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
Con: 18271 (40%)
Lab: 15076 (33%)
LDem: 7732 (17%)
BNP: 2168 (5%)
Oth: 2312 (5%)
MAJ: 3195 (7%)
Con: 12912 (30%)
Lab: 22139 (51%)
LDem: 5934 (14%)
UKIP: 2170 (5%)
MAJ: 9227 (21%)
Con: 12345 (30%)
Lab: 23049 (56%)
LDem: 5670 (14%)
MAJ: 10704 (26%)
Con: 14227 (27%)
Lab: 28705 (55%)
LDem: 4537 (9%)
Oth: 3234 (6%)
MAJ: 14478 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 243 Responses on “Cannock Chase”
  1. Adam – in the event UKIP take this, they might still ‘only’ have 8 – 12 MPs. Uniform swing is almost a thing of the past. There’s plenty of places where UKIP polled 25% in May, but most won’t result in MPs eg Southport. However 3 or 4 way fights would obviously make wins more likely.

  2. “Equally, suggesting a surprise UKIP win is quite reasonable.”

    It is, although I don’t personally. As I’ve said previously I think Labour are better placed here.

    Though it is interesting, six months out from an election, that the prospect of them taking seats other than Farage + defections is generally accepted not just by those who tend to be interested in talking about the new and interesting [not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that mindset] but also by the types of people not prone to falling for hype. Few people are suggesting that they are going to pull this one off, but equally few people are suggesting that they can’t.

  3. UKIP is 2 points behind labour according to Ashcroft so yep they might well win.

  4. @ Chris Hornet

    “Though it is interesting, six months out from an election, that the prospect of UKIP taking seats other than Farage + defections is generally accepted not just by those who tend to be interested in talking about the new and interesting, but also by the types of people not prone to falling for hype. Few people are suggesting that they are going to pull this one off, but equally few people are suggesting that they can’t.”

    That’s simply common sense. No-one knows this far out the extent to which UKIP can maintain momentum, or the extent to which support will crumble under the scrutiny of an election campaign. All one can say at this stage is that some parts of the country are more favourable to UKIP than others.

    Even this may change in 6 months, as UKIP may fail to maintain the coalition that the SNP has managed to sustain, of elderly conservatives and younger alienated, neither well-educated, once economic issues take a greater priority than nationalism. If they fall off the ledge one side or another it will affect which type of seats they perform best in, Clacton or Cannock.

    LAB. ..31%
    BOOKIES. …
    LAB. …11/8

  6. Is it feasible that the Tories could drop to 3rd here with Labour and UKIP 1st and 2nd?

  7. Yes it could easily end that way.
    ASHCROFT in Nov14…
    LAB…. 22%……………………..31

    Unweighted..32% were DNK, REF or DNV.

    Can anyone tell us why in this inland , western constituency UKIP are riding so very high?

  8. I mentioned on another thread on UKPR, that Cannock Chase is a very tight/unpredictable contest. This prompted two regular posters to categorically state that it’s a certain LAB gain. Is this the view of others here?

  9. I mentioned on another thread on UKPR, that Cannock Chase is a very tight/unpredictable contest. This prompted two regular posters to categorically state that it’s a certain LAB gain.

    Is this the view of others here?

  10. Certain would be too strong. Very likely would be my analysis.

  11. The prerequisite condition for UKIP to do well in Labour held seats appears to be that there needs to have been a sizeable 2010 Tory vote for them to harvest eg. Great Grimsby, Dudley North.

    Would others concur with this?

  12. JAMES MARTIN – UKIP gains from LAB:-

    Yes – James, plus these factors help UKIP in LAB seat:
    * high numbers of C1/D/E
    * high numbers of WWC
    * high numbers of the elderly
    * low numbers of university graduates, BME, professional and economically secure occupations
    *on or near East Coast

    But UKIP find themselves up against a formidable LAB majority in almost all of LAB seats selected on the above basis.

    The seats UKIP have realistically (IMO) of winning from LAB are:-


  13. Given the volatility of this seat and a possible tight result in 2015, I am surprised that Janos Toth has been selected to fight the seat. He may be a local councillor but his performance in Aldridge Brownhills in 1997 was one of Labours poorest results of that election.

  14. Deepthroat – my feeling is that Labour were down to their core vote in Cannock in 2010 and in order to gain the seat so convincingly, overturning a 9,000 Labour majority, the Tories clearly picked up significant support from WWC voters.

    That being the case I would argue that the 2010 Tory vote is very vulnerable to UKIP, hence a narrow Labour gain is the most likely outcome.

  15. UKIP don’t stand a chance, they only won 2 of the 7 wards in that seat in last years local election when their vote was inflated by the European elections being on the same day. It’s gonna be a Labour hold with the Tories in second place.

    With regard to Cannock, I think Toth is one of the best people they could have selected, he’s got a high profile locally and is a very effective councilor according to my Labour voting parents who live in the seat, although not in his ward.

    Aldridge-Brownhills was one of just 2 seats in the 90 seats Labour were targeting that they failed to win, the other was Bermondsey. But 1997 was a long time ago and the tories holding on in aldridge is widely attributed to Richard Sheppards personal vote.

  16. The first paragraph is with regard to Walsall North BTW.

  17. Not our Tim Jones LOL!

  18. Though this isn’t the Lib Dem’s territory, along with a whole swathe of Midlands seats, they might just rescue their deposit here because of their decent return under Jon Hunt last time.

  19. Living in this seat, I would have said under normal circumstances that Labour would win it easily. The white upper-working-class/lower-middle-class vote that delivered the seat to Burley has swing back directly to Labour. So in theory, it should be a walkover.

    The one thing that makes me hesitate is the sheer ineptitude of the campaign that Janos Toth is running with enormous and indeed enviable energy. If he campaigned on (1) jobs (2) housing (3) the bedroom tax or (4) a combination of the above, he would easily win for the simple reason that these are key issues round here that have alienated the swing vote. Instead he has elected to do a side piece on immigration – which is not a significant issue in either Cannock or Rugeley – but he is overwhelmingly campaigning on ‘Save the NHS’. I have now had five leaflets from him and this has been the dominant – indeed, on two of them, the exclusive – theme.

    It is difficult to understand how anybody could make such a terrible blunder. At the moment there is still major trouble over the Mid Staffordshire scandal, including a large number of legal actions. There was a collective sigh of relief among normal people when our services were transferred to Wolverhampton, even if it is cramped, rather than Stafford. Toth, by banging on endlessly about the failures of the NHS under the government and promising to put Andy Burnham back in charge to make it all right again (!) is committing an unforced error of amazing magnitude.

    I have to say I am not impressed with him personally either – he comes across as smug, rude and condescending – but it is his campaign that runs the very real risk of losing him what should be an unloseable seat. I can only conclude that this is based on orders from London and he is either too supine or too foolish to realize that this is a seat where a healthy dose of localist pragmatism would be wise.

    This mistake is all the more baffling because nobody else is bothering to campaign (one leaflet each from UKIP and the Conservatives) so if he sat tight he’d probably win at a canter anyway!

  20. The Lib Dem candidate here is, as it now transpires, not Tim Jones, but in fact Ian Jackson, who previously stood in Lichfield in 2005 and 2010.

  21. New poster

    The Green Candidate – Paul Woodhouse declared today. Just for clarity I’m a Green Party member, I note some commentators on here have red roses to, presumably, alert people of their allegiance. How do I get one for Green?

  22. Paul Woodhead is the Green Party candidate according to their local Facebook page.

  23. Labour have put a fully page advert in the local paper in this seat for the second week in a row.

    They really are throwing everything at this one.

  24. It’s interesting if Labour think they have to throw everything at this. It ought to be a relatively straightforward gain.

  25. the polls suggest otherwise

  26. Bit of a u turn from your position in December Barnaby!

  27. I still think Labour will win this seat by about 1-2,000 votes, but they’re going to have to fight for it.

    It’s too close to call for second place though.

  28. Bit of pessimism eh? Well things can still turn round for Labour in the next two months…

  29. Or they could get worse…

  30. Exactly. It’s not at all inconceivable.

  31. Labour by about 500 over Con would be my best guess.

    Ukip well behind.

  32. Agreed about this seat. The national situation for Labour could be very difficult for them though.

  33. it’s not a u-turn. l still think labour are the likely winners. easy, though? no.

  34. I think Labour should gain this seat Barnaby, and if they don’t it will be very narrowly held by the Tories I would guess.

  35. The outgoing, one-term-and-forget-it, MP has just done his best to endear the voters to his successor

  36. Labour gain – majority 500.

    I think the Tories will hold onto 2nd place with UKIP being about 5% behind them.

  37. Labour lead of 6% in Ashcroft poll:

    Lab 38
    Con 32
    UKIP 21
    LD 5
    Grn 3
    Oth 1

  38. I had thought the Tories might hold this but with this Ashcroft poll I’d have to say Labour are now the firm favourites to take it with a comfortable though modest majority.

  39. Labour Gain. 3,000 majority.

  40. I think this seat, Wolverhampton SW, Nuneaton and North Warwickshire are the only Labour gains we can be reasonably sure of in the West Midlands region. Dudley South is now looking unlikely, Birmingham Yardley has always looked like a difficult one for Labour and Halesowen is now on a genuine knife edge. I stand by my original predictions, but it will be interesting to see what happens on the night.

  41. LAB gain by as much as 3500

  42. Lab gain 3000 majority.

  43. I think the Labour majority here will be slightly higher than my origional 500 prediction, maybe about the 1,000 mark. But it’ll still be in recount territory and this seat has surprised us before and could do again.

  44. Possible UKIP gain?

  45. There was an enormous swing here in 2010 – the third highest in the country, and the safest Labour seat to fall to the Conservatives. To predict what will happen this time we need to think about why the swing was so large last time.

    If it’s demographic change then the seat will remain Conservative. However there really isn’t much change here – we have seen a long-term but slow move to the Conservatives. If it’s a change of political culture then it will also remain Conservative, and there is clearly an element of truth to this, shown by the high levels of UKIP support found here.

    There was an above average swing to the Conservatives in all the ring of seats around Greater Birmingham. The usual trend at past elections has been a reversion to the norm in these circumstances (eg Kent where there was an unexpected low swing to the Conservatives in 2005 followed by a large one in 2010 that restored the relative position of the Kent seats). I admit there’s no sign of such a reversion in this group of seats, but this factor would lead to a Labour gain.

    Lastly the particularly large swing in Cannock compared even to other seats in this group was surely due to the retirement of Tony Wright. You never really know how big a personal vote is until the person concerned retires. In this case he clearly had a significant one. At this election the Burley fiasco will ensure there is no such feature, and it may well contribute to pushing some Conservative voters to UKIP.

    All in all while Labour ought to win this seat, I am far from confident that they will.

  46. Well I haven’t called much right on this election but I did raise doubts about the selection of Janos Toth, so I am not entirely surprised by :

    Con 20,811 44.2%
    Lab 15,888 33.7%
    UKIP 8,224 17.5%
    LDem 1,270 2.7%
    Green 906 1.9%

    Majority 4,923 : Swing 1.8%.

    To be fair to Mr Toth, the swing is not noticeably worse than other Con / Lab marginals.

  47. To empasise their defeat, the Cannock & Burntwood seat Labour won in 1992 was a worse boundary for Labour than the present constituency.

  48. Trying to work out what went wrong with Ashcroft’s constituency polls.

    Cannock Chase, Ashcroft poll — April 2015:
    Lab 38%, Con 32%, UKIP 21%, LD 5%, Greens 3%, Oth 1%.

    Con 44%, Lab 34%, UKIP 17.5%, LD 3%, Greens 1%.

    Con +12%, Lab -4%, UKIP -3.5%, LD -3%, Greens -2%.

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