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”
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  1. Several comment sites reporting that Julian Knight has been selected by the Tories (although I haven’t been able to find any confirmation).

  2. Knight is likelier than not to be Solihull’s next MP- the 2011 and 2012 local elections weren’t great at all for the Lib Dems. But after what happened in 2010 you just never know.

  3. Yes – I rather got the impression the Lib Dems on the old site were a bit resigned to losing the seat from 2008 onwards, despite what they said,
    but given the Tories fell short of an overall majority, a Lib Dem hold was in retrospect always on the cards if that scenario was to come about.

    If the Tories can get themselves back to a decent position, despite the 2 year delay in the position of the economy, then I would have thought the LDs luck would run out.

  4. I must say I had to laugh, if slightly gallows humour, when Andy Stidwill said we had about 1,000+ posts between 2007 and 2010 on the old site with people arguing Con gain, such as myself, versus Lib Dem hold,
    and at the end of it all,
    there was virtually no change in the result.

  5. Since the last election the Green Party has taken 5 councilors in Sollihull. If some of this translates into votes taken from LD then it could be enough to swing the Tories in here.

  6. Except for Howard Allen in Shirley West, who was originally elected as a Lib Dem and clearly got in due to a personal vote (the Greens couldn’t break 5% there in 2011), all the Green councillors in Solihull represent wards in the Meriden constituency. What’s more, in those wards their vote has clearly come mostly at Labour’s expense, because the Lib Dems have never had much support in the Wood.

    Given that the Greens didn’t even manage a full slate in the Solihull seat in 2012, I think their impact is likely to be minimal.

  7. Quite so. The Greens have inherited the disillusioned and alienated working class vote in Chelmsley Wood from the BNP.

    This has zero impact on Solihull constituency which covers Solihull proper. However I agree that the Conservatives will be strong favourites here next time, despite Lorely Burt’s high profile. The substantial submerged Labour vote here will revert in numbers, and this is fundamentally a very conservative and well-off part of the Midlands.

  8. Local politics in Solihull has always interested me, mainly because it’s a varied mix of affluent suburbia, rural areas, and Chelmsley Wood which has more of an inner city feel to it.

    It seems surprising that the old BNP vote in Chelmsley Wood has gone to the Greens. I thought it would have reverted back to Labour.

  9. I thought Chelmsley Wood was an edge of conurbation council estate rather than inner city?

    It might still be a deprived sh1thole but its a different sort of deprived sh1thole 😉

  10. I think Chelmsley Wood is the only place in the UK where both the Greens and BNP have found success within a short space of time.

  11. Richard you are basically correct.

  12. ‘The substantial submerged Labour vote here will revert in numbers, and this is fundamentally a very conservative and well-off part of the Midlands.’

    I don’t think being well off equates to voting Conservative nowadays as much as it once did

    There are many seats that the Lib Dems hold or have held over the last couple of decades that are very well off – Richmond Park, Sheffield Hallam; Harrogate & Knaresborough; Winchester; Twickenham, Cheadle, Southport, Aberdeenshire West

    Solihull is just another one of those

    I think that whereas at one time, well off people were assumed to be Conservative voters – and back in the post-war days of left-wing Labour and two-party politics they would have been – that’s not the case any more

    It’s an effect we see in the US which helps explain why it’s the wealthier states that back the Democrats nowadays – Maryland, Connrecticut, New Jersey etc all which at one time had been fairly reliably Reoublican – whereas poorer ones tend to go with the Republicans – Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia – which again several decades ago were reliably Democrat

    We’re seeing the same in this country – look at the seats with the highest pro-Conservative swings in 2010. They are generally working class ones

  13. Except that the difference between red and blue states in terms of voting behaviour is not based simply on wealth. Democrats win the votes of the low paid just about everywhere, it’s just that thery’re competitive throughout the income distribution in states like Connecticut whereas they get buried amongst the upper echelons in places like Alabama.

    Although obviously much of this is as much about division on ethnic lines as on class lines, and that’s become even more the case over the past decade.

  14. ‘Democrats win the votes of the low paid just about everywhere’

    But that doesn’t explain why Democrats do so well in places with affluent voters – like Maryland (which has the highest median income of any state) and yet so badly in states that have plenty of low-paid workers like West Virginia and Arkansas

    you can see this affect in the states themselves

    Look at virginia – it’s the affluent suburbs in the North East that the Democrats do well in, whereas the Republicans are still dominant in the rurual and considerably less affluent southern parts of the state

  15. Although I see what he is trying to say, there are also quite a lot of caveats to Tim’s analysis.

    Firstly there are some notable exceptions to his rule, the most prominent being the solidly Republican Alaska, which is I think the second or third wealthiest state on a per household basis. Utah and Texas also rank increasingly high.

    Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire are all in the richest 10-15 states and, whilst trending Democratic, are still very competitive for Republicans in all elections.

    New Jersey still has a large number of Republican congressmen and a Republican governer.

    As Edward says, it is values and race and geography driving political trends in the US, to a greater extent than wealth.

  16. “But that doesn’t explain why Democrats do so well in places with affluent voters – like Maryland (which has the highest median income of any state) and yet so badly in states that have plenty of low-paid workers like West Virginia and Arkansas”

    Because even in the richest places, there are far more poor people than rich people. London is the richest part of the UK but does not vote Conservative and often hasn’t in the past.

  17. Interesting some of Tim’s analysis, however I think Maryland is an extremely bad example of somewhere which was once reasonably republican.

    As a former slave state, it reliably voted Democratic through the days of the solid south, and stuck with them.

  18. ‘the most prominent being the solidly Republican Alaska, which is I think the second or third wealthiest state on a per household basis.’

    I think it was second – but it stood out as it was the only Repoublican state in the top 10

    Of the others, three were New England srates – Massachussetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire – which are almost Republican-free zones, and DC – the most liberal state of all, was 5th

    Texas was 25th and Utah 14th

    ‘however I think Maryland is an extremely bad example of somewhere which was once reasonably republican. ‘

    I wasn’t trying to imply Maryland was at any time reliably Republican – it never has been, apart from the 1980s like much of the country – just that it’s a state with a very high median income and votes overwhelmingly Democrat

  19. ‘however I think Maryland is an extremely bad example of somewhere which was once reasonably republican. ‘

    Delaware is probably a better example

  20. Maryland has something like the second or third highest proportion of African Americans of any state – well over 25%. Given that these vote over 90% Democrat it isn’t surprising that Maryland is a strongly Democrat state. Republicans would need a massive lead amongst white voters to win – something they do enjoy in some other states with a large black population like South Carolina and Alabama but not large enough here, largely because of the public sector middle class living in the beltway areas

  21. New Hampshire isn’t “virtually a Republican-free zone”, certainly it is in no way comparable to Massachussetts. It is a swing state where the Democrats generally have an edge these days, albeit a narrow one. One of the two NH senators is a Republican and both of the house seats were Republican between 2010 and 2012.

  22. New Hampshire isn’t “virtually a Republican-free zone”,

    That’s true – but it’s probably the only New England state that isn’t and even here the Republicans haven’t carried the state in a presidential election since 1988 – save of course 2000, where they sneaked ahead

    And it was also the only state to switch away from Bush four years later

    It is more of a swing state that a blue one certainly

  23. Tim, what you’re saying about Virginia simply isn’t accurate. Northern Virginia is an area of growing Democratic strength, but it’s not uniformly Democratic and the most Republican bits are the richest, whitest most exurban parts.

    In the meantime, Democrats also get significant concentrations of votes in Richmond, Hampton Roads and in rural southern areas (essentially where the bulk of the black population lives.) These are not notably wealthy areas. Similarly, they won SW Virginia until not too long ago, which is very far from wealthy, whilst the most consistently Republican part of the state is the wealthy suburbs around Richmond.

    I’d also note that there are large bits of Connecticut where the Republicans are competitive, namely the western areas of the state which are essentially wealthy New York overspill. Democrats do hold all the congressional districts there, but mostly because poorer areas like Bridgeport help to balance out the GOP lean of super-wealthy areas.

    Income is not the most salient factor for US elections, but to the extent it is a low-income is correlated with political preference for the Democrats.

  24. I agree. Wealthy people in US now vote on values/identity lines especially since the evangelical and southernisation of the Republican Party began.

    For example in NYC the richest parts of Manhattan are overwhemlingly Democrat just as much as the lower income areas.; Obama got a North Korean style 90%.
    The Republicans are now struggling in uniformly wealthy counties of New York such as Sussex; Nassau & Westchester. Clearly the upper middle classes of San Francisco (Obama got over 84.2%) & Silicon Valley; Pacific NW and Northeast also vote on identity lines. Whats even more worrying for the Republicans is that they have now lost their advantage among the most educated segments of population which they enjoyed under Reagan. The death of the Democrats in Deep South in places such as Arkansas continues unabated as both rich and poor whites vote Republican.

    Dems are resigned to this as the opposite trend is occurring in North Carolina, Virginia & Georgia & Colorado where a coalition of rich younger whites and minorities have made those states very competitive.

    Reason Maryland is safe dem is because affluent whites also vote Democrat in places like Montgomery County where the Democrat vote is not markedly less than in equally affluent African American Prince Georges County.

  25. I agree with AM’s analysis entirely – wealth is not as strong a factor in determining people political preferences as perhaps it once was in the US – and the same is true with regards to social class in the UK

    There’s no denial that Obama’s success was primarily based on maximising the minority vote – and this explains his victories in swing states like Florida and Virginia – but I also saw a poll that said that university graduates were twice as likely to vote Democrat, and there can be no denial that affluent young liberal professionals are just as an essential part of Obama’s voting block as the other components like minorities and women

  26. I find it strange that city types don’t vote republican in the states. Thats one big difference compared to here.

  27. Thomas Frank wrote a very interesting book about this issue called ‘What’s The Matter with Kansas?’

  28. “I find it strange that city types don’t vote republican in the states. Thats one big difference compared to here.”

    They used to until the late 80s / early 90s.

  29. Point of information: are Alabama, Maryland, Alaska, New Hampshire, etc wards in Solihull? Or does this (interesting) debate belong elsewhere. Sorry to be a pedant.

  30. Good point AK, or is the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull applying to become the 51st State?

    It would have been reliably republican for most of the 20th Century although Obama would probably have won it in 2008.

  31. AK- it is interesting to compare what is happening in urban middle-class places here with what is happening in America.

  32. Which parts of Solihull constituency were removed in 1983?

  33. The then wards of Knowle and Packwood which are now covered by the Blythe, Knowle and Dorridge & Hockley Heath wards

  34. This will be a Tory gain. I reckon it will be something like:
    CON – 41%
    LIB DEM – 40%
    LAB – 11%

    UKIP is not here to ruin things, I am imagine.

  35. Thanks Pete.

    Using the 1979 constituency boundaries could you give an estimate of the results from 1979 onwards for:

    Meridian (Solihull section)
    Meridian (N Warks section)

    and if you’d like

    Solihull (Solihull section)
    Solihull Meridian section)

  36. Probably con gain but not by a lot. 2000 and still a prospect of lib dem narrow hold again

  37. ‘The then wards of Knowle and Packwood which are now covered by the Blythe, Knowle and Dorridge & Hockley Heath wards’
    Aren’t those areas back in Solihull now? or are they now in Meriden?
    Which seats was Solihull itself in before 1945?

  38. I have an idea it might have been in Tamworth at one stage.

    Roy Jenkins was the unsuccessful Labour candidate in 1945.

  39. Indeed- Solihull was in Tamworth before 1948. Tamworth was considered a part of Warwickshire in those days, which explains why Solihull was included in it.

  40. I should add that Tamworth was considered Warwickshire for general election purposes. The county boundary in fact runs through the middle of the town.

  41. sorry I meant 1945 rather than 1948- Jenkins contested the new seat of Solihull in 1945 , losing by 5000 in a straight Tory-Labour fight.

  42. The county boundary used to run through the middle of the town but this was modified in 1885 I think, because the river does so. The whole of Tamworth is of course in Staffs now.

  43. Local election results for this constituency from 2012:

    Conservatives 9,564 (38.8%)
    Liberal Democrats 8,078 (32.8%)
    Labour 3,397 (13.8%)
    Greens 1,882 (7.6%)
    English Democrats 771 (3.1%)
    Independent Ratepayer 715 (2.9%)
    Independent Ratepayer & Residents 243 (negligible)

    Total votes: 24,650

    Compared to the 2010 council elections here:

    Conservatives: +0.5%
    Liberal Democrats: -9.1%
    Labour: +4.7%
    Greens: +5.5%

    Swing from Lib to Con: 4.8%

  44. And now I’ve just realised, on second reading, that someone else had already tabulated the 2012 results on the old page…

    Doh!

    Oh well, at least you get a comparison here with the 2010 council results.

  45. You enjoyed working them out though – I used to do it sometimes but have got lazy and wait for Andy Stidwill, or Pete Whitehead or perhaps you, HH or Richard to do it.
    That suggests a Tory gain but
    not by any means certain.

  46. I’ll be honest, I am enjoying it. I only started it because I wanted to prove a point about how bad the Libs are doing in Manchester, Withington, but there’s something rather fun about taking a poll of raw election data and slowly but surely seeing a trend emerge as you complete the tabulations. At the end of it, I feel like a light’s gone on and I know the seat a thousand times better.

    Unless it’s for seats where some wards had elections and others didn’t, in which case I feel like screaming by the end.

    But yes, Burt’s luck looks like it’s running out. There are still paths to victory for her, but I think she may well need UKIP to be her rescuer.

  47. Yes, the first few are boring but after that you get addicted to it in a weird kind of way.

  48. I don’t see Solihull as a place UKIP will do very well in.

    The Lib Dems need an Eastleigh share of the potential Labour vote to hold on here.

  49. I agree.

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