2015 Result:
Conservative: 28791 (54.7%)
Labour: 9996 (19%)
Lib Dem: 2638 (5%)
Green: 2170 (4.1%)
UKIP: 8908 (16.9%)
Others: 100 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 18795 (35.7%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands. Part of the Solihull council area.

Main population centres: Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Dorridge, Knowle.

Profile: While it includes urban areas like Castle Bromwich, Meriden is essentially the slim rural green belt that divides the Birmingham conurbation from Coventry, known as the "Meriden Gap" after the small village of Meriden, which traditionally claims to be the centre point of England. Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley wood are overspill developments for Birmingham and are the , the rest of the constituency though is made up of affluent commuter villages.

Politics: Meriden is generally a safe Conservative seat, although it was won by the Labour party in the sixties and seventies and was reduced to an ultra-marginal in the Labour landslide year of 1997. Labour`s strength comes from the Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood area, though in recent years the Green party have made inroads here in local elections.

Current MP
CAROLINE SPELMAN (Conservative) Born 1958, Bishops Stortford. Educated at Herts & Essex High School for Girls and Queen Mary College. Former agricultural researcher. Contested Bassetlaw 1992. First elected as MP for Meriden in 1997. Shadow international development secretary 2001-2003. Shadow local government secretary 2004-2007, Conservative party chairman 2007-2009, shadow local government secretary 2009-2010. Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2010-2012.
Past Results
Con: 26956 (52%)
Lab: 10703 (21%)
LDem: 9278 (18%)
BNP: 2511 (5%)
Oth: 2714 (5%)
MAJ: 16253 (31%)
Con: 22416 (48%)
Lab: 15407 (33%)
LDem: 7113 (15%)
UKIP: 1567 (3%)
MAJ: 7009 (15%)
Con: 21246 (48%)
Lab: 17462 (39%)
LDem: 4941 (11%)
UKIP: 910 (2%)
MAJ: 3784 (8%)
Con: 22997 (42%)
Lab: 22415 (41%)
LDem: 7098 (13%)
MAJ: 582 (1%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CAROLINE SPELMAN (Conservative) See above.
TOM MCNEIL (Labour) Born Bromsgrove. Educated at Bewdley High School and Durham University. Solicitor.
ADE ADEYEMO (Liberal Democrat) Chartered civil engineer.
CHRIS BOOTH (Independence from Europe)
Comments - 42 Responses on “Meriden”
  1. Atherstone and Polesworth were in this seat from 1955 to 1983

  2. Given rising Green strength in the Meriden part of Solihull, I believe I can predict this for 2015:

    Con 44
    Lab 30
    LD 9
    UKIP 6
    Green 6
    Others 5

    Given that there are 6 Green councillors in Solihull at the moment, the Greens should be able to save their deposit in one of the Solihull constituencies.

  3. I wonder if Caroline Spelman will ever be brought back to the Tory frontbench again. Even before serving in the cabinet, she was one of the more prominent women in the shadow cabinet. Felt a bit sorry for her after she was sacked in 2012 for some reason.

    Recall reading some reports that her and Cheryl Gillian are meant to be among Theresa May’s backers in the party and would support her potential leadership if Cameron is ever ousted or defeated at the next election.

    As for Meriden, she’ll hold albeit with a small swing to Labour.

  4. CON 43
    LAB 25
    LD 12
    UKIP 12
    GRN 4
    OTH 4

  5. Wow a plausible Green suggested vote! (At upper end of expectations but still..)

  6. CON: 47%
    LAB: 25%
    UKIP: 12%
    GRN: 8%
    LD: 5%
    BNP: 3%

  7. From 1.3% to 8%??? Yer havin’ a giraffe.

  8. This is the seat where the Greens’ Solihull support is mainly concentrated. In such a safe Tory seat there is no need to vote tactically therefore a strong local campaign on the part of the Greens could result in a large rise for them as this has grown to be one of their strongest areas since 2010. I can see a lot of the LD vote moving over to them here.

  9. Or more likely that Lib Dems move to Labour. They were, after all, very close to winning this in 97 and despite falling back significantly, Labour have remained in a distant 2nd place.

    Green party success might be because residents prefer them in local government as opposed to in national government. Same way how they have enjoyed success in much more marginal areas like Stroud and Lancaster despite who the very obvious challenger will be in those.

  10. Lewisham and Camden are other good examples. I personally think that Labour will squeeze the Greens below their 2010 level, nationally.

  11. ‘Recall reading some reports that her and Cheryl Gillian are meant to be among Theresa May’s backers in the party and would support her potential leadership if Cameron is ever ousted or defeated at the next election’

    That’s interesting and suggests Theresa May might be a good unity candidate in 2015

    I have always seen Spellman as on the Left of the party and Gillian as on the Right (she certainly was described that way when she succeeded arch wet Sir Ian Gilmour in 1992)

  12. The Green vote here is a “none of the above” vote in the huge Birmingham overspill council estate of Chelmsley Wood, with no UKIP candidates. It has zero to do with Green beliefs or policies and will not transfer to a General Election vote. Camden Chelmsley Wood ain’t. It is a fish out of water in rich Solihull which only increases its alienation. Conservative, Liberal, and BNP councillors have all been elected here in recent years as Labour has been abandoned as irrelevant.

  13. The UKIP candidate is John Allen.

  14. prediction for 2015-

    con- 47%
    Lab- 26%
    UKIP- 14%
    Lib- 10%
    Green- 5%
    BNP- 1%

  15. The UKIP candidate for Meriden has changed to Mick Gee

  16. The Liberal Democrat candidate is Ade Adeyemo.

  17. As Anthony notes, this is a seat that was once marginal but has had a series of above average swings to the Conservatives largely for demographic reasons and perhaps also because of a particuarly effective MP.

    In the West Midlands particularly, but also in other regions, there appears to have been a distancing between inner city zones and the outlying parts of the region. This is a very worrying trend.

  18. Conservative Hold. 12,000 majority.

  19. This time I agree with Shaun. The opposition to the Conservatives will be split in all directions. Watch for a UKIP second place.

  20. Lady Byron Lane in Knowle is the most affluent road in the West Midlands, Dr Robert Waller wrote in 1982, and I think this statement was retained in each volume.

    This constituency skirts round the bottom of Solihull constituency south of the Motorway to include Dorridge and Knowle to the east.
    Lady Byron Lane is actually quite close to the Motorway that was opened in 1985 and 1986 but perhaps still far away enough.

  21. 1992 result:

    Con 33,462 55.1
    Lab 18,763 30.9
    L Dem 8,489 14.0

    This constituency is now behaving more like a ‘Warwickshire’ constituency than a ‘West Midlands’ constituency.

  22. Saying that Chelmsley and Smith’s Green vote, was. None of the above, didn’t do the General Election vote justice. The Greens gathered 15 & 16% of the vote within those two Wards respectively. This is despite having many members in the south of the constituency.

  23. For those interested in boundaries and such I have a query. I’ve avoided doing a plan for the West Midlands cos it’s frankly pointless what with the mess that is Birmingham with its giant wards. But I have been messing around with the individual areas around Birmingham when possible.

    Warwickshire (including Coventry and Solihull) is entitled to a whole 10 seats (down from 11) and thus I have tried to come up with a plan for it but one iffy bit is this constituency. Its ever so slightly above quota and removing any of its wards sends it below quota. Assuming the BC pull off some magic with ward splitting in Birmingham and avoid some of the monstrosities they came up with last time (I’m looking at you Birmingham Erdington and Castle Bromwich) and what with neighbouring Solihull being in quota am I right in saying that there HAS to be two cross authority seats here? One seat taking territory from Meriden then the rest of Meriden taking territory from somewhere else to make up the short fall? Its kinda messy but I’d feel better about it knowing there was no other option.

  24. Rivers:

    I got two constituencies that span and partition Solihull Metropolitan Borough and both lie within the quota by having the current Meriden constituency take Elmdon ward from the current Solihull in exchange for Blythe ward. The detailed ward breakdown follows.

    1. Solihull: Lyndon, Olton, Silhill, St Alphege, Shirley East, Shirley West, Shirley South, Blythe (75,626 pop.)

    2. Meriden: Castle Bromwich, Smith’s Wood, Kingshurst and Fordbridge, Chelmsley Wood, Bickenhill, Elmdon, Knowle, Dorridge and Hockley Heath, Meriden (78,247 pop., a couple hundred to the good of the quota)

  25. @Rivers

    Yes my plan involves moving Meriden ward into North Warwickshire (which opens up options for the rest of Warwickshire & Coventry, which is otherwise very tight on quotas to avoid splitting towns). I then move the Arden wards into the Meriden seat, and suggest we rename it “Arden” now that Meriden is no longer in it, and the Meriden District is over 40 years dead.

  26. Rivers this is probably a less complex way which just involves switching two Solihull borough wards and only crossing from the West Midland Urban Conurbation to Warwickshire once (between Coventry and Kenilworth):

    Stratford-upon-Avon: current seat + Wellesbourne (E,W), Kineton, Red Horse
    Warwick and Leamington: current seat + Arden, Stoneleigh and Cubbington
    Rugby: (or Rugby and Southam): current Rugby + remainder Kenilworth and Southam except Kenilworth itself. – Wolston and the Lawfords, Revel and Binley Woods, Wolvey and Shilton, Bulkington.
    Nuneaton: current seat + Wolston and the Lawfords, Revel and Binley Woods, Wolvey and Shilton, Bulkington. – Arley and Whitacre, Hartshill.
    North Warwickshire: current seat + Arley and Whitacre, Hartshill.
    Coventry East: current Coventry NE + Binley and Willenhall, – Foleshill.
    Coventry North West: current seat + St Michael’s, Foleshill.
    Coventry South West and Kenilworth: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Wainbody, Woodlands, Westwood, Abbey, St John’s, Park Hill.
    Meriden: current seat + Elmdon, -Blythe.
    Solihull: current seat +Blythe, -Elmdon.

  27. Ah I see now that changes everything, back to the drawing board…

  28. Well the hideous Coventry West and Meriden (or whatever they have decided to name it) would be fairly reliably Tory as it contains 4 of Coventry’s more friendly Tory wards: Bablake, Woodlands, Westwood, Wainbody and 3 Solihull borough wards: Meriden, Knowle, Dorridge where the Tories curb stomp Labour.

  29. Quick point, not sure if you saw but I suggested that instead of spamming every thread we should confine discussions of boundaries to the relevant European region thread.

    And while I’m too tired to work out notionals I do believe that seat would be fairly reliably Tory though Blair would have won it obviously and probably would have held up until 2010.

  30. UKIP would need a 6.98% swing to win Chelmsley Wood & Solihull North.

  31. Its a weird seat to be sure, I imagine the UKIP vote would remain as is but the Green and Lib votes will be squeezed mercilessly by Lab and the Cons putting UKIP out of contention.

  32. Blythe Ward By-election, 01.03.18:

    Conservative 1,252 76%
    Labour 224 14%
    Liberal Democrat 174 11%

    Cons Hold.

    15.8% Turnout

  33. Spellman amendment passes but it doesn’t really have much of an effect.

  34. Brady Amendment is the important one

  35. Brady Amendment is the important one

  36. Spelman has confirmed she’s standing down.

  37. Nick Timothy – yes, *that* Nick Timothy – is on the shortlist for this seat.

    Tories like winning – I can’t possibly belief the local members would select such an infamous loser.

  38. The corpse of Robert Mugabe would win this seat if you stuck a blue rosette on it, so let’s not pretend that the selection process here actually means anything. But you’re quite right in that there’s no way on God’s earth they’ll choose Timothy anyway.

  39. Bhatti Saqib selected as the Tory candidate. Another storming success for Britain’s premier electoral strategist.

  40. “The corpse of Robert Mugabe would win this seat if you stuck a blue rosette on it”

    Labour very nearly gained this seat in 1997 and it’s conceivable they might just have won it on current boundaries. Also of course it is part of Solihull borough, in which the Lib Dems held the neighbouring parliamentary seat up until 4 years ago.

    “Another storming success for Britain’s premier electoral strategist.”

    That’s more than a bit unfair to Timothy, as he was actually the runner-up. We don’t know whether he got into the final 3 with a lot of local association support or by having been imposed by CCHQ, but given his track record and association with the May regime I think the latter is very unlikely. In his defence also, he has only applied for seats local to him around the Birmingham area, and hasn’t tried to parachute himself into a safe seat in the south (yet at least). That said, I do think he should be persuaded to look for another career.

  41. I was referring to the upcoming election in December, and the current boundaries. Thought that would be pretty obvious.

  42. I know but its history suggests it isn’t quite in the “donkey with a blue rosette” category, despite the massive majority in 2017.

    Obviously it will be an easy Tory hold this time.

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