South Staffordshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 29478 (59.4%)
Labour: 9107 (18.4%)
Lib Dem: 1448 (2.9%)
Green: 1298 (2.6%)
UKIP: 8267 (16.7%)
MAJORITY: 20371 (41.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. Part of the South Staffordshire council area.

Main population centres: Codsall, Featherstone, Brewood, Cheslyn Hay, Great Wyrley, Kinver, Landywood, Wombourne.

Profile: This is a long thin seat, curling around the west of the Metropolitan West Midlands and covering the rural hinterland of Wolverhampton and Dudley. The seat has no substantial towns, and is made up of commuter villages..

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, represented (along with its predecessor South West Staffordshire) by Sir Patrick Cormack until his retirement in 2010. In the 2005 general election the vote in this seat was countermanded after the death of the Liberal Democrat candidate after the close of nominations.

Current MP
GAVIN WILLIAMSON (Conservative) Born 1976, Scarborough. Educated at Raincliffe School and Bradford University. Former managing director in a property consultancy. Contested Blackpool North and Fleetwood 2005. First elected as MP for South Staffordshire in 2010. PPS to David Cameron since 2013.
Past Results
Con: 26834 (53%)
Lab: 10244 (20%)
LDem: 8427 (17%)
UKIP: 2753 (5%)
Oth: 2182 (4%)
MAJ: 16590 (33%)
Con: 13343 (52%)
Lab: 4496 (18%)
LDem: 3540 (14%)
UKIP: 2675 (10%)
Oth: 1581 (6%)
MAJ: 8847 (35%)
Con: 21295 (50%)
Lab: 14414 (34%)
LDem: 4891 (12%)
UKIP: 1580 (4%)
MAJ: 6881 (16%)
Con: 25568 (50%)
Lab: 17747 (35%)
LDem: 5797 (11%)
MAJ: 7821 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GAVIN WILLIAMSON (Conservative) See above.
KEVIN MCELDUFF (Labour) Contested Staffordshire South 2010.
Comments - 185 Responses on “Staffordshire South”
  1. Which seats has Wombourne been in?

  2. In the modern era:

    Cannock (1918-1949)

    Brierley Hill (1949-1974)

    South West Staffordshire (1974-1983)

    South Staffordshire (1983- present)

    Here is a question for Pete: how comfortably would the Tories have won Brierley Hill in 2010?

  3. A pretty rough estimate but I would say a majority of about 20,000 or 25%

  4. Am I correct in thinking UKIP have a good chance of winning all 8 county council seats in the South Staffordshire District this year?

  5. That seems a tad on the optimistic side, but this an area where UKIP can do well certainly

  6. Interesting point. The Tories may well struggle to keep overall control of Staffs County Council this year, whereas until recently they looked very warm favourites to do so.

  7. I think it will be very close. I’ve gone through the seats in some detail (there are new boundaries but they don’t much affect the overall balance) and I’d reckon the Tories have about a 50% chance of winning a majority, but it will only be by one or two seats. Labour’s chances of winning a majority are very slim but they could become the largest party and if the Tories cede some seats to UKIP that will most likely happen. The existing UKIP seats in Newcastle are of course under threat from Labour

  8. I sent an email to Ladbrokes the other day asking if they would quote me odds on UKIP taking control of Staffordshire County Council in this year’s local elections, although unfortunately they declined to do so.

  9. that does seem extremely unlikely. They are certainly doing very well in the polls, and there are some good areas for the party in Staffordshire, but taking outright control would be amazing surely.

  10. I think the Tories will be the largest party in a hung council.

    Labour will do well in towns like Cannock, Burton, Stafford, Newcastle and possible Tamworth, Kidsgrove, Biddulph and Burntwood.

    The rural parts of the county will remain Tory, so will places like Uttoxeter and Lichfield (although not overwhelmingly so).

    I don’t know too much about where the Lib Dem areas of strength are to be able to foretell whether they’ll be wiped out or not.

    UKIP will gain at least 4 seats in South Staffs and possible elsewhere.

  11. I think it’s almost certain UKIP will take both Great Wyrley seats and they stand a good chance of winning Wombourne too. They could also win Hednesford in Cannock Chase district although I think Labour will come behind from 3rd place to take it.

    Some of the other Cannock divisions don’t look as promising for Labour as you might think, especially Brereton and Ravenhill where a split opposition may mean a Lib Dem hold.

    Over in Lichfield district Labour should make an easy gain in Burntwood North but Burntwood South is held by an independent and will be more difficult.

    There will also be at least 2 Labour gains in Tamworth.

    I haven’t had the chance to look at some of the previous results from the north of the county yet.

    And it’s important to remember that the Labour vote did fall off a cliff in 09, so expect some big swings as they recover and take divisions that may look difficult for them on paper.

  12. Going through all the County Council results from June 2009, UKIP should get 25 elected in Staffordshire.

    They would need 32 for overall control.

    Given they didn’t stand in a number of divisions, and clearly didn’t exploit their full potential, I think there are more they could get above 25 – particularly those where the Tories or Lib Dems are ahead of them (assuming Labour also moves up).

    I don’t see them getting all the seats in South Staffordshire though – the Tories are way ahead in at least 2 rural divisions, as they are in some around Lichfield.

    Where BNP or Independent votes fall away, if it comes about, that provides some votes aswell, in addition to those from the Lib Dems and Tories.

    One of their strong areas is Newcastle under Lyme, and I suspect one of the reasons they haven’t made more effort in other areas here, even in local elections, is because of Euro sceptic Tory MPs.

    If UKIP can get overall control somewhere, I would definitely say here,
    but maybe need to go through some other counties aswell.

  13. Might be worth a small bet.

    Who saw Redcar > Yellowcar…

  14. re. UKIP taking control of Staffs:

    It is unlikely of course but if Ladbrokes had quoted odds of say 50/1 I probably would have put £5 on it.

  15. I don’t normally bet, but I might do.

    It’s not the most likely but it is not ridiculous when you go through it – you would know the area well Andy.

    I certainly don’t encourage it – I want the Tory Council to hold on – and I believe it’s a very good one.

  16. Of course, re my original post, if they have momentum (that dreaded phrase), then they probably win some divisions where they’ve had no presence atall.
    For example, I ruled them out gaining Kinver, in this seat.

  17. Is a Labour win in Uttoxeter not possible or likely? I thought it was basically a marginal town, more so than Lichfield which is Tory-inclined even in a good Labour year.

  18. Yes Uttoxeter is quite possible

  19. Pete
    do you think overall control for UKIP is an outside chance.
    When I went through the seats (although they will change) I think it is not ridiculous?

    Perhaps the joker in the pack is if Labour threatens UKIP aswell, as you said.

  20. I wouldn’t have thought so. UKIP have been losing seats to Labour in Newcastle borough elections so I think they’ll be under a lot of pressure there. There are good prospects for the party in this area and in one or two other areas like Staffs Moorlands but an overall majority seems pie in the sky. You have to remember that the 2009 county council elections were held on the same day as the European elections and UKIP did particularly well then in the West Midlands, so even maintaining the levels of support they received then would be a good result

  21. Yes, I hadn’t really accounted for the Euro elections.
    The Tories have some very safe rural wards, particularly around Lichfield by the look of it.

    I suspect a hung council with the Tories largest but big Labour and UKIP gains.

  22. I have to say, it would really throw the cat amongst the pidgeons if it happened.

  23. Staffordshire
    UKIP Gain from Con

    UKIP 34
    Lab 14
    Con 14
    LD 0
    BNP 0
    Ind 0

    UKIP majority of 6

  24. To state the obvious becoming the largest party will be a lot easier for UKIP than winning control but even that would represent an amazing coup for the party.

  25. It would be funny if there was a UKIP/Con coalition afterwards,

  26. 2009 result, Staffs County Council election:

    Seats: Con 49, LD 4, UKIP 4, Lab 3, ind 1, Staffs Ind Group 1.

    Vote share: Con 43%, Lab 18%, LD 17%, UKIP 10%, Green 4%, Ind 4%.

    Turnout: 37%.

  27. Labour’s result in 2009 was shocking.

  28. The last county elections coincided with the Euro elections which undoubtedly would have helped UKIP. This time they have to motive their followers to vote when Europe is not on the menu and there is no freepost for the parties to contact electors.

    It seems that in Eastleigh UKIP may have won on the day, but the postal votes returned a week beforehand sealed the victory for the Lib Dems. The lack of organisation on the ground may well act against UKIP in the local elections.

    In this round of elections Labour can only go one way, they have so few seats to defend. It will be interesting to see if they can make significant headway in Staffordshire. Otherwise Durham, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire with a hung councils in Warcs and Cumbria may be the best they can expect. They will do well to form a group on most southern counties, particularly as the cities are generally in unitary authorities.

  29. UKIP’s advantage is it is a clear message. People know what it means.
    I’m not 100% people know what Tory means at the moment – or Labour.
    And the Lib Dems are just a dustbin – plenty of people there who want to bring back capital punishment and get out of Europe.
    Even Eastleigh showed that with a 14% drop.

    Where UKIP may come unstuck getting seriously big figures
    is they don’t have the local organistaion.
    Gaining overall control here is unlikely but if it happened would be a game changer though.
    And even 7-8-10% could be hugely damaging to the Tories if it persists in a General Election – unless it just replaces the Lib Dems only – in which case I don’t care.

  30. I’m not convinced that there is a clear message to UKIP – most of its voters are not primarily motivated by Europe. In fact, I think its advantage is that they are a none of the above option – exactly as you describe the Lib Dems (although that’s less true of them now).

  31. UKIP has a crystal clear message – leave the EU, thus supposedly ending mass immigration and saving the country so much money that there will be no need to make further cuts and plenty of room to cut taxes.

    That the whole premise of the above is wishful thinking on a monumental scale does not matter. It is the privilege of third and fourth parties to peddle policies which they know they will never get the chance to prove the validity of. As with the Lib Dems and abolishing tuition fees etc in 2010.

    I am however surprised how little the main parties, the Tories especially, have attempted to show the public the gaping holes in UKIP’s policies.

  32. ‘UKIP’s advantage is it is a clear message.’

    I too disagree

    The problem UKIP have is the same as that which affected the Tories after 97 in that everyone knows what their against – not only Europe and immigration, but welfare dependency, the liberal establishment, the metric system to name but a few causes

    They have clearly replaced the Lib Dems as the benefeciaries of not being any of the above options – and whilst I think they’ll do well in both the counciul, European elections and any by-elections that take place between now and the next election, I don’t expect them to make any headway at the next general election – especially following the latest rightward shift from the Tories, which has even been winning the praise of hard-Right newspapers like the Daily Mail

    The likelihood is enough of these voters will return to what many Tories would argue is their natural base, which will certainly be enough to deprive Labour of any hope they have of winning an unlikely majority at the next election

  33. ‘I am however surprised how little the main parties, the Tories especially, have attempted to show the public the gaping holes in UKIP’s policies.’

    I totally agree – but it seems its the inclination the Tories are lacking to expose UKIP for what they really are – maybe because they are fearful of disillusioning their own grass root members, oir because they hope to form some pact with them in time for the next election, whoich again suggests a complete lack of understanding of what UKIP is

    Farage has gone out of his way to stress that whilst David Cameron – or any other mainstream, moderarte(ish) Tory – is leader there will be no deal, which makes me think that his aim isn’t so much to get UKIP elected or even taking part in government, but to punish Cameron for not being right-wing enough

    Like thew BNP, UKIP thrive of offering simplistic solutions to complex problems, and like the BNP it tends to be the unintelligent and unpleasant who are most receptive to their message

  34. ” it tends to be the unintelligent and unpleasant who are most receptive to their message”

    I take it you are the exception that proves the rule Tim

  35. I don’t think there’s any mileage in painting UKIP as racist, unintelligent, unpleasant or whatever. What matters are the issues.

  36. I actually agree. It would be silly to say that UKIP are a bunch of fascists/ neo-Nazis or whatever, because it isn’t actually true. There is no point in lumping UKIP in with the BNP, which while some of its policies might seem superficially similar comes from a totally different tradition and has anti-democratic aims which are not shared by UKIP. A successful assault on UKIP’s vote (though not voters!) can only be made by pointing out the holes, errors or perceived injustices in their policies, or their irrelevance, not portraying them as something they actually aren’t.

  37. Barnaby

    Being on the left of the Labour party, would you vote in favour of staying in the EU?

  38. ‘It would be silly to say that UKIP are a bunch of fascists/ neo-Nazis or whatever, because it isn’t actually true. There is no point in lumping UKIP in with the BNP’

    I’m not saying UKIP are like the BNP at all – the two party’s positions on central issues such as the economy couldn’t be further apart – but like the BNP and the Lib Dems too when they had the luxury of never being likely to put their policies to the test – UKIP can moan about this and that and offer populist quick-fix solutions that they know will never be taken up by the government of the day

    UKIP aren’t Nazis or Fascists – and of course there would be little mileage in trying to present them as such, but I can’t be the only one who detects a slight tone of unpleasentness about some of their views and the actions of some of thier members, whether getting jailed for defrauding the European Parliament or suggesting that mothers carrying mothers carrying foetuses with Downs syndrome or spina bifida should be forced to have abortions to avoid the child being “a burden on the state as well as on the family” only reinforce that view

    Could UKIP be to the Right, what the SDP was to the Left in the 1980s? The Tories ought to hope not and it’s about time they made a concerted effort to take them on based on the issues

  39. I don’t think that the very unpleasant suggestion that mothers of children should have abortions was official UKIP policy – in fact I’d imagine more of their members would be rather anti-abortion if anything. I don’t disagree with anything you say though Tim, put as you’ve put it.
    If there were to be a referendum I’d be quite likely to vote to leave. My reasons would of course be very different from those of UKIP or the better-off-outers. However, I don’t agree that no social progress can be achieved if we stay in either. I’m there to be convinced however & am not a fervent anti-EU person as I was when I was younger.

  40. There is indeed a half submerged tradition of Euroscepticism within the Labour party. Richard Shepherd recently reminded the Bruges Group of this when he quoted a speech which Peter Shore had made in opposition to Maastricht.

  41. Barnaby’s comments do not surprise me. Politicians and the media often forget that away from the Westminster bubble, Europe is an issue that cuts right across party lines.

    If and when a referendum eventually comes, a large number of Labour’s WWC core voters will vote to leave, and a similarly large number of Tory voters will – however reluctantly – vote to stay in.

    In a mirror image of what Barnaby said, I am a much less enthusiastic pro-European than I was 10 years ago, and my position has moved a lot further towards indifference. However I fear the substantial risks of leaving, upon my own small business as well as for the country as a whole, so as things stand now I would reluctantly vote to stay in.

  42. I think a lot of county council divisions in Staffordshire could see a 3-way split between Lab/Con/UKIP which makes it difficult to predict who will win seats. It’s possible for example that UKIP could do very well in a lot of seats but just miss out on winning most of them – or vice versa.

  43. Watching the 1983 repeat it is a warning that the same thing could happen to us con v ukip instead of lab v sdp divided votes. I rather doubt it though. I am a reluctant stay in but the prospect of leaving does have to be addressed if we can’t get better terms.

  44. I think andy is correct. I can’t see ukip overhauling some of those very strong rural con seats near lichfield and stone. But there could be shocks in one or two. Perhaps the lab recovery will be what prevents their tide coming only so far up the shore

  45. ‘My reasons would of course be very different from those of UKIP or the better-off-outers.’

    Having read Tony Been’s diaries recently, one of the things that stick out is how similar his arguments for not wanting to be part of the EU, are to those on the Right of the Conservative Party – loss of national sovereignty etc – whereas I had imagined he would have used the arguments you mention

  46. His views have evolved somewhat since that time & it’s quite likely that his reasons would be more like mine nowadays.

  47. If you look back to the 1960s and 1970s you can also find Tories like Ken Clarke arguing for EC membership on the basis it would prevent Labour from carrying out their policies.

    By the late 1980s Labour were arguing for deeper EU integration as a way of eroding the Conservative’s economic and trade union reforms.

    There’s a common thread here which should disturb anyone who believes in democratic government.

    Nor is this just a UK thing. In Denmark for example support for the EU has generally come from the business-oriented right hoping it will chip away at the social democratic state or at least restrain it, while opposition has often come from the left arguing for Danish particularism. It’s a different kind of particularism than UKIP might propose for the UK but the underlying point is the same – freedom to pursue national objectives as decided by national democratic votes.

  48. ‘Freedom to pursue national objectives as decided by national democratic votes.’

    Indeed- that should be the key for Eurosceptics on all sides of the House.

  49. Good point from runnymede, and some others. Going back a bit, calling ukip stupid is just silly, and inaccurate. People have real and logical concerns and we need to address them. Although in my view we are, and we need a conservative win – not a hung parliament – to do that.

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