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
2010
Con: 15503 (33%)
Lab: 17948 (38%)
LDem: 10947 (23%)
UKIP: 2636 (6%)
MAJ: 2445 (5%)
2005*
Con: 11351 (26%)
Lab: 21416 (49%)
LDem: 8812 (20%)
UKIP: 1855 (4%)
MAJ: 10065 (23%)
2001
Con: 11179 (27%)
Lab: 23437 (56%)
LDem: 7508 (18%)
MAJ: 12258 (29%)
1997
Con: 13104 (25%)
Lab: 31425 (60%)
LDem: 7450 (14%)
MAJ: 18321 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
DAVID KESTEVEN (Green)
ROB LANE (Independent)
Links
Comments - 176 Responses on “Derbyshire North East”
  1. Has Dronfield always been in this seat? I had a conversation with Kieran W on the old thread and he said that ‘Dronfield will never have been included in a Sheffied seat as it has always been on the Derbyshire side of the Derbyshire/Yorkshire county boundary’

  2. I think so – what other seat could it have been in?

  3. I guess Chesterfield wouldn’t be impossible at a push.

  4. It could have been in Bolsover, but it wasn’t. Dronfield has never been part of a Sheffield seat, although, before the county boundary changes, North East Derbyshire included a fair bit of southern Sheffield.

    Harry – have you seen the Vision of Britain website? It has a lot of constituency boundary maps, at least up to 1950, and would answer many of your questions.

  5. ‘It could have been in Bolsover, but it wasn’t.’
    Bolsover itself was in this seat up to 1950

  6. Lee Rowley has been selected as Conservative ppc here.

    In 2010 he was candidate in Bolsover.

    What is interesting though is that he is a councillor in Westminster North constituency.

    Now does he regard Derbyshire North-East as a better prospect for a Conservative gain than Westminster North or is Westminster North being reserved for another hand picked friend of Dave?

  7. Sometimes I post comments and they are not highlighted on the recent comments board.

  8. *Bump* this is a seat that neighbours my constituency. I used to live in a suburb of Sheffield that was historically part of Derbyshire, and is extremely close to Dronfield (used to go swimming there). That side of NE Derbyshire is certainly more Tory leaning, whereas further east, towards Bolsover and Chesterfield are strongly Labour. There’s a number of really beautiful villages in the constituency.

    Despite the greatly reduced majority in 2010, I could probably see this going back to a fairly safe red seat again in 2015. Natascha Engel’s support for an EU referendum could possibly work in her favour, as it’s one of those issues that has great support from both Labour and Tory voters.

  9. Another 2015 forecast:

    Lab 47 (+9)
    Con 24 (-9)
    UKIP 15 (+9)
    LD 10 (-13)
    Others 4

    ‘Natascha Engel’s support for an EU referendum could possibly work in her favour, as it’s one of those issues that has great support from both Labour and Tory voters.’

    Natascha Engel is a sensible individual.

  10. ”Natascha Engel is a sensible individual.”

    I agree, she’s great and highly underrated!!

    Suprised she wasn’t in the Cabinet during the last Labour government or in the current shadow cabinet!!

  11. Prediction for 2015-
    Engel (Labour)- 45%
    Conservative- 32%
    UKIP- 13%
    Liberal Democrats- 10%

  12. I think the Tories will be slightly lower than that and Labour higher. Most of the Lib Dem vote here is Labour-inclined and if the Lib Dems drop as low as 10% Labour will most likely be over 50%. I would expect UKIP to take mostly from the Tories in the villages on the Peak fringe. If UKIP are at 13%, which I think is too high, the Tories will certainly be lower than 30%. I know this seat pretty well as my aunt was a councillor in Clay Cross in the 80s and 90s.

  13. Engel is very supportive of an EU referendum so that could win her some extra votes. Labour’s performance in 2010 in the seat was very poor given their history in NE Derbyshire, but I expect a fairly solid majority by next year. They’ll be extracting most of their support from that solid Lib Dem vote from 2010.

    Does she still chair the backbench business committee?

  14. John Hayes, currently the MP for South Holland And The Deepings in Lincolnshire, was the Conservative candidate here against the last MP Harry Barnes in 1987 and 1992.

  15. LAB 42
    CON 28
    LD 16
    UKIP 11
    GRN 3

  16. ”Does she still chair the backbench business committee?”

    Yes Neil, she does and she’s is very good at it in my opinion!!

  17. Looking at the last couple of predictions, reckon Labour’s share of votes might be higher than the low to mid 40s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Engel’s majority going back up to 2005 levels. Especially if Labour’s vote is strong in parts of Dronfield (the western parts of Dronnie being much stronger for the Tories), and pretty much all of Killamarsh, Eckington, Staveley and Clay Cross.

  18. Does anyone think there is scope at the next redistricting to create a Chesterfield South and North out of this seat and Chesterfield proper?

    This seat is a bit redolent of York Central and York Outer.. except in this case its a quasi-donut.. and what might those new seats possibly look like Lab/Lib-wise?

  19. We’ve had that interesting debate on here before, and the conclusion of Kieran W, who grew up in Chesterfield, was “definitely not”.

    I can’t remember the exact reasons, but one must be that NE Derbyshire doesn’t divide neatly either side of Chesterfield, remembering that it actually contains some of the south of Bolsover district as well. Bolsover also slithers both north and south of Chesterfield. Given that the current seats fit pretty well into current quotas and that they are all based on long-established districts I’d think it very unlikely. At most, the odd ward might be transferred from one seat to the other to make up the numbers.

  20. The reason why a Chesterfield N and S as described above have never been mooted in the past (and in my view will never be considered in the future) is simply that the A61 or the main railway line is a far more natural way of dividing up the territory covered by Chesterfield and NE Derbys. An East/West split was the Lib Dem proposal for the most recent aborted boundary review, and I remember my late grandfather saying similar had been considered in a previous boundary review when he was a borough councillor. The latter would have been in the 70s or 80s.

    It’s not a hard and fast divide but broadly east of the A61 is very much working class ex-mining territory, while west of it is more middle class suburbia and commuterville.

  21. A comment was made above suggesting that the fact that Lee Rowley will be standing here in 2015 is indicative of the fact that Tories don’t think Westminster N is winnable. I have no particular insight into his thinking, but reckon it’s more likely he’s standing here because he particularly wants a Derbyshire seat, him having roots in this area. I noticed a while back when he was on TV talking about parking in Westminster that he still has traces of a Derbyshire accent.

    Having said all that I was surprised, given his experience that he did not go for a seat more winnable than this one.

  22. Like Erewash 🙂

    Presumably he’s positioning himself for Patrick McLoughlin and/or Pauline Latham retiring in 2020.

    Agree completely about how the A61 and the railway line naturally divide the area.

    Was your granddad a Labour councillor or a Tory?

  23. He was Labour (Mayor 1990-91) but ended up being kicked out of the party for standing as an independent against the guy who replaced him. He considered his successor to be too left wing.

  24. I see. What did he think about you being a Tory activist? Was is Chesterfield council or NE Derbyshire? My aunt was a councillor on NE Derbyshire district council around the same time.

    How’s life in Gravesend by the way? Settled in I hope.

  25. My reasons for becoming a Tory at the time centred around the issue of the EU. As someone who had voted “no” and campaigned for the “no” side in the ’75 referendum my grandad could see where I was coming from. His view by the 1990s was that he “accepted the inevitable”, but he had some identification with those who wanted to continue the fight against integration.

  26. According some messages on Twitter, Natascha Engel was one of the 10 Labour MP’s to vote in favour of Dominic Raab’s amendment on foreign criminals using Article 8 of the ECHR to avoid deportation.

    If there is a Eurosceptic vote to be won in NE Derbyshire (if you take the EU and the Council of Europe to a lesser extent as the main European institutions that divide opinion), her views (assuming enough of her constituents follow her voting record) might make the UKIP vote a little less strong in 2015.

    Engel has certainly been a far more nuanced and quieter Eurosceptic in Commons compared to many others.

  27. So her anti-EU stance is tactics rather than anything elsed ?

  28. Ms Engel did indded vote for the Raab amendment along with most of Labour’s prominent Eurosceptics- Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Gisela Stuart etc.

  29. *indeed

  30. “So her anti-EU stance is tactics rather than anything elsed ?”

    I didn’t mean to they were tactics, I just suggested that she might earn some new supporters she might not have had otherwise. She was one of the few Labour rebels in 2011 in support of an EU referendum.

    I said nuanced because she doesn’t shout it out as loudly as other Eurosceptic MP.

    Not sure why David Blunkett ended up not voting for it, seeing as how his name was reported a few days ago. Hazel Blears did so, however.

  31. In Labour circles she is one of the hard core Euro sceptics and is known to be so in the PLP

  32. Coal Aston by-election, North East Derbyshire Council, 10th April

    CON 518 (46.3%, -3.3%)
    LAB 409 (36.5%, -0.5%)
    UKIP 193 (17.2%, 17.2%)

    CON HOLD

  33. David Ashforth’s figures look correct on the swing. Thanks.

    It astounds me that we get such wildly different calculations on swing from different sources,
    and sites which can’t even understand who held the seat previously in split wards.

    The share of the vote is the average vote per candidate for that party in the previous election,
    and the seat is gain or less against the particular seat that was up for election (although you could do that on either the previous election, or coiunt it as gain/loss/hold against the previous incumbent’s party if they defected).

    But it is not really all that complicated,

    Another figure had Labour down 20%

  34. I expect a high UKIP turnout here. 97% white British, working class (although becoming more middle class) and a 6% vote in 2010 for the party.

    Prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 41%
    Con- 29%
    UKIP- 19%
    Lib- 11%

    I know many will expect a higher labour proportion of the vote but I doubt it , the fall of the liberals will aid them slightly however UKIP’s rise will really hurt them. An increased labour majority however , the tories being very much so damaged and UKIP climbing into third, with the lib dems barely making double digits.

  35. More like

    Lab 50
    Con 30
    UKIP 12
    LD 8

  36. North East Derbyshire has not just been Labour since 1935 as stated in your introduction. It was also Labour from 1922 to 1931. An earlier version of the seat known as North Eastern Derbyshire was also Labour with Harvey as MP from 1907 to his death in 1914. He was, however, initially elected in a 1907 by-election as a Lib-Lab – a Liberal with working class Trade Union links and backing. But when the Miners Federation of Great Britain to whom he belonged confirmed that they were affiliating to the Labour Party in 1909, he subsequently moved over to the Labour Party . He then stood successfully for Labour in the two General Elections of 1910 for North Eastern Derbyshire. In response to Harry Porter’s first comment, Dronfield has always been in a NE Derbyshire seat (with its shifting boundaries) ever since 1885.

  37. NE Derbyshire council will continue to be a Lib Dem free zone after the upcoming elections as they have not nominated candidates for any of the wards.

  38. The jounarlist and former Tory MP Matthew Parris was on the BBC’s Daily Politics the other day and said he’s been campaigning here and said he’s experienced postive feedback on the doorstep and expects this seat to be a Tory gain in May.

  39. As I have commented elsewhere on this site, the Conservatives have been expecting to inherit this seat since the 1970’s , mainly due to the growth of the Sheffield commuter vote, especially in Dronfield. And yet it never seems to happen…

  40. Yes, this seat has turned from ex-mining communities to affluent commuter belt. It’s slowly trending towards the Tories and will become a safe Tory seat in 30 years.

  41. I spent the weekend in N Derbyshire. I feel the above predictions are too pessimistic from a Tory point of view. However I am still not as optimistic as Matthew Parris, who has been campaigning here and seems to expect Lee Rowley to win the seat.

    I expect Lab, Con and UKIP to all benefit to varying degrees from a collapse in the Lib Dem vote. The latter have gone from having a decent number of councillors in the seat to not even putting up any candidates. I am confident the Tory share of the vote will increase. Some of the erstwhile Lib Dem vote around Dronfield and Gorsforth Valley has clearly gone Tory in recent years. Labour will however also pick up votes, with the result that I expect their majority to be only slightly reduced.

    UKIP I don’t think will do as well as the above predictions. They have managed to put up a handful of candidates in the local election (they put up none four years ago). However they are not as active here as in Chesterfield and face a far more organised Tory campaign in this seat. Indeed Lee’s campaign is in many ways more visible than that of Huw Merriman five years ago.

    I go for a result something like:

    Lab 41
    Con 37
    UKIP 12
    Lib Dem 10

    I may stick a tenner on the 10-1 Labbrokes are offering about a Tory victory, simply because I think it’s more likely than those odds would suggest.

  42. Not often we see you drunk on here Kieran.

    Labour will do far far better than that surely. I’d be extremely surprised if they weren’t pushing 50%.

  43. The constituency is slowly trending away from Labour (Dronfield still has some Labour support but is turning into a more of a commuter town), but the party’s strength in the eastern side of the seat in the former mining towns like Killamarsh, Eckington and Clay Cross should see them through quite comfortably. Plus they’re likely to carry the two Chesterfield wards.

  44. “I’d be extremely surprised if they weren’t pushing 50%”.

    Prepare to be surprised then. Labour would have to be heading for a comfortable overall majority nationally to get that kind of score here these days.

  45. Kieran you’re forecasting a swing to the Tories. l don’t buy that.

  46. Closeness to a campaign sometimes blinds you with silly optimism. Many of us have been there at least once. My sadly deceased great aunt was a former (Labour) mayor here. It isn’t about to turn into the kind of close marginal Kieran is predicting. About half of the LD vote will go to Labour putting them up to the high 40s at least. Tories will be lucky to remain above 30% due to UKIP. Lab majority will be 15-20% ie 10000 or thereabouts.

  47. This silly ramping of NE Derbyshire reminds me a lot of Sunderland Central in 2010, a politically similar seat in many ways. We all know what happened there.

  48. My prediction re the Labour vote is roughly what electoral calculus currently have. We differ only on the Con/Lib Dem/UKIP balance.

  49. Yes I think Labour will take this seat, mainly because of the higher proportion of uneducated voters mainly from the traditional pit areas. Not able to use their own brains to think things out, it’s a real shame.

  50. Labour at 50%…..this is taking the phrase ‘glass half full’ to beyond extremes.

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