2015 Result:
Conservative: 6630 (16.2%)
Labour: 17946 (43.9%)
Lib Dem: 7558 (18.5%)
Green: 880 (2.2%)
UKIP: 7516 (18.4%)
Others: 389 (1%)
MAJORITY: 10388 (25.4%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: North East, Cleveland. Part of the Redcar and Cleveland council area.

Main population centres: Redcar, Marske by the Sea, Eston, Grangetown.

Profile: An industrial seat on the southern bank of the Tees estuary. Redcar itself is a Victorian seaside town, but this seat is mostly heavy industry, including the steelworks, Teesport, the former ICI chemical works at Wilton and the Teeside power station, currently mothballed..

Politics: Redcar was previously a safe Labour seat, held by the party since its creation in 1974. Labour MPs Mowlam and Vera Baird enjoyed majories in excess of thirty percent. The closure of the steelworks in 2009 hit the town hard and was the foundation of an immense swing at the 2010 election, when the Liberal Democrats took the seat on a 22 percent swing. The steelworks were reopened in 2012, but it did not help the Liberal Democrats who lost the seat back to Labour in 2015 on a swing that was almost as large.

Current MP
ANNA TURLEY (Labour) Former think tank researcher and former special advisor to David Blunkett. First elected as MP for Redcar in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 5790 (14%)
Lab: 13741 (33%)
LDem: 18955 (45%)
UKIP: 1875 (4%)
Oth: 1602 (4%)
MAJ: 5214 (12%)
Con: 6954 (18%)
Lab: 19968 (51%)
LDem: 7852 (20%)
BNP: 985 (3%)
Oth: 3102 (8%)
MAJ: 12116 (31%)
Con: 9583 (25%)
Lab: 23026 (60%)
LDem: 4817 (13%)
Oth: 772 (2%)
MAJ: 13443 (35%)
Con: 11308 (23%)
Lab: 32972 (67%)
LDem: 4679 (10%)
MAJ: 21664 (44%)

2015 Candidates
JACOB YOUNG (Conservative) Educated at Macmillan Academy and Teeside University. Technician.
ANNA TURLEY (Labour) Think tank researcher and former special advisor to David Blunkett.
JOSH MASON (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Durham University. Press and campaigns officer. Redcar and Cleveland councillor since 2011.
PETER PINKNEY (Green) Born Saltburn. President of the RMT trade union.
PHILIP LOCKEY (North East Party) Born Teeside. Former serviceman.
Comments - 230 Responses on “Redcar”
  1. The ex group of Labour Cllrs held a protest outside the Labour PPC’s office. They refer to the regional HQ as “Labour North Korea.”

  2. Story doing the rounds on Twitter that Labour have lost control of Redcar &Cleveland council.. I suppose that was a bit inevitable in view of the bloodletting there

  3. Independent/Lib Dem coalition now running the council

  4. It does make you wonder. Labour can’t really screw up regaining this even with all the local shenanigans, can they?

  5. Do significant numbers of people actually change their general election votes based on local councillors’ internecine feuds?

  6. It does happen, but it’s rare. Probably Ian Swales wishes he hadn’t stood down now – it would at least have made it slightly more interesting. As it is, Labour’s lead in opinion polls here has been far too great for it to be overhauled.

  7. I think the only thing that might make a difference is if some sort of independent Labour candidate emerged from the local bloc to challenge Turley. Even then Labour would be the clear favourites, I think, but if a big head of local support built up we could hit something approaching four way marginal territory between Lab/INDLab/UKIP/LD.

  8. Not too late for Swales to reappear in the race in light of the faux pas by the LibDem PPC

  9. What happened?

  10. Pretty bizarre Tinder (the dating site) selfie photograph in front of the crematorium ovens in Redcar cemetery (or somesuch)…

  11. That’s very bizarre.

  12. Tinder by default sets random photos to your profile so he may not have uploaded them for that purpose (don’t judge me for knowing that). Still weird to take a selfie at a crematorium.

  13. Labour gain. 6,000 majority

  14. Didn’t even know we had a conservative candidate visits no flyers !…disappointed no wonder only 14% last time

  15. Labour majority of 10,400. Majority split three ways between LDs (18%), UKIP (18%) and Tories (16%).

  16. This seat’s result was a combination of two things IMHO- The loss of Ian Swales’ personal vote as he didn’t defend his seat, and the wholesale correction of the result in 2010, which was in special circumstances.

  17. Surprised nobody has commented on the steelworks closing here – just watched QT and was reminded of it.

    Obviously we know what happened in 2010 after the steelworks had collapsed – a huge swing to the Lib Dems dumping Labour out of office. With the Lib Dems politically dead in the water, what would the impact be this time around?

  18. I can’t imagine it’ll hurt Labour. Ought to help them, although they seem to be doing alright.

  19. There is a great deal of horseshit being spoken about the Redcar steelworks at the moment….as someone who has worked in the steel industry for the last 17 years I am perhaps more qualified than most qualified to comment on it.

    Truth is, the plant has been a basket case for a long time, as I posted on here when Tata Corus closed it in 2009/10. It is nothing much to do with “Chinese exports” or any of the other bullshit we are hearing about government not helping industry, etc.

    The UK domestic consumption of steel has roughly halved since 2000 due to the rapid shrinkage of manufacturing during the Blair years, which was made worse by the financial crisis and has continued since. Because the UK is not a competitive steel exporter we have to reduce our steelmaking capacity in line with the shrinkage in the domestic market, and Redcar is part of that. When the new owner SSI bought the plant and focused it on exporting to Thailand rather than domestic sales pretty much every industry expert said they were mad and the plant would not have a long term future on such a basis….hence the closure should have come as a surprise to no-one.

  20. While Hemmelig is right, this doesn’t alter the pain of local residents, and the lack of easy alternatives for those losing their jobs.

    It’s no surprise that politicians who promote fairy stories will be popular in these circumstances.

    Another example of who’d want to be a politician, if you are committed to promoted the public interest. All politicians get skewered on this dilemma, except the corrupt and the cynical.

  21. That last category is a perfect description for the parachuted SPAD who is this area’s MP.

  22. “It’s no surprise that politicians who promote fairy stories will be popular in these circumstances”.

    Indeed, and the rise of the professional politician whose livelihood depends on retaining the favour of his/her constituents has created a situation where it’s very hard to imagine an MP echoing these words from Edmund Burke:

    “If, from this conduct, I shall forfeit their suffrages at an ensuing election, it will stand on record an example to future representatives of the Commons of England, that one man at least had dared to resist the desires of his constituents when his judgment assured him they were wrong”.

  23. @H Hemmelig

    More of a basket case than ILVA? The issue isn’t whether Redcar is competitive but how much the UK government values manufacturing. Anna Soubry has greatly increased her profile just by taking this issue seriously.

  24. Arguably it would have been better for the workers had the government not revived the plant in 2010 based on such an unfeasible business plan. With the right investment most could have been in better careers by now. We are going back to the 1970s arguments about lame ducks here.

  25. I think we are all agreed that this is yet another case of an industrial plant whose fate was sealed years ago by lack of timely investment.

    It is also manifest for all to see that the number of MPs with sufficient industrial and scientific experience to understand this sort of situation is not far above zero.

    The problem is that things have gone so far that it is impossible to stop the rot. As very few people work in industry there are few votes in supporting industry.

    Never forget that the UK lost appoximately 25% of its industry between 1979 and 1983, which is a higher percentage for instance than the amount Germany lost during the Second World War.

  26. People don’t realize now that London was a major industrial city. It wasn’t just the heavy industry of the north. London was devastated in the 1970s before the north, and finished off in the early 1980s. Hard to realize now the poverty and unemployment that resulted. Jerry White’s book on London in the twentieth century gives a good account.

    London of course has been reinvented, but it is a capital city. No such options are available for Teeside.

  27. John, you are quite right.

    Over-centralization in London has become so extreme that Osborne is trying to generate financial and service activity in Northern “hubs” such as Manchester, Leeds and perhaps Sheffield. But this won’t do anything for outlying areas like Teeside, or come to that oulying areas of the South-East including South Thanet where I live.

    Economic regeneration of Newcastle is unlikely to help Redcar.

    Leaving aside moral and practical issues, it is the neglected outlying areas that are turning to UKIP. If the Tories (or Labour) want to stop UKIP they need to ensure that wealth is more evenly distributed within English regions as well as between them.

  28. Redcar & Guisborough (2020)

    McGuinness (LD) 14,411
    * Turley (Lab) 14,355
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 10,841
    Rifkind (Con) 6,037
    Pell (Green) 903

    LD Gain from Lab
    Maj 56

  29. Can it be assumed that the Lib Dem success here in 2010 was by and large down to Ian Swales himself, as well as the Corus job losses, and that now Labour hold this seat again the chances of the Lib Dems getting close here again in the near future aren’t that high?

  30. The consensus is that the massive swing the Lib Dems achieved in 2010 was entirely down to the job losses from the local steel industry which the Lib Dems made the absolute focus of the contest so yeah I think the Libs are probably finished here, they’ll probably slip even further back in 2020.

  31. So it’s safe to say this is one former Lib Dem seat that they won’t be anywhere near recapturing in the future?

  32. Labour were caught in a perfect storm here with a supremely unpopular government, very unpopular local MP, and the job losses.

    The Lib Dems may continue to target the seat if there is a hard core of energetic activists, but the seat will more likely revert to being the Labpur stronghold it was prior to 2010.

  33. Seems like it. Dominated by heavy industry (or rather the decline of heavy industry), and overwhelmingly white.

  34. ‘Dominated by heavy industry (or rather the decline of heavy industry), and overwhelmingly white.’

    As is true of neighbouring Middlesbrough, Stockton North and plenty of other seats in County Durham and Wearside

    The Lib Dems traditionally don’t go down well in places like this, and I think Ian Swales did extremely well to take a seat that’s demographics suggest should be strongly Labour with UKIP the main challengers, and you can’t really picture his party ever repeating the feat

  35. Well the 2010 result here was due to unusual local circumstances, with the closure of the steelworks decimating the city. You can almost put it in the same category as Dr Richard Taylor’s “save Kidderminster hospital” campaign which got him elected as an independent in Wyre Forest.

    Incidentally this seat *is* in the top 50 Lib Dem targets…

  36. ‘You can almost put it in the same category as Dr Richard Taylor’s “save Kidderminster hospital” campaign which got him elected as an independent in Wyre Forest.’

    A more apt comparison might be Sue Doughty in Guildford who won what had been a pretty reliable Tory-voting seat in 2001 for the Lib Dems, purely on the back of local issues – but even there the Lib Dems did manage to poll 35% of the vote in 97, compared to the 20% the Lib Dems got here in the election prior to winning the seat

    The 2010 result still stands out

  37. I don’t think that the Tories would have held second in 2005 in any case. This looks the type of place where Kennedy’s Lib Dems (running more or less to the left of Labour and going big on opposition to Iraq) were always going to go down well.

  38. Redcar is an excellent example of what happens when Labour think they can take an area for granted. 20 years ago Redcar was by far the most efficient and modern steelworks in the UK, and one of the best in Europe. But because he was worried about the threat from Plaid Cymru, Blair pressured Corus to focus all of their investment on South Wales in the early 2000s. This led in the end to the ruination and closure of the Redcar works which the half baked rescue of 2012 was never going to be able to turn around. Quite simply the Blair government thought they would never be at risk of losing the north east so they shamelessly neglected it.

  39. Same goes for the myriad of closed chemicals plants in the Teeside area – ICI, Elementis etc etc. Blair and Brown lifted not one finger to save them.

  40. Another excellent reason to adopt proportional representation. When every vote counts equally politicians don’t have the same incentive to neglect areas where they can’t lose, or indeed areas where they can’t win.

  41. PR helps a bit in the sense that there tend to be no areas where a significant party can’t win, but you can still end up with constituencies in a state of semi electoral stasis where some seats are realistically not in play.

  42. The system for the Scottish and Welsh parliaments is alright enough, the only downside is that you can’t choose the list candidate you are voting for, the slate is already selected by the party.

    Perhaps abolish the Lords as is and have a second chamber of PR elected people?

    I don’t know. FPTP is a joke tbh. My MP has a majority of less than 3% of what my mums MP does, the seats are side by side…

  43. Hutton Ward By-election Result (02.03.17):

    Conservative 860 +4%
    LibDems 326 +4%
    Labour 183 -17%
    UKIP 120 +9%

    Cons Hold.

  44. They do now!!

  45. ”The Tories have councillors here???”

    Well Hutton is not in the Redcar constituency it is Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland which is number 21 on the Tories target seat list (Labour majority 4.9%). Hutton is one of the most Tory wards in that constituency.

    As for the constituency of Redcar in 2015 they won 1 council seat in the Longbeck ward though they might have won all three had they actually bothered to run more than one candidate.

  46. UKIP Cllr and Regional Chairman Steve Turner has defected to the Conservatives here.

    He represents Longbeck ward.

  47. Tories for 2nd place here?

  48. Longbeck Ward by-election, 15.03.18:

    Conservative 494 33% (+7%)
    Liberal Democrat 397 26% (+12%)
    Labour 337 22% (+4%)
    Independent 282 19% (-3%)

    Conservative Gain from Independent

  49. I just spotted that there’s a Northumbria PCC By-election next week.

    I assume turnout will be a record low.

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