Stockton South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24221 (46.8%)
Labour: 19175 (37%)
Lib Dem: 1366 (2.6%)
Green: 952 (1.8%)
UKIP: 5480 (10.6%)
Independent: 603 (1.2%)
MAJORITY: 5046 (9.7%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North East, Cleveland. Part of the Stockton on Tees council area.

Main population centres: Stockton, Thornaby, Yarm, Ingleby Barwick, Eaglescliffe.

Profile: Straddling the traditional boundary between Yorkshire and County Durham, Stockton South is a relatively affluent and middle class seat compared to most seats in the North-East. Contains the southern part of Stockton itself and the towns of Thornaby, Yarm, Ingleby Barwick and Eaglescliffe.

Politics: Stockton South is unusual just for being a Conservative seat in the Labour dominated North East - their only other seats in the regon is the large rural Northumberland seats. Stockton South is regarded as a marginal seat between Labour and the Conservatives, won very marginally by the Conservatives in 2010 and 2015. Stockton South was one of only 6 to return SDP MPs in the 1983 election, with Ian Wrigglesworth one of only four of the sitting MPs who crossed the floor to retain his seat, largely because his Conservative opponent was revealed to have past links with the National Front and many Conservative ministers refused to campaign for him. The seat fell to the Conservatives in 1987, and to Labour in 1997..

Current MP
JAMES WHARTON (Conservative) Born 1984, Stockton. Educated at Yarm School and Durham University. Former solicitor. First elected as MP for Stockton South in 2010. Junior Minister for local growth and Northern Powerhouse since 2015. Wharton was the youngest Conservative MP returned at the 2010 election.
Past Results
Con: 19577 (39%)
Lab: 19245 (38%)
LDem: 7600 (15%)
BNP: 1553 (3%)
Oth: 2309 (5%)
MAJ: 332 (1%)
Con: 15341 (34%)
Lab: 21480 (48%)
LDem: 7171 (16%)
UKIP: 931 (2%)
MAJ: 6139 (14%)
Con: 14328 (32%)
Lab: 23414 (53%)
LDem: 6012 (14%)
Oth: 455 (1%)
MAJ: 9086 (21%)
Con: 17205 (33%)
Lab: 28790 (55%)
LDem: 4721 (9%)
MAJ: 11585 (22%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JAMES WHARTON (Conservative) See above.
LOUISE BALDOCK (Labour) Born 1965, West Midlands. Educated at Conyers School and Teeside Polytechnic. Runs a marketing company. Liverpool councillor 2006-2014.
DREW DURNING (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Reading University. Online retailler and marketing consultant.
TED STRIKE (UKIP) Born Thornaby. Businessman and former fireman. Contested Stockton South 2010 for the Christian Party.
JACQUI LOVELL (Green) community psychologist.
STEVE WALMSLEY (Independents Against Social Injustice) Stockton councillor since 1999.
Comments - 247 Responses on “Stockton South”
  1. That’s true. I think it’s possible that if someone had said to James Wharton when he was first elected in 2010 that he would then go on to successfully defend his seat five years later with a much increased majority of over 5000, he would have been amazed.

  2. My interpretation of the results in the hypermarginals was that at the last election the opposition lacked credibility. People voted accordingly. Probably accentuated by the fact that Labour would have been beholden to a frankly loopy SNP if they got in.

    (some of the esteemed commentators on this site had been pontificating that party leaders counted for diddly squat come voting time. I think that’s another universal truth widely acknowledged that we can consign as poppycock)

  3. The most important thing to remember about the last parliament, especially with regard to this website, is that Labour were ahead — often by substantial margins — for the vast majority of time between 2010 and 2015. It didn’t do them any good in the end.

  4. Perhaps those polls were no more accurate than the GE poll.

  5. That’s an interesting thought: were the polls showing Lab leads a correct snapshot which became undone by the ge, or just consistently wrong?

  6. By election tonight in this seat

    7/5/2015 RESULTS:
    Labour 1,608, 1,501 (46%)
    Conservative 950, 887 (27%)
    Independent 419 (12%)
    Green Party 285 (8%)
    Liberal Democrats 192, 179 (6%)

  7. Stockton on Tees result: 28/1/2016
    L 52,5% (+6,7)
    C: 31,9% (+4,8)
    UKIP: 9,9% (+9,9)
    LD: 5,7% (+0,2)
    A comfortable by-election win for Labour / Corbyn.

  8. Labour’s 2015 candidate wasn’t great, to be honest, couldn’t help thinking she was a bit odd at times (I’m not alone in that feeling). Labour’s share of the vote went up both nationally and on Teesside,it should have been easy to reverse Wharton’s tiny 2010 majority, I can’t help thinking the candidate must have played a pretty big role in that not happening.


  9. Now looking at the potential boundary changes in the whole Teeside area. Its another complicated one but for a rather unique reason. Collectively Stockton, Middlesbrough and Cleveland are entitled to about 4.5 seats, while not ideal a cross county seat between Durham and North Yorkshire is required.

    Problem arises in that the area is basically pencilled in with Darlington (which will probably just expand into the rural Darlington wards) to the West and Hartlepool (which will take in Blackhalls like last time) to the North. Thus as far as I can tell any proposals either require one of the towns to be split or some real radical changes (and some slightly kooky seats) to preserve them.

    I tried splitting Hartlepool but it was a complete catastrophe and lead to some serious abominations so I ruled that out. I then came up with two different sets of proposals, one that splits Darlington into two seats but relatively limited and reasonable changes elsewhere. Or a proposal that keeps Darlington intact but requires quite a big re-jig of the area and creates a new Sedgefield seat that I’m not particularly happy with.

    I’m reluctant to post my proposals in the hope that somebody has something better? Its another dodgy area to be sure.

  10. Have you tried sorting out the the North Riding contained in Teesside? Middlesborough, Redcar and East Cleveland are all too small. My solution is to bring in the North Riding bits of Stockton South to make up the numbers.

  11. Tory
    I’m not totally sure what you mean?

  12. Well, what are your proposals for Redcar, Middlesborough, Middlesborugh South & East Cleveland? How did you bring them into quota?

  13. Tory
    Well this is the “keep Darlington intact” option, after reviewing it I decided I preferred this set of proposals. Note its not possible to go for the minimum disruption approach of just adding additional wards onto the undersized seats, doing so results in some truly awful seats so to create something halfway decent I basically started afresh and came up with the following.

    “Redcar and Cleveland” Electorate 77,789
    Contains all of the Redcar and Cleveland authority bar the wards of Grangetown, Southbank, Teesville, Normanby and Ormesby.

    “Middlesbrough North East” Electorate 72,051
    Contains the 5 leftover wards from Redcar along with Park End, Brambles, Berwick Hills, North Ormseby, Central, Newport, Linthorpe, Park, Longlands and Acklam from the Middlesbrough authority.

    “Middlesbrough South West” Electorate 73,457
    All of the remaining wards in the Middlesbrough authority along with all of the Stockton Authority east of the River Tees aka Mandale, Village, Stainsby Hill and Ingleby Barwick East and West.

    “Stockton and Yarm” Electorate 75,818
    Contains all of the remaining Stockton Authority EXCEPT the 5 Billingham Wards and the Northern Parishes.

    Those latter excluded wards are then added to a new Sedgefield seat.

    Not ideal but its the best I could come up with, I’m willing to try and explain my logic for these proposals.

  14. I disagree with you about there not being scope for minimum disruption- at least where the North Riding is concerned. There really isn’t any need for two Middlesborough seats. If you take Ormesby from Redcar and swap it with with Brambles and then add Thornaby you end up with a correctly sized Middleborough. To achieve the same for Redcar you simply add Saltburn and Brotton from East Cleveland. That leaves a seat based heavily on the current East Cleveland but with Yarm and Ingleby Barwick attached. You may not like that seat (for a number of reasons I suspect) but it’s far from being awful and it links together those parts of Cleveland with a suburban/semi-rural character. It would have been Conservative by about 2000 or so in 2015 (a lot more more marginal than Stockton South then). My proposal also keeps all of the North Riding together, which is neater.

    Crossing I have created a Stockton seat which contains all of the Durham part of the Stockton borough less Billingham which I have paired with Sedgefield. My Darlington seat is coterminous with the borough and my version of Hartlepool loses the rural west ward to Sedgefield (without which you can’t link Sedgefield and Billingham) but gains Blackhall from Easington and Wingate from Sedgefield

  15. *Crossing the Tees…

  16. 1. Middlesborough 77,905

    2. Redcar 74,683

    3. Guisborough & Yarm 78,184

    4. Stockton on Tees 71,387

    5. Sedgefield 71,786

    6. Darlington 74,929

    7. Hartlepool 71,400

  17. Tory
    We certainly agree in parts but I do have a few criticisms. We agree on Darlington and on the need for Billingham to be paired with Sedgefield but the agreements end there.

    Your proposals have created five multi authority seats three of which contain territory from three authorities, the BC frowns on multi authority seats as you well know and they REALLY frown upon seats that contain wards from three or more authorities. This is supposed to be the type of thing you only do as a complete last resort. My proposals manage to limit the multi authority seats to four and none of them contain wards from more than two authorities.

    I also understand your desire to create a seat that contains all the largely rural wards in the area but its simply not possible to create a rural seat here, your Guisborough and Yarm seat is really very disparate. As well as the aforementioned point about it crossing three authorities the seat does contain a big chunk of urban Middlesbrough that actually dissects a very spindly seat. If there was one big rural ward to the far south of Middlesbrough things might be different alas…

    Also as I alluded to earlier your proposals necessitate carving up the Hartlepool authority so you can connect Billingham to Sedgefield. My proposals don’t require this since the Northern Parishes don’t need to be paired with Stockton and thus Hartlepool can remain intact.

    But if I’m honest the latter points are a drop in the ocean compared to the first point. If the BC follow their own rules they are very unlikely to propose such a large number of three authority seats when there are other reasonable alternatives.

  18. 62% Leave 38% Remain.

  19. The Tories gained a seat in a local by-election here from Labour in the Grangefield ward. They haven’t had councillors here since they lost them in 2011. I imagine turnout was terrible (as it usually is with these kind of things) so I wouldn’t read much into it, but it’s still interesting though.

  20. Nice BBC piece in the John Harris, “let’s talk to real voters” mould:

  21. Most revealing is the lifelong Labour voter who doesn’t know who Jeremy Corbyn is. To be frank, the existence of people like this is probably the only thing keeping Labour competitive.

  22. It was one local byelection. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  23. What?? Good grief.

  24. Yes, it was very close – by only 500 or so votes I think.

  25. On the basis of today’s results I’d say:

    – Darlington and Middlesborough S&EC look dead cert Tory gains
    – They also have chances in Stockton North and Hartlepool
    – The Cons made big advances in Redcar too, but winning from 4th in the GE is probably a bit too much of a stretch. Probably.

  26. Not sure how the Sky projection of a majority of 48 is calculated, as that’d only mean 2 or 3 Tory gains in each region.

    If its purely extrapolated from projected national share of 37% I can understand it, but that seems a bit daft given Inds received 12% in the Locals.

  27. Its extrapolated from the PNS.
    Its hard to tell in Redcar and Clevland how big the gains were in the wards that make up Redcar the seat to see if the Torries have a chance of wining that seat.

  28. Absolute madness. Let’s not forget, this was George Osborne’s plan to install regionally elected Labour Party representatives to whom the government could pass the blame. Boy has that one backfired 😉

  29. Local elections do tend to flatter opposition parties. Mrs Thatcher managed only small leads in the local elections of 1983 and 1987 and went on to landslide wins in the general elections.

  30. Indeed. 1982 was apparently the last time the Tories had an 11% lead in the Locals.

    Although I still think it’s silly to project a national vote share due to 12% voting for Inds etc.

  31. ”Hartlepool must’ve voted Tory as well.”


    No the Tories came third in Hartlepool with UKIP coming second on first preferences. Middlesbrough is the standout result for the Tories being only ~2,000 behind Labour in an authority that contains a rock solid Labour parliamentary seat and only half a marginal.

    The results by borough were:

    Tory: 16,112 + 2,147 = 18,259
    Labour: 12,043 + 1,852 = 13,895
    Lib Dem: 3,426
    UKIP: 2,232

    Tory: 7,155 + 1,708 = 8,863
    Labour: 5,571 + 1,343 = 6,914
    Lib Dem: 3,395
    UKIP: 938

    Labour: 4,242 + 1,250 = 5,492
    UKIP: 3,486
    Tory: 3,233 + 1,607 = 4,840
    Lib Dem: 1,102

    Labour: 8,470 + 969 = 9,439
    Tory: 6,223 + 1,210 = 7,433
    Lib Dem: 1,887
    UKIP: 1,243

    Redcar and Cleveland:
    Labour: 9,471 + 1,189 = 10,660
    Tory: 7,555 + 1,628 = 9,183
    Lib Dem: 2,740
    UKIP: 1,576

    Tory: 40,278 + 8,300 = 48,578
    Labour: 39,797 + 6,603= 46,400
    Lib Dem: 12,550
    UKIP: 9,475

    Intrestingly the Tories netted votes on 2nd preference transfers from every borough.

  32. Labour gain this seat!

  33. It does seem to be the most Wet/Remainers who are losing if it’s true Gummer, Rudd are in trouble as well as here Ellison (although that seems to reflect the London wing to Labour).

  34. Working class people return to their natural home.

  35. Stunned by this result especially considering relatively good Tory results in NE. Remainer backlash? BBC attributing it to steel works but tories up in Redcar so that doesn’t make sense.

  36. It is a curious result especially given what happened next door in Middlesborough South/Cleveland.

    Given his activity in the 2010-15 parliament James Wharton was clearly a Leave supporter, and the estimate for his constituency was 55% Leave : a little below the local average but not you would have thought sufficient to trouble him. His vote percentage stayed static at 46% and he did not receive any net benefit from the usual sharp UKIP decline (-8.4%). Yet according to BBC analysis the Conservative vote across the region as a whole was 10% higher!

  37. Another result that had me reaching for the champagne

    Last year’s EU referendum probably wouldn’t have happened if not for this right wing little sh*t so i was pleased to see him on the unemployment line just sad that many of his constituents will share his fate once we actually leave

  38. So…not a fan then Tim?

  39. I didn’t realise the role Wharton had in bringing about the referendum. Most accounts of the story credit* Steve Baker with biggest role doing the necessary parliamentary legwork.

    *Please feel free to put a less complementary verb here, Tim.

  40. Amusing that after 10 years on this site Tim still appears not to understand the comments policy.

  41. He was the sponsor of the private members’ bill seeking to put holding a referendum into law that the Conservatives supported, but which eventually ran out of time, in 2013-14. Not sure this was all that significant, except symbolically – Cameron had already announced the referendum in early 2013.

  42. Plop
    “To be fair his 2015 majority was artificially inflated by the fact that his opponent was quite the left-winger!”

    Really? I don’t claim to be hugely familiar with either but from what I can tell Dr Paul Williams appears to be further to the left than Louise Baldock was, not that that’s saying much since I cant find anything that would suggest she was particularly left wing at all.

    As an aside I think we’ve had these discussions before, the political orientation of a given MP rarely makes a noticeable difference. People where claiming Chris Williamson only lost Derby N is 2015 cos he was so left wing only for him to regain the seat 2 years later having ran an even more left wing campaign than he did in 2010 and 2015..

  43. I spend the last weekend of the election working for Paul Williams and I was not aware n the least bit surprised at the result. Three things stood out for me, as a local GP he had a very good reputation in the area and came across very well on the doorsteps, in 2015 the independent councillors did not back the then Labour candidate but this time they came out in favour of Paul Williams and finally on no less the three occasions on Saturday afternoon cars stopped and asked for posters as we were walking between houses, something which I had never been xperienced before.

    With a better campaign in 2015 Labour should have won this seat, but the instead Labour North took control of the campaign and made a right mess of it. This time because the party was looking at seats it might lose, they didn’t put anything into the seat leaving the locals to get on and run a good local campaign. Is there a message in there?

  44. This stood out as a very good result indeed here for Labour. I was under the impression based on all evidence available here that James Wharton had been a popular local MP for the last seven years, particularly after his strong enough hold two years ago, but evidently it appears with a strong local candidate of their own Labour found the magic winning formula to take this seat back.

  45. DaveM – your experience with Labour North is shared by many. Not many people who had anything to do with the Copeland by-election will have a good word to say about them.
    Paul Williams is not the first MP of that name incidentally – a Monday Club-ish Tory called Paul Williams won the Sunderland South by-election in 1953, and managed to hold the seat until 1964.

  46. Quote from Tees Valley Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen:

    “There are vast swathes of North Yorkshire that are more aligned with the Tees Valley than the rest of Yorkshire.”

    Given how unlikely Mr Houchen, who squeezed home at the height of a Tory wave, is to win a second term on the authority’s current boundaries, this looks an awful lot like an attempt to cling on to power via gerrymandering.

  47. DaveM – that’s interesting and amusing (upthread there was a discussion about how woeful the campaign was here in 2015).

    However, the losing 2015 PPC was a local (& former NEC member), Louise Baldock. Although she spent the previous decade in Liverpool so perhaps she wasn’t as up-to-speed and took it for granted?

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