Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16925 (37.1%)
Labour: 19193 (42%)
Lib Dem: 1564 (3.4%)
Green: 1060 (2.3%)
UKIP: 6935 (15.2%)
MAJORITY: 2268 (5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North East, Cleveland. Part of Redcar and Cleveland council area and part of Middlesbrough.

Main population centres: Middlesbrough, Guisborough, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Brotton, Loftus.

Profile: A north-eastern seat with a varied demographic make up. It covers the southern fringes of Middlesborough, including both Labour voting council estates like Easterside and Park End and more affluent suburbs such as Marton (birthplace of Captain Cook) and Nunthorpe. The majority of the seat though is drawn from the more rural Cleveland Hills to the east, though this too is a mixture of Conservative leaning areas like the market town of Guisborough and the Victorian seaside resort of Saltburn-by-the-sea and Labour voting iron mining villages like Brotton and Loftus. With the decline of coal mining in Britain, in 2011 this was one of the areas with the highest proportion of miners of any seat, thanks to the Boulby potash and salt mine, one of the deepest mines in Europe.

Politics: Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland was created in 1997 to replace the Langbaurgh seat. Langbaugh had been an ultra-marginal Conservative seat, briefly held by Labour after a 1991 by-election but regained in 1992. Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland was captured by Labour in 1997 and has been retained by them since, though their majority was reduced to under two thousand in the 2010 election.


Current MP
TOM BLENKINSOP (Labour) Born 1980, Middlesborough. Educated at Newlands School FCJ and Teeside University. Former trade union officer. First elected as MP for Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16461 (36%)
Lab: 18138 (39%)
LDem: 7340 (16%)
UKIP: 1881 (4%)
Oth: 2394 (5%)
MAJ: 1677 (4%)
2005*
Con: 13945 (32%)
Lab: 21945 (50%)
LDem: 6049 (14%)
BNP: 1099 (3%)
Oth: 658 (2%)
MAJ: 8000 (18%)
2001
Con: 14970 (34%)
Lab: 24321 (55%)
LDem: 4700 (11%)
MAJ: 9351 (21%)
1997
Con: 18712 (35%)
Lab: 29319 (55%)
LDem: 4004 (7%)
MAJ: 10607 (20%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland

Demographics
2015 Candidates
WILL GOODHAND (Conservative) Educated at Oxford University. Market researcher.
TOM BLENKINSOP (Labour) See above.
BEN GIBSON (Liberal Democrat)
STEVE TURNER (UKIP) Born Saltburn. Businessman.
MARTIN BRAMPTON (Green)
Links
Comments - 92 Responses on “Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East”
  1. This is another North East seat which I hope the Tories will be targetting in 2015. The combined votes of UKIP and the BNP clearly stopped the Tories from taking the seat in 2010. However we may be hampered here as some of the Lib Dem voters in 2010 may switch to Labour therefore boosting their slim majority.

  2. Obviously the priority in the area will be Stockton South.

    Having said this, perhaps North Yorkshire tories would be available to help here. Very tough ask indeed.

  3. This seat is very similar to Langbaurgh (1983-1997) and it’s worth considering why Labour seem to have done better, and the Tories worse, in 2010 than in 1992. Perhaps the Middlesbrough element in the seat is slightly more than it was as Langbaurgh, but I think that the Tories have gradually weakened in Saltburn, and Labour have increased its grip on the more urban wards. The possibility that some voters could have reacted against an Indian Labour candidate (Ashok Kumar) still in 1992 is also there – if so, he clearly gained acceptance, since he increased his majority in 2001 against the clear regional trend. There are still some very good Conservative areas in this seat, but the strongly Labour element is perhaps just that bit more than in Stockton South where a lot of the areas are essentially marginalish and socially middling.

  4. The Tories did badly here in 2001 and 2005
    but pretty well in 2010.
    If you allow for the fact that their share increased quite subsantially in 1992, then the 1997 result isn’t as bad as massive as it looks either.

    But one does rather feel some of the Lib Dem votes will move back to the Labour column, with 5 years for the new MP to establish himself, so we may have missed our chance until the whole political cycle has turned it’s way through again.

  5. What’s interesting about some of these seats (Cleethorpes being another)
    is seaside pro Labour trends
    coincide with WWC Con trends (if they hold up/continue)

  6. “This is another North East seat which I hope the Tories will be targetting in 2015”

    The Conservatives need to be thinking about where they want to be in 2020 when they formulate their stategy for 2015.

  7. This seat was in the 1st tranche for Conservative candidate selections back in December – yet still no candidate here.

  8. IIRC it was among the constituencies the Tories had to re-advertize because of lack of candidates coming forward

  9. Torys have finally selected a candidate for this seat. It will take a lot of work but they could take it. Current MP is a nasty piece of work.

  10. The result of the Skelton ward by-election on Thursday Lab 745 (46.1%; -8.5)
    UKIP 485 (30%; +30)
    Con 176 (10.9%; -20.8)
    Ind 170 (10.5%; +10.5)
    LD 40 (2.5%; -11.3)
    Lab Hold
    Majority 260
    Turnout 28.3%
    Percentage change is since May 2011.
    I guess not bad for Labour, though in a sense UKIP could call themselves the moral victors. Pretty clear where they took the majority of their votes from.

  11. Barnaby- further to your March post, it strikes me that the Conservatives have some good areas in the Cleveland area but that they are split between too many constituencies. There probably is a defendable Tory seat based on Yarm, Ingleby Barwick and Marton/Nunthorpe.

  12. I suspect some of them might have been united once upon a time in the Middlesbrough W constituency, though certainly not all of them.

  13. Re by-election, assume most ex LDs went to Labour, and UKIP and Independent combined (I have no idea of the Independent’s leanings) took votes more equally from Cons and Lab, taking slightly higher from Cons.

    If LDs went to UKIP, then obviously the LAB-UKIP switch was correspondingly smaller.

  14. Given that according to Anthony’s target list this is the seat the Conservatives notionally need to win there are remarkably few comments on it.

    We are tending to comment on Conservative seats that are Labour targets, but the way the polls stand it is quite likely that they will be picking up seats.

    Admittedly, this is perhaps not the most typical Conservative target seats, although there are others in Yorkshire such as Wakefield.

    This seat may be comparatively easy for the Tories to pick up because the LibDem vote is comparatively low, so Labour has comparatively little scope to benefit from LibDems opposed to the Coalition. Also, on the basis of local election results, one may suspect that any UKIP surge will be less in the North than in places further South.

    Nobody has reported on the implications for this constituency of recent local election result.

    Jackson, I don’t approve of unsubstantiated slurs against MPs or candidates of any party. But as I see the MP is now a Whip perhaps he takes your post as a compliment.

  15. “We are tending to comment on Conservative seats that are Labour targets, but the way the polls stand it is quite likely that they will be picking up seats.”

    “This seat may be comparatively easy for the Tories to pick up”

    It seems like you are posting from a different planet again Frederic! This seat won’t have a Labour majority of below 5000.

  16. H. Hemmelwig.

    There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge before the election. But Labour are doing badly, albeit they are ahed, in the polls compared to previous parliaments at this stage. We have to consider various possibilities as to what might happen at the next election, and it is quite possible there will be a swing to Conservative from Labour, although the opposite is also possible.

    It is clearer that the LibDems are likely to be losing votes on balance and UKIp gaining them.

    Information about what is happening in this seat would be welcome.

  17. Labour have been on top in all elections nationally to date since 2010. To suggest that they are doing badly is surely incorrect at present. Newspaper spin on Miliband’s leadership is unlikely to affect the voting behaviour of even hardcore political anoraks.

    I think this seat will see a LAB majority of 7000 or so. Controversial yes, but fitting in with our turbulent political climate at present.

  18. There is likely to be a major north-south split, with Labour doing very well in northern seats like this one and perhaps doing much less well in the south.

    I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if your prediction of a 7000 majority turned out to be accurate.

  19. The problem for the Tories in the north as a whole is that they really are going backwards. Labour are pretty much untouchable in many seats for now as they have far more of a presence on the ground. The problem is that many constituency associations in Labour-leaning areas are now starting to merge resources-wise as the membership is so small.

    UKIP seems to be ahead of the Tories in many local wards right now, though whether or not this will occur in 2015 is at present unknown. To be fair in some working class areas up this way UKIP probably has more members than the Conservatives.

  20. Do we know how many Conservative members there ae in this seat? Do they have premises or a Conservative Club in Middlesborough?

  21. Labour are doing badly although the polls move around.
    The trouble is they can be in Government in some form or other
    by doing substantially worse than Kinnock in 1992.

  22. There does seem to be a fair bit of Con activity here but I am not going into further detail.

  23. I think the LDs could be cut to a very low figure but I’d put them above the deposit – maybe 6-9%.

    About half the LD vote and the BNP vote (screechy types it’s true) could be basically Labour.

    34-48% is quite credible
    but it could on the other hand be a Conservative gain with an improving economy, and the winning over of some waverers from last time.

  24. This could be a real surprise seat and is worth watching. The name of the constituency is slightly misleading as “Middlesbrough” automatically makes most people assume it will be safety Labour. In fact I think this seat shares much in common with marginal Stockton South – they move have many places more familiar to genteel North Yorkshire than Middlesbrough town. One to watch…

  25. I don’t agree with that at all. If Labour were unable to come close to losing when 7.5% behind the Conservatives and with a new candidate, they will certainly not lose if they are (even in the absolute worst-case scenario) less far behind the Conservatives and Blenkinsop has first-time incumbency. Yes Labour will be a little way behind perhaps in Saltburn & the rural areas, but there are enough Labour voters in the rest of the seat to see them safely home.

  26. 2015 IMHO

    Lab 44
    Con 26
    UKIP 18
    LD 6
    Others 6

  27. That can’t be right. There will surely be a far greater gap between the Tories & UKIP here.

  28. I met Will Greenwood and he was very passionate about change to the area to finally push the profile of the town and benefit the people in it. I have voted Labour in the past, mainly because my dad did. However, as I’ve got older and more interested in the political game, I see that Labour is a wasted vote as they keep us down, restricting our abilities and will to be a successful area because being dependant on the state ensures a Labour victory. No more I tell you!! Get Labour out!!!!

  29. Middlesbrough has been spelt wrong in the above

  30. Former Tory MP for this seat and home office minister Lord Bates:

    “Too many babies born to migrants — minister”:

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4384100.ece

  31. Interesting as it seems there is no Lib Dem representatives this time. That’s a potential 16% up for grabs. Will be interesting to see exactly who that benefits and how it affects the overall result

  32. Labour hold. 6,000 majority

  33. Shaun Bennett. Only a 1677 majority actually.

  34. The Lab maj increased slightly from 1,677 to 2,268.

  35. This was an impressive result for the Tories, keeping the Labour majority slightly below 5 percentage points at 4.96%. I imagine it’ll be a top target if Corbyn is leader in 2020.

  36. Agreed. I think they should definitely go for this seat in the absence of any other realistic targets being nearby. I think it could be very very close here in 2020- maybe Tom Blenkinsop can hold on by about 100 votes on the basis of his continued incumbency factor?

  37. Very poor result for Labour here considering its location in the Labour-loving north east of England.

    Blenkinsop comes across as a likeable MP but he’s got a fight on his hands in 2020.

    Where does the Tory vote come from in this seat?

  38. Christian – Nunthorpe and Marton are wealthy southern suburbs of Middlesbrough (take a look at the house prices), along with the new build estate of Coulby Newham which looks like typical swing voter territory. Outside of Middlesbrough is the market-town of Guisborough which would make you feel more like you are in North Yorkshire (which of course it used to be) than the more typically familiar North East. As others have said, this is a similar seat in many ways to Stockton South and the name is somewhat misleading.

  39. Christian – Nunthorpe and Marton are wealthy southern suburbs of Middlesbrough (take a look at the house prices), along with the new build estate of Coulby Newham which looks like typical swing voter territory. Outside of Middlesbrough is the market-town of Guisborough which would make you feel more like you are in North Yorkshire (which of course it used to be) than the more typically familiar North East. As others have said, this is a similar seat in many ways to Stockton South and the name is somewhat misleading.

  40. Good point. This seat is probably closer to going to the Conservatives right now (and has a more recent history of being a Conservative seat when it was Langbaurgh), but it may not be trending in quite the same way that, say, Bishop Auckland appears to be. I would say it is different to Tynemouth though, which if anything looks to be trending away from the Conservatives. Middlesbrough South still looks competitive.

  41. The Tories have gained a council seat in this constituency in a local by-election with a swing of something like 8%. The ward is Coulby Newham.

  42. Tories gain a seat in Coulby Newham tonight (apparently for the first time ever).

    This seat could be rather vulnerable come the next election, though 3 years is a long time away

  43. Any thoughts on the Tees Valley mayoral race? Could be interesting if the Tories try hard (so far their focus seems to be on West Midlands) – much of the area is Lab-held marginal territory like this and the area was very heavily for Brexit.

  44. Well here are the margins from each component of the Tees Valley from 2015:

    Stockton South: Con + 9.7%
    Darlington: Lab + 2.0% (borough/proposed constituency -estimated)
    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Lab +5.0%
    Hartlepool: Lab + 14.7%
    Stockton North: Lab + 21.1%
    Redcar: Lab + 27.7%
    Middlesbrough: Lab + 40.3%

    Applying the current national swing in the polls of ~5% uniformly would leave:
    Stockton South: Con + 19.7%
    Darlington: Con + 8.0% (borough/proposed constituency -estimate)
    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Con +5.0%
    Hartlepool: Lab + 4.7%
    Stockton North: Lab + 11.1%
    Redcar: Lab + 17.7%
    Middlesbrough: Lab + 30.3%

    If you now assume that in this region of the country the swing is running higher that average at say ~7% (not an unreasonable assumption you get:

    Stockton South: Con + 23.7%
    Darlington: Con + 12.0% (borough/proposed constituency -estimate)
    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Con +9.0%
    Hartlepool: Lab + 0.7%
    Stockton North: Lab + 7.1%
    Redcar: Lab + 13.7%
    Middlesbrough: Lab + 26.3%

    Now if you assume that the Lib Dems squeezed the Tory vote by 7% in Redcar in 2015 and UKIP have squeezed the Tory vote by 4% in Hartlepool you get:

    Stockton South: Con + 23.7%
    Darlington: Con + 12.0% (borough/proposed constituency -estimate)
    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Con +9.0%
    Hartlepool: Con + 3.3%
    Stockton North: Lab + 7.1%
    Redcar: Lab + 6.7%
    Middlesbrough: Lab + 26.3%

    I guess this would just allow the Tories to eke ahead on first preferences if the stars aligned perfectly (the election decided by 2nd preferences) but most likely it will be a comfortable Labour win because the Labour candidate is not Jeremy Corbyn or Diane Abbott.

  45. Yeah this isn’t really winnable for the Tories. It’s either a power base for Labour to help keep themselves relevant when they’re a million miles from office, or it’s a vehicle for the Conservatives to pass on spending cuts while deflecting some of the political cost to their own party.

  46. @Plopwellian Tory

    TBH at a GE tomorrow the Cons would prob win MS&EC, Darlington and Hartlepool, and Stockton North might suddenly be quite tight as well (there is a big UKIP vote there to squeeze).

    I agree Lab will very likely win the mayoral election – but to do so they probably need to be in the mid-40s on first preferences as I doubt they will get many transfers.

  47. Who are Lab supposedly going to lose Hartlepool too? UKIP? Their a busted flush and we all know it and with the best will in the world I don’t think the Tories could win Hartlepool.

  48. I think a lot of that UKIP vote in Hartlepool would go Con, who are not so far behind already, in a GE held tomorrow.

  49. Jack
    Tories are 16 points behind Lab in Hartlepool, that’s a BIG ask even if they do go on to a landslide win and yes a lot of that UKIP vote will be Tory friendly but I can guarantee in a place like Hartlepool the overwhelming majority will not be Tory inclined at all.

  50. Sedgefield is another seat that I think has been over amped here, yes the Tories are improving but it will be a few cycles before they can realistically challenge and if the boundaries change and remove the rural Darlington wards (as the BC have proposed) it kills Tory chances stone dead.

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