North East Derbyshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17605 (36.7%)
Labour: 19488 (40.6%)
Lib Dem: 2004 (4.2%)
Green: 1059 (2.2%)
UKIP: 7631 (15.9%)
Independent: 161 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 1883 (3.9%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Derbyshire. Most of the North East Derbyshire council area and two wards from Chesterfield council area.

Main population centres: Dronfield, Killamarsh, Eckington, North Wingfield, Clay Cross, Staveley.

Profile: Derbyshire North-East is c-shaped seat, that curls around the south, west and north of Chesterfield. It is a traditional coal mining area, made up of former colliery towns and villages like Clay Cross, Staveley and Killamarsh. With the mines gone, however, the area has started to become a commuter area for Sheffield and Chesterfield, with middle class private housing developments springing up in the Gosforth Valley and Dronfield.

Politics: Derbyshire North East has a long history as a Labour stronghold, having been represented by Labour since 1935. The Clay Cross part of the constituency, a separate seat until 1950, has a even longer record of loyalty, returning Labour MPs since 1922, most notably the former party leader Arthur Henderson. In the 1950s and 60s North East Derbyshire used to return huge Labour majorities and Clay Cross was briefly prominent in the 1970s for a rebellion against implementing increases in council rents which ultimately resulted in the councillors (including David Skinner, the brother of Dennis Skinner) being disqualified and surcharged. The decline in mining and the growth of private housing here has made it less monolithically Labour than in past decades and in 2010 the Labour majority was reduced to only 5%.

Current MP
NATASCHA ENGEL (Labour) Born 1967, Berlin. Educated at Kings School, Canterbury and Kings College London. Former Labour party officer. First elected as MP for North East Derbyshire in 2005. PPS to Peter Hain 2007-2008, PPS to Liam Byrne 2008-2009, PPS to John Denham 2009.
Past Results
Con: 15503 (33%)
Lab: 17948 (38%)
LDem: 10947 (23%)
UKIP: 2636 (6%)
MAJ: 2445 (5%)
Con: 11351 (26%)
Lab: 21416 (49%)
LDem: 8812 (20%)
UKIP: 1855 (4%)
MAJ: 10065 (23%)
Con: 11179 (27%)
Lab: 23437 (56%)
LDem: 7508 (18%)
MAJ: 12258 (29%)
Con: 13104 (25%)
Lab: 31425 (60%)
LDem: 7450 (14%)
MAJ: 18321 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LEE ROWLEY (Conservative) Born 1980, Chesterfield. Educated at St Marys High School. Business manager. Westminster councillor since 2006.
NATASCHA ENGEL (Labour) See above.
DAVID BATEY (Liberal Democrat) Engineer. Derby councillor 2008-2011. Contested Derby South 2010.
JAMES BUSH (UKIP) Educated at Bath University. Chemical engineer. Contested North East Derbyshire 2010.
ROB LANE (Independent)
Comments - 186 Responses on “Derbyshire North East”
  1. Lee Rowley is standing for the Conservatives here again.

  2. Comfortable for Rowley, even Clay Cross is changing demographically with the new housing, Conservatives laying a good base here for the future.

  3. Sky did a brief vox pop in Dronfield.

    All but one of the locals expected the seat to go Tory.

  4. David Lomax is the Liberal Democrat candidate. He previously stood in Tatton against George Osborne in 2010 and in Bolsover against Dennis Skinner in 2015.

  5. Con gain

  6. Mansfield maybe but NE Derbyshire isn’t comparable really, its political change is down to new build housing and becoming commuter belt for Sheffield and Derby.

  7. They got an actual stage for the declaration this time in the leisure centre, unlike in 2015 when the candidates were all merely lined up on a black platform against the brick wall.

  8. Mr Nameless,

    Agree that new build is important (though – as I think you are local – hasn’t Dronfield being expanding at pace since the 60’s?).

    As such NE Derbyshire is one of a number of seats where new development is changing the political balance in seats just outside established urban areas. Cannock, Tamworth, Warwickshire North and Nuneaton – all relatively easy holds last night – are good examples in the West Midlands. Indeed I was slightly surprised that Warrington South, which I think is similar, was a Labour gain.

  9. This has been going against Labour for some time now. Engel’s majority slipped further last time, having dealt a blow in 2010. Writing on the wall?

    With the exception of Derby North (had expected Williamson to win towards the end of the campaign) and the surprise High Peak gain, Labour had a poor night in Derbyshire.

    Amber Valley and Erewash look like they won’t be competitive marginals anymore.

    The majority in Bolsover was halved and if I were in Labour, I’d worry about Chesterfield too given the Tory rise in % share.

  10. Yes. I think Derbyshire on the whole looks very grim indeed for Labour. I only really know Buxton as I have been there (albeit it was June 2002 back when Tom Levitt was still the MP) but from what I recall it had a slight bohemian feel to it so in many respects I can see High Peak being Labour’s best bet going forward, with Glossop also very good for them being close to Manchester. I’m not sure how New Mills and Chapel-en-le-Frith vote, but I have family who live in Marple not a million miles away from this seat on the Greater Manchester/Derbs. border. I would say though Derby North and High Peak will continue to be highly key marginals regionally and nationally and the Tories shouldn’t by any means give up in either of them.

  11. “(though – as I think you are local – hasn’t Dronfield being expanding at pace since the 60’s?).”

    I know the seat fairly well, though am not a local any more. My great aunt was Labour mayor of NE Derbyshire in the late 80s and is currently doing summersaults in her grave…

    From my personal observation, many of the people who moved to Dronfield in the 60s & 70s came from inner city Sheffield and probably brought their Labour vote with them…as they are dying off and being replaced by more affluent commuter types it is perhaps natural that the town is shifting to the Tories.

    “As such NE Derbyshire is one of a number of seats where new development is changing the political balance in seats just outside established urban areas.”

    Probably true though it has to remembered that NE Derbyshire has not been a safe Labour seat for several decades in elections when the Tories have done well such as 83-92. This is because the seat contains a significant Tory voting rural area on the edge of the Peak District, and because the last remnants of coal mining have now been gone for 30 years (the last coal mine in the constituency closed in 1988).

  12. Harry Barnes, the last Labour MP for North East Derbyshire before Natascha Engel, posted on here not all that long ago.

  13. Given how badly the election faltered for the Tories, I was slightly surprised this seat still came off for them.
    A very mixed bag in Derbyshire, although quite different seats.
    A bit sorry for Natascha Engel – one of the better Labour MPs and seems to be on the right of the party.

    I think boundary changes here are quite drastic.
    I really wonder whether that program will go through now.
    It just looks like it’ll upset too many people in all parties given the cut in the number of seats. Including the DUP.

  14. High Peak and Derby North were surely the worst Derbyshire results for the Tories- for the most part, however. the county is very well disposed to them demographically I think one would have to argue.

  15. Perhaps High Peak is a slightly more Manchester influence? Derby North was probably just too marginal to hold given that there was an overall swing to Labour. This one is on a bit of a separate long term journey.

  16. High Peak struck me as a bit of a strange result if I’m honest. Obviously the Glossop factor doesn’t help the Tories in the long-run as you refer to the Manchester connection- could it be the seat is slightly moving away from the Tories in the longterm because of this influence on the people who work in the ‘big city’ in another region entirely? I’m thinking actually the only thing keeping the Tories in contention in High Peak is going to be the huge rural section of endless villages and that’s what they’ll have to concentrate on?

  17. I don’t know Glossop very well – I think it’s marginal.
    Possibly Buxton is more Labour than I realised. The train service is quite infrequent.
    Whaley Bridge has elected Lib Dems at local level but they lost to the Tories in the CC elections in May. I wonder whether Labour did a bit better there too.

  18. I think it became quite obvious on the ground thst Derby North was looking promising. The big worry was UKIP and by my second visit people were saying there were ukippers coming over

  19. Perhaps Derby North was a slightly flukey Tory gain in 2015 in retrospect?

  20. I hope not.
    I hadn’t realised it only marginally voted to Leave the EU.
    And High Peak was 51% Brexit.

  21. Or, rather Williamson taking this back was in fact the flukey result? It could prove to be a bit of a modern-day version of Oxford or Peterborough- both seats that changed hands frequently between Tory and Labour throughout the 60s and 70s- in the case of Peterborough, often by the tiniest of margins.

  22. I think losing it in 2015 was complacency. Chris said himself we thought we were going to win the election in 2015. Instead we failed to gain the seats we fought and lost seats we failed to defend. A mate said to me we should hsve never lost Derby Nortn and it goes to show how bad 2015 was

  23. Grassmoor Ward By-election, 15.02.18:

    Labour 459 49%
    Conservative 38 39%
    Liberal Democrat 111 12%

    15% Swing from Lab to Cons.

  24. Interesting things here. Natascha Engel (Labour) resigned the other day as Fracking commisoner and is pro fracking. Meanwhile her Tory successor as MP here is quite skeptical of fracking and has launched anti Fracking bills in the commons.

  25. Tories gain the council here from Labour. Straight switch – first Tory direct gain from Labour.

  26. And the first time ever the Tories have had a majority here.
    Hard to see Labour ever winning it back with the demographic changes here.

  27. Depends what you mean by “demographics”. At least as much of the electroal drift here is caused by the shift in what the average Labour voter looks like, as opposed to what the average NED resident looks like.

  28. It’s gentrifying a bit as well. More middle class commuters.

  29. The same “middle-class commuters” who are abandoning the Conservative Party in droves?

  30. Gentrification these days favours Labour if anything.

  31. PTs totally right. Have you not seen the sort of places the Tories have made gains BM – stoke, walsall, north east lincolnshire, here. Pretty they ain’t

  32. “Have you not seen the sort of places the Tories have made gains BM – stoke, walsall, north east lincolnshire, here. Pretty they ain’t”

    This seat is very different from a Stoke or Walsall in that it divides strongly between a prosperous and picturesque west on the edge of the Peak district, and a post-industrial east with a strong mining heritage. Even in their darkest days of the 1990s the Tories maintained a strong base on the western side of the seat. Today this area remains the nucleus of the Tory strength in the seat.

    In the past decade the Tories have made inroads in the east of the constituency, as BM says, there have been new housing developments bringing in new residents, whilst the ex-miners have been gradually dying off (the last coal mine in the seat closed quite a long time ago now, in 1988).

    The northern bit of this seat around Dronfield, being to the north of Chesterfield and bordering the attractive Sheffield Hallam area, has increasingly become a commuter area for Sheffield, interestingly this seems to have benefitted the Tories even though such people now tend to vote Lib Dem in Hallam.

    I’ve mentioned previously that my late great aunt was Labour mayor of NE Derbyshire in the 1980s….I can feel her spinning in her grave today.

  33. In 2017 when Chris Grayling visited Bolsover to campaign the main photos of the visit were taken at a new middle class housing estate. Through I think the independents there got a lot of WWC support.

  34. Re middle class commuters, gentrification etc.

    It comes in different varieties.

    A more ‘urban oriented’ based on public sector / education / arts / media workers is not going to help the Conservatives.

    But a more ‘motorway oriented’ based on more traditional private sector workers will help the Conservatives.

  35. Your regular reminder that 39% of Financial Times readers voted Labour at the last election. Not sure any sort of gentrification helps the Tories much in the current electoral landscape.

  36. Derbyshire was interesting.

    Bolsover narrowly fell to NOC and a big Tory majority here, the size of the majority rather than the change of control.

    Labour gained high Peak and Amber Valley (due to the Belper wards in Mid Derbyshire constituency + Heage and Ambergate), made a tiny gain of 2 in South Derbyshire and Erewash.

    On Derbyshire Dales the Tories almost lost control losing seats in multiple directions to Lab, Grn, LD and Ind.

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