Stoke-on-Trent Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7008 (22.5%)
Labour: 12220 (39.3%)
Lib Dem: 1296 (4.2%)
Green: 1123 (3.6%)
UKIP: 7041 (22.7%)
Independent: 2120 (6.8%)
Others: 276 (0.9%)
MAJORITY: 5179 (16.7%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. Part of the Stoke-on-Trent council area and part of the Newcastle under Lyme council area.

Main population centres: Stoke, Hanley.

Profile: Stoke-on-Trent is actually an amalgamation of six towns, heavily associated with the industrial pottery industry. The most famous British pottery brands such as Wedgwood and Spode are all based in or around Stoke. This is also a former coal mining area, with the last coal mine in Stoke closing in the 1990s. Stoke-on-Trent Central covers the middle two of the six towns, Stoke and Hanley, which forms the city centre and main retail centre for Stoke as a whole.

Politics: Stoke is a city that is solidly Labour and Stoke-on-Trent Central has been held by Labour since its creation in 1950. Tristram Hunt`s select as Labour candidate here in 2010 was controversial, his (even more well-heeled) predecessor Mark Fisher stood down at a late stage due to ill-health meaning a shortlist for the Stoke Central seat was imposed by the national Labour party and did not feature any local candidates. Hunt was returned with a comfortable 17% majority but it is a sign of just how safe this seat was that this was the lowest ever Labour majority here. In 2015 Hunt's majority remained stable, but UKIP replaced the Liberal Democrats in second place.

Current MP
TRISTRAM HUNT (Labour) Born 1974. Educated at University College School and Cambridge University. Former Historian, journalist and broadcaster. First elected as MP for Stoke on Trent Central in 2010. Shadow Education Secretary 2013-2015. Declined to serve under Jeremy Corbyn.
Past Results
Con: 6833 (21%)
Lab: 12605 (39%)
LDem: 7039 (22%)
BNP: 2502 (8%)
Oth: 3491 (11%)
MAJ: 5566 (17%)
Con: 4823 (17%)
Lab: 14760 (53%)
LDem: 4986 (18%)
BNP: 2178 (8%)
Oth: 1160 (4%)
MAJ: 9774 (35%)
Con: 5325 (19%)
Lab: 17170 (61%)
LDem: 4148 (15%)
Oth: 1657 (6%)
MAJ: 11845 (42%)
Con: 6738 (17%)
Lab: 26662 (66%)
LDem: 4809 (12%)
Oth: 965 (2%)
MAJ: 19924 (50%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LIAM ASCOUGH (Conservative)
TRISTRAM HUNT (Labour) See above.
ZULFIQAR ALI (Liberal Democrat) Cardiologist. Contested Stoke on Trent South 2010.
MARK BREEZE (Independent)
Comments - 1,425 Responses on “Stoke-on-Trent Central”
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  1. A by-election for Stoke-on-Trent City Council is taking place here in new Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt’s seat next month with 10 (ten!) candidates.

    This has to be close to a record for a local by-election. Is something strange going on in Stoke-on-Trent’s politics?

    Nominations here:

  2. I cannot help but think that Hunt might well be the next Labour PM. He might well press the same buttons in the electorate that Tony Blair three times did rewarding Labour with very strong performances. I don’t rate the incumbent Labour leader as having a strong chance at the next election. Maybe Mandelson had his motives in getting Hunt firmly bedded in this seat in 2010.

  3. The main population centres listed by Anthony are incorrect. They refer to Stoke-on-Trent North. This seat is Stoke, Hanley & other bits which are essentially subsidiary to them, such as Etruria & Hartishill. If any of this is wrong, no doubt Shaun Bennett will correct me at some point.

  4. I recollect that back in the 1980s the Stoke seats, all three of them, had amongst the lowest Labour party memberships in the country.

    Given concern about the currently low state of Labour membership nationally, could somebody therefore tell use what the membership is for Labour, and indeed for other parties, in this seat?

    There is discussion going on for Doncaster North about a comparatively strong challenge to Labour there by UKIP.

    Tristan Hunt is clearly aiming at being, iif not Leader of the Labour Party, a snior cabinet Minister or member of the Shadow Cabinet. Somebody seking to act at that level needs a strong constituency base, including an effective full-time Agent, to ensure that nothing goes wrong at the home base whilst he is away camapigning nationally. Are such arrangements in place here.

    Events in Stoke between the two World Wars show how apparently safe seats can come under challenge from emergent parties.

  5. Green Party announce Weston Coyney resident Jan Zablocki as a left wing alternative for Stoke Central.
    Mr Zablocki, aged 64, said: “I was born in Stoke-on-Trent and I’ve lived and worked here all my life.
    “I’ve seen the demise of our pottery, coal, steel and tyre-making industries.

  6. I missed how appallingly Labour did here in 2010….their vote nearly halved from 1997 and a whopping 19% below 1992.

    Surely UKIP have the potential to run Labour quite close here, if they are still polling in double digits come the general election. I’m guessing the lion’s share of the Lib Dems’ 22% 2010 vote will be pissed off “none of the above” voters, as in Heywood & Middleton, rather than Guardian reading types – ie rich pickings for UKIP. Added to the BNP and UKIP 2010 vote, plus a few % from the Tories, UKIP could plausibly reach the 30-40% range in the right circumstances.

  7. Yes Labour did worse here than in Stoke N – usually Central is the strongest of the 3 Labour seats in the city. It’s also another example of a poor performance by an “A-list” candidate. I think Hunt will do rather better as a first-time incumbent but agree that there is some UKIP potential in the city.
    Re the Green candidate, my son used to be taught by a Mr Zablocki. I don’t think he’s from Stoke though.

  8. Shaun’s view would be much appreciated

  9. Stoke-on-Trent Conservatives selecting candidates for the three Stoke-on-Trent seats this week:

    Clearly the best the Tories can hope for in Stoke-on-Trent is to beat UKIP and hold on to second place, so I’d be sure that will be their objective.

  10. I doubt they’ll do so in Central and North.

  11. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 40%
    UKIP- 35%
    Con- 15%
    Lib- 7%
    BNP- 2%
    others- 1%

    If the greens are standing?

    Lab- 37%
    UKIP- 35%
    Con- 15%
    Lib- 5%
    Green- 5%
    BNP- 2%
    others- 1%

  12. I would be very surprised if it’s as close as that. I agree that UKIP will be a clear second though.

  13. No one expected it to be that close in heywood and middleton either. That’s my reasoning.

  14. But that was a byelection.

  15. Well UKIP are polling an extra three points higher than they were then anyway.

  16. Did anyone watch BBC Question Time last night (5th Feb)? Hunt had a rough ride and was up against a hostile right-of-centre audience! Has his chances of being Labour leader hit the buffers?

  17. He was very poor on Question Time but I personally think it was overshadowed by the unruly nature of last nights Question Time audience and it’s consistent taunts on Galloway. So I think he will get away with last night.

  18. “Hunt had a rough ride and was up against a hostile right-of-centre audience! Has his chances of being Labour leader hit the buffers?”

    He has never had any chance of becoming Labour leader anyway.

    He is so unpopular in the party that a pile of horseshit with a red rosette on it would beat him in a leadership election.

  19. Indeed, but what to make of Labour figures trying to put Alan Johnson in as leader? Smacks of desperation.

  20. If Johnson was prepared to step in it would have happened by now. He doesn’t want it, and has said so often enough.

    And why would he? It remains fairly likely that Labour will limp over the line in May, but who wants to lead a weak, calamitous minority administration until it inevitably runs into the buffers and is slaughtered in a second election?

  21. The key point is that he is being asked at all.

  22. In a number of past elections, not only in the 1980s, the Tories have successfully manipulated their overwhelming resources to peak on election day, getting a massive majority.

    Are we sure this will not happen in 2015. If so, this seat could be in the key area of the electoral battleground. What strength have the Tories on the ground here? Perhaps I should add by comparison with Labour, whose membership in Stoke has for a very long time been very weak.

    Perhaps we ought to gossip less about Hunt’s performance on Newsnight and more about his performance in the constituency.

    Incidentally I have once been to an event at which Tristram Hunt spoke. It was a guided tour of the London Library enouraging people to join. Not exactly like Stoke.

  23. If what I have heard is true, the people asking Johnson to stand are no longer frontline figures in the Labour Party & it would hardly be news that they are trying to destabilise Ed Miliband.

  24. What Barnaby said.

    The Blairites are desperate because, although he remains much too cautious, Ed Miliband really isn’t one of them. They would support almost anyone nearer to their way of thinking. In the way i would support anyone who opposed it

    Hunt is not only unpopular but inept and would be the very last person who we should choose as leader

  25. We mustn’t forget that Blair is the only Labour leader to win a working majority since 1966.

  26. Yes, but that is because he had no opposition to speak of in either 1997 or 2001, and by 2005 he won by dint of the electoral system. He alsao won votes from people who weren’t Labour in 97 because he appeared Not Labour enough to do so, but only kept them for a single term – and they never returned.

    A contemporary Blairite would be doing no better than Ed Miliband and may well be doing worse – I’d vote Green if Hunt was Labour leader

  27. I usually have a lot of time for Andy’s posts but to suggest that Tristram Hunt is in anything like the same league as Tony Blair is absurd. Blair was an electoral genius with the common touch. Hunt is an arrogant gaffe prone idiot.

    Merseymike also has a good point that Blairism has had its day.

  28. I’m of what would traditionally have been called the right of the Labour Party (I’d disagree with that label but that’s what it was) and even those of my world view think Blairism should never return.

    In return for a majority bigger than was strictly necessary (Smith would have won a solid landslide), Blair essentially tarred contemporary social democracy with the brush of cycnical, principle-free populism, varnished with a coat of authoritarianism.

    Blair had his time, but it’s long since gone. A Blairite Labour Party could very well have split in half some time this parliament.

  29. A lot of the traditional Labour right disliked Blair (Hattersley, Dunwoody etc). Whilst many of the most ardent Blairites were former Bennites in the early 80s – Hewitt, Straw, Blunkett etc. Blairites were perhaps best defined as opportunists rather than right wing as such.

  30. From what I can tell, the old Labour right had a lot in common with the old Tory patrician wets, while the Blairites had a lot in common with the Thatcherites just in their manner and attitude to politics. It was less about policies specifically (Wilson and Callaghan were always attacked for being too right wing) but cynicism vs. idealism about electoral politics.

  31. ”He has never had any chance of becoming Labour leader anyway.

    He is so unpopular in the party that a pile of horseshit with a red rosette on it would beat him in a leadership election.”

    H. Hemmelig – Oh, very intresting. I know he ruffled a few feathers in this seat’s CLP because he was parachuted in from Labour HQ but I didn’t know he was disliked throughout the party! Please tell us more!

  32. Add Kate Hoey to the list of rightish Labour politicians (though her voting record is very mixed, as she has often rebelled alongside the Labour left) who was a pretty big critic of Blairism.

  33. Labour Hold. 10,000 majority. Tories 2nd.

    Tristram Hunt not actually all that popular in his constituency. But he will win easily.

  34. Thought UKIP were supposed to be strong here

  35. In an interview, Andrew Neil asked Tristram Hunt if he will contend the Labour leadership and he responded by saying ‘that’s a matter for another day’. I like Hunt but he’s too posh to be Labour leader. He looks more Tory than Cameron! Can’t see him being popular in Scotland and the north.

  36. He’s certainly going to struggle to pull off the class warfare card

  37. Tristram Hunt strikes me as being similar to Dan Snow, but I don’t know if that’s a fair comparison.

  38. Hunt is so gaffe prone it’s laughable. Despite being better looking and less weird than Miliband, he’d go down awfully in the north and Scotland. Both regions dislike Blairites but for different reasons. I can’t see him making a dent in the south either. A clueless metropolitan type if there ever was one.

  39. Both Hunt and Snow are TV/radio historians.

  40. Of course yes- and they’re very similar facially and physically, as they’re both extremely tall.

  41. I assured you meant looks rather than views. Dan Snow is patriotic and a strong Unionist. Hunt is of the Left albeit from a public school background.

  42. Good points.

  43. Tristram Hunt was in Footlights with David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
    Liz Kendall was until recently going out with Greg Davies.
    Ed Miliband did his interview with Russell Brand.

    Forget all this panic about unions, surely the influence of the British comedy scene on the Labour Party should come under scrutiny!

  44. That’s a shame she’s no longer with Greg Davies. If she ever became PM, that would mean Mr Gilbert from The Inbetweeners could’ve been seen going in and out of 10 Downing Street with her lol.

  45. If Jeremy Corbyn were to be elected Labour leader, or indeed if any of the other three are elected as they look like having good prospects of falling flat on their faces, woudl Tristram Hunt be a likely candidate in the follow-up election? He seems to me one of very few Labour MPs likely to come up with some new ideas. as well as having some leadership competence.

    Any suggestions as to who else would be a plausible candidate in a further Labour leadership election? I assume none of the ones in the current one.

  46. 2020

    Mountshaft (UKIP) 11,343
    *Hunt (Lab) 11,287
    Dicks (Con) 6,775
    Cormack (Ind Lab) 2,031
    Bray (LD) 1,025
    McGuinness (SF) 101

    Majority 56

  47. The fact that the Stoke seats are coming into play means the Midlands is becoming even more important in electoral terms.

  48. Maybe these seats are coming into play electorally, but if Labour starts losing its seats IIn Stoke they really will be in trouble.

    Labour needs to get the basics right, for example by regaining control of the Council with coment and hard-working, and needless to say honest and stright-forward, councillors. And they need to rebuild their constituency parties again to be honest and stright-forward representatives of the local people.

  49. ”Tristram Hunt be a likely candidate in the follow-up election? He seems to me one of very few Labour MPs likely to come up with some new ideas. as well as having some leadership competence.”

    I havea feeling Hunt won’t even have a seat afer the 2020 GE. UKIP are really snapping at his heals here.

    Could we be in for a Portillo / Balls moment here?

  50. Wouldn’t rule it out. Hunt’s result as a first-time incumbent here was very disappointing, and along with the other two Stoke seats this appears to be moving away from Labour in the longterm. He will definitely have to fight this as a proper marginal in 2020 and the local party not take anything for granted.

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