2015 Result:
Conservative: 28384 (54.3%)
Labour: 11453 (21.9%)
Lib Dem: 3605 (6.9%)
BNP: 489 (0.9%)
UKIP: 8330 (15.9%)
MAJORITY: 16931 (32.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Leicestershire.

Main population centres:

Profile: Charnwood takes parts of three different local authorities and covers the outer suburbs and rural hinterland to the north of Leicester. It is primarily made up of affluent commuter villages.


Current MP
EDWARD ARGAR (Conservative) Born 1977, Ashford. Educated at Harvey Grammar School and Oxford University. Former management consultant. Westminster councillor since 2006. Contested Oxford East 2010. First elected as MP for Charnwood in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 26560 (50%)
Lab: 10536 (20%)
LDem: 11531 (22%)
BNP: 3116 (6%)
Oth: 1799 (3%)
MAJ: 15029 (28%)
Con: 23571 (47%)
Lab: 14762 (29%)
LDem: 9057 (18%)
BNP: 1737 (3%)
Oth: 1489 (3%)
MAJ: 8809 (17%)
Con: 23283 (48%)
Lab: 15544 (32%)
LDem: 7835 (16%)
UKIP: 1603 (3%)
MAJ: 7739 (16%)
Con: 26110 (46%)
Lab: 20210 (36%)
LDem: 7224 (13%)
Oth: 525 (1%)
MAJ: 5900 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
EDWARD ARGAR (Conservative) Born 1977, Ashford. Educated at Harvey Grammar School and Oxford University. Management consultant. Westminster councillor since 2006. Contested Oxford East 2010.
SIMON SANSOME (Liberal Democrat)
CATHY DUFFY (BNP) Born 1958, Malaysia. Charnwood councillor since 2007. Contested Charnwood 2010. Contested East Midlands 2009, 2014 European elections.
Comments - 52 Responses on “Charnwood”
  1. Stephen Dorrell was selected as Conservative candidate for Loughborough in March 1976:

  2. at the time he was elected, there were plenty of people who said that he was to the left of the defeated Labour MP for Loughborough, John Cronin.

  3. Incidentally Dorrell’s predecessor as Tory candidate for the seat was Richard Yorke QC, who was head of my father’s chambers. I was told by a Loughborough constituent that I used to know that Yorke was just about to celebrate victory in 1974, but hadn’t realised that the returns from the coalfield villages which at the time were included in the seat hadn’t yet come in. When they did it was a Labour hold after all.

  4. Thanks Barnaby. Interesting trivia, as always.

  5. The towns/villages of Queniborough, Syston and Thurmaston were in the Rutland & Melton constituency between 1983 and 1997.

  6. Prediction for 2015-
    Dorrell (Conservative)- 47%
    Labour- 25%
    Liberal Democrat- 14%
    UKIP- 10%
    Others- 4%

  7. I have to say I’m not a fan of this constituency. It is something of an ‘odds and ends’ affair as the name rather implies (I believe it is a forest).

  8. I know what you mean. It sounds a bit vague I guess. Perhaps Syston and Birstall might sound a bit more descriptive? 🙂

  9. Perhaps not having a Charnwood constituency at all would help 🙂

  10. Where would these areas go? The old Loughborough seat being revived would certainly make things more difficult for the Labour Party…

  11. I guess that’s the problem, especially as Loughborough is already pretty big. You could put the eastern bit in with Melton if you were willing to pair Rutland with Stamford as was the case before 1983. I guess you could put the incongruous western end (Muxloe et al) into Bosworth. There would clearly be knock on effects but as I said before, I don’t think this is a great arrangement.

  12. On a related note, I’ve a question for Pete et al. Is there evidence of an erosion in the Tory position in the wards immediately bordering Leicester relative to say 20 years ago? I note, for example, that Thurmaston is pretty marginal between the Conservatives and Labour. Labour carried it in 2003 and though it has since returned Conservatives, the 2011 result was very tight.

  13. I think the answer to that is no, from what I’ve seen. After all Labour got over 20,000 votes here in 1997 & polled quite well in Blaby too. Probably Thurmaston is one of Labour’s better areas & yet the Tories are still able to win narrowly there – the other towns seem generally pretty solid for the Tories. I believe that rather confusingly there’s also a village called Thurcaston which is much stronger territory for the Tories than its near-namesake. This is essentially an almost all-white, owner-occupied, generally pretty middle-class seat & any pro-Labour demographic change in the area seems to be confined to the city of Leicester itself, where indeed the remaining Tory councillors are being whittled down quite quickly; the constituencies immediately outside the city don’t seem to show any serious weakening of their overall Tory position.

  14. Labour did win the Thurmaston division in 2013 relatively narrowly. I doubt it’s solely down to demographic change, however, as the census statistics don’t suggest it’s changing that fast. What’s probably more significant is that there was no UKIP candidate, so Labour was able to hold on to more anti-government votes.

  15. One would expect a shift to Labour in the Leicester suburbs given the pronounced shift in the Nottingham suburbs. However as Barnaby says there is little sign of one. I wonder if there is a racial factor here?

  16. No racial factor here. Its just a bunch of dull areas put together. I wad surprised tge boundary commission chose nw leics to split up and not here. The villages of quorn barrow montsorrel have an identity different to loughborough the town itself. Its difficult for an mp to gight for both interests. I would prefer more charneood villages yo join quorn barrow etc and rest to go with loughborough. Its literally vows and more cows.

  17. Thanks for the contributions everyone. I asked the question because I guess you could argue that the Tories have performed quite sluggishly here and in Blaby/South Leicestershire since 1997. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that they remain safe Tory seats.

  18. I hear that UKIP have a candidate for Charnwood. His name is Andrew McWilliam apparently he stood in two local by-elections?

  19. Lib Dem GAIN Birstall ward (Charnwood) on a 15% swing from Tories

  20. The Tory leaflet is on the internet – the candidate seemed a little bit old – fashioned. Interesting to read Dorrell’s bio –
    not many family clothing firms in Leicester now.

  21. Is today’s resignation as Chairman of Health Select Committee a sign that he is retiring?

  22. I’ve just caught up with the fact that a few days ago Labour gained Thurmaston ward from the Tories. This was mainly because the anti-Labour vote was very evenly split between Con & UKIP.

  23. Stephen Dorrell has been around for a long time: he was Baby of the House in 1979.

  24. Stephen Dorrell reselected in Charnwood:

  25. Stephen Dorrell is to retire from Parliament in 2015 to take up a health policy role with accountancy firm KPMG.

    He served for 35 years in the House of Commons.

  26. Not very surprised.

  27. Me neither.

    About 15 years ago I went to the house of a then Tory PPC in Chislehurst (I won’t name her)….she was such a devotee of Dorrell that she named her house “Charnwood”.

  28. Unlikely to be missed I think – a classic example of ambition massively exceeding ability, resulting in being put out to pasture on the back benches at a relatively early age.

  29. I’m a bit surprised because it’s only a few months since he was reselected. Maybe that was just a formality.

  30. I’m also slightly surprised. He had a very good chance of becoming Father of the House one day if he’d hung on for a couple more terms.
    His standing down from the chairmanship of the Health Select Committee a few months did raise my suspicions though.

  31. ‘Unlikely to be missed I think – a classic example of ambition massively exceeding ability, resulting in being put out to pasture on the back benches at a relatively early age.’

    Not really

    Stephen Dorrell’s political ambitions effectively came to an end when he got back into the House of Commons in 1997 and saw his party change from a moderate centre-right pragmatic one to one obsessed by Europe, fox hunting and Pinnochet, as people from Runnymead’s wing of the party took charge

    Being on the Heathite Left, he was never going to prosper in that type of party and out most of his effort into managing his business – arguably too much to be an effective MP, so really he ought to have stood down earlier

  32. ‘so really he ought to have stood down earlier’.

    On that at least, we agree, Tim.

  33. “Stephen Dorrell’s political ambitions effectively came to an end when he got back into the House of Commons in 1997”

    Dorrell was widely seen as Peter Walker’s protĂ©gĂ© when he entered the commons in 1979. Had the wets prevailed over the Thatcherites in the 1980s, he would have been a high flyer and perhaps even Prime Minister.

    The opposite was the case however and Dorrell was chained to a sinking boat, left languishing on the backbenches until 1987 and even then only offered a lowly whip’s job.

    John Major rescued him when he replaced Thatcher but, as Tim says, the virtual disappearance of the Tory left after 1997 meant it inevitable that Dorrell’s career would go no further. I too am surprised he has stayed so long. Remaining an MP does make some directorships etc more lucrative.

  34. Thurmaston was Labour’s number target for the County in 2009, and was held for many years by Labour’s David Knaggs – so winning there was really norsurprise. Paul Harley (CON) also only held on to the District Council seat by 1 vote. Local issues may also have helped, especially the huge housing development planned for the open land between Thurmaston and Barkby, which the Tories claimed were a Central Government Labour policy, but still went ahead after the 2010 GE; I would guess this lost the local Tory Party a lot of credibiliity. Birstall was LibDem for many years so no surprise that they have regained their seat.

    There was also a strong and well organised BNP in Charnwood, especially in the south end from Rothley down to the Leciester City – I would guess those votes are likely to drift to UKIP.

    It is a pity that Nicky Morgan is unable to slip in to Charnwood from Loughborough (as Dorrell did when it was created) as she islikely to lose in 2015

  35. I doubt very much that Nicky Morgan will be out this year. In any case – although not theoretically impossible – it would be difficult to imagine a case where an MP/candidate could move from one seat to another when there are no boundary changes (as there were in 1997 when Stephen Dorrell moved); I can’t think of any examples where an MP has been adopted as a candidate for a seat while holding another seat without any boundary changes.

  36. ‘I can’t think of any examples where an MP has been adopted as a candidate for a seat while holding another seat without any boundary changes’

    The only example you could possibly consider would be someone like Shaun Woodward, who technically did this but under VERY unusual circumstances.

    I think even in 1997, which was the height of MPs’ ‘chicken runs’, strictly speaking there were always some kind of boundary changes involved (even if in better years they wouldn’t always have been major enough for an MP to actually move seats)

  37. Westminster Cllr Ed Argar is the new Conservative PPC

  38. The critiques of Tory “parachute men” in this forum are nowhere near as harsh as those given out to Labour SpAds et al that are dropped into the provinces..

    This one seemingly didn’t rate a mention…

  39. There is a disproportionate number of former Westminster councillors in Parliament, and probably also former Kensington & Chelsea, and, I suspect, Hammersmith & Fulham & Lambeth ones. There are even more who have stood for Parliament unsuccessfully at one time or another.

  40. ” The critiques of Tory “parachute men” in this forum are nowhere near as harsh as those given out to Labour SpAds et al that are dropped into the provinces. ”

    Well I’ve certainly mentioned previously the number of Westminster / Kensington / Hammersmith / Wandsworth councillors who have been given safe Conservative seats which they’ve previously had no connection with.

    Though I would say privileged London Tory being given affluent Conservative constituency is less glaringly different than Labour giving old industrial constituencies in northern England to the likes of the Miliband boys.

  41. Completely agree with Richard. The Tories have always parachuted rich city types into safe seats – it is expected and nothing new. Labour parachuting Miliband types into industrial seats which were the preserve of local union machines until 20/30 years ago is much more recent.

    I would say also that being a Westminster or K&C councillor has always carried massive kudos within the Tory party – both because it is exceptionally difficult to be selected for seats in those councils, and because to do so you need to be rich enough to live there.

  42. ‘I would say also that being a Westminster or K&C councillor has always carried massive kudos within the Tory party’

    As has being a Wandsworth councillor, especially In the 90s when they were levying ÂŁ0.00 in council tax. Surrey MPs Paul Beresford and Peter Ainsworth being two examples

    Labour-supporting Northern industrial seats used to be the preserve of Trade Unionists – usually local people who had been active in a Union within the constituency they were seeking to represent.

    They were working class, often socially conservative and understood the bulk of the people they represented in Parliament – a world away from the middle-class metropolitan types who sit for these seats these days – not the smartest move from a Labour Party which despite not being in government still faces losing even more working class voters than they did in 2010 – this time to UKIP

  43. Conservative Hold. 10,000 majority. Labour 2nd.

  44. Good increase in the Tory vote here

    Con 54.3 (+4.7)
    Lab 21.9 (+2.2)
    UKIP 15.9 (+12.6)
    LD 6.9 (-14.6)
    BNP 0.9 (-4.9)

    Con majority 16,931 (32.4%)

  45. Syston Ridgeway ward by-election (Leic CC), 28.06.18:

    Cons 810 60% ( + 2%)
    Lab 251 18% ( – 2%)
    LD 149 11% ( +5% )
    Green 97 7% ( -1% )
    UKIP 49 4% ( -4%)

    Cons Hold.

    16% Turnout.

  46. Birstall Wanlip (Charnwood) result:

    CON: 46.4% (+7.4)
    LAB: 33.4% (+7.0)
    LDEM: 12.1% (-22.4)
    UKIP: 4.9% (+4.9)
    GRN: 3.2% (+3.2)

    Conservative HOLD.

  47. Anstey ward by-election, 20.12.18:

    Cons 523 51% (+ 17%)
    Lab 507 49% (+ 34%)

    Conservative Gain from LibDem

    No LibDem (26%), UKIP (16%) or Green (9%) this time.

  48. Stephen Dorrell – MP here until 2015 – has resigned from the Tories to join Change UK.

  49. Dorrell has been invisible for 20 years. Hearing this news this morning I kind of assumed he’d been out of parliament since 1997 or 2001, totally forgetting he actually soldiered on as MP until 2015 (which I must have known somewhere in the back of my mind).

    Dorrell was Peter Walker’s protĂ©gĂ© and elected an MP at the amazingly young age of 27. Thatcher hated him and he was too wet to flourish after 1997 so his only period in the sun was during the disaster years of 92-97. Poor guy.

    Ironically Peter Walker’s son Robin doesn’t seem to have inherited the level of wetness which his father passed onto Dorrell.

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