2015 Result:
Conservative: 24023 (42.8%)
Labour: 21611 (38.5%)
Lib Dem: 1458 (2.6%)
Green: 1374 (2.4%)
UKIP: 7708 (13.7%)
MAJORITY: 2412 (4.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Northamptonshire. The whole of the Corby and East Northamptonshire council areas.

Main population centres: Corby, Oundle, Thrapston.

Profile: Corby grew from a small village to become a medium-sized industrial town in the 1930s after the development of the steel industry in the area. Large numbers of workers were brought down from Scotland. After the war it became a designated newtown and again there was a large amount of Scottish immigration leading to the image of Corby as being a small island of Scottish industrialism in the middle of the English countryside - the 2001 census found almost 20% of people in Corby itself were born in Scotland. In the 1980s the steel works closed leading to massive unemployment in the area, though since then the economy has largely recovered. The constituency includes not only Corby itself but also the majority of the largely rural East Northamptonshire council, including Thrapston and the market town of Oundle, best known for its public school.

Politics: While Corby itself tends to vote Labour, the now solidly Tory East Northamptonshire makes the constituency a close marginal. It was won by "chick lit" author Louise Mensch (nee Bagshawe) at the 2010 election, but she lasted only two years before resigning her seat to move her family to the USA. The subsequent by-election was won by Labour, their first by-election gain since 1997 , but they failed to keep hold of the seat at the following general election.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in CON WIN. For full details see here.

Current MP
TOM PURSGLOVE (Conservative) Born 1988, Kettering. Educated at Sir Christopher Hatton School and Queen Mary University of London. Former Parliamentary assistant. Wellingborough councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Corby in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 22886 (42%)
Lab: 20991 (39%)
LDem: 7834 (14%)
BNP: 2525 (5%)
MAJ: 1895 (3%)
Con: 19396 (40%)
Lab: 20913 (43%)
LDem: 6184 (13%)
UKIP: 1278 (3%)
Oth: 756 (2%)
MAJ: 1517 (3%)
Con: 17583 (37%)
Lab: 23283 (49%)
LDem: 4751 (10%)
UKIP: 855 (2%)
Oth: 750 (2%)
MAJ: 5700 (12%)
Con: 18028 (33%)
Lab: 29888 (55%)
LDem: 4045 (7%)
Oth: 640 (1%)
MAJ: 11860 (22%)

2015 Candidates
TOM PURSGLOVE (Conservative) Born 1988, Kettering. Educated at Sir Christopher Hatton School and Queen Mary University of London. Parliamentary assistant. Wellingborough councillor since 2007.
ANDY SAWFORD (Labour) Born 1976, Desborough, son of Phil Sawford MP. Educated at Durham University. Chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit. Dartford councillor 1999-2003. MP for Corby 2012 by-election to 2015.
PETER HARRIS (Liberal Democrat) Newark and Sherwood councillor.
MARGOT PARKER (UKIP) Born Grantham. Former European advisor and spokesperson for the promotional products industry. Contested East Midlands region 2009 European election for Libertas, Sherwood 2010, Corby 2012 by-election for UKIP. MEP for the East Midlands since 2014.
JONATHAN HORNETT (Green) Born 1974, Bishops Stortford. Educated at Richard Hale School. Runs a gardening company. Contested Wellingborough 2010, Corby 2012 by-election.
Comments - 178 Responses on “Corby”
  1. Like Derby South, this is a very marginal seat where it is very difficult to believe that the Tories would have won if they had had the competence and/or honesty to admit before the election that Midland Mainline Electrification would have to be postponed because of therrpobelms which have arisen with electrification of the Great Western line.

    Will Labour and other parties be able to keep memories of how the Tories have “shafted” this seat alive so that the Conservatives pay the price in 2020. As, following the disappearance of the steel industry, commuting to London is increasingly important here a lot of voters locally will be seriously affected by this failure to deliver.

  2. Does anyone vote based on railway issues?

  3. It won’t make any difference whatsoever

  4. I agree with HH et al.

    If anything cancelling huge projects and expenditure of Billions is often popular with a chunk of the electorate, although I realise that’s more in the case of HS2 than the electrification here or Manc-Lpool etc.

    What’s worse is when local Govt and their agencies spend eg £100m on a planned project then cancel it as happened with the Tram in Liverpool.

    I’m amazed in the clamour for devolution there’s been no mention or scrutiny of the fact that a lot of local Cllrs, Mayors and Council Officers aren’t of the calibre required.
    I know – I’ve interviewed a lot of them. It’s scary enough that they have eg £500m budget without giving them more powers or £.

  5. The argument is that more power attracts more talent.

  6. That argument has certainly worked in London….I have my doubts that it will apply to anywhere else.

  7. Corby is probably too small for its large Scottish population to make a difference but are there enough Scots in London for the SNP to consider standing a candidate in the next Euro elections? I suppose the other question is whether expatriated Scots are less Nationalistic/SNP-leaning than those who remain north of the border.

  8. At an event I was at recently Angus Robertson was asked about standing candidates in England. Unsurprisingly they have no plans to. I’d imagine they’d get more votes than 0, but probably not by much.

  9. Corby was created in 1983 and since then the only election in which the Scottish vote may have (probably did) swing the result was in 2005 when Labour had a majority of 1,517.. Other than that, in their bad years (e.g. 1983,1987, 2015) the Conservatives won narrowly in Corby and in their good years, (e.g.1997, 2001) Labour won easily.

    Before 1983 Corby itself was in the Kettering seat, which usually returned a Labour MP easily. The only time the Scottish expatriate vote may have changed the result was in 1979 when the Conservatives won by1,478.

    The other seat part of which went into Corby was Wellingborough, whis has a long histroy of being marginal. Notably, it had Labour majorities of 47 in 1964 and 187 in 1997.

    Wellingborough used to have a lot of light industry and it is probably swinging in comparative terms towards the Conservatives.

    Perhaps one may comment that the Scottish expatriate vote, whilst large, has been widely dispersed. Corby is probably the nearest to an exception.

    A smilar comment applies to the Welsh, although a substantial number of Welsh coal miners moved – they often literally walked – to find work in the Kent coal mines between the Wars,and a substantial number of them settled in Dover constituency.

    The concentrations of Irish voters in certain city centre seats, notably in Liverpool, and of incomers from the Indian sub-continent (particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh) in a number of Northern English seats have been on a larger scale and are different from a psephological perspective.


  10. They’d get derisory votes wherever they stood. Standing in one country on the basis that you think another country ought to be independent is a little on the pointless side. Also, in the event of them actually getting any votes, standing anywhere marginal would only help the Tories.

  11. On a separate note I expect this seat is going the same way as others in Northants… i.e. towards the Tories. If it wasn’t you’d have expected Andy Sawford to defend his by-election win as a first-time incumbent and given that last time they voted Tory the MP left after two years.

  12. In Kettering LAB had a bigger majority in 1979 than 1997. My grandpa lived their for a while in about 2000 and it isn’t – or at least the town itself isn’t – a particularly nice place but with the decline of industry LAB seem to have declined badly nonetheless. Were Hollobone not one of the most right-wing Tory MPs I think UKIP might have managed second there in 2015.

  13. Northamptonshire was never commuter terrriitory in the past. The coubtryside is generally rolling and the main roads too the North go either West (the hoykhead Road) or East (the Great North Road). The same applies in modern times with the M1.

    Howeverm things are changing as London becomes ever more unaffordable and train times have improved. In the case of Corby, there are no also through trains to London.

    In the near future, the East MIdlamds LIne will be electrified and then commuting (and house prices) will increase considereably.

    Given these changes, it is unsurprising that the Northampton seats are getting better for the Conservatives and worse for Labaour. All the indications are that this trrend will continue, and probably accelerate.

  14. ‘A solid member of the crap towns club’. Nice line. Goodness there’s a lot of towns that fit that description.

  15. The idea that someone would be a good leader simply because they served in the military is horseshit. Perhaps I should remind you of a few names….Eric Joyce….IDS…

  16. Jarvis was the relatively unknown outsider that might well have done well had he stood for the leadership in 2015. Now I think it will be much more difficult for him because, much like Kinnock after Foot, the leader after Corbyn will probably be somebody who hasn’t totally alienated the previous leader’s supporters. Jarvis has refused to serve on the frontbench and been very damning of Corbyn’s defence policy.

  17. “In Kettering LAB had a bigger majority in 1979 than 1997”

    In 1979, Kettering was an over-sized seat which included Corby.
    I think the Tories won the notional Kettering (1983) by 8,000+ in 1979, and boundaries have changed a bit since aswell.

    I think you probably knew this, but in case.

  18. Kettering in the 1970s should have been called Kettering & Corby or vice versa but probably wasn’t for slightly snobbish reasons to do with Corby being a New Town. The same thing happened with Buckingham containing Milton Keynes without the latter being mentioned in the title until 1983 despite being about 25 times more populous at the time.

  19. Depends when the seats were created though.
    Quite a lot of seats were not actually altered in 1974.

    Kettering was I think altered in 1974 a bit but not much. So it simply would have existed all the way from 1950 at least and Corby just grew up in it I guess.

    Probably the same for Hitchin although Stevenage is quite an old New Town.

  20. @Joe James B

    Thanks, I didn’t know that. Explains the 1979 result.

  21. Jack

    I think the notional 1979 result was something like
    C 25-26,000 to 17-18,000.
    Labour is not insignificant in Kettering itself though
    but not enough to win, barring a landslide.

    I think there must have been quite a swing to Labour in 1974
    because the majority rose from about 4,000 in 1970 to 15,000 in Oct.74.
    I say I think because not quite sure how significant the boundary changes
    in 1974 were if any.

  22. ”The idea that someone would be a good leader simply because they served in the military is horseshit. Perhaps I should remind you of a few names….Eric Joyce….IDS…”

    Come on, Jarvis is in a different league to Eric Joyce and IDS!

  23. Totally unproven.

    Where is your evidence for Jarvis’s supposed political genius aside from the fact that he served in the forces.

    I attended a couple of leadership hustings after the 2001 election and your argument was raised with tiresome regularity by the blue rinse brigade in favour of IDS….who incidentally is a politician of real ability and substance despite being an awful leader. I wholly doubt even that applies to Jarvis actually.

  24. “much like Kinnock after Foot, the leader after Corbyn will probably be somebody who hasn’t totally alienated the previous leader’s supporters.”

    Who would fit that description in the current context? If the Foot/Kinnock comparison is emulated, Corbyn’s successor could very well turn out to be someone not too dissimilar to Ed Miliband. Certainly the PLP won’t risk nominating a Socialist Campaign MP again.

    The newest intake of Labour MPs generally seem to be more left of centre compared to the 1997 and 2001 intakes.

  25. I wouldn’t put being on the left of the Labour Party as necessarily a big disadvantage on 2020. Of course, Tory voters will hate such candidates but then they won’t vote for them anyway. This is particuarly so in seats like Corby which have a major split between local voters, in this case including people once associated with the steel industry on the one hand and commuting incomers on the other.

    If one is discussing New Town seats like Stevenage North of London, it needs to be remembered that they expanded hugely as a result of people moving out of London. There was no parliamentary redistribution between 1955 and 1974 and the electorates of some of these seats had exceeded 100,000 before they were split.

  26. @Neil

    Politically the next leader might be similar to Ed Miliband, but they are unlikely to come from his background as part of the New Labour establishment.

    Lisa Nandy and Owen Smith are quite often mentioned. I’m not actually convinced Nandy is much more than a fairly standard left of centre 2010/2015 intake Labour MP but she does seem to have a following among Labour supporters.

    A couple of outside bets I’d keep an eye on are John Healey (a popular man who is back on the frontbench now and may have the right ideological background to follow Corbyn) and Louise Haigh (from the left and seems very able but not a Corbyn true believer). I also wouldn’t rule out Tom Watson, though I don’t think that’s all that likely.

    The disaster scenario is that moderates depose Corbyn too early and his supporters proceed to install somebody like Richard Burgon and Clive Lewis, both of whom to me seem to be complete left-wing loons.

  27. Tom Pursglove reported to be on the verge of resigning as one of the Vice Chairman of the Tory Party over his opposition to the Brexit deal.


    Interesting piece here on the demise of Corby District Council.

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