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. Harry’s predecessor was hardly an assiduous MP and spoke in parliament only a handful of times in 8 years, almost entirely on issues pertaining to coal mining and the miners’ strike. I imagine the Labour party locally was very surprised by their near defeat in 1983 and that this was instrumental in selecting someone like Harry Barnes who was the opposite of a stereotypical old-school NUM time server.

  2. Cheers “The Results” and “H.Hemmelig” – this is my effort at the ‘History Of Labour Party In N.E. Derbyshire” –

    “Joe James B” says ” 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.”

    If my calculations are correct (taking the average votes for parties in each Ward) in the NE Derbyshire District Council elections the percentage votes fell as follows – Labour 48.1%, Conservatives 41.2%, UKIP 8.6%, Lib Dems 1.5%, Others 0.5%. This delivered the following results Labour 34, Conservatives 14, Independents 1. A strong element in these results is (as Joe James B suggests) that Conservatives votes were stacked up in certain areas – such as Wingerworth and Dronfield (excluding the Labour Ward in Dronfield North). A less concentrated vote would have given the Conservatives a better result. But a number of other imporant factors were also at work.

    The area covered by the NE Derbyshire District Council is wider than that of the NE Derbyshire Parliamentary Constituency. It includes parts of the Bolsover Constituency – namely Holmlewood and Heath, Pilsley and Morton, Shirland and Sutton. In total these returned eight Labour, one Conservative and one Independent. Then cutting in the other direction, there are two wards on the Chesterfield Borough which fall into the areas of the NE Derbyshire Parliamentary seat. These are (1) Barrow Hill and New Whittington and (2) Lowgates and Woodthorpe. In the Borough Council elections these returned three Labour, one Lib-Dem and one UKIP.

    Another distinction between the Parliamentary and District elections is that UKIP only appeared on the ballot paper in seven District Wards out of 25. The Lib Dems and the Greens contested none of these seats at all, whilst “Others” only appeared in six wards. So when voters were given Parliamentary and Council voting papers, then (except for committed Labour and Conservative voters) these ballot papers gave a very different scope. They also show that at the time of these elections, the two main political parties had deeper roots in the area and could run almost full slates of candidates. That can, of course, alter if what are currently minority parties begin to make progress.

    My above calculations are rather “back of the envelope” stuff, so I always stand to be corrected on the statistics – at least at the edges.

  3. Holmewood & Heath (North East Derbyshire) result:

    LAB: 79.0% (+7.4)
    CON: 21.0% (-7.4)

    That there are wards in NE Derbyshire returning this kind of result makes me suspect that who wins this in 2020 may be a game of turning out the base, US style.

  4. The ward is in Bolster constituency.

    There was also a by-election in Coal Aston (within this constituency):

    Con 66.6% (+15)
    Lab 33.3% (-1)
    UKIP no candidate from 14% last time

  5. *Bolsover, not Bolster….the automatic corrector…

  6. Not sure whether Engel being a Deputy Speaker will help her… being able to campaign on a less party-political campaign probably has probably helped Lindsay Hoyle in Chorley. Boundary changes couldl make a big difference here too.

  7. I would seriously doubt how many of Engel’s constituents know she’s a Deputy Speaker.

  8. Sorry about the poorly written previous post by the way! Yes, not many will know she’s a Dep Speaker but she’ll be able to communicate it, presumably. People might see it as an indication that she’s well respected. I noted at the GE, from pics on Twitter etc., that Lindsay Hoyle’s campaign placards read ‘Re-elect Lindsay Hoyle’ with only a tiny LAB logo, and weren’t in LAB colours.

  9. Thanks to Harry Barnes, former MP for this seat, for explaining the local election results, and much else. Sorry for my late reply.

  10. Excellent summary above by Harry Barnes that I only came across the other day. There is just one thing I would make clearer. The reason for the Tories stacking up substantial votes in a minority of wards, meaning this year a decent performance in the parliamentary constituency was not fully reflected in councillors elected, is that turnout is substantially higher in wards won by the Tories than in ones won by Labour. I make average turnout in wards won by Labour just under 62 per cent, in Tory wards just under 75 per cent.

    The Conservatives comfortably held a seat in Coal Aston ward in a by election last week. This is no surprise. From memory the ward was won by Labour during one of the dire Tory performances in local elections in the mid ’90s, but quickly reverted to electing Conservatives before the turn of the century. The oldest online records show the two member ward was split between Labour and Tory in the 2003 elections, electing a full slate of Tories at every election afterwards.

    The ward illustrates how different parts of NE Derbys are politically to nearby Sheffield despite being extremely close geographically. The Tories losing places like Coal Aston and Wingerworth in the 90s proved to be a blip, while in Sheffield they have never recovered.

  11. It’s being rumoured that Engel is currently favourite to replace Bercow once he stands down.

    If Engel does become Commons Speaker, it’ll be a straight fight between Labour and UKIP here plus possibly a few other minor parties and independent candidates (the Lib Dems and Tories won’t place a candidate against a Labour Speaker and vice versa).

    Would Labour be hold onto this seat witth a straight battle between them and UKIP whilst Corbyn is leader? Would Labour need the Tories here to help them win in 2020 by splitting the right-wing vote?

  12. Rumoured by who? I’d say Lindsay Hoyle has far more chance than Engel – although Engel is respected, mainly for her work as the first Backbench Business Committee chair, I’m not sure she has the authority to be a good Speaker. In any case if Hoyle wanted to run as the less senior Deputy Speaker I’d imagine she wouldn’t.

    As for what would happen were she to become Speaker I’d imagine she’d win easily on 60-70% of the vote.

  13. Wouldn’t UKIP be inclined towards not standing against the Speaker aswell?
    Still, we don’t know when or if this is going to happen.

  14. The ‘convention’ is an odd one in that it has been observed only intermittently (whether that makes it a convention or not is debatable) and even then only by LAB, CON and LD. These three have observed the ‘convention’ at every election since 1997 and also in 1987 and 1979. In 1992 and 1983 there was no Speaker seeking re-election. However, in the two elections of 1974 Selwyn Lloyd was challenged by Labour in Wirral (he was generally regarded as a fairly partisan Speaker). Before then the convention was observed in Soton Itchen in 1970 and 1966, and Cirencester and Tewkesbury in 1955 but not in Cities of London and Westminster in 1964. In Hexham it was observed in 1950 but not 1945.

    As for whether the convention is a good thing I’m not sure. There is a case for the Speaker not being a constituency MP, but this wouldn’t be perfect as it would be argued he or she would lose touch with the issues constituency MPs deal with, something that it could be said is helpful if somebody wants to do the job well.

  15. They’re all marginals today in any case.

  16. Not invincible sure but more Labour friendly that’s all I said.

  17. In this neck of the woods, the changes appear to make NE Derbyshire and Bolsover much more equal in terms of Labour’s strength. Bolsover will be quite a bit worse for Labour with the Dronfield area included. Factor in an almost certain Skinner retirement or death, and Bolsover’s status as a Tory-UKIP target has been brought forward an election or two (but not as soon as 2020).

  18. That’s true, I’m actually pleasantly surprised as these proposals, some truly horrific seats but its nowhere near as bad for Lab as I anticipated.

  19. Also I suggested this last night and I’m going to suggest it again by spamming it everywhere, maybe we should keep discussions on boundaries confined to the relevant European region thread? Thus avoiding spamming every seat thread?

  20. “Factor in an almost certain Skinner retirement or death, and Bolsover’s status as a Tory-UKIP target has been brought forward an election or two (but not as soon as 2020)”.

    Possibly. TBH I think Labour will be pretty pleased with the proposals in this part of Derbyshire. Essentially they constitute the abolition of this highly vulnerable Labour seat with almost all of the Tories best NE Derbys wards (Ashover, Barlow & Holmesfield, Brampton & Walton, Dronfield Woodhouse and Wingerworth) being removed to safely Tory Derbyshire Dales. This basically deprives the Tories of a realistic target in this part of the county.

    Bolsover & Dronfield might be viable from a Tory/UKIP point of view at some point, but I don’t see it being any time soon. It’s a bit difficult to tell from local elections where wards frequently go uncontested or Labour are only face independents, but I just get the impression there are enough Labour votes in the Bolsover, Shirebrook and Clowne wards and the other smaller former pit villages to see Labour home in virtually any circumstances.

    Accross Derbyshire the proposals basically assure Labour of four seats in all but a wipeout (Alfreton & Clay Cross, Bolsover and Dronfield, Chesterfield and Derby North), when under the existing boundaries they could easily have been down to three in the county at the next GE.

  21. Always value your opinion on this part of the world Kieran.

    How does the new Derby North favour Labour? Would have guessed it would take back some wards from Mid Derbys which ought to help the Tories. Or has it taken in some of Derby South?

  22. @Kieran have they really kept the name ‘Derby North’?? It looks suspiciously like ‘Derby West’ to me. Also what ever they have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to call ‘Derby East’ is Tory by over 2,000.

  23. Derby East only Tory by 2,000? That surprises me I thought it would have been higher.

  24. Laura Kuensberg on BBC suggesting quite strongly that the Boundary changes will not be approved – and even the possibility that Theresa May might not be averse to abandoning them.

  25. Probably a bit premature, this the BC’s first draft after all, however if the final proposals are anything like the current ones then I can see them not being implemented. Not quite as bad for Labour as the Tories might have hoped, too many Tory casualties etc etc.

  26. @Rivers yes sorry I added the wrong Derby North ward it would actually be about 3,300.

  27. ‘Senior Conservative source says there a “60-40” chance the boundary changes WON’T happen. ‘

  28. Reducing the number of MPs and tightening the permissible variance from quota has politicised the boundary changes to an unprecedented degree.

    IMO it would be better for May to backtrack and allow the commission to have another go based on the traditional criteria. That would still be better than nothing. Most of today’s seats were drawn up more than 15 years ago and are now seriously out of line.

  29. I’d say there is a 70-30 chance they get implemented. The commitment to at least the principle of boundary changes is strong in the Tory party, and Labour haven’t helped themselves in getting Tory support by making it so political by going on about ‘gerrymandering’ and so forth. There will, of course, be concerned Tory MPs but I’m sure there will be an operation underway to reassure them that they are very likely to get a seat.

  30. I think there’s a 90% chance these proposals will go through. Only 10 Tory seats disappear and 38 left the Commons at the last election so it should be easily possible to accommodate those lost seats through retirement.

  31. Labour are also of course speaking with forked tongues, as the boundary changes will be a godsend to Momentum, enabling wholesale clearing out of MPs they don’t like.

  32. I agree with HH (I would perhaps have a 10% tolerance rather than 5%, which would allow a lot more flexibility). However, it is probably too late to backtrack now given the need to have changes in place at least a year or two before an election. Changing the rules would require legislation, which Labour and the Lib Dems could use their position in the Lords to hold up, and after that the process of drawing up the boundaries would need to start all over again.

    I’ve been surprised by how keen the Tories have been to defend the cut in MPs – which was only ever a populist pledge made in the context of the post-expenses election of 2010 and the start of austerity, and which has never been properly justified.

  33. HH
    I said the exact same thing days after Cameron won in 2015. The MP reduction was a populist ploy at the height of the expenses scandal when everybody really hated MP’s, there was never any real need for it.

    By committing himself to it after 2015 Cameron got greedy and rather than taking the smaller but almost guarantied prize of a basic review he wanted the motherload of the seat reduction review. A gamble that has very possibly backfired…but that’s not exactly uncommon of Cameron is it…

  34. Andy
    I haven’t worked out all the exact notionals yet but the issue isn’t just the number of seats lost its the number of Tories who suddenly find themselves in marginal or more marginal constituencies.

    Then you have the MP’s who want to avoid a messy selection battle so while only one seat may be abolished it could possibly result in 2 or 3 MP’s rebelling to avoid the battle for what’s left.

  35. I pretty much agree with Andy.

    There will IMO be a lot of retirements in 2020. Not just through old age but I expect quite a lot of younger Cameroon careerist types might call it a day – the Matt Hancocks and Nicky Morgans aren’t going anywhere fast now.

    If May chooses to spend political capital on this she can push it through with use of retirements and promises of peerages where necessary. I just do not think it has been at all positive to have made the rules so restrictive however. Nonsensical boundaries must surely weaken the constituency link.

  36. There’s a number of “pacifying modifications” that the government could suggest during the consultation stage – promote ward-splitting over multi-council seats, slacken the 5% tolerance to something a little higher, even keep the size of the HoC at 650 but with equal constituency sizes for each of the four Home Nations. One thing that’s for certain is a lot of these proposals will be heavily modified

  37. The proposals for Derby use the main railway line as the major part of the boundary creating more of a a north west/ south east split, but strangely (as noted above) retaining the North/South names.

    The Derby North of the proposals is very different from the current Derbys North. It made far better for Labour by losing the Tory’s strongest ward in the current seat, Mickleover, to S Derbyshire and the also Tory Chaddesden to Derby South, while gaining Labour Abbey and Arboretum and Lib Dem Blagreaves.

    Derby South though becomes an excellant prospect for the Tories, containing three of their strongest wards in the whole county: Oakwood and Spondon from Derby City and Aston from S Derbyshire district. It also contains Chellaston from Derby City which is also reliably Tory, if less so than the other three mentioned.

  38. I doubt that the likes of Laura Kuenssberg would be making such comments unless she ws aware of significant opposition in Tory ranks!

  39. Hemmelig, to answer more directly your above question, the proposals perhaps surprisingly don’t favour the Tories in Derby North because none of the good Tory wards from Mid Derbys end up in Derby N.

    Spondon and Oakwood join Derby S, while Allestree joins Amber Valley providing a boost to Tory prospects there.

  40. I understand there has been a substantial amount of Tory activity in the run up to the by-election in Tupton taking place on Thursday. The ward was won comfortably by Labour the last time it was contested, so I would be surprised if that activity results in a victory. A Labour loss would be a really poor result for them.

    It may well have been that the aim behind the visible Tory campaign was more to build support with a view to winning the parliamentary seat next time. However if the current boundary changes go through Tupton will be marooned in Alfreton & Clay Cross, which would not be a realistic Tory target.

    I am surprised the BC have initially gone for such radical proposals here. From memory the last aborted review went for a minimal change option that preserved NE Derbys, with it taking wards from Bolsover and the latter taking some from Amber Valley to more than compensate. Not sure why that wasn’t the option taken this time.

  41. Well to avoid the usual selective reporting that tends to take place on this site I thought I’d get the ball rolling. Several local by-elections tonight with some pretty dramatic results. As usual don’t read too much into them.

    Tipton (NE Derbyshire) Usually a safe Lab ward
    Lib Dem gain

    LDEM: 38.3% (+38.3)
    LAB: 34.7% (-32.4)
    CON: 17.5% (-15.4)
    UKIP: 8.9% (+8.9)
    BPP: 0.7% (+0.7)

    Crap for Labour obviously but slight mitigating circumstance the former Lab councillor had to resign fir drunkenly biting sombody on the nose (good grief) a fact supposedly exploited by the local Libs.

    Blakelaw (Newcastle upon Tyne) Usually a safe Lab ward
    Lab hold

    LAB: 43.2% (-20.0)
    LDEM: 28.1% (+19.0)
    UKIP: 19.1% (+3.0)
    CON: 5.1% (-2.4)
    GRN: 4.5% (+0.5)

    Puckeridge (East Hertfordshire) Usually a safe Con ward
    Con hold

    CON: 42.9% (-24.6)
    UKIP: 18.9% (+18.9)
    LDEM: 18.0% (+18.0)
    LAB: 11.0% (-8.9)
    GRN: 9.1% (-3.5)

    Those last two results a report ly being chalked down to big Lib Dem effort on the day in both

    Finally we have…
    Castle (Carlisle) Lab/Con marginal
    Lab hold

    LAB: 46.5% (+9.2)
    CON: 26.7% (+7.7)
    UKIP: 12.5% (-10.4)
    LDEM: 10.3% (-0.6)
    GRN: 4.0% (-3.5)

    So a mixed leaning poor set of results for Lab, same for the Tories and UKIP and a good night for the Libs. I will get accused of being a Lab apologist for this but I think this can mostly be chalked down to the Lib Dem local by election machine which we’ve seen in full swing in past months although doubtless many will blame Cobyn conveniently ignoring the Tories dissapoint in results and the fact that in the one fight between Lab and Con there was a swing to Lab but there you have it let the speculative frenzy commenced…

  42. Are reportedly rather, typing on my phone apologies all

  43. Thanks for the results Rivers10.

  44. Terrible results for Labour, showing under Corbyn’s leadership they’re set to lose Bootle in 2020 😉

  45. The Tupton by election result was definitely a surprise. It was as poor for the Tories as it was for Labour given that the former did put in some effort.

    The ward was won unopposed by Labour in 2003, lost to independents in 2007 but then won back easily by Labour in 2011 and retained easily since.

    The Lib Dems do have a history of popping up to win seats from nowhere in this seat. They won Unstone ward in a by election in 2008 having not previously put up a candidate, but then didn’t put up a candidate to defend the ward in the subsequent all out elections in 2011.

  46. If my calculations are correct, I give below the way in which the Boundary Commission’s current proposals would divide up (and thus end) the North East Derbyshire Parliamentary Constituency – which in various shapes has been in existence since 1885.

    Numbers on the electoral register would be transferred as follows.
    (1) To a newly named Bolsover and Dronfield Constituency – 35,114 (i.e. 47.8% of the NE Derbyshire electorate)
    (2) To a newly named Alfreton and Clay Cross Constituency – 20,435 (27.8%)
    (3) To the existing Derbyshire Dales Constituency – 13,415 (18.3%)
    (4) To the existing Chesterfield Constituency – 4,378 (6.0%).

    The NE Derbyshire District Council would then be split in the following dramatic way between Constituencies (although it already laps over the current NED Constituency Boundaries in places) –
    (1) To Alfreton and Clay Cross – 32,080 (41,5%)
    (2) To Bolsover and Dronfield – 31,761 (41.1%)
    (3) To Derbyshire Dales – 13,415 (17.4%)

    Submissions about the current proposals can be made to the Boundary Commission up to the 5th December, with their nearest public hearing being held in Derby on 27 and 28 October.

    My main concerns about the new arrangments are (a) that the number of MPs are being reduced from 650 to 600. In effect this will remove 50 MPs from the back-benches and add to the power and influence of front benchers. The quotas for the size of constituencies will also be based on the numbers of people who have registered to vote and not upon those who are entitled to vote. Improved registration procedures should, of course, be brought into operation to close the gap between these two groups. But in the meantime, we should not operate under an added unfairness. Let us cover all who can quaiify to vote.

    The Boundary Commission was also supposed to take into account the boundaries of District and Borough Councils and cut across them as little as possible whilst meeting requirements in term of the size of electorates. As the NE Derbyshire District is being divided into three large Constituency chunks, this clearly violates such a requirement.

    The Commission’s Report can be found here –

  47. I think biting a teenagers nose and then resigning as councillor might have something to do with it

  48. The Tories are opposing the Boundary Commission’s initial proposals in this area. They will be raising the objection alluded to above by Harry Barnes that dividing NE Derbys district between two seats is disruptive and unnecessary. They will argue similar with regard to the proposals splitting Dronfield Parish between two constituencies.

    This is unsurprising from a party point of view. As I have argued, the proposals as they stand would deprive the Conservatives of a viable target seat in this part of the world. They do also ignore the district boundaries to a seemingly unnecessary extent.

    I would be surprised if the commission doesn’t amend its proposals here to something more like the contents of the last abortive review.

  49. The long anticipated Conservative victory in this seat has been a bit like Waiting for Godot : always about to happen and yet….

    Given however Labour’s poll rating and a total of 53% Conservative/UKIP support in 2015, I think that the June election might just finally be the time when Dronfield triumphs over Clay Cross.

  50. Stephen PT- agreed- I don’t see why Engel can swim against what appears to be a strong national tide when the seat itself is trending Conservative.

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