Bolsover

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10764 (24.5%)
Labour: 22542 (51.2%)
Lib Dem: 1464 (3.3%)
UKIP: 9228 (21%)
MAJORITY: 11778 (26.8%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Derbyshire. The whole of the Bolsover council area and part of North East Derbyshire council area.

Main population centres: Bolsover, Blackwell, Creswell, Pinxton, South Normanton, Clowne, Scarcliffe.

Profile: A Derbyshire mining seat (though the pits closed well over a decade ago - Markham Colliery finally shut in 1993) probably best known for its current MP, Dennis Skinner. The seat itself is mostly made up of former mining villages between Chesterfield and Mansfield and with the mines gone, the largest employer is the East Midlands Designer Outlet off the M1 at South Normanton.

Politics: Bolsover is monolithically Labour, albeit Skinner`s share of the vote has fallen over the years and no longer reaches the heights it did was this was an active mining community. At a local government level Labour is still the only game in town, with other parties only putting up a scattering of candidates and many Labour councillors being returned unopposed. Other than a few independents, the only non-Labour councillor in the borough was one Green councillor who resigned in 2013..


Current MP
DENNIS SKINNER (Labour) Born 1932, Clay Cross. Educated at Tupton Grammar School and Rushkin College. Former coal miner. First elected as MP for Bolsover in 1970. A left winger, member of the socialist campaign group and regular rebel against the Labour whip. Skinner is an assiduous attender of House of Commons debates, where he normally sits on the front row of the benches below the gangway. His heckling in debates earned him the nickname the beast of Bolsover.
Past Results
2010
Con: 10812 (25%)
Lab: 21994 (50%)
LDem: 6821 (16%)
BNP: 2640 (6%)
Oth: 1721 (4%)
MAJ: 11182 (25%)
2005*
Con: 6702 (17%)
Lab: 25217 (65%)
LDem: 6780 (18%)
MAJ: 18437 (48%)
2001
Con: 7472 (20%)
Lab: 26249 (69%)
LDem: 4550 (12%)
MAJ: 18777 (49%)
1997
Con: 7924 (17%)
Lab: 35073 (74%)
LDem: 4417 (9%)
MAJ: 27149 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
PETER BEDFORD (Conservative) Educated at The Ferrers School and Leicester University. Chartered accountant. Former East Northamptonshire councillor.
DENNIS SKINNER (Labour) See above.
DAVID LOMAX (Liberal Democrat) Bed and breakfast owner. High Peak councillor. Contested Tatton 2010.
ROY CALLADINE (UKIP) Sales and marketing director.
Links
Comments - 191 Responses on “Bolsover”
  1. “In the private sector, it fell to just 9%.”

    I suspect for the figure to be that high, it must include some quasi-public industries such as the railways. Outside the rump of remaining heavy industry, union membership in the bona fide private sector is virtually dead now. I guess bank clerical workers would be one of the few remaining unionised hotspots, a profession which is now deeply in decline.

  2. Will this seat be close next time with/without Dennis Skinner?

  3. I expect Skinner will retire in 2022 if he lasts that long. His main motivation in clinging on was to prevent a Blairite SPAD being parachuted into his seat. That’s probably as unlikely now as it ever will be. IMO he probably only stood again in 2017 due to the suddenness of the election.

    Undoubtedly the Tories will get even closer here when he’s gone, unless Labour are clearly ahead nationally. I don’t think they’ll actually win it for the next 1-2 elections though.

  4. “His main motivation in clinging on was to prevent a Blairite SPAD being parachuted into his seat.”

    …which is also a major reason why Ted Heath clung on in Old Bexley & Sidcup till he was almost at death’s door (to prevent a eurosceptic Thatcherite successor being selected). But in 2001 his constituency party eventually, tactfully, forced the issue and he had to stand aside. Despite all the affection Skinner is held in, IMO that’s quite likely to happen here if he insists on standing again.

  5. I haven’t posted on here for ages so I thought I’d return with that question! Another thought I have- can the Tories get over the line anytime soon in similar postindustrial WWC South Yorks/North Midlands seats to this one such as Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Don Valley, Penistone & Stocksbridge, Rother Valley, and Wakefield in West Yorks? Also in the North East there’s Bishop Auckland, Darlington and maybe Sedgefield as well? North Lincs examples are perhaps Great Grimsby and Scunthorpe.

  6. ‘Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Don Valley, Penistone & Stocksbridge, Rother Valley, and Wakefield in West Yorks? Also in the North East there’s Bishop Auckland, Darlington and maybe Sedgefield as well? North Lincs examples are perhaps Great Grimsby and Scunthorpe.’

    They have come close in nearly all of those seats in at least one of the last 3 elections and have cut Labour majorities to the lowest they have been in the post war period, but seem unable to get over the line

    Although they did win Derbyshire NE, Mansfield and Walsall North last time out

  7. I know work in Penistone & Stocksbridge. The Lib Dems are making inroads again in the constitency for the first time in abput a decade. Probably off the back of Tory voters. That might make it hard for the Tories

  8. ‘The Lib Dems are making inroads again in the constitency for the first time in about a decade’

    That’s interesting Matt as I wouldn’t have thought Penistone & Stocksbridge to be the sort of seat in which the lib Dems are making a recovery in given that their poll numbers have scarcely improved since last year’s election

  9. I was a bit shocked myself tbh. They took two seats I think in May in the constitency. Ecclesfield West and Penistone East I think. The Tories came a distant 2nd in Penistone West which is their best shot I think.

  10. Quick correction it was Penistone West Lib Dems won and Stocksbridge & Upper Don

  11. where the Tories came 2nd

  12. HH – that was just the under 30s, of course. From memory (from an article 2 years ago, but I can dig it out if you need more info), the private sector with the highest % of members still in unions were in the following industries, where it was still around 50%:

    defence/manufacturing (that’d make sense from my limited knowledge of BAe and Lucas etc in the NW);

    driving instructors

    teachers

    pottery industry

    and journalists.

    [It didn’t mention the railways. Like you I would have thought they were all in ether the RMT or ASLEF given the number of strikes up here; but, I suppose it’s just the drivers in those and most working in/on the railways won’t be in unions these days]

  13. I seem to be the only person who still thinks that, if the Tories are to win a majority next time out, it will come through taking back seats they lost in 2017, rather than winning in places they have never won before.

  14. ‘I seem to be the only person who still thinks that, if the Tories are to win a majority next time out, it will come through taking back seats they lost in 2017, rather than winning in places they have never won before’

    I disagree. The EU Referendum has realigned politics in this country in the same way the anti-segregationist policies of the 1960s realigned policies in the US

    I always thought this might be the case – and the 2017 election confirmed it although it could of course be a very short term thing

    The remarkable thing about the 2017 election is that whilst the Tories lost seats overall, they also picked up some which they had NEVER won in a general election during the post war period – like Walsall North, Mansfield, Stoke South, NE Derbyshire etc

    All of them WWC seats which voted in favour of BREXIT

    Of course once the sh*t hits the fan re: Brexit and people end up paying three times as much at the supermarket than they do now, I’m sure these are the first sort of places that will turn against the Tories, bit I don’t expect that to be the case by the time of the next general election, which I suspect will come sooner than 2022

  15. It is possible but generally speaking when a government starts making net losses they keep doing so until they lose power

  16. It’s worth remembering that, while Kensington & Canterbury were the most headline-grabbing results for Labour, they were not typical of most of Labour’s gains, most of which came in classic bellwethers, and in seats which had voted leave. Places like Stockton South, Colne Valley, Ipswich. Surely those seats are in play come 2022?

  17. Labour had a good result in Kirklees tbf but must be disappointed to win overall control in Calder Vale so maybe Calder Vale is more marginal than Colne Valley.

    Labour didnt win the plurality in Battersea so they may struggle there.

  18. HH

    Are you still banned at PB ?

    I’ve been having silly arguments there for a decade and have never managed that.

    😉

  19. Hi Richard

    It would seem so. I’ve been called many things in my time but that was the first time I’ve been labelled a Putin-loving Russian stooge. In response I joked that Mr Jessop was a drippy house husband and that seems to have been it. PB’s banning policy is a total joke, no warnings and no consistency whatsoever. My comment would have been polite for SeanT for example. Anyway hope you are well.

  20. This council is now NOC after Labour lose lots of seats to pro Brexit Independents.

  21. Skinner standing again.

    As such a stickler for NUM procedures I wonder why he’s consistently ignored the one about elected representatives standing down at over 65? Which was pretty strictly enforced in coalfield seats back in the day. As an admirer of his and someone with vague family connections to him, I have to say I’m really disappointed he didn’t step down gracefully 10 or 15 years ago. It doesn’t do anybody any good to be in your 80s or 90s and still trying to be an MP.

  22. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve advocated on here age restrictions for being an MP (you can only stand if you are between the ages of 35 to 75, something like that). I don’t think 75 is that restrictive at nearly 10 years past the official retirement age.

  23. Does Skinner standing again help or hinder Labour’s chances of holding the seat?

    My thoughts are that he will have fervent supporters and detractors which probably cancel each other out equally – but I confess this is said with scant local knowledge.

  24. Tbh he’s another one that might be rescued by the floods, though I don’t know how bad it is round here.

  25. BT Says

    Overall I think Skinner is still a slight positive for Labour overall, and that might be why he’s sticking around, in an election where the Tories are breathing down Labour’s neck.

    But the old miners are fast dying off and few younger than me have any memories of mining in this area at all (I am 43 and remember mining in north Derbyshire, just, from childhood). Almost all mines here were done by the late-80s. Meanwhile this is becoming commuterland for Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham, bringing a more professional and middle class electorate.

  26. “Tbh he’s another one that might be rescued by the floods, though I don’t know how bad it is round here.”

    Haven’t heard anything bad around here. The south west corner of Bolsover isn’t that far from Matlock though.

  27. HH – Although in the voxpop it was the old miners who were deserting Labour here this time.

    The younger voters will be the ones who save him if he hangs on. I had thought him voting Leave would save him but he could end up losing both sets due to the national Party’s stance.

  28. This weekend I sat down and rewatched the 2017 general election results. I havent been able to bring myself to watch it again until now.

    Anyway, one thing that struck me and which completely passed me by at the time was how the collapsed UKIP vote in every seat actually tended to favour LABOUR more than the Tories.
    In so many seats where Ukip were way down a good 50% + seemed to go to Labour.

    Therefore I am now subscribing to the theory that the Brexit party will HELP the Tories in many Labour marginals because they will take the otherwise Labour voters who cannot bring themselves to actually vote Tory. Thus making it easier to win those seats as long as the Brexit party perform strongly there.

  29. I agree. Both the LDs and Bxt Party are taking votes from Labour compared with 2017.

    The only exceptions may be Hartlepool, Ashfield, Thurrock which are 3 or 4 way and where Labour’s vote is almost down to it’s core due to high UKIP/Other performances in those areas in past GEs and Locals.

  30. I can’t see why Hartlepool and Ashfield would trend significantly different to other Lab-held WWC seats.

    Thurrock is a bit different because TBP aren’t standing as it’s currently Con-held – and is possibly a seat where TBP/UKIP hurt Lab and Con more equally as it’s in the S-E where Cons do better in some of these demographics.
    Though equally I see no reason for Lab not to fall in Thurrock if the trend is them falling nationally.

  31. ‘Anyway, one thing that struck me and which completely passed me by at the time was how the collapsed UKIP vote in every seat actually tended to favour LABOUR more than the Tories.
    In so many seats where Ukip were way down a good 50% + seemed to go to Labour.’

    I thought that it had already been established that around 90% of those who voted UKIP in 2015 voted Conservative in 2017 and that Labour’s large and unexpected increase in its vote share was almost exclusively down to Remain-backing, mostly middle class, former Conservatives who preferred Corbyn to Brexit

    The Tories did of course manage to beat Labour at the last election in a handful of very strong pro-Brexit seats, some of which they had never held since the war – Stoke South, Mansfield, Derbyshire North East whereas Labour best results were in seats where UKIP polled poorly in 2015 – Kensington, Battersea

  32. I think there may have been a bit of both going on – 90% of UKIP vote to Tories is way too high I think, but overall what Tim says re the Lab increase is correct – along with a big increase in youth vote which was genuinely enthused by JC.

    This last point has been contested by some ‘polling experts’, but authenticated by those who analyse the best I believe.

    On that point, the absence of the Lab youthquake could be one of the main points of difference this time.

  33. ‘This last point has been contested by some ‘polling experts’, but authenticated by those who analyse the best I believe.’

    I agree with you (and them)

    Labour would never have got 40% without an upturn in the youth vote – which was in many ways their most enthusiastic base

    And I think a thoroughly amoral incumbent PM will be as every bit an incentive for young people to vote Labour in 2019, as a useless one was in 2017

  34. BT – for the reason I said.

    It’s difficult to fall further in a seat if you’re down from say 65% to 35% as Labour have in 20 years in Hartlepool and some of these seats.

  35. Lancs

    Quite. But Labour were at 52.5% in Hartlepool, at the GE2017 which was what you referenced at 3.40pm above, not 35%.

    If in fact you mean they won’t go much lower than their 2015 result of 38% even on a bad night, then that’s more feasible even if we argue about just how much.

    But there’s plenty of scope to fall from 52% if Lab leavers are ‘leaving’ in droves.

  36. “Labour would never have got 40% without an upturn in the youth vote – which was in many ways their most enthusiastic base”

    I agree. Of course this time that 2017 youth vote has already been “priced in” to the status quo. Labour will need to maintain that very high watermark and then do better if they want to win.
    I can see the youth vote falling away from them a little bit this time which will again hit Labour marginals.
    Combined with a better Brexit Party vote than ukip achieved in 2017 I can easily see Labour falling 10% or more in many of the seats.

  37. ‘Labour falling 10% or more in many of the seats.’

    More than that if current polls are to be believed and what’s worst for Labour is that this is likely to be most stark in the wc Leave-voting constituencies in the North and Midlands that they need to in to prevent Johnson getting a majority and turning Britain into Singapore on Sea

    Surely that’s a narrative that would play well for Labour in such seats

  38. The i has a piece on ‘The ex-miners planners to vote Tory in Bolsover.’

  39. BT – in Hartlepool I meant since then. Labour have fallen further in the Locals and by-elections, losing the Council etc.

    Hence why I think they’re stuck and unlikely to fall further than that 38% all time low. The same could also be said of Ashfield, although the candidate change there may make more of a difference.

    Whereas in some seats in Stoke and Derbyshire Labour may continue to fall for the 6th GE in a row.

  40. Ashfield could be difficult because of Jason Zadozny interfering in the election.
    Some of the seats further up the target list may actually be easier.

  41. I think this seat will go Tory. Apparently Labour are not well organised in Derbyshire including Derby.

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