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. Labour Hold. 5,000 majority.

  2. The BBC exit poll currently has this down as a Tory gain. From what I can see they seem to be working off some kind of regional swing model, and are postulating a swing to CON in the East Midlands.

  3. Would be a great shame if Engel lost her seat as she is a great MP and has been excellent Chairperson of the Backbench Commitee.

  4. Shame Lee didn’t quite win on what has been an unbelievable night for the party. Did pretty well with my prediction for the two main parties though. Overestimated the Labour share by just 0.4 per cent and the Conservative share by 0.3 per cent.

  5. Surprised Engel managed to hold onto this seat considering Labour’s dismal performance in seats outside the cities. Was it due to Engel’s personal vote that Labour held this seat.

  6. Yes, although the mining influence is still important for Labour. If Engel were to stand down Labour could be in trouble next time if they don’t improve nationally.

  7. Yes, Labour are in deep, deep trouble if Engel stands down here. Always comes across as a hard-working MP.

  8. The mining influence is waning rapidly here and elsewhere. The last pits in this area shut over twenty years ago, mass employment in the industry is an older story still.

    This is an important psephological story for the next 15-20 years; several of these ex-coalfield seats are heading towards the blue column. I noticed very decent results for the Tories in e.g. Bishop Auckland and Mansfield as well this time,,,

  9. Kudos to Kieran for his prediction. I never expected the Tories to get anywhere near so close. Clearly the mining influence is fading fast.

  10. It’s not surprising. You probably need to be in your fifties to have been a miner now (for any length of time at least).

    In another 15 years or so, mining will be little more than a memory, and Labour voting will start to become one as well, I suspect.

  11. “several of these ex-coalfield seats are heading towards the blue column. I noticed very decent results for the Tories in e.g. Bishop Auckland and Mansfield as well”

    Runnymede – Believe it or not, Mansfield has some nice areas which wouldn’t look at of place in a Tory seat.

    “Clearly the mining influence is fading fast.”

    H. Hemmelig – Yes, you’re right. As has been mentioned in this thread, this seat now mainly consists of commuter towns/villages for Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham.

  12. “The last pits in this area shut over twenty years ago, mass employment in the industry is an older story still.”

    That’s not entirely true; there was quite extensive opencast coal mining in this area until fairly recently, though I think most of it came within Bolsover constituency.

    You’re right about the deep pits, the last one in NE Derbyshire closed in the late 80s IIRC, though Markham in Bolsover survived until around 1993.

    I know this area well as my late aunt was mayor of NE Derbyshire in the 1980s. Clay Cross remains very run down though there are also some very nice parts of this seat, especially bordering on the Peak.

  13. I live only a few miles from Dronfield. I used to go swimming at the leisure in the 90s. Has *some* Labour presence in the east, but Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston have move to the Tories. I I know quite few friends with have young families who’ve bought houses there, commuting to Sheffield or Nottingham.

    Clay Cross, Eckington and Killamarsh are what’s keeping Labour competitive but I think in time they’ll drift away too.

  14. NE Derbyshire now definitely isn’t the same seat Harry Barnes used to represent. I am a bit puzzled how the Tories can run Labour so close in the constituency but Labour retain the council relatively comfortably. Maybe the ward boundaries are a bit out of date. I don’t think they’ve been reviewed since the late 90s

  15. Yes kudos to you Kieran. Given the longterm trend to the Tories in this part of the world I wasn’t shocked by the result, in fact it could be even closer next time I think, and has to now be considered to be a realistic candidate for a Tory gain in 2020.

  16. If this seat still exists in 2020 on the current boundaries, I can realistically see this being a good chance of a Tory gain given the trends here in their favour.

  17. Declaration, May 2015.

    Natascha Engel does come across as a good MP – pragmatic, non Metropolitan.
    Good performance by the Tories aswell though. I don’t know this seat very well (although quite often visit Derbyshire Dales). There do seem to be some very attractive villages in the Peak park, and some change in the area as others have said.
    Perhaps Natascha Engel has kept it Labour (although their majority could push up a bit if they improve their position).

  18. I don’t think Labour are on the verge of imminently losing this, although another big swing against them could do it.

    Dronfield is pretty posh-looking, and large parts of it probably vote Tory, but there are also reasonable number of public sector university/hospital employees who work in Chesterfield or Sheffield.

  19. It doesn’t look like a rapid change rather a chipping away.
    I suppose looking back, the Tory vote in 1997 was respectable for a seat they have never won.

  20. I agree. They held up very well here in 1997 because of how well they did in the previous few elections.

  21. I would feel quite sorry if Engel lost though. Quite centre/right and always seems pleasant towards people in other parties.

  22. Thinking of how this is trending. I think it was only post 2005 that the seat really began to trend tory.

    The result here in 1979.

    L 27,218 48.1
    C 21,889 38.7
    LIB 7,436 13.2

    So perhaps, It’s a bit surprising this didn’t fall in 83/87, given the very poor labour performance in the East Midlands. I’m thinking that Dronfield was a part of the Yorkshire Coalfield is this correct?

    Whilst the effects of personal votes are overrated, I do think that this would have been very close without Engel.

    I know nothing about the tory Lee Rowley, he might have been a wonderful candidate but I note he’s Westminster Cllr. I wonder how much effort they put in? Though it paid off as they won Derby North.

  23. Lee Rowley is from Derbyshire originally and previously stood in Bolsover in 2010.

  24. You’re right Labour held pretty well in the 1980s.
    I think the lack of a worse Tory set back in the 1990s may be a glimmering of a trend though.

    There is more count footage for anoraks which can be quite interesting to watch and there were a lot of Tories and Labour at the count.
    Not sure whether that is an indication of the seat being hard fought.
    Perhaps the core Labour vote though is quite sticky and this far they’ve always had a few points extra in hand.

    If they have another stand still result or for some reason Engel was no longer candidate I don’t think it would take much though.

    I’m not sure about Dronfield

  25. “I wonder how much effort they put in?”

    A lot. That’s why I was confident the Lab majority would be reduced.

  26. A lot. That’s why I was confident the Lab majority would be reduced.

    Yes, the Journalist and former Tory MP Matthew Parris mentioned on the BBC’s Daily Politics a few weeks before they GE that the Tories put in a lot of effort in this seat and even predicted they would win. I’m guessing (considering the overall results for Labour on Election night), the only the Tories were kept at bay due to Engel’s personal vote.

    However, if Corbyn is Labour leader in September, Engel will lose this seat in 2020.

  27. surely they wouldn’t be that stupid but I do remember the early 80s.
    Still the Tory vote nationally if not here is still below 79-92.

  28. ”surely they wouldn’t be that stupid but I do remember the early 80s”

    Joe James B – The party membership has been hijacked by nutters since 2010 so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Corbyn was elected Labour leader next month.

  29. This seat seems to have had a particularly bad result for Labour in 2010; but the swing was not greatly out of line with national trends in May.

    There wer other similar seat in which the UKIP vote is greater.

    It is good to see that there is a Labour seat in which the MP went to school in Canterbury and therefore might have some understanding of Kent, which Labour seems to hve written off but cannot afford to do so. She is however yet another example of an MP with little life experience outside the political system.

    From Anthony’ description of this seat it seems to be goegraphically an area likely to be affected by redistribution. What was proposed here in 2013 and what might be done before 2020.

    This is a seat that has inexorably moved against Labour demographically, as the coal mining industry has disappeared and it it is q quite plausible that it will be lost to Labour as a result of redistribution quite as much as an adverse swing.,

  30. A Westminister Cllr in a labour seat usually means paper candidate, so apologies to Kieran and Lee Rowley.

    This had been quite a low swing seat until 2010, when the ex-mining areas swung hard towards the tories. Ironic since these were the voters that Cameron was not trying to attract.

    I can’t take Corbyn seriously but half of the voters eligible to vote have joined since the 2015 election, so the race is his to lose.

  31. I think Labour will have to fight hard in this seat in 2020, as I suspect the Tories could come even closer here next time, and reselecting Lee Rowley would probably be to their benefit given the trends against Labour here.

  32. The local elections on the same day (May 2015) generally show the Conservative vote more stacked up than Labour’s, which would partly explain why Labour has a comfortable majority on the council.

    I think it’s going to be some years to come before Clay Cross is competitive, but Dronfield I think must have voted Conservative in the General Election.

  33. I think this seat will move into recount territory for the first time in its history in 2020 whoever takes the seat- and that’s a sign IMHO of just how far Labour have fallen back here since 1997.

  34. JJB – half of the Lab leadership electorate have joined since May, according to Sky News.

  35. Not quite sure why Christian persists in using this site to pursue his intra-Labour factional battles.
    l am also not quite sure why so many predictions are being made on the site for seats which in many cases will either be changed out of all recognition, or won’t exist at all. l guess that if this seat survives at all, its destiny will depend on whether it annexes rural Tory territory from High Peak or coalfield villages from Bolsover.

  36. Will the boundary changes go through though?

  37. lt’s just about possible that they might not, but l think we have to say it’s far more likely than not that they will. lt is true that a few Tory MPs such as Phil Davies will oppose them, but not many others will even though as it stands quite a lot of them would lose their jobs. One of those in the last parliament who was opposed, Nick de Bois, has of course now lost his seat to Labour anyway. lt would take 7 Tory MPs to vote against the government, and/or a lot of abstentions, AND all opposition parties including the unionists to vote against the government for the proposals to be defeated, and surely that’s pretty unlikely.

  38. It would be a shame if the boundary changes did go through because there are some absolutely monstrosities proposed. If I were a Conservative backbencher I would be rebelling on this (as I would on quite a lot of things given the current leadership).

  39. How many new seats would be created roughly?

  40. One solution would be boundary changes with the current number of seats remaining unchanged, except perhaps in Wales which is more heavily over represented than elsewhere.

  41. Andy JS- yes I think that would be the best solution. I don’t dispute the need for boundary changes but reducing the number of seats to 600 and the excessively tight elecorate quotas produced some seats which no reasonable person could defend.

  42. I agree with that. I think ideally the number of seats really has to stay around 650 and not drop below that number. Some proposals for new seats will be ludicrous in psephological as well as actual terms, as there could potentially be areas linked together that don’t really belong in the same seat, especially if they come from separate council areas for example. But quite apart from that, as Tory rightly refers to above, it is important that the electorates for any new seats are sensible and not something ridiculously high like 90,000 or ridiculously low like 50,000. I know it’s not easy but I hope if we do get a lot of new seats in 2020 that kind of thing has at least been considered by the Boundary Commission.

  43. I’m actually fairly relaxed about crossing council boundaries (though not county boundaries) if the areas linked together belong in the same seat. So for example I have absolutely no problem with the CWAC ward of Parkgate and Neston being linked to the Wirral ward of Heswall because there are links between the two communities. What I object to is linking together very different areas in order to achieve the achieve a correctly sized seat. We saw numerous examples of this in 2013, one of the most appalling being the decision to link Leeds city centre with the town of Osset of all places.

  44. A House of Commons of 650 is very large compared to most legislative chambers worldwide. It is too large for effective scruitiny of Government.

    My solution would be to reduce the number of MPs drastically and to set up regional legislatures instead. BUt Cameron is dead against this.

    The matter is at present complicated bya physical Chamber which is totally unfit for purpose for reasons including its inadequate voting procedures, its lack of desks sufficient for all MPs and its insufficent committe space. Not least, protperty prices in London are ludicrous and Parliament should be moved somewhere cheaper.

    The need for excellent transport links to Parliament mean that the obvious thing to do now would be move a smaller Parliament to be beside one of the HS2 stations now being built. If I were a consittuent of Derbyshire North-East I would press for Parliament to be moved to the brownfield marshalling site at Totton, which is sufficiently near this seat to bring substantial benefits (which seat is Totton actually in, by the way). I must admit that from a national point view I would suggest for preferenced a move to Birmingham (I believe the proposed Birmingham station is in a derelict area at Curzon Street).

    Whise I am at it, stop faffing about regarding the House of Lords and abolish it.

  45. Frederic-in order for a reduction in Parliamentary size to be useful, though, we will need proportional representation first. And part of the reason our Parliament is so large is because of the UK’s large population.

    Totton is currently in the New Forest East constituency.

    Abolishing the House of Lords is also a good move-but should it be replaced by an elected or semi-elected second chamber, or should we simply have a unicameral legislature instead of a bicameral legislature?

  46. I think I may have spelled Toton incorrectly – my apologies. My understanding it is near East Midlands Airport (again my apologies as I think this may have been renamed, possibly to Robin Hood Airport)

    I agree we should have propotional representation, providing that the selection is between individual candidates with no element of Party List system. So this point is no objection to me.

    My understanding is that larger countries than the UK have smaller legislatures. The obvious example is the United States, but there are others. Of course, most, and I suspect all, of these countries have greater devolution than the United Kingdom, but again this is part of the reforms I envisage.

    England is impossibly overcentralised, particularly in the gerrymandered South-East Region.

  47. “THE RESULTS : I think this seat will move into recount territory for the first time in its history in 2020 whoever takes the seat”

    Well if that is the case, it will be the first time in recent history, but not for further back. In 1922 North East Derbyshire was such a highly marginal seat that there were numerious recounts and the matter was then taken to the Courts. No result was determined until some five months after the election. Frank Lee (Labour) was finally declared as the winner by 15 votes and could only then take his seat. Since 1922, the Constituency has been subject to various boundary changes as well as massive changes in its make up – for instance there was then a separate Clay Cross seat. The NE Derbyshire seat has been Labour ever since 1922, except from 1931-35 as a result of a Labour collapse nationally. Although Labour did still hold on with one of its best results in the Clay Cross seat.

  48. Goodness me! A reply no less from the former MP for this seat Harry Barnes no less! Great to see a former MP on this site.

    And thanks for that information- extremely insightful and interesting to get all that from a man who knows his patch inside out having been the MP here for 18 years.

  49. Harry is one of a dying breed of former MPs who retain an active presence in or near their old constituency long after retiring. I remember reading an excellent history he had written of the NE Derbyshire constituency, which I think he posted on the website of the local CLP. Many MPs these days can’t wait to leave their constituencies when they leave parliament and that is one reason why many of these ex-coalfield seats are gradually moving away from Labour.

  50. Yes it is good to see Harry on here. He was extremely well-regarded here and saw the Tories off here in the 80s when they challenged for the seat.

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