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. PT I really think its going to be too big an ask for even Thornhill to take the seat with the current LibDem poll ratings.

    I think Andy might have the right of it with Pörksen holding Berwick, which has been held by the Libs apart from 2 periods since the Liberal party was formed in the mid 19C

  2. I disagree, Galloglass. I think it is MUCH more likely that Thornhill wins than Pörksen does. Polling has the LDs closer in Watford and Thornhill has a huge local profile. Pörksen is comparatively unknown.

  3. We’ll see in 8 weeks 🙂

  4. Are the LDs really going to gain any seats if they drop from 24% to around 10%? I just can’t see it happening.

  5. I think Ashcroft’s polling clearly shows Watford is highly competitive.

  6. Graham Reid has been selected for the Green Party.

    Bad news for the Lib Dems I think, could take a chunk out of their vote in Marple.

  7. Lib Dem Hold. 1,500 majority.

  8. LD hold 1500 hold.

    I don’t completely rule out a fluke Con win but that’s what it would be- a fluke.

  9. This was one of the most shocking LD losses IMO after Bath and Twickenham , even accounting or the loss of incumbency (as I was sort of anticipating the LD meltdown from Yeovil and all points west) The Tories are only 3 points down on 1992 and gained both the Marple wards in addition to retaining Hazel grove and Bredbury and Romiley.

  10. It was shocking that it was such a straightforward gain- not even close

  11. I am not enthusiastic about LD prospects in 2020 but with the LAB and UKIP vote I certainly think this might become more competitive

  12. LibDems were very divided upon this. The choice of a parachuted candidate was very violently discussed within the party with recrimination flying hither and thither for a year before the election.

    The party may have had it in its target list but many of the members did NOT.

  13. The Lib Dems made too much of a big deal of the previous Labour candidate quitting and appeared abrasively partisan which would have looked unattractive to the electors. They put out a leaflet in red colours which looked to all intents & purposes like Labour were endorsing the Lib Dem candidate. William Wragg seems a moderate candidate (he was set to vote against fox hunting) and was generous to opponents (tellingly paying tribute the outgoing Lab group leader as someone who separated the personal from political). Lib Dems here made it easier for former voters to switch to Tories.

  14. The LIbDems here are clelarly dependent on squeezing the Labour vote. How easy this will be if Labour continues to move towards becoming a core of extreme left voters, who would rather lose than compromise on their policies, may be doubted.

  15. Frederic, that would seem to imply that those Labour voters who aren’t hard-core, but won’t vote Tory, are up for grabs… seems to make the task of putting on a squeeze rather easier…

  16. Antiochian is right

  17. People should keep in mind the upcoming boundary changes.
    If they are like the ones that were proposed in 2013 this seat could become significanty more secure for the Conservatives – perhaps with a notional majority in five figures.

  18. Yes Hazel Grove and Poynton would probably have been Tory by 11,000 or so in May.

  19. Sorry, but this is laughable…

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/10/housing-prices–conservative-mp-william-wragg-back-home-to-mum

    Maybe he should find out how the 98% of the population on lower salaries live..

  20. @Antiochian

    As a local, he can probably find somewhere local to live, but it wouldn’t necessarily be anywhere very pleasant. You may have your views on whether someone ought to have the right to choose where they live if they’re a public servant, of course.

    Rather than laughing at a young man who has found that house prices in the affluent part of the country he needs to work in are rather higher than anticipated, we might more usefully concentrate on the issue that a single bloke on 77k is struggling to find a suitable house in the vicinity of Hazel Grove and hope it leads to him being able to offer some much-needed insight to his body of colleagues who seem generally rather immune to what is rapidly becoming a very serious social issue.

    Blimey, that was a long sentence.

  21. CR…. in a much shorter sentence “my heart bleeds for him”…

  22. @Antiochian

    A couple of years back I had a devil of a time trying to find a house not far from where Wragg is looking now on account of what we might call Sudden Baby Syndrome. I had to settle for an overpriced dump (albeit with an excellent view) as opposed to a horrendously overpriced dump.

    Only someone who hasn’t had to struggle with the modern housing market in general, and the modern housing market in southern Stockport in particular wouldn’t have a pang. You’re lucky.

  23. He should have kept his mouth shut.. He looks very silly and sooooooooooooooooo out of touch that its poignantly unfunny.

    The Guardian article well points out that he gets a subsidy for his place in London.. Next thing we find he is doing some sort of reverse Maria Miller, claiming the money he is paying to his mother as a lodger!

  24. Yes, bit of an odd story.

    Any individual on £74k pa plus expenses who claims he can’t afford to buy is either VERY poor at managing his finances or is lying to chime with others of his age group.

  25. Remember he’s only been on his MPs salary for less than a year… he’s only 28 and before going into politics full time was a primary school teacher – not a particularly well paid job, especially for a beginner (he was only a teacher for one year after qualifying). So I absolutely believe that he wouldn’t have the money to buy a good house. Of course not having the money to buy a good house isn’t the same as not having enough to buy at all or not having enough to rent.

  26. I’m with Antiochian on this.

    On £77k a year *PLUS EXPENSES* he will have no problem whatsoever getting a mortgage of £400k, perhaps £500k. The idea you can’t find a “suitable house for a single bloke” for that kind of money in Hazel Grove is total horseshit.

  27. “Of course not having the money to buy a good house isn’t the same as not having enough to buy at all or not having enough to rent.”

    And with that sentence you’ve nailed it. Just because he’s an MP he thinks he’s entitled to a mansion with a swimming pool and room for a pony (copyright Hyacinth Bucket). Well, welcome to the real world mate, your 28 and need to work your way up the ladder from the bottom just like the rest of us have had to do.

    There was a time when MPs were not such entitled arseholes and were happy to live in normal circumstances…my (Labour) MP I the 80s Frank Haynes being a good example and surely there are hundreds of others.

  28. House prices in London have become such that practically NOBODY on a salary is able to afford one unless they have inherited wealth. And Hazel Grove is in effect the London of the North.

    I magine that the Conservative Whips will sort William Wragg out in return for his promise never to rebel in Commons votes.

    And can somebody remind me whiich eighteenth century novelist wrote that a young man in posession of a fortune is in need of a wife (they might even remind us of the exact quote!)

  29. “And Hazel Grove is in effect the London of the North.”

    Total bollocks.

  30. “House prices in London have become such that practically NOBODY on a salary is able to afford one unless they have inherited wealth.”

    Whilst not denying that there is undoubtedly a significant problem with housing affordability, it riles me to read absurd pronouncements like this with no basis in fact. There are plenty of houses in cheaper Greater London boroughs in reach of couples on average London salaries. At the age of 39 I’ve owned 3 flats in London and been salaried for quite a lot of my career, and having grown up in a mining family I’ve not inherited a bean.

  31. Although I personally welcome the young MPs intervention into the Great British Housing Scandal, perhaps Mr Wragg should look at rightmove.Com where the following properties can be had

    CHESTER RD HAZEL GR. 2 BED FLAT £65,000
    LONDON RD HAZEL GR. 3 BED HOUSE £150,000
    CLARENDON RD HAZEL GR. 3 BED HOUSE £170,000

    But to be fair to him he has not said that he cannot afford a property – he appears to be living with his parents so he can save up for a deposit. however on 70000 salary I don’t think he will have any problems buying a 3 or 4 bedroom house in Hazel Grove very soon.

  32. What about this one?

    PEVERIL DRIVE 3 BED BUNGALOW 242,000

    Delightful, Older Semi Detached
    Lovely Cul-de-sac
    Good Sized, Well Established Garden
    Lounge & Separate Dining/Sitting Room/Bedroom 3
    Kitchen2
    Good first floor
    Bedrooms Bathroom/Separate WC
    Detached
    Brick Garage

    Full description:

    A delightful and very surprising older detached dorma bungalow nicely positioned on a small cul-de-sac within a highly regarded area and enjoying good sized, well established rear garden.

  33. Sorry, H. Hemmelig, I was over-simplistic on this one. But during the time you have owned three flats you have built up the capital enabling you to stay living in London. William Wragg is starting ten years later, and things are much more difficult.

    It does appear that the problem is staying in London, not buying somewhere in Hazel Grove. The need to have two places to live is also a legitimate issue for him,

    Whatever our politics, we should wish that Mr. Wragg, and all the other MPs in the 2015 intake, regardless of party. find satisfactory solutions to their housing needs. MPs cannot do their jobs properly if they are seriously worried about having somewhere to live.

  34. Chris R & Jack S – I’m afraid you’re digging a hole which this MP began.

    HH is right.

    A quick search enabled me to see a Teach First NQT earns £25k pa. This MP also ‘earned’ £10k pa as a Stockport MBC Cllr for the past 4 years. I haven’t looked up his expenses on top of that.

    What he did from the age of 21 – 27 I don’t know.

    It’s admirable of him to raise the ‘generation rent’ issue; but, let’s not pretend someone on £74k pa is struggling to buy a house here.

    If he is, I’m only glad he isn’t a Treasury Minister.

    He must be in the top 0.1% of earners for 28-year-olds and I think a quarter of them have bought properties.

  35. Houses have “fetish value” (the term was coined by Engels who considered housing issues in depth). The result is that if house prices are left to an unregulated free market they will always become unaffordable for the many. In the past, states have regulated the housing market either by the provision of large-scale publicly (usually council) owned housing or by subsidising house purchaser, by mortgage subsidies of one sort or another.

    The general issue is that Osborne supports a free market which has been recognised as unsustainable for hundreds of years. MPs of all parties need to put forward better options. Mr. Wragg needs to put forward workable policies for people in general as well as himself.

    In terms of psephology, few thinsg win as many votes as enabling people to buy their own houses. Current Conservative policies do not achieve this aim.

  36. Frederic

    I agree with you to a certain extent; I’d also add that a permanent zero interest rate policy shares a large part of the blame for fuelling the fetishing of houses.

    That said I think people have a sense of entitlement these days which they didn’t have years ago. Not being able to afford to live in London often means “I can’t afford to live in Westminster, Islington, Kensington, Chelsea or Hampstead”. Average earning couples could still easily afford, say, Dagenham or Thamesmead, and a surprising number of properties in the likes of Croydon, Bexley or Bromley. But they look down their nose at the prospect of buying in a rougher area or somewhere further out than zone 2. I doubt there’s ever been a time when average people can afford to buy in the nicest parts of town – it’s just that what constitutes the nicest bits has changed quite a lot over the decades.

  37. “Hazel Grove is the London of the North”

    Not really. And there are much more expensive places further out in Cheshire.

    Really plus Cheadle it is the nearest Mancunian equivalent to the London Borough of Sutton right down to ordinariness and Lib Dem voting in local elections albeit Sutton is now of course quite a bit pricier. We have been able (admittedly a struggle) to buy a flat in Sutton so I fail to see why a well paid MP cannot buy in Hazel Grove.

    Oh…and at 28 I rented!

  38. The Bramhall part of Cheadle (which is the most Tory part of Stockport and the whole of Greater Manchester after Altrincham) has million pound houses although the rest of Cheadle is more similar to the bulk of this seat.

    This was a pretty awful Lib Dem result and I think the LDs will struggle to win this back even if the boundary changes are friendly to them e.g taking in parts of Stockport constituency where the LDs are still strong locally (and not Poynton).

    Cheadle on the hand wasn’t too bad for the LDs in the context of 2015 where the Tory vote hasn’t recovered since 97 and I believe they can regain it in 2025.

    Crazy to now think this was the LDs best result in 97 and that they had 100% of the Cllrs.in 2010 and that Cheadle had a 16000 majority in 92.

  39. Hazel Grove is largely lower middle class MOR suburbia though parts of Marple are fancy. Cheadle is more affluent and is home to a greater number of managers and professionals (42% v 36%)- largely on acount of Bramhall which is very much part of the North Cheshire gin and jag belt stretching from Lymm in the West to Marple in the east. Cheadle proper is also pretty wealthy.

    To answer Max’s query Altrincham is without question dearer than Hazel Grove. It has grammar schools and is on the tram line to Manchester so is very popular with thirty something professionals- the kind who would live in Wandsworth if they lived in London.

  40. The fact Hazel Grove is even being compared to the other places mentioned recently in this thread is laughable. Although some of the outlying areas of the constituency are fancier, the town of Hazel Grove and nearby areas are very mediocre by South Manchester/Cheshire standards.

    I grew up in Woodford (so on the Cheadle side in terms of constituency) and haven’t lived there for a number of years (but still have family and friends in the area). The people living in and around Hazel Grove are, in many cases, doing so because it’s more affordable (whilst still being seen as acceptable suburbia and a step-up from most of Stockport) or because you get an awful lot more for your money than you do elsewhere.

  41. I always considered that, in terms of equivalent areas to London…

    Stockport=Croydon (on main rail, fringes of more affluent county to south, big back-office location)

    Cheadle/Hazel Grove=Sutton/Carshalton (attractive, middle income, good schools, votes Lib Dem in locals)

    Altrincham=Kingston (grammar schools, expensive, lack of Kingtson-style shops in Altrncham thanks to nearby Trafford Centre)

    Hale Barns=Coombe Hill (wealthy bit of Altrincham=Wealthy bit of Kingtson)

    Wilmslow/Alderley Edge/Prestbury=Oxhsott/Cobham/Esher/Weybridge (Cheshire being the “Surrey of the north”)

    Oh and:

    Chorlton cum hardy=Crouch End
    Didsbury=Muswell Hill

  42. As a seat I have always thought Altrincham and Sale West is the north’s answer to Wimbledon. The vote shares are eerily similar in both seats and the same kinds of people live there.

  43. From what I’ve heard about Altrincham and Sale West (my friend is from Altrincham) I imagine that it is the North’s answer to the posher parts of Wimbledon. While Wimbledon village is probably fairly similar to the ultra-Tory Bowden the Wimbledon constituency does contain some fairly grotty areas which are strong for Labour. I don’t think Altrincham and Sale West does, at least to the same extent.

  44. Peppermintea- I’m not sure I agree actually. Sale is not quite the area it was and has drifted towards Labour in recent decades and the Village ward isn’t too salubrious either. But yes, you’re right to draw the comparison between Bowden and Wimbledon village.

  45. @Tory. I don’t know a great deal about Sale but I imagine you are right about it having drifted towards Labour, its very close to some of those parts of Manchester that used to be Tory once upon a time where the party has since imploded. But aren’t the worse parts of Sale in Wythenshawe and Sale East? I wasn’t saying there were no bad parts of this seat though I was just saying it appears (correct me if I’m wrong) that the Wimbledon seat has a higher proportion of such areas perhaps explaining why it went Labour in ’97 and ’01 and this seat didn’t.

  46. Your point is certainly arguable in relation to the late 1990s when Labour did well in Wimbledon. But is there not also an argument that the grotty parts have subsequently become rather gentrified?

  47. Wimbledon is far more cosmopolitan than Altrincham, as you will see when its Remain vote comes in far higher. I don’t get this strange idea that London seats are similar to places in the north. They are not – London is a world apart.

  48. With the pay rise for MPs, Mr Wragg will be able to trade up to a trailer home…. or should I be more genteel and say a “park home”..?

  49. H Hemmelig- that Wimbledon is more cosmopolitan goes without saying but in terms of socio-economic composition and political complexion these seats are easily comparable.

  50. Are they? A middle class professional working in the city is likely to be very different to one working in Manchester even though they belong to the same socio economic group and for the time being tend to vote the same way.

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