Ellesmere Port & Neston

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16041 (34.3%)
Labour: 22316 (47.8%)
Lib Dem: 1563 (3.3%)
Green: 990 (2.1%)
UKIP: 5594 (12%)
TUSC: 192 (0.4%)
Independent: 31 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 6275 (13.4%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cheshire. Part of the Cheshire West and Chester council area.

Main population centres: Ellesmere Port, Neston, Willaston, Elton, Mickle Trafford.

Profile: Straddles the base of the Wirral peninsula to include Ellesmere Port on the Mersey estuary and the town of Neston . Ellesmere Port is a heavy industrial town and major employers includes the Vauxhall car plant that manufactures the Astra and the huge Stanlow oil refinery, focus of protests over fuel prices in 2000 and 2011. Neston was a mining town in the nineteenth century, but is now largely a middle class dormitory town.

Politics: As might be expected, Ellesmere Port itself is heavily Labour, the surrounding villages and parts of Neston are better for the Conservatives. The seat was Conservative held upon its creation in 1983, but was won by Labour in 1992 and seems a remote Conservative target now - even in their 2010 defeat the Labour party enjoyed nearly a 10 per cent majority.

Current MP
JUSTIN MADDERS (Labour) Born 1972. Former solicitor. Cheshire West and Chester councillor since 2008. Contested Tatton 2005. First elected as MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 15419 (35%)
Lab: 19750 (45%)
LDem: 6663 (15%)
UKIP: 1619 (4%)
Oth: 782 (2%)
MAJ: 4331 (10%)
Con: 13885 (33%)
Lab: 20371 (48%)
LDem: 6607 (16%)
UKIP: 1206 (3%)
MAJ: 6486 (15%)
Con: 12103 (29%)
Lab: 22964 (55%)
LDem: 4828 (12%)
UKIP: 824 (2%)
Oth: 809 (2%)
MAJ: 10861 (26%)
Con: 15274 (29%)
Lab: 31310 (60%)
LDem: 4673 (9%)
MAJ: 16036 (31%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JUSTIN MADDERS (Labour) Born 1972. Solicitor. Cheshire West and Chester councillor since 2008. Contested Tatton 2005.
TRISH DERRAUGH (Liberal Democrat)
JOHN DYER (Independent)
Comments - 49 Responses on “Ellesmere Port & Neston”
  1. Andrew Miller has announced he’s stepping down/retiring at the next election.

    Had he done so last time it might have made the result more interesting but I suspect it will be an easy Labour hold.

  2. The Tories’ best chance of taking this was indeed 2010 where they took some of Labour’s other seats in Cheshire.

    This should be a comfortable Labour hold with increased majority.

  3. I agree with Neil. Labour’s strength in Ellesmere Port itself is decisive here. It would be better for the Tories if the affluent and still strongly Tory communities of Willaston and Parkgate joined Heswall etc in something approximating the old ‘Wirral’ seat.

    I think a 20% majority is very achievable for Labour here next time around.

  4. I wonder if Labour will impose an AWS here?

  5. I guess one between here, St Helens South and Blackburn can be AWS.

    So far they imposed 7 AWS out of 9 retirements (in 3 cases there was a female MP retiring)

    AWS: Lewisham Deptford, Bristol South, Hampstead, Southampton Itchen, Coventry NE, Falkirk, Gower
    Open: Greenwich & Woolwich, Leeds East

    They have 8 more vacancies to decide (next NEC meeting is in mid January).

    Aberdeen North, Glenrothes
    Ellesmere, Blackburn, St Helens South
    Stoke North (woman MP retiring)
    Dulwich (ditto)

    Given the highest share of AWS in the first selections in Labour held seats, I don’t think they will break this group of retirements in favour of AWS again.

    They can convincingly push for an equal split this time.

    They usually go for AWS when the retiring MP is a lady. It’s not a rule though. Stoke North doesn’t have female MPs, so they will likely go for an AWS there. In London they have already many female MPs. So they can argue for an Open shortlist in Dulwich. At the same time it’s probably one of the CLPs who won’t mind an AWS.

    Aberavon ..open because Kinnock wants it (and Gower was AWS)

    In Scotland there are 2 vacancies. Falkirk got AWS as we all know….but the targets split in favour of Open (AWS only in Argyll & Bute, not the most likely Labour gain!).
    Aberdeen already have a female MP in South (Ann Begg). Fife area doesn’t have female MPs at the moment. So I would see an AWS in Glenrothes more likely. Council leader has been selected for January’s Holyrood by-election in Cowdenbeath. Any other male local hopeful can be persuaded to be stay clam by raising the prospect of a potential vacancy in Kilkcaldy.

    Then there’s North West: here, St Helens and Blackburn. I think they can try for 1 AWS and 2 Open.

    AWS 4 (Dulwich, Stoke North, Glenrothes, 1 in NW)
    Open 4 (2 NW, Aberavon and Aberdeen North)

    It’s just a thought! The NEC operates in its own mysterious ways.

  6. Having read Andreas interesting post I can’t help but think the Labour party these days seems increasingly ‘anti-man’. AWS should be used sparingly to encourage more women into politics but the above seems like overuse to me.

    I do wonder when Labour will start doing all ethnic minority shortlists (considering thats their 2nd core vote after middle class white Islington types).

  7. Surely there are people out there in the wider Labour movement who have doubts about all-women shortlists. Especially if we look at the gulf between Old and New Labour.

    The policy has been in place for 2 decades. David Cameron’s A-list was derided by many within the Conservatives. Where are the Labour voices of criticism?

  8. It hasn’t damaged Labour’s election results, presumably because Labour’s vote is very tribal compared with the Tories, even though some candidates selected by AWS stich-ups have been extremely poor. It has allowed Labour nationally to paint itself as the womens’ party, which has lost the Tories their historic advantage with women voters. Cynical yes but they probably see no need to change a winning system.

  9. Yeah, I read about how women voters used to be more Tory-inclined than men in previous decades.

    Bar Thatcher’s landlside victories, I always assumed females were more left-leaning in Britain.

  10. Certainly not. In every single election from WW2 until well into Tony Blair’s government, a higher percentage of women voted Tory than men.

    In the old days it was because more men were union member, with women largely staying at home.

  11. Recent examples of Labour allowing a female MP to be replaced with a man are few and far between.

    The only I can think of are Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2001 (Paul Farrelly replacing Llyn Golding), Dewsbury in 2005 (Shahid Malik replacing Ann Taylor) and Reading East when Jane Griffiths was deselected ahead of the 2005 election.

    I doubt that these days the Labour NEC would allow anything other than an all women short list where a female MP is retiring.

  12. Yes, open shortlists following a female retirement are very rare

    I think they were obliged for an open shortlist in Reading East because an AWS can’t be imposed when a sitting MP loses the trigger ballot.

    In 2001 AWS were not used as declared unlawful in the run up of 1997 GE. They were reintroduced after 2001 because Labour government changed the law allowing for them. Sunset clause expires in 2015.

    Other examples of open shortlists following female retirement I can think of are:

    -Burnley 2010 after Kitty Usher (originally decided as AWS, then switched to Open but they ended up selection a woman anyway)

    -Sefton Central/Crosby after Claire Curtis Thomas

    -Warrington South 2010 after Helen Southworth

  13. There’s a lot of rubbish being talked about AWS here, as is usually the case. AWS for Westminster seats is not going to encourage more women into politics on its own, because very few people suddenly wake up one day and decide to run for parliament. But it’s not designed to – it’s designed to increase the proportion of female candidates selected, because of an observable trend of female shortlisted candidates not getting selected otherwise.

    It’s anti-man only insofar as it means men don’t outnumber women amongst Labour MPs 10 to 1. If you think that means our gender is being oppressed, I would have questions to raise about your numeracy.

    That said, there’s plenty of complaint about AWS within the Labour movement, partly stemming from those who disagree with positive discrimination on principle, partly from male would-be candidates angered they can’t stand for their home seats and partly from people concerned that it’s a sticking plaster and that we haven’t confronted the more systemic reasons for the lack of female representation and activism in the party.

    You might not have seen much of that criticism, but that’s because AWS is an internal party matter. As such it’s mostly discussed internally (and it’s rarely interesting, so the press have little reason to pick up on it unless it involves somebody stalking out of the party in a huff.) The evidence of Labour opposition to AWS is not in proportion to its existence.

    Some candidates selected by AWS have been poor, but so have some candidates selected from an open shortlist. There’s no evidence that taken as a whole candidates selected by AWS are any weaker than other candidates.

    And I highly doubt that the use of AWS has had any impact upon Labour’s support – most people are not going to know what proportion of Labour’s MPs are female. Much more significant in terms of appeal to women is a) policy, particularly on things like childcare and tax credits and b) the greater likelihood of women being employed in the public sector.

  14. The last time I checked my candidates’ list, Labour had selected 51 women in their top 100 target seats,

  15. What I really can’t stand is the sheer hypocrisy of young male SPADs who got into parliament on a stitched-up NEC shortlist lecturing would-be male candidates why they should not be allowed to apply for their home seat.

    If we must have all women shortlists, then why not impose a reselection on on every single constituency including for all sitting MPs, and stipulate an AWS in 50 per cent of them. That would have the advantage of creating an equal parliament in one fell swoop, and clearing out a lot of useless dead wood at the same time.

    The same applies to the Tories and the A-list.

  16. LAB HOLD MAJ : 20%
    LAB 49
    CON 29
    LD 10
    UKIP 8
    GRN 3
    OTH 1

  17. Andrea, I think the Equalities Act 2010 extended the sunset clause for AWS from 2015 to 2025 with an option for ministers to make further extensions by order.

  18. Adam, thanks. you’re right.

  19. Reselection in all sitting constituencies isn’t going to happen, because you’d lose a lot of excellent sitting MPs and their knowledge base purely by chance – most of them would not want to uproot themselves to stand in an entirely different seat, and the things that make somebody an excellent Commons performer aren’t necessarily the same things that help in a selection meeting. You wouldn’t clear out the dead wood, because 50% of them would get lucky and glide to reselection.

    That said, the grounds for defining a constituency as AWS or otherwise is definitely too arbitrary and it’s far too easy for NEC members with an interest to put their thumbs on the scale.

  20. Full open selection contests for all sitting MPs won’t happen also because the party won’t welcome potential tense months in all constituencies midterm in every parliamentary cycle.

    As for open contests not clearing deadwood out of the Palace….Helen Clark of Peterborough won the open contest against rivals in 2004 when she lost the trigger ballot!

    The best way to decide which seats are AWS is probably toss of a coin…or put all vacant seats in the same area into a hat and draw a decided number of seats from it


    maybe some young male SpAds don’t get why some want to represent their home seat rather than a random constituency

  21. The NEC has decided this seat will be an Open Selection. Applications close Monday 21 April, shortlisting is Saturday 24 May with final hustings and count Saturday 7 June.

  22. Browsing Twitter, seen only a couple of names attached to this seat re Labour’s selection. Paul Donovan and Gareth Gould who I believe are both local to Ellesmere Port.

    Labour look well placed for a hold and increased majority, but look out for a possible UKIP. This seat does have parts which they could target.

  23. Edit: UKIP *surge. Just noticed that omission.

  24. Cllr Justin Madders won Labour selection

  25. He’s also a solicitor who specialises in employment law.

  26. I hadn’t noticed that. Justin Madders used to have a column in the Liverpool Echo (as did Esther McVey). Neither lasted however, unlike Rex Makin’s, which is still going strong, with his weekly comments about local politicos.

  27. Hi I can send you a picture or some more details on me if you’d like


    Ps Nick Lacey resigned from UKIP and has rejoined the Conservatives here in Ellesmere Port & Neston ( He was that disapointed with what he found )

  28. Oops *disappointed*

  29. Left Unity, a new party campaigning on a platform of anti-austerity has chosen Felicity Dowling as their candidate for the upcoming general election in Ellesmere Port & Neston.

    See link below:


  30. ‘clearing out some of the dead wood at the same time’…..are we saying that there are no dead wood current female MP’s – ??????

  31. Labour Hold. 6,000 majority.

  32. Neston featured on a property show on Channel 4 I saw the other day. Never visited Neston but it looks like a typical Tory market town! I’m guessing this seat is Labour due to the voters Ellesmere Port?

  33. A good result for Labour here, especially with Andrew Miller standing down. This is no doubt indicative of this seat being heavily influenced by the Merseyside Effect, as part of it is on the Wirral and not too far away from Liverpool either. But Ellesmere Port is such a heavily Labour-voting town I would imagine that probably had the a big impact on the result here.

  34. In answer to Christian, Neston itself quite often votes Labour, but the semi-rural wards surrounding it are quite heavily Conservative. Ellesmere Port & its nearby industrial areas are indeed normally heavily Labour.

  35. That probably exlplains why the Tories still managed to poll more votes in second place thant 2010 despite decreasing a tiny bit.

  36. Barnaby is right. Ellesmere Port is massively Labour, Neston is Labour-inclined whilst the the balance of the seat leans Tory- heavily so in the case of Parkgate and the very smart village Wirral village of Willaston.

  37. In a seat like this, where the Tory and Labour votes are polarised into different parts of the seat, redistribution may be as big a threat as a straight-forward swing between the two parties to Labour retention of the seat

  38. Is all of Parkgate in this seat? I thought I remembered Lord Hunt refer to an ex constituent there.

  39. David Hunt represented the constituency of Wirral from 1976 until the present Wirral West seat was created in 1983. Perhaps the constituent in question was from before 1983.

  40. He was referring to the Major Govt. I suppose its possible he helped someone over the border. I know David Alton used to help people across Liverpool, when Wareing, Parry were his neighbours. Cllrs also did this in Lpool, although I think the courtesy was to send a copy to the ward member.

  41. Incidentally, wasnt Justin Madders ginger? I seem to recall this from his Lpool Echo column. He looks quite different in the pic above. Ha maybe he’s undergone a Follett/GO makeover?

  42. With its oil refineries and chemical plants, Ellesmere Port is one of the most Labour-looking towns in the whole of England, and the contrast with Neston and its surrounding rural affluence is indeed stark, making this one of the most polarised constituencies in the UK

    Corby is another one and there are plenty of London seats too

  43. I think the Tories did very well here in the 80s to hold this seat, though at that point there was a bigger third party vote for the Alliance that took votes away from Labour for a time. In any case I think this seat is dominated enough by Labour-supporting Ellesmere Port enough to prevent the Tories being able to win here again any time soon on these boundaries.

  44. The Tories, even in their very worst worst years, have maintained a core vote here. At their nadir of 1997 and 2001, they still managed 29% despite Labour’s five figure majorities. This year’s result seems like the fairly standard one on current boundaries, bar a Labour meltdown or big Labour landslide (the latter of which is remote in this era).

  45. EDIT: didn’t mean to type worst twice.

  46. Well the Tories do have firm islands of support here- particularly Willaston, an extremely wealthy Wirral village which unlike a lot of welalthy Wirral areas has retained an old-fashioned professional upper middle-class feel.

  47. I think Labour should be OK here, around 2500-3000 majority.

  48. Justin Madders has been asked to resign as shadow health minster for voting against second ref.

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