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
Con: 10812 (25%)
Lab: 21994 (50%)
LDem: 6821 (16%)
BNP: 2640 (6%)
Oth: 1721 (4%)
MAJ: 11182 (25%)
Con: 6702 (17%)
Lab: 25217 (65%)
LDem: 6780 (18%)
MAJ: 18437 (48%)
Con: 7472 (20%)
Lab: 26249 (69%)
LDem: 4550 (12%)
MAJ: 18777 (49%)
Con: 7924 (17%)
Lab: 35073 (74%)
LDem: 4417 (9%)
MAJ: 27149 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 198 Responses on “Bolsover”
  1. Re Penistone I’d like to make a few observations. First of all I highly doubt the Tories could ever win Dodworth, it looks deceptively close cos of the success of the Barnsley Independents in the area but demographically its like most other Barnsley wards and the Tories struggle to get over 20% there, it just isn’t friendly territory for them.

    Also re the UKIP vote in the seat I’ve made this point before that I believe it was a seat where UKIP disproportionately hurt Labour, I believe you felt the exact opposite was the case so I looked at the local election results to see if a link could be found. re the rise of the UKIP vote and who it seemed to harm.

    I won’t give the ward by ward analysis cos that would be a huge post but basically the local election results seem to suggest the following.

    Penistone E UKIP hit the Tories slightly harder than Lab
    Penistone W UKIP hit both parties equally
    Dodworth, Stocksbridge and W Ecclesfield UKIP hit Lab slightly harder
    E Ecclesfield UKIP hit Lab significantly harder

    And when you bear in mind the three Sheffield wards make up about two thirds of the electorate its fairly apparent UKIP hit Lab harder in that seat. A UKIP death spiral would probably increase the Lab majority there.

  2. “I think the Tories are more likely to win Stocksbridge and Upper Don than Dore and Totley”
    I wouldn’t argue with that.

    “but that the Lib Dem collapse benefitted Labour most.”
    In that particular seat yes I’d agree.

    “I think in 2010 we could be another 2010-style result in the seat”
    ?!?!?!? Typo???

  3. “I meant 2020 obviously but the strong Tory result in P&S in 2010 is what I derive hope from”

    You often talk about Labs “false dawn” in Northamptonshire in the 97 election, these things are not uncommon, indeed there are a quite a few other seats where the Tories came close in 2010 only to fall a ways back in 2015 (Grimsby, Dudley North, Nottingham South)

  4. Labour didnt have a false dawn in northamptonshire in 1997 – they won every seat in the county apart from daventry, most of which returned tories with five-figure majorities in 1992

    Being the sort of post-industrial, lower middle class, pro-Brexit place northamptonshire is it has of course returned to its strong tory traditions but between 1994-2005 Tony Blair’s New Labour polled well here

  5. He also loves that list of the same 10-15 seats that everybody here acknowledges have moved demographically from Labour to Tory, having now posted a permutation of it a good 200 times. A crying shame there’s no BLOCK facility on this site.

  6. I bet you won’t.

  7. I can actually see Denis losing here. If he does hold on it only be because of a personal vote and him being pro brexit.

  8. I can actually see Denis losing here. If he does hold on it only be because of a personal vote and him being pro brexit.

  9. It will be closer than that.

  10. If it was some random demoralised Spad or Corbynista, having to make a go of this without a personal record, then I’d say it might be in play.

    But it’s Skinner. He gets the benefit of the doubt.

  11. I don’t think there’s an MP with a bigger personal vote than Dennis. Not even Jeremy in Is North [my constit] has what Skinner has. Theres not an MP around today more a part of their constituency. The beast of Bolsover. Nobody will come close to Skinner here, he is too beloved. Even Ken Clarke in Rushcliffe or Kinnock Sr. in those Welsh constituencies, arent as iconic as Skinner. He will never, as numerous people have said, stand down

  12. In the run up to the 2015 election there was an interview with the Guardian in which Skinner spoke proudly about how he’d always stuck to his routes and his beliefs and that that was one reason his majority had never fallen below 10,000.

    It’s been 11k in the last two elections and UKIP won 9,228 votes here and that vote has to go somewhere.

    I can see Skinner falling significantly below 50% and a 10k majority for the first time in the 47 years he’s been the MP and for the first time in this seat’s 77 year history.

  13. He’ll be helped, one presumes, not only by his longstanding personal vote but the fact he voted Leave – may mean that ex-Ukippers are more inclined to switch back to Lab here than in some similar constituencies. It will probably be his smallest majority ever by a distance though.

  14. Jack – exactly the point. Skinner came out for Leave prior to the vote, true to his longstanding feelings on the EU. This shores up his support enormously, in a seat that voted 70% Leave. This isn’t a 55-45 ratio seat.

    All this over-hype of his personal vote misses the point, by itself that wouldn’t repel national swing. It’s already partly factored in to his 2015 score and he’s not bombproof.

  15. I’d agree with that (his Leave vote protects him).

    As an ex MP said on Sky earlier, “we all like to claim we had huge personal votes, but in reality it tends to just be a mere 500 or so votes from people we helped in surgeries, over the years – some of whom would have voted for our Party anyway.”

    A study of sorts was attempted a few years back and from memory Nicholas Winterton, Jeffrey Donaldson and Eric Heffer were adjudged to have the largest personal votes. I recall a guy at the Count spotting quite a few votes for both Winteron and Donaldson where a line had been put through their Parties’ names and those votes were all accepted as literal personal votes.

  16. Brian Redhead, the late Today presenter, would vote Conservative in Macclesfield but write on the ballot paper that it was a vote for the Winterton rather than the party.

  17. Yes, he was very pro manufacturing and so apparently a few trade unionists used to vote Labour in the locals but for him in the General.

  18. Obviously Labour will hold, and as has been stated Skinner’s Brexit stance will help him.

    But I think the point being made above is that if you go on UNS and you give a boost to the Tories in Leave constituencies, then in theory this is in play. In my view it serves as a reminder that polling wise we are in uncharted territory in the modern era, and that acknowledgement of the polling trend does nethertheless need to be tempered by understanding of the underlying causes of why people vote the way they do and what is different this time.

  19. We’ll see, whilst Skinner has clearly had a huge personal vote and his position on Brexit will certainly help in how the UKIP support splits 2005-2010 suggested the personal vote was reducing (but then probably stable in 2015).

    The demographics of the seat are gradually changing, but also I think it will be seen by quite a few voters as self indulgent to stand again for a full term parliament at the age of 85. I think this will swing as much as Derbyshire NE (surefire Tory win) and Mansfield (too close to call IMO), and possibly even by more. In this day and age even if it’s Skinner 85 is very old to be standing again.

    I think the majority will be a long way below 10,000 and possibly no more than half that or so.

  20. AFAIK it’s not that they’re standing down against all Leave MPs (after all some were very late in the day conversions indeed), plus there were almost 200 of them.

    It’s just that UKIP won’t stand against Better Off Out MPs ie longstanding campaigners such as Hoey, Nuttall or the DUP. It was crazy that they ever stood against them or Hollobone in 2015.

  21. “The demographics of the seat are gradually changing, but also I think it will be seen by quite a few voters as self indulgent to stand again for a full term parliament at the age of 85.”

    Skinner was my late uncle’s friend and colleague down the pit, and I’m pretty sure my uncle would say the same as you if he were alive today. Much as I have a soft spot for Skinner, I’m dismayed he didn’t decide to step aside with dignity in 2010 or 2015. You can’t represent your constituents properly aged 85, and he will be 90 by the end of the parliament.

    Ironically, all NUM sponsored MPs were required to retire at 65 in the old days, ie the same rules the ordinary miners had to follow. Skinner has only been able to avoid this convention because the NUM has become so tiny as to be basically defunct. I’ve no idea why he would want to go on and on without enjoying even the smallest of retirements.

  22. Workaholic’s dont ever want retirement. Politics contains many of such people as does Showbusiness where many go on till they cant.

  23. I doubt local UKIP members are very keen on Skinner, Brexit aside, so I doubt they’ll stand aside here.

    Overall it is already clear they will stand down in more seats than just those of the far right of the Tory party – I suspect this reflects a general pro-Con feeling in the party at the moment, as well as struggling to find suitable candidates in their current state.

  24. HH is right.

    Indeed TUSC said Labour MPs should retire at 65 as it is the socialist thing to do to give the job to younger people. Although ironically they fielded PPCs who were older such as Nellist and Mulhearn.

  25. The Sun’s Harry Cole has heard rumours that this seat could be in danger. If So Labour will easily do worse than 1935 in terms of seats.

  26. I’d be beyond shocked if Skinner ever lost here. Once he’s no longer MP… maybe something approaching shocked

  27. I have heard that Peter Bone is running the tory campaign here. Yes, Peter Bone. It seems unlikely but I trust where I heard it. Apparntly the main aim of the Tory campaign here is not to win it per see but to have voter ID data ready incase a bi election occurs during the next parliament. They believe once Skinner goes it will be winnable.

  28. They’d be advised to start competing locally first then, rather than leaving so many seats on the council uncontested

  29. Chris Grayling was here today which does show it is being considered a possible gain by the torries. Unless Grayling was sent here to help t Skinner to stay as the more left wing Labour Mp’s that remain the more likely Corbyn’s successor is from that wing.

  30. I carried out a straw phone poll 14-15 May, the result
    LAB… 54%
    COM …35%
    LD …3%
    UKIP… 8%

  31. So…a 4% swing from LAB to CON. How big was the sample of your straw poll?

    Although I instictively doubt Labour will be increasing their vote here, it wouldn’t be totally beyond the realms of possibility considering Skinner’s vocal support for leave; I can imagine a lot more of the UKIP vote coming home to him here.

    Although, as someone else said, some prominent Tories were here earlier and I doubt they’d be here without good reason, other than to shock Labour into redirecting resources here I suppose.

  32. PT – even Labour Uncut are:

    Although it’s plain daft that whoever compiled the spreadsheet hasn’t even bothered to remove UKIP where they aren’t standing and apportion that %. Simply saying 75% of 2015 UKIP votes are going Tory across the board is silly.

  33. Lancs
    “even Labour Uncut are”
    See my other recent posts re my opinion on Lab Uncut but suffice to say that “even” should probably be replaced with “as predicted”

  34. Labour Uncut have even talked up the potential for Rachel Reeves to lose her seat. Absolute nonsense.

  35. Even before May attacked her own core vote it would be near impossible for her to win here. The only way that would be possible would be with a much larger UKIP vote that joined with the Tories or if Skinner got caught up in some truly nasty scandal.

  36. Results from county elections in divisions covering Bolsover District

    Lab 52.4%
    Con 29.9%
    LD 6.2%
    UKIP 5.8%(standing in 3 out of 6 divisions)
    Ind 3.3%
    TUSC 2.3%

    The parliamentary constituency include 4 district wards from North East Derbyshire but I think they are spread between various county divisions. On 2015 they are better for Conservatives than the Bolsover proper wards. I think they should carry 2 out of 4 in these political circumstances.
    So the overall gap in the 2017 county elections was lower than 20% but not totally wiped out.

    The rumour was that Bolsover CLP has a reputation of being quite inept and they don’t have any canvassing record inputed in the contacts database. So they don’t have a clue on where their support actually is.

  37. It was surely Dennis Skinner himself who prevented this seat from becoming any more marginal than it could have done last night giving the prevailing pro-Tory trend across the ex-mining areas.

  38. Not half. Who could have seen any of this twenty or thirty years ago???

  39. It’s also unusual to see so many seats where 40% wasn’t enough to win it. Even in 2015 it was almost unthinkable that it wouldn’t be enough of a share to win a seat (I think Chester and Wirral West were the only cases 2 years ago?)

  40. In Newcastle under Lyme the Cons lost with 48%!

  41. Notice how the largest Lab-Con swings were in that list of seats we’d long been discussing of the post-industrial ex-mining white working class type in South Yorkshire and the North Midlands?

  42. Plop
    “Interesting that Clarke and Skinner had similar swings against them”

    Just one of those little quirks. I imagine that both seats will become key marginals when the two men stand down and their personal votes go with them, their constituencies have changed immeasurably since they were both elected in 1970.

    If I can be excused for acting all wistful I do wonder what their response would be if you could go back to 1970 and tell them how their seats would change over the next 45+ years. I imagine they would respond very differently, Clarke being a one nation, quite progressive Tory would probably be fairly relaxed about the “metropolitinisation” of his seat, seeing it as little more than the march of progress, Skinner on the other hand would probably be even more angry at the loss of industry in his own seat, he might have even went full Communist…the times they are a changing.

  43. We live in strange times…

  44. surely Bassetlaw will be John Mann’s as long as he wants it?

  45. Yes I would have to agree really. He’s seen his majority ebb and flow before so I think he could ride it out. Skinner meanwhile may well hold on once more before standing down after a fantastic long spell in Parliament but when he does go I think Bolsover is in real danger of being realistically taken by the Tories for the first time ever in the seat’s history.

  46. In the medium term 2017 might prove to be the peak of Tory popularity with the working class, so Bolsover could well stay Labour for a while longer, even if Skinner retires or dies.

  47. Congratulations to Dennis Skinner, who today has become the longest-serving Labour MP of all time.

  48. The proportion of 21 to 30-year-olds in trade unions has fallen from over 20% in 2001 to just 15.7%, last year.

    In the private sector, it fell to just 9%.

    There’s certainly an interesting mix of remaining members. Most aren’t the far Left, although clearly several union leaders are, in particular PCS, RMT.

    Tony Blair and Peter Bottomley remain union members, as do most claimant employment lawyers.

  49. “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.

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

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