Solihull

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26956 (49.2%)
Labour: 5693 (10.4%)
Lib Dem: 14054 (25.7%)
Green: 1632 (3%)
UKIP: 6361 (11.6%)
Others: 83 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 12902 (23.6%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands,. Part of the Solihull council area.

Main population centres: Solihull.

Profile: Solihull is an affluent home for Brimingham`s middle class commuters. Wealthy semi-detached and detached suburbia, it has one of the highest rates of owner-occupiers anywhere in the country.The northern part of the constituency over the railway lines in Elmdon and Lyndon is somewhat less salubrious, is home to the Land Rover factory, and in the past had a history of returning Labour councillors (now long since vanished from the wards in this seat).

Politics: Solihull was a surprising gain in 2005 to those who hadn`t been following local politics, where the Lib Dems had gradually been gathering strength on the council. Solihull was in the past regarded as a solid Tory monolith - a similar seat to Sutton Coldfield on the other side of Birmingham where the Tory vote could be weighed rather than counted. In reality the seat was no longer as rock solidy Conservative as it had been in the 1980s and John Taylor`s huge majorities were based on the opposition being split between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In 2005 the Labour vote collapsed by 10 percentage points, with the Lib Dems surging forward by 14% to narrowly take the seat. Since then it has been a tight Con-LD marginal, being held by the Liberal Democrats on a tiny margin in 2010 but returning to the Tory fold in 2015.


Current MP
JULIAN KNIGHT (Conservative) Born 1972, Chester. Former consumer journalist. First elected as MP for Solihull in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23460 (43%)
Lab: 4891 (9%)
LDem: 23635 (43%)
BNP: 1624 (3%)
Oth: 1519 (3%)
MAJ: 175 (0%)
2005*
Con: 20617 (39%)
Lab: 8058 (15%)
LDem: 20896 (40%)
BNP: 1752 (3%)
Oth: 990 (2%)
MAJ: 279 (1%)
2001
Con: 21935 (45%)
Lab: 12373 (26%)
LDem: 12528 (26%)
UKIP: 1061 (2%)
Oth: 374 (1%)
MAJ: 9407 (19%)
1997
Con: 26299 (45%)
Lab: 14334 (24%)
LDem: 14902 (25%)
Oth: 623 (1%)
MAJ: 11397 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JULIAN KNIGHT (Conservative) Born 1972, Chester. Consumer journalist.
NIGEL KNOWLES (Labour) Born 1946. Educated at King Charles I Grammar and Birmingham Polytechnic. Author. Wyre Forest councillor, former Worcestershire and Haringey councillor. Contested Bodmin 1979, Hastings 1983, Wyre Forest 1987, 1992, Wiltshire North 1997, Ludlow 2001, 2005, Wyre Forest 2010.
LORELY BURT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1954. Educated at High Arcal Grammar School and Swansea University. Assistant prison governor and business consultant. Dudley councillor 1998-2003. Contested Dudley South 2001, West Midlands Region in 2004 European elections. MP for Solihull 2005 to 2015. A former Conservative she joined the Liberal Democrats in 1995.
PHIL HENRICK (UKIP) Educated at King Edward VI School Birmingham and Sheffield University. Account director. Contested West Midlands region 2014 European election.
HOWARD ALLEN (Green) Solihull councillor since 2003, originally elected as a Liberal Democrat.
MIKE NATTRASS (Independence from Europe) Born 1945, Leeds. Chartered surveyor. Contested Dudley West 1994 by-election for New Britain, Solihull 1997 for Referendum Party, Sutton Coldfield 2001, Stone 2005, Crewe and Nantwich 2008, South Staffordshire 2010 for UKIP. UKIP MEP for the West Midlands 2004-2014.
MATTHEW WARD (Democratic Party)
Links
Comments - 233 Responses on “Solihull”
  1. We should remember that the Green local government strength in this constituency is built on defection rather than any underlying sympathy with the Green Party, so local success is unlikely to translate to the national picture.

  2. Quite. The idea of Shirley as a Green stronghold is risible.

  3. Another reminder below of the colourful and wonderful electoral career of Mr. Nigel Knowles of Labour who has probably fought more elections unsuccessfully over the years than most losing candidates-
    1979- Bodmin- 3, 508 (6.9%, -3.6%)
    1983- Hastings and Rye- 7, 304 (15.2%, -12.2%)
    1987- Wyre Forest- 10, 365 (18.88%, -0.32%)
    1992- South Worcestershire- 9, 727 (15.1%, +4.2%)
    1997- North Wiltshire- 8, 261 (14.2%, +4.3%)
    2001- Ludlow- 5, 785 (13.4%, -12.0%)
    2005- Ludlow- 4, 974 (10.7%, -2.7%)
    2010- Wyre Forest- 7, 298 (14.3%, -8.2%)
    2015- Solihull- 5, 693 (10.4%, +1.5%)

  4. Nigel Knowles is of course eclipsed by the legendary perennial Scottish candidates Rod Ackland and Douglas Herbison of the Liberal Democrats I think for having contested the most elections for a major party without ever being winning.

  5. Solihull’s first elected Green councillor has defected to the continuing SDP, meaning that party once again holds council seats.

  6. He’s up for re-election in 2016 and the seat was not remotely marginal even with general election turnout, so barring a massive personal vote, the Greens will win the seat back.

  7. It’s slightly odd, because when asked he said there was “no real reason” for his defection.

  8. I agree, his comment on being independent seems to suggest the Green whip is strong when it’s anything but. He also says he opposes the EU, but unless the Solihull Green Party is rabidly pro EU, current Green policy of being critical but pro-EU and being only a councillor should be enough to stop this sort of defection.

  9. This is Chelmsley Wood. It is NOT in this seat. Chelmsley Wood is a giant Birmingham Council overspill estate. The Greens here fulfil the function of UKIP elsewhere (and formerly the Liberals) in being “none of the above”. The estate is very isolated and alienated.

    Since it has next to nothing to do with the Green Party as understood everywhere else in the country, it is less surprising that this councillor has defected. Anything is possible in Chelmsley Wood, whose 3 wards have elected all of Conservatives, Labour, Liberal, BNP, and Greens in the last few years.

  10. No it is Smiths Wood, both are Green wards.

  11. Smiths Wood is the ward covering the northern part of the Chelmsley Wood estate. It is so large it has 3 alienated wards on Solihull Council (it used to be 4).

  12. I apologise then, not familiar with Solihull geography. I always think council wards should just be East, West etc to make hinges simple.

  13. And you are correct about it not bring in this constituency, it must have escaped the boundary commission somehow that having Solihull council being divided between ‘Solihull’ and ‘Meridan’ would confuse people.

  14. The ward has never elected Liberals, or indeed Conservatives, so far as I know.

  15. No, but the other wards in Chelmsley Wood have.

    I don’t understand why people are finding this difficult.

  16. I can now quickly see this seat returning to the ultra-safe Tory stronghold it was before 1997 for so long- I get the feeling that without Lorely Burt’s sizeable personal vote being there anymore the Lib Dems could struggle just to keep hold of a distant second place next time.

  17. “I can now quickly see this seat returning to the ultra-safe Tory stronghold it was before 1997 for so long- I get the feeling that without Lorely Burt’s sizeable personal vote being there anymore the Lib Dems could struggle just to keep hold of a distant second place next time”.

    Double rubbish.. it would score a triple rubbish if you had also added that old saw “first time incumbent bonus”..

  18. I think the Lib Dems will retain a distant 2nd of around 20%as there’s no competition. The Greens might be up to around 5% but we really seem to be popular on the council but not nationally here so our pinnacle is probably around 10%. UKIP are barely represented locally and Labour could be wiped out by UKIP next year. So basically Tory hegemony due to a very weak opposition.

  19. I agree that the Lib Dems are finished here. They will probably cling on to second long term due to the weakness of the rest of the opposition parties but I can definitely see their vote share dropping again in 2020 as any personal votes Lorely Burt had dissipates and the anti-Tory tactical votes go back to their natural parties.

  20. Short of another ’97 scale disaster this is a safe Tory hold for another 20 years. Julian Knight will make a very hard working MP

  21. Also the opposition on council level has been decimated. Plus what’s left is divided between 5 parties.

  22. It was a 2005 disaster rather than 1997. In 1997, the Tories still polled 45% of the vote and had a majority of over 11,000.

    Agreed however that this seat is safely back in the Tory fold for the foreseeable future. A bit of a mystery how the Lib Dems ever squeaked it really.

  23. Terrible incumbent MP in 2005.

    In that election I was tipped off by a Tory activist here that they were going to lose. Wish I’d put a bet on it – I could probably have got 25/1 against.

  24. It was a classic ‘out of the ordinary’ type of scenario here at the 2005 General Election- The local Tories must have convinced themselves as much as they possibly could that they were never going to lose the seat whatever the Lib Dems did locally, but with an effective candidate in Lorely Burt coupled with their growing local election success they did virtually the impossible and broke the Tory hegemony on this seat that had never before been done in living memory. But now they have this seat back they will surely now do all they can to stay in long-term and put in the necessary groundwork to prevent a future return of the Lib Dems- With incumbency for Julian Knight that should go some way to putting paid to any faint hopes they may ever have…

  25. The local Tories suspected they were going to lose the seat a few weeks before polling day.

  26. The last four posts do raise interesting points that I haven’t fully worked out.

    There are two factors worth considering.

    i) The Meriden constituency remained Conservative probably because it has a Labour core, plus some Tory areas which the Lib Dems couldn’t threaten.
    Therefore the Lib Dems were not able to get control of the Council although it did just go into an NOC state in 2006-8 and I think again in 2010-11.
    Normally where the LIb Dems build up bigger leads it’s where they also control the local authority and use it to undermine MPs from other parties or entrench their own.

    2) Perhaps this was not a typical Lib Dem gain in the first place but almost a by-election in a General Election, and that can be more easily reversed.

  27. Slightly surprised by how easily Leave prevailed here (56-44). I do wonder if outside London the A/B managerial/professional vote was more evenly split. It was interesting to see a number of quite wealthy ‘gin and jag’ boroughs voting to Leave albeit narrowly in some cases: North Somerset, Cheshire East, Sevenoaks etc

  28. I was surprised at this too at first, but then if you look at how decisively the wider West Midlands voted to Leave, it isn’t really a shock.

  29. Not sure. I reckon it would have been fairly tight but with Remain prevailing. Remain will have done very well in Vesey and Four Oaks but with Leave may have had the better of it in the more MOR C1 New Hall and Trinity. Selly Oak will presumably have been Birmingham’s best area for Remain and Edgabston will have been good too apart from Barley Green of course. Northfield will almost certainly have seen the biggest Leave vote.

  30. According to a reliable source Selly Oak ward was 69% 31% for remain while the Seat was 53% 47% for remain.

  31. The tories should be looking to get around 60%. This is the type of seat where the Lib Dem’s may well see little or no increase in their vote share, given that the previous MP is no longer standing and the area voted to leave.

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