2015 Result:
Conservative: 14479 (35.2%)
Labour: 17637 (42.9%)
Lib Dem: 1966 (4.8%)
Green: 1444 (3.5%)
UKIP: 5392 (13.1%)
TUSC: 223 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 3158 (7.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North East, Durham. Part of the Darlington council area.

Main population centres: Darlington.

Profile: The constituency is drawn tightly around the town of Darlington itself, with its rural hinterland in the Sedgefield seat that almost surrounds it. Unlike much of the rock-solid Labour areas surrounding it, Darlington was never a coal mining area - rather this was a railway town, the home of the first passenger railway and a prosperous engineering town, and it remains an affluent town with a solid Conservative vote in its western suburbs.

Politics: Darlington is a reliable Labour seat, but unlike most of the North East it is not impregnable. There is a solid base of Conservative support here and, indeed, it was a Conservative seat between 1983 and 1992, represented by Michael Fallon, now sitting in the far safer Tory bastion of Sevenoaks.

Current MP
JENNY CHAPMAN (Labour) Born 1973, Surrey. Educated at Hummersknott School and Brunel University. Former prison psychologist. Darlington councillor 2007-2010. First elected as MP for Darlington in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 13503 (31%)
Lab: 16891 (39%)
LDem: 10046 (23%)
BNP: 1262 (3%)
Oth: 1194 (3%)
MAJ: 3388 (8%)
Con: 10239 (26%)
Lab: 20643 (52%)
LDem: 7269 (18%)
UKIP: 730 (2%)
Oth: 507 (1%)
MAJ: 10404 (26%)
Con: 12950 (32%)
Lab: 22479 (55%)
LDem: 4358 (11%)
Oth: 967 (2%)
MAJ: 9529 (23%)
Con: 13633 (28%)
Lab: 29658 (62%)
LDem: 3483 (7%)
MAJ: 16025 (33%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PETER CUTHBERTSON (Conservative) Born 1983, Darlington. Educated at Hummersknott Academy and Essex University. Political consultant.
JENNY CHAPMAN (Labour) See above.
ANNE-MARIE CURRY (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 64 Responses on “Darlington”
  1. The result of last night’s Lascelles ward by-election :
    Labour 426
    LD 129
    Conservative 117
    Lab Held

  2. Declaration of Darlington in 1992-

  3. Prediction for 2015-
    Chapman (Labour)- 50%
    Conservative- 28%
    UKIP- 12%
    Liberal Democrat- 9%
    Others- 1%

  4. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 42%
    con- 29%
    UKIP- 18%
    Lib- 11%

    I think the results may of gone a tad over the top in predicting 50% for labour, particularly since UKIP exist now. Even though in the past that would have been an achievable figure. All the rest you can is pretty much what the results said and what you’d expect.

  5. Conservative candidate = Peter Cuthbertson:


  6. Is there a Green Party candidate for Darlington? As a first time voter, I really would like the chance to vote for someone other than the old parties.

  7. For information regarding myself including photographic image to publish on your website please email me at [email protected]
    David Hodgson
    UKIP PPC Darlington

  8. Labour hold. 5,000 majority

  9. Hi Tracy
    There is a Green Party candidate for the parliamentary election, Mike Cherrington, and candidates in all of the twenty wards for the Council elections.
    Thanks for your support.
    Election Agent
    Darlington Green Party

  10. Darlington council have messed up the election to a certain extent. A number of ballot papers were issued to voters that were missing the name of the UKIP candidate.

  11. farcical – presumably it will have to be rerun if there is a petition

  12. I’m very surprised there was a small swing to the Tories in Darlington reducing the Labour majority from 3,388 to 3,158.


  13. Yes, though it was Conservative in 1983 and 1987, when a certain Michael Fallon was the MP. There are some posh semi rural bits where I’d imagine the Conservatives still do rather well.

  14. Would Alan Milburn have made any different to the majority if he hadn’t stood down in 2010?

  15. AndyJS The Tories did increase their vote in several NE seats, that you may not have otherwise seen. Poor Labour results.

    Stockton South +7.8 5.0 to CON
    Middlesbrough South +1.4 .7 swing to Lab
    City of Durham +8.9 3.0 to CON
    Bishop Auckland +6.2 1.9 to CON (Maj under 10% !)
    Sedgefield +6.0 2.1 to CON
    Hexham +9.5 1.8 to CON

    Berwick too for obvious reasons.

  16. Thanks for the figures. Sedgefield is a surprise. I thought UKIP would mop up the anti-Labour vote there.

  17. Its a bit too North Yorkshire like in the tory parts for that.

  18. Jenny Chapman has tweeted a prediction that if Corbyn stays as leader the Tories will win this seat with a majority of 2000 at the next election. Sounds about right.

  19. ‘Sounds about right.’

    It certainly does

    The last. I think only, time the Tories won Darlington was in 1983, when Labour had Foot as leader

    The MP was actually Micheal Fallon – albeit in a much more right-wing guise

    I simply cannot fathom why so many Labour Party members are determined to repeat the mistakes they made in the 1980s (and the Tories made under Hague and IDS) and make themselves unelectable, essentially handing Mrs May and her right-wing government a licence to do thinks that would have the founders of the Labour Party spinning in their grave

  20. The Tories won Darlington in 1987 as well as 83. Though it doesn’t really change your point.

    Tweeting a prediction of your own defeat is a stupid thing to do.

    If Labour MPs were really concerned about becoming electable then they should have persuaded a premier league name to take on Corbyn. Owen Smith is languishing at the bottom of the third division. I’ve no confidence he’d perform much better than Corbyn in a GE.

  21. Her tweet highlights again how realistically it is hard to see most of the PLP standing on a Corbyn manifesto in 2020. You can’t credibly go round saying ‘vote for me, but by the way I think we’re doomed and I don’t have any confidence in my leader as party leader let alone Prime Minister’.

  22. It’s worth remembering it was Labour MPs who enabled Corbyn to stand for the leadership in the first place last year

  23. Nobody who is a premier name would be able to beat Corbyn as most voted for action in Syria which is an massive negative in the current labour party.

  24. @Tim Jones

    Yes, and they are not blameless for getting Labour into the mess they are in at the moment by any means.

  25. Certainly not impossible, especially Bishop Auckland. But they would be much more extraordinary gains than Darlington which has historically been fairly marginal except in Labour’s best years.

  26. FWIW I think the moderates are entirely to blame. Had I been a moderate (and indeed some on the soft left have come to the same conclusion) my strategy would be the following.

    Voice my concerns but then get on with opposing the Tories. All the doomsday predictions about how Labour were going to get wiped out were always nonsense, Lab might very well have lost badly under Corbyn but there is a sufficient number who actually like what he says or just vote Labour out of blind loyalty, habit or because they hate the alternatives to render a wipe-out near impossible under a FPTP election I’d say a bottom floor of about 25% which would still easily keep Lab as the officially opposition on about 180-200 seats.

    United though they almost certainly would have done better again and instead focused on a “damage mitigation strategy” of ensuring the least damage possible to Lab by vehemently campaigning for Corbyn and holding the Tories to account.

    Then when Corbyn fails (which they were supremely confident he would) they could point out that they said as such when he was first elected but they did everything in their power to help him and no blame could be levelled against them. Then Corbyn stands aside, they’re careful not to nominate another leftie and they return to business as usual sadly in a slightly weaker state maybe and having endured 5 extra years of the Tories.

    As it is though they have plunged Lab into chaos, made their own positions untenable, alienated the membership, made Lab look worse than it ever could have if they united behind Corbyn, worst case scenario enabled decades of Tory rule and even if/when Corbyn loses badly his supporters can rightly blame the moderates for not supporting him. A total cock up that serves no purpose just because they couldn’t accept a mandate.

  27. A mandate though that the country shows every sign of decisively rejecting

    To be honest I find it unedifying in the extreme to see Labour MP upon Labour MP line up to attack a fundamentally decent guy (it’s almost as bad as the fundamentally indecent right-wing press who have always got their kicks from having a pop at the good and righteous, who make up stories to have a go at him) who won the leadership fair and square, but bottom line is that if Labour are serious about getting into government (and surely that’s the aim of going into politics) they won’t get there with Corbyn at the helm

    Even if you take his policies put of the equation – and being a politician that’s almost impossible – he’s just not a leader in any sense or form.

    He’s a protester and protesters rarely make effective leaders

  28. Tim Jones
    Well I’d argue you don’t even need to take his policies out of the equation, many are very popular, the issue is Corbyn who doesn’t have the leadership qualities everyone goes on about.

    But ultimately he had a irrefutable mandate and no matter how badly you want to get rid of him the only methods the moderate MP’s could take would do more damage to Labs electability than keeping him. Had they just played the long game they could have stepped up when Corbyn lost which they are all so convinced he would have.

    As is though they have went down this destructive path which does little else besides demonstrate their impatience and stupidity.

  29. ‘Had they just played the long game they could have stepped up when Corbyn lost which they are all so convinced he would have.’

    Butt to be fair to them – the reason moderate Labour MPs are desperate to get rid of Corbyn isn’t to spite Corbyn but comes down to the fact that him staying on as leader for the next general election minimises Labour chances of winning it

    Labour ran on a Corbyn program in 1983 and got trounced by a domestically very unpopular Thatcher government, which was enjoying a surge in popularity after defeating the Argentine Fascists in the Falklands war

    At least the MPs recognise that Corbyn’s enthusiastic support isn’t matched by the public

  30. At least the MPs recognise that Corbyn’s enthusiastic support WITHIN THE PARTY isn’t matched by the public

  31. Tim
    83 is always rolled out as a comparison but it really is awful. SDP splitting the anti Tory vote, the Falklands polling bounce and hugely beneficial boundary changes delivered the Tory landslide not the Lab manifesto. In fact there was some research done on it and it concluded that had the 83 election been fought on the 79 boundaries, the Falklands war didn’t happen and the SDP votes were reallocated back to their party of origin there would have been a small swing TO Labour, not enough for them to win but enough to leave Thatcher with a bare majority.

    Moving back to modern times though keeping Corbyn may have reduced Labs electability but staging a messy coup, splitting the party and openly undermining your leader damages your electability more. As one tweet summed up, “we are making Labour more electable by making it less electable”

  32. “At least the MPs recognise that Corbyn’s enthusiastic support WITHIN THE PARTY isn’t matched by the public”

    Yes and this is why all the bragging about Labour membership surging is just smoke and mirrors. All it suggests is that a bunch of like-minded people are registering, creating an even bigger echo chamber (social media amplifying that to something much bigger than it is) of those who are already of that particular political persuasion.

    Membership numbers don’t mean anything, as it’s the people who DON’T belong to parties who decide elections. The majority of those who voted Conservative in 2015 weren’t members and probably don’t give a stuff about what the party does day-to-day within their local associations.

    The Labour party isn’t what it used to be from decades ago when much bigger numbers of the workforce belonged to unions. And the belief that Corbyn can mobilise people who don’t vote at all is something not one single politician in this country can do. There’s not a shred of evidence that he can “convert” the politically dispossessed or apathetic.

  33. 30 million people vote in general elections. If 400,000 people vote for Corbyn in the leadership election that represents about 1.3% of them. Most of the other 98.7% don’t think very much of him….

  34. Rivers10

    I would be cocky to claim that I knew what Labour MPs thought better than you as I’m not a member, but consider this:

    Yes, some of them no doubt want rid of JC because he’s not a leader and damages Labour’s chances in 2020 etc, like you say. (I believe even some MPs who genuinely supported him last year, ie not like the Margaret Hodges who nominated him, fit into this category).

    However, I am pretty sure that a section of the Labour PLP / members wants rid of JC less because he won’t lead Labour into Government than the dread of what course he / Labour would take in Government if he somehow did, eg on National Security, other things too.
    In other words, many of them are thinking of the good of the country, to their credit – no doubt in many cases also mixed with personal ambition and desire for Government. But don’t underestimate the danger many even ‘on the left’ see in Corbyn’s ilk.

    To be fair, if you look at his friends (Sinn Fein / IRA, Latin American Socialist-cum-Communists who are deeply anti-USA, a few anti-semites too), you should concede that those of us who would genuinely dread a Corbyn / McDonnell / Clive Lewis type leadership do have a point.

  35. I don’t actually think it is that likely we get to the situation where Corbyn leads a Labour party of 230 MPs into a general election. If the PLP do allow that to happen they only really have themselves to blame for what would be likely to follow.

  36. Rotherham very unlikely to be a UKIP gain unless Labour splits in two and there are strong candidates for both halves in the constituency. UKIP have been expecting a break through in the town for a few years now and have put in loads of resources, but there seems to be a cap on their support.

  37. I think if a snap election in the next year was called we will probably get a corbyn leading 230 into an election but by 2019 the split will happen.

  38. Rather Valley is probably a better UKIP prospect for a gain than Rotherham. Mansfield and Stoke-on-Trent North (though a confident Tory party would also be interested in Stoke, which could result in a split vote and Labour holding) are two others that are quite possible, as well as Hartlepool which is I think their most likely gain.

  39. @rivers10 ”83 is always rolled out as a comparison but it really is awful. SDP splitting the anti Tory vote”

    I don’t believe this is true. I remember reading several times both on this site and others that the Alliance took roughly equally from the Tories and Labour in ’83 (or Alliance voters preferred government type being roughly split). That often wheeled out story that the Alliance damaged Labour badly is misleading statement wheeled out by the left to try to excuse the fact that when Labour ran on a very left wing platform they lost, badly. A great deal Alliance voters were appalled by Labour at that time and wouldn’t have voted for them under any circumstances.

  40. Boundary changes in Darlington would likely add rural Conservative leaning wards to the urban core, resulting in a more marginal seat. It also seems to fit the model of market towns or new towns that are on good transport lines becoming better for the party.

    It would be interesting to see if many of the new 180,000 Labour joiners live in seats such as this.

  41. BBC2’s new series Common Sense (a copy of Gogglebox in a way although they also look at the papers) features two from Darlington.

    If they’re typical I can see this seat going Tory again even without boundary changes.

  42. No need to SHOUT!

  43. Going to be tight, National swing at present produces a Tory gain but the incumbency and a weak Conservative candidate may be enough for a narrow Labour hold.
    Also some Green voters may vote Labour as an ABT
    Within 1000 votes either way.

  44. Any body reading might want to check out the Tory candidate’s views which are affecting enough voters in the seat to make a Lab hold more likely

  45. Labour hold, majority just over 3000

  46. Fairly decent result for Lab given Cons were expecting to take it.

    Makes the thought of Con gains in the likes of Bolsover a lot less likely..

  47. Dire result for the Conservatives.

  48. Massive fall in hung parliament prices on betfair following Darlington result. Now a 75% probability

  49. Other Tory targets in the area over 3.5% swing, this seat more or less dead heat on Bishop swing? dreadfull Tory candidate may have been one of the reasons and popular MP perhaps

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