2015 Result:
Conservative: 27813 (45.7%)
Labour: 22947 (37.7%)
Lib Dem: 2086 (3.4%)
Green: 2779 (4.6%)
UKIP: 4848 (8%)
Independent: 246 (0.4%)
Others: 100 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4866 (8%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Glouchestershire. Most of the Stroud council area.

Main population centres: Stroud, Nailsworth, Dursley, Berkeley, Cam, Stonehouse, Frampton-on-Severn.

Profile: Consists of the town of Stroud and the small market towns and villages in the Severn valley. Stroud itself is a hilly town nestled at the foot of the Cotswolds, Stroud was once a textile town, processing the wool from the sheep farmed in the Cotswolds. It retains a small textile industry today, though light engineering and the service industry are now more important. Stroud has a reputation for being a bohemian area, Tescos and McDonalds in Stroud were both only opened after lengthy protests by local residents.

Politics: For most of the post-war period Stroud has been represented by the Conservatives, only falling to Labour in 1945 and during the Blair-Brown government. It was won back by the Conservatives in 2010. The Green party have significant representation on the local council and this has sometimes translated into Parliamentary support - in 2005 they managed to save their deposit at the general election.

Current MP
NEIL CARMICHAEL (Conservative) Born 1961. Educated at St Peters School, York and Nottingham University. Former Livestock farmer. Contested Leeds East 1992 and Stroud 2001.
Past Results
Con: 23679 (41%)
Lab: 22380 (39%)
LDem: 8955 (15%)
GRN: 1542 (3%)
Oth: 1417 (2%)
MAJ: 1299 (2%)
Con: 22177 (39%)
Lab: 22527 (40%)
LDem: 8026 (14%)
GRN: 3056 (5%)
Oth: 1089 (2%)
MAJ: 350 (1%)
Con: 20646 (37%)
Lab: 25685 (47%)
LDem: 6036 (11%)
GRN: 1913 (3%)
Oth: 895 (2%)
MAJ: 5039 (9%)
Con: 23260 (37%)
Lab: 26170 (42%)
LDem: 9502 (15%)
Oth: 3415 (5%)
MAJ: 2910 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
NEIL CARMICHAEL (Conservative) See above.
DAVID DREW (Labour) Born 1952, Gloucestershire. Educated at Kingsfield School and Nottingham University. Lecturer. Stevenage councillor 1981-1982, Stroud councillor 1987-1995 and since 2011, Gloucestershire councillor 1992-1997. Contested Stroud 1992. MP for Stroud 1997-2010.
ADRIAN WALKER-SMITH (Liberal Democrat) Contested City of London and Westminster South 1983, Stroud 1987.
CAROLINE STEPHENS (UKIP) Born Yorkshire. Educated at St Josephs College Bradford and University of the West of England. Former banker.
SARAH LUNNON (Green) Entertainer and caterer. Gloucestershire councillor.
DAVID MICHAEL (Free Public Transport) Managing director.
RICH WILSON (Independent)
Comments - 196 Responses on “Stroud”
  1. I really can’t see Labour winning this seat back now Drew has retired from politics (with the exception of a 1997-style GE Labour landslide which we’ll never again experience in our lifetimes).

  2. I don’t know. A big rural seat in the SW is bound to be taken in by endless talk about food banks, tax cuts for millionaires and declaring war on gas companies.

    The next Labour candidate should find this easy pickings

  3. Don’t forget the bedroom tax! Or their new favourite word, ‘aspiration’…used primarily to describe people on 23k a year in Nuneaton and Peterborough. Let the fun times roll.

  4. ‘i really can’t see Labour winning this seat back now Drew has retired from politics’

    You keep making such statements about a wide variety of seats that Labour once held – but you can never say never

    How on earth can you confidentally you know that we’ll never again experience another 1997-style Labour landslide in our lifetimes – unless of course you can see into the future

  5. This wasn’t a particularly bad Labour result in the context of the 2015 election as they are still substantially stronger than 1992 at least unlike the most other tory held Con-Lab marginals.

    This is a must win seat for Labour in my view if they are to have any chance of being the largest party let alone a majority.

    It’s still more winnable than Kingswood and perhaps even Gloucester as well in my view.

  6. It’s still winnable in the future with the right candidate and a much much better leader than Miliband. Despite Stroud’s reputation as an arty type of place and perhaps Dursley being quite Labour leaning, perhaps even they couldn’t stomach him as PM.

  7. “It’s still winnable in the future with the right candidate and a much much better leader than Miliband.”

    Neil – Do you think Burnham would be the type of leader that could win this seat for Labour?

  8. I agree with A Brown that Labour could get back on the front foot here. But past results have indicated that corralling the anti-Conservative vote around one candidate is not necessarily going to be straightforward.

  9. I would have thought it would be tricky to find a candidate with as much local appeal as David Drew had.

  10. Cllr Mark Rees has defected from Labour to Ind here.

  11. Stroud REMAIN 55-45.

  12. Surprising?

  13. That’s what I was wondering. Stroud proper is probably quite pro-EU, but I’m not sure about the rest of the borough.

  14. There was an interesting concentration of Remain support in Oxfordshire (bar Cherwell), a group of three Gloucestershire areas, pocket of Bucks and parts of Berkshire.

  15. Well I guess this quite a liberal middle class area like it says in the description”bohemian”.

  16. Lab gain.

  17. Amazing!

    Can someone please explain how a Corbyn-led Labour Party managed to regain this picturesque seat!!!

    This General Election is crazy!

  18. Very sorry to see Carmichael go. Very good leader of the Education Select Committee and a good egg.

    C’est la guerre.

  19. Chris Riley,

    Should there be another GE soon, Carmichael may yet have the chance for his FIFTH contest with Drew.

  20. Correction: THIS was the fifth Carmichael and Drew contest.

    So an early next election would see the SIXTH duel – can anyone confirm if this would be a record?

  21. As reported by Anushka Asthana on the Guardian live stream:

    “Neil Carmichael, the former Tory MP for Stroud, who was defeated last night tells me that he felt there was a “soft-Brexit vote against me”.

    He says the Conservative election message sounded like a “hard-Brexit” to people and that had to urgently change.

    Asked if May ought to continue as prime minister, he replied: “At the moment I do because I can’t see how further turbulence will help but we need to have a rethink about how they package it and formulate [Brexit] – to something recognising that we are going to leave the EU but making sure the process does not prevent us having good relationships with the EU.”

    He said he was “very disappointed to have lost” but would keep fighting for a cross-party campaign towards a close relationship with the EU.

    “[May] needs to have a very thorough examination of how the government as a whole approaches Brexit to capture those who want to leave but also those who want a relationship with the EU in some other form.”

    He also hit out at the negative aspects of the Tory campaign saying: “There wasn’t a sense of a positive vision.” ”

    Carmichael had previously spoken against moves towards a” Hard Brexit/ No Deal” approach.

  22. Could this be a contender for Labour’s most picturesque Westminster parliamentary seat? I visited this seat for the first time in 2014 and it’s probably the most ‘un-Labour’seat you could come across! There’re some absolutely beautiful villages and market towns in this seat such as Minchinhampton (see the link in my last post in this thread).

  23. Sadly many of those Tories who’ve lost their seats, including Neil Carmichael, were good, sensible MPs on the pragmatic wing of the party. It is also a great shame to see Ben Howlett, Jane Ellison, Richard Fuller, Ben Gummer, Edward Timpson, Gavin Barwell, Nicola Blackwood and Tania Mathias defeated, among others.

  24. Jack
    “Sadly many of those Tories who’ve lost their seats, including Neil Carmichael, were good, sensible MPs on the pragmatic wing of the party”

    This is true but some of the casualties where of the kookier wing of the Tory party such as Stewart Jackson, Graham Evans, David Nuttall or David Burrowes all of whom I’m sure the Anna Soubry’s of the world are glad to see the back of.

  25. People commenting how picturesque this seat is for a Labour seat, but it’s also got a fair left-wing tradition. Forest Green Rovers, the vegan football club owned by a Labour-donating renewable energy tycoon, is based here for starters.

  26. Rivers: weeks before the election, commentators were analysing how varying numbers of seat losses would affect the centre of gravity in the Labour Party.

    Shame no-one had the foresight to do the same for the Conservatives!

  27. @Jack Sheldon

    True, very true. I cannot pretend to be upset by the result as a whole, and based in Cheshire I have friends who know the candidate who unseated Timpson and speak highly of her, but do regret the loss of good public servants like Carmichael and Timpson.

    Carmichael has made a lot of friends in education with his energy, shrewdness and even-handed approach and is unlikely to want for offers though.

  28. Neil Carmichael has announced he is leaving front-line politics.

    He has an honourary professorship at Nottingham and an excellent reputation amongst educationalists, but he’s a loss to politics and this marks the end of Stroud’s long-running ding-dong between him and David Drew for the seat.

    They contested it at 5 General Elections, 3 times ending with a majority under 1,300 for the victor. Final score 3-2 to Drew.

  29. Stroud is marching ever-leftwards. Sort of what you’d expect of a middle-class area whose local football club has gone vegan. (And if that sounds derogatory, it wasn’t meant to be.)

  30. @Polltroll

    Carmichael was just the sort of Tory who could still win there though. He only lost by 687 votes and with 45.9% of the vote.

    But you’re probably right that the wrong Tory candidate might turn this from a marginal to a relatively safe Labour seat. The most likely mistake would be to select a pro-Brexit candidate. This seat, surprise surprise, went fairly comfortably Remain.

  31. Polltroll – you’re right about Stroud itself, a town I’ve visited a few times as one of my best mates moved there a couple of years back. It comes across to me as a bit of a “hippy” bastion, and the Greens have tended to be very competitive there as well as Labour. Forest Green is in Nailsworth, which while owned by someone fairly archetypal to the Stroud demographic isn’t so “hippy” in itself. I haven’t managed to get along to Forest Green since Vince took over, even though my lot (Exeter) played them in the league and the FA Cup this season.

  32. Berkeley Vale ward by-election, 28.02.19:

    Conservative 993
    Labour 686
    LibDem 231
    Green 82

    Cons Hold.

    Labour put in a big effort, including sending Emily Thornberry, although that and the Labour candidate’s house being named ‘Little Moscow’ on the ballot may not have helped matters.

  33. Though this is the first by election in 2019 where Labour haven’t gone backwards

  34. This is the kind of place where TIG could do very well. Very similar to Totnes (the town not the whole constituency), which I imagine Wollaston will likely hold.

  35. I don’t know either but I got the impression Totnes was a rural upmarket constitency where as Stroud was a leafy suburban former industrial town.

    The TIG Tories may be the only TIGs left

  36. They are both posh, snooty towns full of wealthy yet ethically-minded virtue signalling types. The kind of place which doesn’t allow McDonalds or Tescos to open up on their high streets. A strong presence of Greens locally who tend to leak votes to Lib Dem or Lab in national elections. Lewes is quite similar also.

    Totnes town is outvoted in the Totnes constituency by a big rural area and bits of southern Torbay, both of which have latterly been strongly Conservative. Lewes town is also only a minority of the constituency. Not sure about Stroud.

    I strongly agree with your last sentence, though things may change. As things stand only Wollaston and Allen have a good chance of holding their seats. Soubry has some chance. Umunna, Smith and Leslie long shots at best, the rest have no chance at all of being re-elected in their current seats. I wonder if some may switch to somewhere like Cambridge or Oxford.

  37. I don’t think any TIGgers would stand much of a chance standing in a new seat. Nobody likes a carpet bagger.

    As for not allowing a McDonald’s into your town – well, that attitude of “only things I like should be allowed” is the very opposite of the liberal, pluralist politics TIG is trying to represent.

  38. The suggestion was the 7 Labour MPs would stand in marginals

  39. Neil Carmichael, Mp here from 2010-2017- has resigned from the Tories and will join Change UK.

  40. David Drew has said that the operations on his eyes went well and he should be able to resume duties soon.

    I think after Therese Coffey and Chris Bryant being back as well, that just leaves 4 MPs away on sick leave.

  41. David Drew has been elected to Gloucestershire CC, beating Molly Scott Cato for the Greens

    There are at least 3 MPs defeated in 2019 who became councillors this week: David Drew, Sandy Martin (ex Ipswich MP, now Suffolk Cllr) and Ruth George (ex High Peak MP, Derbyshire Cllr)

    Also 3 MPs defeated in 2019 have been elected to Scottish Parliament: Paul Sweeney (Lab, ex Glasgow NE), Stephen Kerr (Con, ex Stirling MP) and Martin Whitfield (Lab, ex East Lothian. He lost East Lothian again this week but was elected through the regional list).

    Jane Dodds (Brecon and Radnorshire) has been elected to Welsh Assembly

  42. Thanks for the info. It seems less common for Tories to go back to local government after leaving the commons?

    I’m sure Sandy Martin said he wouldn’t run for elected office again – okay, just checked, and he left the door ajar:

    In a speech following defeat, he primarily took aim at the Conservatives, saying: “It’s very unlikely I will be standing for elected office again which means I feel I can say what I really think.”

  43. Wonder if David Drew feels like it was a tiny bit of sweet revenge. Molly Scott Cato was the one who likely divided the remain vote in Stroud in 2019, leading to his loss of the seat.

  44. It’s interesting that it was two of the same candidates from the GE facing each other.

  45. Emma Dent Coad sensibly remained a councillor during her short spell in Parliament.

  46. Andrea, Ruth George has actually been a councillor since February 2020 – one of the last by-elections before the Covid lockdown.—By-Election

    So she had the advantage of incumbency when up against Edwina Currie last week.

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