Cannock Chase

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20811 (44.2%)
Labour: 15888 (33.7%)
Lib Dem: 1270 (2.7%)
Green: 906 (1.9%)
UKIP: 8224 (17.5%)
MAJORITY: 4923 (10.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. Consists of the Cannock Chase council area.

Main population centres: Cannock, Rugeley.

Profile: Cannock Chase itself is an area of woodland and heathland, the smallest designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in mainland Britain. The constituency consists of the two towns either side of the Chase - Cannock to the south and Rugeley to the north. Cannock was a coal mining town in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but the industry is now long gone and Cannock has become an increasingly affluent commuter area for the Metropolitian West Midlands area to the south. Rugeley too is a former mining town, with Lea Hall Colliery closing in 1990..

Politics: Cannock Chase was a surprise gain for the Conservatives in 2010. Previously it had been a relatively safe Labour seat with a majority in excess of 20% in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections, but Aiden Burley won the seat with a swing of 14%, one of the largest from Labour to the Conservatives in any contest in 2010. Burley had only a short Parliamentary career, standing down in 2015 following criticism for attending a stag party where guests dressed in Nazi uniform, but the Conservatives managed to hold onto the seat without him in 2015.


Current MP
AMANDA MILLING (Conservative) Born Burton on Trent. Educated at University College London. Former director of a Market research business. Rossendale councillor. First elected as MP for Cannock Chase in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 18271 (40%)
Lab: 15076 (33%)
LDem: 7732 (17%)
BNP: 2168 (5%)
Oth: 2312 (5%)
MAJ: 3195 (7%)
2005*
Con: 12912 (30%)
Lab: 22139 (51%)
LDem: 5934 (14%)
UKIP: 2170 (5%)
MAJ: 9227 (21%)
2001
Con: 12345 (30%)
Lab: 23049 (56%)
LDem: 5670 (14%)
MAJ: 10704 (26%)
1997
Con: 14227 (27%)
Lab: 28705 (55%)
LDem: 4537 (9%)
Oth: 3234 (6%)
MAJ: 14478 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
AMANDA MILLING (Conservative) Born Burton on Trent. Educated at University College London. Director of a Market research business. Rossendale councillor.
JANOS TOTH (Labour) Fundraising manager. Cannock Chase councillor. Contested Aldridge Brownhills 1997.
IAN JACKSON (Liberal Democrat) Retired accountant. Former Lichfield councillor. Contested Lichfield 2005, 2010.
GRAHAME WIGGIN (UKIP) Educated at Wolverhampton College of Technology. Construction manager.
PAUL WOODHEAD (Green)
Links
Comments - 242 Responses on “Cannock Chase”
  1. LAB 37
    CON 33
    UKIP 13
    LD 11
    GRN 4
    OTH 3
    (Doesn’t add to 100 due to rounding)

  2. Tories did well amongst C2s in 2010. Not sure they did with C1s. But their poor performance in public sector middle class, Scotland, and ethnic minorities were main reasons for difference 1979-92 v 2010. The C2s are a smaller group. I can’t see many of them returning to Labour but whether they actually vote Tory is a challenge. Labour have also got better at concentrating their vote and organisation. It goes back to their efforts to rebuild in the late 80s and it has kept them quite well shored up when the tide runs the other way as in 2010.

  3. C did make some progress amongst ethnic minorities though.

  4. Conservatives selected Amanda Milling today. She’s a Cllr in Rossendale

  5. This result could be quite interesting.

    Labour are more likely to gain it now that Aidan Burley is standing down, but it will need a lot of work on their part. I can see it being very close potentially, maybe in recount territory on either side, but Labour might just take it back after the incredibly large swing last time.

  6. The most famous person from Rugeley, the second town in the constituency, is probably William Palmer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Palmer_(murderer)

  7. Not sure why Andy, but I suspect that’s a name that won’t come up too often on the campaign trail…

    … getting back to the discussion about the C-grade vote, I think the Lib Dems will hold up better in C2 than C1 (and proportionally speaking, probably better than AB or DE too) due to a combination of public sector voters leaving for Labour and right-leaning LDs cautious about the possibility of a Lib-Lab deal. Self employed and right leaning C2s would in my opinion generally already vote for the Tories if they were minded to consider them, except in constituencies where tactical considerations were at play.

    As for this constituency, I think Labour will retake the seat, but in my opinion it’ll be a much closer run thing than the local results suggest.

  8. How on earth can you go from a 20% majority to losing the seat by so much? What happened?

  9. A mixture of edge-of-Black Country volatility and a large concentration small town white C2 voters, with whom Labour did absolutely abysmally in 2010.

  10. It probably also didn’t help that Labour incumbent Tony Wright retired as MP in 2010.

    Like most contributors, I think Labour will win this seat in 2010. However, given Labour’s difficulties with seats of this demographic profile, I don’t necessarily think that the margin will be wide.

  11. 2015 even!

  12. I agree with your analysis Tory. As surprisingly often.

  13. I thiubnk Tory’s analysisd is sopty on

    I imagine Tony Wright had a high personal vote – and rightly so as he was a very conscientiousness and well respected MP

    It’s also worth noting that Cannock itself has essentially been transformed from a coal mining town into a commuter town – which is bound to help the Tories as we have seen in other such areas – Sherwood, Don Valley – which today are nowhere near as reliably Labour as they once were

  14. Tory is very sensible. I tend to agree with most of his (her?) comments.

    Cannock is a tricky one to call. I suspect UKIP might do well here, which will make things interesting. but yes, labour gain methinks.

  15. You may all say you expect a labour win but I’ve looked at the 2010 site, here’s what some of you said:

    ——————————————————————————————

    “JOE JAMES B
    Labour should hold this by about 5-8%.
    I think a Tory overall majority of about 50 is possible, although I’d hope for 30, and of course, still have to win atall.”

    July 21st 2008.
    ——————————————————————————————

    “VOTEDAVE
    I’d be surprised if Labour lose here – we’d be looking at a Conservative overall majority of around 120 and Labour reduced to 170-180 MPs on a straight 10.4% swing.”

    July 21st 2008

    ——————————————————————————————

    “H.HEMMELIG
    If the Tories achieve a victory on a 1983 or 1987 scale at the next election or the one after then Cannock Chase and maybe Newcastle-under-Lyme would be Tory seats.
    Under any other circumstances Labour will hold on to them.”

    22nd July 2008

    ——————————————————————————————
    “MATT
    I personally think Labour will hold on narrowly here, largely due to the choice of Labour candidate.”

    January 23rd 2010

    ——————————————————————————————
    “BARNABY JL MARDER
    LAB HOLD!”

    May 4th 2010
    ——————————————————————————————

    A few of you did however see the fall of labour coming, Shaun Bennet did in 2008 before deciding it would stay tory in 2010. Richard called it and stood his ground so well done. Justin Johnson also was unsure it would be a labour hold.

    My point is this seat is hugely unpredictable now and I’d hate for us to look back in three or four years and all realise how wrong we were.

  16. My point is this seat is hugely unpredictable now and I’d hate for us to look back in three or four years and all realise how wrong we were.

    That’s the fun of predictions isn’t it…people are very sensitive about the powers of clairvoyance! so what if you get things wrong…it’s important to be right more than you’re wrong, but it’s impossible not to make grave mistakes occasionally.

    still think this is a labour hold. Aidan got an enormous swing which could well unwind.

  17. Cannock is becoming more of a semi-affluent commuter town, but don’t forget that there are still significant areas of deprivation in Chadsmoor, Hednesford and parts of Rugeley. This is bound to still result in a sizable Labour vote, as show in recent local election results.

    The seat is trending Conservative in the long term, but in 2015 I think Labour will just about gain it. The fact that Aidan Burley (who despite his mistakes isn’t that unpopular locally) is standing down, will probably keep the Labour majority bellow 1,000.

  18. A Labour gain is most likely but I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it. Just the other day I was driving past a large new estate of detached houses on the edge of Rugeley.

  19. This constituency has been moving to the Conservatives for a long time. As pointed out above there was a confluence of factors that led to this seat being an outlier in 2010 and by far the “safest” Labour seat falling to the Conservatives. Despite Burley’s trials (accidental MPs seem always to either be unusually good or complete idiots), and my expectation of a reversion to the norm in the ring round Greater Birmingham, I would be very surprised if the Conservatives do not hold this seat.

  20. ‘I would be very surprised if the Conservatives do not hold this seat.’

    If the Tories do hold this in 2015 – which incidentalky I don’t think they will – it would suggest they will remain in government

    I imagine Aidan Burley, who much like Philip Davies in Shipley, is the type of charcater who would go down very well with small town white C2 voters, and coupled with the retirement of Tony Wright, was able to achieve one of the Tories best results in 2010

  21. I agree that this constituency is trending Tory, just as is much of Staffordshire, and Aldridge-Brownhills next door. But the CC election results were poor enough for the Tories coupled with other local election results to suggest that Labour will take it in 2015, though it’s not likely to go back to the safe Labour status that it has had in the past even so.

  22. If the Tories do hold this in 2015 – which incidentalky I don’t think they will – it would suggest they will remain in government

    I don’t agree…the tories have to hold seats like Nuneaton, Hove, Halesowen, Hastings and Ipswich to have a chance of remaining in government. Labour could fail to win this and still get 300 seats (at a push)

  23. I think this is a nailed on Labour gain. The sitting Tory MP is standing down, this is a good area for UKIP, the consequences? A Labour gain with Lib Dem defectors coming back in an area that’s not one of their best.

  24. OK, I can see something like this happening here-
    Labour- 44%
    Tory- 33%
    UKIP- 18%
    Lib Dem- 5%

  25. ‘I don’t agree…the tories have to hold seats like Nuneaton, Hove, Halesowen, Hastings and Ipswich to have a chance of remaining in government. Labour could fail to win this and still get 300 seats (at a push)’

    But I think I’m correct in saying the swing frim Labour to Tory was higher here than in most – if not all – of those seats, so by that logic if the Tories hold on here, they should be able to hang on in most of those other seats

    There are a few ultra marginal seats in nearby Cheshire – with Crewe, Wirral West and Weaver Vale all looking likely to be won by Labour

  26. Tim Jones,

    It was a high swing here, but the candidate was young, energetic, reasonably local and had been in place for 3 years, I think, if not 2, before the election. He also was a very good candidate (before the nazi uniform stuff) for this type of seat. He was, as i say, a young cheeky chappy, affable right winger, riding a tide of anti-Gordon Brown feeling. He got one of the biggest swings in the election that year.

    You’re not wrong necessarily, but it is a funny seat. I also think this is a seat where negative perceptions regarding Miliband might work against Labour.

    I think a) if Labour win this seat they will be the largest party, but b) if the tories hold, they would not necessarily be the largest party. I don’t think Cannock Chase is a must win for labour in the way Ipswich is for example.

    If Labour failed to win Ipswich or Hastings, I think they would be in deep trouble. I can see them just failing short here, without necessarily meaning that they would fail to win 300 seats.

  27. I made a longer post which is “awaiting moderation”

    my point was a simple one. tim jones is right when he says the swing from labour to the tories was higher, but not right to say if the tories hold on here, they should be able to hold on in most of the other seats…

    1.Burley was a good candidate before he destroyed his career with the “stag do pictures”; he had been in place for about 3 years before the 2010 general election and had worked it.

    2. Miliband’s brand of north london metropolitan intellectual leftism will not resonate much at all. It doesn’t help anywhere much, but in Hastings, Ipswich and other places it will be less of an issue.

    3. It could stay tory next may, but somehow i think the rise of ukip will damage the tories here, as in the rest of the midlands; dudley south, nuneaton, worcester and even stourbridge are looking dicey for the blues and a strong ukip vote in these places, i think, will harm them more than labour.

  28. ‘Burley was a good candidate before he destroyed his career with the “stag do pictures”; he had been in place for about 3 years before the 2010 general election and had worked it’.

    As much as I personally dislike Burley, I have to agree. The Tories did very well here in 2010 because of Burley rather than despite him

    ‘Miliband’s brand of north london metropolitan intellectual leftism will not resonate much at all. It doesn’t help anywhere much, but in Hastings, Ipswich and other places it will be less of an issue.’

    I’m not sure what makes you think it will resonate better in run-down Hastings or working class Ipswich – I don’t think it will – and certainly not in nearby Nuneaton or Halesowen. Milliband himself is every bit as out-of-touch with the voters he needs to win in 2015 as Cameron

    ‘It could stay tory next may, but somehow i think the rise of ukip will damage the tories here, as in the rest of the midlands; dudley south, nuneaton, worcester and even stourbridge are looking dicey for the blues and a strong ukip vote in these places, i think, will harm them more than labour.’

    If UKIP take more votes from Tories in the Conservative South and more votes from Labour in their Northern heartlands, it stands to reason that they will damage both parties equally in the marginal Midlands. One suspects right-wing populists like Burley might be disproprtionatelty affected by UKIP, but he’s standing down anyway

    Normally I would agree that UKIP ought to damage the Tories far more than Labour, but with Milliband as leader I think they will take a large chunk from both Tory and Labour and the Lib Dems too

  29. The Tories did so very well here last time that I think a decrease in the order of 6-7% would be on the cards in May here, especially without the benefits the incumbency would usually bring for the party holding the seat.

  30. How on earth does that make it a ‘nailed on labour gain’? They’re seven points behind for gods sake!

  31. The Tories are extremely unlikely to hold on here though.

  32. I’d say they have at least a one in three chance.

  33. I wouldn’t. I’d go as far to say, with confidence that any chance they had of clinging on rested with Aidan Burley staying on as MP, and without him they’re now highly likely to lose the seat back to Labour.

  34. I agree Burley would have a better chance of holding than any other tory candidate. but he was too badly compromised and didn’t want to continue.

    My hunch, and yes it’s not scientific, is that ukip will gain votes from conservative to labour on a 3:2 basis, 3 tory votes for 2 labour…so the blues i think will suffer slightly more from a good ukip performance than labour. I base this on nothing more than intuition and a look at council elections in places like Ipswich, Hastings and Dudley.

  35. Thankfully we’re agreed on something. That’s also pretty much how I see Labour being effected by a good UKIP performance, i.e. not as badly as the Tories.

  36. crossbreak polls also suggest consistently that ukip take more tory than labour at a slightly higher ratio than the 3:2 ratio i’ve suggested.

  37. No surprise at all. It’s the Tories who really need to be worried at the moment, they’ve pretty much got everything to lose with UKIP around right now.

  38. Ashcroft marginal poll:
    LAB: 32%
    UKIP: 30%
    CON: 27%
    LD: 8%
    GRN: 2%

  39. I live next door to Cannock Chase and I’m not at all surprised by UKIP being on 30%. The demographics are perfect for them for any seat excluding retirement areas such as Clacton. The constituency is almost 99% white, mostly upper working-class and lower middle-class, and full of people who’ve moved out from the West Midlands conurbation in the last 20/30 years. The area is looked down upon by middle-class people in neighbouring seats like Sutton Coldfield, Stone and Lichfield, but at the same time is probably reviled by liberal types who’ve chosen to remain living in Birmingham.

    If UKIP don’t pick a duff candidate they can certainly win. The Tories choosing a councillor from Rossendale probably wasn’t the best of ideas.

  40. More UKIP voters in Cannock Chase would prefer a Labour majority government (29%) to a Conservative majority government (28%). Are some people finally understanding that UKIP voters, especially in the North and Midlands aren’t just tories in exile.

  41. tories in 3rd place is a bit bizarre…this seat is about the most anti-cameroon you could find. I wonder how many tory-held seats, if any, will find the tories in 3rd place at the next election. Thurrock could be one, this could be another.

  42. Not many, just a few WWC ones that went blue due to sun,mail and express readers who thought voting tory was the only way to stop a flooding of immigrants. I doubt under labour net migration would be much different however, hence why I expect them to go UKIP. This seat might go Lab,UKIP or con. Hard to say.

  43. If you look at the specifics in the Ashcroft poll here, you will see that UKIP is the least unpopular party locally and is also the most active party locally. If I was into gambling, I would definitely put my money on UKIP here.

  44. Edge very slightly towards this being a Con hold. Will be very close though.

  45. the tories are currently third…joe, keep drinking the koolaid. I think this could be a surprise ukip gain.

  46. Given the margin of error it’s more accurate to say there is something like a three way tie in the Ashcroft poll. So it’s not at all outlandish to predict a narrow Tory hold. Equally, suggesting a surprise UKIP win is quite reasonable.

  47. Didn’t think UKIP were doing that well in Cannock.

    If they win here they’d probably be in line to win 50 or so seats nationally.

    I think the likeliest outcome here is still a Labour gain, although a Tory hold or UKIP gain isn’t cometely out of the question.

  48. Good news all round here: Labour are ahead, UKIP are only just behind and the Tories will see a large UKIP vote for the squeezing.

  49. UKIP got 25% in the May 2013 local elections, so they’ve been doing well here for a while.

  50. They got nearly 39 percent in the Euro elections as well, suggesting their ceiling is certainly high enough for them to pull off the upset.

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