Stoke-on-Trent South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12780 (32.7%)
Labour: 15319 (39.2%)
Lib Dem: 1309 (3.3%)
Green: 1029 (2.6%)
UKIP: 8298 (21.2%)
TUSC: 372 (1%)
MAJORITY: 2539 (6.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. The southern part of the Stoke-on-Trent council area.

Main population centres: Longton, Fenton.

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 South covers the two most southern of the six towns, Longton and Fenton, as well as the Mier Park estate (built on the site of old aerodrome) and Trentham, the most middle class suburb of Stoke.

Politics: Historically Stoke-on-Trent South has been the least safe of the Stoke seats for Labour, but that is by the standards of a city that is solidly Labour. Stoke-on-Trent South has been Labour since its creation in 1950, and Robert Flello retained a ten percent majority at the last election..

Current MP
ROBERT FLELLO (Labour) Born 1966, Birmingham. Educated at Kings Norton Boys School and University of Wales. Former tax and financial advisor. Birmingham councillor 2002-2004. First elected as MP for Stoke on Trent South in 2005. PPS to Bob Ainsworth 2009-2010.
Past Results
Con: 11316 (28%)
Lab: 15446 (39%)
LDem: 6323 (16%)
BNP: 3762 (9%)
Oth: 3005 (8%)
MAJ: 4130 (10%)
Con: 9046 (24%)
Lab: 17727 (47%)
LDem: 5894 (16%)
BNP: 3305 (9%)
Oth: 1848 (5%)
MAJ: 8681 (23%)
Con: 8877 (25%)
Lab: 19366 (54%)
LDem: 4724 (13%)
BNP: 1358 (4%)
Oth: 1703 (5%)
MAJ: 10489 (29%)
Con: 10342 (22%)
Lab: 28645 (62%)
LDem: 4710 (10%)
Oth: 1436 (3%)
MAJ: 18303 (40%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JOE RICH (Conservative) Barrister.
ROBERT FLELLO (Labour) See above.
PETER ANDRAS (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Babes

Comments - 160 Responses on “Stoke-on-Trent South”
  1. Interesting comments on the falling membership numbers buried in the article…

  2. [] so here is my prediction for 2015:

    Lab 45
    UKIP 21
    Con 19
    LD 7
    Others 8

  3. I’d imagine a result like this for May 2014, but there is no way UKIP will get 21% here in a General Election year.

  4. Even back in the 1980s Stoke had notably low Labour Party memberships, and the article on the MPs re-selection suggets that things haven’t improved.

    I cannot see UKIP winning this seat, but give disaffection with Miliband labour in Stoke I can see them getting 20%. More to the point, disaffection with Labour in Stoke has led in recent years to local groups of Councillors. Unless Labour can rebuild popular support, notably by abandoning Miliband’s “Rainbow Coalition” policies and his tendency to kowtow to funding from rich backers, often with strong overseas connections, grassroots disaffection may well blow up in their faces in this seat and Stoke generally, as it very nearly did in the 1920s and 1930s.

  5. Labour will win. UKIP will poll well but may not advance ahead of the Cameronite Party.
    Although this seat looks like a long-term gain for the centre-right to those of us that know it (like next door Newcaslte-Under-Lyme), Labour will be safe this time. And David Cameron’s abandonment of voters in seats like this in favour liberal elitist metropolitan tendancies will lead to the collapse of the Cameronite Party vote here in 2015.

    I’ll guess the Cameronite Party vote will be even lower than the 22% won by the old Conservative Party in 1997.

  6. “…the Cameronites Party…”

    Are you still a member?

  7. Yes

    I always said, as you will no doubt remember, that I would still vote Conservative at the general election. But no I am rethinking that position. I can’t tell you how much I feel hatred for Cameron and all his social democratic principles. And I’m beginning to think to myself “if you hate them that much, why vote for them”. I can’t answer that question. I might vote for UKIP, or an Independent candidate but will have to see closer to the day.

    My use of the term “Cameronite” rather than “Conservative” is because I now feel that todays, what is called Conservative Party, is nothing like the one that I used to support. And yet I’m still a member of it!

    I just can’t make the emotional break with the party of Thatcher and Norman Tebbit. If Tebbit said he was leaving, I’d be off like a shot as well. But he’s staying put.

    I am starting to use the term ‘Cameronite Party’ in order to convince myself that my party is gone now and that I have no emotional loyalties to this thing that remains. That will make it easier to cast my vote a different way, I suppose.

    For the record, I’ll be standing as an Independent candidate again in my own ward in the city council elections on the same day (curses) as the general election.
    Stoke City council run by Labour really is more unpopular than it has EVER been. If not for the general election on the same day, Labour would be out easily and I will say that right now. No doubt about it.
    But on the back of the general election, they may well scrape through for another 4 year term.

    Its unjust, its unfair, I know. My main concern now is to make sure we have a strong Independent representation on the council-and maybe even Independent controlled council.
    And with me on it, at least there will be a conservative there-which is more than you can say at the moment!

  8. If you were in the Labour Party, and you stood as an Independent against official Labour candidates, you’d have your membership cancelled. Probably the Tories don’t have such stringent rules. I seem to remember also that Neil Hamilton stood as the official Conservative candidate when he lost Tatton in 1997, even though it was known he had already left the party. The party does have some rather laisser-faire membership rules – not that it’s any of my business, perhaps.
    How do you rate your chances? I hope you don’t mind if I don’t go as far as to wish you good luck.

  9. “If you were in the Labour Party, and you stood as an Independent against official Labour candidates, you’d have your membership cancelled. Probably the Tories don’t have such stringent rules”

    I don’t think they really care about small fry like me. If I’m stupid enough to carry on giving them my money, I suppose they’re happy to carry on taking it. Throwing me out of the party won’t change anything, except their membership list and their bank account. I’ll be slightly better off and they’ll be slightly worse off. But I’ll carry on doing what I’m doing now.

    My chances?
    Well as I said, if the general election wasn’t on the same day, I’d win. I have absolutely no doubt about that at all and I would willingly bet a large sum upon it.

    But with the general election effect, I’m not so sure. The Labour council is just SO terribly unpopular you see. Its hard to overstate how much even Labour voters locally dislike them. But will they go out and vote Labour in the general election and then a different way on the same day in the locals?

    Well I hope so. I’ll be doing everything I can to convince people-HOWEVER you vote in the general election, thats not really my concern. You must vote wisely in the locals to make sure we get a more balanced council than at present.

    Labour could take something like 40 of the 45 seats thanks to the general election being at the same time. But maybe, just maybe they might lose their majority and there could be hope yet.

    Today, thanks to the general election factor, I’d say that Labour are narrowly favourites. But with a strong campaign and 6 months to turn things around, we shouldn’t write off an upset. I’ll certainly be working very hard!

  10. I note that 2 of the 6 towns are in this constituency. Do the other four divide equally between C and N (say 2 on each) or are the boundaries less clear. Which if the 6 towns includes S on T city centre?

  11. Yes, Tunstall and Burslem are broadly in North; Hanley and Stoke in Central and Longton and Fenton in South.

    The Parliamentary contests are still of course fought on the boundaries that were drawn up using the old pre 2011 local government wards, but presumably the next review will be using the post 2011 wards and therefore will be able to include some more subtle changes between constituencies.

    The Tories may have made a bit of an error in this constituency with the selection of the unfortunately named Essex based Joe Rich. I haven’t seen or heard from him of course, and I am sure that personally he is very good. But Labour are already putting out leaflets saying that its a choice between the ‘local’ candidate Rob Flello (a little bit of a stretch given his own roots in Birmingham) and “Mr Rich”.

    I would suggest that at this time more than ever, with the Tories having this reputation for elitism under Eton educated David Cameron and all of his inner circle being from similar backgrounds; and with Labour fighting this election more than any other on the basis that they are for the ordinary poor against the might and privilege of those that think they were ‘born to rule’; having a candidate called “Mr Rich” probably isn’t going to help matters.

    It’s silly, yes. It won’t make much difference overall. But it gives Labour an easy cheap shot and might just be one of the few things voters remember about the Tory candidate when they go to cast their votes!

  12. Labour Hold. 8,000 majority.

    P.S. As this is my constituency, I should note that I will probably be gritting my teeth and voting Conservative in the general election. It has taken me much soul searching, and I really really don’t want to vote for Cameron. If I could be sure UKIP were the main threat to Labour, I’d vote for them instead.
    But the way in which the left wing parties are carving the next Parliament up between themselves is annoying me as much as Cameron does. In my opinion, we need a majority government of either Tory or Labour….and Miliband would be an even bigger disaster than Cameron is!

  13. Just been to vote. As has a friend in Stoke Central. Both polling stations reported a steady turnout so far, but nothing massive. Certainly no sign of a great general election rush yet…..and it has just started raining here.

  14. Labour majorities in the Stoke-on-Trent seats:

    Central: 5,179 (previously 5,566)
    North: 4,836 (8,235)
    South: 2,539 (4,130)

  15. turnout in Stoke seats barely 50%

  16. As oppositions MPsand parties begin to manouvre after the election, Stoke begins to look dodgy for Labour and this constituency might well be the first to be lost.

    For starters, Labour Party membership figures have been a disgrace in Stoke for ages. Are they going to try to do anything about it?

  17. Their one time North Staffs strongholds could very well change hands in our lifetime. The Labour performances in the three Stoke seats and Newcastle-under-Lyme were appallingly bad.

  18. Why is this though? These are sub Foot results, and some Labour strongholds (like in the NE) have seen increased votes.

  19. These seats are still very white and the electorate is getting older. Both are good indicators for the Tories. I think this used to be one of the areas where “I’m voting Labour because my grandfather did” was very strong in the past and it’s probably breaking down quite fast now, as it also is in south Wales.

  20. It’s quite extraordinary.
    If the Tories are still in a good position next time, one or two of these seats could indeed go Con (even if it’s a bit like 2015 when there are gains and losses on both sides).

  21. JJB I think you are getting ahead of yourself here. Labour is doing historically very badly at 40%. However, the Conservative share in Stoke is static at around 30% in the three seats. I expect that party organisation is very weak and Stoke’s lack of middle class area and rural wards limits the chances of the Conservative gaining a seat. The Boundary Commissioners will likely reduce Labour’s holding in Staffordshire next time.

  22. Given that Labour won on less than 40% of the vote, there is a case that they have benefitted because their opposition is split between the Tories and UKIP.

  23. This was indeed a very worrying result for Labour- the Tory candidate did very well here and got a decent swing away from Rob Flello. This, along with neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme are now heavily under threat from further Tory advances in 2020 if it is in fact the case that demographic changes are favouring them in North Staffordshire- I’m not saying they will necessarily take either of these at the next election, but I suspect they’ll come very close even if they don’t.

  24. If Labour choose a duff leader they could certainly be in trouble.

  25. On the Stoke-on-Trent Central thread seat it is suggest that if the 2013 plans had gone through a new Stoke-on-Trent South seat would have been formed, about half from this seat and half from Stoke-on-Trent Central (which would be abolished). Gvien the high profile of Tristram Hunt and Rob Flello’s difficulties before 2015 one can imagine that ths MP here could well be left out in the cold when it comes to selecting for the new seats (and tha possibly not all that many people would mind).

    It is pretty pathetic for an MP to have a CLP that can only support two branches.

  26. What happened to Shaun Bennett? We had his prediction of an 8,000 Labour majority in his home seat, and then a report on turnout from polling day. But since then nothing. I’m not sure whether he’s pleased or not pleased by the result here.

  27. I would have guessed the former with regards to the outcome, but IIRC Shaun did seem to just post a whole pile of predictions and then there was hardly anything else from him. Given how well the Tories did across the Stoke seats, it does surprise me somewhat we have heard nothing else from him TBH.

  28. His predictions weren’t very good on the whole, with the Tories doing a lot better in most seats.

  29. The same could be said for mine in all honesty though- Shaun wasn’t the only one.

  30. Shaun’s Scottish predictions are possibly the most amusing of all. Well, except for the Lib Dem gain predictions.

  31. I got hardly anything right- maybe about three or four seats?

  32. You weren’t alone TR – I confidently predicted that there was not a chance of a Tory majority, and I was struggling to see them getting much above 270 seats.

    Those of us who have egg on our face far outweigh those who don’t….. 😉

  33. And there’s few things worse than having egg on your face…

  34. “I’m not sure whether he’s pleased or not pleased by the result here”.

    Shaun’s been a semi detached Tory for a while, so I am not sure how he will have felt about the 2015 result in general. Celebrating a Tory victory or bemoaning Cameron’s ultimate vindication?

  35. People have been commetning about Stoke on the Southampton Test thread. Labour organisation in Stoke and its surrounding areas is a national disgrace for them. They have let this situation growl on for generations. Are they EVER going to do anything about it?

  36. But it’s also down to demographics which they can’t do much about. This area is very white and probably older than average, both factors which are moving it towards the Conservatives compared to 30 years ago. Also it doesn’t have many students. I visited the Trentham Gardens retail village recently and was surprised by how upmarket it was.

  37. GT – the Tory vote isn’t static here. It’s risen at the last 4 GEs.

    If their organisation is poor and it’s still happened, surely that’s even more worrying for Labour here?

  38. There’s an interesting contrast between the leftward drift of what I’ll call ‘metropolitan’ cities and the rightward drift in what still might be called ‘industrial’ cities – Stoke, Derby, Plymouth.

    There’s a similar difference between Tyneside and Teesside.

  39. Amazing how the Labour vote has fallen back in the Potteries, it used to be an area they could rely on e.g. in locals when Lab governments unpopular. Now a sort of Hove in reverse.

  40. Richard’s point is a very good one and it is extremely well highlighted by contrasting neighbouring cities such as Nottingham and Derby.

    Nottingham was previously an extremely industrial city, well into the 80s/90s, but almost all its manufacturing industry (Raleigh, John Player, Boots, lace, coal) has disappeared over the past 20 years. The vacuum has been filled by a massive expansion of the private sector and the universities, facilitating a massive swing to Labour both in the city proper and outlying seats such as Gedling and to a lesser extent Broxtowe.

    Derby’s manufacturing sector remains relatively strong (Bombardier, Rolls Royce, Toyota) and still dominates the local economy. As Richard says this seems to correlate with the Tories strengthening over time as Labour loses its relevance with the private sector workforce.

  41. The vacuum has been filled by a massive expansion of the *public* sector

  42. No doubt Nottingham has shifted leftwards in recent decades, but I think Derby has barely changed at all politically over the same period. Derby N used to be Tory by a larger majority than is the case now but on more Tory friendly boundaries. The council was always pretty even between Lab and Con. When Derby City went unitary its departure didn’t make much difference to the balance of the county council.

  43. Boundary changes have been bad for the Conservatives in Derbyshire with the creation of the Mid Derbyshire constituency.

    On the present boundaries Derby N would have Labour in 1992 as would Amber Valley and, as PeteW calculated, Derbyshire South.

    Continuing the point I raised its noticeable that both Staffordshire and Derbyshire have trended rightwards over the past generation and that both are still very industrial counties.

    It should not be a surprise that areas which still have large manufacturing workforces are trending rightwards once you consider the typical manufacturing worker:

    Private sector
    Above average earnings
    Located outside big cities and especially London
    Predominantly male
    Older than average

  44. Overall that’s true….a large increase in the ethnic minority population, especially in Derby South, has been counterbalanced by the shift among the WWC towards the Tories, leading to a broadly unchanged total picture in Derby. The boundaries of Derby North are far worse for the Tories than the 1983-97 version of the seat, I very much doubt the Tories would have won in 1992 on current boundaries. And remember that before 1983 Derby North was a Labour seat for most of the time, albeit only marginally in good Tory years like 1970 and 1979.

  45. Staffordshire has certainly trends rightwards but the picture in Derbyshire seems a bit less clear. In the last county council elections, Staffordshire remained Conservative but Derbyshire was won comfortably by Labour. The GE results for this year were also significantly better for Labour in Derbyshire than in Staffordshire so the two counties are not quite at the same level politically. Is this disparity mostly due to the mining heritage still persisting in Derbyshire? Or is there some other economic or demographic factor that I’m missing?

  46. It could just be that local politicians in Derbyshire work harder to stay in touch with voters.

  47. I wasn’t suggesting that Labour’s performance in Derbyshire in recent years has been particularly good (though 2013 arguably was). Merely that they’ve held up better here than in neighbouring Staffordshire which is rapidly moving away from the party now.

  48. I’m not sure I understand AKMD’s point as, at least in the past 4 decades, Staffordshire has always been stronger for the Conservatives than Derbyshire and it remains the case today.

    At the Tories’ nadir in 1997 they held only 1 seat in Derbyshire but held 3 in Staffordshire.

    There are 2/3 seats in Derbyshire which the Tories will most likely never be able to win – Chesterfield, Derby South, and probably Bolsover. In Staffordshire there are no comparably difficult seats for the Tories with the exception perhaps of Stoke Central.

    Despite the presence of the Peak District I think it’s true to say that Staffordshire is overall a more agricultural county, with (as AKMD says) much less of a mining and industrial heritage. And though I know Kieran W will disagree, I think there is probably a bit of anti-Tory spillover from Sheffield / South Yorkshire which infects the three seats around Chesterfield.

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