2015 Result:
Conservative: 28389 (55.2%)
Labour: 10200 (19.8%)
Lib Dem: 2700 (5.2%)
Green: 1976 (3.8%)
UKIP: 8082 (15.7%)
Others: 120 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 18189 (35.3%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. The western part of the Lichfield council area and part of the East Staffordshire council area.

Main population centres: Lichfield, Burntwood, Armitage, Kings Bromley, Yoxall, Alrewas, Barton-under-Needwood, Armitage.

Profile: Lichfield itself is a small city that grew to prominence as a staging point for the coaching trade and declined after the coming of the railways. It is now an attractive Georgian city that is a domitory for the Metropolitan West Midlands. To the west of Lichfield is the more industrial former mining town of Burntwood. The rest of the seat is made up of rural towns and villages like Alrewas, Yoxall and Barton-under-Needwood. The seat includes the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas and the Armitage Shanks factory in the village of Armitage.

Politics: The rural villages tend to lean towards the Conservatives, as do suburban areas in Lichfield like Boley Park, cancelling out the Labour strength in Burntwood. Lichfield was an ultra-marginal on its creation in the Labour landslide election of 1997, with Labour coming within 238 votes of winning the seat. Since then Labour`s support has faded away and in 2015 Michael Fabricant enjoyed a towering majority of over thirty percent.

Current MP
MICHAEL FABRICANT (Conservative) Born 1950, Brighton. Educated at Brighton and Hove Grammar and Loughborough University. Former director of a broadcast manufacturing and management group. Contested South Shields 1987. First elected as MP for Mid Staffordshire in 1992. PPS to Michael Jack 1996-97, Shadow Trade spokesman 2003, Shadow Economic Affairs spokesman 2003-05, Opposition Whip 2005-10, Government Whip 2010-12. Unfortunately best known for his unusual hair, which has been relentlessly mocked by Parliamentary sketchwriters.
Past Results
Con: 28048 (54%)
Lab: 10230 (20%)
LDem: 10365 (20%)
UKIP: 2920 (6%)
MAJ: 17683 (34%)
Con: 21274 (49%)
Lab: 14194 (32%)
LDem: 6804 (16%)
UKIP: 1472 (3%)
MAJ: 7080 (16%)
Con: 20480 (49%)
Lab: 16054 (39%)
LDem: 4462 (11%)
UKIP: 684 (2%)
MAJ: 4426 (11%)
Con: 20853 (43%)
Lab: 20615 (42%)
LDem: 5473 (11%)
MAJ: 238 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MICHAEL FABRICANT (Conservative) See above.
CHRIS WORSEY (Labour) Educated at Great Wyrley High School and Keele University. Entrepreneur. Sandwell councillor since 2012.
PAUL RAY (Liberal Democrat)
ROBERT PASS (Green) Educated at King Edward VI School and Birmingham University. Director in a recycling business.
Comments - 117 Responses on “Lichfield”
  1. I think most will agree that it’s beyond UKIP to win a Westminster seat in Staffordshire next year, second place is they best they can do.

    Other than Cannock and Newcastle-under-Lyme is there anywhere else UKIP could potentially be runners up and emerge as as serious challengers in 2020?

  2. The Stoke seats are far better prospects for UKIP IMO than the other Staffs constituencies, particularly Stoke North.

  3. Not sure about Stoke, UKIP have no councillor base in any of the Stoke constituencies. I would have thought they’d be better putting their efforts into Newcastle-under-Lyme where they took 5 seats from Labour in May.

  4. I think this seat has shifted an extremely long way against Labour since 1997 and has a very large right-wing supporting electorate.

    I don’t know if the Tories’ success here is down to the work of Michael Fabricant but I suspect it might be, to an extent. RE UKIP’s likely fortunes here I would agree, they’ll get a good rise but will be looking to places like Cannock and Newcastle-under-Lyme to do really well.

    Anyway, my latest prediction for 2015 is-
    Fabricant (Conservative)- 52%
    Labour- 23%
    UKIP- 15%
    Liberal Democrat- 10%

  5. I don’t think Fabricant has a big personal vote. Rather, Labour were hugely flattered by their close call in 1997 in what is basically a safe Tory seat. The strong swing to the Tories ever since then is in line with other seats in the county.

  6. And indeed it was one of the Tories’ few big increases in 2001 as they recovered from the ’97 blip.

  7. Michael Fabricant article in the Guardian, calling for the UK to leave the EU.

    I’m surprised. I knew he was mildly Eurosceptic but not enough to want to actually leave the EU.

  8. ‘Iā€™m surprised. I knew he was mildly Eurosceptic but not enough to want to actually leave the EU’

    Fabricant has moved to the Right along with the rest if the Tory Parliamentary party since he was first elected in 1992

    I’m quite surprised he’s advocating outright withdrawal though

  9. As someone who wants us to stay in the EU, I’m quite heartened that the Outers are being increasingly led by eccentric weirdos in badly fitting blond wigs, and divisive figures like Farage who will always repel more people than they attract.

    The Outers need a nice Alan Johnson type of guy to lead their campaign.

  10. ‘As someone who wants us to stay in the EU, Iā€™m quite heartened that the Outers are being increasingly led by eccentric weirdos in badly fitting blond wigs’

    I’d watch it Hemelig – I get the impression Anthony’s a massive fan of Fabricant as I found my comment deleted when i made similar remarks following his calamatous appearance on ‘Have I Got News for You’

    On a more serious point, I think the British electorate actually quite like ‘eccentric wierdos’. There’s enough of them already in Parliament and they are certainly a breath of fresh air when compared to the careerist MP’s that dominate today’s mainstream parties

    ‘The Outers need a nice Alan Johnson type of guy to lead their campaign’

    Frank Field is probably the closest – a Labour figure who can reach out to Tories

  11. Frank Field’s problem is that he’d reach out to Tories at the expense of reaching out to Labour voters, most of whom would recoil in horror at him. I do see the use of having figures able to reach across the aisle for them, though. The Out campaign in ’75 suffered from its figureheads being Tony Benn and Enoch Powell.

  12. ‘The Out campaign in ā€™75 suffered from its figureheads being Tony Benn and Enoch Powell.’

    Didn’t realise that – arguably the two most extreme polticians of the day

    Did any of the press campaign for a ‘No’ vote?

  13. Conservative hold – majority 14,000.

  14. “It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and has a high proportion of managers and directors, according to the 2011 Census, although its share of workers in the financial and “real-estate” sectors is below the national average.”

  15. Given the social and economic factors here, I can’t see much of a swing here to Labour at all. I think Adam’s predicted Tory majority is pretty good though it may even be a tad bigger than that.

  16. UKIP will do very well in the ex-mining town of Burntwood which has more in common with the Cannock Chase constituency than the rest of the Lichfield division. Whether that will be enough for them to get second place will be interesting.

  17. Do we think there any closeted MPs left in the Commons, and if so who?

    I should stress I picked a thread at random to post this on.

  18. There are no doubt a few older ones, but I doubt there are that many. The parties are running about 40 LGBT candidates each, with the tories having the most.

  19. I remember a journalist (Iain Dale possibly) claiming that there were a some closeted Tory MPs who intended to vote against same sex marriage in 2013.

  20. Conservative Hold. 12,000 majority.

  21. To my surprise Fabricant increased his majority from 17,683 to 18,189:

  22. A few things to note about the result here- The first thing is that Michael Fabricant did increase his vote share by 0.8%, which saw him poll more votes than 2010 and also get a bigger majority. The second thing is that Labour stood still and made no progress, yet kept second place which might have gone to UKIP had they done a bit better nationally. The third thing to say is that it appears as though there was a heavy drop in the turnout, but I can’t find confirmation that this was in fact the case in this seat. All in all, though, the long-term trend to the Tories here was factored in long ago- first in 2001, (possibly also continuing unwind from the Mid Staffs by-election) and was then reinforced in 2010 when Fabricant scored that extremely strong result.

  23. Looking at the referendum results a rough description would be that Leave won the Factory districts and the Farm districts while Remain won the Stockbroker districts and Student districts.

    Comparison to other votes:

    In the AV referendum No won the Factory, Farm and Stockbroker districts while Yes won only the Student districts.

    In general elections the Conservatives win if they get the Farm and Stockbroker districts and part of the Factory districts ** while Labour win by getting the Student and Factory districts and part of the Farm or Stockbroker districts.

    At their peak the LibDems had MPs in all four of the types of district – their lack of a heartland was why they proved to be so vulnerable.

    ** The Cameron Project targeted the Student districts and failed, it was only the unexpected successes within the Factory districts which gave the Conservatives victory in 2010.

  24. Using Andy’s EU prediction spreadsheet I calculate these districts were more than 5% more Leave than predicted (highest Leave overshoort first):

    Barking & Dagenham
    Nuneaton & Bedworth
    Blackburn with Darwen
    Kingston upon Hull
    East Staffordshire
    Cannock Chase
    North Lincolnshire
    North East Lincolnshire
    St. Helens

    Lots of heavily Asian areas, followed by mining and generally industrial areas.

  25. These are the areas where Remain did at least 5% better than Andy predicted (highest Remain overshoot first):

    Brighton & Hove
    Isles of Scilly
    Tunbridge Wells
    South Cambridgeshire
    Mid Sussex
    Richmond upon Thames
    Bath & North East Somerset
    Vale of White Horse
    St Albans
    South Oxfordshire
    South Hams
    Aylesbury Vale
    City of London
    South Norfolk

    Students, trendies, stockbrokers and scousers.

  26. Interesting. With a few exceptions mainly strong Leave voting areas being even more Leave than expected and strong Remain areas even more Remain, adding to the overall impression of a highly polarised result.

  27. Interesting to see Leave overperforming significantly in a number of Outer London boroughs.

  28. Me too… I think at least one local poster on here suggested Leave would do relatively well there though.

  29. ‘** The Cameron Project targeted the Student districts and failed, it was only the unexpected successes within the Factory districts which gave the Conservatives victory in 2010.’

    Whilst the second part of that statement is true, the Cameron project seemed less aimed at students and more middle class and young professionals who were voting Labour or Lib Dem at that time because of the Tories social conservatism.

    Whilst this had mixed results in 2010, it must have helped win the Tories a good proportion of those Lib Dem voters who deserted the party in 2015

  30. ‘What epitomises that failure is the poor advances in seats like Hove while the Tories put on tons of votes in places like Cannock et al’

    Whilst Hove is an unlikely Labour seat – just as Cannock is an unlikely Tory one – local factors were clearly at play which help partly explain why it went against the grain

    The sitting MP was standing down, his touted replacement was an unpopular local councillor who like Andrea Leadsom was alleged to have embellished his CV, and in contrast, Labour had a young, energetic and charismatic candidate

  31. That may have been the reason, because Hove was unusual in 2015 terms. In most of the marginals the Tories had won in 2010 they did exceptionally well, which enabled them to gain a parliamentary majority. In Cannock the first-term MP stood down after bad publicity and in N Warwickshire the first-termer stood down as if he knew he had n’t a hope but this didn’t harm the Tories at all.

  32. The Conservatives increased their vote in Hove in 2015 by 3.2% which was a lot better than they did in 2005 and 2010 – the Conservative gain in Hove had been dependent upon Labour losing support.

  33. Quite correct, so maybe it was n’t to do with the candidate. in fact the Tory vote increased in all the seats they lost to Labour except Ilford and Enfield North. Their problem was that more ex-Libdem voters switched to Labour in those seats.

  34. ‘I wonder how much more Weatherley would have added to the Tory vote.’

    Probably not a great deal tbh as he was quite low-profile, although he had been ill during the last few years of his term.

    Being quite a liberalish Tory – at least socially – wouldn’t have done him any harm here

    I’m not sure comparisons with Warwickshire North or Cannock hold as they are very different seats which are trending in the opposite direction to this one

  35. ” Whilst the second part of that statement is true, the Cameron project seemed less aimed at students and more middle class and young professionals who were voting Labour or Lib Dem at that time because of the Tories social conservatism.

    Whilst this had mixed results in 2010, it must have helped win the Tories a good proportion of those Lib Dem voters who deserted the party in 2015 ”

    ‘Student’ was just a rough description of areas with large numbers of students and young professionals.

    Its noticeable that the Conservatives did badly in those in 2015 – Cambridge, Leeds NW, Sheffield Hallam, Brighton Pavilion, Bristol W.

    The big driving force of former LibDem votes to Conservative in 2015 was fear of a SNP controlled EdM government.

    It would be interesting to see which constituencies saw the biggest fall in combined Conservative and LibDem votes.

  36. I do think the ‘Hove is now bad for the Tories’ thing is a bit over-egged. All marginals are interesting to be fair, but it must be the most over-talked about seat on this site. šŸ™‚

  37. I haven’t combed all the threads but I wouldn’t say Hove was over-discussed for such a big change seat.
    Re Cambridge etc. the Tories did badly in the seats that Labour won back from the LDs, incidentally seats in which they used to be quite strong, if not to the extent of Hove. Even Cambridge was quite reliable for them, slightly more so than Oxford.

  38. Cambridge is very similar to Brighton & Hove demographically – disproportionate amount of students, A/B professionals and middle class public sector workers – but of course the Lib Dems got involved there and got themselves well enough entrenched to the point where Labour actually came third in 2010 – only to win the seat in 2015 with the same candidate

    Cambridge is unusual in that prior to 1992, it had only been won by Labour in their landslide victories of 1945 and 1966

    It has been fairly reliaby Tory beforehand

  39. Also nearly everywhere in Scotland.

  40. Neighbouring Tamworth as well. 52% in 1997, 26% in 2015. Burton from 51% to 27% so not quite halved. Stone from 40% to 20%.

  41. Of course there were boundary changes in many seats in 2010 which makes direct comparison with 1997 imperfect. For example Burton became slightly better for Labour in 2010 which means their vote may have halved since 1997 when you take that change into account.

  42. Yes, there are four areas in particular where Labour are in danger of losing seats: Cumbria/North Lancashire, north east Wales, south Wales suburban seats (like Newport West and Bridgend), and the Potteries.

  43. Con Estimate
    Re your list I’d say the following…

    We have discussed this before, on paper its super close but it was in your benchmark comparison year of 1992 as well, indeed the majority is practically identical
    0.8% in 1992
    1% in 2015
    The seat really hasn’t shifted in any direction.

    Newport West
    We’ve discussed that before too, the Tories are still a long way from the 40% mark that was common for them back in the day, its just Labs performance has been poorer, both parties are down though and one can’t sniff at a 9% majority in a year like 2015.

    This seat has obviously swung massively against Lab thanks to the collapse of the old mining vote but it appears to have stabilised now, The Tories had big hopes of winning it in 2010 but they didn’t and the seat swung away from them in 2015 and locally the Tories have really went into steep decline. I think demographic changes have largely run their course in Wakefield and if the Tories want to win they have to win on their own merits.

  44. Also who’s beating Lab in Stoke North and Central?

    And after the backwards slide in 2015 are you really predicting a Tory win in Grimsby?

  45. Even Central? Sorry Maxim I don’t see that happening, you have to go back to the 70’s to a time when the Tories were winning more than 30% in Stoke Central, the Lab/UKIP vote would have to split literally perfectly for the Tories to sneak a win through the middle, far more likely UKIP win it and far more likely again Lab hold on there. This is where your getting a bit silly Maxim. Seats with a 17% majority were the Tories are not even in second place are not about to fall to the Tories.

  46. If you look at the actual number of votes cast in Stoke-on-Trent, the Labour vote has collapsed since 1997. The reason they haven’t lost any seats yet is because the opposition is divided and most of the lost voters have stayed at home since.

  47. Stowe Ward By-election, 22.02.18

    Conservative 513
    Labour 299
    Liberal Democrat 217
    Something New 59
    Green 56

    Cons Hold.

  48. Carborough ward by-election, 05.07.18:

    Labour 309
    Conservative 169
    Liberal Democrat 34

    Labour Gain.

    The Council is now: Con 41, Lab 5, Ind 1.

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