2015 Result:
Conservative: 21195 (46%)
Labour: 14501 (31.5%)
Lib Dem: 1538 (3.3%)
Green: 1021 (2.2%)
UKIP: 7774 (16.9%)
MAJORITY: 6694 (14.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands. Part of the Dudley council area.

Main population centres: Stourbridge, Amblecote, Cradley.

Profile: A black country constituency, covering the south west of the borough of Dudley and taking in the towns of Stourbridge, Amblecote and Cradley. Stourbridge is a suburban dormitory area on the edge of the West Midlands conurbation. While the seat is mainly urban, it borders onto open countryside just over the border in South Staffordshire. It is largely white, lower middle-class, owner-occupied former council houses and large scale new-build private estates, especially in Amblecote.

Politics: The Stourbridge seat was created in 1997 and won by Labour in their landslide that year. It was held by Labour in 2001 and, very narrowly, in 2005 when Debra Shipley stood down and was replaced by Linda Waltho. In 2010 it was gained by current Conservative MP Margot James, making Stourbridge an unusual example of a seat that has returned three female MPs in a row.

Current MP
MARGOT JAMES (Conservative) Born 1958, Coventry. Educated at Millfield and LSE. Former consultant and founder of the Shire Health Group, a public relations and clinical trials organisation. Kensington and Chelsea Councillor 2006-2008. Contested Holborn and St Pancras 2005. First elected as MP for Stourbridge in 2010. PPS to William Hague 2014-2015. Government whip since 2015. James is the first openly lesbian Conservative MP.
Past Results
Con: 20153 (43%)
Lab: 14989 (32%)
LDem: 7733 (16%)
UKIP: 2103 (4%)
Oth: 2256 (5%)
MAJ: 5164 (11%)
Con: 16682 (40%)
Lab: 17089 (41%)
LDem: 6850 (16%)
UKIP: 1087 (3%)
MAJ: 407 (1%)
Con: 15011 (38%)
Lab: 18823 (47%)
LDem: 4833 (12%)
UKIP: 763 (2%)
Oth: 494 (1%)
MAJ: 3812 (10%)
Con: 17807 (36%)
Lab: 23452 (47%)
LDem: 7123 (14%)
MAJ: 5645 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MARGOT JAMES (Conservative) See above.
PETE LOWE (Labour) Born Stourbridge. Educated at Thorns Secondary School. Former nurse. Dudley councillor.
CHRIS BRAMALL (Liberal Democrat) Born 1942, London, son of former Labour MP Sir Ashley Bramall. Educated at Cambridge University. Retired solicitor. Dudley councillor 1995-2004. Contested Stourbridge 1997, 2001, 2005, 2010.
JIM CARVER (UKIP) Born 1969, Farnborough. Educated at St John Rigby RC College. Contested Orpington 1997, Cheltenham 2001, Preseli Pembrokeshire 2005. MEP for the West Midlands since 2014.
CHRISTIAN KIEVER (Green) Retired civil servant.
Comments - 87 Responses on “Stourbridge”
  1. I would agree with that Joe; I think a 5.5% swing against a first-time incumbent may be just a little too much. Of course, all depends on the national picture in 16/17 months time.

  2. Neil-

    ‘If he does win it, I could see Margot James standing for a safer Tory seat (depending on retirements) for 2020. Like Anna Soubry, who perhaps faces a much tougher task of holding Broxtowe, I can’t see a rising Tory moderniser bowing out of politics. She is after all part of Cameron’s policy unit.’

    That is a fair point, Neil. Nevertheless, I suspect that the Cameroons will find themselves very much out in the cold after a 2015 defeat.

  3. James would be 62 in 2020 and Soubry IIRC 64.

    Perhaps someone could give a list of the oldest Conservative MPs elected in 2010.

    There’s also the issue of why either should be given a safer seat in 2020.

    What have either done to deserve that gift? If the Conservatives can’t win certainly Stourbridge and perhaps Broxtowe in 2020 then there is no chance of them being in government.

    So all giving then safer seats would achieve would be to have first time failures clogging up safe seats and blocking the parliamentary careers of the next generation of rising Conservative politicians.

  4. “Perhaps someone could give a list of the oldest Conservative MPs elected in 2010.”

    Glyn Davis 1944
    Pauline Latham 1948
    Gordon Henderson 1948
    Bob Stewart 1949
    Jonathan Evans 1950 (already retiring in 2015)
    Martin Vickers 1950
    Eric Ollerenshaw 1950
    Angie Bray 1953
    Anna Soubry 1956
    Bob Blackburn 1956
    Sheryll Murray 1956
    Neil Parish 1956
    Fiona Bruce 1957
    Anne Marie Morris 1957
    David Mowat 1957
    Richard Harrington 1957
    Margo James 1957
    Mark Pawsey 1957
    Mike Weatherley 1957
    Richard Graham 1958
    Richard Drax 1958
    Nick de Bois 1959
    Oliver Colvile 1959
    Lorraine Fullbrook 1959 (retiring)
    Jeremy Lefroy 1959
    Heather Wheeler 1959

    Rest of new intake was generally under 50. I have may missed some as I did only a rapid check.

  5. I see what you mean, Richard. But surely their age would be more favourable to a lot of voters. The one criticism of politics and “young rising stars” is in the name. Many British people would rather have MPs who are at least 40 and have had experience working in sectors not connected to Westminster.

    Margot James being over 50 and having business experience would surely be looked at more favourably than a 20-something careerist looking to get elected.

  6. Halesowen and Rowley Regis is certainly more Labour rooted than Stourbridge as was previously mentioned. Dudley South also (despite them being close on the Labour Party target lists) would appear to be more likely to turn Labour….again as mentioned elsewhere I don’t think this should have been lost by the majority it was in 2010.

    One of the factors for Margot is that she is part of Cameron’s policy unit (yet surprisingly not considered for a Cabinet or Junior Cabinet position). This has resulted in the perception, in many areas,real or not, of being more ‘Nationally focused’ than locally. It is interesting that Labour is campaigning heavily on the ‘local community rooted’ credentials of their candidate.

  7. “Margot James being over 50 and having business experience would surely be looked at more favourably than a 20-something careerist looking to get elected.”

    She wouldn’t be over 50 in 2020, she would be over 60.

    Its difficult to start a new career, and being a government minister is effectively a new career, at that age.

    And it wouldn’t be just 20-something careerists as an alternative but people in their 40s and 50s with outside experience.

    In politics some people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    If either James or Soubry want their careers to ‘progress’ they have to hold their current seats in 2015.

    Talk of moving to safer seats is negated by parliamentary arithmetic and age.

  8. In Soubrys case that is nearly impossible. If James is lucky, she will hold this seat and Labour will be government – meaning she should hold on in 2020 too. By 2025 she would be approaching 70.

  9. 2015 IMHO

    Lab 38
    Con 36
    UKIP 15
    LD 6
    others 5

  10. Not sure where you get those %figures from Mr Brown but it will be close to be sure.

    Interestingly I don’t think the locals and Euros will give much of a indignation as I expect UKIP to poll strongly before being squeezed on GE.

  11. Local election votes:

    Con 8,330
    Lab 7,695
    UKIP 7,004
    Green 1,311
    LD 767

  12. I think these election results demonstrate how close this seat will be. UKIP polled highly in traditional Labour wards such as Quarry Bank (coming within 102 votes to deseat Council Leader and leader of LGA David Sparks).

    Despite the concerted campaign in Lye I was able to hold onto Lye and Stourbridge North reasonably comfortably (considering the night)

  13. ‘UKIP polled highly in traditional Labour wards such as Quarry Bank (coming within 102 votes to deseat Council Leader and leader of LGA David Sparks).’

    UKIP is capable of taking votes from all three mainstrean parties

    Outside the cities, UKIP polled well in working class areas throughout the country – although working class no longer correlates with Labour voting – and the voter UKIP have doine best with are working class ones who for the most part voted Tory in 2010

    One of the few possitives for the Tories in 2010 was how well they did with the WWC – it’s disprortionately these voters who have switched to UKIP

    They have also picked up anti-politics vote, largely from the Lib Dems, have made in-roads in Labour areas the Tories could only dream of and have also enticed people who probably hadn’t bothered voting for the last 10-20 years

    That’s a pretty formidable electoral coalition

  14. “They have also picked up anti-politics vote, largely from the Lib Dems, have made in-roads in Labour areas the Tories could only dream of”

    They are more like areas you have nightmares about 🙂

    Yarmouth, Thanet, Skegness, Rotherham, Hull…

  15. I’ve never been to any of those except Thanet & even then I was driving through. I wouldn’t say no to Skeggy with its selection of Batemans pubs – fine traditional family brewery sited nearby.
    I would love to be able to comment “horseshit” on an H.Hemmelig post, but sadly in psephological terms he tends to talk too much sense. But I will not hesitate to do so if the occasion demands. I will have to avoid making posts which could attract a similar response from him 🙂

  16. I was really only joking, in response to Tim’s comment about places you would dream about.

    I have a soft spot for all four of those places I’ve actually been to (the one I haven’t is Yarmouth)

  17. Tim, interesting points that we n the whole I agree with.

    The challenge will be to demonstrate relevance to the electorate that remain cynical with politicians if not politics.

    Worth noting that the UKIP vote came despite no more than a Euro leaflet in many Wards with no or little campaign other than their national coverage. Labour and Conservative candidates by alternative chased every votes.

    Many learning points in preparation for GE Campaign next year.

  18. “They have also picked up anti-politics vote, largely from the Lib Dems, have made in-roads in Labour areas the Tories could only dream of and have also enticed people who probably hadn’t bothered voting for the last 10-20 years”

    It would be interesting to know how the BNP did in local elections in this seat between 2004 & 2009.

    Here in West Yorkshire the wards where UKIP got there most sizeable votes in Leeds, Bradford (1 councillor in a Keighly ward the BNP won once) and Calderdale, (they only had 4 candidates across 19 wards in Kirklees) were those where the BNP got their largest votes during the 2003-09 period.

    As someone from the West Country (Bath), via South Wales (Cardiff then the Valleys) and Inner London (10 years in Kennington Oval in Lambeth), I have an outsiders perspective on where the BNP vote in West Yorkshire came from. I feel that hostorically there always was an Emprire Loyalist WWC vote in the area that loyally voted Tory, but it had a racist and anti-immigrant tinge to it, and local tory candidates in more working class areas weren’t averse to making anti immigrant statements in their election literature for many years. At parliamentary level Marcus Fox MP would be the epitome of this attitude.

    I believe these voters stopped voting completely after 1992 once the tories under Major started purging such local tory candidates who caused embarrassment when they tories were attempting to cultivate support amongst middle class asian voters in London, the South East and other suburban araes.

    The voters only started voting again when the BNP started standing in Counil elections in the 2003-04 period, claiming that Lib/Lab/Con were all the same and no-one spoke for the WWC, and turnout out went up in those wards by almost the same level as the size of the BNP vote. They also attracted some votes from Labour voters disillusioned with the Blair government from feelings of being left behind, but these voters still tanded to vote Labour at general elections.

    Local election turnouts in such wards had started to fall significantly since 2010 after which the BNP imploded and stopped standing. I feel these same people are the overwhelming majority of the UKIP voters in the recent elections.

    Does this perspective make any sense eleswhere in the UK?

  19. Yarmouth, Thanet, Skegness, Rotherham and Hull are certainly fairly depressed areas although it’s worth noting that despite the first three being Tory seats, Labour has suffered every bit as much as the Tories by UKIP’s pressence

    I still don’t see UKIP making the sort of breakthrough they are promising their supporters in 2015 but their performance in the latest set of elections should give all party’s something to think aboiut – especially the Labour Party, who many polls had as ahead of UKIP in the Euro election yet when the results came they needed a strong showing in London to come 2nd ahead of the Tories

  20. Thanet is not all bad – Margate and Ramsgate aren’t great but much of Broadstairs is pleasant enough (I used to go there a lot when I was young) and Westgate-on-Sea seemed reasonable too.

    I play pool tournaments at Yarmouth occasionally and have to concede that there is a very depressing air about the place.

  21. Ian

    I can’t reply with any level of expertise concerning the wider country although I obviously have a level of knowledge concerning Dudley.

    Within Dudley North there has historically been a degree of disaffected voters looking outside of the mainstream political parties….the BNP delivered their 1 solitary Cllr in 2003 (Simon Darby Deputy Leader). He was unceremoniously voted out one year later. They have never returned to such a degree since

    In Stourbridge there has never been a significant issue with regard to fringe parties. The bigger issue here (in my personal view) has been the campaign to win over the Liberal vote which has disintegrated since 2010. Contenders have been Labour, Green, UKIP and to a lesser extent the Conservative Party.

    Results since 2010 demonstrated that Labour were reaching out to the majority of these voters. This year it is clear that UKIP received a significant proportion of this vote together with a smaller proportion of people less inclined to normally vote who wanted to vote ‘non of the above’.

    The challenge for myself and all the other contenders in the run up to next May will be to demonstrate our relevance not only to those currently voting for our party but also those who vote against or who don’t engage at all!

    Interesting times!! No wonder my hair has receded greatly and started to turn grey around the edges!

  22. Turning perceived logic on its head, peversely perhaps the Lib Dems have the most worry about re: UKIP’s surge

    Whilst you couldn’t get two more ideologically different parties – the Lib Dems were clearly a bit of a ‘catch all’ party that people who didn’t like Labour or Tory – and there have been an ever-increasing amount of them over the past 30-40 years – felt comfortable voting for

    The Lib Dem leadership always maintained that their policies were popular but that they didn’t get the votes they needed because they had no chance of winning a general election

    Recent events suggest that sadly – for them at least – much of their policies have never been especially popular with the electorate at large and they benefitted from simply being neither Tory nor Labour.

    Now there’s a bigger and louder alternative in town, such voters have desserted the Lib Dems and the leadership is finally waking up to how large this group of former Lib Dem supporters is

    Whilst cosying up with the Tories has obviously cost them votes, I think the reasons above are just as significant and I don’t think a change of leadership would make much difference

  23. Well looking at those local election results you’d have to say Margot James has a good chance at holding this in 11 months’ time. The Green vote wasn’t very high which distorts things in a lot of metropolitan seats.

  24. James Carver MEP selected for UKIP in Stourbridge. Not clear on the UKIP selection process though – can any members enlighten us? It looks like Borda Count.

  25. Tim, with the exception of 2001 the Lib Dem vote has consistently remained around the 7k. Whilst it is a generalisation my perspective is that a lot of this support has been ‘left leaning and local’ meaning that in 2010 it was Labour that lost out due to both the national campaign from Lib Dems, the Iraq War taking votes from Labour and Chris Bramall who has been the candidate for many years and was once a local Cllr (respected and lost seat due to drop in Lib Dems nationally). Historically the Lib Dems had often collated many votes and had taken seats in Norton and Pedmore principally as a result of a squeezed Labour vote and a very effective local campaign around ‘The Voice newsletter’.

    It is my view that the challenge for any lost Lib Dem vote will be for the Greens or Labour to appeal. Whilst UKIP may gain a few I think this will be minimal.

    Regarding MrNameless, my understanding is that the UKIP selection was done via majority vote and I am aware of a previous Cllr who sought selection but was not selected.

  26. Two Conservative Cllr’s last night defected to Dudley Labour Party. Cheryl Billingham was a lifelong Conservative, Glenis Simms the Shadow Lead for Children’s.

    Both have mentioned internal division within Dudley Conservatives including members from Stourbridge, Dudley North/South and Halesowen.

    Be interesting to see what impact, if any this has on the Stourbridge seat!

  27. Chris Bramall is the Lib Dem candidate yet again here (for the fifth election in a row).

  28. Ashcroft Poll:

    Con 39
    Lab 37
    UKIP 15
    LDem 4
    Green 2
    Other 1

    The first Ashcroft poll for this seat, albeit another fascinatingly close one in Dudley MBC. Cant help thinking that Margot James will be disappointed by it. No obvious sign of an incumbency bonus (and she is one of the less strident of the 2010 intake) and a 4.5 % swing which is the highest to date in a constituency partly or wholly in the borough.

  29. It’s pretty illogical that the Tories should be doing worse here than in neighbouring Dudley S. Shame that that seat hasn’t been polled again.

  30. It does seem odd because I thought this one was slightly more upmarket and the Tory first-timer in Dudley S stood down rather prematurely.

  31. Barnaby / Sbjme19,

    Fair points in both cases but the swings of 3.0% and 4.5% in Ashcroft polls for Dudley South and Stourbridge are not wildly different. Possibly explained by margin of error. Doubt if we will get any further polls between now and the election to iron out any differences though. The Dudley seats remain probably the most intriguing cluster in the country.

  32. Conservative Hold. 500 majority.

  33. Full Results:

    Con 21,195 46.0%
    Lab 14,501 31.5%
    UKIP 7,774 16.9%
    LDem 1,538 3.3%
    Green 1,021 2.2%

    Majority 6,694 : Swing to Conservatives 1.2%

    So none of the 4 Dudley MBC changed hands and the Conservatives achieved small swings in their favour in the 3 they held.

  34. Rumors abound that Margot James will resign from government this weekend.

  35. Margot James has denied on Twitter she is planning on resigning.

  36. Margot James has said she will resign from Goverment if a no deal occurred.

  37. Grieve said today that around a dozen ministers will resign in the event of a No Deal. I think that’s a pretty good guess actually. It certainly won’t be pretty.

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