2015 Result:
Conservative: 15122 (30.7%)
Labour: 23965 (48.6%)
Lib Dem: 1331 (2.7%)
Green: 1006 (2%)
UKIP: 7865 (16%)
MAJORITY: 8843 (17.9%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire. Part of the Bassetlaw council area.

Main population centres: Retford, Worksop, Harworth, Misterton, Carlton in Lindrick, Langold, Beckingham, Walkeringham.

Profile: The northern part of Nottinghamshire, the seat consists of the towns of Worksop and Retford and several small villages. Retford is a traditional market town, Worksop and the surrounding villages a former coal mining area that has suffered economic difficulties since the decline of the industry, including problems with heroin addiction. Major employers include Wilkinsons and Premier Foods, which produce Oxo in Worksop..

Politics: There is significant Conservative strength on Bassetlaw council (they had overall control of the council until 2011), but the Bassetlaw constituency is safely Labour, held by the party since before the Second World War.

Current MP
JOHN MANN (Labour) Born 1960, Leeds. Educated at Bradford Grammar School and Manchester University. Former trade union officer. Lambeth councillor 1986-1990. First elected as MP for Bassetlaw in 2001. PPS to Richard Caborn 2005-2007, PPS to Tessa Jowell 2007-2010.
Past Results
Con: 16803 (34%)
Lab: 25018 (50%)
LDem: 5570 (11%)
UKIP: 1779 (4%)
Oth: 407 (1%)
MAJ: 8215 (17%)
Con: 12010 (30%)
Lab: 22847 (57%)
LDem: 5485 (14%)
MAJ: 10837 (27%)
Con: 11758 (30%)
Lab: 21506 (55%)
LDem: 4942 (13%)
Oth: 689 (2%)
MAJ: 9748 (25%)
Con: 11838 (25%)
Lab: 29298 (61%)
LDem: 4950 (10%)
MAJ: 17460 (36%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SARAH DOWNES (Conservative)
JOHN MANN (Labour) See above.
LEON DUVEEN (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 223 Responses on “Bassetlaw”
  1. Relatedly, back in December, when many commentators were observing how much more working-class the new cohort of Conservative MPs was, I made the point that that didn’t necessarily mean they would be any less right-wing. (Which for me was a strange oversight from much of the commentators considering how the breakdown of the connection between class and left-right politics had also been a recurring them of theirs for the past several years.)

  2. You did Poll. I naively assumed that as so many of them were gay, they would necessarily be more socially liberal than many of their counterparts. That was a lazy assumption as most of them are waaay to the Right of their better educated colleagues.

    Working class Conservatism does by its very nature have a nasty edge to it – and I wonder how many more of the middle class will dessert the party in fright

    Actually to be fair this is perhaps the only occasion where the Tory Party’s innate snobbery does its country a service

  3. I mean, the 2019ers are more socially liberal than the likes of Christopher Chope, for sure. If I had to place them, they are Whigs with a penchant for culture warring, but more than any particular ideology what unites them is their ambition, their desire to climb the greasy pole. This explains why they have been so reluctant to step out of line.

  4. I think you could make a case for saying every Tory MP is more socially liberal that Chope – except for the real headbangers like Baker, Bridgen and Davies – but that’s a inapt measure

    They strike me as passionate Brexiteer English nationalists who are quite significantly to the Left of their colleagues economically as a rule, although it doesn’t apply to all of the – like this MP whose making a pitch for the lunatic racist Right

  5. “These comprehensively educated Tory MPs do seem to have a much ‘nastier’ edge to them compared to their privately educated counterparts – a point that shouldn’t be lost on all those lefties who complain about a ruling class” (Tim Jones)

    It may be that those Tories from an ‘unusual’ background have something like the zeal of a convert, and feel an extra need to prove themselves. A number of the BAME Tories are especially right-wing – a point that shouldn’t be lost on lefties complaining about white privilege. Perhaps Tories from untypical backgrounds also like to rub the left’s nose in it.

  6. Tories from those humble backgrounds do seem particularly keen to extol their right wing leanings – hence Clarke-Smith’s double edged attack

    For a party whose members mostly earn six figures salaries those from council estates like Clarke Smith are viewed with extreme suspicion. Attacking out of work single parents and black footballer Marcus Rashford seems a good way of getting them onside

    That’s how I imagine Clarke Smith saw it at least

  7. I can’t remember the name for this statistical phenomenon, but this sounds like a variation on the “ugly girls have nicer personalities” bias, which comes from sampling (if the woman you are dating is physically attractive, you’re more likely to tolerate her being personally unpleasant in a way you otherwise wouldn’t, so the plainer women in your sample are on balance nicer because you don’t accept ugly and obnoxious women).

    Similarly, if you’re working-class, you otherwise have to be *really* right-wing to still join the Tories.

  8. Largest falls in the Labour vote at the 2019 election – this seat is top.

    1 Bassetlaw -24.9%
    2 Wentworth and Dearne -24.7%
    3 Barnsley Central -23.8%
    4 Doncaster North -22.1%
    5 Barnsley East -21.9%
    6 Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford -21.6%
    7 Jarrow -20.0%
    8 Finchley and Golders Green -19.6%
    9 Kingston upon Hull East -19.1%
    10 Houghton and Sunderland South -18.7%
    11 Falkirk -18.6%
    12 Hemsworth -18.5%
    13 Washington and Sunderland West -18.2%
    14 Easington -18.2%
    15 Ashfield -18.1%
    16 Redcar -18.1%
    17 Doncaster Central -17.9%
    18 Birkenhead -17.8%
    19 Don Valley -17.8%
    20 Sedgefield -17.1%
    21 Aberdeen North -16.8%
    22 Great Grimsby -16.7%
    23 Leicester East -16.2%
    24 Bolsover -16.0%
    25 Rother Valley -16.0%
    26 South Shields -15.9%
    27 Torfaen -15.8%
    28 North Durham -15.7%
    29 West Bromwich East -15.7%
    30 Hitchin and Harpenden -15.7%

    Something of a similar profile to the seats with the largest Tory increases, from what I can see. Quite a few in seats Labour still held, but which have traditionally been “safe” for them. Only two Tory holds on the list: Finchley and Golders Green, and Hitchin and Harpenden (Lib Dem vote increase, relatively high Jewish population). Two SNP holds: Falkirk and Aberdeen North. The Labour candidate was suspended in the former. In both, Labour fell from second to third, and the candidate names suggest they were from a Muslim background.

  9. I am surprised given the swing only 6 changed hands

  10. I think because a lot of them were fairly safe to begin with, Labour were somewhat cushioned from further losses. The seats Labour lost were generally quite marginal already. Redcar might have been the biggest majority the Tories overcame – it was 22% in 2017. Leigh had a majority of about 20%, and Blyth Valley 18%. Whereas Wentworth and Dearne and Doncaster North had a majority of about 33%. The Tories did make those seats marginal in 2019 though. And in some of those places, Labour lost a lot of votes, but they were split between more than one party (Tories and Brexit Party, for example).

    There were some pretty close shaves in places that haven’t been marginal for a long time – Labour’s seats in Coventry, or Erith and Thamesmead come to mind.

  11. Yes but what I mean is that those that were more marginal didn’t have such swings

  12. Bassetlaw was fairly marginal going into the election, although not wafer-thin (9%). It looks like only Ashfield from that list was in the Top 20 Tory targets for 2019. See

    Maybe most of the movement in the more marginal seats had already happened before 2019, and there wasn’t much further for them to swing.

  13. There is that ofc which probably put pay to the claim that 2019 was a Brexit election where people lent their votes to the tories. While you can’t rule that out for everyone while it looked like the red wall suddenly collapsed it clearly was as sudden as it looked on the outside and was masked by a winner takes all voting system

  14. wasn’t as sudden


  15. It’s quite clear that in many of those “Red wall” seats, there had been movement away from Labour over several elections, so you’re right – it certainly didn’t happen overnight. The big question is why many of those seats didn’t fall in 2017 – I suspect the answer is that Brexit being delayed by another two years helped the Tories in 2019. It was less than a year since the vote in 2017. And May not being as appealing as Johnson was in those seats, the dementia tax, Corbyn being less known to the electorate etc.

    A big mistake people make is describing those “Red wall” gains as being in Labour’s “safe seats”. By 2019, most of them weren’t safe. Redcar had a substantial majority, but had been taken by another party (the Lib Dems) not that long ago. I think FPTP probably did mask the extent of Labour’s popularity in some of those seats. It’s quite common to win on less than 50% in the UK.

  16. Of that top 30 list it’s interesting that there’s only one north west seat listed, though I imagine the swing from Labour in Birkenhead was very largely towards Frank Field due to a personal vote. Of course NW ‘red wall’ seats fell in 2019 but makes me wonder if the swings away were a bit less dramatic than those listed.

  17. Trade Mark is absolutely right – most of the so-called Red Wall seats have been on a rightward drift since the mid naughties when Labour’s majorities fell to four figures and diminished thereafter. Brexit undoubtedly sped up the process but I’m of the belief that it was Jeremy Corbyn that was the final nail in the coffin for Labour in these seats.

  18. Most of the country has been on a rightward drift since the turn of the millennium, though. Nuneaton’s 13,000 Labour majority from 1997 has become an equally large Tory majority today. I’m not sure that it’s unique to the red wall, this shift has largely happened everywhere that isn’t part of a big city or a university town.

  19. And excluding Scotland. It is little commented on that the Tory vote has risen at every general election since 1997. It’ll be interesting to see if they can continue that trend next time.

  20. The Conservative vote cannot keep going up forever. What goes up must eventually come down. That doesn’t mean it will happen in 2024 but since (a) reversion to the mean is a thing and (b) politics is countercyclical, every election that the Tories increase their vote share makes it harder for them to repeat the trick at the next one.

    I would give 80% odds to the Tories taking fewer votes, and fewer seats, at the next GE.

  21. It certainly is little commented on that the Tory vote has gone up in the six successive elections since 1997. I had never heard it before certainly

    Today’s electorates seem more likely to give the governing party the benefit of the doubt.

    Interesting that in the traditionally politically volatile the Netherlands, the centre right VVD came top for a fourth successive election in a row. The Uk could do with such a party – economically competent, socially inclusive and staunchly internationalist. I’d vote for such a party certainly

  22. There is a case to be made that the Labour Party fulfils all those criteria…

  23. Which country Polltroll?

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)