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”
  1. Labour down 2%
    UKIP up 2%
    Con up 2%

    So not a huge change after all that.

    It seems the 2015 Ind 6.8% share probably did split 3 ways.

    The LDs also held their deposit and hurt the Greens.

  2. Only the 6th time since 1970 that the Government party increases it’s vote share in a by election.

  3. 7th time very likely within next half hour!

  4. I don’t know if it was us (LDs) that hurt the Greens per se – I think it’s worth remembering that since 2015 Corbyn has happened, so some Green voters may have floated to Labour anyway and certainly more may be prepared to back Labour to keep UKIP out (a sentiment that I imagine dampened the LD gains a bit as well). I suspect most of our vote increase came from Labour.

    Given Nuttall’s gaffes I’m almost surprised UKIP’s vote held up that well, but I guess that’s how these things go. I don’t think this tells us much other than that – Nuttall being in third or with a really lowered vote share might have hurt UKIP seriously, but they seem to be holding onto a certain core vote remarkably well given their messaging “difficulties” in recent weeks and months.

  5. A good result for Con
    A lost opportunity for UKIP but otherwise good
    A relief for Lab – losing would have been a disaster – but otherwise poor.

    It shows how far we are from “normal” times that the main opposition breathes a sigh of relief for hanging on to a seat they have held for decades. A “good” result for the opposition in such a seat would be to see their hare of vote and majority increase by at least 5/10%, if not 10/20% instead of dropping 2/4%.

  6. In Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour won despite Corbyn.

    In Copeland Labour lost because of Corbyn.

    A perfect storm for his leadership.

  7. Just posted on Copeland, perhaps worth noting here:

    Interesting that Labour retained a larger share of their 2015 vote number in Copeland than in Stoke Central – 69% vs 64%. That won’t be how the lazy media will report it – as if they’d even notice!

    Showing that Copeland was a higher quality campaign with a better Labour candidate as well as higher stakes and less smear campaigning than in Stoke, which no doubt suppressed UKIP and also increased swing to WNV from all parties I suggest.

  8. The electorate is a bit smaller in Stoke Central, but even ignoring the raw numbers the facts are:

    Stoke – Labour won with 14.3% of the electorate.
    Copeland – Labour lost with 19.2% of the electorate.

  9. Does anyone know if that breakdown of postal votes given earlier was accurate? – or if not what they were?

  10. BT SAYS…see below. .
    Gareth Snell Labour 7853
    Mohammed Yaqub Akram Independent 56
    Zulfiqar Ali Liberal Democrats 2083
    Jack Brereton Conservatives 5154
    The Incredible Flying Brick Official Monster Raving Loony Party 127
    Adam Colclough Green Party 294
    Godfrey Davies Christian Peoples Alliance 109
    Barbara Fielding Independent 137
    David Furness British National Party Local People First 124
    Paul Nuttall UKIP 5233
    Gareth Snell Labour 7853

    The total number of ballot papers counted was 21,200
    4,335 postal votes
    16,865 polling votes

    The number of ballot papers rejected was as follows:
    10 More candidates than voter was entitled to
    2 Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified
    18 Unmarked or void for uncertainty
    The total number of ballot papers rejected was 30

    Out of an electorate of 55,572 people
    Turnout 38.16 per cent.

  11. Thanks Alex – but that still doesn’t tell us whether the postal vote breakdown Lab / UKIP / Cons was in fact 31/29/29% as a Labour councillor was allegedly reporting at 1.00 time (see a couple of pages back).

  12. I think you’d have to send an email to Stoke council to confirm that information.

  13. “Corbyn’s position is safe, which is the main thing.”

    His position shouldn’t be safe after losing Copeland to the Tories on a 7% swing but the Tories will be delighted if he stays in position.

  14. 38% is actually a pretty good turnout considering the weather, the uninspiring choice of candidates, and that this had the lowest turnout of anywhere in 2015.

  15. Turnout was much higher at the EU referendum so maybe that has encouraged a few more people to get engaged with politics which has to be a good thing.

    From this result it seems the Tories have an excellent chance of winning both Stoke South and Newcastle-under-Lyme at the next general election if they put the resources in.

  16. Like Copeland I did reasonably well calling this result too.

    Labours vote did not “crater” as some expected. Perhaps as I speculated, the controversy over Hunt had already peeled away the soft support.

    UKIP managed to hold their vote with a high profile campaign despite Mr Nuttall’s negative press – but struggled to pick up any votes from anywhere else.

    The Conservative vote stayed solid – though I somewhat doubt that the PM will be investing in any more days out to Stoke Central.

    The Lib Dem vote picked up somewhat.

    Taken together with Copeland and the other by-elections since 2015, UKIP clearly have major issues going forward, not least with the Conservatives adopting a UKIP lite position.

    For Labour they may prove as Pyrrhic a victory as Eastleigh by-election was for the Lib Dems. Its retention makes it hard to remove Corbyn – but without that step, Labour does not appear to be able to make any progress : indeed probably the reverse.

  17. Not as interesting as Copeland this. Despite what certainly boosters are saying this is an absolutely rank rotten result for UKIP in general and Nuttall in particular.

    A lot was made of Snell’s silly social media use, usually by Kippers who would have cheered one of their own candidates saying the same, but he was otherwise a solid candidate who ran a capable campaign.

    Best you can say for UKIP us that despite having one of the worst campaigns any of us have ever ever seen, they still got second. That would ordinarily be cause just to quietly bin the candidate for any future seats but, er, he’s the party leader. Surely there has to be someone better on offer? If not the party is stuffed because where else do they have a better chance of winning from Labour?

  18. Lib Dem ramping by Mike Smithson and others proved nonsense I see

  19. They’re probably quietly content though – and now have a better idea of what they can expect to achieve in such seats in the new political climate we are in.

  20. ie b*gger all.

    A middle class protest party has no future in a political environment that will increasingly be shaped by identity politics.

  21. “I think you’d have to send an email to Stoke council to confirm that information.”

    I doubt the council has that information. It was probably just a rough estimate from someone doing sampling. Postal votes are supposed to be mixed in with other votes before being counted AFAIK.

  22. ‘Corbyn’s position is safe, which is the main thing.’

    How can it be given that Labour have just lost a seat they held since the 1930s

    I suspect this will actually be the final nail in his coffin- as it proves what his detractors have said all along – he’s a vote loser

  23. Some morning after thoughts:

    1/ Given Nuttall’s problems and the number of activists they flooded the seat with I am a bit surprised Labour didn’t achieve a slight increased vote share. But they did get enough of their vote out to win comfortably enough and for that some credit must go to the local campaign.

    2/ UKIP’s result fits into the pattern of them struggling to defend their 2013/14/15 vote rather than building on it. In that context this wasn’t their worst recent result. To regain momentum they must be secrectly hoping May makes a mess of Brexit.

    3/ John Curtice makes a very valid point on the flaw in UKIP’s strategy of targeting Labour leavers – namely that they are a much smaller group than is often assumed and that, actually, to win seats like Stoke what they need to do is consolidate the non-Labour vote around them rather than focus on direct LAB>UKIP switching. However, it is hard to see how they address that at this particular in moment in time whilst the Tories are riding high in the polls.

    4/ I think the Tories did try harder than has been assumed. What they may regret is not signalling more clearly that they thought they could win until the LAB v UKIP narrative had taken hold. But in any case I don’t think a win was realistic – it would have been a completely off the scale extraordinary result.

    5/ Some LDs were ramping this as them having a chance. The result must, then, come as a bit of a reality check. They are starting to rebuild and make some inroads into the remainer vote, but they aren’t coming higher than 4th in places like Stoke any time soon.

  24. Second vote?

  25. I can see John Curtice’s point, but being a ‘Leaver’ isn’t the only type of Labour supporter that UKIP can attract. There was a lot of talk in Stoke reported about ‘Labour having done nothing for us all these years’ and I am fairly sure that Nuttall would have won had the campaign not turned very publicly away from Snell’s tweets etc. and against Nuttall on a national as well as local scale.

    In that sense, Snell may already be on borrowed time – though whether Tories or UKIP stand to gain the seat at the next GE (if anyone does, I mean) remains to be seen. UKIP can at least be thankful that another narrow 2nd place finish keeps them relevant, otherwise the talk would have all been about ‘decline’.

  26. “Labour should be concerned about their chances of holding North and South in 2020”

    And Central.


    I thought you promised to go and never return if Labour held Stoke

    Whilst you have a track record of breaking promises left, right and centre I had hoped this might be me one you would stick to

    You got Copeland right though

  28. @BT Says

    Well, there are few UKIP supporting Remainers and I don’t think it is very realistic to expect that to change! I therefore think Curtice is completely right on UKIP.

    On Labour I’m not fully convinced by his argument, essentially that they are better off chasing the Remain vote. This might be the best way of keeping the 25% of so that still support Labour today on board as this group is overwhelmingly Remain and perhaps tempted by the Lib Dems. But winning an election requires a lot more than that and almost certainly requires them to win a reasonably sized chunk of Leave voters.

  29. Jack

    I’ve heard of many UKIP supporters over a period of time who support UKIP for completely different reasons to the EU.

    For a start, they are not the establishment, they sound more like the working class than Labour, and they drink beer comfortably in working class pubs . . . jokes apart, their policies are becoming more leftwing economically (whilst right wing socially – perfect for many ‘old Labour’ types), though they need to keep their voice heard, something they’d struggled to do since Brexit until Stoke came along.

    Still, my point is that you seem to have (unusually for you) a very sterotypical view of potential UKIP supporters which is extremely narrow. They still have a lot of ‘NOTA’ appeal, perhaps their biggest advantage.

  30. I agree with BT.

    Lots of the UKIP twitterati are melting on social media because the Tories split their vote and let Labour in.

    The failure to squeeze the Tory vote is quite telling, and with UKIP pursuing a leftist economic view and ‘it’s everyone’s fault’ socially… Cons aren’t going to vote tactically.

    Especially in a key by election where a UKIP win could finish Corbyn, potentially.

    The plight of UKIP isn’t dissimilar to Labour in Scotland, attacked from the left and right… May has swept up much of the former Tory voters that switched to UKIP, and Lab are still ahead with working class people in large parts of the country.

    Until they find a niche they’re going to keep losing what appear to be winnable elections.

  31. plopwelian tory,

    Why are you still posting on here after promising to leave if Labour won this seat ?

  32. I think UKIP’s biggest problem is that the NOTA vote is drifting back to the Lib Dems as memories of the coalition fade

  33. I notice with Plop Tory that he simply ignores anything that doesn’t suit him – a number of posters have given him the same message and he doesn’t respond.

    As I said yesterday him posting isn’t a problem, it’s the endless posts……..and as with several points above, they are simply stating the obvious. Which we all do from time to time, just not seventeen times a day.

    Concise and relevant PT…..concise and relevant………

  34. SCOTT BOY…., PLOP will probably spin it by writing that he promised not to post anymore HERE; that is, solely on the STOKE-ON-TRENT central thread!!

  35. @BT

    I agree with you that neither UKIP’s policies nor its appeal is all about Brexit. It is, however, the case that last week’s YouGov had UKIP on 0% among Remainers. Few NOTA voters will have voted Remain, and if they did then that suggests that UKIP are unlikely to be a very attractive protest for them.

    The core point that Curtice is making, and which I think is correct, is that the much talked about leave vote from core Labour voters is much smaller than is usually suggested. In Stoke Central, for example, whilst 65% voted Leave overall, it is likely that the majority of this was comprised of 2015 UKIP, Con and Ind voters, and only a minority from 2015 Lab voters. Even in Stoke Central it is likely most 2015 Lab voters voted Remain. If UKIP want to get the Brexit majority to back them they need to target the Tory vote too, not just the Labour vote.

  36. Amongst LAB GE2015 & LEAVE voters, this yougov poll shows slightly more LAB – UKIP than LAB – CON

    8% LAB LEAVERS will definitely switch to UKIP
    8% LAB LEAVERS will definitely switch to CON

    25% LAB LEAVERS will consider switch to UKIP
    14% LAB LEAVERS will consider switch to CON


  37. Jack

    Yes, but of course they targeted Labour here – they were the incumbents. And also very wishy-washy on Brexit compared to Tories.

    Anyway, Curtice’s more extended point / conclusion was that therefore they shouldn’t make Labour voters their chief target because there’s more Tory leavers to target. Which of course is literally correct, but a naive strategy. They (Tory leavers) have less reason (atm at least) to switch to UKIP.

    Furthermore, people talk about the % of Labour who are / were Leavers – but this overlooks the huge pool of ex-Labour voters from the 1992-2005 era. Many of which are now in the WNV category, and probably a very good match for UKIP (but not for either New Labour or ‘Islington Labour’).

    Even back to Curtice’s original premise re Labour Leavers – 1/3 of the Labour 2015 vote is still nearly enough to double UKIP’s 2015 vote haul. That’s without the WNVs, who might be tougher to win over but a) at least no longer have party allegiance; and b) many of whom got back on the voting register for the EU referendum.

    Plus, finally, in some if these working class seats the messaging for Labour and Tory voters that UKIP want to woo might often not be that different. People don’t belong to large homogeneous voting blocs anymore like the 1960s.

    Sorry, this post has jumped around a bit. Hopefully you get my drift. . .

  38. As a political student I’m sure he’ll appreciate these words of implorement::-

    “You have (posted here) too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go”

  39. ”Anyway, Curtice’s more extended point / conclusion was that therefore they shouldn’t make Labour voters their chief target because there’s more Tory leavers to target. Which of course is literally correct, but a naive strategy. They (Tory leavers) have less reason (atm at least) to switch to UKIP.”

    Yes squeezing the Tory vote in places like Stoke is how UKIP is going to break through in WWC Labour heartlands and probably also by targeting non-voters. Most Labour voters who would consider UKIP seem to have already switched and targeting Labour’s remaining base is probably a fruitless task as Labour’s base mostly hates UKIP.

    In my opinion if UKIP had run a strong local candidate and ran a strong, professional, highly organised campaign specifically targeting Tory voters I think they would likely have beaten Labour in Stoke Central. If they could somehow implement and replicate this strategy they would probably pose a serious threat to Labour in WWC seats where the Labour vote is sub about 45% and where the Tories have a base vote (to squeeze) but are uncompetitive to actually win. There are quite a lot of constituencies that fit this description though implementing this strategy is easier said than done…

  40. Thanks….What’s the weather going to be in the City of Chester on the 6th May 2020…?

  41. Plops

    And what will you think this seat will do in 2020, on Monday?

    And Tuesday?

    And Wednesday?

    And . . .

  42. ‘There are quite a lot of constituencies that fit this description though implementing this strategy is easier said than done…’

    Especially if your party is more interested in fighting itself than anyone else, as UKIP is.

    UKIP’s moment for this kind of strategy has passed. Unless the Tories renege on Brexit, I think UKIP face steady decline from here.

  43. Nigel Farage was on Jeremy Vine this lunchtime and opined that UKIP would have to follow the Lib Dems’ example of winning seats by taking tactical votes from other parties to defeat incumbents.

    But he’s missing the point that UKIP are very few people’s second-favourite party. They are favourite party of a significant minority of voters and despised by a large proportion of the rest. This contrasts with the Lib Dems, who (at least before the coalition) weren’t really hated by anybody and were a much easier sell.

  44. Yes…it’s difficult to see UKIP winning a seat in a by election. Even seats like Thanet N or Folkestone would be v big asks for them.

    Of course if A50 is triggered in a few weeks time, there’ll be no need for any Tory MP to resign and do a Carswell or Reckless.

  45. The only way to achieve it would be to work a patch for years and be reliant on the party message chiming in with the electorate there for a prolonged period.

    In 20 years from now I think people will look back in astonishment that UKIP held a seat like Rochester – even if it was entirely on the back of the personal vote of a defecting MP. 30% in a GE in an area like that for them won’t happen again.

    By that point, they’ll have lurched from their current leftist economic position back to wild free marketeers, and then back again…. whilst maintaining a ‘it’s everyone’s fault’ socially.

    The switch from harming the Tory party electorally to being completely incapable of putting a dent in them happened remarkably quickly.

    Lots of the members still don’t realise that they’re going to have to campaign on issues that they joined UKIP to campaign against… in order to be successful electorally. Strange paradox.

    A lad who I was fairly good friends with before I left and he subsequently fell out with me over it identifies as a libertarian yet recently apparently came out in favour of state ownership of public services. When I first met him he was on the Dan Hannan wing of libertarianism.

  46. Where’s TheResults these days? Funny how he disappeared just before Plopwellian Tory arrived, although they have different political positions.

  47. That would be a twist

  48. You’re 18 and it’s Saturday night. Get a life, man.

  49. I’m 25 and I spent my Saturday evening attending a quiz night at my local church where the average age was probably about seventy.

    We’re mostly losers on here.

  50. I’m sorry not to have posted earlier about the stupendous Lib Dem success here. I had a great evening at a pole dancing club until I spent ages calling out desperately for paper but nobody would help.
    So only back to this now. UKIP has gone got wheeled off into a ditch and Labour are in a mess. Only the Lib Dems can and will take seats like this next time. I think the Lib Dems should, though, come out for Brexit in Leave seats only.

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