Altrincham & Sale West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26771 (53%)
Labour: 13481 (26.7%)
Lib Dem: 4235 (8.4%)
Green: 1983 (3.9%)
UKIP: 4047 (8%)
MAJORITY: 13290 (26.3%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of the Trafford council area.

Main population centres: Altrincham, Sale, Bowden, Hale.

Profile: An extremely affluent seat that contains some of the wealthiest of Manchester`s suburbs, such as Hale and Bowden. Altrincham and Sale were both part of Cheshire until the local government re-organisation in 1974 and both towns still have a Cheshire address, and still retain a grammar school system. It also home to a significant Jewish community. The western half of the seat is largely rural, made up of small villages and farms.

Politics: Altrincham and Sale West is the safest Conservative seat in Greater Manchester and, indeed, from 2001 to 2010 the only Conservative seat in Greater Manchester. Along with its predecessor Altrincham and Sale it has been represented continuously by the Conservatives since its creation in 1945.

Current MP
GRAHAM BRADY (Conservative) Born 1967, Salford. Educated at Altrincham Grammar and Durham University. Former worked in Public Relations (for Shandwick) and the CPS. First elected as MP for Altrincham and Sale West in 1997. PPS to Michael Ancram 1999-2000, Opposition whip 2000. PPS to Michael Howard 2003-2004, shadow Europe minister 2004-2007. Chairman of the 1922 Committee since 2010. Brady first became involved in politics as a teenager, campaigning to save Grammar schools in Trafford. He was first elected in 1997, becoming the youngest Conservative MP at the time. He resigned from the front bench in 2007 after criticising the party`s policy on grammar schools.
Past Results
Con: 24176 (49%)
Lab: 11073 (22%)
LDem: 12581 (25%)
UKIP: 1563 (3%)
MAJ: 11595 (23%)
Con: 20569 (46%)
Lab: 13410 (30%)
LDem: 9595 (22%)
UKIP: 736 (2%)
MAJ: 7159 (16%)
Con: 20113 (46%)
Lab: 17172 (39%)
LDem: 6283 (14%)
MAJ: 2941 (7%)
Con: 22348 (43%)
Lab: 20843 (40%)
LDem: 6535 (13%)
Oth: 708 (1%)
MAJ: 1505 (3%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GRAHAM BRADY (Conservative) See above.
JANE BROPHY (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Chorlton High School and Leeds University. Nutritionist. Trafford councillor 1999-2007. Contested Eccles 2005, Altrincham and Sale West 2010.
Comments - 159 Responses on “Altrincham & Sale West”
  1. Lab could win this seat in a landslide year I’d have thought.

  2. The 2015 result was pretty good for the Conservatives. I think that with a more socially liberal Conservative leader they’ll be ok here for a while.

  3. And who is that socially liberal leader waiting in the wings? Can’t see one, can you? Ruth Davidson doesn’t count.

  4. Cheesus
    “Lab could win this seat in a landslide year I’d have thought”

    Forget landslides, I’d guess Lab would win this the next time they gain a majority.

  5. Certainly possible if a similar swing occurs. Labour took Kensington off the Tories on similar vote shares.

  6. Plop
    It is worth remembering that the current boundaries for this seat are friendlier for the Tories than the 97-10 boundaries which didn’t contain the safe Tory ward of Ashton upon Mersey.

    I can’t be bothered working out notionals but the Con majority in this seat minus Ashton would probably be around the 7-8% mark and it would probably would have been around the same level in 97 on the present boundaries. That tells us that last week Lab essentially repeated their 97 performance in this seat, in an election we lost nationally. that gives an indication of how the seat has changed and where it is headed.

  7. I think this seat could be made more secure (C).
    Agree it looks like the EU Referendum (And what it’s code for) affected this result.

  8. Even in 97, when Labour came within 1500 votes of taking the seat, I don’t think they ever expected to win and given the large proportion of affluent A/B professionals, that should come as no real surprise

    That Labour are now competitive here – as they are in other seats with similar demographic profiles – shows what a game changer Brexit looks likely to be.

    It still seems a stretch to imagine Labour winning here in any other circumstances than a landslide, but it would be unthinkable what we would even be debating it two months ago

  9. Agree with Tim. They won’t win here, but it could be tight.

  10. I disagree – if an election were called tomorrow this is the sort of seat that would be very vulnerable indeed.

    It’s the sort of seat where Labour wouldn’t have bothered campaigning that much in June, it was just your average safe seat – and lest we forget, the Labour ground campaign was largely a defensive one, though Momentum organised separately and were rather more optimistic. Now, however, seats like this might see a bit more of a concerted effort.

  11. I actually agree with PT on this. I think this seat is vulnerable even if Lab were to win with a majority of 50-60.

  12. Brady comes across like the love child of Prince Andrew and Tim Nice But Dim. Though the leading lights of the 1922 have often had that profile in the past. His young fogeyish approach and hard Brexit stance perhaps isn’t the best fit for this seat.

  13. Harsh words – and I wouldn’t describe him as that.
    particularly when Labour have got away with putting in politically correct left wing London councillors etc into Northern seats, including an hilarious incident where one canvassed in the wrong seat next door.

    However, Brexit clearly cost the Tories some votes in Guildford, St Albans, parts of Surrey and maybe further into the churn of votes elsewhere. Perhaps it did here too.
    Not saying whether it should have done or not – the facts suggest so though.

  14. “Brexit clearly cost the Tories some votes in Guildford, St Albans, parts of Surrey…”

    I’ve been harping on about this for a while – Brexit is not the cause of the realignment of British politics, it is largely a symptom of the realignment, which was caused by deeper issues for which Brexit served as a convenient proxy.

    And apparently, the evidence backs it up. Someone looked at the figures and found that, while Brexit-voting areas moved more towards the Tories, and remain-voting ones moved towards Labour, that these trends had already been there long before 2016, they were significant at least as early as 2005*. We just hadn’t noticed them before because until the referendum came along there was nothing obvious which these seats had in common.

    *So I guess those who are inclined to do so can indeed blame Tony Blair on this occasion.

  15. I don’t necessarily buy the idea that that trend goes back to 2005. Look at the seats the Tories gained in the 2005 election and see how many were Remain seats. Just off the top of my head – Wimbledon, Ilford North, Enfield Southgate, Putney, Croydon Central (just), Guildford, St Albans, Reading East.

  16. The seats the Tories won in 2005 were very different demographically from those seats they won in the elections after that

  17. Hemmy: on the other hand there’s Clacton, Kettering, Hornchurch, Peterborough…

    The 2005 date is taken from that article I linked.

  18. All those seats Hemmelig mentions had some of biggest anti-Tory swings in the election and for all the praise that Jeremy Corbyn is rightfully getting for performing so well, one wonders how a more centrist, unifying Labour leader might have performed in such seats

    I do think the Tory Party will rue losing such a large chunk of the professional vote which has been deserting them in droves since the Brexit vote – and beforehand given that Brexit almost certainly is a symptom and opposed to the cause of the realignment of British politics.

    They only have to look to the other side of the Atlantic to see the damage that can do

  19. The tory party got its highest vote share since 1992, by quite some margin. The left was more united than ever before.

  20. “…one wonders how a more centrist, unifying Labour leader might have performed in such seats…”

    Probably about the same, maybe not quite as well. But had there been such a leader, the polls certainly wouldn’t have gotten so bad as to goad Theresa May into the gamble she took, and it’s plausible that the referendum would have gone the other way too, so it’s all a bit of a moot point.

  21. There does seem to be some evidence to support that article. Not 2005 because the one area where the Tories did better was London and the South East but 2010 showed them gaining a lot of working class seats on big swings while failing in more middle class targets and doing badly in London. 2015 is a bit more difficult to disentangle because many results were affected by the collapse of the Libdem vote but the Tories did badly in London again, did OK in the Remain areas in England outside London (not many of them) and did best in the seats they’d won very narrowly in 2010, also winning eight seats from Labour. All these latter were fairly working class Leave areas.

  22. ‘The left was more united than ever before’

    Despite being completely disunited, Labour still outperformed all expectations, which disproves the saying that people don’t vote for divided parties

    Corbyn’s not a unifier but a divider – like Thatcher and Farage – in that you either loathe him or love him and for that reason I think that 2017 might be as good as it gets for him although with this current administration he’s at least given himself a chance

  23. “…you either loathe [Corbyn] or love him…”

    Not really. What about the 15% of the country that switched from supporting other parties to Labour over the course of the election campaign? Presumably those people thought, and still think, that he is a decent guy, not an ideal Prime Ministerial candidate, but on balance preferable to an unfettered Conservative Party indulging its worst excesses. That’s about 5 million people who neither love nor hate him, right off the bat.

  24. The ‘love them or loathe them’ quote is most often attributed to Thatcher. I’ve never agreed with at all. I think there were many people who voted Tory in the 1980’s who were by no means in love with Blessed Margaret, but just thought the Tories were the most competent option available. You didn’t need to be hard left to find her personal style abrasive, dogmatic and rather odd at times (particularly towards the end).

  25. But he’s not a unifier. He enthuses his own base whilst turning off most of the rest

    the reason the election went the way had far more to do with the great many things May did wrong, as opposed to much that Corbyn did right – although he had good campaign

    As somebody closer politically (albeit marginally) to May than Corbyn, I was happy that Labour were making gains and that had everything to with the charmless May, as I’ve said before it’s miraculous that she hasn’t been shown the door yet – the real irony being that it’s the “nasty” elements of the Tory Party that are keeping her in her job

  26. I wonder if she can survive the conference. There’s bound to be a degree of anger there.

  27. Used to live in this seat, know it well and know a lot of people living there.

    Anyone thinking this is still a safe Tory seat needs to give their head a wobble.

    This is the archetype of a kind of seat that the Tories could lose because of Brexit. Suburban, high education. commuter belt. They’re all in peril. ALL of them.

  28. I at conference Theresa May will announce when she will step aside. Likely to be shortly after March 2019.

    If the have any sense, the members will pick someone untainted by the preceding fiasco, probably someone who was on the remain side of the referendum. Tory members generally love winning more than they love any of their own principles (witness how Ruth Davidson has by far the highest approval ratings among members, despite not being a particularly traditional Tory), so it’s not impossible. But bear in mind these are the people who thought Ian Duncan Smith would be a suitable leader.

  29. “…one wonders how a more centrist, unifying Labour leader might have performed in such seats…”

    Define centrist! Wish I had a pound for every time I have read ill thought out calls for a more ‘centrist’ Labour Party (or even for a new ‘centrist’ party), without anybody elaborating exactly what they mean by the term centrist.

    If by centrist they mean a move back in the direction of New Labour, or to be ‘Macronesque’, that would mean returning to the extreme ‘centre’ of the ‘mainstream’ economic consensus, neoliberalism (No leader or party agenda can be BOTH social democrat AND neoliberal, that was the Third Way delusion/lie, they are oil and water), a political doctrine based on neo(anti)classical economics, a way of modelling the economy that leaves out banks, debt, money and land, in short a normative theory for an idealised economy which does not exist anywhere. Worse, a theory that inverted the classical economists definition of free markets with predicably disastrous results.

    Whch explains why it failed the only previous time it was hegemonic pre 1929, and was then adhered to by a political class in denial causing an extended depression until replaced by Keynesianism following WW2, and now it’s 1970s update and revival has again irreparably broken down since 2007-8.

    Little has been learnt from history. Mainstream extend and pretend, ‘the crash was a blip’ mentality, with a resulting economic malaise that has been responsible for growing levels of disillusionment and an anti globalisation reaction, a symptom of which was the Brexit anti establishment revolt.

    If anybody is interested/bored enough, I can post the rest of this 950 word definition/disscusion on what constitutes the economic/political centre….

  30. “Wish I had a pound for every time I have read ill thought out calls for a more ‘centrist’ Labour Party…”

    If you want more money, I hear it grows on trees 😉

  31. Well, shock horror, it sort of does!

  32. Makes a fair point though about what is meant by centrist. Clearly not everyone will agree on what that means.

  33. “A society’s analytic concepts determine the kind of reality it creates.” Michael Hudson

    Centrist is an over used and under defined term. So what in reality would, broadly, constitute the political/economic ‘centre’? In order to find the ‘centre’ we must first identify two polar economic extremes. These I would define as: 1. A minimalist state, with a very light touch economic regulatory regime, as much of the economy in private ownership as is practically possible, in short, an idealised and perfected Hayekian neo classical catallaxy. This would represent, economically, the far right. 2. A tightly regulated command economy with the as much as is possible of the economy being both owned and managed by the state. This idealised socialist position represents the opposite pole, the far left

    Taking the above as the polar extremes of both sides, we can then sketch what a half way point between these two extremes, the economic and political centre, could look like. It would have to be a broadly capitalist economy, but one in which ‘markets’ are to large extent managed. It would be a mixed economy, but one in which public ownership was limited to public utilities and major public services, health, education, gas, electricity, water, post, railways etc. Education and health would be classed as social goods, not as commodities to be bought and sold in the market place, a progressive tax system, and a broad balance between for forces of capital and labour, and more wildly between the financial power of corporations and the forces of nation state democracy. Sound familiar? It should, as is the standard definition of social democracy, the dominant political ideology of the post war consensus, probably the only time in the history of industrial capitalism when ‘the masters of the universe’ did not have it all their own way.

    To take public ownership beyond this, for example, public ownership of the ship building or car manufacturing would be to shift away from the centre to the left, towards socialism. To have the balance of power shifted dramatically in favour of capital by a legislative emasculation of trade union rights, or having all public utilities in private ownership would represent moves to the right, in a Hayekian, or neoliberal direction. From the above we can deduce that the economy as it exists today in the UK while it is certainly not a perfected Hayekian catallaxy, it is a long way to the right of the ‘centre’.

    The Labour manifesto for the 2017 General Election advocated the implementation of the first tentative steps on the road back to the social democratic ‘centre’ ground, (though it is still to the right of Harold Wilson’s manifesto’s 1964-1974); a more progressive tax regime, a minimal programme of nationalisation, the reintroduction of free higher education, a large scale social house building programme etc. Public perceptions of the ‘centre’ ground are so distorted by 40 years of neoliberal hegemony that the right wing MSM can still fool some people into believing that even a moderate shift in the direction of social democracy represents a move to the far left, it is the shrill sound of the beneficiaries of a failed experiment desperately trying to close down boundaries of public debate. The smokescreen is clearing.

    That said, I think we need more than just a simple reversal of economic models. It is to be hoped that any economic ‘choice’ does not have to be simple either/or between neoclassicism and pure Keynes (not Hicks bastardised version portrayed as Keynesian for much of the post war era), as a re-reading of the classical political economists would benefit people of both left and right, particularly on what constitutes a free market, For Adam Smith, JS Mill etc, this was to tax away the vested interests, the unearned increment or rentier overheads that prevent an efficient free market. Their target was feudalism. Today’s financialised rentier, ‘neo-feudal’ economic system is as parasitic on the economy as was the pre industrial feudal system, and just as damaging for any notion of free markets. It was the foolish acceptance of the neo classicists declaration that there is no meaningful difference between earned and unearned income that has lead us, yet again, down the road on which we are now heading, towards a slow motion economic crash that manifests itself as debt deflation. If this raises your curiosity on the issue, Dr Michael Hudson writes brilliantly on financial parasites, rent extraction, debt and the current economic malaise in his compelling ‘Killing the Host’.

    Change is not a choice, it’s a necessity.

  34. In the specific case of Corbyn, I meant centrist in the sense of somebody without his baggage of past links to the IRA, support for Hamas etc and other such things that many moderate voters – rightly of wrongly – find a turn off

    Corbyn is as unreconstructed 1970s socialist who managed to achieve 40% of the popular vote in the most conservative country in Western Europe

    Of course part of the reason is that he inspired the youth not only to get out and vote but get out and vote for him, but I don’t believe that achievement would be beyond the capabilities of any moderately charismatic and intelligent alternative leader

    But again I come back to the point Theresa May is the reason things went the way they did, not Jeremy Corbyn

  35. Having baggage doesnt determine whether you are a centrist.

    Are we the most conservative country in western Europe? Didnt we achieve many LGBT rights before countries like Ireland and Germany? or do you mean something else by conservative.

    We’ve probably been over this before but its not as simple as yooung people came out and voted for him. It is true that turnout amongst young people went up by 10% up from 44% in 2015 and i think over 2/3 voted labour up from half in 2015. However, there was a 10% swing amongst ABC1 to Labour and 70% of ABC1 voters voted in 2017.

    Yes TM had a poor campaign her favourability fell considerably leading Corbyn by 55+ to falling behind. However, part of that was Corbyns ratings improving from -42 to breaking even.

  36. Throwback to the 70s? A bit random. Why not make it the 30s or 40s the decades that saw the two publications that most influenced post war UK politics, Keynes General Theory 1936, and the Beveridge Report 1942….

    But Corbyn IS an old fashioned politician in one respect, and that is that in many ways he harks back to the pre television age, he is at his best on the hustings, in getting out and mixing with people of all types, that he has a winning personality is undoubtable, he is able to show people he meets that his media image is a poorly drawn straw man and with consummate ease, and I don’t believe any other member of the PLP could have got anywhere near replicating let alone bettering his GE vote. In fact had the pessimistic nay sayers and the small band of doctrinal neolibs in the PLP not spent the previous 18 months trying to undermine him, he would have begun the campaign far closer in the polls to the Tories, and would have won a majority.

    I get your point about baggage but can’t agree. Publically talking to Gerry Adams and senior officials of Sinn Fein back in the mid 1980s was a politically risky thing to do, even though Adams was a member of parliament by that time. However, talking too is NOT supporting.

    But the Hamas thing is not only BS, it annoys many more moderates who see succesive UK governments, of both parties, support for Israel as a moral outrage. Corbyn shared a platform with a representative of the victors in the only free and fair (UN monitored) elections in the occupied territories, condemned ONLY because Israel/USA did not get the result they wanted-another election has never be allowed by Israel. In terms of human rights abuse, killing of innocents, ignoring UN directives and more, Israel ranks amongst the worst states on the planet.
    NB: I have no idea of Corbyn’s personal stance on israel.

  37. TL;DR

    Seriously, you write very well, but UKPR threads are not the right place for it. Start a blog or something.

  38. Yeah sadly I dont read long comments either

  39. I have always been of the view that you win elections by offering something to voters. If centrist means that you don’t offer improved living standards, services or some other financial incentive, unless the other lot are even worse you aren’t going to motivate people to come out to vote for you. If you are going to analyse the results of the general election of 2 months ago you are going to see that a large number of the seats that Labour gained were gained on the back of a greatly increased turnout of the young and other people who have not in the past been motivated to turn out and vote, even Lincoln which is far from multiethnic but actually has more students than many people realise. A Blairite platform will turn these voters right off again and while it may win back some (perhaps temporary) lost voters in certain constituencies it will result in the likely loss of considerably more. I don’t think that many of the people who are calling for a return to more “moderate” politics are likely Labour voters, for the most part. Certainly not on this site.

  40. Centrist =/= keeping everything the same as it is now, and in general nobody goes into politics because of a burning desire to maintain the status quo (though many end up doing just that). But I agree broadly with your point, if you don’t have a message then no amount of window dressing is going to change that.

    You are right that the Blairites have comprehensively lost the “electability” argument. It will be decades before they are relevant again. It will only happen if some kind of economic meltdown happens on the left’s watch, or if the Conservatives win at least two consecutive majorities.

  41. Burning desire to keep the status quo, radical centrists? 😉

  42. ‘in general nobody goes into politics because of a burning desire to maintain the status quo’

    That’s fundamentally untrue, Whilst all politicians are idealists to an extent there’s plenty who go into politics to keep things exactly as they are

    Britain’s lost successful political party is based around that very principle

    That’s what Conservative means

  43. The conservative party arent conservative though

  44. The Conservatives are doing a shocking job of conserving things, Labour long ago stopped being a party for labourers, and the Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor fond of democracy.

  45. “The Conservatives are doing a shocking job of conserving things, Labour long ago stopped being a party for labourers, and the Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor fond of democracy.”

    That’s a line Al Murray, aka pub landlord, used some years ago…not original, or that funny any more.

  46. It is a truism though.

    Indeed the thing Party members had in common under DC, Blair/Brown/Corbyn and any LD Leader is that the members and MPs just didn’t rate their own leaders.

  47. I think we are heading into partisan territory but that is my own fault for lighting that match

  48. There is room for a party of the centre that essentially says

    ‘let’s stop reducing every idea in politics to a binary divide of ‘left wing’ and ‘right wing’, choosing one set of policies – regardless of whether they work or not – because they’re from the wing they’re ‘supposed’ to be from, and instead try doing things in an evidenced way according to what works and what might be best for the country’

    So, for example, Rob Halfon embracing free markets but also wanting unions and strong worker protection to ensure working folk do not get exploited would be ‘centrist’. Or the Blair Government saying that actually the market might not be anathema to provision and funding of public services would also be centrist.

    In essence, what it means is not shouting ‘no’ at policies because the other team thought of them first.

    Far from being ‘the status quo’ it would be the biggest break from it in generations. I guess that’s why partisans are so scared of the idea.

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