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. Fiona McTaggart reselected by Labour. 10 out of 12 branches supported her reselection in the trigger ballot. However, there was some considerable opposition: local paper indicates that membership overall split 202 to 110 in her favour.

    It looks like a good turnout for a trigger ballot

  2. Merseymike wrote this up-thread:

    “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.”

    This is largely right except for the bit about George Brooker. The Tories did not select George Brooker. He stood as an Independent Conservative against the official candidate (whose name escapes me but he served briefly as MP for Swindon having won a by-election) in 1979. Brooker was very well-known locally and took enough votes from the official candidte to hand the seat to Joan Lestor. After 79 there were boundary changes and Eton was removed which led the Tories to believe that they had lost their one and only chance of winning the seat. And then John Watts went and won in 83!

  3. I’ve just remember that history repeated itself in 1992 when an Independent Labour candidate denied the official Labour candidate, Eddie Lopez, the seat. The independent, as I recall, was a councilor called Alford which meant that he headed the ballot paper and took about 700 votes. The Conservative majority was around 500. Slough was then designated an all-woman seat for 97 denying Lopez the seat once again.

  4. I was involved in the 1964 election campaign as a very young helper (stood in my school mock election) and met Fenner Brockway regularly. It has to be said that the Labour Campaign was too traditional and that the Conservatives had an agent called Madeline Morrison who was very switched on and was the lady behind the win for Sir Anthony Meyer ,who was a very nice man (who used to debate with the Young Socialists regularly) winning by 13 votes .I knew Joan Lestor very well and she was dynamic and very impressive. Labour appointed a young agent called Ian Davis who under the direction of Les Hilliard (agent for Fulham) who supported the then Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart.. With a very strong candidate and a modern campaign, Labour won by 4,663 (I think!) . It has to be said that Fiona McTaggart is a very strong character and if you spoke to the man or woman in the street and mentioned Fiona’s first name they would know who she was. The candidate who stood against Joan Lestor as Independent Labour was Declan Alford . After John Watts (who had a good name locally) the Conservative candidates have been unremarkable. George Brooker known as Jubilee George for being Mayor in 1977 was well regarded, a local man who founded the disabled organisation SADSAD which is is going strong to this day. The 2015 campaign will be interesting to see how the UKIP dynamic affects both main parties.

  5. It is myth that the 1983 boundary changes that turned Eton & Slough into plain old Slough helped Labour.

    Eton, while very pretty, has very few electors and Eton Wick had a Labour councillor until very recently. These areas were transferred to Windsor in 1983.

    Slough in turn gained bits of South Bucks and a small part of Surrey that if anything aided the Conservatives.

  6. That is true, though Eton Wick doesn’t exactly make a habit of electing Labour councillors. The areas it’s gained presumably are in Colnbrook, which bizarrely was split between 3 counties until that weird situation was ironed out. Colnbrook does almost always elect Labour councillors now, and unless I’m very much mistaken the ward includes Poyle which was previously in Surrey. Poyle would have more than its fair share of Labour voters.

  7. Presumably the same guy who defected from Labour just before the Southall by-election? He was Conservative candidate for Southall in 2010.

  8. DIana Coad, leader of the Tories on Slough council and parliamentary candidate in 2001 and 2010, has defected to UKIP:

  9. The boundary changes in 1983 that changed “Eton and Slough” to “Slough” took out the small parishes of Eton and Eton Wick and added two large council estates – Britwell and Wexham. They were almost certainly majority Labour when they joined Slough, which made John Watt’s win more impressive.

    Both areas were subject to lots of “right-to-buy” in the 1980s. These wards both returned independent councillors in the 2000’s. They now have a lot of buy-to-let property as the original tenant/owners are gone and hence are probably more Polish than many wards in Slough.

    It will be interesting to see if Diana Coad stands for UKIP. She would probably have liked to stand again as a Conservative. I expect she would see the Conservative Party candidate choice as divisive, since it is possible that a sectarian campaign will result.

    Slough will be really interesting when Labour have to select a successor to Fiona McTaggart as they will face a battle between different ethnic and religious factions for the candidacy.

    Given the current polls and the poor state of Conservative organisation, Labour would be confident here, one of the very few places in the South East region where that would be true.

  10. Most of the ‘Poles’ are originally Ukrainian and Russian, hence their fondness for violence and alcohol.

  11. How many racist comments does it take to get a ban here?

  12. I am sick & tired of Wolf’s comments too. Furthermore, they hardly ever add anything to an analysis of a constituency.

  13. Between her candidacies in Slough, Diana Coad stood in Stourbridge in 2005. That was when Labour’s majority was cut down to three figures.

  14. “Wolf” you are wrong.

    In the 2011 census Slough is recorded as having 5.99% of its population born in Poland, the second highest share in England. There is also a local Polish community that dates back to the Second World War.
    There are indeed polish born councillors on Slough Borough.
    Polish nationals can of course vote in the local elections, but not for Parliament. At the 2010 General Election, the local turnout exceeded the General Election vote by 5,000.

  15. Slough now has a majority of non – white electors and is the only constituency in the SE that does. The is nothing wrong with the new Conservative candidates selection because he reflects the diversity of the constituency.

    If there was a single urban Reading North constituency made up solely of Reading wards with the remainder forming a suburban Reading South made up of a majority of West Berks and Wokingham wards (as per before 1983) then Reading North would be very similar in ethnic composition to Slough. The current sandwich arrangement dilutes Readings ethnic mix making both Reading seats more like other Home County seats rather than being like Slough.

  16. The Conservative Group Leader here, Cllr Diana Coad has defected to UKIP.

  17. Reported on 30/1/15 but thanks.

  18. The UKIP candidate is an unknown and I do not believe he will do particularly well in the GE. In the Borough elections there may be a pact between UKIP and the Conservatives to unseat certain Cabinet members.

  19. Diana Coad has been reselected for Slough, although this time for UKIP rather than the Tories. She replaces the previous UKIP candidate Ken Wight:

  20. As an addition to the information on Tom McCann, the Liberal Democrat candidate here, he was also the Lib Dem candidate in Slough in 2005. He took 15.5% of the vote in that election, mostly through attracting support from those voters disgusted by the war in Iraq.

  21. Slough has one Polish born Councillor in Anna Wright who was leader of the Conservative Group for some time. Whilst EEC residents can participate in local elections, so far they have not really become involved.

    Both Conservative and Labour have a number of Asian Councillors. It is curious that a Sikh from Southall has been imported to be the Conservative Candidate when there are many eminent Sikhs locally ?

    There are no LibDem Councillors and their candidate will likely be a paper candidate.

    It will be interesting to see how Diana Coad does this time round, I do not think Labour will be too worried about either the Tories or UKIP, but the local elections might yield a few surprises yet.

  22. l am pretty sure that, though gurcharan singh is best known for his activities in southall, he now lives in slough.
    l have it on good authority that anna wright is a very flirtatious lady.

  23. What would happen in a situation where the majority of people living in an area were not eligible to vote?

  24. nothing.

  25. General election candidates nominated for the Slough constituency

    *Diana Coad, UKIP
    *Julian Edmonds, Green
    *Fiona Mactaggart, Labour
    *Tom McCann, Liberal Democrats
    *Gurcharan Singh, Conservative

    No surprise candidates. The five largest parties in England are all contesting this safe Labour seat. I presume that there will not be many constituencies in Great Britain where there are less than five candidates.

  26. Not sure I’ve ever been to Slough, but being one of only 4 LAB south east seats, I’m not sure I want to.

  27. When did Diana Coad defect to UKIP?

    She did very well to almost win Stourbridge for the Tories in 2005. I’m surprised she didn’t get selected for a more winnable seat last time.

  28. Diana Coad joined UKIP a couple of months ago.

    She was excluded from the official Conservative candidates list after the 2010 election, despite increasing the Conservative vote share. She topped the poll in the local elections for her ward last year as a Conservative and is well known in Slough, even if she is not to everyone’s taste.
    I suspect the Conservative candidate selection may have finally tipped her towards UKIP.
    The net effect is that she will poll better than UKIP would have done, as she has name recognition in the Town.
    However, it is difficult to see anything other than a clear win for Fiona McTaggart..

  29. Unlike others who have crossed the floor to UKIP she has fefused to resign and stand in Langley St. Mary’s at the council election even when she had the offer to pay the council the cost of including her on the ballot paper. Her late husband Peter Dale-Gough was also a councillor for the same ward but was beaten at the last election he stood in by a Labour Candidate, Amrit Sandhu. The Labour replacement was an absolute disaster and was not allowed to stand again as he failed to attend meetings. His uncle Rajinder Sandhu crossed the floor from Labour to the Conservatives and became a councillor in 2014.

  30. This is already Labour’s best seat in the SE, think we might see something close to a 5 figure majority next month? These demographics are comparable to the most diverse London seats.

  31. yes, Labour by about 9,500 or so.

  32. During the Hague years I knew the Con association chairman here, who was two years below me at university. He spoke very highly of Diana Coad who was definitely on the left of the party when she stood here in 2001. She must have moved a long way rightwards since then.

  33. Does she live locally?

  34. I believe so. She was a councillor here for years & also previous Tory PPC.

  35. Diana Coad lives in Slough and is a councillor. Central Office did not approve of her standing again. The selection of Gurcharan Singh was it seems the final straw for her.

  36. Gurcharan Singh has been described in his profile above as “Ealing councillor since 1982”. Of course, he isn’t a councillor there since the 2010 local elections.

  37. How did Diana Coad end up standing in Stourbridge in 2005 only to return here afterwards?

  38. This is Not the first Constituency “Profile” that I have felt the need to query and question.

    Was Slough really the location of the First “Industrial Estate” ?

    I would have thought Trafford Park was a more likely location for that accolade.

  39. Slough Trading Estate was established after WW1 by the Mobbs family. It was known locally as “the dump” as thousand of military vehicles were parked there after the end of the war.

  40. Barnaby Marder

    Just completed my postal vote…….Gurcharan Singh lives in Southall according to the ballot paper… address given !

  41. I was born in London not Glasgow

  42. Labour Hold. 8,000 maj

  43. Fiona MacTaggart (1of only 3 Labour MP’s in South East England outside London) was just interviewed by the BBC and said Labour’s performance was bad particularly in the south and the Midlands because the party / Miliband did not connecy with aspirational voters. Andrew Marr then said that MacTaggart was spot on.

    I’ve made the same point on here several times and have been critisised as a result. Labour need to reach out and appeal to these type of voters if they want to survive as a party.

  44. Labour has 4 seats in the SE. They lost Southampton Itchen but gained Hove.

    MacTaggart is correct in her observations. I saw Kate Hoey on BBC News earlier alongside John Reid and Alastair Campbell. She’s hardly a Blairite and even she admitted that Blair could reach out to parts of the electorate that others couldn’t.

    I’m a bit surprised Slough didn’t record a higher Labour majority, but it’s still comfortable.

  45. “I saw Kate Hoey on BBC News earlier alongside John Reid and Alastair Campbell. She’s hardly a Blairite and even she admitted that Blair could reach out to parts of the electorate that others couldn’t.”

    I saw it too. I nearly fell off my chair when she praised Blair because she can’t stand him! When Hoey praises Blair, you know it’s been an awful night for Labour.

  46. Charles Clarke was also interviewed by the BBC and expressed the same thoughts and feelings as MacTaggart.

  47. So far as Slough is concerned, there is not likely to be much change in the boundary review. The Borough of Slough has too high an electorate to be wholly in one seat, but just one ward will need to be attached to another constituency.

    In the Boundary Commission proposals for the unfinished review in the last Parliament, all the Berkshire seats were left the same apart from changing the Slough ward in the Windsor constituency from Colnbrook with Poyle (at the east end of the Borough of Slough) to Cippenham Meadows (in the south of the Borough).

    Unless the electorate figures in Berkshire and surrounding counties force major changes, I presume that the current review will come up with a similar map to the last one. As Slough is next to the London/South East regional boundary, which the Boundary Commission is very unlikely to want to cross, there is not much scope for drastic change.

  48. Considering the massive increase in the Asian population here, the Tories have held up relatively well in Slough. They must get a fair number of Asian votes to poll as high as 33%.

  49. But when compared with 1992 it has held up much better here. The Tory collapse in Brent already happened so they can’t go much lower.

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