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. 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.

  2. I think UKIP has slid back a bit but I can still see them coming on top in the Euros as the most likely outcome. I don’t think it will be until the beginning of May that UKIP starts going up again in the polls. Farage needs to win the Euros and I wouldn’t write him off at present as he has surprised before.

    I don’t think Labour are going anywhere at the minute. They were confident about the local elections last year and still didn’t manage to take control of places like Lancashire, which they needed to do to show that they are capable of winning the next election outright. I genuinely can’t see Labour being above 32% next year so I guess that all is to play for, and that is if UKIP polls 10% nationally.

    In fact if UKIP wins the euro elections we could see them going above 20% in the polls of basically all national pollsters. I think that the polls in May next year will underestimate them by a few points due to the voter reallocation methodology used by some pollsters with Labour being overestimated as a result. The last 11 months of the campaign will be about bringing UKIP down from a Tory perspective. I think that taking them down from say 24% general election support after the Euros to 14% general election support in 2015 would be a realistic goal.

    A possible scenario might be (national 2015 vote share):

    CON: 32%
    LAB: 32%
    UKIP: 14%
    LD: 12%
    OTH: 10%

    Final polls of the 2015 campaign Average:

    LAB: 35%
    CON: 33%
    LD: 12%
    UKIP: 11%
    OTH: 9%

  3. A lot will depend on whether Cameron can keep Farage out of the debates. It may well help Labour and the Lib Dems to allow him in.

  4. I often hear that such-and-such a party needs to win in such-and-such a place to show that it is set to win the next election, with the term “places like…” frequently used. Thus for example Labour’s weakness in Kent, or the Tories’ weakness in Scotland, is too often held up as some sort of example. In reality of course who wins a majority depends on certain marginal seats rather than whether a party did or didn’t construct an outright majority in a particular local authority, even if it is quite a large authority such as Lancs CC. The results in that council would have been disappointing for Labour in the seats of S Ribble and Morecambe/Lunesdale, but that does not itself mean that Labour cannot obtain a majority on a higher turnout when its organization on the ground is likely to be better in most marginals than that of the Tories – something which simply wasn’t the case when I joined the Labour Party in 1977, when it was the given that the Tories had by far a better organization at almost all levels than Labour.

  5. Ladbrokes:

    Con 2/5
    LDs 2/1
    UKIP 33/1
    Lab 100/1

  6. Looks about right – I wouldn’t write off Birt though.

  7. Sorry Burt

  8. burt is toast. surprised she isn’t stepping down.

  9. Why is she toast? She defied expectations in 2010.

  10. I prefer crumpets…

  11. The Lib Dems were riding high in 2010 and in the circumstances a notional gain of Solihull wasn’t completely unsurprising. Labour voters clearly let their own party’s support slide to ensure that she got elected. Along with Lib Dem unpopularity and how marginal this one is, I don’t see many natural Labour voters offering their support for her.

  12. I agree with that, and the betting. I don’t currently see many Con gains from LD, but this one is one I do certainly predict at present.

  13. There could be quite a substantial number – as there is a long list which could go either way (as against Labour).

    Picking up on the thread from Wells, I don’t think the results here have been very bad for the Lib Dems at local level – but it has lost them substantial numbers of seats. I can still see this one not coming off and several larger majorities of theirs being lost – but it’s more likely to than not as I said.

  14. Con: 10702 – 38.29%
    LD: 6364 – 22.77%
    Grn: 3864 – 13.82% (7/8)
    Lab: 3209 – 11.48%
    UKIP: 2875 – 10.29% (4/8)
    Res: 937 – 3.35% (3/8)

  15. Bit of a contrast between this “result” and the 15% LD lead in Yardley.

  16. Although I live nearby I can’t explain why Shirley has deserted the Liberal Democrats in favour of the Greens. The LDs are forced back into their core 3 seats which border Yardley (Lyndon, Elmdon, Olton). However I’d make a strong bet that these votes will return to Lorely Burt at the general election. Her position is much better still than the LDs in Hornsey or even Cambridge.

    In answer to Andy JS there are local reasons why Birmingham Council, now Labour controlled, has gone backwards at these elections. I posted the results on Yardley, and they do suggest that Hemming will be fine next year.

  17. The LibDems lost 3 of their 12 seats on 22 May – they now have only 9 of Solihull’s 51 council seats.

    I appreciate that a year is a very long time in politics, but I can’t see Lorely Birt MP keeping her seat. Especially as the Conservative prospective candidate (a senior journalist on The Independent) is now turning on the heat in the local media.

  18. Andy Stidwill’s totals show the Tories have dropped a point or so since the 2012 elections, but the Lib Dems have gone back by I think a further 7%.
    Really doesn’t look good for them unless this is an area where UKIP hits the Lib Dems more.

  19. I’m surprised an Indy journalist is a Conservative candidate. I thought the paper was one of most left wing in circulation (though not as much as the Guardian or Mirror).

  20. I’m always slightly suspicious of the projected national shares total which is why I’m compiling totals of the real votes, something which the media simply don’t do. For example last year UKIP were projected to be on 23% but in actual votes they polled exactly 20%. And last year’s elections were in some of UKIP’s best areas, and excluding London and Scotland.

  21. ‘Although I live nearby I can’t explain why Shirley has deserted the Liberal Democrats in favour of the Greens.’
    There have been several LD -> Grn defections:
    Howard Allen (Shirley West, 2012)
    Andy Hodgson (Shirley South, 2014)

    Apparently most of the LD delivery network has also switched

  22. in the Euro elections the LDs could only muster 4,863 votes in the whole of Soihull borough.

  23. “I’m always slightly suspicious of the projected national shares total which is why I’m compiling totals of the real votes, something which the media simply don’t do.”

    You raise a good point because it is always hard to capture what would have happened in the areas not voting. For example UKIP would not have surged in London in 2013 the way they did in the shires, but its hard to adjust the projected national shares to reflect that in a quantitative way rather than qualitatively fiddling them.

    Though UKIP’s official equivalent national share was lower this year I’ve no doubt their performance was better overall than 2013.

  24. Silhillian’s view would be interesting.

  25. @ Iain

    Thanks – it’s the point about the delivery network that matters, as individual defections generally have little effect. However this doesn’t affect my main point that these people will continue to vote for Lorely Burt at the General Election.

    I haven’t said that Burt will hold the seat. My analysis that I posted some months ago listed Solihull as a probable loss for the Liberal Democrats. There’s no reason to change this. However she must have a better chance than Featherstone which was my point.

  26. I think Featherstone has a much better chance than Burt. That said, I do think Burt will keep this one close. She’s essentially gained the seat twice in a row (notionally, it was a gain in 2010), and she’s clearly a better than decent campaigner, so it wouldn’t utterly shock me to see her hang on, but her majority really is just too small for her to be the favorite.

  27. In Elmden the Lib Dems were only handful of votes clear of UKIP and the Conservatives.
    It is worth noting that the Lib Dems failed to field candidates in most of the wards in Meriden in Solihull Borough.
    Before the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives were reduced to one ward in Solihull constituency. The rebound suggest that Lib Dem organization has crumbled and the Conservatives have got their act together. Despite Burt’s personal following, a better Conservative candidate than in 2010 should win this seat comfortably.

    Yardley is altogether different for the Lib Dems, they are still strong locally and put in their best result since 2010 this year.
    With a stronger local base and a

  28. Ashcroft polling:

    Con 37%
    LD 28%
    UKIP 16%
    Lab 12%

  29. 2015 predictions –

    con- 39%
    lib- 31%
    UKIP- 15%
    lab- 10%

    The tories are sure to take this one. While the lib dem vote and the conservative vote will pick up before the 2015 election the conservative vote will do more so. Ashcroft polling has shown a clear tory lead here and while UKIP may hurt them a little , the damage will be pretty minimal , according to the latest Ashcroft poll.

  30. I disagree that it’s an easy Tory win. Lorely Burt is obviously popular with local voters otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to hold on in 2010.

  31. Not an easy win, but would be pretty shocking if it didn’t happen.

  32. “Not an easy win, but would be pretty shocking if it didn’t happen.”

    This.

  33. I think the LD and Con votes will be higher than these predictions here.

  34. I’ve looked further and I think actually the Lib Dems are in deep trouble here.
    They did extremely well in 2005 and 2010 but unless this is a Torbay 2000-2001 situation this area is reverting to type.

  35. I think we will not do anywhere near as badly as locals suggest, as the Green surge in Shirley has come due to defections rather than any great attachment to the party.

    I also get the feeling that Ms Burt is quite popular, but I don’t really have any evidence to back up that assertion.

  36. I know Solihull quite well having lived and worked in the area for a while. The Lib Dems do seem to have run out of steam. They scraped wins in the three wards they held this year and were well beaten in the rest. There was a tradition of independents in the Shirley area, which the Lib Dems tapped into. Now the Greens have taken that role. It suggest an organization that has fallen apart and some of the councillors defected to the Greens and presumably took their helpers with them.

    Labour are nowhere in Solihull constituency and failed to carry any wards in Meriden either this year. They will surely focus on Yardley and Warwickshire N.

    UKIP may well take none-of-the-above voters who defected from the Conservatives to Lib Dem before 2005.

    There is no margin for error for Burt and I don’t see her holding on.

  37. I think Burt will do better than the local elections but it looks like a C gain by 2-3,000.

  38. Full lineup of major party candidates:

    LD: Lorely Burt
    Con: Julian Knight
    Lab: Nigel Knowles
    UKIP: Phil Henrick
    Greens: Howard Allen

  39. Lorely Burt and Julian Knight clash at Morrisons supermarket:

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/solihull-mp-lorely-burt-election-7536029

  40. Solihull Council result for the West Midlands PCC by-election:

    CON – 44.9%
    LAB – 31.3%
    UKIP – 18.5%
    LDEM – 5.3%

    It’s a PCC election and turnout was only 10% but my goodness that’s still very bad for the LDs.

  41. Have the actual results been announced now?

  42. Those results are really ominous for the Lib Dems. Even taking into account the election in question and the turnout, they are absolutely atrocious. It shows a total lack of core vote.

  43. To only manage just over 5% in a recently strong area for the Lib Dems is, if I may say, appalling. The writing is on the wall for Lorely Burt, and I think that writing is ‘Conservative gain in 2015’ I think.

  44. Surprisingly good for Labour, actually. I suspect, looking at the local election results, that was largely because there was no Green candidate.

  45. The Tories should be recovering here now after all this time I think. Perhaps once they’ve got the seat back they’ll never again take it for granted and it will always be treated as a marginal.

  46. I think Burt will keep her vote to an almost respectable level, but will still lose handedly. I would think:

    Con 45
    LD 28
    Lab 17
    Grn 5
    UKIP 4
    Oth 1

  47. Yes it should be near enough back to the 2001 level here I think next year, probably the natural order of things.

  48. Yes. It’s sort of regrettable; Burt struck me as a decent MP. If she were Labour or a Tory, she’d be the sort who would get a nice safe seat elsewhere, but since she’s Lib Dem, that opportunity doesn’t exist.

  49. True. I think though that if the Tories do take this back, they’ll probably work quite hard to make sure they don’t lose it back to the Lib Dems again like they did seemingly out of nowhere (to those either not in the area or up to date with the local elections).

  50. Yes, I agree. It’s interesting, because somewhat ironically this might be the sort of seat where the Orange Book variety of Lib Dem would’ve done best. Socially progressive, fiscally centrist.

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