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. Yes that’s right.

  2. The only boundaries I recognise are those of the traditional counties.

  3. I wonder what constituency boundaries would look like if those traditional county boundaries were restored (e.g. returning Bournemouth and Christchurch to Hampshire and returning Wantage and Abingdon to Berkshire)?

  4. Although I do not quite go as far as Tory, one of the greatest acts of civic vandalism of recent times was the wholesale abolition of the County of Berkshire and its atomisation into (I think) 6 small unitary authorities.

    In fact Berkshire generally has had a raw deal as some years before that (as Alan B acknowledges) its whole north western section was sliced off and placed in Oxfordshire.

  5. There used to be Bournemouth East and Christchurch seat, which was (and would be if reconstituted) a very safe Conservative seat.

    But the population of Bournemouth & Christchurch has increased a lot since the 1970s, so Bournemouth can support two seats on its own. So I assume Christchurch town would have to be paired with some of the current New Forest West seat…could have some significant knock-on issues I think.

    Re. the Dorset constituencies ex-Bournemouth the key issue would be that the current Christchurch seat includes a number of rural and semi-rural wards from Dorset, so there would be potential knock-on effects into the North Dorset/East Dorset area.

  6. Bournemouth has been messed about ever since it was transferred from Hampshire to Dorset in 1974. However, Bournemouth is nowhere near Staffordshire.

    The more general point is that both Labour and the Tories have been messing about with local government, in terms of both boundaries and powers, for a couple of decades now on an ad hoc baisis. The results are grossly unfair, not least to areas on th edge of the country like Thanet and other Kentish and East Coast resorts, right up to Grimsby. The areas concerned lose out not just in terms of political representation but, perhaps more importantly, in terms of the provision of local services and also economic development.

  7. I’m starting to think this seat is going to be very difficult for Labour to hold at the next election, regardless of who their leader is. In fact Labour have enough problems in their former bastion of Stoke-on-Trent before they turn their attention to Newcastle-under-Lyme.

  8. I’d say that this, Stoke South, NE Derbyshire, Barrow, Bishop Auckland, Birmingham Northfield and perhaps Harrow West risk being lost under a Corbyn leadership. I mention the latter one because although not WWC it contains a large demographic that wasn’t too receptive to Miliband. There are probably a few others at risk too.

    With Scotland still being an unknown even for Corbyn (the extent of the SNP’s gains) a small handful of English Labour seats will be very vulnerable.

  9. Newcastle’s former MP John Golding will be doing somersaults in his grave at the moment.

    The “hammer of the left” died in 1999 convinced that his plotting and machinations had saved the Labour party from the Trots for good. He wouldn’t have thought in his wildest dreams that the party would elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader. One of the reasons for the current situation is that both the Blairites and the Golding/Dunwoody/Hattersley “Old Right” became extraordinarily complacent and lost their ability to organise to fight the hard left. Golding’s philosophy was to stamp on the head of the hard left till it was stone dead; he certainly wouldn’t have been lending nominations to Corbyn as he would have well understood what it could lead to.

  10. If Corbyn is elected leader, as seems almost certain now I suspect Labour will lose this and a large number of other seats they now hold.

  11. And if that happens watch as the online Corbyn army tries to blame the electorate, labeling them “sheep”, “pawns” of the media, and so forth from their Smartphones in the latest hip vegan cafes.

  12. The irony for Labour is that although they might get a significant positive swing in Scotland with Corbyn as leader, because most of the SNP majorities are so large they’d be lucky to win back more than two or three of the seats lost in May.

  13. I agree that seats like this and the others mentioned are going to be very difficult for Labour to hold in 2020- I think virtually all of them are trending away from the party in any case but they will have a fight on their hands just to scrape back in at least half of them I would have thought.

  14. Don’t write off Corbyn before he has started.

    The old Labour right, such as Golding, were not the brightest sparks in the world and were far more interested in wheeling and dealing, and trampling on fresh spirits, than coming up with new ides.

    The young and the left are, as I understand it, yearning after something in England similar to the SNP landslide in Scotland. If Corbyn fails to come up with radical ideas, and/or to keep the momentum going, heaven knows what people who want a fresh start will do. Probably not to any existing party.

    One thing though, I doubt whether Newcastle-under-Lyme will be at the forefront of the Corbyn vanguard. This constituency seems as likely as any to be a Tory gain in 2020.

  15. I agree with everything you say Frederic.

    I think also that given half a chance Corbyn could do much better than is being predicted at this admittedly early stage and that the change in England that the young left-wing voters want to see can only happen under a concerted campaign run by the man himself. At the very most they should look to get a Hung Parliament and at least manage slightly more seats than the Tories- but they’ll almost certainly lose seats to them in turn at the same time, therefore they might have to compensate by over performing in Scotland and Northern England as well.

    The seats I referred to incidentally are all under threat in any case however because the demographics are what Labour are up against in virtually all of them, so I don’t think in such places the leader would necessarily make much difference if the longterm trends are damaging the party,

  16. Frederic the problem Corbyn has, is 30 odd years of statements that will be used against him over the next five years.

    Notice how quiet the Tory party and the press who support them have been so far.

    They are acting on the basis that when your opponent is making a mistake, let them and make hay afterwards.

  17. Corbyn will certainly do well with certain types of voters. The problem is most of them already live in safe Labour seats.

  18. Natural demographic trends will mean that certain seats are drifting away from both Labour and the Conservatives, but electing a leader who’s already on the fringes of their own party and viewed as highly eccentric by the wider public (and unelectable in most cases) will only accelerate that drift.

    Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be the equivalent of the Conservatives electing Nadine Dorries or Peter Bone as their leader.

  19. Galloglass is right: the Tories must be delighted at the pit Labour are digging for themselves.

    The hope for the left is that it is so early in the parliament that some sensible people may be able to put together a credible alternative to both the Conservatives and Corbyn in 12 – 24 months time.

    Corbyn may do well in a smallish number of seats. It is over-simplistic to say that these are only safe Labour seats. He could do well in a considerable number of London seats, in provincial city centre seats with large immigrant communities and in what we should perhaps now call “student seats” with very many student voters. But this is nothing like enough constituences to win a general election.

  20. I need to remind everyone once again that in 2020 there will be new boundaries, and this is one of many seats where the result will depend on how the new boundaries are drawn.

    On last time’s proposals Kidsgrove was returned to this seat with a couple of rural wards lost. Since this remains the most likely result, the seat will be harder for the Conservatives to win.

  21. Is Kidsgrove still the kind of place that will turn out for Labour? Ed Miliband accelerated the trend away in Stoke-on-Trent North (where Kidsgrove currently is in terms of constituencies) and with Jeremy Corbyn possibly going to hurt the party even more in Staffordshire it’s hard to remain optimistic from a Labour standpoint. If UKIP continues to poll reasonably well until 2020 they could heavily squeeze Labour in towns like Kidsgrove, perhaps handing a seat to the Conservatives.

  22. Local councillors:

    Talke: Labour 2
    Butt Lane: Labour 3
    Ravenscliffe: Labour 1 Liberals 1
    Kidsgrove: Labour 3
    Newchapel: Labour 1 Conservative 1

    Yes Kidsgrove is Labour.

  23. Deepthroat has posted on the Oldham West site about the numbers of voters to be removed from the Register because of Indiviidual Elector Registraion. In Newcastle-under-Lyme the projected number is 4300, this in a seat with a majority of 650. If in the end only half the project number of voters fiirst indicated are removed from the register, this means that the result in May could very likely have been different if the new registration rules had already been in force.

    It actually surprises me that the Conservatives, particularly, and UKIP were not sufficiently on the ball to challenge this result in court.

    Individual Elector Registration suggests that the previous arrangements have been questionnable, particularly as it seems that large number of voters may be removed from the register in nearby constituencies (i.e. Stoke). I think that the Labour Party needs a national investigation into their organisation in this part of the world to ensure that it is in order and in conformity with electoral law. .

  24. They’re possibly playing the long game. Court challenges tend to create the perception of being a sore loser (Winchester ’97, Old & Sad 2010) with the byelection giving the challengers a kicking. Maybe they think it’s best to keep it marginal and look to win it in 2020 when the impact of IER will be felt.

  25. When it comes to Boundary re-organisation it may not be irrelevant that Stoke Council now has no overall control, and Staffordhsire Council is Conservative.

  26. Or alternatively, they don’t actually think that the changes as a result of IER are evidence of systematic fraud.

  27. I am not suggesting that the IER changes here demonstrate that there is systematic fraud.

    What I am saying is that the presence of thousands of electors who, on the evidence so far, need to be removed from the register to comply with Individual Electoral Registration is something that needs explaining.

    The first thing that non-Labour parties need to start doing is to canvass door to door (if I were involved I would rather go round in pairs) asking to see voters who were on the old register but who have not applied to be on the new one. Of course, quite a lot of them will have good reasons such as that they have moved or, sadly, that they have died (we could go and look at the death certificate). Admittedly, this would be painstaking work.

  28. Results of the Newcastle-under-Lyme parliamentary constituency, popular vote within the Borough Council elections held last Thursday.

    Labour – 6,817
    Conservative – 5,577
    Lib Dem – 2,677
    UKIP – 3,031

    Current composition of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council

    Labour – 27
    Conservatives – 21
    Borough Independents – 4
    Liberal Democrats – 3
    UKIP – 2

    (The sitting Green Councillor for Keele ward defected to the Borough Independents 9/5/16)

  29. Have you taken a look at my spreadsheet with the local election results? It gives the popular vote details for 2016 and 2012.

  30. Predictions so specific this far out from an election are daft, look back at the predictions people were making for seats in 2013 two years out from an election, almost all of which were wrong. Making predictions four years out in these volatile times is at best brave at worst stupid.

  31. There was a little remarked upon by election here on 4 Aug 2016 which bucked the trend:

    Lab 56.4 (+19.5)
    UKIP 24.6 (-21.2)
    Con 11.3 (-0.4)
    Ind 7.6 (+7.6)

    It could be that there might be movement back from UKIP to Labour and that might yet give Labour some hope for this seat. There’s a UKIP/Labour council by-election in Crewe next week which might give some clues about any shifts in this part of Staffordshire.

  32. Re the Crewe by election its one I certainly hope our resident Tories would hope Lab wins, its a straight Lab/UKIP fight and the UKIP candidate is a real nasty piece of work by all accounts, he was prosecuted for renting properties that were in massive breach of health and safety. Cheshire Fire Department described it as the worst case they’d ever seen.

    On the same note a slight amusing story emerged in this fight, the aforementioned UKIP candidate decided to go on a big rant on Twitter boasting his 12,000 Twitter followers far exceeded the Lab candidates 100 or so and thus proved his clear popularity over her. The spat went viral and 24 hours later said Lab candidate had attained an additional 16,000 followers….oops XD

  33. Guido Fawkes has a list of the 23 Labour MPs who voted against triggering Article 50 yesterday

    Most are from massively Remain parts of London but a few exceptions stick out, notably Paul Farrelly who is MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. Very brave/foolhardy of him considering the marginality of his seat and the strong Leave victory here.

    Other Labour MPs from Leave-leaning seats who voted against Article 50 (based on very quick scan through the list): Barry Sheerman, Graham Allen, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith.

  34. They’ll none of them be missed…

  35. I think I probably prefer MPs to vote in a way that reflects how they honestly feel about the subject even if it means they may lose their seat at the next election.

  36. Me too. Ditto Ken Clarke though he’s retiring so has nothing to lose.

  37. He will be missed least of all

  38. Andy – that’s as maybe but I suspect an MP’s constituents may feel they ought to vote in a way that respects their majority opinion, being as they were elected to serve their constituency.

    This could of course equally apply to heavily pro-Remain areas where the MP didn’t vote against Article 50 last night.

  39. On the latter point, I wonder if anyone has read the blog by that somewhat whinging Australian who “confronted” Theresa May at her constituency surgery and harangued her about Brexit for 20 minutes. Unsurprisingly May was having none of it and was, perhaps understandably, quite rude. I saw it on my wife’s PC so don’t have a link. But it does show the kind of pressure/irritation MPs are facing on this issue right up to the very top.

  40. “Other Labour MPs from Leave-leaning seats who voted against Article 50 (based on very quick scan through the list): Barry Sheerman, Graham Allen, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith”

    Quite a few of their seats voted Remain though this is hidden cos the authority voted Leave.

    Sheerman=Huddersfield almost certainly voted Remain, Kirklees was 55% Leave and I don’t see Batley or Dewsbury being massive centres of Remain support, Huddersfield though has a big student and academic population and is quite middle class in parts.

    Leslie=Nottingham East voted Remain by a big margin (high 50’s I believe) Nottingham released the ward results.

    Coffey=Stockport was I believe very close, the authority backed Remain but that was primarily down to Cheadle but I seem to recall the two most remain wards in the borough were Heaton N and S which dragged the Stockport seat to a near enough 50/50 split.

  41. Others along with the member for this seat who voted against A50 despite their constituency having voting for brexit were two of the three Plaid Cymru members. Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Carmarthen East both voted leave on the Hanretty projections.

    Of the three Lib Dem seats that probably voted for Brexit (Southport, N Norfolk and Carshalton) only the latter’s Tom Brake appears to have been present, being a teller for the Noes.

  42. Rivers, Hanretty has Huddersfield voting 53.9 per cent leave. You’re view tallies with his on the other seats mentioned though.

  43. The SNP MP for Banff and Buchan also voted contrary to her constituents – something which is not being widely reported.

  44. One noteworthy thing about Paul Farrelly was that he was the only one of last night’s Article 50 rebels who also voted against the Referendum Act 2015. Going to need all his street fighting skills in 2020 or before.

  45. @Rivers you are definitely correct on Nottingham East and Stockport but according to Chris Hanretty’s estimate Huddersfield narrowly voted leave while Colne Valley was narrowly remain. Obviously the estimates are going to be a bit off but I guess the logic behind it is that Huddersfield’s wealthier suburbs are in the Colne Valley constituency not the one Huddersfield (indeed I believe they wanted to call Cone valley Huddersfield West when the seat was first created). Nevertheless MPs in seats that were fairly close probably don’t have to be concerned about their Brexit positions. It’s MPs with seats that went 60+% one way or the other that need to be concerned (if they hold the opposite view of their constituents and the seat is marginal). This does probably mean Farrelly is done for though he would probably have seriously struggled to hold on anyway with Corbyn leading Labour.

  46. Ah yes the Hanretty projections, I forgot to mention this but I think their total nonsense. Look at Sefton for example which voted 52% Remain yet Hanretty projects all three Sefton seats voted Leave!!! Or Dwyfor, Gwynedd was 58% Remain so Arfon would have had to have been massively Remain to drag Gwynedd as a whole up if Dwyfor voted Leave as he predicts. Basically treat his projections with a colossal pinch of salt, many are clearly plain wrong.

  47. Having another quick peruse at Hanretty’s figures and frankly its shocking how many are clearly wrong. Look at York for example, two seats of near enough identical size (York Central and York Outer) and the authority voted 58% Remain. Yet Hanretty’s predicts that York Central was 57.5% Remain and York Outer was a 50.8% Leave That averages out at about 54% Remain and we know for a fact it was higher than that.

  48. EL – to be fair at least that’s a consistent position. Although I assume there were some others. Didn’t Salmond or was it before he was back?

    The Quislings are the LDs who voted for the Referendum Bill and against the triggering (with the R Park New Member being excepted as she wasn’t in the House then and has a mandate to do so).

  49. Perhaps Farrelly isn’t planning to stand again… if he was then he would surely at least have wanted to abstain.

  50. Amusingly I see that the LD Parliamentary Party of 9 took 3 positions on the matter.

    John Pugh has ignored the last 3 LD Leaders on the issue of a Referendum though.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)