Blyth Valley

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8346 (21.7%)
Labour: 17813 (46.3%)
Lib Dem: 2265 (5.9%)
Green: 1453 (3.8%)
UKIP: 8584 (22.3%)
MAJORITY: 9229 (24%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North East, Northumberland. Part of the Northumberland council area.

Main population centres: Blyth, Cramlington, Seaton Delaval.

Profile: Consists of the whole of the former borough of Blyth, now subsumed into the Northumberland unitary authority. Blyth is an industrial town, the largest town in Northumberland. It was formerly dominated by the mining and shipbuilding industries, both now gone, and remains a working port. The other major population centre is Cramlington, a post-war newtown that acts as a dormitory town for Newcastle, though it also has significant pharmaceutical industry of its own.

Politics: A safe Labour seat. Blyth has been held by the Labour party since its creation in 1950, with the brief exception of the period between the two 1974 elections when it was won by its deselected Labour MP, Eddie Milne, standing as an Independent. Milne was defeated at the October 74 election by John Ryman, who would in turn also resign the Labour whip and sit as an independent from 1986-1987. His sucessor, Ronnie Campbell, has so far managed to remain within the Labour party.

Current MP
RONNIE CAMPBELL (Labour) Born 1943, Tynemouth. Educated at Blyth Ridley County High School. Former miner. Blyth Valley councillor from 1969. First elected as MP for Blyth Valley in 1987.
Past Results
Con: 6412 (17%)
Lab: 17156 (44%)
LDem: 10488 (27%)
BNP: 1699 (4%)
Oth: 2811 (7%)
MAJ: 6668 (17%)
Con: 4982 (14%)
Lab: 19659 (55%)
LDem: 11132 (31%)
MAJ: 8527 (24%)
Con: 5484 (16%)
Lab: 20627 (60%)
LDem: 8439 (24%)
MAJ: 12188 (35%)
Con: 5666 (13%)
Lab: 27276 (64%)
LDem: 9540 (22%)
MAJ: 17736 (42%)

2015 Candidates
GREG MUNRO (Conservative)
RONNIE CAMPBELL (Labour) See above.
PHILIP LATHAM (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 45 Responses on “Blyth Valley”
  1. This constituency contains the local authority ward with the highest proportion of owner-occupiers in England Wales: Cramlington North with 96.25%. It is the only part of Bylth Valley that the Conservative party carried in 2010 (and by a very large margin over Labour).

  2. *England and Wales

  3. The SDP came close to winning this in the 80s. I wonder if that had anything to do with the after effects of Milne and his Independent Labour candidacy and the Labour vote was still split?

  4. Yes it was. Milne gave his support to the SDP at the time. The SDP was probably strongest in Cramlington while Labour’s strong vote in the mining areas was just enough to keep the wolf from the door.

  5. Interesting. Thanks, Barnaby. The Lib Dems did well to stay second here in 1992 when in several seats where they challenged in 1983 and 1987 they either fell back or collapsed into third- Seats like Stevenage, City of Durham, and Islington South and Finsbury etc.

  6. A closer look at the result here in February 1974-
    Milne (Independent Labour)- 22, 918 (38.9%, N/A)
    Richard (Labour)- 16, 778 (28.5%, -45.7%)
    Shipley (Liberal)- 10, 214 (17.4%, N/A)
    Griffiths (Conservative)- 8, 888 (15.1%, -10.7%)

    Majority- 6, 140 (10.4%)
    Swing- +42.3% From Lab to Ind Lab.

  7. The Lib Dems held up stunningly well in parts of Blyth this year to deny Labour overall control of Northumberland Council.

    Forecast for 2015

    Lab 52
    LD 20
    Con 16
    UKIP 8
    Others 4

  8. The Lib Dem hold in Plessey ward was pretty miraculous but their performance in other parts of the constituency was diabolical especially losing all their seats in Cramlington which ought to be more promising for them than Blyth.

    The denying of Labour majority control of Northumberland is clearly down to both the improbable Lib Dem hold in Plessey as well as the spectacular gain for the Tories from Labour in Cramlington West.

  9. Cramlington West was bizarrely impressive.

    For those who haven’t already read about the result, the 2005 result was:

    Con 13.5
    Lab 58.8
    LD 27.7

    In 2013, the tories took the seat with:

    Con 54.9
    Lab 40.5
    LD 4.6

    Is there a bigger swing anywhere in the country lab->con?

  10. I highly doubt it.

  11. I believe if you look at the 2009 Town Council result in the Cramlington West seat it is there where a lot of the ground work was done. Slashing the Labour majority to 19 votes.

  12. The Lib Dem candidate here is Philip Latham.

  13. Labour hold. 11,000 majority.

  14. Ronnie Campbell told the local paper at the count that this will be his last term.

  15. First retirement to be announced. I think he’s said enough for it to be regarded in that way.

  16. Lib Dems did atrociously here in a seat they were once semi-competitive in for many years, and the SDP came very close to winning in 1987.

  17. The might be historically the worst seat in England for the Tories. They last came 2nd here in 1970, when they were only 2 candidates. Their vote of 21.8% last May was historically very good. Ukip also did very well here.
    Labours 46% not so good, another example of how labour’s core support is shifting away.

  18. Maxim. No longer monolithic though, just lacking an opposition. This seat more in common with the Durham coalfields and Blaydon than the Newcastle seats. Since labours vote nationally was almost identical in 1987 and 2015 comparison across the coalfield is possible.

    Constituency 2010 1987 change

    Northumberland coalfield
    Blyth Valley 46.2 42.5 +3.7
    Wansbeck 50.0 57.5 -7.5

    Berwick 14.9 17.5 -2.6
    Hexham. 24.9 18.0 +6.9

    Durham coalfield
    Bishop A. 41.4 48.0 -6.1
    Blaydon 49.2 50.3 -1.1
    City Durham 47.3 44.9 +2.4
    Easington 61.0 68.1 -7.1
    North Durham 54.9 56.2 -1.3
    North W Durham 46.9 50.9 -4.0
    Sedgefield 47.2 56.0 -8.8


    Darlington 42.9 41.6 +1.3
    Hartlepool 35.6 48.5 -12.9
    Middlesbrough 56.8 59.7 -2.9
    Middlesbrough EC 42.0 38.4 +3.6
    Redcar. 43.9 47.3 -3.4
    Stockton N 49.1 49.2 -0.1
    Stockton S 37.0 31.3 +5.8

    Urban Tyne + Wear
    Jarrow 55.7 63.4 -7.7
    South Shields 51.3 57.9 -6.6
    Tynemouth 48.2 38.8 +9.4

    Sadly major boundary changes prevent comparison with rest of Urban Tyne and Wear.

    Obviously local factors may squew some trends not least here! However the trend to labour in middle class areas is obvious. This shouldn’t be a suprise to anyone on here.

  19. The trend you describe is particularly the case in university seats and probably relates to the expansion of higher education which has resulted in students and others associated with the unis (academics, researchers, people who stay in their university cities after their courses) forming a larger portion of the electorate. In some cases (e.g. Brighton and Hove) these seats have also experienced a large amount of inward migration from overseas (mainly Europe) which probably contributes to the changing voting patterns.

  20. “E.g. Bristol West is more Labour leaning than Bristol North West now. Southampton, Test is more reliable for Labour than Southampton, Itchen. Hove is a better seat for Labour than previously Labour-leaning Brighton, Kemptown.”

    Your Bristol and Brighton examples are almost entirely explained by boundary changes. Bristol West gained a lot of Labour territory in central Bristol in 2010 and lost more Tory areas to Bristol NW. Brighton Kemptown gained a big chunk of the Lewes seat in 1997. It is also some of the explanation in Southampton, I believe Test lost some Tory-leaning areas to Romsey in 2010 hence the name change in that seat to include Southampton North.

  21. “In some cases (e.g. Brighton and Hove) these seats have also experienced a large amount of inward migration from overseas (mainly Europe) which probably contributes to the changing voting patterns”.

    As these migrant voters don’t vote in Westminster elections their only effect is in displacing citizen voters who may have moved to other seats..

  22. @HH

    Whilst boundary changes are clearly a factor it is clear that something significant has happened in Brighton and Hove which has led Green strength to develop and swings to LAB against the swing to happen in 2015. I would suggest similar things are happening in Bristol West, though again I accept the importance of boundary changes too.

  23. “Whilst boundary changes are clearly a factor it is clear that something significant has happened in Brighton and Hove which has led Green strength to develop and swings to LAB against the swing to happen in 2015.”

    Well, I don’t think anyone’s going to disagree with that. B&H has had a major influx of inner London trendy types, a combination of unaffordable house prices in Islington and (despite all the bad publicity) a far better and faster train service from Brighton to London since the Electrostar was introduced a decade or so ago (now the Gatwick Express goes to Brighton too).

    Mirroring trends in Inner London, the sun dried tomato eaters have annoyed a lot of the old fashioned lower middle class family types in Brighton with their indifference to totally crap state schools, their insistence on some of the highest parking charges in the country, council meat bans on Monday etc etc etc – many have cashed in the rising value of their house and moved out.

    I hardly know Bristol at all so won’t comment (not that that usually stops people on here)

  24. Bristol West – the results tell you pretty much what you would expect to find there.
    I did have some hope that Tory support was ticking up a bit (a very bad Lib Dem result in 2013 gave the Tories their first victory in Clifton since May 1992). However, this has proved to be quite an isolated case against a fragmented opposition.
    Although the area is expensive, quite a lot of it is multi occupied/students.

    Redland, to the NE of Clifton is also attractive, but has more of the latter traits, and this seat covers the City Centre.

    Bristol South, Labour’s stronghold, is the kind of territory which may be slipping a bit away from them long term, but it is a safe seat.

    Bristol E isn’t what it was in the 1980s. Brislington is traditionally a C2 area and I think the Tories hold one of the two wards. It is larger terraced housing on the SE side of the city. The Tories picked up slightly in 2015 as the LDs collapsed but this is a Labour seat except in a very bad year.

  25. * I think the Greens won Clifton in 2015. (May locals).

    I’m afraid I don’t know much about Blyth Valley except I knew the Tory candidate who stood here once as he was a councillor in Hounslow, and of course in 1979 there was this large vote for the Independent Labour man.
    Been through it on the way to Berwick/Holy Island/Edinburgh.

  26. Apparently the MPs for both Blyth Valley and Berwick-upon-Tweed have joined forces to call for the UK to leave the EU.

  27. “Your Bristol and Brighton examples are almost entirely explained by boundary changes. Bristol West gained a lot of Labour territory in central Bristol in 2010 and lost more Tory areas to Bristol NW.”

    I think that if one looked at the actual residential areas covered, the 2010 Bristol West probably consists of more of the pre 1974 Bristol Central constituency than either the pre or post 1974 Bristol West constituencies. It has also lost the Avonmouth (previously Shirehampton) ward, which was a working class ward where the Tories improved significantly due to RTB, to Bristol NW, plus other more upmarket housing area wards, whilst the Filton and Patchway wards which were traditional council estate and unionised Bitish Aerospace worker wards that Labour held relatively easily, moved from Bristol NW to Filton & Bradley Stoke in 2010.

    In Bristol East two heavily Labour wards moved from Kingswood to Bristol East in 2010, improving Labour’s position in the latter, and virtually gifting the former to the Tories in 2010.

    From what I can see all the wards in Bristol are now in Bristol constituencies, which also no longer have any South Gloucestershire wards within them, for the first time since 1974.

    Thus the Tories best prospect in Bristol has significantly changed due to boundary changes over a prolonged period, from Bristol West to Bristol NW, as well as changing demographics

  28. I am virtually certain all of Bristol is now in the 4 City seats yes.
    Bristol NW, being one of the few city seats for the Tories outside London is quite a large area.
    (although it used to go out to Patchway etc)

  29. Ronnie Campbell has apparently announced he will stand again on June the 8th through he did vote against the election happening.

  30. Labour share is alraedy pretty low here so can’t see it falling much.

    Lab 43
    Con 27
    Ukip 21
    LD 6
    Grn 3

  31. Will be a close one here. Cant rule out a shock tory gain.

  32. Shockingly the Tories actually narrowed carried this constituency in Thursdays local elections (assuming my maths is correct):

    Tory: 8,726
    Labour: 8,601
    UKIP: 2,116
    Lib Dem: 2,034
    Independent: 393

    This is because the Tories gained over 60% of the vote in Cramlington and polled closely to Labour around Seaton Delaval and the more rural wards which was just enough to offset their very bad wards in inner Blyth.

  33. The Tories would have won overall control of the council had they drawn the correct straw in the tied seat. Such a British way to decide things…

  34. As he was one of only a dozen Labour MPs who voted Leave, this should help him here ie any fall in the UKIP vote may go equally to him as to he Tories here.

  35. I can see a shock Tory gain here and/or In Wansbeck.

  36. Lab and Con were neck and neck here in the locals last week.

    I think Labour was something 4-5% ahead in Wansbeck.

  37. Its possible. Biggest swings in England will probably be in the NE. Why? Because I think this is one region where there was actually a significant Labour Leave vote. Take into account the UKIP>CON transfers and this and Wansbeck could indeed be close. Even NW Durham too.

  38. There was a significant Labour Leave vote pretty much everywhere there was a significant Labour vote, except London. Plenty of Labour Leavers in the West Midlands, or the Welsh Valleys.

  39. ‘There was a significant Labour Leave vote pretty much everywhere there was a significant Labour vote, except London.’

    Less so in metropolitan areas as a whole, but that’s definitely right and kind of highlights Labour’s catch 22 – which perhaps is partly why Labour’s current Brexit policy is all over the place

  40. Polling data suggests that in fact in most constituencies the Lab Leave vote was quite minimal, if you only look at 2015 Lab voters. Even where the Brexit vote was high and Lab hold the seat the Lab vote typically consisted of the Remain minority, with the Con and UKIP voters dominant among the Leavers. But clearly there are some seats – notably the NE, and Wales – where evidently the Lab Leave vote was actually high.

    The John Curtice thesis is that if they want to retain their 2015 voters Lab are therefore better off going pro-EU than their equivocal position. Of course UKIP’s collapse undermines that argument to a large extent because if they are to hold Leave seats by appealing to the Remain minority they really need the Leave vote to stay split.

  41. There are other areas, of course, where Labour’s working-class and middle-class voters diverge – welfare springs to mind, as working-class Labour voters are often surprisingly anti-welfare. (Who knows why? It’s tempting but probably short-sighted to blame it all on the pernicious influence of the Daily Mail.) But the thing about those policy areas is that you can always attempt to find a compromise that keeps most of your voters happy. Brexit is tougher because most of the decisions surrounding it are binary – there isn’t much space to fudge things.

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