, but what made people think that he would vote Green?

    HH, there were reports last month that Eastenders is getting a modern makeover this year to reflect East London more accurately. Apparently they’re going for a Shoreditch style redevelopment, which is meant to be full of “trendy” hipster types. They tend to be young adults who wear thick rimmed glasses and slim fit jeans everywhere these days.

  25. In the first ever episode of One Foot in the Grave Victor spends the afternoon trying to spot the difference between Nicholas Ridley and a Dustbin

  26. I don’t know why, but I could imagine a character like Simon Bodger from Bodger and Badger being a quite active local Lib Dem councillor, and Alex Smart his nemesis being an Essex Man Conservative MP. On the theme of Postman Pat, the Major could easily have been a retired Conservative MP, and Ted Glen easily a member of Greendale’s Agricultural Union and a Bert Hazell-style rural Labour MP. Turning to other programmes, I think The Chuckle Brothers could easily be Labour MPs for Rotherham and Wentworth and Dearne, and Fireman Sam a Labour MP for Pontypandy.

  27. Postman Pat would be a very good Lib Dem MP in the Penines (Littleborough, somewhere like that)

  28. “Chuckle Brothers could easily be Labour MPs” Err, Ed and David? South Shields and Doncaster North 😉

  29. ”Postman Pat would be a very good Lib Dem MP in the Penines (Littleborough, somewhere like that)”

    Yes, a bit like a cross between Alan Beith and Richard Wainwright perhaps…

    “Chuckle Brothers could easily be Labour MPs” Err, Ed and David? South Shields and Doncaster North”

    Ha ha ha. Surely they would stay in the Rotherham borough where they’re already popular locally and have huge followings!

  30. Incidentally, I think Fitz from Cracker would be in the tradition of Old Labour Scotsman MPs in Greater Manchester, such as Jim Dobbin or Ian McCartney for example. He would probably be Labour MP for Manchester Central in this universe I speak of.

    Down South, Midsomer Muders’ Tom Barnaby has probably since become a Liberal Democrat councillor for one of the Causton wards on Midsomer District Council, and Ben Jones has probably gone back to Wales and been shortlisted for the Labour vacancy that has arisen in Newport East.

  31. There are a lot of characters I’m thinking about now this has been brought up.

    Mark Corrigan from Peep Show is an interesting one. He’s described himself as ‘conservative with a small c’ and hates the modern world, but at one point says he doesn’t think Tony Blair is a bad thing and that ‘It’s best just to stay as a nice idea, like the Private Finance Initiative’, which could indicate he’s slightly left of Blairite.

    Fresh Meat contains a fair bit of politics that I recognise as a student. Oregon leading a radical-left splinter group while being essentially posh and conservative is typical, and JP the Tory student is more typical than you’d think.

  32. ‘Mark Corrigan from Peep Show is an interesting one.’

    Corrigan is a Conservative supporter – albeit a fairly moderate one with liberal(ish) views on social matters

    His flat mate Jeremy is an out-and-out liberal Leftie

    Alf Garnett’s politics are more interesting that people give him credit for

    Bitterly anti Trade Unions and right wing on issues like race and immigration but massively anti-privatisation and a big critic of Thatcher

  33. Local election votes, A-B:

    Con 7,932
    UKIP 6,342
    Lab 4,317
    Ind 631
    LD 328

  34. Not a great Tory result by any stretch though I’ve no doubt Richard Shepherd will be fine come next year- 2010 suggests he has a large personal vote and I dare say his trenchant Euroscepticism will do him no harm.

  35. Sorry I don’t understand this spreadsheet. How does Aldridge compare with Staffordshire South?

  36. Shepherd announces retirement

  37. That’s a bit of a surprise.
    It’ll no doubt mean UKIP standing here next year which’ll dent the majority (along with the general loss of his personal vote).

  38. prediction for 2015-

    Con- 49%
    Lab- 21%
    UKIP- 18%
    Lib- 6%
    Green- 6%

    The MP standing down will damage the tories here while labour make slight gains. As always the liberal democrats see their share fall into oblivion while the green party gets hot on their heels.

    I understand a 10% tory drop might sound a bit, silly, but when you think about it the personal vote is reset and UKIP will do pretty well here given the retired population is pretty large although mostly well off.

    Sometimes you know how much all the parties should get yet it doesn’t quite add to 100% so you have to try and even it out a little,

  39. I actually think 49/50% is a reasonable prediction. The 60% share in 2010 probably owed a lot to Sir Richard’s incumbency and no UKIP candidate.

  40. Sad news. Sir Richard is one of my favourite MPs.

  41. Sir Richard is an outstanding MP whose record is exceptional. A big gap will be left.

  42. @Jim

    not a program that’s aged well IMHO. On the other hand On The Buses is a tonic. Bet the Inspector’s a UKIP stalwart.

  43. The UKIP candidate is Paul White.

  44. A constituency poll in this seat would be interesting. Without Richard Shepherd as Tory candidate it would be fascinating to see how UKIP are doing.

  45. ‘Without Richard Shepherd as Tory candidate it would be fascinating to see how UKIP are doing.’

    Shepherd has turned what used to be a Con/Lab marginal into something of a Tory fortress

    This seat looked far more likely to fall to Labour in 1997 than some of the party’s other gains such as St Albans, Harrow West and Enfield Southgate

    I’m not sure whether demographic change has aided the Tories fortunes here – as far as I’m aware Aldridge has always been an affluent dormitary town and Brownhills a more working class, industrial area – but Shepherd’s achievements here are second to none

  46. This may be one of those “under the radar” seats for UKIP, a bit like Solihull was for the LDs in 2005. It’s next to Walsall North and Cannock Chase, two of UKIP’s best opportunities next year.

  47. Also the Tories have a big selection controversy here….candidate selection has been suspended.

  48. I think predictions of a tory defeat here are somewhat fantastical.

    Ukip will do lots of damage to the tories in the midlands…this isn’t being factored in at all. Cannock, Dudley South, and even Stourbridge are places where a high ukip vote could let labour in. Ashcroft did a poll for Cannock which showed labour first, ukip second and the tories third, albeit quite close to each other. We have no such information for either Stourbridge or Dudley South.

    I still think a labour majority is not impossible, though much more unlikely than appeared in the period immediately after Carswell’s defection. Mili’s dire conference speech and the backbiting among labour which followed holed them under that water line it would appear.

  49. Wendy Morton has apparently been selected as the Tory candidate.
    She was a finalist in the Richmond selection last year (where she is local), stood in Tynemouth in 2010, and Newcastle Central in 2005.
    She’s also a vice chairman of the party, covering social action, volunteering etc. (she’s involved with Project Umubano).
    As I said further up-thread, I expect the blue vote to fall to 50% (maybe down to 2005 level of 47%).
    I don’t think Ed Miliband will go down particularly well in this seat, but UKIP will undoubtedly make the most of Richard Shepherd’s retirement.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)