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. Well having three different positions on the same issue is fairly normal for the Lib Dems – they often have more than that.

  2. Rivers: Hanretty produced two sets of estimates for constituency referendum votes. The first set of figures are pretty rubbish and clearly inconsistent with counting area results in some cases. The second set of notionals fixes this.

  3. Can anyone with local knowledge explain the Madeley result tonight? Tories down 7 points to 15% and Labour lose 35% to drop to 4th as an Independent wins.

    What’s the story here?

  4. Council by-election here tonight (Madeley ward):

    IND: 64.8% (+64.8)
    CON: 15.8% (-7.1)
    LDEM: 10.6% (+10.6)
    LAB: 8.8% (-35.5)

    There was also a by-election in Telford and Wrekin which Labour gained.

  5. Madeley ward is in the Stone parliamentary constituency (where Bill Cash is the MP) not Newcastle-under-Lyme Paul D and Jack Sheldon.

  6. Paul D – the deceased councillor switched between being a Lib Dem, Labour and then Independent cllr. When the seat was last contested in 2015 it was a clear independent win with with the Tories coming second.

  7. This and Barrow are probably the most likely Con gains from Labour. While nothing is certain obviously at the present time they are the heavy favourites in this seat and if an election were called tomorrow the Tories would win Newcastle-Under-Lyme easily and it probably wouldn’t be all that close.

  8. Or you could just continue posting under a new username. See if you can last longer than a week before people work out who you are this time 😉

  9. @Rivers I agree things aren’t certain but if Jeremy Corbyn is still Labour leader come 2020 the whole campaign will be dominated by Corbyn’s backstory the IRA etc. and I find it very difficult to see Labour holding here. Obviously if you are correct that Corbyn is replaced with someone more media savvy and less politically poisonous the future become much less clear and it is possible Labour could force a hung parliament. I think that even you would concede that even if Labour gets a better leader with the loss of Scotland it is nearly impossible for Labour to get an overall majority though.

  10. Pepps
    As you say Corbyn may not be leader come 2020, that fact alone totally changes the dynamics.

    But even if he is recent events have proven that the impossible can now happen. America just elected Trump for Christ’s sake. You may hate Corbyn more than the former but you must admit the former “should” not have been able to get elected, he was just in the right place at the right time so who knows re Corbyn, I accept he’s a liability but not so much a liability as to render a Corbyn victory impossible.

    Finally re Scotland yep an overall majority looks to be very tricky and I don’t think it will happen but the Tories are practically ally less in the house. If Lab gain as little as 25-30 seats off the Tories then the blues are basically locked out of power. But also remember everyone was saying last parliament how it was impossible for the Tories to win an majority, but the impossible once again happened.

    As I keep saying upsets have become so common these days they barely even register anymore yet many insist on sticking to the old paradigms. So I have to ask how many times do we all have to be wrong before people start reviewing how they make predictions.

  11. It took the voters in swing seats to be petrified at the thought of Nicola Sturgeon, and a collapse in the Lib Dems for the Cons to get a majority.

    With Corbyn, Labour’s number of votes probably won’t change all that much, they’ll take some off the greens and some lefty previously on voters will come out.

    The seats they hold will either be with massive majorities or narrow holds. Won’t be many with 5-8k I wouldn’t think.

  12. ”But even if he is recent events have proven that the impossible can now happen. America just elected Trump for Christ’s sake. You may hate Corbyn more than the former but you must admit the former “should” not have been able to get elected, he was just in the right place at the right time so who knows re Corbyn, I accept he’s a liability but not so much a liability as to render a Corbyn victory impossible.”

    Rivers but the Trump phenomenon and Brexit are largely based on right wing populism. If Corbyn were running on a platform of ban immigration, outlawing the hijab, had been involved with right wing or nativist extremist organisations as opposed to the IRA etc. I would agree it would be very possible he could win even with the same economic platform. In the age we live in now very right wing social positions are incredibly popular amongst the electorate while the social justice warrior stuff that Corbyn (and possibly yourself) believe in is extremely unpopular and the things people say behind closed doors is probably more extreme than UKIP. It is true anti-establishment feeling is on the rise but the type of anti-establishment feeling is socially right wing and anti the ‘liberal elies’. The type of views Corbyn’s Labour holds are even more unacceptable to the electorate than the views of said ‘liberal elite’.

  13. Pepps
    You are partially right but you are totally ignoring the bits you find unpalatable re todays anti establishment sentiment. The populist feeling sweeping the West is manifesting itself in several forms. The hard right have so far been the biggest beneficiaries (for a plethora of reasons I won’t go into here) but the far left are not without their successes, Tsiriza, Podemo’s, Sanders in the US and even Corbyn’s rise here.

    I agree Corbyn has a hard sell in focusing on the economic issues rather than immigration and such but the one thing he is undoubtedly doing right is not offering more of the same. He’s offering big bold change and these days big bold change is what wins elections. It all depends on how we brexit goes for one.

    Take this hypothetical scenario (not saying this will happen but it could) May triggers article 50 in March as she no has to, the rifts within her cabinet prevent a cohesive strategy being formed and negotiations with Europe go to pot so much so we run out of time (the 2 year deadline expires) and we are forced to exit the EU with no deal or only a extremely rubbish transitional arrangement. The economy takes a big hit, immigration is reduced by default thus blaming this on immigrants doesn’t really wash, the Tory Remainers start having a go at the Tory brexietrs and vice versa, the Tories take a big hit to their credibility (Theresa May would become Theresa Mayhem) and In that situation the status quo Cons are on very shaky ground so much so even Corbyn could win.

  14. I could be wrong but doesn’t the new boundary include Morecambe which makes this a safe Labour seat.

  15. sorry wrong thread

  16. From August 5th 2016 the Silverdale and Parksite by-election result. Former leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council regained his seat on the council from UKIP.

    LAB: 399 – 56.4% (+19.5)
    UKIP: 174 – 24.6% (-21.2)
    CON: 80 – 11.3% (-0.4%)
    IND: 54% (+7.6% (+7.6%)

    LAB gain from UKIP

    Following his victory, Mr Snell said on Twitter that it had nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn. He said the result was due to a ‘dedicated group of local volunteers’ and was based on ‘local issues’.

  17. Are there any seats that have swung to Labour compared to 1997?

  18. Thanks for the lists CE. I wonder whether any seats in England outside London and Merseyside have swung from Con to Lab compared to 1997 where both of those parties are/were in first and second place, (ie. excluding Sheffield Hallam).

  19. Andy JS

    Using that criteria of those two parties still being 1st and 2nd, I seriously doubt there are any such seats outside Merseyside and possibly London.

  20. I meant where both Con and Lab are in second place now and were in second place in 1997. Such seats would have to defy the 10% swing to the Conservatives that has happened nationally since 1997. As BT says there might not be any in England outside London and Mersyside. Gedling comes very close: a 7.3% Labour lead in 1997 and a 6.2% Labour lead in 2015, so a swing of just 0.5% to the Tories.

  21. Labour aren’t in the top 2 in all those others CE so don’t ‘meet the criteria’.

  22. Yes, but there might be one or two that we haven’t thought of outside those two areas. It would be interesting if anyone can think of any.

  23. Leeds North East is very close as well. 1997: Lab lead 15.3%, 2015: Lab lead 15.0%.

  24. Only a small swing in Oxford East. Lab maj in 1997: 34.8%. In 2015, 30.1%. Of course the Tories were in third place in the intervening contests but got back into second place in 2015.

  25. This is the ONLY Labour held seat outside the metropolitan area and Stoke which is held by Labour in the West Midlands area (though some would argue that it is to all intents and purposes part of Stoke).

    Paul Farrelly voted against the early election and small wonder. Even if the small swing in the Stoke Central by-election were repeated here, he would be sunk.

    The Conservatives look well on the way to a historic victory : Labour have held this seat since 1945.

  26. Plopwellian Tory,

    If you want to be truly pedantic, Newcastle Under Lyme has NEVER had a Conservative MP since it became a single member constituency back in 1885. Liberal Unionists won it in 1886 and 1900 : otherwise its Liberal or Labour (or Colonel Josiah Wedgewood who was both and often a law onto himself) all the way.

  27. Owen Merideth has been announced as the Conservative Party candidate, Owen is a graduate of Keele University, and the Head of Public Affairs at PPA Consulting.

    Nigel Jones has been announced as the Liberal Democrat candidate. Jones was a former Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Councillor in the Thistleberry ward.

  28. UKIP will not stand here. 15%+ Con majority?

  29. Presumably they are standing aside because Mr Farrelly voted against triggering Article 50.

  30. From the Staffordshire County Council elections, Newcastle-under-Lyme divisions for the parliamentary seat:

    divisions total
    Conservative: 4 – 8,392
    Labour: 2 – 7,150

  31. Actually looks surprisingly good for Labour, given the national picture and how marginal this seat is.

    Paul Farrelly must know he’s a goner, and kudos to him both for going down fighting and for standing up for what he believed on A50.

  32. No UKIP PPC here really is the first surprise absence by them.

  33. Tory candidate looks a terrible fit for this seat. Will probably end up being about as popular as Alan Mak and Helen Grant.
    Tories have some rubbish candidates actually.

  34. Yes.

    What’s amused me is that the Tory Wets/Remainers standing in several target marginal seats will only have themselves to blame if they lose in eg Worsley, Wirral S, Wirral W and so on – but they’ll have UKIP voters to thank if they gain the seat.

    Iain Lindley in particular has spent years proclaiming that that sort of conservatism was nonsense and that the Cameroons were the electable part of the Party.

    It’ll be interesting how that group of eg 35 Wet MPs reconciles the gains tomorrow. I realise some are happy to change their line almost daily to suit the shifting mood.

    BBC NW News showed Jake Berry talking about how he’d always believed there’d be the benefits after we Leave to a voter and of course he was an ardent Remainer and had the most loyal voting record of any Tory MP under the Coalition. I’m told he was a GO acolyte hoping for a job from him when he succeeded ‘the throne.’ From memory he then backed a Wet then switched to Boris and had a hissy fit tweeting there was a special place in hell reserved for people such as him [Gove].

  35. First let me say that I expect the Tories to win nationally easily with a majority of minimum 50 but most likely upwards of 60-80.

    Second, let me say that although I am no great fan of Owen Meredith, the Tory candidate here, I would still expect a win based on the polls.

    However let me just pour some cold water on some of the suggestions from outside the constituency that with UKIP not standing all of that vote will switch to the Tories and we will win here with a massive majority.

    As I have said many times before, Newcastle is unusual in that whilst elsewhere the UKIP vote may be able to be relied upon to switch behind the Tories, in this seat the UKIP vote is overwhelmingly and demonstrably Labour.

    Therefore the absence of a UKIP candidate this time may not in fact help Owen to win but may in fact be our undoing.
    The UKIP vote in this seat comes from Silverdale, Knutton, Cross Heath, Holditch, Wolstanton, Chesterton, Bradwell. All of these bar Wolstanton are rock solid Labour wards where there are very few Tory votes to be had.

    Is that UKIP vote REALLY going to switch behind the Conservatives? Or will they just stay at home or go back to their natural home with Labour?

    If it is the latter, then the paper majority of around 650 is going to be misleading. The actual Labour majority could be more like 5-6,000!!!

    I believe that the reason Labour almost lost this in 2010 and 2015 is BECAUSE the UKIP took 5-7000 votes and challenged Labour in wards that they would previously have thought as safe.
    This may also have prevented Labour from concentrating on the marginal wards.

    But this year with no UKIP candidate, Labour will not be afraid of losing in Silverdale and Knutton and Cross Heath. That leaves them free to go out into the wards that matter for a Tory victory.

    I still hope for a Tory win here, but just don’t be too surprised if it doesn’t happen. The paper majority here is very misleading.

  36. Thanks Shaun B – v useful local info (and good to see you back even if it is only for that prediction!)

  37. Its just a flying visit.
    My attempts at predictions on every seat in 2015 were so wildly inaccurate in many cases that I don’t feel able to add very much of value this time around.

  38. Labour have a long history of neglecting the Potteries. Is tomorrow the day that they are going to the price with worse results here than in other parts of the country?

    Shaun Bennett makes an interesting point that UKIP withdrawal may not be as good for the Tories as they hoped.

  39. I diverge a bit from that view. In fact, I think in areas such as these, while most UKIP voters are ex-Labour voters, they’re going to flow *more* strongly to the Tories here than elsewhere. Just a feeling though.

  40. Let’s be blunt. In this area where the UKIP vote goes may depend on how strongly local voters are feeling about immigration.

  41. If that’s the case, then I don’t think they’re going to be parking their votes with Labour 😉

  42. Just enough did. Majority of 30 for LAB

    There really are a lot of tiny majorities this time around, along with some truly gargantuan ones

  43. Mr Farrelly was probably saved by the presence of Keele Uni campus in his seat.

  44. He could so easily have been undone by the postal voting clerical errors at Keele. For the sake of a fair democracy I’m glad he wasn’t (and also he seems like a nice guy and I remember him speaking powerfully during the Article 50 debate) – if he had lost by thirty votes there would have been justified outrage.

  45. Very perceptive piece above by Shaun Bennett on the eve of the election and he was proved to absolutely right. Thank you, Shaun.

    More generally there was a pattern of UKIP’s standing aside actually helping Labour – presumably the exact opposite of what Nuttall & Co had intended.

  46. Election Data said something similar

  47. Yes, my observations were that this was definitely the case. Tories would have gained quite a few more seats had UKIP stood in them.

  48. 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.

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

  50. 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

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