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”
  1. Goodwin

    Truth as they say is sometimes stranger than fiction. After all you couldnt make this story up – could you!!
    I suspect it wont be the Lib Dems that are laughing come the 2nd week in May 2015.

    Gavin

  2. Gavin – I’ve only just seen your post from December 1st.

    I think what you say is correct in the main, however I still can’t see anything other than a Lib Dem hold here.

    I understand the Tories are throwing the kitchen sink at Hazel Grove as part of their 2015 strategy of winning 40 seats, personally I think they’re misguided in targeting 2 seats right next to each other where there local base has diminished greatly in the past 20 years. I think it would make more sense throwing everything at Cheadle and trying to dislodge Mark Hunter.William Wragg does appear to have a very good local profile already as a Councillor and as a campaigner, and I think he was probably their only local choice.

    Labour should do well in Hazel Grove in terms of share, if they select someone local-ish who is prepared to out the work in with little prospect of winning then they could get 20%+ here. If Labour do win Offerton and Bredbury next year then this will be a massive boost for them and a massive blow to the Lib Dems.

    As for Lisa Smart and the Lib Dems I think they are almost certain to hold Hazel Grove, following their disaster in Stockport in 2011 they appear to have steadied the ship by holding Hazel Grove (ward) and Bredbury Green and Romiley. they must hold these seats in May is they have any hope in retaining the Council.

    If I were to go out on a limb and make a forecast I would say:

    Lib Dem 38
    Conservative 35
    Labour 21
    UKIP 6

  3. Read my lips, the Tories will NOT increase here. It just won’t happen. They’re not as strong locally as the Lib Dems in this seat, not by a long chalk, and I see no evidence in the most recent local elections that they will make any progress here in terms of percentage of the vote. All I will say now is that those hoping for an uncomfortably close result for Lisa Smart in 2015 are going to be very very disappointed when she holds the seat comfortably, without too many problems- Any number of posters on here have mercilessly attacked her and it seems rather uncalled for- Just because she isn’t local, does not mean she will not make a good MP. And I’m no Lib Dem sympathizer, believe me.

  4. Well I guess we will have to wait and see then, if Stunell was standing again I’d imagine he would hold on by around 4000. As I’ve said the Lib Dems will hold here fairly comfortably certainly by more than 1000 votes.

    As I said, for me the Tories should focus on Cheadle and I think they’ve made strategic error in going for 2 seats so close to one another.

  5. King Tut

    Two excellent posts if I may say so. If Stunell were standing again then 4000 votes seems about right.
    Lib Dems holding comfortably and a majority of about 1000 dont go together for me – not at all.

    You say you understand that the Tories are throwing the kitchen sink at Hazel Grove in 2015. I would love to know where you got your information from. As I have said before it doesnt surprise me that with the combination of factors that we have now that the case seems to have been made within Tory HQ that Hazel Grove is worth giving a go with some of Lord Ashcroft’s money.

    Gavin

  6. I don’t know what makes people think that the Tories will come within 1,000 votes of taking this seat- If anything they would target Cheadle which is the real marginal IMHO. At best, Lisa Smart could win here by about 5,000, at the very worst, 2,500, surely.

  7. I think you’re right regarding Cheadle, which is why I have said that in my previous commentary.

  8. Gavin – I’m a member of the Conservatives, although not very active, next door in Cheadle.

  9. King Tut

    A very informative post. Without wanting you to give away closely guarded secrets what you seem to be saying is that Hazel Grove has been identfied by the Conservatives as being in their top 40 target list. As I say that doesnt surprise me at all. I just wonder if it would have still been in their top 40 if Andrew Stunell was still standing again. Personally I dont think it would have been. In my humble opinion once AS announced he was standing down it gained a number of places, whether that in itself got it into their top 40 remains to be seen. However it appears to me that once the Lib Dems selected a non local candidate (or “pretend local” as local Tories call her) HG suddenly found itself in the top 40.

    Presumably this means it will get shed loads of cash allocated. Are you saying Cheadle is in the Top 40 as well.

    No doubt once this is out there the electoral anoraks will be on to their calculators trying to work out the Top 40 seats.

    Absolutely fascinating.

    Previous election contests in Hazel Grove have been predictable and boring. suddenly this one is getting really interesting.

    As I said a long time ago this is a seat to watch!!

    Gavin

  10. They have Cardiff North, which they hold, as a target?

  11. The Results.

    I basically agree you on the likely result, but the point of psephological discussion isn’t just about who wins or loses, but the reasons why people shift their votes between parties/candidates.
    What most of the discussion seems to be about is that – I don’t share Gavin’s particular fury (maybe not the right word) about Lisa Smart’s selection however, independently of him, I questioned the strange claim that she was local, with her having been the local candidate for a London Assembly seat last year and a school governor in London. She is now, in quick order, a school governor in Hazel Grove constituency. It is all just quite interesting and worth speculating upon.
    Both King Tut and myself are from the area and have educated instincts about the voters which enable us to respond to Gavin’s remarks. It doesn’t make us anti-Lisa Smart.
    So, I reiterate, I believe that Lisa Smart will be elected as MP here, with a much reduced majority, and that Labour will have a significant increase in it’s vote share . I am not willing, as yet, to make vote share predictions, and may even revise my opinions if the evidence on the ground changes.
    I will say this, if Labour gain Offerton and Bredbury and Woodley in May, it will be a real blow to the Lib Dems.
    Also, the Tories should concentrate on Cheadle as a long-term target.

  12. @CatholicLeft
    I understand all that. But surely the candidate won’t have that much impact on the result to the extent that the Lib Dems come close to losing the seat, is what I was saying.

    I appreciate the fact that you and King Tut are from round this way, indeed I have family in this seat myself. Clearly those who have the direct line in terms of the area’s politics will be best placed to judge what the effects all this will have on the local party and the voters. I don’t think we’ll really know for certain until 2015, though the locals next year may give a good guide.

    I also agree with the statement regarding Labour’s vote- They should get a good increase here on the basis of growing local activity, without wishing to sound somewhat Plopwellian. Finally, the Conservatives should concentrate on Cheadle, not least because of the size of the majority compared to here for example.

  13. Then we agree – all is good. With that happy thought, I am out to face the storm again. Sweet joy!

  14. Catholic Left

    Can I just say I have never met this Lisa Smart so in that sense it is not personal. It really is the underlying principle of what she and indeed other Lib Dems have done that grates with me. I have friends of all sorts of political persuasions which usually makes for a good evening of political discussion in the pub.

    Much of the inside information on what is happening there comes from my friend (who is a Lib Dem) and who seems for one reason or another to have a very good handle on what is happening and why.

    At a time when the number of people voting for anybody seems to be going down then this is not a good trend for the democratic process. The ultra cynical way the Lib Dems have imported somebody from London, found an address for her in the Constituency, provided inside information to her on when the selection contest was going to be held one year in advance of everyone else, called her a “local” in all her selection material when she clearly isnt just doesnt strike me as anything other than completely disengenuous. Others might call it downright deceit.

    If I were a local Lib Dem councillor in Hazel Grove I would be thinking twice about telling my local electorate that the Lib Dem team’s Parliamentary Candidate was really “local”. Wouldnt you??

    Gavin

  15. I don’t think anyone was fooling the local branch that a candidate was from out of area.. quite often branches of all parties don’t have a stock of electable PPCs. Either they haven’t been through the PPC vetting process, or the branch just doesn’t have enough members or no-one interested, or no-one under 75!

    Seems to me its outsiders who don’t know internal branch dynamics who have taken umbrage rather than any local branch members.

    The Leadership list is only 39 names (five of whom have found slots) and there are 650 seats to field candidates in…

  16. I think that in the end, the party will accept her, she will hold the seat, and all will be sweetness and light within the Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats.

    Any chance to stop the Tories getting in here will probably convince enough people to stay with the Lib Dems here, and Lisa Smart may benefit from that in the likely circumstances of 2015.

  17. Antiochian

    I think you need to go on to Lib Dem Voice and have a look at the various threads re Hazel Grove. I dont have any access to LDV so I get my news on it via my friend in Kingston. My understanding is that the original blog re what was going on originated from a party member in Hazel Grove and has been picked up by people all over the country.

    You are on LDV so you tell me what they have being saying. My understanding is that “they” haven’t been impressed in any way by what has happened.

    Gavin

  18. I too have a source with access to LDV Gavin. The latter tells me that the whole process of selection was very suspect. Every effort was made to ensure the ‘correct’ candidate came out on top!

  19. THE RESULTS said:

    “I understand all that. But surely the candidate won’t have that much impact on the result to the extent that the Lib Dems come close to losing the seat, is what I was saying.”

    Well that is not the way people like Khunanup see what happened in SE Cornwall.

    As for Mr Goodwin nobody seems to have resolved the fact that the most popular blog on Lib Dem Voice
    ( which is for Lib Dem members only) got mysteriously closed down. i have heard of old threads that people have given up on being deleted but the most popular of all with over 3000 views!!! Antiochian claimed :

    “The thread was closed because it had become a vast rambling mass”.

    Well lots of blogs are a rambling mass. They do however tend to reveal things over time. As a police friend used to say the answer is always out there somewhere you just need to look in the right place. and ask the right questions.

    Gavin

  20. I have to agree with Barnaby (for once) Hazel Grove (and Southport) have been Brent Centralled to death.. LoL

  21. Can I say to King Tut Thank you very much for your post from Conservative Home – a really really good and indeed informative read.

    If anyone else hasn’t read it i can recommend it.

    I particularly like this bit:

    “The A list experiment was a well publicised mess in the run up to the 2010 General election. The feeling that it was a mechanism for parachuting or forcing preferred candiates into seats without the due groundwork or elbow grease was hugely damaging to grassroots relations as well as public perception.”

    I have heard all this a as rumour somewhere but had never actually seen it in black and white.

    Gavin

  22. So the A-Team experiment is being abondoned by the Tories because it does not work?
    Perhaps somebody should tell the Lib Dems lol

  23. I thought I saw some quasi-A-lister selections for the Tories recently (i.e. Londoners parachuting into East Anglia).. and pseudo-AWS as well.

    I counted 5 out of the 39 leadership list members having gained PPC positions and (maybe mistaken) it looked like 4 out of the 5 were selected for seats in which they already lived or were in close proximity.

  24. Or indeed claimed “to live or were in close proximity”.

    One person’s definition of close proximity is different to another’s. After all living in Yorkshire covers everything from Hull to the Tan Hill Inn. If I were selected for Hull but claimed to live locally in the County when I lived near the Tan Hill Inn then perhaps not unreasonably I could legitimately be accused of being somewhat disengenuous.

    By the way who was “the chosen one” who didnt live locally or in close proximity.

    Gavin

  25. Oh no not this again. It’s old ground…

  26. I for one choose to vote for a candidate based on their policies. I suspect most here are the same. Voting for or against someone purely on the grounds of where they live is one’s prerogative, but I should have thought that the policies one wants for government should be more important.

  27. ‘I for one choose to vote for a candidate based on their policies. I suspect most here are the same. Voting for or against someone purely on the grounds of where they live is one’s prerogative, but I should have thought that the policies one wants for government should be more important.’

    Yes I agree with this. I have voted Labour in every single election since 2007 (including 2009) and do not like sectarian politics of any kind.

  28. My results on the political compass scale:

    ‘Economic Left/Right: -4.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.44’

    My views are only 0.02 different to Catholic Left on the Economic Left/Right scale but am liberal on social issues because I am fairly secular.

  29. Stockport council, popular votes:

    Lab 23,678 (29.22%)
    LD 21,141 (26.09%)
    Con 18,804 (23.20%)
    UKIP 10,767 (13.29%)
    Green 3,412 (4.21%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Lab +7.07%
    LD -14.70%
    Con -7.70%
    UKIP +12.97%
    Green +2.61%

  30. I’d like to see the results for just Hazel Grove. Stockport is pretty big.

  31. Hazel Grove 2014:
    Liberal Democrat – 8,387 (34.57%)
    Conservative – 6,116 (25.21%)
    UKIP – 4,565 (18.82%)
    Labour – 4,255 (17.54%)
    Green – 790 (3.26%)
    BNP – 149 (0.61%)

    The BNP had 2 candidates, the Greens 3. The rest with full slates.

  32. Laura Booth, Prospective MP for Hazel Grove, resigns from Labour alleging a “culture of systematic bullying” in the local Labour party.

  33. That’s awkward.

  34. That’s quite sad. I expect that in most small branches of political parties there’s a risk of that because it’s not given much oversight from the national party and doesn’t have enough members to prevent personalities playing a big role.

  35. Resigning from the party altogether? Doesn’t suggest a very deep attachment to that party. I’m very sorry if what she says is true, nevertheless.

  36. I can’t find any independent verification about this – her Twitter feed is all very pro-Labour. Unless she is doing a “Reckless”, could it be a bit of an emotional spasm, a misreporting or what?

  37. I’m hardly surprised at what she said to be honest. I also get the kind of vibe that there’s something very corrupt at the minute about the labour party. Even more so than the tories.

  38. Like what exactly? A pretty partisan & unsubstantiated comment. And stick to your handle why don’t you.

  39. The Rotherham abuse scandal, labour councillors were covering it up. The expenses scandal was more labour MPs than anyone else. Cash for influence 1, cash for influence 2. Now she comes out saying there’s bullying within the party.

    And that’s all I know being, very inexperienced.

  40. What has any of that got to do with Stockport Labour Party?

  41. You cannot conflate Rotherham council Labour group with the whole of the Labour Party. The Labour Party as a whole is not a corrupt political party nor are the vast majority of its council groups, majority or minority. Any more than you could point to the activities of, say, Peter Viggers & say that that makes the entire Conservative Party corrupt – they don’t.

  42. I’d have thought the Lib Dems would hold here with a reduced majority but a loss is not out of the question.

  43. It appears from Laura Booth’s latest Tweet ( and supportive comment from local Lib Dem) that she has resigned. Something has been going on in the group; Cllr Paul Moss has been deselected.

    Of course Labour were never going to win this seat but Laura Booth was an estimable campaigner who won her Offerton seat from nowhere so this looks quite a loss.

  44. Ashcroft poll good news for the LDs, as it indicates that they would at least have ONE woman in Parliament:

    LD 35
    CON 29
    UKIP 17
    LAB 15
    OTH 4

  45. Former Labour candidate for Hazel Grove, Laura Booth, backs LD candidate Lisa Smart:

    iainroberts.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/03/12/former-labour-parliamentary-candidate-backs-lib-dems-to-win/

  46. How many women will the LDs have in Parliament on May 8?

    My guess: 2.

  47. Which women would they be in your view PT?

  48. I’m guessing he means Lisa Smart and Julie Pörksen.

  49. I meant Smart and Thornhill, actually, which I think is more likely than Pörksen. That said, I think really it will be smart and then the combined chances for Thornhill, Featherstone, Pörksen, Slade, Munt, Burt, Gilmour, Dodds, Swinson, Wilott, Moran, Goldsworthy, and Porter (all remote) likely add up to one no matter what. That is to say, while it’s UNLIKELY that any of those women except Smart will win, it is LIKELY that one of them will – the question is simply which.

    If we say that Thornhill has a 35% chance to win, Pörksen has a 30% chance, Slade 10%, Munt 20%, Burt 10%, Gilmour 25%, Dodds 10%, Swinson 15%, Wilott 10%, Moran 10%, Goldsworthy 5%, Featherstone 20%, and Porter 5%, then you’d expect one to pull through – just depends on which.

    The numbers are obviously arbitrary, but I think you see my point. While none of those people are individually likely to win, the collective likelihood is that at least one will.

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