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
Con: 23460 (43%)
Lab: 4891 (9%)
LDem: 23635 (43%)
BNP: 1624 (3%)
Oth: 1519 (3%)
MAJ: 175 (0%)
Con: 20617 (39%)
Lab: 8058 (15%)
LDem: 20896 (40%)
BNP: 1752 (3%)
Oth: 990 (2%)
MAJ: 279 (1%)
Con: 21935 (45%)
Lab: 12373 (26%)
LDem: 12528 (26%)
UKIP: 1061 (2%)
Oth: 374 (1%)
MAJ: 9407 (19%)
Con: 26299 (45%)
Lab: 14334 (24%)
LDem: 14902 (25%)
Oth: 623 (1%)
MAJ: 11397 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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)
Comments - 231 Responses on “Solihull”
  1. You’re lucky you didn’t substitute an ‘e’ for the ‘a’

  2. A closer look at the result here in 2005-
    Burt (Liberal Democrat)- 20, 896 (39.9%, +13.9%)
    Taylor (Conservative)- 20, 617 (39.4%, -6.0%)
    Vaughan (Labour)- 8, 058 (15.4%, -10.2%)
    Carr (BNP)- 1, 752 (3.3%, N/A)
    Moore (UKIP)- 990 (1.9%, -0.3%)

    Majority- 279 (0.5%)
    Swing- +9.95% From Con to Lib Dem.

  3. CON GAIN MAJ: 6.7%
    CON 37
    LD 31
    LAB 16
    UKIP 9
    GRN 4
    OTH 3

  4. Reckon this will be a Tory gain. Lorely Burt’s majority is probably too small for natural Labour supporters, who voted LD tactically, to bother giving her another shot.

  5. I agree; that’s what logic tells me. However, I wouldn’t be totally astonished if Burt finds a way somehow to cling on.

  6. Nor would I as it happens, Barnaby. Middle-class metropolitan England is very shaky ground for the Conservatives these days.

  7. That said, I predict something like this:

    Con 39
    LD 35
    Lab 17
    UKIP 6
    Others 3

  8. This was the most asrtonishing result of 2005 and Burt held on in 2010 due to first incumbency.

    I think we should see a Con gain here.

  9. It’s interesting that she did manage to hang on in a sense. The most astonishing result of 2001 was the LD gain in Ludlow, but they lost that in 2005 even though the Tories were doing worse than in 2010. I suspect Labour will poll slightly less than some have suggested, perhaps 15%, but that would still make a Tory gain extremely likely.

  10. Labour came very close to taking second place here in both 1997 and 2001. There can’t be much doubt that if they had done so this would still be a Tory seat with probably a very healthy majority. They Tory share would have been about the same but the opposition divided.

  11. Solihull is best place to live in UK according to new report:

  12. Prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 41%
    Burt (Liberal Democrat)- 39%
    Labour- 12%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 2%

  13. I really don’t mean to sound horrible but how on earth did Lorely Burt manage to become an MP?

    Seen her on TV several times and see comes across as a very nice woman but totally out-of-her-depth!! Just how on earth did she make it onto the shortlist and get selected and then win the seat and hold it in the 2010 General Election?

    I don’t know much about this seat but I’m certain the Tories will take it in 2015!!

  14. Lorely Burt previously stood for Dudley South in 2001. She was obviously given a better seat to stand for in 2005 as she had experienced already standing for Parliament in a no-hope seat. The same thing happened with her husband Richard, who had been the candidate in Dudley South in 1997 and then Dudley North in 2001, who stood in Shrewsbury and Atcham in 2005 then got a Tory-Lib Dem marginal seat in West Worcestershire in 2010.

  15. Christian, I haven’t seen Lorely Burt on TV so I can’t say for sure what she’s like. But I have seen Tessa Munt (a Lib Dem colleague) on Daily Politics and Question Time in the past 2 or so years. She seemed really out of her depth to be honest.

    Solihull is a certain Tory gain.

  16. ‘Solihull is a certain Tory gain’

    People were saying that throughout the last Parliament – only to end up with egg on their faces once the result came in

    Whilst it’s very likely, nothing in politics is certain

  17. Burt may lose this seat, but given her remarkable electoral performance here, I think any decrease in her vote may well be remarkably below-average for the Lib Dems in the West Midlands come 2015.

  18. ‘Just how on earth did she make it onto the shortlist and get selected and then win the seat and hold it in the 2010 General Election?’

    Obviously the public and Ms Burt’s peers see something you don’t

    Don’t know much about the Tory opponents she went up against, but this is – or rather was – a very strong Tory area and their poerformance suggests they weren’t great

    Lib Dem MPs on narrow majorities are often aided by poor selection choices when it comes to their opponents

  19. It is still remarkable to think when you look at John Taylor’s seemingly comfortable-looking hold here in 2001 that the figures were so deceptive and that the Lib Dems were actually lying dormant. I know the local success contributed to them taking it four years later, but still the swing will always be remembered as incredible.

  20. If indeed Lorely Burt is totally out of her depth – and I make no judgement on that – she would hardly be the only MP in this Parliament or others to whom that would apply. You can get lucky in selections; sometimes a very strong field will apply for a particular seat & very strong candidates don’t make it (that happened even to us in 2001 & 2010), sometimes it doesn’t happen like that & a more mediocre candidate makes it through.

  21. This could be a Conservative gain but the thing that will be interesting is to see whether having a male candidate will cost the conservatives any support and thus fail to win the seat. The Tory candidate was female in 2010. I have heard before that having a female candidate can increase the vote by about 3% above the national swing.

  22. I don’t think that’s true at all – a variance of that great a degree sounds like cobblers to me with all due respect. If indeed it is true I naturally offer my apologies.

  23. I took a quick look at the academic literature and while the question does not seem to have attracted a large number of studies, those that have been done suggest the gender of the candidate is insignificant. On the other hand, the “first time incumbency” effect, while modest, is widespread.

  24. On balance this should be a certain Conservative gain but I think the Lib Dems have rebuilt their support in Elmdon, Lyndon, Olton etc somewhat.

  25. Possible scenario in 2015:

    LD 33
    Con 31
    Lab 15
    UKIP 13
    Green 6
    Others 2

    No real reason why this can’t happen is there………?!

  26. Solihull isn’t a favourable demographic for either UKIP or the Greens so that particular prediction certainly won’t happen.

    I wouldn’t completely rule out an LD hold though.

    I wonder if the local LDs will prioritise campaigning in Yardley or Solihull.

  27. What kind of demographic is it in Solihull, out of interest?

    Surely UKIP is very capable of mobilising middle voters.

  28. “What kind of demographic is it in Solihull, out of interest?”

    Prosperous, professional, small-l liberal, quite ethnically diverse. Not the kind of place UKIP is going to do well in, certainly their vote here will be somewhat below their national average vote share.

  29. I think “faintly intellectual” would be a fair phrase to describe the prevailing demographic of Solihull; there are some more prosperous wards in Birmingham itself where that would also apply.

  30. Completely agree

  31. I’d imagine the Lib Dems will focus more effort on Solihull as the Lib Dems appear to be holding up better in Tory facing marginals than in those where Labour are the main opposition, especially in cities.

    I agree with HH and BM regarding UKIP, they would be lucky to hold their deposit here.

  32. “I’d imagine the Lib Dems will focus more effort on Solihull as the Lib Dems appear to be holding up better in Tory facing marginals than in those where Labour are the main opposition, especially in cities.”

    I’m not sure that’s correct in this particular case.

    Local elections suggest that the Lib Dems have a reasonable chance of holding Yardley and that they will have difficulty against the Conservatives in Solihull. Yardley has behaved erratically for the past 20 years and Labour can’t necessarily rely on the national tide to win it back. Certainly I think the Lib Dems are more likely to hold Yardley than Solihull, though I would welcome the opinion of someone who knows the areas better than I do (John Chanin maybe).

  33. However, saying that they only have 2 seats in the entire region so I’d imagine they would throw everything at both of them.

  34. Agreed…though Cheltenham isn’t that far away I doubt they’re very worried about losing that.

  35. On your post HH, I’ve done a little digging on the 2012 Council Results in Yardley and Solihull.

    HH is correct regarding his analysis with the Lib Dems holding Yardley by almost 2000 and the Tories ‘gaining’ Solihull by 1500. I also noticed the Greens had a greast night across Solihull winning a couple of seats, this could only compound Lorely Burt’s fate along with the inevitable increase in the Labour vote.

    However, 18 months is indeed a long time in politics.

  36. We also need to bear in mind that local election results in Birmingham usually underestimate Labour’s performance in general elections…nevertheless, it certainly would be a mistake to assume that Yardley is in the same category as somewhere like Withington, where the only debate is whether Labour’s majority will have four or five figures.

    Solihull will depend entirely on whether most Labour voters continue to vote tactically for Lorely Burt; Lib Dems in these circumstances have been wrongly written off before, whilst the party simultaneously lost much safer seats. I personally suspect the Tories are being a bit too confident but we’ll have to see.

  37. Yardley used to show the LDs polling in excess of 60% in local elections even at the time when Estelle Morris was still winning it in general elections. It will be tough for the LDs to hold it in current circumstances in a general election though not out of the question by any means.

  38. How is John Hemming regarded as a local MP in Yardley?

  39. A marmite figure not unlike Mike Hancock, I would have thought.

    A well respected figure rooted in the community, but with a lot of the kind of difficult baggage that comes with that. Hemming hardly covered himself in glory with the buy-out of Rover, for example.


    Reported about an hour ago on Lib Dem Voice.

    If she did become Deputy leader and then lost her seat in 2015 (quite possible given that wafer-thin majority) and didn’t get appointed to Lords, could she still hold the position?

  41. No. Unlike the leadership of the party, the deputy leadership is only voted by MPs, and the party rules state that they have to be a member of the House of Commons

  42. Who in their right mind would want to be deputy leader of the LibDems as the party publicly tears itself apart over Rennard and sexual harassment? Unless the LibDems sort that row out very quickly (but I don’t think they can) it’ll hugely dent their appeal, includng in Solihull.

  43. Results are due later today. Apparently Lorely Burt is the frontrunner for deputy leadership.

  44. For the record, she didn’t get it. The new deputy leader is Sir Malcolm Bruce.

  45. A Lib Dem Councillor for Elmdon ward has defected to the Greens on Solihull Metripolitan Council.

  46. Indeed she has, Windsofchange, giving us 7 Green councillors on Solihull council-only two less than the Liberal Democrats and one more than Labour, who we should be able to take one or two seats from this year 🙂

    With news like this, we should be able to become the official opposition, and a real opposition on the normally solidly Conservative Solihull council soon.

  47. The local election results here indicate a heavy fall in Liberal Democrat support. I expect a Tory gain but with Burt taking a higher vote share than her local council colleagues in the local elections on the same day:

    CON: 40%
    LD: 34%
    LAB: 11%
    UKIP: 8%
    GRN: 5%
    OTH: 2%

  48. This is not an easy seat to call and I expect it will be much closer than that.

    The Greens will be squeezed remorselessly despite their local strength, and won’t get anything like 5%. That might be true of UKIP also, in these very marginal seats.

  49. I never thought about the UKIP and Green vote being squeezed here, though such a scenario is likely I suppose. In light of that:

    CON: 41%
    LD: 38%
    LAB: 10%
    UKIP: 6%
    GRN: 3%
    OTH: 2%

  50. That’s a pretty good guess IMO, though we can never underestimate the Lib Dems’ ability to hold on to extremely difficult seats and to suddenly lose the odd seat which looks much safer on paper.

    It seems that UKIP have slid back a bit nationally, with a lacklustre performance in Wythenshawe. Are you still confident that they’ll come first in the Euro elections? Labour seem to be getting more confident that they’ll come out on top.

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