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
Con: 14841 (34%)
Lab: 16393 (38%)
LDem: 8466 (20%)
UKIP: 3491 (8%)
MAJ: 1552 (4%)
Con: 9945 (25%)
Lab: 18053 (45%)
LDem: 7528 (19%)
UKIP: 1436 (4%)
Oth: 2826 (7%)
MAJ: 8108 (20%)
Con: 10664 (28%)
Lab: 20650 (53%)
LDem: 5993 (15%)
UKIP: 594 (2%)
Oth: 773 (2%)
MAJ: 9986 (26%)
Con: 10537 (21%)
Lab: 27743 (56%)
LDem: 6858 (14%)
Oth: 2481 (5%)
MAJ: 17206 (35%)

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.
DAVID NIXON (Independent) Contested Newcastle under Lyme 2005, 2010 for UKIP.
Comments - 196 Responses on “Newcastle-under-Lyme”
  1. The 2010 Labour majority in Newcastle-under-Lyme is as low as it will get.

    Their poor candidate choice for 2015 (an unknown councillor from Wirral) would appear to indicate that the Tories no longer think they are in contention here.

    8,000+ Labour majority in 2015.

  2. First, in the profile above, the name of the town is consistently mis-spelled as ‘Lyne’ instead of the correct ‘Lyme’.

    Second, Newcastle is not an industrial town (not since the closure of Silverdale colliery) but an ancient Borough and market town. (I’ve written about this on my website, here:

    In the Tudor period, Staffordshire elected eight members in total: two for the County of Stafford, who became the Shire Knights; and two each for the boroughs of Stafford, Lichfield and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

    It was only the advent of the industrial revolution and the development of the Pottery industry, mining and steelmaking in next-door Stoke-on-Trent when Newcastle became overshadowed by our industrial neighbour.

    Hope this helps.

  3. UKIP hold Keele, Knutton and Silverdale:

    UKIP 774
    Lab 772
    Con 170
    Ind 167
    Green 135

  4. Labour hold in a ward by-election here tonight: Lab 386 UKIP 254 Con 58 TUSC 14 11 spoilt papers.

  5. Prediction for 2015-
    Farrelly (Labour)- 38%
    Conservative- 35%
    UKIP- 17%
    Liberal Democrats- 10%

  6. Labour will be much further ahead than that. I’ll go for

    Lab 45
    Con 30
    UKIP 15
    LD 8
    Oth 2

    Paul Farrelly is very uncommon amongst MPs these days in being genuinely rooted in his constituency and having a very good grasp of local political history. His predecessor-but-one John Golding was in the middle of writing his memoirs when he died. Farrelly finished them off for him and published them posthumously, and a very good and readable account of the turmoil in the Labour party in the late 70s and early 80s they provide too.

    Labour have come tantalisingly close to losing here several times before but have always pulled strongly ahead again for several elections. I’m tempted to expect the same pattern will reassert itself. I don’t think the Tories will win here in the next 10 or 20 years though it would be useful to hear what Shaun Bennett thinks as he is very local.

  7. I agree Paul (Paul Farrelly) knows Castle well, he should do he was born here, how often is he here now though?

    You can’t choose where you’re born, but you can choose where you settle with your family.

    I want to get the best out of our MP. Can we honestly say we’ve had that since LLin Golding?

    It will be an interesting election.

  8. Anyone expecting a Conservative overall majority would be well advised to take the 8/1 Shadsy is offering on a Con gain here.

  9. I wouldn’t be tempted – though I don’t expect a Con overall majority.

    To me this seat is very similar to Grimsby, coming tantalisingly close for the Tories occasionally then reverting to being fairly safe for Labour most of the time.

  10. Any chance UKIP will leapfrog the Lib Dems as 3rd place finishers? 8% was a decent result in 2010. Heck they could take support from all the three main parties.

  11. …but ain’t going to win.

  12. I think UKIP are more likely than not to overtake the LDs.

  13. UKIP really ought to overtake LDs if they want to do even decently well nationwide.

    I suppose a lot depends on whether we’re looking at UNS (LDs 13 points down on 2010, UKIP up 9) or some kind of proportional swing (Lib Dems down 60%, UKIP up 400%).

    Both have their pros and cons (On UNS, a party can’t lose 13% of votes if they didn’t get 13% last time, but it’s also unlikely the LDs will lose 60% of their votes in, say, Bath).

  14. If UKIP can’t beat the LDs in a seat like this after the attention they have received they may as well give up.

  15. UKIP are becoming the party for the disillusioned Labour voter. Those who don’t wish to vote Tory but just can’t continue to vote for a Labour Party with no direction.

  16. Well, thats the line UKIP members are constantly spouting, although there isn’t a great deal of evidence overall. If anything their votes in Labour areas are coming from Tory and non-voters.

  17. I know someone who is involved with the Labour Party in Newcastle and their figures are showing this to be true. Certain people are beginning to panic when asked about the upcoming local elections

  18. Maybe a lot of UKIP votes are coming from people who voted Labour until 2001 but since then have abstained. Labour lost almost four million voters between 1997 and 2001 despite their overall majority only dropping from 179 to 167.

  19. People in strong areas always panic in the run up to local elections – I remember worrying in North Reddish ward in the 1980’s due to the SDP – until the votes came in.
    There is certainly some appeal to Labour voters from the opportunity to make a UKIP protest vote when it doesn’t really matter (such as the Euro-elections) but, as the Wythenshawe and Sale East actually showed, Labour will grow in elections that matter in terms of forming the next government.
    I was quite surprised by the recent Farage documentary which didn’t reveal the outcome of the W & SE byelection after it made a big issue of UKIPs challenge to Labour. My non-political friend who was watching it with me assumed that UKIP had either won the seat or come very close – she was surprised when I told her the actual result.
    Trust me, in 2015 seats like this one will strongly vote Labour to get the coalition out.

  20. North Reddish is in Stockport Borough on the Manchester border.

  21. Your spelling of Josiah Wedgwood is incorrect. No ‘e’ in the middle!

  22. In response to Merseymike several posts above; in this constituency I’m not convinced that is the case. In the 2014 locals the UKIP strength is in the old pit villages. Chesterton, Silverdale etc. These would be former strongholds for Labour and the vote is either coming from people who voted Labour or did not vote.

    The big question for Farrelly is whether they’ll come back at GE. I think he’ll still win but there will be a big rise in the UKIP vote. Something like:

    Lab 35
    Con 27
    UKIP 25
    LD. 8
    Other 5

  23. Labour should hold this seat … but they may struggle to increase their vote share and in recent years UKIP have performed well here, gaining seats in local elections well before their 2013/14 surge.

    The 2014 local results covered all bar one of the wards in the constituency (the one missing was Halmerend a semi rural ward last contested in 2011 , then a Lib Dem / Labour contest). I calculate the % votes as :

    Labour 33.3%
    UKIP 27.9%
    Conservative 24.8%
    Lib Dem 9.1%
    Green 4.1%

    So I’d say that leaves Labour favourite though largely due to the splintered opposition.

    Interestingly all 5 parties won at least one ward which indicates considerable diversity within the seat.

  24. Did Labour just lose control of this council?

  25. According to the council website currently:

    Labour 31
    Conservative 15
    Lib Dem 6
    UKIP 5
    Green 1
    Independent 1

    Currently 1 vacancy.

    Note however that 4 wards – all Labour – are in the Stoke North seat and 2 wards are in Stone seat

  26. Apparently two Labour have bailed and now its 30 others, 29 Labour..

  27. Phil Wood is the UKIP candidate:

  28. I’m interested in STEPHENPT’s calculation of % vote. Can you tell me what that is based on please?

    Do you believe Farrelly is popular enough to hold on?

  29. Looks like a common sense prediction to me.

  30. I note that no one has noted that the UKIP group on the borough council has fallen apart of late. So here’s someone noting it.

  31. Labour Hold. 3,000 majority.

    Unfortunately, UKIP’s division in the borough will probably help Labour. Having said that, they still have a fight on their hands in their formerly safe Silverdale wards from the newly formed Newcastle Independents. The party names have changed, but the problem for Labour on the ground remains the same. You will also note that Derrick Huckfield has managed to keep Silverdale marginal both when he set up his old ‘Caring Party’ and then as UKIP. There is no reason why it should not remain the case as Independents.

  32. Just driven out to Newcastle town centre. No sign of any general election taking place that I could see. But of course, the town centre itself is not key marginal territory between Labour and Tory, so maybe it is a different story elsewhere in the borough.

  33. Could we see UKIP reaching a 20% vote share here? It’s remarkable just how much this seat has drifted from Labour though that applies to the majority of Staffordshire.

  34. I was wrong about UKIP.

    But god this was a dire result for Labour. A further reduced majority. It’s more proof of just how far they’re falling back in Staffordshire.

    Mediocre performances in Stoke on Trent too. Labour best not consider Tristram Hunt in the leadership election. He’s gaffe prone and unlikeable as it is, but being leader in a seat that is far from secure in the long term would be unwise.

  35. For the Labour majority to be just 4,000 in Stoke-on-Trent North is one of their worst results of the election IMO. It’s a seat which has one of the lowest numbers of middle-class voters in England.

  36. Labour are in big big trouble here now- If Farrelly stands again in 2020, he’s going to have to campaign round the clock to retain his seat- If he does he could increase his majority to about 1-2000, but if Labour don’t put in enough work here in what is now unbelievably an ultra-marginal seat for them, they could lose to any capable Tory candidate here by as much as 1-2000 votes in turn.

  37. Farrelly is a pretty independent minded MP who I suspect has some personal vote as well, but for that it may well have gone Tory in May. He might not stand again in 2020 as well I guess.

    Certainly trending Conservative (with strong UKIP support as well) hugely now.

    If you had said 15-20 years ago that Stoke would have moved into relatively marginal territory as well you’d have been looked at as if you were daft.

  38. This was a remarkable result in many ways which hasn’t been much commented on. The Labour majority is now 650 compared to 2,804 at the 1983 election. There have only been minor boundary changes since then.

  39. On the 1983-97 boundaries the Tories would have won the seat.

    Back then it contained two rural wards which are now in the Stone seat.

    This will almost certainly be a notional Tory seat in 2020 as the boundary review will transfer those wards back into this seat.

  40. Yes Labour are holding on by the fingernails here. Staffordshire is moving away from them rapidly.

  41. My mistake, it was the 1974 boundary changes which moved the rural parts of Newcastle district to the Stafford seat, and then to Stone in 1997.

  42. Presumably there were some Scotttish seats that Labour held from 1918 or even earlier that wen SNP in May (which?!). But are there any English (or Welsh) seats that have been held for so long that have now become marginal?

    It doesn’t say much for the MP here that he has no ministerial or shadow cabinet record septie 14 years service and that Anthony does not have a photograph for him. Paul Farrelly is on a knife-edge and needs to pull out all the stops from his point of view. He will be under 60 in 2020 though and I see from Mike S that he may have some personal vote; but if they are not in total disarray the Party managers will be watching him carefully over the next couple of years.

  43. Interesting to note this constituency is adjacent to Crewe & Nantwich.

  44. Good point, Andy, although Crewe and Nantwich is in a diifferent County and indeed a different Region.

  45. Frederic: I enjoy reading your long posts. I don’t usually reply to them because I don’t usually have anything useful to add to them.

  46. No-one has any interest in the boundaries of the so-called ‘regions’.

  47. I agree, Runnnymede, but in this case I think that Newcastle-under-Lyme looking towards Stoke or Stafford and Crewe looking towards Chester (or even Manchester) are very different in terms of everyday culture.

  48. Yes, they’re served by different BBC Regional News too.

  49. Well like it or not, the regional boundaries are stil used for many different purposes.

  50. I think the regional boundaries matter to people so far as they correspond to historic county boundaries. While I doubt anyone cares whether their area is considered “North West” or “West Midlands” if they’re near the boundary of the two, their native county can be more of an issue (e.g. the objections to a seat that was split between Cornwall and Devon in the aborted boundary review).

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