Hazel Grove

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17882 (41.4%)
Labour: 7584 (17.5%)
Lib Dem: 11330 (26.2%)
Green: 1140 (2.6%)
UKIP: 5283 (12.2%)
MAJORITY: 6552 (15.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of the Stockport council area.

Main population centres: Hazel Grove, Romiley, Marple, Bredbury, Mellor.

Profile: A suburban seat that makes up the south-eastern corner of Greater Manchester and leads up into the pennine hills at its eastern end. It is a middle of the road commuter area with a high proportion of owner-occupiers.

Politics: Hazel Grove has a long history of Liberal strength. It was created in February 1974, carved out of the old Cheadle seat that had been won by the Liberals in 1966. The sitting MP for Cheadle Michael Winstanley followed the Liberal areas of his constitiuency into the new Hazel Grove seat and was the MP here for the short Parliament between February and October 74, before losing to the Conservative Tom Arnold. Arnold was MP here for 23 years, but for much of it his majority over the Liberals was only wafer thin, only 2022 in 1983, 1840 in 1987 and 929 in 1992. When it finally fell to the Liberal Democrats it did so convincingly, and remained there until 2015.


Current MP
WILLIAM WRAGG (Conservative) Former teacher. Stockport councillor. First elected as MP for Hazel Grove in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14114 (34%)
Lab: 5234 (12%)
LDem: 20485 (49%)
UKIP: 2148 (5%)
MAJ: 6371 (15%)
2005*
Con: 11607 (30%)
Lab: 6834 (17%)
LDem: 19355 (49%)
UKIP: 1321 (3%)
MAJ: 7748 (20%)
2001
Con: 11585 (30%)
Lab: 6230 (16%)
LDem: 20020 (52%)
UKIP: 643 (2%)
MAJ: 8435 (22%)
1997
Con: 15069 (31%)
Lab: 5882 (12%)
LDem: 26883 (54%)
Oth: 451 (1%)
MAJ: 11814 (24%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
WILLIAM WRAGG (Conservative) Teacher. Stockport councillor.
MICHAEL TAYLOR (Labour) Consultant and former journalist.
LISA SMART (Liberal Democrat) Former charity chief executive. Contested Wandsworth and Merton 2012 London Assembly election.
DARRAN PALMER (UKIP)
GRAHAM REID (Green)
Links
Comments - 252 Responses on “Hazel Grove”
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  1. Results of May 2011 local elections in the wards that make up Hazel Grove:

    Lib Dems 10,694
    Tories 8,977
    Labour 5,761
    Ukip 1,350

    By Lib Dems quite a safe seat

  2. I think this probably wouldn’t be quite the right kind of place for lib dems if you were starting off in recdent years with a clean sheet of electoral paper. But lingering credibility enabled them to snatch it with a big lead when the tories were very weak. Still a dismal con result in 2010.

  3. Latest prediction by Electoral Calculas on opinion polls is LD = 33.4%
    CON = 24.6%
    LABOUR = 23.0%

    suggests this is a 3-way marginal !

  4. Rumour that Andrew Stunnell is to stand down..

  5. Hazel Grove doesn’t strike one as being natural territory for the Lib Dems- solid, middle-of- the road suburbia with rather above average numbers of intermediate workers and retirees. It look like the kind of seat which the Tories should hold reasonably comfortably with Labour in a respectable second. But then one can say that about Sutton and Cheam as well. I think JJB is right to imply that Lib Dem success here owes a lot to the old Liberals getting their feet under the table here in the 60s and 70s.

  6. ‘Hazel Grove doesn’t strike one as being natural territory for the Lib Dems. But then one can say that about Sutton and Cheam as well.’

    The Lib Dems success in Sutton & Cheam is largely due to them having controlled the council for quite a long time. To the outsider, Cheam would seem to be a Tory stronghold with Sutton the type of lower middle class place that might have once breen Labour but one that has remorsely been swinging to the Tories over the past few decades

    The Lib Dems do tend to be popular in these wealthy, middle class Northern seats – Sheffield Hallam, Harrogate, Southport, Cheadle etc – and Hazel Grove just fits that pattern

  7. Tim- I don’t doubt that Hazel Grove is middle-class but I don’t think it is in the same bracket as Sheffield Hallam, or even neighbouring Cheadle for that matter. Hallam and Cheadle are both quite intellectual- 43.6% of Hallam residents and 36.7% of Cheadle residents have Level 4 qualifications and above. In Hazel Grove it’s only 27.9%- about the national average. Therefore, I can understand the Lib Dem presence in those seats (especially Hallam) whereas Hazel Grove doesn’t appear quite so obvious to me.

  8. Tory’s analysis is quite correct. This is a middle-class seat, but I don’t think wealthy is really the right word for it. In many ways the demography is just right for the LDs – middle-class, but not that wealthy, and not really very receptive of the most dog-whistly sort of politics. I think that this will be an LD hold irrespective of Stunell’s retirement, which is pretty much definite now & not just a rumour. (Actually Tory’s analysis is very often correct, to give him his due – he tends to be more accurate, and generalise a lot less, than certain others here.)

  9. which are the most wealthy seats?

  10. Well in the North West I suppose you would probably be talking about the following:

    Tatton (wealthy all over really)
    Altrincham and Sale West (Hale and Bowdon are very rich)
    Macclesfield (Prestbury and Poynton)
    Cheadle (Bramhall being particularly well-heeled)
    Wirral West (West Kirby and Hoylake)
    Fylde (popular with comfortably off retirees)
    Wyre and Preston North

  11. Of the above constituencies, I would argue Tatton is the most consistently wealthy. Several of those seats have their less well-heeled areas- Macclesfield town, for instance, isn’t that well-off and the Upton ward of Wirral West has a council estate (Woodchurch).

  12. I’d be interested to know the wealthiest seats ‘top ten’ for each English region. In London it must be Kensington?

  13. I’m surprised Southport isn’t included – it’s very well to do and much favoured by wealthy people from Liverpool and the like, – certainly more so than Wirral West

    Would Congleton not make the list? Places like Sandbach are very wealthy

    And Chester itself has always been seen as an oasis of the North West – a prosperous pocket – althoigh places like Lache and Blacon are very deprived

    Otherwise the list looks about right

  14. LBernard – ill have a go for the North-East

    Hexham (particularly Corbridge)
    Berwick (particularly Alnwick)
    Stockton South (particularly Yarm)
    City of Durham (bits nearer the centre)
    Tynemouth (Bits of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth itself)
    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

    Are probably the only 5 that stand out.

    Newcastle has wealthy areas, but these are split between the different seats (hence why all have a LD presence but are labour.

    Barnard Castle in the Bishop Auckland seat is rather wealthy.

  15. Tatton is the most wealthy and the Tories could only poll 54.6% there in 2010.

  16. Tim- Congleton is affluent, yes- Sandbach is well-off, as are parts of Alsager, Holmes Chapel and Congleton itself.

    I omitted Chester because of Lache, Blacon, and some parts of the city centre. But I agree that there is a lot of wealth as well- especially in the line of villages immediately east of the city: Vicars Cross, Littleton, and Christleton. Upton is also very well-heeled.

    I am not sure Southport is more desirable than Wirral West actually. Mersey Mike will know better than I do, but I don’t think the town itself is all that affluent- the LSOA deprivation map shows plenty of yellows and oranges in Southport. Of course there are some very prosperous parts too- chiefly in the south of the constituency (Ainsdale and Hillside).

  17. Andy JS- a more effective Tory incumbent could have hit 57-60% in Tatton in 2010.

  18. Sandbach is quite a pleasant small Cheshire town but I’ve never heard it described before as “very wealthy”. Possible confusion with some other Cheshire town?
    I do n’t think Sutton was ever Labour-leaning. In fact, and apart from the Liberal by-election gain, the seat as a whole was safely Tory before 1997.

  19. ‘I do n’t think Sutton was ever Labour-leaning. In fact, and apart from the Liberal by-election gain, the seat as a whole was safely Tory before 1997.’

    that was my kind of point. Sutton looks a bit like a labour town – a mini croydon – but it never has been – the Lib Dems have always provided opposition to the tories there

    The hardest to do would be a richest list for the South East outside London but I reckon Beaconsfield, Chesham & Amersham, Surrey Heath, Hampshire North East, Sevenoakes, Esher & Walton, Windsor, Arundel & South Downs, Buckingham, Wokingham and maybe Romsey would all feature in the top 20

  20. Tunbridge Wells also

  21. ‘Andy JS- a more effective Tory incumbent could have hit 57-60% in Tatton in 2010.’

    the boundary changes of 1997 – which removed industrial northwich and brought in super-rch alderly edge – ought to have provided the tories one of their safest seats on the map

    obviously you would expect some knock-on effect from the Neil Hamilton’s sleeaze but given that Hamilton himself got more than 55% of the vote on much less favourable boundaries in 1992, Osbourne’s failure to break that thresehold does seem somewhat lacklustre

    tory is right again – his namesakes should hitting 60% in a seat like this

    i wonder if tatton would make the top 10 of richest seats in the whole of the uk – my guess is that it would

  22. I just don’t think Osborne is remotely suited to the constituency- too metropolitan and probably too southern though that is perhaps less important. The Tories would be better off here with a Nick Winterton/Barry Porter type MP-albeit perhaps a more contemporary version.

  23. I would be surprised if it was close.

  24. If we’re on wealthy seats I think Nick Clegg’s seat deserves a mention. I’d have thought that along with Cheadle it’s the most upmarket Northern seat not to have a Conservative MP. LBernard – Kensington is obviously very wealthy indeed, but it may be that Chelsea & Fulham is even wealthier. After all, there’s only one ward in the latter which is anything other than safe Tory, and that one (Cremorne) arguably only was close because of the extreme circumstances of the by-election in the ward, whereas Kensington still has 2 pretty safe Labour wards, 2 others where Labour are competitive, and 2 more after that which at least have a substantial working class minority (Earl’s Court which has a surprising amount of social housing amongst the elegant facades & Norland which contains a council estate which used to be in a now-defunct safe Labour ward called Avondale).

  25. Barnaby- yes, I agree regarding Sheffield Hallam. I would have thought that would be in the Yorkshire top ten, alongside the likes of Harrogate, Haltemprice & Howden, and York Outer. And it is for precisely this reason that I get annoyed when Clegg bangs on about representing a northern, urban seat, as if Hallam was somehow blighted by industrial decay.

  26. I wonder what is the most upmarket Southern seat not to have a Conservative MP? Hampstead & Kilburn perhaps? Maybe Twickenham? Not sure what would fit the bill in the south outside London.

  27. Lewes.

  28. Hampstead & Kilburn is almost certainly the answer. Westminster N (though it’s very polarised), Twickenham & Hammersmith would also be up there – some wards in Hammersmith are seriously pricey these days.

  29. i didn’t realise there were so many wealthy seats

  30. I would agree with Barnaby’s point RE: Hampstead and Kilburn, but let’s not forget that it too is massively polarised and that it doesn’t currently have a Tory MP is probably down to poorer voters in the Kilburn half of the constituency voting Labour.

    Many of the seats mentioned do have less well-off areas, it’s just that they are unable to make much of an impact in elections. They clearly are able to do that in Hampstead and Kilburn.

  31. ‘Lewes.’

    Not really

    While Lewes itself and the pretty towns and villages North if it, is wealthy, the seat also contains the industrial port of Newhaven which certainly isn’t

    Seaford used to be quite well-to-do but i think that’s gone a little downhill too recently.

    Wealden is probably a better bet – despite containing Uckfield and Hailsham

  32. You misunderstood my question, Tim. I was asking what is the most upmarket southern constituency that does NOT have a Conservative MP. Since we’ve established that London seats like Hampstead, Twickenham and Westminster North would be contenders, I’m wondering what seats in the south outside the capital would also fit the bill. Maybe somewhere like Bath or Cheltenham?

  33. Which is why I suggested Lewes.

  34. ‘You misunderstood my question, Tim. I was asking what is the most upmarket southern constituency that does NOT have a Conservative MP’

    I was merely pointing out that lewes would not be a contender because newhaven which is in that constituency, is in no way upmarket

    ‘I’m wondering what seats in the south outside the capital would also fit the bill. Maybe somewhere like Bath or Cheltenham?’

    Cheltenham certainly but a better bet might be Thornbury & Yate which is essentially the old Northavon seat.

    Although essentially Bristol commuter towns, it is a very up-market area nowadays, popular with Bristol commuters, and it shows you how well regarded steve webb mp must be have made it something of a lib dem stronghold

  35. It is certainly interesting reading the comments above on the seat I grew up in.

    Though the Conservatives won narrowly in 1983/87/92 they probably haven’t had a plurality in local elections since the mid or early 80s. If anything Tom Arnold’s personal vote tipped the balance in the General Elections.

    Yes it isn’t as well off or as intellectual as Cheadle, but it is typical of other areas where Liberal Democrats do well as it is urban, but borders the Pennines. Neither Marple (where I was brought up) ward has elected a Conservative for quarter of a century and they are the two most well off ones.

    If the Conservatives can only get 3% more in 2010 than they did in 1997 then the likelihood of them regaining the seat is low. They will need to put a lot more effort in on the ground and build up a base of Councillors.

  36. I know this constituency fairly well and the worry for the Liberal Democrats will be the rising share of the vote for Labour (which cost them a couple of wards to the Conservatives in 2011, but not 2012) and the reported retirement of Andrew Stunnell.
    Labour now have a councillor in Offerton and are well placed to take the Bredbury and Woodley ward in 2014 and have built up a strong vote in Hazel Grove, and Bredbury Green and Romiley wards.
    On the whole, I can’t see the Conservatives picking up enough votes to gain the seat so I can’t see the Lib Dems losing this, unless they really shoot themselves in the foot with their choice of candidate.

  37. Lisa Smart has been chosen as the new LD candidate

  38. She now has a good year and a half to get her name known round these parts.

    I would have thought given the local election trends here that the Lib Dems must be confident of holding on and being certain of at least one successful ‘handover’.

  39. I wouldn’t like to predict the result here next time, knowing how important personal votes are to LD MPs. Stunell has been candidate or MP here for more than 20 years.

  40. The Tories would need a big swing to take this.

    I don’t think it’s all that likely really given their fortunes locally. An increase in the Labour vote if more than a couple of percentage points could make things interesting but given how this seat has trended towards the Lib Dems since 1979 I would be surprised if they lost it in 2015.

  41. Andrea – is that confirmed? I’d been told a different female LibDem.

  42. I always thought that the former Tory MP for Hazel Grove Tom Arnold was young to have retired in 1997 (he was only 50).

    Having said that, he’d been in parliament since October 1974 having gained the seat from the Liberals at the age of 27.

  43. did he have health problems

  44. Still alive, so unlikely.

    I’m guessing he saw the writing on the wall electorally, having only narrowly been re-elected in 1992.

    Tom Arnold was a very interesting paradox, a staunch wet and Europhile who nevertheless was a big supporter of John Redwood’s leadership challenge in 1995.

  45. ‘Tom Arnold was a very interesting paradox, a staunch wet and Europhile who nevertheless was a big supporter of John Redwood’s leadership challenge in 1995.’

    And a keen supporter of reintroducing the death penalty

    Andrew Hargreaves was another big plsayer in John Redwood’s leadership campaign who was always assumed to be a Europhile wet

    Does anybody have a list of those MPs who backed Redwood in 95 – or for that matter of those who backed Heseltime in 1990

    I have trawled the internet for both but can’t find anything

  46. Andrew Stunnell is standing down in 2015. Lisa Smart is the replacement. Is this the same Lisa smart that stood for the Lib Dems in the London Assembly elections last time ?

  47. I can probably remember quite a lot of it – but not right now.
    It’s not all that interesting any more

  48. Andrea – thanks and apologies. My LibDem source was telling me about a different female LibDem likely to get Southport.

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