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
2010
Con: 26834 (53%)
Lab: 10244 (20%)
LDem: 8427 (17%)
UKIP: 2753 (5%)
Oth: 2182 (4%)
MAJ: 16590 (33%)
2005*
Con: 13343 (52%)
Lab: 4496 (18%)
LDem: 3540 (14%)
UKIP: 2675 (10%)
Oth: 1581 (6%)
MAJ: 8847 (35%)
2001
Con: 21295 (50%)
Lab: 14414 (34%)
LDem: 4891 (12%)
UKIP: 1580 (4%)
MAJ: 6881 (16%)
1997
Con: 25568 (50%)
Lab: 17747 (35%)
LDem: 5797 (11%)
MAJ: 7821 (15%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
GAVIN WILLIAMSON (Conservative) See above.
KEVIN MCELDUFF (Labour) Contested Staffordshire South 2010.
ROBERT WOODTHORPE BROWNE (Liberal Democrat)
LYNDON JONES (UKIP)
CLAIRE MCILVENNA (Green)
Links
Comments - 128 Responses on “Staffordshire South”
  1. ‘People have real and logical concerns and we need to address them’

    I’m sure you are sincere but whenever I hear that from politicians, I assume it means something like ‘people have irrational fears and prejudices and we need to ignore them’.

  2. Fair point. I hope the budget does provide some evidence.

  3. No UKIP candidate in Penkridge. Probably a muck-up with nomination papers.

  4. That would surely normally be one of their strongest areas.

  5. I’m surprised about there being no UKIP candidate in Penkridge? Have nominations now closed?

    I wonder if UKIP’s U-turn regarding HS2 will help them out in some of the Lichfield and Stafford rural divisions.

  6. How do we know who the candidate are?

    A statement of nominated persons hasn’t been posted on the district council website yet.

  7. Adam:

    It’s on the Staffs County Council website. Bit confusing because some of the district/borough councils are also posting nominations.

    http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/yourcouncil/elections/candidates2013.aspx

  8. The information on that page is out of date because the Lichfield nominations have been published – on the Lichfield DC website.

  9. I’m guessing that failing to submit nomination papers is the reason for their being no UKIP candidate in Penkridge. Also worth noting no Lib Dem candidates anywhere in the district.

  10. They said this seat was actually Lab Hold in 2005,
    so I’m not sure when they gained it – presumably in 1997 or 2001.

    Very annoying that we are threatened with UKIP overall control of Staffs this May.
    If we’d been allowed to have the 2005 election here on time and not wait for a new UKIP candidate, they may never have had such a base. (Sorry if that point is in bad taste).

  11. No Joe this seat has never been Labour since it was formed as SW Staffordshire in 1974. And the local council has always been Tory too, even in 1995.

  12. I’m only reading the 2005 Times Guide…
    Lab Hold.

  13. Well they got it wrong. It was of course Patrick Cormack reelected (in a deferred election) for what turned out to be the last time. Until 2010 he was the only MP for this constituency. It comes a surprise hearing his plummy tones that he was born in Grimsby. He even says “Parli-a-ment” which I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else with English as a first language say.

  14. Barnaby- I’ve replied to your queries on the Elmet and Rothwell thread.

  15. thanks will take a look.

  16. With regards joes comment on ukip, i am presently involved in the ukip campaign in stone rural-a safe tory ward-and it looks encouraging.

    I hope the tories hold the council overall though. Phil atkins is an excellent leader and deserves a second term. But a solid ukip presence on the council would also be good news.

    If it ends up hung then maybe we have the good prospect of a tory-ukip coalition. Many of us would welcome.

  17. Good afternoon Shaun.

    Have you actually joined UKIP now?

    Saw your comment on ConHome about Lady Thatcher’s death, and as I can’t ever stomach posting there any more I shall say what I was going to say here.

    I think Lady T would take it as a compliment that there have been so many bozos dancing on her grave, holding death celebrations and making offensive tweets. During her premiership she thrived on rousing up the hatred of her enemies and most of the time it helped her defeat them, except with the final two controversies (Europe and poll tax) which brought her down.

    Rightly or wrongly, based on her controversial record and her importance as the most influential post-war prime minister it’s inevitable that her demise would encounter that kind of reaction from certain quarters and as I said she is probably up there thriving on it all.

    I have to say, the more comment pieces I read about who Mrs T was and what she supposedly believed, the more confused it makes me about that. She certainly was a sea of paradoxes and conflicting opinions, all held extremely strongly.

  18. I would never leave the party of Lady Thatcher.
    The greatest Prime Minister we ever had.

  19. The irony of that being that Mrs T never was blindly focused on party labels. For example, she once apparently said her greatest legacy in domestic politics was the emergence of New Labour and the victory of Tony Blair (I hope she changed her opinion about that in recent years).

  20. The irony is of course is that the majority of Tory defectors to UKIP are ingrained in the very Thatcherite tradition that the recently-deceased Prime Minister of 11 years dealt in.

    UKIP in many ways represent a good deal of what the right-wing within the Tory Party believe in and adhere to- Not just on Europe, but on immigration, taxes, education and many other things.

    People like Shaun Bennett endorsing Nigel Farage’s party is no big surprise given his views- Particularly in light of Thatcher’s death, this could never have come at a more coincidental time in many ways.

    Don’t know if H Hemmelig or JJB agree with any of this, but within the Conservatives for many years there was a long list of MPs- Too many to mention here, who later joined UKIP, one of whom Roger Knapman went on to become leader for a couple of years. So in a sense really when UKIP formed they took away a large number of the right-wing/hard-right from the Conservatives arguably.

  21. Oddly, she also once said “The Labour Party will never die” – presumably in answer to some hotheads who thought that Labour would cease to be the main party of opposition.
    I’m not going to say what my opinions of her are, since most people here will be aware of them already. I am not in favour of celebrating her death, but don’t wish to give her praise which I don’t think she is due.

  22. ”I am not in favour of celebrating her death, but don’t wish to give her praise which I don’t think she is due.”

    I agree with that Barnaby. I think revelling in anyone’s death quite frankly is absolutely disgraceful and utterly appalling- It doesn’t matter if you liked said person or not, you do not sink to the level of having to do something so sick as marking someone’s passing as a joyous occasion.

  23. I also really dislike hypocritical praise for people when they have died from people who hated them when they were alive.

    It’s more dignified and honest to take Barnaby’s approach if that’s the way you feel.

  24. One thing is that the death of Mrs T will make it impossible for Labour to keep reheating the same old election campaigns about the Tories taking us back to the bad old days of Thatcherism. It will be seen as bad taste and past its sell by date.

    Mrs T’s last gift to her old party may be finally enabling them to move on from her legacy.

  25. ‘I have to say, the more comment pieces I read about who Mrs T was and what she supposedly believed, the more confused it makes me about that. She certainly was a sea of paradoxes and conflicting opinions, all held extremely strongly.’

    Me too

    According to Frank Field on today’s Jeremy Vine Show, Mrs T once commented to him that she was distraught that her tax cuts for the rich hadn’t resulted in them becoming more charitable – which I suppose makes sense given her Methodist upbringing although I had assumed she viewed charity much the same way as she did socialism

    Some elements of the Left are distatefully revelling in her death, although others, from Tony Benn to Ed Milliband, have rightfully passed on their condolences

    I’d like to think the next time a figure head of the Left passes away they are shown the same respect from the Right

  26. “Mrs T once commented to him that she was distraught that her tax cuts for the rich hadn’t resulted in them becoming more charitable”

    Indeed, Mrs T was very worried about both the politics and the practicality of cutting the top rate from 60% to 40% (showing a much better political antennae than Cameron). It was entirely Lawson’s idea and after a lot of persuasion she let him go ahead with it.

    “I had assumed she viewed charity much the same way as she did socialism”

    That’s probably unfair. Mrs T certainly believed in charity although she would have remorselessly discriminated between deserving and undeserving causes, and certainly favoured private funding of charities and disliked the state doing so. She famously gave quite a large amount from her own money to the first Comic Relief day in 1988.

    “others, from Tony Benn to Ed Milliband, have rightfully passed on their condolences”

    Not a surprise in Tony Benn’s case, as in personal terms he got on very well with Mrs T and admired her a great deal (same is true of Dennis Skinner, who privately came to see her and said “we’re all going to miss you, love” just before she left the commons for the last time). There’s probably a distinction between the attitude of old-school left and the younger Galloway and Occupy types, many of whom are too young to remember her time in office.

    “I’d like to think the next time a figure head of the Left passes away they are shown the same respect from the Right”

    I can see where you’re coming from, but given that Stalin is already dead there is no-one on the left who could remotely compare with the importance and stature of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, and to me that is why she is loved and reviled in equal measure. Less important figures just are not relevant enough to elicit a strong reaction 23 years after they leave office.

  27. ‘I can see where you’re coming from, but given that Stalin is already dead there is no-one on the left who could remotely compare with the importance and stature of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, and to me that is why she is loved and reviled in equal measure.’

    In the UK that’s true but Hugo Chavez was a big political figure from the Left and the only remorse we heard from the Right, although it was almost exclusively the American Right, was that cancer killed him before they could

    He was every bit as divisive as Thatcher

    Tony Benn often speaks highly of Thatcher in his diaries – and has far more time for her than he did Kinnock

  28. If Chavez had quit office and lived for another 23 years nobody would remember who he was 23 years later.

    I thought a lot of the American comments on his demise were tasteless and counter-productive. I have been to Venezuela and seen what a basket case he had turned the country into, but as you say there needs to be a distinction between political views and respect.

    The government over here including Cameron and Hague expressed official condolences, even if they were a bit mealy-mouthed they made sure they were respectful.

  29. I don’t think the poor of Venezuela who returned him with absolute majorities would agree

    I didn’t respect Thatcher when alive. It would be hypocritical to pretend to do so now dead

  30. Mrs Thatcher was strongly in favour of charitable giving – surprised that isn’t obvious.

    Although Lib Dems /Republicans
    like twisting.

  31. I thoroughly disliked the policies of Margaret Thatcher, but I certainly did respect her. I think that it would be ridiculous not to acknowledge that she was the most effective opponent my party has ever had, and the Labour movement as a whole, and disrespecting her would involve underestimating her – she was clearly a politician of great intellectual & practical ability. I suspect when Tony Benn dies – he is still seen as, essentially, the spiritual leader of the democratic Left – there will be quite fulsome tributes from many on the Right. One thing that I WILL say in favour of the then Mrs Thatcher is that she did take the trouble to attend the funeral of Eric Heffer, which was actually much appreciated at the time, and still is by me, and was more than could be said for the then Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, who was not there. She didn’t underestimate her political opponents in general, and did maintain perfectly good relations with some of them, Tony Benn & Denis Healey included. So, yes I reviled her policies, but I think that if the Left failed to respect her as an implacable opponent it was digging its own grave.

  32. No i haven’t joined ukip. I am campaigning for them in a single ward where i feel a tory defeat and a ukip win would be to the benefit of the county. I still want to see overall tory control in may or coalition with ukip.

    On the subject of the great lady i unusually find myself without adequate words to express my feeling of loss. To debate her record at this time would be disrespectful and i am not going to engage in that.

    I would however say this: No tory would ever want anybody to be forced to say something about her that they do not believe or want to say. I don’t want anyone to feel unable to say that she was a bad pm or criticise her politics.

    All i would expect is some respect from her opponents and not the carnival of celebration that some quarters of the left have embraced. If they really do insist on taking pleasure from death and suffering then that says more about them than about her.

    No conservative ever took pleasure from the deaths of opponents like smith or foot. It must be the product of avery disturbed mind to take pleasure in suffering. It certainly shows where the real nasty party is.

    Like commentors above, i think the hatred of her from sections of the left is something to wear with pride. They lost the argument and they carry on losing. And they despise her for it.
    But the question has to now fall to milivand: its all very well rejecting celebrations of her death. Will you promise to expel any labour member who engages in it?
    We all know the answer to that one….

  33. Where have labour been anything but respecful? All the noise ive heard has been from the far left.

  34. That’s unreasonable in the circumstances. I don’t like the idea of celebrating Thatcher’s death personally, but I don’t think it’s in any way appropriate for people who oppose Labour to dictate to us who can be a member and who can’t. Many people feel very bitter about what she did – people who lost jobs that their families had done for generations, whose communities were ripped apart, and so on – and I think it’s a bit much to demand that Ed Miliband goes further than he has. He was pretty generous to her without saying anything he didn’t actually mean and that should be that.

  35. I accept Ed Miliband seemed to handle it pretty well.

  36. I don’t mean this in any way disrespectfully, but I think both the immediate recall of parliament and the devotion of 7 or 8 hours to paying tribute to Lady Thatcher was way OTT and an unwise departure from protocol.

    All previous deceased Prime Ministers have been given about 45 minutes of short tributes fitted in between normal business, even including Winston Churchill. It risks looking self-indulgent at a time when we have a lot of pressing economic problems, and David Cameron risks looking like he is playing on Mrs Thatcher’s death for political purposes.

    The half-empty Labour benches yesterday did not look good at all, but ultimately I wonder who that will rebound on most.

    Changing the subject entirely, did anyone see the car crash interview on Newsnight last night with former BNP MEP Andrew Brons? What a repulsive individual.

  37. ‘and David Cameron risks looking like he is playing on Mrs Thatcher’s death for political purposes.’

    That it’s already been picked up on shows that.

    It certainly seems strange that a government whose Conservative members forever talk about providing value for money for the British taxpayer, should choose to recall Parliament, at massive taxpayer expense, to discuss something that could be saved for a later date.

    It’s a clear political move (and a fairly stupid one too) from Cameron and personally i hope it does backfire on him

    ‘Changing the subject entirely, did anyone see the car crash interview on Newsnight last night with former BNP MEP Andrew Brons? What a repulsive individual.’

    It was the first time I ever saw him – although I expected some jumped-up thug with a regional accent, as opposed to a well spoken besuited individual, which if anything made him that little bit more sinister

  38. “…I expected some jumped-up thug with a regional accent..”

    Historically supporters of fascism in the UK have been just as likely to come from the very upper echelons of society (with the dress and mannerisms that usually come with those origins) as from the gutter. Infamously John Amery (son and brother of two Tory ministers) went to the gallows for his activities in supporting Hitler’s Germany.

    Also there was a programme on Channel 4 recently about the activities of the Right Club in the early period of WW2. It was a secretive organisation made up of almost entirely of individuals from aristocratic families who wanted Churchill deposed and for the UK to make an alliance with Hitler.

  39. A bit like Nick Griffin himself, Andrew Brons is one of the intellectual types you find on the far right, I think he might even be a PhD. He also reminded me a bit of those anal types you find in political party branch meetings who are always raising bizarre points of order based on obscure rules in the rulebook.

    The BNP made a massive error by continually refusing to (a) admit the holocaust happened
    and (b) accept that non-whites who have British citizenship can never be deported….with Mr Brons avoiding answering both those questions yesterday.

    I believe that holocaust denial and forcible repatriation of UK citizens are extremely unpopular ideas these days even amongst those voters who are attracted to the far right, so it would have massively benefitted the BNP to answer those points once and for all and move on to more mainstream arguments on immigration and Europe. Instead, their refusal to moderate themselves has let UKIP into their space and they look like dying away.

  40. ‘Also there was a programme on Channel 4 recently about the activities of the Right Club in the early period of WW2. It was a secretive organisation made up of almost entirely of individuals from aristocratic families who wanted Churchill deposed and for the UK to make an alliance with Hitler.’

    In which case they should have been rounded up and sent to the gallows with John Amery, Lord Haw Haw and anyone else who conspired against their country for one of the wickedest men the world has ever known

  41. They were rounded up. The programme was the story of exactly how that happened.

  42. Never had you down as a supporter of capital punishment, Tim?

    No members of the Right Club went to the gallows as, their conduct (as distinct from their beliefs) did not fit the definition of treason. Their strategy seemed to consist of acquiring and releasing details of secret communications between the British government and America that would reveal the extent to which the US was already assisting Britain in the fight against Hitler despite still being formally neutral. This they hoped would inflame the still substantial isolationist faction in America, thus preventing US entry to the war and (they hoped) leading to Britain eventually seeking an armistice with Nazi Germany.

    Amery’s conduct on the other hand clearly constituted treason. His only hope of mounting a successful defence was to prove that he had repudiated his status as a British subject during his time gun running for Franco’s side in the Spanish Civil War. Leo Amery (Tory MP for Brighton Kemptown until 1992) travelled to Spain attempting to find evidence that John had taken Spanish citizenship during his time there. Had he been able to do so he would have saved his brother from the gallows, as John could not be said to have committed treason against a country of which he was no longer a subject.

    Incidentally that defence arguably should have been open to Lord Haw Haw. It is far from clear that he was still a British subject when he engaged in the acts that were ultimately to condemn him to his death.

  43. I once met a left wing American who was convinced that William Joyce really was a Lord and typical of the supposedly fascist-leaning British aristocrats (‘like Churchill?’ I ventured, to a blank expression). He possessed a remarkable confection of ignorant prejudices.

  44. ‘Leo Amery (Tory MP for Brighton Kemptown until 1992) travelled to Spain attempting to find evidence that John had taken Spanish citizenship during his time there.

    His brother was Julian Amery – a reactionary who opposed every liberal measure between 1969-1992 except the abolition of the death penalty – for fairly obviuos, personal reasons – and he was actually MP for Brighton Pavilion until 92 – when he was succeeded by Derek Spencer who achieved what many thought impossible – being a worst constituency MP than Amery.

    My father meet Amery at one of the Tory Party Conferences in Brighton and said he was drunk – as he had been on the occasion he met him before that

    Both Amery and Joyce used the same defence – that neither were British subjects when their treason took place, although i’m glad

    I also think the King who abdicated – a known admirer of Hitler both before and after the war, should have been deported – and I say that as a staunch monarchist

    ‘Never had you down as a supporter of capital punishment, Tim?’

    The death penalty of one of the many topics on which i am ambivalent about – but I support it for high treason, especially for people who colluded with the Nazis – arguably the most vile organisation of the 20th century (and let’s face it there’s no shortage of competition)

    On an almost daily basis the paoers are filled with shocking stories of people whose crimes warrant a noose around their neck, although the way it’s practised in the States – the only country in the Western World to still regularly enforce it – is profoundly unjust

  45. You’re right Tim. I got my Amerys mixed up there.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to be ambivalent about capital punishment, Tim. Surely either it’s right or its wrong, just as you can only either execute someone or not execute them.

    I would imagine everyone has an emotional reaction sometimes when reading or hearing about some horrendous crime to the effect that the perpetrator deserves to die. However I think one of the tests of civilisation is that we are able to rise above those feelings and not attempt to make two wrongs make a right.

    Besides which the risk of executing an innocent person is just too great for capital punishment to be on the statute book for any offence.

  46. I’m not comfortable with the idea of the state taking people’s lives and it does seem an odd way to show that you disapprove of murder so much that you murder the murderer as it were. And of course as you say, there’s always the risk of executing an innocent person

    I have to say though that I’m equally uncomfortable with the type of callous, shockingly depraved murders that seem increasingly common on the streets of Britain, and the criminal justice’s system complete inability to deal with it effectively.

    The sentences handed down seem to be so unreasonably leniant that its no real surprise scores of unrepetent thugs laugh their way out of court, and whilst that’s not in itself an argument for capital punishment, I do think in some exceptional cases (the trio involved in the baby P case, the french students who got tortured to death because there was insufficient funds in their bank accounts to pay their killers etc etc) a noose round the neck would be a more fitting punishment than eight years and a slap on the wrists

    Were it ever put to a referendum (and I hope it’s not) I think I’d abstain

  47. John Amery, apparently unbeknown to him, had a Jewish mother……so according to the Halacha (rabbinical law) he was actually Jewish. Julian Amery however was, like his father, a staunch Zionist, and was certainly not a supporter of the Nazis though he was of course very right-wing. It may well be that his opposition to hanging may have had something to do with the execution of his brother.
    I thought that it was well known that Brons is some sort of lecturer. He was in fact an important figure in the NF in the late 70s, when I cut my political teeth, as Nick Griffin was as a youth. Griffin was at Downing College Cambridge when I was at King’s, but I’m very happy to say I have never had the utter displeasure of meeting him.

  48. No no no – Leo Amery was the FATHER of the brothers Julian & John Amery. He was an imperialist but also a Zionist. He was Conservative MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook (which was marginal until some time into the tenure of Roy Hattersley) until he lost it to Labour in 1945 – Labour had failed to win any Birmingham seats in 1935 but won all but 3 in 1945. He was famous for shouting “Speak for England, Arthur” when Arthur Greenwood, a senior figure in the Labour Party for many years, said in the Commons that, in Attlee’s absence, he was speaking for the Labour Party. Amery was like Greenwood a great opponent of appeasement. Julian was the losing Tory candidate for the 2-member Preston seat in 1945 (along with Randolph Churchill, who had won a wartime by-election unopposed) but won Preston North in 1950, holding it right up to 1966. It was he, of course, not his father Leo, who was MP for Brighton Pavilion from a 1969 by-election until his retirement in 1992 – it’s coincidental that the constituency includes an area also called Preston! Julian was as some may recall my MP when I was a postgraduate student. I too heard him speak at an election meeting in 1983 & was pretty convinced he was sozzled.

  49. This has always struck me as a bizarre seat. Perhaps my fondness for the traditional counties is clouding my judgment but I can’t help but feeling that Wombourne should be with Tettenhall and Penn rather than being stuck with Great Wyrley on the other side of the M54!

  50. Surprisingly low swing here in 2010 – any reasons for that?

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