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. It’s not entirely impossible that Burt could run this fairly close (within 10%), but I tend to the think he Tories will have a majority above 15%. I think, at most, she’ll take 35%, and it will probably be a lot less. It’s admirable that she’s sticking with it rather than not standing.

  2. That’s possible that the margin could be more less than 10%. To be honest, I think given how long Lorely Burt has been here as candidate and it is admirable that she is fighting on, and it is indeed a shame to see that some other candidates or MPs haven’t.

  3. I think the margin here will be around 1%, probably just under.

    I wouldn’t take the PCC result particularly seriously.
    This is the whole of Solihull borough (only half of which is the constituency)
    The new PCC is a former Solihull councillor
    And, to quote from Pete Whitehead in the other place ‘The Lib Dem candidate would have gone down like a bucket of cold sick in Solihull.’ (Remembering that with such low turnout, candidate quality is extremely important)

  4. Lorely Burt would do very well to lose here by only 1%.

  5. Sorry typo, meant 10%

  6. Oh sorry Ian in that case yes I agree with you.

    I didn’t read too much into the PCC figure for the Lib Dems, I just found it interesting because of the shockingly low nature of their vote.

  7. Iain, not Ian!

    In any case, to continue the comment above, I think it’s widely accepted basically that the Lib Dems can’t hold on to this, it’s just too too narrow a majority that Lorely Burt has I think. Given also that the Tories have held the council now since 2011 and have made gains at a local level in this seat, I think it would take a miracle for the Lib Dems not to lose this- it could be as high as 18%, and it could be as low as 5%. That’s the Tory winning margin. I would guess for now they’ll take this back by about 10-11%.

  8. I’d agree more or less. I’d say it could even hit 25%, but it’s not likely. I don’t think Solihull will pull a Solihull this time around.

  9. Ha ha I said that last night. Solihull doing a Solihull. That’s what the Tories would have had to do had the Lib Dems built this into their own stronghold!

  10. Is the the latest series of the BBC documentary People Like Us, set here? It’s a council estate called Chelmsley Wood. Apparently it’s in Solihull and has Green Cllrs.

  11. It’s in the Meriden constituency i think.

  12. Yes it is

  13. Solihull borough was an artificial creation of the 1970s. Solihull proper, which forms this constituency, is entirely urban and is middle class suburban SE Birmingham.

    In order to make the metropolitan borough up to the right level of population (and because the 1970s reformers wanted rather oddly to include Coventry in the metropolitan county), the rural and very conservative area between Coventry and Birmingham was added to the borough, including the village of Meriden.

    So was Chelmsley Wood, which is (more accurately was as population density has declined) a 50,000 person Birmingham Council overspill estate – one of the biggest in the country and surprisingly little known compared to say Wythenshawe and Dagenham. It really doesn’t fit in Solihull borough. It is geographically part of Birmingham, and sandwiched inside the M42 Birmingham outer ring road.

    My comments on Chelmsley Wood are on the Meriden thread.

  14. Which local authority was Chelmsley Wood in, prior to the 1970s local government boundary change?

  15. This seat will produce a very interesting result in May. Campaigning has really taken off of late with the sitting MP and her Conservative and Green opponents flooding the seat with leaflets and publicity. This will only intensify in the New Year as the campaign gets into full swing.

    I think local election results, which have been poor for the Lib Dems since the coalition government was formed, only give a partial snapshot of the likely impact on the 2015 result. Turnouts in these contests have been low and we can expect a high turnout here in the General Election. The rise of UKIP and the Greens could well disrupt things and like in 2010, with the opportunity to vote both locally and nationally at the same time, many people will spilt their votes.

    I think these are some interesting factors to take into account when looking at Solihull:

    – UKIP came 1st in the European elections in the borough in May 2014;
    – The Greens became the official opposition on Solihull Council in May 2014, coming second to the Conservatives in seats and votes;
    – Solihull has bucked the national trend both in 2005 and 2010;
    – Since 1997 there has been an anti-Conservative majority in the seat;
    – The sitting MP is well known and has not had a high profile government role since 2010, so has been able to concentrate on constituency work.

    I am minded to conclude as things stand that the Conservatives are favourites to retake the seat but it is by no means guaranteed. If they do win, it will be interesting to see what the margin of victory is, and how this compares to the other parties, particularly the Greens who are targeting this seat for the first time.

  16. My Prediction.

    Conservative – 38%
    Libdem – 32%
    Labour – 14%
    Ukip – 12%
    Other – 4%

  17. I think the aim for the Lib Dems here is to keep the margin of defeat very respectable, so they can challenge again in 2020.

  18. Con gain, majority 3000.

  19. CON GAIN – 8% Maj

    CON – 40
    LD – 32
    LAB – 13
    UKIP – 10
    O – 5

  20. I’m no expert but I think the Lib Dems got in originally due to complacency by the Cons…..

    That being the case UKIP should easily overtake Labour.

    But that will surely reduce the Cons total and could leave Lib Dems at number 1 again.

  21. CON gain 5000

  22. Solihull is likely to see a degree of tactical voting again this year.

    If I was a constituent I would unquestioningly get behind Lorely Burt. I’d expect a tight squeeze though.

    Julian Knight could slip in by just a fistful of votes. Definite seat to watch!

  23. In Nigel Knowles’ biography it says he stood in Wyre Forest in 1992, but that year it was actually South Worcestershire he stood in.

  24. Gripping stuff

  25. Can any other candidate at this election equal or exceed Nigel Knowles 8 successive unsuccessful campaigns?

    Is this an all time record?

  26. I think it might be for a Labour Party candidate, but there are two Scottish perennial paper candidates for the Lib Dems, Rod Ackland and Douglas Herbison who have I think fought the most elections unsuccessfully for any of the main three parties I think!

  27. l do know of Charles Garnworthy who fought Reigate 7 times for Labour, never winning of course, but was rewarded with a peerage. That hasn’t happened to Nigel Knowles yet.

  28. Who has been a General Election candidate in more seats than anybody else? Who holds the record of losing a deposit more than anybody else? Has Rod ever fought the same seat twice? Why hasn’t Rod yet received a peerage? What are the odds on Rod standing again, anywhere, in 2020? And 2025? When will Rod be allowed to stand in a seat the Lib Dems have a chance of winning? Does Rod want to be an MP? Does Rod read this site? (Incidentally, I think that Rod is a stronger contender for any record than Douglas Herbison.) I also think that you are currently much more likely to find Rod in East Dunbartonshire than in Kilmarnock and Loudoun.

  29. Conservative Gain. 4,000 majority.

  30. @ Evergreenadam.

    A very late response, but Coleshill UD is the answer.

  31. I agree that Burt will lose here. However the seat has been written off more than is reasonable, as can be seen by the lack of comments. This time Shaun is over optimistic. The Conservative majority is likely to be less than 3000 here. It would be closer if the Liberals hadn’t split and lost some of their councillors in Shirley, which is crucial to their success here. Shirley neighbours Hall Green where there has been significant demographic change which has abruptly shifted the ward to Labour. In Solihull the same thing is happening but people will vote for Burt as Labour are uncompetitive.

  32. CLIVE GROPECOCK APRIL 26TH 2015 @ 8.23PM

    Ha ha ha that was genuinely a funny comment. I trawl the seats for your comments. I don’t agree with them much, but they make me smile.
    If you are the 90 year old that you make out to be, I hope I still have your faculties at that age!
    Why don’t you think UKIP will take Thurrock?

  33. CON gain 4500

  34. John, Chelmsley Wood was origionaly part of the Meriden rural district in Warwickshire.

    Solihull borough is a bit of a mess on its current boundaries. The origional draft of the 1970’s reforms had Solihull including a larger part of rural Warwickshire around Henly in Arden and some very deprived areas of East Birmingham around Shard End and Yardley, so that would have been an even bigger mess.

  35. @Adam

    My fault – it was based in Coleshill, but was indeed called Meriden RD. It was a LONG time ago, and my memory tends to fade…..

  36. odd, Clegg seemed to be her a lot despite it appearing a likely loss, one to look out for?

  37. Con gain, 4000 majority.

  38. I’m going on the cautious side for my Solihull prediction as there are still a lot of anti-Tory voters here.

    I’m gonna say Tory gain, majority 2,500.

  39. Will be way closer than above, Probably Con under 1k, but Libs at 9/2 is a fun bet.

  40. Result

    Candidate Party No. of Votes
    ALLEN Howard Green Party 1632
    BURT Lorely Jane Liberal Democrat 14054
    HENRICK Philip Hugh UK Independence Party (UK I P) 6361
    KNIGHT Julian The Conservative Party 26956
    KNOWLES Nigel Labour Party 5693
    NATTRASS Mike Independence From Europe 50
    WARD Matthew J The Democratic Party 33

    Big win for the blues

  41. Back to normal for this seat now.

  42. The Tories swept the council wards as well. The Greens won Chelmsley Wood and Smith’s Wood (in the Meriden seat) and UKIP won Kingshurst and Fordbridge (again in Meriden) and the Tories won everything else finally winning those three formally Lib Dem wards along the Birmingham border.

  43. Nigel Knowles was once Haringey Councillor, but quit his Noel Park seat after the 1987 General Election, when a Conservative gained the ward. He has fought several Parliamentary elections since and has never won.

  44. Without Lorely Burt as LD candidate it could go back to being a very safe Conservative seat. 2005 and 2010 may be looked back on as aberrations.

  45. Probably not as safe as it used to be, though-I believe that my fellow Greens did not do as well here as hoped because of the tight squeeze between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, even though I always believed a Conservative gain was a foregone conclusion. In the next election, I believe the Greens might be able to secure second place or a good third.

  46. With stupendous momentum no doubt.

  47. Without the Lorely Burt factor being present in 2020, this could go something like-
    Conservative- 53%
    Labour- 16%
    Liberal Democrat- 14%
    UKIP- 12%
    Green- 5%

  48. I agree that the LDs may slide further but I also can’t see any real recovery for Labour here (at least not above 15%) and it’s also notable that Meriden was Labour’s worst ever result and it’s not out of the question that the greens could gain 3rd place.

    For the medium term Solihull council should remain a relatively secure majority for the Tories with the Greens remaining the main opposition and it remains to be seen whether they can convert significant local support into national support and they should be aiming for a minimum of at least 10% here and Meriden next time.

  49. 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.

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