2015 Result:
Conservative: 27164 (53.3%)
Labour: 10391 (20.4%)
Lib Dem: 4623 (9.1%)
Green: 1876 (3.7%)
UKIP: 6922 (13.6%)
MAJORITY: 16773 (32.9%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Cheshire. Part of the Cheshire East council area.

Main population centres: Congleton, Middlewich, Sandbach, Alsager, Holmes Chapel, Goostrey.

Profile: Congleton is coterminous with the former Congleton council area, now subsumed into the Cheshire East unitary council. There is some light engineering and industry here, such as Ideal Standard in Middlewich and Siemens in Congleton , but mostly this is an affluent and middle class commuter area for Greater Manchester.

Politics: Congleton has been confortably held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1983, for most of this time being represented by Ann Winterton who stood down in 2010, along with her husband Nick Winterton who was the MP for neighbouring Macclesfield.

Current MP
FIONA BRUCE (Conservative) Born 1957, Wick. Educated at Burnley High School and Manchester University. Former solicitor. Warrington councillor 2004-2010. Contested Warrington South 2005. First elected as MP for Congleton in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 23250 (46%)
Lab: 8747 (17%)
LDem: 16187 (32%)
UKIP: 2147 (4%)
Oth: 449 (1%)
MAJ: 7063 (14%)
Con: 21189 (45%)
Lab: 12943 (28%)
LDem: 12550 (27%)
MAJ: 8246 (18%)
Con: 20872 (46%)
Lab: 13738 (30%)
LDem: 9719 (22%)
UKIP: 754 (2%)
MAJ: 7134 (16%)
Con: 22012 (41%)
Lab: 14714 (28%)
LDem: 15882 (30%)
Oth: 811 (2%)
MAJ: 6130 (11%)

2015 Candidates
FIONA BRUCE (Conservative) See above.
PETER HIRST (Liberal Democrat) Consultant physician. Former Congleton councillor. Contested Congleton 2005, 2010.
LEE SLAUGHTER (UKIP) Born Manchester. Educated at Manchester Metropolitan University. Technology consultant. Contested Congleton 2010.
Comments - 26 Responses on “Congleton”
  1. Was Sandbach in Crewe all the way up to 2010?

  2. No- it was only up to 1983.

    The Liberal Democrats have flattered to deceive here- I expect a considerable falling back next time. Fiona Bruce should do okay with incumbency and her Eurosceptic credentials (she was one of the 81 referendum rebels back in October 2011).

  3. Something like:

    Con – 47
    LD – 22
    Lab – 22
    UKIP – 7
    OTH – 2

  4. Yes- looks about right to me- could well be the first five-figure majority here since ’92.

  5. Congleton is an interesting seat insofar as the Tories have never enjoyed overwhelming support yet they’ve always stayed above 40% and neither the Liberal Democrats nor Labour have ever come within striking distance.

  6. Prediction for 2015-
    Bruce (Conservative)- 44%
    Labour- 24%
    Liberal Democrats- 20%
    UKIP- 12%

  7. The opposition here has been hopelessly split ever since the seat was created- It looks like Ann Winterton did enjoy something of a personal vote which probably helped her during the 90s and 2000s but the collapse of the Lib Dems here over time was rather striking, with Labour taking second place in 2001 and 2005. Next time coming second will be the main battle here, but I would narrowly favour the Lib Dems to finish runners-up yet again, but about 9-10,000 votes behind Fiona Bruce.

  8. The lib dems used to control congleton council but labour grabbed second place at the time when they might just have challenged for the seat. Subsequently the Tories have strengthened for various reasons in some of the relatively working-class areas of the seat such as Buglawton. Incidentally, Ann winterton was the boss’s daughter re her future husband Nicholas.

  9. The Tories would probably have lost in 1997 if there had been a clear challenger.

  10. The Wintertons were always seen as loose cannons by most of their colleagues but both of them achieved commendable results in their neighbouring east cheshire seats in 1997 – Sir Nicholas especially so given that boundary changes removed some very favourable tory territory to martin bell’s tatton seat

  11. Ann Winterton appeared to do extremely well here if the results are anything to go off. To only fall by 7.3% in 1997 was notable, and then rise back up by 5.1% in 2001- that says a lot I think. In Macclesfield, Nick Winterton had achieved some solid results in the 70s and 80s against the national swing, enjoying his best results during this period- perhaps his very slight movement in vote share after 1997 was indicative of this personal following having been retained many years earlier.

  12. Macclesfield could just about have got into the semi-marginal category in 1997 had it not been for the independent-mindedness, and very courteous & assiduous constituency service, of Nick Winterton. I had a pretty left-wing friend at university who was a constituent, and he had a long, interesting & unfailingly courteous exchange of letters with him, Winterton going to a great deal of trouble to keep the correspondence going even though he knew my friend would never vote for him. As it was the swing in 1997 was no higher than the national average & if anything was slightly less. Perhaps Macclesfield is a rather low-swing constituency – it has a fairly obstinate & solid Labour base in a few town wards in the town itself, but large swathes of the seat are virtual no-go territory for the party.

  13. That’s all very interesting thanks Barnaby. Notice how in 1987 there were swings to the Alliance in both Congleton and Macclesfield- I wonder why they made progress back then.

  14. As has I think been mentioned before, left-wing BBC newsreader Brian Redhead used to vote for Nicholas Winterton despite disliking the Conservatives.

  15. Nick Winterton got 50% of thye vote in Macclesfield in 1997 – only slightly down from the 57% he got in 1992 when his seat had wards like the super-affluent Alderly Edge included

    Along with a few seats in the West Midlands – Aldridge & Brownhills, Meridan, Bromsgrove – this was one of the Tories best results in 1997

  16. The closest Labour came in Macclesfield was at the by-election in 1971 when Winterton was first elected.

  17. Conservative Hold. 9,000 majority. Labour 2nd.

  18. This was the first time the Tories crossed 50% in the seat’s history- one of the most impressive performances of the night.

  19. There were a surprising number of constituencies where the tories beat their performance in 1983. Very surprised that this is one of them, most are working class seats in the South/Midlands like Newcastle UL or Kingswood. Or else former alliance constituencies such as Yeovil. There are a few anomalies however like Sedgefield or Witney.

  20. That may be so but on share of vote with comparable boundaries one has to be careful.
    I think this election has led to quite an increase in safe seats. Many Tories now just face Labour up a bit, UKIP, Greens up, and the fragments of the Lib Dems sometimes even third or fourth
    whereas Labour also tended to push up their majorities where they had seats and flatline or even lose share in some marginals.

  21. Congleton East By-election Result:

    Conservative 700
    LibDem 542
    Labour 409
    UKIP 266

  22. I think it’s quite interesting how the Tories now do a lot better here than they did during the 80s and 90s when Ann Winterton was the MP. I have a slight inkling a lot of the Lib Dem support was Tory-leaning and kept them in semi-contention for this seat on sporadic occasions, but only enough for a solid second place with a fairly resilient Labour vote. As a result, for a long time this seat looked like a classic case of hopelessly split opposition allowing the Tories to keep winning by miles, but the fact Fiona Bruce now enjoys 53% of the vote suggests this was always really safe for them all along, and that the Lib Dem challenge over the years failed as they ran out of finding extra votes that weren’t perhaps there.

  23. The same happened for the Lib Dems (and in some cases Labour) in many places. Regarding Cheshire, Eddisbury also springs to mind for Labour, who could never quite close the gap even when the Conservatives were doing so badly nationally.

  24. That’s true. I think in seats like these in Cheshire where the Tories have had no clearcut challenge they’ve become safer in the elections that have followed once it has been clearly established that they’re not going to lose with split opposition once one party’s efforts come to nothing.

  25. I agree with the Results in that I suspect there will have been a lot of direct LD-Con switching in middle-class Cheshire. The classic case will have been Warrington South where the once Lib Dem-supporting AB1s of Lymm, Grappenhall and Appleton will have voted for David Mowat in their droves.

  26. *ABC1s even.

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