2015 Result:
Conservative: 16085 (33.3%)
Labour: 23421 (48.5%)
Lib Dem: 1275 (2.6%)
Green: 1220 (2.5%)
UKIP: 6274 (13%)
MAJORITY: 7336 (15.2%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: South East, Berkshire. Most of Slough council area.

Main population centres: Slough.

Profile: Slough is a much maligned town to the west of London, associated with Sir John Betjeman`s "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough" and, more recently, the Office`s David Brent. It is a business hub that grew up around the world`s first industrial estate between the wars and ballooned through post-war overspill development. It remains a major business centre, companies based here include Mars, Nintendo, Black and Decker, Amazon, CItroen and ICI`s Dulux paints factory. Industry and business have attracted immigration and it is a highly diverse seat. Over half the population are from ethnic minorities, mostly Asian, and there is also a sizable Polish community. Slough has one of the highest proportions of Sikh residents of any seat outside of London and the metropolitan West Midlands.

Politics: Slough is one of Labour`s most reliable seats in the South-East, and one of only four they managed to hold onto there at the 2015 election. Slough was won by the Conservatives in the 1980s, but swung decisively to Labour in 1997 and has remained there since.

Current MP
FIONA MACTAGGART (Labour) Born 1953, Glasgow, the daughter of a Conservative millionaire property developer. Educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and Kings College London. Former teacher, lecturer and Chair of Liberty. Wandsworth councillor 1986-90. First elected as MP for Slough in 1997. PPS to Chris Smith 1997-2001, Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office 2003-06. A sufferer of multiple sclerosis herself she is a strong supporter of stem cell research.
Past Results
Con: 16361 (34%)
Lab: 21884 (46%)
LDem: 6943 (15%)
UKIP: 1517 (3%)
Oth: 1037 (2%)
MAJ: 5523 (12%)
Con: 9666 (26%)
Lab: 17517 (47%)
LDem: 5739 (15%)
UKIP: 1415 (4%)
Oth: 2758 (7%)
MAJ: 7851 (21%)
Con: 10210 (26%)
Lab: 22718 (58%)
LDem: 4109 (11%)
UKIP: 738 (2%)
Oth: 1223 (3%)
MAJ: 12508 (32%)
Con: 13958 (29%)
Lab: 27029 (57%)
LDem: 3509 (7%)
Oth: 2112 (4%)
MAJ: 13071 (27%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GURCHARAN SINGH (Conservative) Born 1948, Punjab. Educated at Meerut University. Former British Rail guard, tax officer and hotelier. Ealing councillor since 1982, originally elected for the Labour party. Contested Ealing Southall 2010. Defected to the Conservative party during the 2007 Ealing Southall by-election campaign.
FIONA MACTAGGART (Labour) See above.
TOM MCCANN (Liberal Democrat) Contested Hampshire North West 2010.
DIANA COAD*** (UKIP) Born London. Educated at Plaistow Grammar. Former sales executive. Slough councillor since 2006. Contested Slough 2001, Stourbridge 2005, Slough 2010 for the Conservatives.
Comments - 169 Responses on “Slough”
  1. Correction: Slough includes all of Slough Borough Council except Colnbrook and Poyle. Foxborough was in Windsor until 2010 and would have moved back in 2015 if the boundary changes were adopted.

  2. ‘Slough is one of Labour`s most reliable seats in the South-East’

    Make that our single most reliable seat. Of the other three, any Labour activist like I will tell you we fully expected to lose Oxford East (I think we were about ready to make Andrew Smith a god the day after), and the two Southampton seats don’t have wonderful majorities to our name. Though, interestingly, we expected Test to be the more worrying seat in 2010, rather than Itchen. Obviously things will pick up in 2015, but still.

    And fascinated to just find out that Slough’s predecessor seat – Eton and Slough – was mostly Labour. Eton? Represented by a Labour MP?! Well, my mind’s blown for the rest of the week.

  3. ‘Make that our single most reliable seat.’

    you seem to be forgetting that slough was represented by the Tories from 83-97

    even oxford east was a gain from the tories in 1987, which kind of underlines how weak labour have become in the south east over the last few decades

    Blair was the only labour leader to buck the trend and whatever happens in 2015 I doubt Milliband’s Labour will win even half the seats in the South East that Blair managed in his election victories

  4. But the demographics of Slough have totally shifted since the 80s and 90s. Arguably, politically, Slough has just become an extension of the kind of areas in London that have become a lot more solid for us in the past couple of decades.

    But regardless, I think you may have overstated my point. Slough is our most reliable seat in the south-east, but I never claimed it was totally rock solid (though I do count it as safe as far as things go) – it’s only reliable compared to our rather dismal showing across the region. As my above post shows, I certainly don’t consider the other seats as reliable in general. In the south-east, it’s all relative.

  5. Oh, I think I should have worded my first post more carefully. Of course I don’t consider Slough our most reliable seat anywhere! I should have thought that was obvious. If you see what I quoted, and then read what you quoted, you’ll see I was saying it’s our most reliable seat in the south-east.

  6. The only constituency outside Greater London in Southern England (SE, Eastern and SW) not lost in the 1980s was Bristol South. Oxford East and Norwich South fell in 1983 and Ipswich and Thurrock fell in 1987.

  7. Ouch. The fact Slough is the only seat in the south-east I consider safe says it all about my party in the region. And I will echo TJ in saying we’re not going to get back to our glory days of 97 and 01 in the south-east anytime soon – that’s plainly apparent. Local election results show as much as well.

  8. Personally I would regard Luton as being in the south-east but the silly regional reforms in 1999 placed Beds and Herts in the Eastern region. The main reason for that was to increase the number of people in the East Anglia region for the purposes of the European elections, not because anyone thought it was a good idea on its own merits.

  9. Btw Andy, sidetracking this thread for a sec, don’t suppose any chance you have coverage of the 95 local elections to upload at some point? As a Labour activist, I think I would salivate over seeing that.

  10. If Labour is to make any kind of recovery in the South East their best bet might be the increasingly delapidated seaside towns.

    Their strength in Hastings seems to have accelatrated hand-in-hand with the general decline of the town – but elsewhere on the south coast they are yet to make any kind of impact

    Not surprising to see UKIP do well in these sorts of places

  11. “And fascinated to just find out that Slough’s predecessor seat – Eton and Slough – was mostly Labour. Eton? Represented by a Labour MP?! Well, my mind’s blown for the rest of the week.”

    But Eton is tiny compared to Slough so while it probably was mainly Tory in general elections it would always be swamped by the much larger town. In fact Eton Wick has a reasonable level of Labour support even now and has been won by Labour in recent memory

  12. I agree with Andy that Hertfordshire doesn’t really belong in East Anglia, but Bedfordshire is in my view slightly different. I think it’s fair to say that the average resident of Luton or Dunstable wouldn’t think of him- or herself as living in East Anglia, but someone living in the Bedford area might well do.

  13. Really Barnaby? I’d be surprised if that were so. Bedfordshire is not part of historical East Anglia or the East Anglian dialect region.

  14. I spent a lot of time in Bedfordshire as a young man – my band was there & I had a close friend in Bedford. It’s true I haven’t been for a long while now, though.

  15. ‘I agree with Andy that Hertfordshire doesn’t really belong in East Anglia, but Bedfordshire is in my view slightly different.’

    I’ve always considered Bedfordshire as somewhere between the East Midlands, East Anglia and the South East without quite being in any of them

  16. Northants is a bit like that too – not quite in the E Midlands, but not really in East Anglia either.

  17. Agree with Barnaby and Tim, Bedfordshire and Northansts occupy a sort of no mans land geographically, although I would say Luton and Dunstable are problaby more South East leaning than the North of the county.

  18. I have to say considering the demographics of this seat I very much doubt the Tories will ever win here again but the result in 2010 was still very good. Other than Langley where else is the Tory vote coming from?

  19. The Tories are ahead in Langley and have a vote in the Upton and Central areas. In fact – they do reasonably across the town, helped by the near non-existence of the LD’s

    It wasn’t a great result for them, though, given Labour’s weakness in the south-east.

  20. Thankd for that Mike 🙂

    I do think bearing in mind the fact that the White British population is only 34% I think the Tories done pretty well in all fairness. I would like to think that some of the Tory vote must have come from the large Asian community here which is a positive sign for the party.


    Labour won in every ward this year including ousting the last of the Britwellian Residents.

    Chalvey (a very asian area), Langley St Marys, Upton, Haymill and Colnbrook with Poole remain close though.

  22. Pete – Oh I already appreciated why the constituency returned a Labour MP so often. My reaction wasn’t one of incredulity, but more an amused one thinking that Eton College had a Labour MP representing it.

  23. Apparently there used to be some sort of ritual whereby the Labour MP (during the majority of the time when there was one – only in 1964 postwar did the Tories win Eton & Slough) would make an annual visit to the famous school, and be made fun of in various ways by its toffish students.

  24. Yes, despite the national swing to Labour in ’64, Eton fell, only to be regained two years later. The incumbent in ’64 was known as a particular radical even in the context of what was a more left-wing Labour than now. Guess he ended up rubbing too many people up the wrong way, though if he’d put himself up to that ritual above I think I would have liked him very much.

  25. @TimJones

    “I’ve always considered Bedfordshire as somewhere between the East Midlands, East Anglia and the South East without quite being in any of them.”

    Surely Bedforshire, Nothamptonshire and Cambridgeshire should be referred to as the Middle East.

  26. Most of Northants is clearly in the Midlands IMO, although precisely which part of the Midlands is difficult to say. The western part of it arguably has more in common with the West Midlands, with places like Rugby and Coventry being the nearest big settlements.

  27. Van Fleet – the incumbent was the celebrated peace campaigner Fenner Brockway who took over from the playwright Benn Levy in 1950. You should remember however that the Labour Party was led until his death in 1963 by Hugh Gaitskell – it’s not hard to argue that Gaitskell’s ideology was to the right of that of Ed Miliband – and Harold Wilson was hardly a raging leftie was he. It’s rather simplistic to say that the Labour Party was more left-wing then than it is now. It is in some ways but not in others.

  28. Fenner Brockway lost largely because he absolutely refused to compromise on the immigration issue – which was controversial in Slough. He was a genuine internationalist and was treated like a god in India – I met him a few times before he died via a mutual friend and he was an enthralling man.

    Undoubtedly he lost because of the race issue – but what goes around comes around. The curious thing was that he lost to Sir Anthony Meyer MP, probably one of the most liberal Tories ever to occupy those benches. Labour won the seat back in 1966 and the MP was the fiery redhead Joan Lestor. The Tories then selected the far-right local councillor George Brooker, who mobilised the Asian vote behind Joan Lestor. He eventually joined one of the fringe racist parties.

    Joan Lestor lost the seat to John Watts who was the last Tory MP for Slough. I doubt there will be another.

  29. Fair points, Barnaby.

  30. @Merseymike

    A risky thing to say. Labour won a few seats in 1997 that the Tories thought were theirs for ever.

  31. It might seem risky but local & general election results suggest it would take a Tory landslide even greater than that seen in 1983 for that party to win here again. And the demography isn’t working in their favour either. Mike’s unlikely to be proved wrong in my lifetime.

  32. Yes Wolf, you’re right to say never say never, but I don’t – based on our 2010 results in the region – consider this our only effectively safe seat in the region for nothing. The demographics are very much in our favour here, and the local results of late suggest we’re getting even stronger. That may change, but it’ll take a long while.

  33. *region = south-east

  34. I did say ‘doubt’!

  35. I quite liked John Watts – I remember him as a staunch opponent of abortion

    He must have thought he would be re-elected in 97, when he defected to the much more Tory-inclined neighbouring Reading East – although in the event Labour beat him here too

  36. The reality is that any seat with a very large ethnic minority population will eventually become a very safe Labour seat, bar issues like Iraq, as ethnic minorities now make up a large bulk of Labours core vote. This is why they do not really discuss issues such as immigration in any great detail

    Slough fits into this category, so while the Tory vote in 2010 was very good IMO, we will continue to struggle here unless a large section of the Asian community are given a good reason to vote Tory.

    Another fact helping the Labour vote here is probably the more wealthier Asians or the older post war Asian community have, and are still continuing, to move out into neighbouring seats. It is/was probably this section who were more likely to vote Conservative compared to those moving into the area from the more Labour inclined parts of West London.

  37. Quite a lot of people move here from Southall, in my experience. This has helped Labour quite a lot here without doing any harm to the party there.

  38. I wonder whether John Watts sought the candidacy of the newly created Maidenhead constituency in 1997. He would have won there but the selection of course went to Theresa May instead.

  39. As I believe I have posted before, shortly after the 1997 election John Watts suffered a massive stroke, leaving him severely incapacitated.

    Had he been elected in Reading or indeed Maidenhead, he would certainly have had to resign his seat.

  40. I don’t know whether he tried. May was selected in 1995 and perhaps MPs didn’t start to flee seats until about then, although it was obvious the results would be terrible from 1993

  41. i feel sorry for him where is he now?

  42. I believe he retired to Wales soon afterwards.

  43. “Pete – Oh I already appreciated why the constituency returned a Labour MP so often. My reaction wasn’t one of incredulity, but more an amused one thinking that Eton College had a Labour MP representing it.”

    Eton & Castle Ward is still Lib Dem and Eton Wick Ward (currently Tory) has had Labour representation until fairly recently. The area seems more mixed but would be a tiny electorate, like The City of London relative to Westminster South.

    Ironically, the BBC ITN Guide to The Parliamentary Constituencies 1983 inferred that ‘Slough Constituency’ was better for the Tories than ‘Eton & Slough Constituency’, but this may have been the result of other areas being transferred between it and ‘Beaconsfield’.

  44. “I wonder whether John Watts sought the candidacy of the newly created Maidenhead constituency in 1997. He would have won there but the selection of course went to Theresa May instead.”

    Technically ‘Maidenhead’ was the successor to ‘Windsor & Maidenhead’ as it more or less lost Windsor and gained the part of Wokingham DC (that is adjacent to Henley).

    The East Berks constituency was effectively divided in two and the North became Windsor (gaining Windsor) and the South became Bracknell. Windsor also gained the Colnbrook with Poyle Ward from Slough so had Michael Trend gone instead for Maidenhead, there is no reason that John Watts could not have gone for Windsor. They boundary changes though slight, turned a ultra marginal Conservative seat into a notionally ultra marginal Labour seat.

  45. Colnbrook with Poyle was never part of the Slough constittuency. Before 1997, Colnbrook was in Beaconsfield and Poyle was in Spelthorne. These areas were moved into Slough when it became a unitary authority in the early 1990s. Slough did however donate the Foxborough ward to the new Windsor seat in 1997. This was returned in 2010

  46. I think I’m right in saying that until fairly recently the village of Colnbrook was divided between 3 counties – Surrey (before that Middlesex), Berkshire & Bucks.

  47. Diana Coad (local Cllr, stood here 2001 and 2010, Stourbridge 2005) has failed the selection process so won’t be standing at the next election:

  48. I have done some research, in an attempt to come up with a definitive account of which Parliamentary seats included part of the territory now in the Borough of Slough. It has never all been in the same constituency.

    Modern Slough is mostly unparished, but it contains three parishes. Britwell and Wexham Lea parishes can be considered together, for the present purpose, but Colnbrook with Poyle parish needs to be considered in its three component parts – Brands Hill, Colnbrook and Poyle. It is also necessary to take account of changes in the boundaries of Foxborough ward.

    Before 1885 all parts of modern Slough, except Poyle, were represented by the knights of the shire of Buckinghamshire. Poyle formed a small part of Middlesex and were represented by its knights of the shire.

    In 1885, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex were divided. Modern Slough, apart from Poyle, was allocated to the Southern or Wycombe county division and Poyle to the Uxbridge one.

    In the 1918 redistribution, most of modern Slough remained in the Wycombe division and Poyle became part of a new Spelthorne seat.

    The mini-redistribution, in effect for the 1945-50 Parliament, affected both areas. The part of modern Slough, then in Buckinghamshire, formed part of the Eton and Slough division. Poyle continued as part of Spelthorne, although part of the boundaries of the seat were altered.

    In 1950 , for the first time, the territory of modern Slough was shared out amongst three seats. The Municipal Borough of Slough (the unparished and Brands Hill sections of modern Slough) became part of the Eton and Slough borough constituency. The Eton Rural District became part of the South Buckinghamshire county division (including the Britwell, Colnbrook and Wexham Lea areas of modern Slough). Poyle remained part of a redefined Spelthorne seat.

    The 1955 redistribution made no changes in Buckinghamshire and merely altered the boundaries of Spelthorne, without affecting Poyle.

    In 1974 the revised boundaries were largely unchanged. Eton & Slough and Spelthorne had unaltered boundaries (although Spelthorne was re-classified as a Surrey borough constituency). Eton Rural District was moved to a constituency named Beaconsfield.

    The 1983 redistribution was based upon the local government boundaries which had been introduced in 1974. All of modern Slough, except Colnbrook and Poyle, was in a Slough borough constituency in Berkshire. Poyle remained part of Spelthorne. Colnbrook was still part of Beaconsfield.

    The redistribution, which took effect in 1997, was based upon local government boundaries before Colnbrook with Poyle parish was established as part of Slough in 1995. The Slough borough constituency, was the whole of modern Slough, except the borough ward of Foxborough (with boundaries including Brands Hill) and the Colnbrook and Poyle districts. Foxborough was part of the Windsor county constituency, Colnbrook was in Beaconsfield was part of Beaconsfield and Poyle remained in Spelthorne.

    The Boundary Commission caught up with the local government boundary changes, by redefining Windsor as including the Slough wards of Foxborough (now without Brands Hill) and Colnbrook & Poyle (equivalent to Colnbrook with Poyle parish, composed of the Brands Hill, Colnbrook and Poyle areas). Beaconsfield and Spelthorne no longer included any part of Slough. These changes affected the parliamentary boundaries from the 2001 general election.

    A further complication was that Slough was rewarded in 2004, so the old Foxborough ward (still used for the Parliamentary boundaries) no longer coincided with the current ward called Foxborough.

    For the 2010 election, Slough was defined as the whole Borough of Slough, except Colnbrook with Poyle ward. The remaining ward was part of the new Windsor boundaries.

  49. Interesting tidbit on postal vote fraud.. citing a case (Tory) in this council…

    with mention of Bradford

  50. of course, it’s next door to Grieve’s constituency, too

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