2015 Result:
Conservative: 18684 (39.7%)
Labour: 16759 (35.6%)
Lib Dem: 1774 (3.8%)
Green: 1218 (2.6%)
UKIP: 7485 (15.9%)
Liberal: 639 (1.4%)
Independent: 516 (1.1%)
MAJORITY: 1925 (4.1%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Cambridgeshire. Part of the Peterborough council area.

Main population centres: Peterborough, Eye, Thorney.

Profile: Peterborough was a victorian industrial town that has grown massively since the 1970s after being designated as a newtown in 1967. It is an economically successful city with strong service and distribution industries on the back of good transport links (there are intercity trains to London and it sits just off the A1(M)). It is an ethnically diverse city - there is a significant Asian Muslim population, but also many Italian immigrants (due to recruitment for the brickmaking industry in the 1950s) and more recent Eastern European immigration. The seat also contains an area of Fenland to the east including the villages of Thorney and Eye.

Politics: A key marginal between the Conservatives and Labour, Peterborough fell to Labour in 1997 and was regained by the Conservatives in 2005.

Current MP
STEWART JACKSON (Conservative) Born 1965, Woolwich. Educated at Chatham House Grammar and Royal Holloway. Former bank manager and business development manager. Ealing councillor 1990-1998. Contested Brent South 1997, Peterborough 2001. First elected as MP for Peterborough in 2005. PPS to Owen Paterson 2010-2011. Resigned as a PPS after rebelling over the issue of an EU referendum.
Past Results
Con: 18133 (40%)
Lab: 13272 (30%)
LDem: 8816 (20%)
UKIP: 3007 (7%)
Oth: 1699 (4%)
MAJ: 4861 (11%)
Con: 17364 (42%)
Lab: 14624 (35%)
LDem: 6876 (17%)
UKIP: 1242 (3%)
Oth: 1098 (3%)
MAJ: 2740 (7%)
Con: 15121 (38%)
Lab: 17975 (45%)
LDem: 5761 (14%)
UKIP: 955 (2%)
MAJ: 2854 (7%)
Con: 17042 (35%)
Lab: 24365 (50%)
LDem: 5170 (11%)
Oth: 926 (2%)
MAJ: 7323 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
STEWART JACKSON (Conservative) See above.
LISA FORBES (Labour) Peterborough councillor.
DARREN FOWER (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Walton Comprehensive and De Montfort University. Media development officer. Peterborough councillor since 2004.
DARREN BISBY-BOYD (Green) Born Belfast.
JOHN FOX (Independent) Educated at Queens Boys Secondary Modern, Wisbech. Former police officer. Peterborough councillor since 2002.
CHRIS ASH (Liberal) Peterborough councillor 1986-1994 and since 2000.
Comments - 1,108 Responses on “Peterborough”
  1. ‘I’m not sure if it’s such a big factor.’

    I’d say it’s a pretty decisive factor

    For fairly obvious reasons the Muslim vote in the UK is staunchly Labour. In fact it’s their core vote, and there are dozens of seats where it has made the difference, this being one of them

  2. Obvious reasons?

  3. ‘Obvious reasons?’

    That being the accusation of widespread Islamaphobia within the other major party – ie: the Tories – some of it fair, some of it not

    And that Jeremy Corbyn has been staunchly pro-Palestinian in the Arab/Israeli conflict – another reason why Muslims would vote Labour, as they did in droves in 2017

  4. I accept most Muslim voters tend to back Labour. Both of the reasons given above would suggest that this is only a very recent development though?

  5. It’s certainly not a recent development but I think its accelerated over the past 2/3 years in particular – for the reasons I ventured

    After Cameron’s detoxification strategy, the Tories seem to have become considerably more intolerant on issues of race – particularly towards muslins which many members view with outright antipathy, much the same way they viewed Jews in the 1930s

    With many more immigrants coming from the Commonwealth as opposed to the EU in the future, I don’t think its an issue the Tories can carry on pretending doesn’t exist

  6. Also, in the longer term, the unwinding of the Iraq War, which for a long time suppressed Labour support among the Muslim community below its natural level.

  7. “With many more immigrants coming from the Commonwealth as opposed to the EU in the future,”
    Is that going to happen? What about the Commonwealth Immigration acts?

  8. ‘Is that going to happen? What about the Commonwealth Immigration acts?’

    Yes – because the UK will still be an attractive destination for a whole load of people, it’s just with the ending of freedom of movement they won’t be Europeans and others who largely share our values, traditions and way of lives

    I can’t imagine the millions of WWC voters who backed Brexit because they were sick to the back teeth of immigration, will be delighted by that

  9. “Is that going to happen?”

    It’s already happening. Immigration from outside the EU has risen massively since the Brexit vote. As Tim says, if the nurses and strawberry pickers aren’t coming from Eastern Europe then they will just be brought from Pakistan or the Phillippines instead. Brexit is at least exposing the reality that high immigration is nothing to do with EU membership, to reduce it we have to change the whole system.

  10. The best way to reduce net migration is to make the country into a place nobody wants to move to by turning it into an economic basket case. In that sense it is possible that Brexit will deliver on its promise after all.

  11. ‘In that sense it is possible that Brexit will deliver on its promise after all.’

    It might but perception trumps reality and now matter how bad the UK does become because of Brexit – and like Polltroll I suspect it will be very bad indeed – it will still be seen an attractive destination for those who live in other Commonwealth countries

  12. Because of a collapsing exchange rate there would also probably be a massive “immigration” of tourists.

    I can’t help thinking of how there is now a flourishing tourist trade in North Korea, consisting of boatloads of Chinese gawping and giggling at the curious lives and horrendous poverty of the North Koreans.

  13. Would serve us right if the good folk of Prague, Bratislava etc had their unseemly stag weekends in Bognor Regis.

  14. Brexit + Climate Change makes that fairly likely in 20 years time

  15. It’s correct that BAME is Labour’s reliable core vote, more so than any other group.
    I noticed that in the Euro elections Labour won Croydon and Redbridge, despite doing very poorly generally. At one time you’d have expected the Tories to be competitve in these areas.

  16. Thomas Cook has appointed administrators and all planes are now returning to the UK empty.

    Op Matterhorn will now repatriate 150,000 Brits over the next fortnight.

  17. Another election! The 5th national vote in Peterborough in as many years.
    Tories and UKIP seem hopelessly divided currently. This can only help incumbent Lisa Forbes.

  18. I assume you’re talking about The Brexit Party, not UKIP, but I do agree that the by-election result makes it harder for the Tories. Not many parties win from third place, particularly when they have some political overlap with the second-placed party, because they can then be squeezed.

    Nonetheless, TBP couldn’t win in a by-election called under near-ideal circumstances last time, arguably they would have but were undermined by Donald Trump’s visit and comments on the NHS enabling Labour to pivot the Brexit argument onto more favourable territory. Oh look, Donald Trump is also visiting shortly before the general election…

  19. “Tories and UKIP seem hopelessly divided currently.”

    This comment might have made sense a few months ago – or even a few weeks’ ago re the Tories.

    But now Boris has got his deal uniting pretty well the whole party, both Tories and TBP seem united not divided to me.

    Labour, on the other hand, seem split down the middle between going through with some kind of Brexit (Corbyn/McDonnell and other old lefties), and being against any kind of Brexit (Starmer, Watson, Thornberry and lots of others)

  20. McDonnell is defo remain

  21. The Brexit Partys decision to stand against the Tories is cause all sorts of problems. PPC in Portsmouth South has taken to twitter to beg them to stand down. Will PPCs in marginals start to talk down Boris deal in the hope Brexit Party will endorse them. Certainly Boris is trying to head this off PPCs are told not to sign up t any commitments on campaign trail

  22. My mistake. Of course, I meant to say the Brexit Party and the Tories are the ones in a mess in Peterborough currently.

  23. Ex-MP here Brian Mawhinney has died

  24. He was a decent MP, as I remember.
    Lisa Forbes seems to be doing well, but the three who followed him and preceded her were all awful.
    He claimed later to have heard the voice of God telling him, “I want you here” in Peterborough Cathedral shortly before he became an MP in 1979.
    Much later, he switched seats for a safe Tory one as it was becoming very clear Peterborough was going to fall to Labour in the 1997 election, as indeed did happen. Mawhinney was Conservative Party chairman, so that was quite embarrassing.
    It’s unclear whether God told him to do that too.

  25. I disagree that Stewart Jackson was an “awful” MP here.

    I agree with regards Brinton and the last one.
    Forbes probably won’t be there long enough to judge her however.

  26. “Much later, he switched seats for a safe Tory one as it was becoming very clear Peterborough was going to fall to Labour in the 1997 election”

    That’s an uncharacteristically unfair comment from you CH.

    Mawhinney’s new seat of NW Cambridgeshire contained quite a lot of area from his old Peterborough seat, which was extremely oversized by the 1990s.

  27. My abiding memory of Stewart Jackson is him labelling a terminally sick child waving an EU flag “pathetic”.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  28. The people putting their terminally ill child up to such a stunt were equally pathetic, knowing full well the vicious reaction it would likely induce.

    Jackson isn’t my cup of tea politically but politics needs its streetfighting types.

    Ahead of the 2001 election there was an embryonic election results prediction forum like this one, on which Jackson foolishly engaged with the commentators for a while….then he inevitably got into an argument with one of the commentators and called them a “spotty political masturbator” which got all over the press and damaged his campaign.

  29. True Shaun & HH. He increased his vote each time. As did Nuttall in Bury N. It’s just that in marginal you lose 1 in 3 times just on probability and luck and turnout.

    The reason PT hates him is because he is a popular populist in the same way that activists on the Left hated Tory MPs in Ayr, Batley, Dover, Wirral South + 20 in the 1980s and 1990s – because they were both right wing and kept winning. It really messes with their brains to realise that all people don’t agree with them. Remember Williamson when he lost Derby N.

    As a trainee I was lucky enough to be at my first election count when Labour lost the outer council estate wards in Lpool to the LDs in the early 2000s. It wasn’t just anger on some Labour faces – it was sheer disbelief. They lost wards which they had achieved 70% of the vote in even in 1992. The only time I’ve felt such a wave of feeling since has been the Leave feeling since the EU Ref. Not just switchers but the higher determination of such voters to turnout to punish Labour. IMHO Labour may as well pursue the more affluent Remain seats in London and the South because I really can’t see them having much luck in Bolton, Bury, Blackpool, Stoke etc. Labour Leavers appear to be either switching or staying at home from what I’m being told. [There’s also the free gifts of Barrow, Newc-u-L, Dudley N thanks to Lab MPs]

    My feeling at the moment is along HH’s line of a maj of 30-40 but it could end up being huge if LDs take 3,000 votes from Labour in a host of seats without the Tory vote having to increase.

  30. That is fair, actually. Using a child as a human shield for your ideology is pretty squalid. At least Greta Thunberg has chosen to make herself the centre of a movement. (I still don’t like the fact that her identity as an autistic sixteen-year-old girl is used to deflect criticism of a platform that requires scrutiny just like any other.) This kid doubtless had the flag foisted upon him.


    I don’t think I was unfair to Lord Mawhinney there. There was a perfectly legitimate boundary change but he certainly used it as an opportunity to escape certain defeat.

  32. Statistics are funny things.
    Jackson won 3 of the 5 elections he contested in Peterborough. His vote did indeed increase each time he won. His share of the vote also fell each time. Electorally, he peaked in 2017 ironically the same year he was defeated by the then little known Labour candidate. Who got more votes!
    Jackson was competent enough but he was certainly unpleasant. It is a bit of a stretch to blame the family in the hospital for his crass remarks. There are really too many examples of him being unpleasant for it always to have been the fault of the other person.

  33. “There are really too many examples of him being unpleasant for it always to have been the fault of the other person.”

    I cant think of any, but I’ll let it pass without asking for examples.

  34. Maybe they were unpleasant for CH to hear.

    I agree with HH in that this MP simply had a way with words to annoy the Left. He even goaded them after he won in 2015.

    [Incidentally his share of the vote did not fall each time he stood. 2010 was the only occasion it fell from 2001 to 2017]

  35. [Incidentally his share of the vote did not fall each time he stood. 2010 was the only occasion it fell from 2001 to 2017]

    I didn’t quite say that. I said his share of the vote fell each time he won.
    (I said “His vote did indeed increase each time he won. His share of the vote also fell each time” – for clarity, I perhaps should have put “every time, “his share of the vote declined with each victory”)
    Your statement is wrong anyway:
    2005: 42.1%
    2010: 40.4%
    2015: 39.7%
    That’s his vote share.
    “I agree with HH in that this MP simply had a way with words to annoy the Left.”
    And voters generally at the end of the day. Had that not been the case, he’d probably still have been the MP when this election was called.

  36. Sorry – “when this election was called”.

  37. CH

    You appear to be local….who do you expect will win in Peterborough this time?

    I’m a fairly regular visitor to the town but still don’t know it all that well.

  38. I was born and grew up in Peterborough but moved away a few years ago. I still have family and friends though and visit fairly often (most recently, two weeks ago).
    My view:
    Peterborough is a marginal seat, held by Labour. Lisa Forbes’ majority is small. Labour are clearly behind in every national opinion poll, so it’s quite possible, perhaps likely she will be defeated.
    On the other hand:
    The polls were, of course, similar in 2017 at this stage. Things turned out to be much tighter. I thought Labour stood no chance in P’boro in 2017. I was wrong!
    This won’t necessarily happen this time but he GE campaign hasn’t really taken off yet. In my view, Boris Johnson really doesn’t seem to be up to the job. I think he is less suited to it than anyone I’ve seen since the 1980s (when my political memories start). He seems potentially far more gaffe prone and dishonest than Corbyn. Johnson is a different leader from May but his campaign could yet implode if something happens which exposes this.
    He is helped a lot by the newspapers which are very pro-Labour (also true of the Peterborough Telegraph).
    The main thing which might save Lisa Forbes (who, after all, seems to be a perfectly good MP) is simply, as I’ve said before:
    The anti-Labour vote is hopelessly split between the Tories and the Brexit Party.

  39. Pah! Of course, I meant to say the press are very anti-Labour!

  40. Thanks

  41. CH – Sorry, I hadn’t realised you were basing your argument on 0.6% of the vote!

    But your subsequent post explains why. As I suspected you don’t like right wing populists, because it baffles you that they happen to be popular with the public.

  42. “CH – Sorry, I hadn’t realised you were basing your argument on 0.6% of the vote!”

    What do you mean?

  43. “CH – Sorry, I hadn’t realised you were basing your argument on 0.6% of the vote!”

    Oh, I see. We both were.
    Just you got it wrong and I didn’t.

  44. Anti-Labour vote split between Tories and Brexit Party.

  45. Recent poll retweeted by Brexit Party supporter:

    Polling in Peterborough. Currently held by Labour’s Lisa Forbes.

    Prediction: Brexit Party Gain

    Sample size: 1124
    Date polled: 20/11/19

    Conservative: 15.5%
    Labour: 29.5%
    Lib Dems: 13.2%
    Brexit Party: 37.9%
    Green Party: 2.8%
    Others: 1.1%

    Looks iffy to me…

  46. “Looks iffy to me…”

    Very! – 15.5% for Cons Ha-ha if you’re going to make up (or report voodoo) polls at least make sure they’re plausible.

    (not talking to you CH but to the “Brexit Party supporter”)

  47. I must say, from my curmudgeonly centrist perspective, the one immensely satisfying thing about this election so far has been the way the bottom has fallen out of the Brexit Party’s credibility.

  48. This forum seems to have died a death.

  49. TCTC but incumbent Lab slightly favoured

  50. Tories and Brexit Party vote split. Might well be a narrow win for Lisa Forbes.

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