High Peak

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22836 (45%)
Labour: 17942 (35.3%)
Lib Dem: 2389 (4.7%)
Green: 1811 (3.6%)
UKIP: 5811 (11.4%)
MAJORITY: 4894 (9.6%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Derbyshire. The whole of the High Peak council area.

Main population centres: Glossop, Hadfield, Tintwistle, New Mills, Buxton, Hope, Castleton, Bamford.

Profile: As the name might suggest High Peak largely consists of the Peak District at the northern end of Derbyshire. By area the seat mostly consists of the higher, wilder parts of the Peak District, mostly uninhabited moorland. Hills and moors have no votes though, and the majority of the electorate live in the towns to the west of the seat that look towards Greater Manchester, places like Glossop, Hadfield, Tintwistle and New Mills. To the south is the spa town of Buxton and to the east of the constituency there are still a few villages of the Hope valley that haven`t been removed by the boundary changes, including Hope itself, Castleton and Bamford. Tourism is of major importance to the area but there is also industry in the towns to the west. Notably the sweet manufacturer Swizzels Matlow are based in New Mills and Chapel-en-le-Frith, the administrative HQ of High Peak District Council, is also the site of a brake lining manufacturing factory owned by Ferodo, a subsidiary of Turner and Newall, now owned by Federal Mogul.

Politics: Despite being a large rural seat, the Tory voting villages are balanced out by Labour support in the towns, particularly the council estate of Gamesley in Glossop, making this a key marginal between Labour and the Conservatives.

Current MP
ANDREW BINGHAM (Conservative) Born 1962, Buxton. Educated at Long Lane Comprehensive and Derby University. Former small businessman. High Peak councillor 1999-2011. Contested High Peak 2005. First elected as MP for High Peak in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 20587 (41%)
Lab: 15910 (32%)
LDem: 10993 (22%)
UKIP: 1690 (3%)
Oth: 1157 (2%)
MAJ: 4677 (9%)
Con: 19074 (38%)
Lab: 19809 (40%)
LDem: 10000 (20%)
UKIP: 1106 (2%)
MAJ: 735 (1%)
Con: 17941 (37%)
Lab: 22430 (47%)
LDem: 7743 (16%)
MAJ: 4489 (9%)
Con: 20261 (35%)
Lab: 29052 (51%)
LDem: 6420 (11%)
MAJ: 8791 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ANDREW BINGHAM (Conservative) See above.
CAITLIN BISKNELL (Labour) Born Shropshire. Consultant and former journalist. High Peak councillor since 1999, Leader of High Peak council since 2011. Contested High Peak 2010.
STEPHEN WORRALL (Liberal Democrat) Born 1990. Educated at Glossopdale Community College and Manchester University. Academic.
IAN GUIVER (UKIP) Educated at York University. Managing director. Contested Derbyshire Dales 2010.
Comments - 248 Responses on “High Peak”
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  1. On the face of it it looks like Labour did quite well here last month. I wonder if Andy will get round to the figures.

  2. The seat is coterminous with council area, which comprises 7 county council divisions:

    Lab: 8,863 (36.1%)
    Con: 7,651 (31.1%)
    UKIP: 3,204 (13.0%)
    LD: 2,593 (10.6%)
    Green: 1,487 (6.1%)
    Ind: 771 (3.1%)

    Changes since 2010 GE:

    Lab: +4.5%
    Con: -9.8%
    UKIP: +7.2%
    LD: -8.8%
    Green: +4.2%
    Ind: +2.7%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 7.1%

  3. Thanks Andy.

    This is more encouraging for Labour than either Erewash or Sherwood, IMO. UKIP didn’t make much of an impact so the Tories can’t really blame them here.

  4. i think this must be a picturesque seat i hope i’m right

  5. Picturesque yes, but a lot of quite grimy mill towns as well, all located on the north western tip of the seat. That is where a lot of the population is concentrated. Arguably these towns are chiefly influenced by Stockport and Manchester, where the Tories have experienced a long-term deterioration of their vote.

  6. Incidentally “Sergent Wilson”, your boss “Captain Mainwaring” aka Arthur Lowe grew up in High Peak, in Hayfield.

  7. A strong set of results for Labour- it will give them confidence for 2015. Saying that, I don’t think this seat is obviously trending in their direction- Labour’s vote fell by 20% points between ’97 and 2010 and the Tory vote recovered in line with the national average. Although it is near Manchester it also recognisably ‘Pennine’. The same is true of nearby Stalybridge and Hyde, where the Tories had a pretty good result in 2010.

  8. The good Tory result in Stalybridge & Hyde could be more political than demographic though, Tory. There was a very chaotic period when James Purnell announced his very premature retirement & there was a very weak-seeming shortlist. The last election took place against a backdrop of the local Labour Party looking like a bunch of idiots, to put it bluntly, and I think that some Labour voters didn’t turn out or even voted Conservative. Since then, local election results have been very satisfactory for Labour, with only 1 ward (Stalybridge S) lost last year, and there are signs that Jonny Reynolds is establishing himself. I would be surprised if there’s another above-average result for the Conservatives there next time. I don’t think that High Peak is trending either pro-Labour or pro-Conservative – it may be that some villagey areas are trending very slightly further to the Conservatives but that would be nullified by a very slight trend in the other directions in the grimy towns mentioned by H.Hemmelig. It’s worth mentioning that Buxton, which is not normally preceded by the adjective “grimy”, and is the largest town in the constituency, actually votes narrowly pro-Labour because of its working-class eastern half (the western half ranges from pretty prosperious to outright posh), and if anything I reckon that the town is trending very slightly more Labour than in past years, if anything.

  9. I deliberately wasn’t including Buxton as a grimy mill town.

    It is further south than Glossop, New Mills etc and is more recognisably Derbyshire than the towns further north. Its politics are starkly divided between very genteel Conservative areas and gritty bits which are safe for Labour, making the town politically marginal overall.

    I would agree that the trends probably cancel out overall. Some slippage to Labour on the Manchester fringe with the vast rural area getting increasingly strong for the Conservatives, and Buxton a static, divided marginal.

  10. LibDems held their 2 divisions in High Peak. Basically they now hold more divisions here than in Chesterfield.

    What kind of LD vote is there in these 2 areas (New Mills and Whaley Bridge)?

  11. A similar kind of LD vote to Hazel Grove, which is next door.

  12. Buxton has the best non league ground in england!!! But on a winters day it is the coldest place in england. Your bones feel like they could shatter. Very victorian strong identity and a great train journey if you dont like driving up hills. Politically very gritty its all about resources. I would like to put my mortgage in this race.

  13. Just to clarify i would not put my mortgage on this race 🙂

  14. I agree with you on both fronts. I have experienced those icy winter mornings in Buxton myself 20 or 25 years ago. And I think Labour have a better chance here than in many seats which are more marginal on paper.

  15. I don’t think they’ll win this.
    I was here in 2007 and agree it’s more gritty than people might imagine though.
    Very nice landscape though with some fine buildings.

  16. @joe there more likely to win here than majority of the seats in the south. The tory vote has a ceiling its all about the labour vote. Labour have lost alot of voters who may come home and it wont take many to put labour over the top. Tories will get 19-21000 max i think labour can beat it.

  17. @ release i dont think labour are getting people off the “sidelines” (ok i can only know notts well and i can tell the “council estates” are not lining up to vote labour in 1997 or even 2005 numbers) so expect a close turnout to last time however the votes you will take off the lib dems (33% of 2010 vote go lab maybe) plus cons bigger problem with ukip (yes we take lab and lib dem too just c1/c2 swing cons more) will make this seat a very close fight with it going with whoever wins having a maj of under 1000

  18. I agree that High Peak will be very closely fought in 2015- I think incumbency may just see Bingham home but there is very little to pick here.

    Regarding the respectable LD vote in 2010, we should remember that it is not without precedent. The Liberals got 25% here in February 1974 back when Spencer Le Marchant was the MP.

  19. @myth so if you have a council house your a labour voter. How long did it take you to cone up with that informed opinion? I have a mortgage and have never claimed jsa or esa or income support. I have a degree and its paid of with money i earnt not inherited. What am i then?

  20. i want to know why you call yourself releasethehounds

  21. you have the degree you tell me and i am sorry if i implied you were a labour voter in the above.(bad english on my part) as for turnout why do think people will come off the sidelines?.

  22. It’s true enough about Buxton being cold – a game between Lancs & Derbyshire in June 1975 saw snow stop play! Derbyshire had to bat on a snow-affected wicket with disastrous consequences.
    I agree that this seat will be close. Bingham seems to have made a better impression than some other newcomers & is an accented local. Too early for me to make a confident prediction as Joe has. Joe is perhaps one of the more usually optimistic predictors on the Tory side – he was before 2010 too, though to be fair he isn’t really in Dalek’s league for the most part.

  23. “@myth so if you have a council house your a labour voter.”

    If you read Myth’s post properly you will see he’s saying the opposite – that many council estates no longer turn out strongly for Labour, indeed that is going to be a big problem for the party in the long term even if it doesn’t matter much in 2015.

  24. Myth – turnout will increase in the market towns around leics, derbys and notts because their identites are under threat from home building schemes that are nit necessary. Tory mps have a difficult time because in 2010 these midland market town mps were bankrolled by developers while their constituents want their village to stay. The midlands diesnt have the infrastruture to build new homesm its 40 mins to any general hospital schools are fewer and harder to find. We are not london. We dont have a tive network or muliple motorways. We have one laned a roads that cant cope with any pressure and people not politically axtive have had enough if traffic congestion paying taxes a rotting high street freezing salaries small businesses dying and nothing coming back in return what do mps say we electrified a railway line that does nothing to reduce traffic congestion.

  25. Sorry for typos i did it on my mobile phone. But hope you get thr point. Look up leicestershire nw for more info on the points made.

  26. On the development issue, I agree that the mood in the east midlands is very upset about these things at the moment.

    However, how is Labour’s promised council house building programme going to do anything other than make the problem far worse? They are now committed to massively increasing house building as their way of reducing the housing benefit bill.

    Both main parties are pledged to increase house building and the traditional protest option of voting Lib Dem is no longer valid. Maybe this is an issue UKIP will be able to make hay with up to the election.

  27. Hemming build them in the south where housing benefit is a problem. Berkshire dorset surrey wiltshire oxfordshire have plenty of room for house building.

  28. I don’t this seat well enough ward by ward, and it does have a history of Labour doing pretty well – and we see it in other areas of the Peak District, like Middleton, and Matlock now aswell.

    But I’d still be quite surprised if the overall demographic trends were favourable to Labour here in a General Eleciton.

  29. Housing benefit is paid from a national pot and is therefore a national problem.

    If you think Labour will focus their council house building programme on Surrey and Berkshire you are an idiot. They will build where land is cheapest, planning is easiest, greenbelt is less of a problem, where their own voters will benefit and (most of all) not where they are going to spoil the view of people like Tony Blair and Lord Sainsbury.

  30. I have local knowledge of this seat (Hemellig has already summed it up perfectly).

    I can see Bingham scraping home by a few hundred votes in 2015.

    Something like this:

    Con 39
    Lab 38
    LD 13.5
    UKIP 6
    Others 3.5

    I think the LDs will hold up relatively well around Whaley Bridge and to a lesser extent around New Mills but will collapse really badly in the rest of the seat, especially in Buxton.

    (I think the LD performance here will broadly mirror their national vote share).

  31. My knowledge of this particular seat isn’t fantastic but I have been to Buxton in the past.

    It seems to be a classic marginal seat, and could continue to change hands between the Tories and Labour many times over the next 20 years I think.

  32. Read all the posts above. It isn’t a classic marginal seat, it is a polarised seat made up mostly of very strong Labour and Conservative areas and has relatively few swing voters. Quite similar to many of the London Con-Lab marginal in that respect. So the likelihood is the opposite of what you predict – this is a low swing seat that will swing less than average and therefore change parties less than a “classic” marginal does.

    As usual A Brown is talking good sense and I pretty much agree. A narrow Con hold is most likely I think.

  33. But it’s changed times on a few occasions in years gone by, so it is definitely a marginal seat.

  34. yes, I think he’s broadly right. It will be close, but the Tories are fractional favourites at the moment. Perhaps Whaley Bridge is a bit of a swing town, but it’s small and very few other areas of the seat can be so described.

  35. Edwina Currie lives in this seat. I know that she does because I have seen her walking her dog in Whaley Bridge Park.

  36. Thing is this seat is as much north as east midlands – particularly the Labour areas, which are full of Mancunians. It may depend on the regional swing which looks good for Labour in the north-west – so it wouldn’t surprise me if Labour won here. It will certainly be close though as it nearly always is

  37. It will completely come down to GOTV.

    This is a tightrope for Ed Miliband to get a bare overall majority.

    My grandparents are buried at Taxal and I have been to Whaley Bridge and Buxton several times this year.

    MAJ: 1.4%
    LAB 36.5
    CON 35.1
    LD 15.5
    UKIP 7.9
    GRN 4.5
    OTH 0.5

  39. Not sure about the Greens but they did exceed the LDs in Buxton.

  40. Presumably they could draw support from Labour, the Lib Dems, and living in the Peak District, some small c environmentalist types. Do you have the figures for that I could look at please Mr Brown?

  41. Many thanks! 🙂

  42. To prove what an excellent non selective memory I’ve got, I can tell people that I remember seeing Diane Abbott and Edwina Currie on an edition of celebrity pointless a few months ago where Diane Abbott answered questions on Noel Coward plays. I also remember seeing Tom Levitt in Spring Gardens in June 2009.

  43. I think Labour will win here with a steady majority.

    There is a huge Lib Dem vote to chip away at from memory they only just clung on to New Mills at County and Borough level, I think the Lib Dem regional organiser’s wife is the County Councillor.

    The Tory vote will hold up in general and UKIP will hold their deposit. Off the subject, this has to be one of the most beautiful parts of England and I can be found walking here most Sundays! Taking a guess, I’ll say:

    Labour 41
    Conservative 37
    Lib Dem 12
    UKIP 7
    Oth 3

  44. It’s possible, but personally I expect the Tories to hold on albeit narrowly.

    This is the kind of place where, if they do well, UKIP will take a lot of potential Labour as well as Tory votes. I would imagine UKIP will poll as well or even better in the mill towns like Glossop than in the peak villages.

    I expect the Lib Dem vote will be a bit stickier than you predict, concentrated around the bit of the seat bordering Stockport.

  45. I agree with H Hemmelig. A stickier than expected Lib Dem vote and the potential of UKIP to take off Labour as well as Conservative votes in the grittier parts of the constituency will just be enough to get Bingham home in my view.

  46. Looking at the CC and BC elections the Lib Dem vote does appear to be holding up in New Mills (partly) and in Whaley Bridge but it has collapsed elsewhere.

    Talking of Stockport, Tony Favell is still a Councillor in Hope Valley ward.

  47. Also, as I posted on Amber Valley yesterday, do not underestimate the resources that the Countryside Alliance can mobilise here for the Tories.

  48. Tony Favell must be well into his seventies now. He was John Major’s PPS before he became prime minister.

  49. Yes he must be, I used to live in Stockport when my home was included in the old Stockport seat and he was a very decent man.

    He will probably be the last ever Tory MP for Stockport, unless there are major boundary changes.

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