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. Plus also Diana Coad had a major personal vote here which sapped a lot of (presumably white) Tory voters. A Con+UKIP vote total of 46% in a seat which is only 34% white British is quite remarkable.

  2. The Tories clearly have some middle-class Asian support here.

  3. In recent history, the Tories have won seats in Slough Central and Chalvey wards (both with large Asian populations).

    Even their current Upton Park Ward is largely Asian.

  4. Slough has since the 1920’s been a town of incomers. During the 1920’s and 1930’s people were recruited from the north of England and South Wales to work in the industrial estate. This helped explain why it was more Labour than other seats in the south of England. In the 1940’s the incomers were Polish and Italian. Then west Indians and east African Asians and Indians. Now the largest rise in population is from Poles.

    The grammar schools in Slough have helped with social mobility. The children of each waive of incomers have moved to surrounding towns. Bracknell has many former Slough residents, so does Maidenhead.

    The Conservative group on Slough council has had Asian origin councillors for many years.

    A sikh candidate in 2015 certainly helped and the Upton council ward result was the best Conservative tally for many years.

    Like north west London Slough is prosperous and has almost full employment, so is very different from some of the inner city northern seats. Although of course it has its problems too.

    It will be very interesting to see how Labour divides when Fiona MacTaggart eventually steps down. There could be splits as groups of councillors claim their own as her successor. She seems to be a unifying presence.

  5. It seems that change is coming to Slough politics. Councillor Robert Anderson, the leader of the Labour group on the Council since 2001, was replaced on 17 May 2016 by Councillor Sohail Munawar. However Councillor Anderson remains the leader of the Council, with two years to run in a four year term.

    Councillor Anderson has named a cabinet, not including the new leader and deputy leader of the majority Labour group. The new leadership has proposed a motion of no confidence in Councillor Anderson, which is due to be debated at a Council meeting on 6 June 2016.

    The ostensible reasons for the motion of no confidence are basically the state of children’s services in Slough (which central government had to take over after two failed inspections) and the authoritarian style of Councillor Anderson.

    I have no idea what the balance of support is within the Council, but it must be unusual for the leader of a council to lose the majority group leadership and retain the council leadership. It is also not common for civil war to break out in a council group to the extent of a formal vote of no confidence in full Council being required.

  6. The Blairite era in Slough local politics is over.

    Councillor Anderson resigned as Council leader before the motion of no confidence was moved at the extraordinary Council meeting on 6 June 2016. The Deputy leader and two of the other cabinet members also resigned.

    Councillor Munawar is the new Council leader.

  7. The Blairite era in Slough local politics is over.

    Councillor Anderson resigned as Council leader before the motion of no confidence was moved at the extraordinary Council meeting on 6 June 2016. The Deputy leader and two of the other cabinet members also resigned.

  8. 54-46 Leave. Surprised seeing as how diverse this seat is.

  9. Leave Vote at 2016 European Referendum

    Using a sample selected from the first 6 counting areas with above-average populations of people describing themselves as South Asian at the 2011 that popped in to my head. The figure on the right is the LEAVE vote.

    Slough: 54.3%
    Oldham: 60.9%
    Bradford 54.2%
    Rochdale 60.1%
    Harrow 45.4%
    Hounslow 48.9%
    Newham 47.2%
    Birmingham 50.4%

    What this has made me wonder is;
    Broadly speaking, did Asian voters split 50-50%, with the effect it caused certain areas that we would have expected to be strongly Leave or strongly Remain (given their location, class composition and behaviour at other elections) to look less emphatic?

  10. I wonder if this seat is an outside chance of a Tory gain in 2020.

    * The Sikh vote is relatively good for Tories, and other Asian becoming slightly less bad.

    *This seat is in the same county / close to the PM’s. Is this worth a few votes?

    *It actually only needs a similar swing to a good many seats further north, that regularly get speculated on.

    OTOH, it’s still probably Labour’s to lose – especially if polls are a little closer at the next election and if Fiona McTaggart is still standing.

  11. And of course, Slough went 54% Leave – relatively neutral for the main parties but if anything, good for Tories.

  12. No chance of the Tories winning back Slough IMO.

  13. Probably not. Even shamelessly cherry-picking the “best” poll in recent months (Con 47%, +10 on 2015, Lab 29% -1, LD 7%, UKIP 6%, from last October) it would probably not be enough to flip this seat, though it would be pretty close

  14. As a Slough resident, I do not see the slightest chance of it being a Conservative gain at the next general election.

  15. In addition, numbers suggest that David Cameron marked a high point for the Tories in terms of the Asian vote. Unless that changes significantly, to win this seat the Conservatives would need around 70% of the white vote and that isn’t going to happen, ever.

  16. I expect a big fight amongst the various Labour factions when Fiona McTaggart stands down. She will hold this comfortably for as long as she wants to, as she is well respected and hardworking in Slough and manages to keep the Labour factions supporting her.

    The Slough Labour council group has been fractious for many years, with religious as well as political splits. There is a history of defections.

    There is strong support for the Conservatives amongst the Sikhs in Slough, but this is probably not enough to take the seat.

    The Theresa May factor will hardly register, as Slough is more like Hounslow or Ealing these days than suburban Berkshire. Maidenhead however is full of people who have traded up and moved from Slough and still work there.

  17. GT is right that Slough Labour are factionalised, but so are Slough Conservatives. Two recent Council group leaders have left the Conservatives – Pervez Choudhry to Independent and Diana Coad to UKIP.

  18. Gary J is right, another reason why Labour will not be under pressure here.

  19. Yeah I struggle to see the Tories winning here though I think they should continue to get strong second places. Slough is not an affluent town by any stretch so it limits how much progress the Tories can make with the ethnic minority vote. In more middle class heavily ethnic minority places like Harrow they may be able to make much more progress.

  20. Harrow West on current boundaries isn’t that much nicer than Slough and I have a hard time seeing the Tories winning it. Certainly the centre of Harrow is a real shithole these days and is politically very similar to Brent North. The nicer parts of Harrow are in Harrow East and Northwood/Pinner and both these seats are Tory already.

  21. Labour are safe here.

  22. They have held on very well in 2010 and 2015.
    Very little change likely.

  23. The referendum result was a shock here, one of the biggest of the night IMO.

  24. The Boundary Commission for England has published the responses to its initial proposals.

    Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats oppose taking the central Slough ward of Chalvey and using it to make up the numbers in the Windsor constituency. The Slough Conservatives do not seem to care.

    The Slough Borough Council submission makes an impressive case that the Boundary Commission should leave Slough as it is and top up Windsor with more territory from Bracknell Forest.

    More people from Slough turned up at the hearing the Commission held in Guildford than from the rest of the region combined, so I imagine the Commission will think again.

  25. Fiona Mactaggart is standing down. My guess is this is very much in play in the event of a landslide…

  26. If Labour lose this they’re in for a very torrid night. But it’s seats like this where the very brief election period may damage the tories. This is the kind of seat they’d need to work on for a while

  27. Perhaps. But a wave can sometimes get you in without much local work. I doubt the SNP had worked a lot of the seats they ended up winning in 2015 very hard, or if Labour had put much serious work into some of the seats they ended up taking into 1997.

  28. Shame that Mctaggart is standing down. She gave a fantastic interview to the BBC’s Andrew Marr the day after Labour’s thrashing at the 2015 General Election stating that the party really needs to understand the ‘aspiration’ of voters in commuter towns like Slough. I feel she has a point and has the validity to make that point considering she’s one of only four Labour MP’s in the South East of England (outside London) and her seat is surrounded by a sea of blue (which includes the Prime Minister’s seat).

    I always admired the fact that despite her blue-blooded and very wealthy background, she chose to become a Labour MP. Whatever party you support, you must acknowledge she’ll be a great loss to the Labour Party and the House of Commons.

    Unfortunately, despite the sizeable Asian population that resides here and the influx of Africans from West London to certain parts of this seat particularly over the last 10 years, I think Slough will be a Tory gain in June. Despite its image, Slough contains many leafy suburbs and a Corbyn-led Labour Party will struggle to appeal to its residents who I predict will mostly vote blue at this forthcoming General Election.

  29. I disagree. Slough will be a Labour hold. Demographic change has made this area far less amenable to voting Conservative than it once was.

  30. AKMD – Without Corbyn, this would be a guaranteed Labour hold due to its demographic change (particularly over the last decade) as you mentioned. However, any Labour-held commuter town constituencies e.g. this seat, Hove, Mansfield etc with a majority of under 7500 are very vulernable under Corbyn’s leadership.

  31. Christian
    FWIW Mansfield is not a commuter town by any definition of the term.

  32. Rivers 10 – You’re right. What I meant was non-metropolitan towns. However, my point still stands – Corbyn’s a liability in seats such as Mansfield, Hove, Slough and similar seats with a Labour majority of under 7500.

  33. ……. I’ll add Bishop Auckland and North Shields to that list too.

  34. I wouldn’t worry about North Shields/Tynemouth, the area is trending away from the Tories at a rapid rate, their result in 2010 was dire and probably killed their chances of ever winning that back.

  35. Fiona MacTaggart has been fighting multiple sclerosis for a number of years. Her decision to stand down may be partly attributable to this. I wish her well.

    The Conservatives may have won this seat in the 80’s and (just) in the early 90’s, but since 1991 the already high BAME electorate has nigh on doubled. I can see no realistic way back for them.

  36. Come friendly votes, and fall on Slough…

  37. Slough will remain a Labour hold
    This is one of the seats where Corbyn is an actual asset to the party.
    This constituency is nothing like either Hove or Mansfield as mentioned by other contributors far closer to Mitcham and Morden constituency.
    The management of the large Wexham Park hospital is a major consideration in peoples voting intentions here

  38. I agree this well be a LAB hold. One of the few they will hang on to in the South East – not that they have that many…. Hove will prob go CON.

  39. The general perception was that Slough has better boundaries for Labour than the previous Eton & Slough.

    Eton had hardly any electors at all while the remaining Slough part of the constituency gained parts of South Bucks.

    Slough has gone from being a white working class town to being a multi ethnic cosmopolitan town. This is why it was Conservative from 1983 to 1997 but is still likely to remain Labour in 2017.

  40. Slough is being consideread as Seat the Torries will likely win by Labour acording to the Hufington Post

  41. I predicted this in a previous post on this thread and was told I’m wrong. However, if the Tories do win Slough, I think it’s safe to say that Labour will be at the brink of extinction on the morning of 9th June.

  42. Extinction is a strong word. I doubt the party will die out but they will have another round of heavy soul searching to do if they do have a disastrous night

  43. Paul, what worries me as a Labour supporter is that I have a sneaky suspicion Corbyn will refuse to stand down as leader of the party even if Labour are more or less wiped out at this General Election.

  44. I agree with you. I cant see him going. And if does a fellow Corbynite will stand in the leadership election and If the defeat is terrible the amount of Mp’s needed to secure a place on the Ballot would be just about achievable if a few more MP’s nominate him or her..

  45. Can’t imagine at all CON winning this seat.

  46. Labour won’t “die”. The same FPTP that makes it so hard for new parties to take root also makes it very nearly impossible for the established parties to disappear. The only way it can really happen is through the sort of once-a-century landslide we saw in Scotland two years ago.

  47. ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’

    It’s people’s favourite topic. Will a mainstream party in a modern era finally snuff it. I think people’s distrust in politicians has created a morbid fascination in death of mainstream parties. I often hear the words ‘I’ve always voted for them never again…’ and wonder how true that really is.

    In my opinion Labour won’t win a majority for the foreseeable future but the party won’t die.

    ‘Too weak to form a government to strong to die’

    If we lived under PR then I’m sure a Syriza/Podemos or En Marche/Ciudadanos would replace Labour.

  48. Labour are heading for a defeat on the scale of what the Conservatives suffered in 1997 but no worse.

    Labour’s problem is that while the SNP will 3 to 12 unionist leaning constituencies to the Conservatives and Lib Dems they will become more intrenched in former safe Labour seats.

    Labour will have to win seats like Enfield Southgate and Chipping Barnet in England as most former Labour seats in Scotland will have huge SNP majorities.

    With the SNP retaining 40 plus Scottish seats in every future general election the Conservatives will continue to focus on a potential Lab/ SNP pact which will damage Labour in England and also very unionist areas of Scotland.

  49. Not really fortunate. Other seats have taken their place.

    Anyway, the reason that Labour are unlikely to suffer a worse defeat than the Tories did in 1997 even if they are well over the 13% deficit in votes that the Tories were, us because constituency boundaries are so heavily weighted in their favour. We have rarely gone this long in modern times without a boundary review being implemented to correct the drifts.

    However, there’s no reason Tories ‘can’t’ win Slough this time. People make these kind of predictions about seats etc every election! People are scared to predict unusual results even when the evidence is all out there.

    The amount of predictions of 3-figure majorities and ‘super-close’ seats that are made by some posters is just balmy if you tot it all up. You only ever have a fairly small, finite number that end up like that, most seats that change hands will still have majorities in the, 000s. Posters should go by the polls properly and do the Maths, without over-hyping [the very real] specific local factors too far.

  50. Having said all that, I do happen to think this seat could be very close, and I favour Labour to hold it atm.

    (though curious to know if its proximity to May’s seat gives Cons a ‘mini-regional’ boost)

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