Crewe & Nantwich

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22445 (45%)
Labour: 18825 (37.7%)
Lib Dem: 1374 (2.8%)
UKIP: 7252 (14.5%)
MAJORITY: 3620 (7.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Crewe, Nantwich, Haslington, Shavington.

Profile: Covers Crewe itself, the much smaller town of Nantwich and the rural villages to the South and East. Nantwich and villages like Wybunbury and Haslington are the sort of comfortable, affluent and historic areas that are normally associated with Cheshire - and are naturally Conservative. They are, however, cancelled out by Crewe itself - a railway town that grew up around the Grand Junction Railway`s works in the nineteeth century and which remains industrial. Until 2002 it was the site of the Rolls Royce motor works and Bentleys continue to be built at the Pyms Lane factory here.

Politics: Until the 2008 by-election Crewe and Nantwich had been held by the Labour since its creation in 1983. However, it was never an ultra-safe seat - Gwyneth Dunwoody held it by only a few hundred votes on its creation in 1983 and by slim majorities in 1987 and 1992. Only in the Labour landslide of 1997 did it become more secure and the Labour majority slipped in subsequent elections making it a viable Tory target. It was won by the Conservatives in the by-election that followed the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody, the party`s first by-election gain for 26 years.

Current MP
EDWARD TIMPSON (Conservative) Born 1973, Knutsford, his father owns the Timpson shoe repair business. Educated at Uppingham School and Durham University. Former barrister, specialising in family law. First elected as MP for Crewe and Nantwich in 2008 by-election. PPS to Theresa May 2010-2012. Under-secretary of State for Education since 2012.
Past Results
Con: 23420 (46%)
Lab: 17374 (34%)
LDem: 7656 (15%)
UKIP: 1414 (3%)
Oth: 1220 (2%)
MAJ: 6046 (12%)
Con: 14162 (33%)
Lab: 21240 (49%)
LDem: 8083 (19%)
MAJ: 7078 (16%)
Con: 12650 (30%)
Lab: 22556 (54%)
LDem: 5595 (13%)
UKIP: 746 (2%)
MAJ: 9906 (24%)
Con: 13662 (27%)
Lab: 29460 (58%)
LDem: 5940 (12%)
MAJ: 15798 (31%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
EDWARD TIMPSON (Conservative) See above.
ADRIAN HEALD (Labour) Born Fleetwood. Educated at Oxford University. Consultant physician. Contested Macclesfield 2010.
ROY WOOD (Liberal Democrat) Educated at St Edwards College and Liverpool University. Teacher. Contested Birkenhead 1997, 2001, Crewe and Nantwich 2010.
RICHARD LEE (UKIP) Educated at Rainford High School. Director of a utility detection and mapping company.
Comments - 201 Responses on “Crewe & Nantwich”
  1. @H.Hemmelig – when you said Tory supporters had their heads in the sand, your own comment was:

    It is “perfectly clear” that the Tories will not win a majority. It is also “perfectly clear” that the Lib Dems will not be able to enter a 2nd coalition with the Tories because their membership would vote it down.

    I’m not sure if you meant by putting “Perfectly clear” in inverted commas that it was not nailed on. The two scenarios you suggest are likely given the current state of the polls, but it is hardly sticking a Tory head in the sand to say they aren’t nailed on, 100% certain, yet.

  2. That’s a fair comment. 100% certainty is, of course, impossible. My personal view though is that Labour being in government in some form or another isn’t far off 90%.

    I thought Joe James Broughton’s reply was nasty and uncalled for.

  3. I tend to agree with H Hemmelig and co. I just don’t see how the Conservatives can prevail given (a) their rather limited appeal compared with in previous decades (b) the fact that disillusioned left-leaning Lib Dems are probably going to vote Labour and (c) the current boundaries. That said, I am reasonably confident that Miliband will be denied an overall majority, or at least a workable one.

  4. Hello all. Long time reader, but first time poster on this excellent site! As the name suggests I am from the Manchester area and have a decent knowledge of elections and demographics etc in the Greater Manchester area. Admittedly not a region stuffed with marginal seats but the Bolton & Bury seats are usually good indicators of national trends. I will input where I can with any tidbits of information from my locality as & when anything of note occurs!
    To follow up Tory’s post, I too think a hung parliament with Labour the largest party is most likely. My latest prediction (with caution as we are still 18 months away from the GE) is Labour 300 (+42), Con 280 (-27), LD 40 (-17) with the extra 2 seats for the Nats…which would leave the intriguing prospect of a (presumably post-Clegg) Lib/Lab coalition!

  5. Forecast for 2015

    Con 42
    Lab 41
    LD 8
    UKIP 7
    Others 2

  6. A Brown- again I agree with you (and differ with Barnaby on this, which is quite unusual). I think Labour will get an above-average swing because of by-election unwind. I just don’t think that the swing will be quite enough. A three-figure Tory hold looks plausible to me.

  7. yes I am sticking to a very narrow Lab gain here.

  8. Prediction for 2015-
    Timpson (Conservative)- 41.3%
    Heald (Labour)- 40.7%
    Liberal Democrats- 10%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 2%

  9. Survation poll of marginal constituencies:

    Lab 46%
    Con 33%
    UKIP 11%
    LD 6%

    2 other constituencies to be published tonight

  10. I have to say this looks by far the most realistic of the various “UKIP constituency polls”.

    I could see that kind of result happening here, perhaps with a slightly narrower Labour lead as the election approaches and the polls move back towards the government. The UKIP percentage here is achievable, much more so than the 25% or 30% the polls are claiming in coastal Tory seats, the idea of that happening in a general election is frankly for the birds.

    I do think the Tories will find this a very tough seat to hold on to and the polls seems to confirm that.

  11. The Crewe vote would have to turn out significantly in favour of Labour in 2015. Edward Timpson presumably won them over in 2008 when the Tories ran a good, positive campaign (although Labour’s utterly horrible campaign for the by-election probably helped out too) so I wonder how much he could retain support in Crewe.

    Labour recovered fairly well in the 2011 local elections in Cheshire East, taking all the Crewe seats available. Plus they have what looks like a good candidate – a doctor at that!

    That 15% Lib Dem vote is probably going to fall back a lot and help out Labour. UKIP’s projected 11% will be interesting to note. There wasn’t a local election this year in Cheshire (coinciding with UKIP’s large surge in the shires) so seats in the county are untested parts for them.

  12. PS, does anyone have a precise list of all the wards that are in Crewe and Nantwich’s boundaries? Ever since the creation of the Cheshire East UA, can’t seem to find info on it,

  13. An employee of Cheshire East unitary council (Tory controlled since being established in 2009) told me recently that there is a strong perception in Crewe that the council tends to favour (Tory) Macclesfield.

    Perhaps this is something which may damage Edward Timpson in 2015.

  14. I really don’t think we can read too much into these polls of marginal constituencies so far in advance of the general election. I wanted to believe the ones in 2008 saying the Conservatives were on course for a three-figure majority.

    However, I would agree holding Crewe and Nantwich would be one of our greatest challenges in 2015. Had Gwyneth Dunwoody not died, I doubt we could have gained the seat in 2010. If the artificial by-election boost disappears altogether, we would not have a very good starting base.
    I was surprised though that we were able to hold on by as much as 6,000 last time.

  15. I felt so sorry for Tamsin Dunwoody – candidates get so little say about how their campaigns are run at by-elections and it must have been really depressing watcvhing the party of which we are both members making such a hash of it.
    She may not have won in any case, but if we haven’t learned from that debacle….

  16. ‘I really don’t think we can read too much into these polls of marginal constituencies so far in advance of the general election. I wanted to believe the ones in 2008 saying the Conservatives were on course for a three-figure majority.’

    Yes we can because Kellner, Ashcroft, survation etc have all been saying broadly the same thing about Con/Lab marginal constituencies for quite a few months now and Con supporters have been choosing to ignore them and me! The Tories are clearly doing very badly in marginal constituencies. This is fact. It is also fact that approximately 13% of 2010 Lab voters have switched to UKIP but this has been comfortably offset with gains elsewhere.

    I will be very surprised if Labour does not gain this but we can of course question the size of the projected swing.

  17. Cllr Silvester defected to UKIP from the Tories here, back in July. He represents Willaston and has been a Cllr for 37 years.

  18. I am waiting for the next wave of UKIP back to the Tories..or Independents… I can’t imagine what a meeting of UKIP councillors must be like.. something out of Hieronymous Bosch..

  19. You think we would take them back?

  20. Labour fortunately chose what seems like a good candidate who has a proper job and all that as opposed to some random Parliamentary researcher/SpAd.

    Getting their vote out in Crewe is vital as I don’t think many Labour MPs or would-be MPs have the kind of personal vote Gwyneth Dunwoody commanded, thereby managing to appeal to various kinds of voters in the more Tory-inclined areas of the seat.

  21. Labour held Crewe West in a by-election this evening. Fairly comfortable, albeit slightly reduced majority. UKIP polled over a quarter of the vote, and an independent came third, while the Tory and Lib Dem votes weren’t great.

    Lab: 720
    UKIP: 387
    Ind: 159
    Con: 122
    LD: 55

  22. Ladbrokes:
    1/2 Cons
    6/4 Lab

  23. This should still be a fairly straightforward Tory hold, although the majority will be significantly down.

  24. Not sure I agree with that. Big value on Lab at those odds. Tories are struggling in the north west and this seat was Labour even in 1983.

  25. I agree

  26. I’m aware we’re acting as useful idiots for Shadsy here, giving him free advice on his odds.

  27. More than half the population lives in Crewe & Labour does appear to have got over the worst of its troubles in the town. I’ve long believed that this is within Labour’s grasp given the surely significant by-election unwind factor, but it will depend of course on what the overall result is.

  28. I’d have put this down as a fairly comfortable Labour gain if Timpson’s 2010 majority was considerably smaller. He was still riding high on that by-election victory and even with Labour’s historic advantage in Crewe, the swing needed seems too high. The lack of Gwyneth Dunwoody doesn’t help either. Not to say it’s impossible for Labour, but right now they stand a better chance of gaining a couple of more northerly Cheshire seats than C&N.

  29. I agree with that, but the chance is still quite good at least.

  30. Certainly not an easy Con hold IMO. Likely to be 1,000 votes either way I think.

  31. I disagree with Adam that this will be a straightforward Tory hold. Labour’s vote in Crewe is still potentially very strong and I would expect by-election unwind to produce a higher swing than average. And yet I still incline towards a narrow hold for Timpson. This may be the North West but it’s small/medium sized town plus rural fringe North West, where the Tory fortunes have not eroded nearly so much over the last thirty years.

  32. This will surely unwind further next time. Will be very much recount territory I think. Labour may just take this one. The memories of that dreadful by-election campaign must surely be fading.

  33. Fairly likely – but a range on either side.

    Con hold – majority 1,500 – 1,800.

  34. “The memories of that dreadful by-election campaign must surely be fading.”

    The irony is that if the C&N campaign were repeated today it would probably resonate quite well. In 2008, a campaign majoring on Cameron being an out of touch toff fell flat…today it would most likely touch a nerve with many voters in this kind of seat.

    Many campaigns that were initially ridiculed turn out to have been prophetic…..the “Demon Eyes” posters and “New Labour, New Danger” spring to mind.

  35. Labour should win here in 2015. They have selected a local NHS Doctor as their candidate which seems to have wrong-footed the Tories. Ed Timpson is now a minister and such is not around in the constituency as much as he used to be.

    The Cheshire East Elections do not take place till next year (the same day as the election). However, Labour already control 20 out of 20 seats on Crewe Town Council and every Cheshire East Council ward in Crewe itself (10/10). From what I am told, the local Party are working extremely hard in the more marginal areas of Nantwich, Leighton and Willaston. If this seat does go for Labour, the loss of an up and coming minister in Timpson will be one of the biggest losses for the Tories in May 2015.

  36. I didn’t know there were boundary changes here in 1992- and they made the seat quite a bit safer for Labour. The Tory vote went down from 41.3% to a notional 38.7% whilst the Labour vote went up from 45.7% to 47.6%.

    Next year will be tight and I think the confidence in a Labour victory expressed in the post above is somewhat misguided. For instance, the contributor noted that Labour won ten out of ten Crewe wards in Cheshire East but omitted to mention that the Conservatives actually carried the constituency as a whole (albeit very narrowly). I don’t deny Labour has a better chance than Timpson’s majority implies but this is not going to be easy for Labour in my view.

  37. *of course I am referring to the 2011 local elections

  38. IIRC the seat lost a few rural wards to Eddisbury in 1997.

  39. The most famous thing about Crewe is that, historically, it has been one of the UK’s foremost railway towns.

    A few years back, Network Rail proposed to move Crewe station a mile outside the town so as to speed up the trains passing through.

    Edward Timpson apparently made himself quite unpopular in Crewe by failing to oppose Network Rail’s proposal, possibly so as not to damage his ministerial prospects. Many people in the town contrasted this unfavourably with what Gwyneth Dunwoody would have done (though even without Timpson’s opposition, the plans were dropped in the end).

  40. Remember, though, that in the general election the Labour voters in Crewe are more likely to vote than in local elections where Tory turnout is usually higher.

  41. Labour requires a wide lead in all the Crewe wards if they want to be sure of a gain. The big unknown is the potential performance of UKIP in a town like Crewe. With Nantwich and the surrounding villages much stronger for the Tories, Labour’s candidate and the local party need to throw the kitchen sink at this one.

  42. If Labour can maintain their current lead over the Conservatives, they should be able to scrape in.
    LAB 38
    CON 38
    LD 10
    UKIP 9
    GRN 3
    OTH 2

  43. Labour are weaker outside Crewe, but the rest of the seat isn’t exactly Knutsford. Victory would be possible just by running up huge margins in the Crewe wards, but you could sneak a narrow lead by winning all the Crewe wards solidly, then getting close in Nantwich. As Labour’s candidate is from Nantwich and as local elections are less informative there (there being a strong local independent grouping), that might be just as plausible a path to victory.

  44. ECB- you certainly have a point in respect of Nantwich but the Tories will have managed about 65% in both Rope and Doddington which more than stacks up with what they will have got in the Knutsford area.

  45. Neither Rope nor Doddington exist as divisions these days, but to judge by the 2011 results you may be slightly overstating how favourable they are to the Tories. The purely rural wards are extremely rural, but in those which contained a portion of Crewe’s outskirts Labour were not that distant. The Tories are still going to win them going away, but they’re not enough of the seat to outvote Crewe without the Tories also winning Nantwich solidly.

  46. Has there been an independent group presence in Nantwich for a long time? Especially prior to the creation of the new UA when the locals were still being contested in Crewe & Nantwich borough?

    Never been there myself, but the Tudor style architecture makes it seem a pretty well heeled town. Looks like a very charming town centre.

  47. LEAP has them contesting elections as far back as its result go (2002). I’m not sure how much earlier they’d been around.

  48. Time to start looking at the many seats will decide GE 2015 and I am going to start with a couple usually forgotten by the media namely by election gains by Con in previous parliament meaning higher than expected majority in GE2010.

    Let’s hope Lord Ashcroft polls here as previous constituency poll gave very high UKIP score.

    At present I feel UKIP vote will prevent Con holding seat.

    I predict narrow Lab gain.


    con 38
    lab 41
    ukip 16

    theres a shock for you!! big swings in the northwest for labour. its going to be a regional race. this is taking down a 11.8% swing

  50. no no no! the MAJORITY is 11.8%, not the swing. lt’s clear that this seat is very much on the radar now. The by-election unwind has always given Labour more of a chance than the raw figures suggested; perhaps they’ll just make it here after all.

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