2015 Result:
Conservative: 20827 (45.5%)
Labour: 15945 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 816 (1.8%)
Green: 1281 (2.8%)
UKIP: 6582 (14.4%)
TUSC: 194 (0.4%)
Others: 104 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4882 (10.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Warwickshire. Most of the Nuneaton and Bedworth council area and part of North Warwickshire council area.

Main population centres: Nuneaton, Hartshill.



Current MP
MARCUS JONES (Conservative) Born 1974, Nuneaton. Educated at St Thomas More School. Former Conveyancing manager. Nuneaton and Bedworth councillor 2005-10, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedford council 2008-09. First elected as MP for Nuneaton in 2010. Junior local government minister since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18536 (42%)
Lab: 16467 (37%)
LDem: 6846 (15%)
BNP: 2797 (6%)
MAJ: 2069 (5%)
Con: 17665 (39%)
Lab: 19945 (44%)
LDem: 5884 (13%)
UKIP: 1786 (4%)
MAJ: 2280 (5%)
Con: 15042 (35%)
Lab: 22577 (52%)
LDem: 4820 (11%)
UKIP: 873 (2%)
MAJ: 7535 (17%)
Con: 16540 (31%)
Lab: 30080 (56%)
LDem: 4732 (9%)
Oth: 628 (1%)
MAJ: 13540 (25%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MARCUS JONES (Conservative) See above.
VICKY FOWLER (Labour) Educated at Warwick University. Personal tutor. Nuneaton and Bedworth councillor 2011-2014.
CHRISTINA JEBB (Liberal Democrat) Hypnotherapist. Staffordshire Moorlands councillor. Contested Nuneaton 2010.
KEITH KONDAKOR (Green) Born 1965, Nuneaton. Educated at St Thomas More School and Birmingham University. Businessman and electronic engineer. Warwickshire councillor since 2013 and Nuneaton and Bedworth councillor since 2012.
STEPHEN PAXTON (English Democrat)
Comments - 248 Responses on “Nuneaton”
  1. West Midlands region:

    Con: 1,098,110 (41.77%)
    Lab: 865,075 (32.91%)
    UKIP: 412,770 (15.70%)
    LD: 145,009 (5.52%)
    Greens: 85,653 (3.26%)
    Others: 22,322 (0.85%)
    TOTAL: 2,628,939

    Con: 1,044,081 (39.54%)
    Lab: 808,114 (30.60%)
    LD: 540,160 (20.46%)
    UKIP: 105,685 (4.00%)
    Greens: 14,996 (0.57%)
    TOTAL: 2,640,465

    Con: +2.23%
    Lab: +2.30%
    UKIP: +11.70%
    LD: -14.94%
    Greens: +2.69%
    Others: -3.98%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 0.04%

  2. It has just occurred to me looking at those regional figures for the West Midlands that next time Labour might actually struggle more in the crucial marginal seats now that the Lib Dem vote has gone down very heavily nationally and regionally. The only way I can realistically see Labour making many gains in 2020 is if they focus on regaining lost support to UKIP and maybe trying to squeeze the Green’s support, but I’m not too sure this far out as yet, as interesting to speculate it may well be.

  3. A very good point – there could yet be further seats the Tories can pick off from Labour if they can attract some of the UKIP votes.

  4. And therein lies Labour’s problem- While I myself am a left-winger albeit crucially not a Labour-supporting one who personally feels despondent at a Conservative majority of 15 for the next five years, I expect their struggle to be potentially great in 2020, and you could say Runnymede I’m now closer to the Robin Hood School Of Thought, if you know what I mean. If Labour are to gain ANY seats at all in five years time, they need to reconnect first and foremost with the working-class voters they lost to UKIP in a big way last week. If they elect the right leader, they might begin the process of rectifying the damage, but if I was a Labour supporter I would only really be looking forward to forcing another Hung Parliament as the main objective…

  5. Even with a good leader at the helm, the best Labour should aim for is a hung Parliament in 2020 IMO. A working majority from such a bad starting position and fragmented support base is too lofty an ambition and will fall flat. Especially since the world views of Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and the south (excluding London) have never been more divergent. Their Scottish vote is on life support, a lot of the post-industrial north is being won over by UKIP and they’re failing to make a dent anywhere else except for London and most metropolitan boroughs.

    A leader with appeal in the north such as Burnham might be able to shoot the UKIP fox. But his likely backing from the unions will go down badly in the Midlands and south.

    A Blairite leader could make an impression in some southern seats, but will go down like smallpox in the north where UKIP has tapped into an anti-New Labour/anti-metro sentiment and Scotland where they’ll shout “red Tories” even more.

  6. I agree with everything you say Neil. There are several complex multi-faceted conundrums and internal difficulties that now face the Labour Party that they can try their damned best to solve in five years, but might take them a good deal longer potentially.

    Looking at the possible leaders, the fact that every one might have difficulties of their very own in appealing to certain regions of the UK really does tell its own story. So I contend that although this Parliament is yet young, the best Labour should really be aiming for in 2020 is trying to get a Hung Parliament, but whatever happens I would be amazed if they lead in the popular vote.

  7. There is a serious possibility of achieving a Hung Parliament before we get to 2020 if sufficient by-elections occur in Tory seats in the next few years. Major had a significantly bigger majority of 21 in 1992 and still managed to lose it by early 1997.

  8. I get the feeling Cameron will do his best to keep unity within the party, given the small majority. I don’t know where this new intake of Conservatives lie politically, but the EU referendum will be a major challenge. If he can steer the party through that, things will look better. Only something on the scale of Black Wednesday would harm Cameron. Plus Labour needs a miracle worker as leader to get any shred of credibility back with the public.

  9. Its also worth pointing out that Labour have completely alienated voters in the south east. Their vote share fell in lots of the North Kent seats (Chatham, Sittingbourne and Sheppey etc) where the Tories now have large majorities. These are all seats that they held until 2010 so the decline is really quite extraordinary – to lose second place to UKIP in a couple of them is also a great cause for concern for them. However what strikes me most of all is the complete lack of effort that they have put into any of these seats – there was absolutely no semblance of a campaign in Sittingbourne and Sheppey from Labour – we only had one leaflet through that looked very generic and could almost have been distributed anywhere in the country. I can imagine that it went down like a lead balloon around here.
    Its probably worth pointing out that Labour lost 9 councillors on Swale council this year from 2011 (13 down to 4) which strikes me as quite an extraordinary decline.
    For me I think this means that Labour thought that they could comfortably win without any of these seats and therefore didn’t bother to try and appeal to the types who voted for them in 2001 and 2005 but abandoned them in 2010. It is a possibility that this could have cost them seats elsewhere in the country as this type of voter obviously exists across the country (albeit in smaller numbers) but in very marginal seats this could have tipped the balance.
    For clarity I am mainly talking about aspirational working class people here (white van men etc).

  10. God knows what the local Labour Party made of their defeat here. This was a seat they really should have taken, but the fact they didn’t established painfully early on that the Tories were on for an overall majority- in this marginal in particular, I can’t imagine how shocked the candidate and team here were at the result, probably even more so in neighbouring North Warwickshire, with former MP Mike O’Brien trying to get back.

  11. This is going to sound a bit random but does anyone know why the SDP did so well here in 1983? (They got 14, 264 votes and 27.95%) I ask this question as it would never strike one as being fertile territory at all for the third party in any carnation I would have thought.

  12. I don’t think it was that unusual in 1983.
    Also, it’s rather before your time – the SDP appealed to a rather different demographic than the Lib Dems did since.

    They had a strong candidate, Ruth Levitt, who was an advisor to David Owen and wrote a book about the NHS, and spoke very well.

    I think Huckfield was quite unpopular but apologise if I’m incorrect and votes may have gone off to both the other parties in quite significant numbers.

    Nuneaton does seem to have some New Town features but it is not a new town.

  13. So a lot of it was indeed down to the choice of a strong candidate then.

  14. It’s difficult to prove how much difference candidates make but they do vary quite a bit.
    Nuneaton was quite drastically altered in the boundary review and these things can alter how the parties fight seats too.

  15. That’s interesting. Perhaps what didn’t help the Alliance here in 1987 was the changeover from an SDP to a Liberal candidate, which is what contributed to the beginning of their fast decline in this seat.

  16. It may have been an issue.
    I think the main driver of it would have been people realising it was a two way contest and a return to that as generally happened in the Midlands as Labour picked themselves up (although not gaining seats much).

  17. Indeed. It’s all the more noticeable when you look at the quick rise and fall the third party suffered here over the years, clearly defining this West Midlands seat as a Tory-Lab marginal-
    1983- 28.0%, +18.17%
    1987- 19.2%, -8.8%
    1992- 11.2%, -8.0%
    1997- 8.8%, -2.4%

    So by the time Labour had a five figure majority here, the Lib Dem vote had been squeezed down to below even its 1979 level.

  18. and to 816 votes in 2015.
    I have to say I have enjoyed seeing the Lib Dems get a real hammering from voters.

    Despite some lower points like 1992, they have basically got away with saying different things to different types of voters ever since the early 1980s until now.

  19. Labour thought they had a very good chance of winning this seat in both 1983 and 1987 and failed by more than 5,000 on both occasions. Clearly this seat has now matured into a very reliable bellwether.

  20. They did well in 1992 though.
    Also Cannock and Birmingham Northfield.
    Maybe the recession in 1992 had an impact.

  21. The Lib Dems really did take one hell of a pasting in the Lab-Con marginal seats in particular, where they were rendered completely irrelevant in any case- paper candidates aplenty were drafted in to shore up the numbers in cases such as these.

  22. Les Huckfield did not defend Nuneaton in 1983.I believe he did try to seek nomination for Wigan.

  23. If I remember correctly, It was Neil Turner a local Wigan Councillor who was selected for Wigan in 1983.

    And Ian McCartney for Makerfield.

  24. No Dai. Turner didn’t become Labour MP for Wigan until a by-election in 2000. Huckfield lost out in the selection battle to the right-winger Roger Stott, who had been MP for Westhoughton (part of which abolished seat was included in the redrawn Wigan) and it was only when Stott died that Turner entered parliament. You’re also not quite correct about Makerfield – the outgoing MP for the predecessor seat of Ince, Mick McGuire, was elected for Makerfield, then still a mining seat, in 1983, but when he opposed the miners’ strike he was then deselected in favour of Ian McCartney. McCartney’s father Hugh was a Labour MP until his retirement in 1987, representing Central Dunbartonshire & then Clydebank & Milngavie. Ian McCartney was a grandfather before he reached the age of 40, and was the shortest MP for most of his time in parliament, at least until Sarah Teather was elected.

  25. And for ages I believe the tallest was Archie Hamilton.

  26. Thank you Barnaby for correcting my memory.

    Once upon a time I lived in Makerfield. I do remember Ian McCartney.

  27. McGuire was one of the least memorable MPs to have served in living memory. He is still alive aged 89. His predecessor Tom Brown was however pretty nearly as obscure.

  28. The point I’m about to raise is sort of related given the discussion me and JJB had above about the long-term collapse of the third party in this seat- I wonder if the Lib Dems won’t put up any candidates in certain hopeless seats next time?

  29. It’s an interesting thought but I doubt it – I think it comes back to the point about national parties being seen to be truly national, however their hopeless their position in a given seat (like the Tories in Liverpool for example).

  30. It doesn’t cost the Tories £150,000 to pretend they are a national party.

  31. I still can’t believe Labour didn’t win this seat- for me it marked the beginning of the end for them for at least the next five years…

  32. I always thought CON would hold NUNEATON.
    The following was my predictions for Con holds made March 10th and which I didn’t waiver from till election day.

    “…following to be CON HOLD…

    Amber Valley
    Bury North
    Croydon Central
    Morecambe & Lunesdale
    Brighton Kemptown
    Ealing Central Acton
    Halesowen Rowley Regis
    Stockton Sth
    Harrow East
    Warrington South
    Cannock Chase
    Blackpool North & C
    Rochester & Strood
    Boston Skegness
    Grt Yarmouth.
    March 10th, 2015 at 12.49am”

  33. Not a bad list of predictions.
    Brentford and Isleworth, and Ealing Central and Acton, and the City of Chester were frustrating losses for the Tories because the vote share increased.

    But this happened in some seats in 1992 (and for Labour in 1979).

  34. Newsnight was looking at Nuneaton about 10 mins ago re Jeremy Corbyn given the town’s prominence at the election.

    One older former Labour voter who went UKIP this year said he’d ruin the country. He was part of a ukulele band.

    A young non-voter said he would.

    A Tory voter who’s involved in F3 racing said she was happy with the government.

    Finally an engineer who voted UKIP this time said he likes the sounds of him so far.

    I think segments like this will never accurately gauge the public, especially this far away from 2020. Was even mentioned that they still need to know more about him.

  35. Glad you saw that.

    I’m sure we’ll see more footage of Corbyn as a scruffy new MP, as Newsnight ended with.

  36. Here he is asking Mrs Thatcher a question in the Commons in May 1990 not wearing a tie, something that would get you into trouble these days with the Speaker:

  37. @Neil

    Until recently he spent more time on platforms with the Workers Revolutionary Party than anything else. He was normally the warm-up act for Vanessa Redgrave.

  38. The Newsnight footage reminded me what a loathsome MP Terry Dicks was….a useful reminder that nostalgia for the 1980s Tory party is so often misplaced.

    Corbyn came across as stubborn yet unfailingly polite and reasonable, which makes him such a difficult opponent for those seeking to portray him as a left wing madman….indeed a very pertinent point in relation to the leadership contest today.

  39. The crucial difference being that Terry Dicks and the Party under Thatcher and Tebbit as Chairman were popular with a large chunk of the WWC, including his own marginal.

    Corbyn only was in a very few seats including West Belfast.

    Dicks also made the point that Diane Abbott and Dennis Skinner often make: the working class expect their MPs and Cllrs to wear suits. I recall one of the top 5 reasons in the Liverpool Echo for Labour losing control of the council – according to voters – in 1998 was a couple of their City Cllrs wearing jeans and tshirt in the council chamber and canvassing the same way. There was a good quote from a lifelong docker who went LibDem as the city did for over a decade. [Even Degsy wore a suit, of course] The then Labour Council having the highest Council Tax in the Country for the worst services were of course the main reasons for Labour going from 70 to just 9 Cllrs in a decade.

    Re Dicks’ old seat, John McDonnell is rumoured to be the next Shadow Chancellor! How the ‘People’s Party’ has gone from a respected Alistair Darling to a Scouse Socialist Campaign Group flying picket for Number 11 in just 5 years is amazing.

  40. ‘How the ‘People’s Party’ has gone from a respected Alistair Darling to a Scouse Socialist Campaign Group flying picket for Number 11 in just 5 years is amazing.’

    Amazingly stupid I would argue

    But people were saying the same thing back in the early 1980s

    Labour didn’t listen then and the result was 18 years of Tory government introducing policies that the likes of Corbyn have been protesting and campaigning against ever since

    History again repeating itself…

  41. “The crucial difference being that Terry Dicks and the Party under Thatcher and Tebbit as Chairman were popular with a large chunk of the WWC, including his own marginal.

    Corbyn only was in a very few seats including West Belfast.”

    If Corbyn is only popular in very few seats then how come he’s just about to win the Labour leadership? In safe urban Labour seats he’s clearly very popular.

    On Dicks, I agree with him about MPs dressing smartly as it happens, but I won’t change my mind that he was loathsome. Who on earth but Terry Dicks would have enthusiastically supported Saddam Hussein hanging a young British journalist labelled as a “spy” for example? The Tory party is well rid of his sort whether or not a few Alf Garnetts agreed with his bigotry.

  42. ‘Who on earth but Terry Dicks would have enthusiastically supported Saddam Hussein hanging a young British journalist labelled as a “spy” for example? ‘

    The equally loathsome duo of Rupert Allason and Sir Anthony Beaumont-Dark – two other Tory MPs – also spoke out in favour of the execution

    The existence of the likes of Phillip Davies, Peter Bone and Andrew Rossindell shows that the spirit of Terry Dicks is still alive if not necessarily well in today’s Tory Party

  43. God knows what will happen in a seat like this in 2020 to be quite honest- But it wouldn’t shock me if in this West Midlands marginal Marcus Jones’ majority only increased again to something like 6-7000.

  44. HH “If Corbyn is only popular in very few seats then how come he’s just about to win the Labour leadership? In safe urban Labour seats he’s clearly very popular.”

    As always John Mann has the best quotes: “This far Left ‘surge’ is more akin to the kids bursting the paddling pool and infecting the rest of the party with their verucas.”

    JC’s very popular amongst the recent Labour members/registered supporters and has always had the hard Left/Old Labour member. They haven’t gone away you know, to quote one of JC’s friends. That doesn’t mean he’s popular in all urban seats. But I agree there’s a chunk of the electorate who support nationalising everything and want to re-run the ’80s hoping for a different result.

    I tend to agree with him and Frank Field. The Tory/UKIP vote share is over 50% and has been for ages.

  45. In 1974 Labour had a majority of over 17,000 in this seat. At the time it included a lot of North Warwickshire but that’s not particularly significant since it’s of course a Tory seat now as well.

  46. Labour are in real trouble- both here and next-door North Warwickshire for a long time to come now I feel. I think in the latter seat Craig Tracey will almost definitely hold it in 2020, and with incumbency his majority could go as high as 4-5000, which I don’t think is at all unreasonable given the demographic trends which are hurting Labour in these constituencies in the long-term.

    But as you say Andy it is quite remarkable to look back now when you see how big a majority Labour actually once enjoyed in the old Nuneaton seat when it looked very safe indeed for the party- and one would have expected Labour to win the new North Warwickshire at a canter when it was created in 1983; this did not happen at all, suggesting Labour were weakening over time, which has indeed turned out to be the case- however that seat still remains much better for them than here, but that is obviously not saying very much these days.

  47. HH – I also don’t buy that JC is polite. He seems to be an angry man quite a lot and it doesn’t take much from an interviewer to set him off.

    PS I said Corbyn “was” ie back in the early ’80s only popular in a few seats. He sympathised with so many terrorist groups and met a lot of them, that I’m not surprised that the photos are now being found again.

    His latest defence (after denying having met) seems to be that he met so many that he forgot he’d met the Lebanese terrorist banned from the UK who said British troops should die.

    It’ll be the first of many. What’s perhaps scarier is that a lot of his supporters are even more Marxist than him, so it won’t cost him many votes in the ballot. I imagine most would vote the day the papers arrive.

  48. Never mind Marxists, I’d wager that many of his supporters are outright Trots. No exaggeration considering where they’re probably coming from.

    The Parliamentary party did this to themselves for caving into a noisy Internet campaign which would’ve have meant bugger all in the real world (as we saw from the general election result versus the ostensibly left wing mood on Twitter). They wanted a “wider debate”, many of whom were surplus Burnham nominators and others who won’t back Corbyn in the actual election (e.g. Margaret Beckett). It was their self indulgence and inability to read the signs that are leading to a result that they will find hard to swallow. Chickens coming home to roost.

  49. I blame the internet for many things. Simply put, it’s allowed a lot of people to convince themselves that Jeremy Corbyn is a centrist with wide electoral appeal.

    This is the case because social media lets you choose your friends by interest group, and not by geographic or professional necessity. This means a lot of people are hermetically sealed in an echo chamber where the range of experiences they encounter extends in a small circle around them.

    So because the typical Corbynite’s friendship group therefore extends from Milibandites on the right to proper unadulterated communists on the left, he looks like a moderate and acceptable face of realistic social democracy.

    It’s not exclusive to the left – see Guido Fawkes’ comments thread to see an echo chamber of the right, where trade unionists, immigrants and anyone in the public sector is a red-under-the-bed Bolshevik intent on destroying civilisation.

    But I think it’s more prevalent among the left first because they tend to being younger, more transient and more used to technology, but also because the right take pride in thinking they’re pragmatic and sensible, whereas the left think idealism and conviction are the more cherished values.

    In reality both left and right have similar balances of weathervanes and zealots, but you see how we get where we are.

  50. Mr N…you capture very well the delusion of the Corbyn supporters. See also: The Guardian comments section on any article relating to him. It’s unbelievable how people can delude themselves when they want to.

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