Newcastle-under-Lyme

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15870 (36.9%)
Labour: 16520 (38.4%)
Lib Dem: 1826 (4.2%)
Green: 1246 (2.9%)
UKIP: 7252 (16.9%)
Independent: 283 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 650 (1.5%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. Part of Newcastle under Lyne council area.

Main population centres: Newcastle under Lyme, Audley.

Profile: Consists of the large market town of Newcastle under Lyme, which is to the west of (and part of the contiguous urban area of) Stoke-on-Trent. It extends westwards to include much of the rural part of the borough of Newcastle under Lyme, most notably the large village of Audley and the much smaller settlement of Keele, overshadowed by the campus University of the same name.

Politics: The seat has been held by Labour since Josiah Wedgewood joined the party from the Liberals in 1919. However it is far from a one party state, there is much Conservative strength in the suburban parts of Newcastle itself. In the 1986 by-election following the resignation of John Golding the seat came close to falling to the Liberals, and in 2010 and 2015 it was almost a Conservative gain.


Current MP
PAUL FARRELLY (Labour) Born 1962, Newcastle under Lyme. Educated at Wolstanton Grammar School and Oxford University. Former business journalist. Contested Chesham and Amersham 1997. First elected as MP for Newcastle under Lyme in 2001.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14841 (34%)
Lab: 16393 (38%)
LDem: 8466 (20%)
UKIP: 3491 (8%)
MAJ: 1552 (4%)
2005
Con: 9945 (25%)
Lab: 18053 (45%)
LDem: 7528 (19%)
UKIP: 1436 (4%)
Oth: 2826 (7%)
MAJ: 8108 (20%)
2001
Con: 10664 (28%)
Lab: 20650 (53%)
LDem: 5993 (15%)
UKIP: 594 (2%)
Oth: 773 (2%)
MAJ: 9986 (26%)
1997
Con: 10537 (21%)
Lab: 27743 (56%)
LDem: 6858 (14%)
Oth: 2481 (5%)
MAJ: 17206 (35%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
TONY COX (Conservative) Maintenance engineer.
PAUL FARRELLY (Labour) See above.
IAN WILKES (Liberal Democrat) Sub postmaster. Newcastle councillor since 2005.
PHIL WOOD (UKIP) Businessman.
SAM GIBBONS (Green)
DAVID NIXON (Independent) Contested Newcastle under Lyme 2005, 2010 for UKIP.
Links
Comments - 199 Responses on “Newcastle-under-Lyme”
  1. In this case it is particularly ironic if (as has been suggested above) UKIP stood aside to ‘punish’ Paul Farrelley for voting against article 50.

  2. Re- reading Shaun Bennett’s comment is a bit eerie! Strong and prescient analysis.

  3. I’ve been arguing for years that people were wildly overestimating the % of the UKIP vote that came from/leaned towards the Tories. I know its only semi anecdotal but in my experience the vast majority of UKIP voters were very working class, often members of the “preceriat” and had a definite “screw the establishment/ things need to change” vibe about them.

    However I think people were semi duped by those UKIP first attracted when they started to surge in 2012, at that stage it was clear that UKIP were attracting a cadre of far right, ultra Conservative ex Tory supporters, mostly in the shires.
    Come 2014 though (the local/EU elections that year in particular) I knew UKIP was doing much more serious harm to Lab than the few oddballs they took off the Tories but the political commenteriat and indeed most peeps here never seemed to shake the 2012/13 image of all those elderly, tweed wearing mustachio’s in Lincolnshire, Kent and Norfolk saying they were going to vote UKIP

  4. Rivers: I think most folk here realised that UKIP was taking Labour voters. Just a lot of us believed the whole “gateway drug” hypothesis that they wouldn’t return whence they came.

    I still feel to a certain extent there were some voters who went Lab -> UKIP -> Con but that movement was buried at this election by other trends. But I imagine most of them went back to Lab or didn’t vote this time around.

  5. To be fair those 2015 UKIP voters did indeed vote Tory in Essex, Kent, Corby etc. Hence the 60%+ vote shares achieved in some of those previously marginal seats.

    But as I suggested upthread, why should a 2015 UKIP voter turn out in 2017 to vote for a Tory TRG Remainer (Newc-u-L, Wirral S, Bath, etc).

  6. I wouldn’t jump the gun on saying substantial numbers of 2015 UKIPpers went Labour. It certainly seems more did than polls suggested, especially where there was no UKIP candidate. But also there may have been a lot if churn – UKIPpers going Con, but at the same time significant numbers of 2015 Cons going Lab.

  7. @Polltroll

    “I still feel to a certain extent there were some voters who went Lab -> UKIP -> Con”

    Of course – this seat in particular! But it’s not a zero sum game. If UKIP had also stood in this seat then the portion (minority?) of those that went back to Labour may well have stayed with UKIP as they were never going to vote Tory (of course some would always have gone Labour, but I’m 99% certain Tories would have won this seat had UKIP stood.

    “But I imagine most of them went back to Lab or didn’t vote this time around.”

    Well, as already stated above, in strong Leave seats like this many of them DID vote Tory, i.e. there is some truth in the ‘gateway drug’ theory. But of course not all of them. And in seats with smaller Leave majorities, as many or more went back to Labour, especially where UKIP weren’t standing.

    @Jack Sheldon

    “But also there may have been a lot if churn – UKIPpers going Con, but at the same time significant numbers of 2015 Cons going Lab.”

    Very true, this also needs to be factored in, though very hard to analyse accurately in individual seats.

  8. Lancs
    “But as I suggested upthread, why should a 2015 UKIP voter turn out in 2017 to vote for a Tory TRG Remainer (Newc-u-L, Wirral S, Bath, etc)”

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in that theory, as I have said before I was very heavily involved n the Lab campaign in Wirral South. Firstly turnout was up 5 points in a seat with very few students so that doesn’t suggest a lot of abstaining kippers. Secondly our canvass returns showed a clear picture re the UKIP vote. Some were going to the Tories but most were found in the more working class parts of the seat, had previously voted Lab and were coming back to us. Brexit didn’t even register with most of them rather Brexit was conflated with immigration which in turn was conflated with their economic troubles and it just so happened we had a pitch that appealed to those economic troubles, the rest as they say is history.

  9. Rivers

    Do you think it’s likely that a Corbyn government would re-impose exchange controls?

    I think that of all his potential policies, that’s the one which would 100% destroy my business. The tax stuff, though an inconvenience, I could probably live with.

  10. HH
    “Do you think it’s likely that a Corbyn government would re-impose exchange controls?”

    No not a chance, it wasn’t in the manifesto and there is no appetite in the party for such a policy. Don’t get me wrong its the type of “back to the 70’s” stuff that probably crossed Corbyn and McDonnell’s mind at some point but from what I gather McDonnell has really been trying to put the argument that Lab are economically incompetent to bed with his whole “new economics seminars” and “economic advisory panels” with the likes of Blanchflower, Stieglitz, Pikety, Masucato etc on-board. None of them advocate exchange controls or anything even approaching them and I think the consensus would be it would be a disaster so no I think the chance of that happening is near zero if Lab ever regain power.

  11. Cllr David Woolley has defected from UKIP to Conservatives (although he did sit as an Ind briefly whilst awaiting acceptance).

  12. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-42043582

    Allegations that Paul Farrelly has gotten himself into a fight with some fellow Labour MPs.

    Could he be the fifth MP to have the whip withdrawn since June?

  13. Farrelly has admitted that he doesn’t get on with either neighbouring MPs Gareth Snell or Ruth Smeeth, but denies “squaring up” to new MP, James Frith or that he was overly drunk.

    Snell said he is one of the MPs who has reported Farrelly to the Chief Whip and he looks forward to the investigation.

  14. Well, Snell is best described as a clown.

    Smeeth seems likeable but is involved with Hope Not Hate, which hardly paints her in the best possible light.

  15. I campaigned for Snell. I don’t like to speak poorly of comrades but he can be a bit if a liability but he I’ve seen a couple of interviews where he’s done himself better.

    I like Ruth Smeeth. Tbh after all the anti semetic nonsense and death threats we might be looking for a bit of hope not hate

  16. Gareth Snell is nothing like a clown. That’s grossly unfair.

    But then coming from someone who thinks that it’s wrong for Ruth Smeeth to be involved in anti-racist activity that’s not very surprising.

  17. I suspect Luke Senior is aggrieved partly because HNH went after UKIP in a big way in the 2014 European elections – and that, by implication, meant going after people like Luke who were most certainly not racists. I’d be offended by that too.

    In fairness to HNH, it wasn’t a decision they took lightly, they realised that there is a difference between genuinely racist organisations like the BNP or Britain First, and UKIP which is much more of a grey area.

  18. Partly true.

    A good friend of mine was ‘exposed’ by HNH – it’s wasnt so much a grey area as something ‘rather different’ (I’m being careful here) to the extent that the local Labour group (to their credit) didn’t use it against him during his election campaign, as he was known to them and

    Of course legal action was a possibility but with funds an issue to pursue a case…

    Plus, if you are going to present yourself as an anti racist group, make sure you call out racist (and other phobias/isms) from right across the spectrum… not just those from right wing parties.

    I’ll maintain my view that HNH aren’t a beacon of light… if people make stupid comments or offensive ones they are asking to be exposed… and I’m not fussed how or who does the exposing. Just make sure it is genuine.

  19. I understand where Luke is coming from a friend of mine recieved a lot of stick from a dispute with a media outlet that wanted to use a photo he took and when he said no they took it anyway and he recieved daily abuse over it. I think its best to remember that while there are some nasty people oit there theyare in the minority even when it doesnt feel that way

  20. PT – but HNH’s campaigns all spectacularly backfired electorally (as I detailed on here at the time).

    2014 is hardly a year to cite as Griffin was losing anyway.

    But the 2003-2008 Locals and 2009 Euros can all be cited as examples where HNH failed in the North West region and in specific wards where they leafleted against the BNP and UKIP.

  21. Labour lose control of the council after independents withdraw their support over the fiasco that left over a thousand people here unable to vote:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-42246593

  22. Yes, the GE result here was void – but sadly it was too late for a Petition. A real shambles all round.

    The Council make-up is now:

    Lab 32
    Cons 22
    Ind 5
    LD 3
    Kidsgrove Ind 1
    UKIP 1
    Newc Ind 1
    (Vacant 2)

    So the Cons lead a minority administration.

  23. Bradwell Ward By-election, 14.12.17:

    Labour 396 51% (-3%)
    Cons 360 46% (+27%)
    LD 25 3%

    [No UKIP this time]

    Lab Hold

  24. Newchapel Ward By-election, 14.12.17:

    Cons 216
    Lab 197
    Ind 86

    Cons Gain from Labour

    [There was a full recount & Electoral Commission observers at the Count, unsurprisingly. Stoke Council officials presided over the poll.]

  25. Does look the brouhaha over voting irregularities is damaging Labour here.

  26. Yes i concur

  27. Newchapel ward is in Staffordshire Moorlands constituency. Bradwell is in this constituency. Newchapel is probably the less poor result for Labour – the swing was very small there but still enough for the Tories to win.

  28. I noticed this when i looked it up. Its the only one in staffs moorlands

  29. Again – Not my post above – impersonator.
    Posted by
    Real Joe James B

  30. Holdith & Chesterton ward by-election, 21.03.19:

    Independent 282 40% ( + 23% )
    Labour 268 38% ( – 14% )
    UKIP 86 12 ( + 13% )
    Cons 49
    SDP 14

    Ind Gain from Labour.

    Apparently the Labour candidate was a bit odd and Inds highlighted false claims he had made.

  31. Farrelly is standing down at the election.

  32. LibDem Cllr Ian Wilkes has defected to the BIG Group here, citing that the LDs were “undemocratic.”

  33. This seat was almost single handedly lost last time by the awful choice of Owen Meredith as Tory candidate. Whoever thought selecting a remoaner in this most Brexitland of constituencies was a good idea, I don’t know.

    With a much better candidate this time and the general national swing to the Tories, this seat should be a gain this time.

    As I have said previously, the Brexit party standing will actually HELP the Tories here if they do well.

  34. Oh and just to allude back to Lancs observers by election report from March (above) the 2nd Labour councillor in Holditvh and Chedterton ward has now caused a by election for 12th December. It looks like Labour will lose to an active local independent but it depends how the general election on the same day affects the local poll.

  35. What delivers the seat to the Tories on a platter is the timing, which means that many of the students of Keele University will have gone home on polling day.

  36. Certainly it will help.
    But unless they were resolved to back Labour in as high numbers as 2017 it wouldnt really make much difference.
    In 2019 it looks like they are split amongst labour, lib dems and greens more than they were in 2017.

    The fact is the Remoaner alliance is irrelevant here and Labour simply cannot afford ANY fracturing of their 2017 support.

  37. Shaun knows this area well and with a wafer-thin majority, this looks like the most straightforward Tory gain on paper with all the demographic pointers in their favour – wwc, pro-Brexit, socially conservative

    Interesting that the Tories didn’t even get a look in here in the 1980s with the Lib/SDP Alliance outpolling them to take second place in both 1986 and 1987

  38. The Tories expected to win here in 1979 (according to John Golding, who unexpectedly held on). Also they were close in 1983. The SDP challenge came from the 1986 by-election onwards.

  39. Tim is right.

    Although Dudley North, Bishop Auckland, Buckingham + the gains from Ind Cons should be the easiest.

    We haven’t yet had confirmation as to which cameras will be at which Count, but I imagine Dudley, Stoke, BA or Hartlepool featuring.

    In the NW, regional teams will be in Bolton, Wirral and Altrincham. I imagine Barrow was too far for them on the map!

  40. I doubt the cameras will be at Stoke. The BBC seem to be utterly disinterested in what happens here at election time. In 2017 I don’t think it even warrented a side mention that Stoke had just elected a Tory for the first time in 80 years.
    Neither do they care to mention it when Labour is slaughtered in local elections here. We are forgotten by the Beeb.

    Actually though, watvhing back the 2017 election coverage, is it me or are the BBC actually showing FEWER live counts than ever before? What does everyone else think?

    The charm of the older election night coverages seems to be that they go to as many constituency results as they could. The 1997 results seemed to be bringing most of the main marginal counts to us live. But nowadays, the BBC seem to be more interested in waffling on endlessly in the studio. Nowadays they can’t even be bothered to stick with the important counts for more than a few seconds. They want to get back to the studio to hear their experts spinning it for us.

    At least the 2019 results sees the long awaited return of Arthur. Possibly the most dramatic and iconic election night theme of them all!!!

  41. “But nowadays, the BBC seem to be more interested in waffling on endlessly in the studio. Nowadays they can’t even be bothered to stick with the important counts for more than a few seconds. They want to get back to the studio to hear their experts spinning it for us.”

    Yep. And like all factual TV these days, it has become infested with comments from dumb celebrities with pop music played over it at every opportunity, replacing decent analysis and reporting. Reporting from local counts relied heavily on local TV news infrastructure which (as with local press) has been decimated, even more so for ITV than BBC. So today it’s probably a case of parachuting a London or Salford reporter up to Stoke if it’s deemed important enough to be there.

    Election night coverage has declined hugely since the 90s and I think Dimbleby no longer being the anchor might be the final nail in its coffin.

    “At least the 2019 results sees the long awaited return of Arthur. Possibly the most dramatic and iconic election night theme of them all!!!”

    I hadn’t heard they were bringing it back. Has cheered me up a bit.

  42. Worst of all, Bercow is going to be a guest on the commentary panel on election night.

  43. Exclusively on Sky I think. He won’t be on BBC.

    At risk of driving Shaun to apoplexy, I have to say that Bercow with his almost trainspotter-like knowledge of elections since he was a kid, is exactly who should be on the panel (provided he can stay unbiased and unpompous – a tall order I guess).

  44. I’m happy to give Bercow a chance – if his knowledge is informative and well-deployed, then perhaps this is his niche!

    Probably brought on for some of his celebrity value though, tbh, and he will know that and express forthright opinions accordingly.

  45. I met Bercow not long after he became an MP. He came across as a nerd with a sense of humour. That Bercow would be great on the election night show. His pomposity seems to have developed after becoming Speaker.

  46. “At risk of driving Shaun to apoplexy, I have to say that Bercow with his almost trainspotter-like knowledge of elections since he was a kid, is exactly who should be on the panel (provided he can stay unbiased and unpompous – a tall order I guess).”

    If he knows what he is talking about then fair enough I suppose. I will hear what he brings to the panel. Now that he is no longer Speaker, his bias is easier to stomach. He can join the Labour Party for all I care.
    He still shouldn’t get the peerage that goes with retirement though. As indeed should AMY remoaner until Brexit us delivered.

  47. Didn’t Bercow demand £1 million to go on I’m A Celebrity? (so my wife tells me). To ITV’s credit they said no.

  48. HH – tbf it was the regional news teams I mentioned upthread (who will reporting from those Counts).

    But it may be that sadly they are only shown to eg voters in that region – as with regional news and weather – and won’t appear on the main programme.

    Whereas from memory every hour or so the BBC & ITV used to go to each region for a round-up – a bit like they do with Children In Need etc.

    Shaun – good to hear. A bit like the Grand National coverage hasn’t been the same without the Champions theme tune when all 40 horses names and colours scroll down the screen. Amazingly the BBC didn’t even bother bidding for it the last two occasions (that it went to Ch4 and then back to ITV).

  49. Workington might be filmed because of all the ‘Workington man’ stuff through that has vanished from the coverage now.
    North West Durham might well get filmed simply because Piddock is a plausible successor to Corbyn in danger.

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