Derbyshire Dales

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24805 (52.4%)
Labour: 10761 (22.7%)
Lib Dem: 3965 (8.4%)
Green: 2173 (4.6%)
UKIP: 5508 (11.6%)
Others: 149 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 14044 (29.7%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Derbyshire. The whole of the Derbyshire Dales council area and part of the Amber Valley council area.

Main population centres: Matlock, Ashbourne, Bakewell, Wirksworth.

Profile: A large rural seat, largely made up of the Peak District National Park and the picturesque villages within it. The largest population centres are the former spa town of Matlock and the historic market town of Ashbourne. Tourism in the Peak District and around the Chatsworth estate is a mainstay of the local economy.

Politics: Derbyshire Dales is very much a Conservative stronghold - there is some Labour support in Matlock itself, but most of the seat is solidly Tory. It has been held by the Conservatives since 1950, although the by-election that originally returned Patrick McLoughlin in 1986 was won with only a wafer-thin majority of 100 over the Liberals.

Current MP
PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN (Conservative) Born 1957, Stafford. Educated at Cardinal Griffin Roman Catholic School and Rodbaston College. Former farm worker and miner. Cannock Chase councillor 1980-1987, Staffordshire councillor 1981-1987. Contested Wolverhampton South East 1983. First elected as MP for West Derbyshire in 1986 by-election. PPS to Angela Rumbold 1987-1988, PPS to David Young 1988-1989, junior transport minister 1989-1992, junior employment minister 1992-1993, junior trade and industry minister 1993-1995, government whip 1995-1997. Opposition deputy chief whip 1998-2005, opposition chief whip 2005-2010. Government Chief Whip 2010-2012. Secretary of State for Transport since 2012.
Past Results
Con: 24378 (52%)
Lab: 9061 (19%)
LDem: 10512 (22%)
UKIP: 1779 (4%)
Oth: 1050 (2%)
MAJ: 13866 (30%)
Con: 24378 (48%)
Lab: 13625 (27%)
LDem: 11408 (22%)
UKIP: 1322 (3%)
Oth: 410 (1%)
MAJ: 10753 (21%)
Con: 24280 (48%)
Lab: 16910 (33%)
LDem: 7922 (16%)
UKIP: 672 (1%)
Oth: 805 (2%)
MAJ: 7370 (15%)
Con: 23945 (42%)
Lab: 19060 (34%)
LDem: 9940 (17%)
Oth: 1439 (3%)
MAJ: 4885 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Derbyshire West

2015 Candidates
PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN (Conservative) See above.
BEN FEARN (Liberal Democrat) Born Derbyshire. Educated at Manchester University.
IAN WOOD (Green)
AMILA Y`MECH (Humanity)
Comments - 91 Responses on “Derbyshire Dales”
  1. The reason Labour won Matlock is partly that the CC division includes Bonsall, a traditional Labour stronghold just outside Matlock Bath. There probably is a bit of a Guardian-reading liberal vote but I don’t think it’s a major demographic. I think that Matlock has some Labour potential in certain areas, but it wouldn’t be Labour without the inclusion of Bonsall which is one of the only 2 Labour-inclined hotspots in the constituency – the larger town of Wirksworth is the other. Although I know Wirksworth is a quarrying town, I still haven’t discovered where its Labour vote is in terms of areas within it. Ashbourne does have a small working-class enclave just west of the town centre but as a whole is a major Tory stronghold of many years’ standing, as is Bakewell to an only slightly lesser extent.

  2. Barnaby- there is some council housing on the southern edge of Wirksworth- I suspect Labour draws its vote from there.

  3. “It’s probably full of the middle class, white, guardian reading , down with the kids , champagne social justice warrior Labour are recruiting a lot of.”

    As Barnaby says, this is horseshit. The Labour vote in Matlock is traditional WWC, the remnants of the old mill town vote, plus a bit of council housing. The Peak and Dales are much poorer territory for Guardian reading Greenie types than, say, the Lake District.

  4. I’m sure it’s probably a bit of a split to be honest but I think Labour are definitely going to have to start appealing to the guardian reading sort (many of whom went lib dem in 2010) while their traditional WWC vote is split by UKIP and the likes.

    Labour may also soon be the party of ethnic minorities, I suppose it already is. The thing that I’m thinking about really is will the tories, in 2015, appease these ethnic minorities to pick up their sustainable vote or will they win back the UKIP voters and be tougher on immigration, the EU etc etc etc.

    They’re getting pulled in both directions a bit at the minute.

  5. If Labour starts actively pitching for the Guardian readers as their main demographic they will be putting their party in serious danger. It’s much easier to flake off to the Lib Dems or the Greens when it’s based on considered ideological considerations/doing the cool thing (delete as appropriate) rather than “I’ll vote for that party because a council they run built me a house, made sure the hospital that treated my cancer stayed open and helped get me a decent job”.

    The only realistic future for the Labour Party is in recapturing the vast bulk of the working class vote (let’s not imagine they don’t already still have the plurality of it, mind). The question for them is how they best do that. I suggest as a start doing some data collection. Not voting intention, but issues surveying.

    CLPs should (possibly post election since it’ll be time consuming) visit as many people in the constituency and talk to them about what issues concern them and what Labour would do about them. No pressure for VI, just listening, noting down potential council case work where necessary.

    They might not agree, but there are a lot of people out there who relish the visit. I meet them every single time I go out. That’s step one. As to what steps two and three are I’m not sure.

  6. Tory, I suspected that might be the case, thanks. We didn’t drive to the part of Wirksworth where we could see the estate. It must be of some size, since Labour was able to win council seats in the town even in the disastrous 2007 local elections.

  7. The most amusing anecdote I’ve read regarding the attitude of Establishment Tories towards the working class was about Samuel Brittan, the brother of Leon Brittan.

    During the 1980s Samuel Brittan was driving to a Conservative Conference in Blackpool and expounding his views to the friends with him.

    The car then breaks down and nobody in it has any idea of how to repair it.

    Luckily a white van driver pulls over, offers help and after a few minutes Brittan and his friends are on the move again.

    Completely unabashed by the experience Brittan restarts his talking:

    “As I was saying, the working class are completely without value.”

  8. Barnaby- yes, Wirksworth housing ward is 14% socially owned, which is above average for the constituency.

  9. Wirksworth is a strange town, similar to Ashbourne in some ways but without the Town Centre development. There are little chunks of rural deprivation and plenty of social housing.

    Matlock has the large Hurst Farm Estate on it’s edge, which is edging up the Derbyshire deprivation stats in the top 30 wards now. County Council Offices are in Matlock so there is a large public sector workforce.

  10. Matlock is the town featured in Shane Meadows excellent ‘Dead Man Shoes’ and to be honest it looks a fairly standard Labour-voting Midlands town, although there is quite a rural feel to it

    In 2010 I suspect the Lib Dems topped the poll in both of the town wards – All Saints and St Giles

    Labour do better in Wirksworth

  11. Ian Wood is the Green Party Candidate for Derbyshire Dales

  12. I find some of the information and comments above quite depressing. Is it really so simple that those with money vote Tory and those without vote Labour? Those in council housing vote Labour and those in private homes vote Tory? So patronising. What about the working class Tory? I know a few. People from traditional working class backgrounds that did the ‘Thatcher’ thing and took advantage of right to buy years ago? My parents are retired now but would identify themselves as working class, yet vote Tory. Dad a train fitter and mother a nurse. I suppose they are the opposite of middle class labour supporters, like myself. One of the Guardian reading lefties that you speak of. I expect now the leftish middle class labour supporters are now seeping over to Green, and the right wing working class will go Ukip. Regardless, it’s far more complex than suggested above. It doesn’t mean that because there’s a housing estate it will be labour! Way too simplistic.
    NB. Wirksworth may have a bigger Labour leaning because it has a large community of artists/musicians and has been building a reputation for being a centre of culture. Regular exhibitions, concerts and a world reknowned arts festival every autumn. The arts is traditionally a magnet for the left wing. The housing is more expensive than Matlock, but from many people I know there’s it’s middle class left wing.

  13. “Wirksworth may have a bigger Labour leaning because it has a large community of artists/musicians … and a world reknowned arts festival every autumn.”

    Giggle. How could we all forget to take account of that worldwide renowned event, the Wirksworth International Arts Festival? Have you got an old Del Boy 3 wheeled yellow van with New York – Paris – Wirksworth on the side?

  14. I remember in 2005 and 2010 there being lots of Conservative posters around, but driving around there yesterday I didn’t see a single poster from any party. It was like the election wasn’t happening. Anyone know what’s going on?

  15. Some constituency parties seem to have taken a decision that posters are a waste of time and money. I’ve seen no Conservative ones in my home seat of Gravesham, even in areas such a Meopham and Istead Rise that vote heavily Tory. I don’t suppose that will stop Adam Holloway holding on.

  16. Posters only really come into play in local elections in non-Westminster/EU election years (where very few wards are so safe that you can get away without a mild GOTV prompt), and in Westminster seats where those torn between two of tactical voting, 1st choice voting and “why bother, X have the seat sewn up” need convincing that it’s worth voting a certain way.

  17. Wirksworth centre of culture, that is about the funniest things I have read on the internet.

  18. Sad to see disparaging remarks about Wirksworth, it is a vibrant intersting town with many people intersted in music and the arts. The festival is enjoyed by many and is well supported by the community. We should respect their efforts.

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

  20. There was a by-election in Ashbourne on the same day as the general election. Result:

    Con 4,715 (68.6%)
    Lab 965 (14.0%)
    Greens 647 (9.5%)
    LD 543 (7.9%)

  21. that’s usually the Tories’ strongest area in this constituency, though Bakewell tends to run it fairly close.

  22. The Labour areas in this seat would be pretty traditional type I think.
    I’m not sure whether Middleton /Yg still has a presence.

    And loyal – so holding up well even when the party is led by Ed Miliband.
    A slightly low UKIP vote.
    Perhaps it’s a slightly too affluent seat combined with the reliable Labour vote.
    As in most areas, the LD vote has been virtually destroyed.
    Matlock reverting to a Lab-Con contest.

  23. There is still some Labour support there though the main areas are clearly Wirksworth & parts of the Matlock CC division, especially Bonsall. Both were won by Labour in the 2013 CC elections, but surprisingly Labour weren’t very far behind in the Dovedale division as well. l can sort of understand that if it contains Earl Sterndale, but it would surely also include Hartington & some other villages which would be very Tory indeed. l don’t think Youlgreave is in that division though l could be wrong.

  24. It’s probably a personal vote for a well-liked local. In fact it almost certainly is. There’s no other explanation.

  25. Patrick McLoughlin no longer Transport Sec but is believed to have a new job.

  26. Tory Chairman.

  27. McLoughlin Chairman of the Conservative Party. Takes on the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster title vacated by Letwin. I imagine he will only ‘attend cabinet’ from now on.

  28. A former miner and I think politically quite moderate. Not a bad call.

  29. Ok. This move makes sense.

  30. I must say i am surprised the official statement mentions he is conservative party chairman. The Queen cant exactly approve that.

  31. His former department of Transport is being closed and being replaced by an Infrastructure one to also do the energy job.

  32. Energy and climate change are going to business.

  33. So Patrick McLoughlin has just been on Marr discussing, among other things, the state of the Conservative grassroots. It is easy to forget, while the internal issues in the Labour Party are hurtling along at break-neck speed, that there are problems within the Conservative Party too – problems of a quieter, longer-term nature but no less dangerous for that. While Labour’s grassroots are running out of control, the Tories’ are slowly withering away. Neither situation is ideal.

    The Conservative Party membership is ageing and shrinking as members die. I get the impression that Conservative Party members, on the whole, are less “political” than those in Labour and associate their membership largely with garden parties rather than committee meetings. Possibly related to this, they have rather less say over the running of their party – they do not get a vote on policy, and only have a choice between two at leadership elections.

    Can a party function without grassroots? And if it can’t where should the Conservatives be looking for new recruits?

  34. People have been saying the Conservative grassroots have been dying away for years. It is somewhat true, though the number has actually been fairly steady at around the historically low figure of 150,000 or so over recent years. Even that figure is, as you say, a bit misleading as a large portion (probably a much larger proportion that Labour) of the Tory membership is made up of people who do nothing but pay their subscription, vote for the party and perhaps attend a summer party once a year.

    On that number they seem to be able to manage. Rich donors rather than members bankroll the party, especially at general election time. But of course more members = a bigger pool of potential candidates/councillors and more campaigning strength (less need to bus people in). Currently there is, even in seats they hold at Westminster, often only a skeleton local party. That may in part explain the fact that there are quite a few places that they hold, sometimes very comfortably, at national level but where they perform very poorly in local elections.

  35. Well Labour needs a much higher and more active membership than the Tories because core Tory voter groups are the kind of people that can be relied on to go to the polls and put a cross next to the Conservative candidate without any prompting. Labour’s core demographics are far, far less likely to show up and with a small Labour party membership with a virtually non-existent get out the vote strategy the Tories would nearly always win competitive elections by default.

  36. Pepperminttea: true but the membership is not there merely to campaign on the party’s behalf. Today’s members are tomorrow’s elected representatives. A smaller membership means a shallower talent pool, and fewer ideas floating around.

  37. Tories are very secretive about their membership figures, they “claim” to have about 150,000 members and have done so for the past decade or more but most consider that to be a fib. Lots of figures are thrown around with best case scenarios at about 125,000 and worse case scenario’s sub 100,000. Who knows what the actual figure is.

    Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter for the Tories, as has been said their members get little say over how the party is ran and the proportion of Tory funds that come from ordinary members is probably only visible on the balance sheets with a jewellers eye…

    It kinda plays into the stereotype but if any British political party could be ran by a secretive illuminati style group of men around a table it would be the Tories.

    Being serious though one does wonder where it leaves the Tories in the decades down the line especially if reforms to party finance are passed which all parties (bar the Tories) now support.

  38. CON hold with majority cut to just 1.

    Lib Dems benefitted the most.

    Greens made a couple of gains. Not sure where these smaller Green gains across local authorities are coming from in non-traditional areas, but maybe a combination of remain voters who’d usually go Labour and work on the doorsteps are yielding wins.

  39. Lewis Goodall has done a bit of digging on the government’s “levelling-up” agenda, and has found that some of the council areas earmarked for cash are already relatively affluent places. Derbyshire Dales appears to be the worst offender.

    Some of the places on the list are relatively affluent but at least make sense as pork-barrel politics – eg Cheadle. But Derbyshire Dales is bombproof blue territory, so I’ve got no idea why the Tories would prioritise it.

  40. Didn’t Boris also visit DD during the election campaign? I think he went to a factory for photo-ops with a load of workers.

    Fair point about this constituency, although the district council is quite evenly split: Tories – 20, Lib Dem – 8, Lab – 6. They could lose their council majority. But isn’t it also the case that parties have favoured their natural heartlands when it comes to spending money (in addition to marginals)?

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