Tamworth

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23606 (50%)
Labour: 12304 (26.1%)
Lib Dem: 1427 (3%)
Green: 1110 (2.4%)
UKIP: 8727 (18.5%)
MAJORITY: 11302 (24%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Staffordshire. The whole of Tamworth council area and part of Lichfield council area.

Main population centres: Tamworth, Fazeley, Shenstone, Harlaston, Elford, Little Aston.

Profile: Consists of the compact Tamworth council area itself, consisting of little more than the town itself, and some rural wards of Lichield to the west and north. Tamworth is a historic market town that ballooned after the second world war with extensive housing development to home the excess population of the urban West Midlands. The seat also contains the town of Fazeley, essentially a suburb of Tamworth, some more rural villages to the west and north and the extremely affluent suburb of Little Aston, which spills over into the area from Sutton Coldfield.

Politics: A marginal seat between the Conservatives as Labour. As South East Staffordshire it was held by the mountainous Conservative whip and former Regimental Sergeant-Major David Lightbown until his death in 1996, after which it was won by Labour on an equally mountainous 22% swing. It was won back by the Conservatives in 2010. Historically the seat is most associated with Sir Robert Peel, whose 1834 Tamworth manifesto was the foundation of the modern Conservative party. Peel`s former home, Drayton Manor, is now the site of an amusement park and zoo in the constituency.


Current MP
CHRISTOPHER PINCHER (Conservative) Born 1969, Walsall. Educated at the LSE. Former IT consultant. Contested Warley 1997, Tamworth 2005. First elected as MP for Tamworth in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 21238 (46%)
Lab: 15148 (33%)
LDem: 7516 (16%)
UKIP: 2253 (5%)
Oth: 235 (1%)
MAJ: 6090 (13%)
2005
Con: 16232 (37%)
Lab: 18801 (43%)
LDem: 6175 (14%)
UKIP: 1212 (3%)
Oth: 1320 (3%)
MAJ: 2569 (6%)
2001
Con: 15124 (38%)
Lab: 19722 (49%)
LDem: 4721 (12%)
Oth: 683 (2%)
MAJ: 4598 (11%)
1997
Con: 18312 (37%)
Lab: 25808 (52%)
LDem: 4025 (8%)
Oth: 546 (1%)
MAJ: 7496 (15%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRISTOPHER PINCHER (Conservative) See above.
CAROL DEAN (Labour) Office manager for Richard Burden. Staffordshire councillor 2001-2009.
JENNY PINKETT (Liberal Democrat) Retired teacher. Contested Tamworth 1997, 2001, Cannock Chase 2005, Tamworth 2010.
JAN HIGGINS (UKIP)
NICOLA HOLMES (Green)
Links
Comments - 163 Responses on “Tamworth”
  1. Actually you could easily argue the most ‘hard left’ party, the SNP, did rather well. Rather a limited success of course.

  2. Runnymede,

    The SNP manifesto was largely identical to the Labour one. I’d say the only hard left party standing a significant number of candidates was TUSC, who did appallingly.

    The Greens have some hard left policies, but otherwise are a weird mash of liberalism and Malthusian ecology.

  3. You could say that the hard left-wingers of TUSC did appallingly, to back what Joe said up, but that wouldn’t be in the least unusual. Some left-wing Labour candidates did quite well (e.g. Cat Smith, Jess Phillips, Lisa Forbes) but others didn’t (e.g. Lee Sherriff, Katy Clark, Louise Baldock).

  4. Julian Snow was Labour MP for Lichfield and Tamworth from 1950 to 1970:

    http://www.thepeerage.com/p19109.htm

  5. Ironic that the former MP is described as being ‘mountainous’; Tamworth has now apparently the highest obesity rate in Britain. And again, I disagree with Anthony’s notes…if this absolute shithole is a market town, then I’m Abi Titmuss.

    And yet this dump is still a safe Tory seat…says it all for Labour really.

  6. No one would accuse Tamworth of being genteel but it’s a busy town with low unemployment and rising wages.

  7. Rising wages? Well, when they were crap to begin with, it’s not hard. Plus I had no idea Asda and Homebase had increased wages recently…good for them.

  8. Tristan- I refer you to this article:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31148570

    I wouldn’t call average full time wages of £28,000 “crap” and there is a lot more to the local economy than retail as the article makes clear.

  9. “if this absolute shithole is a market town, then I’m Abi Titmuss.”

    You are a moron, aren’t you. Tamworth has been a market town for centuries. Did you have some sort of bad experience there?

  10. Not sure about criticising towns and (by implication) their inhabitants in this kind of abusive way – as if one is living on a far higher plane of existence.

    Labour will have to appeal to voters in middle-England towns like this, Swindon, Gloucester, Stourbridge, Crawley and many others if it going to be able to win again.

  11. Its noticeably improved in the last couple of years too.

  12. There’s are a lot of businesses in Tamworth, and a large industrial estate area to the west of the town.
    Insulting the electorate or their town doesn’t seem the best way of convincing them to change their vote.

  13. Tristan seems to like posting about how people in small town Tory seats are living in dumps and are all idiots deluding themselves that they’re aspirational.

    A parody of a labour metropolitan type sneering at the electorate I think.

    No need to give it any particular attention.

  14. Wasn’t he also mocking that young SNP MP for her looks and sexuality?

  15. Exactly – the kind of attitude that helped lose the election. Unless he’s taking the piss out oif them, but I think he does believe it.

  16. My reply to Roberbutton.

  17. ‘Tristan seems to like posting about how people in small town Tory seats are living in dumps and are all idiots deluding themselves that they’re aspirational.’

    I’m not so sure about the second bit but there can’t really be an argument that Tories certainly do much better today in run-down areas than they have done in the past

    And whilst the Tories no longer have the monopoly they once did when it comes to sneering at the poorer members of society, it’s a bit rich for them to claim they are the workers party especially in light of what they told their Lib Dem colleagues in the last government “we’ll look after the bosses whilst you look after the workers”

  18. One man’s dump is another man’s paradise.

    Tamworth is neither run down nor a dump – either by sight or by looking at the statistics. It is an ordinary, unpretentious, fairly prosperous midlands industrial town. There are many Tamworths up and down the country and they decide who wins elections.

    I have many happy childhood memories of Drayton Manor Park & Zoo.

  19. It is after all the home of Robert Peel’s Tamworth Manifesto in which he promised a reforming Conservatism – a sort of Cameron of his day.

  20. I am not sure Cameron would like that description given what an appalling party leader Peel was.

  21. Yes Neil, he was making unkind posts about Mhari Black and her intimate practices, views that quite frankly a typical Labour keyboard warrior wouldn’t hold. That’s why I suspect the account is meant to be satirical .

  22. ‘I am not sure Cameron would like that description given what an appalling party leader Peel was.’

    The comparison doesn’t hold

    Peel did the one thing Cameron never would – putting his country before his party by repealing the corn laws

  23. I am not entirely sure that the victims of Victorian laissez-faire would have seen it like that but in so far as Peel was willing to destroy his party on a point of principle, I suppose you are right.

  24. “Peel did the one thing Cameron never would – putting his country before his party by repealing the corn laws”.

    Gay marriage?

    The two examples actually have some similarities. In both cases opposition to reform was concentrated disproportionately inside the PM’s own party, so from a purely party point of view the line of least resistance would have been to do nothing.

    However in both cases change was opposed largely by groups whose influence and political importance was in terminal decline, so any political cost was always going to be short term.

  25. ‘I am not entirely sure that the victims of Victorian laissez-faire’

    Surely they’re hardship was dwarfed by those who couldn’t afford to eat because of the Corn Laws

    I think Kierian’s analysis is generally sound, although I just don’t think gay marriage is anywhere near as big as a political (or social, or economic) issue as the corn laws were and Cameron’s willingness to risk the UK’s future prosperity in order to appease a handful of hardliners within his own party – is something I can’t see Robert Peel doing

  26. “Cameron’s willingness to risk the UK’s future prosperity in order to appease a handful of hardliners within his own party – is something I can’t see Robert Peel doing”.

    What are you alluding to? The EU referendum?

  27. ‘What are you alluding to? The EU referendum?’

    Exactly that

    What makes it all the more troubling is that Cameron himself doesn’t believe for a minute that the UK’s interests lie in being outside the EU, yet he’s still willing to take the risk just to appease about three dozen of his increasingly aggressive backbenchers

    I’m no Europhile. I think the EU is an inefficient, self-seving, corruptible beurocracy and i think thbe single currency was one of the least thought out ideas ever, but the argument that we would better off out of it just diesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny

  28. I think the EU has some good points and bad points but I do believe its membership is too restrictive and forces us to look to Europe instead of being able to look further afield. The ability to set up a free trade zone with the Commonwealth would, I believe, be way better for the UK, building upon our historic ties with them, gaining access to the huge market and potential that is India and I also think free trade would do more for Africa than decades of aid has done.

    My overall feeling is that Europe is the past and that we should be looking to the future with the emerging markets, helping to shape and develop them.

  29. “…the argument that we would better off out of it just diesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny”.

    If the advantages of continued membership are so obvious then where’s the risk in having a vote? One strand of your argument undermines the other.

    What certainly doesn’t stand up to scrutiny is your notion that the desire for an in/out referendum is entirely the preoccupation of a few Tory backbenchers who Cameron feels he has to placate. Rather its an idea that (while not particularly high on people’s list of priorities) has genuine popular support.

    “My overall feeling is that Europe is the past and that we should be looking to the future with the emerging markets, helping to shape and develop them”.

    That pretty much reflects my view, and is why I lean towards “out”. Unfortunately I think the “out” side have already blown the referendum. Years ago they should have formulated a blueprint for what a UK outside the EU should look like (providing an answer to all the questions about whether we would go for EFTA/EEA membership or some other set up).

    This hasn’t been done because in all likelihood any viable plan would involve some form of continued free movement of people which would piss off all those who see EU withdrawal primarily as a means of controlling immigration. Consequently the “out” option looks to people like a real pig in a poke and will struggle to win a third of the vote.

  30. Cameron deep down wants to stay in, which is why he’s trying to negotiate a better/reformed deal, whatever that entails. That is certainly the position of the CBI who seem more pro-Conservative at this stage (guessing they were pro-Labour in the Blair years) though they’ve expressed their support much more vocally about the single market. For like minded groups and individuals in the UK, free movement people isn’t seen as massive problem.

  31. ‘If the advantages of continued membership are so obvious then where’s the risk in having a vote?’

    Because much if not all of the Euroskeptic press in the UK is owned by foreigners who despite what they tell their readers have no desire too see the UK succeed – and why should they, they are not British

    We’ve already seen the influence they have – in the election just gone where their mislesading opinion polls and talk of a Scottish coup was enough to swing it in the Tories favour – and the AV referendum where their hatred of Nick Clegg again won the day

    The In/Out refrenduim is a preoccupation of backbench Tories who hate the EU because it didn’t become the rich man’s club they hoped it would when Britain first joined up

    Of course people say they want a vote on it – and given what the EU has become there’s an argument to be made by saying they deserve one – but they would say the same about a whole range of issues like the death penalty and fox hunting etc

    Britain’s never done government via refrendum – we’re a parliamentary democracy.

  32. The Torygraph is very eurosceptiic now yet that’s British owned. As is the Daily Express – even more eurosceptiic.

  33. Tim, your “big beasts of the press misinforming the electorate” theory stands up to even less scrutiny than usual in the context of an EU referendum.

    As good a method as any of measuring the relative influence of various news outlets in the modern world is to look at their rate of online traffic. This data, while admittedly a little old now, is very informative:

    http://www.statista.com/statistics/286523/most-popular-news-websites-in-the-united-kingdom-by-users/

    In terms of the outlet’s likely stance in an EU referendum there exists no pattern whereby the outlets that reach the most people are likely to support “out”. The Mail may well support “out”, but as the chart shows between 2013 and 2014 it was overtaken by the Guardian (a certain “in” cheerleader) in terms of its online traffic.

    Looking at this and similar indicators I don’t see how it’s possible to argue that the “in” camp will have any difficulty in getting its message across.

  34. This is UKIP’s 132nd. seat on their target list, requiring a swing of 1r5.77% from the Conservatives.

    14 – 16% is actually the point at which a swing to UKIP brings them a whole deluge of seats.

  35. Interesting to note that the gap between Lab and UKIP was 8% compared to 24% between Lab and Con.

  36. Chris Pincher’s joke yesterday was a good ‘burn’, as the youngsters like to say. Typical Corbyn…the Tories are tearing strips out of each other, and old Jezza still ends up the butt of the joke.

  37. Which is why I think comparisons with the 1990s are false. Those divisions were so damaging because Labour were united and whopping the Tories in the polls.

  38. Labour also has its own dvisions on the EU and has a leader (unlike in the 1990s) who is basically a sceptic but, unlike Cameron, has choesn to (rather unconvincingly) go with the majority in his party over this matter.

  39. They won’t need to, because every day the press will be full of Tory infighting. Today it was Cameron pointing out that Boris is a cynical opportunist who doesn’t really think we should leave. Tomorrow, it will be someone else suggesting that Dave isn’t a proper Tory, and so on. Labour isn’t divided (on Europe) to anything like the same extent. Yes, there are people who are enthusiasts, and others, like Corbyn, who are more sceptical, but almost everyone can go along with voting to remain without feeling too uncomfortable.

  40. ‘Due to Labour’s own divisions, they are in no position to exploit the rift within the Tory party over Europe”

    The Tory Parliamentary party is split right down the middle on this. It’s almost 50/50 as things stand and if Labour had a credible and pro-EU leader they would certainly be able to exploit the Tory splits

    The Labour Party is about 85% in favour of staying in (both membership and parliamentary party)

  41. But they aren’t and don’t. So that’s that.

  42. I accept that the Tory divisions are going to provide some rare cheer for Labour supporters but I don’t think a referendum where Labour are not very prominent in the public debate is going to help them very much. It will only help them if it results in the Tories electing a leader as far off to the right as Corbyn is to the left, something that would actually be quite difficult to achieve (compared to JC even Liam Fox would look moderate).

  43. There are two options here as far as the boundary changes are concerned. Either the constituency takes in the Whittington & Streethay ward or the Hammerwich with Wall ward. Both would of course make the seat even safer for the Tories. Actually it would probably make more sense for Tamworth to take in a ward from the east but that’s not possible since that area is in Warwickshire.

  44. Labour lost seats to both Tories and UKIP at the local elections in Tamworth.

  45. This was a crazy result 61% for the tories. Higher than any seat in Surrey bar Surrey Heath and Mole Valley.
    Higher than any seat in London bar Old Bexley and Orpington!

  46. Bolehall ward By-election, 12.10.17:

    Labour 643 53% (+4%)
    Conservative 561 47% (+22%)

    Turnout: 21%.

    No UKIP this time. This was previously Labour’s safest ward, although Labour’s decline over the years in Staffordshire is well known.

  47. Another interesting use of figures there from Lancs once again quoting the changes from the last result rather than the changes from the 2015 results when this particular seat was contested, the ACTUAL changes via Britain Elects are as follows

    LAB: 53.4% (+14.6)
    CON: 46.6% (+11.1)

  48. Thanks Rivers. More dross from Lancs as per. Truly a pitiful ‘journalist’ (although I’m not sure writing fake problem page letters for Woman’s Own qualifies you as a journalist).

  49. Indeed, thanks to Rivers for explaining this one. As I’ve mentioned before, comparative figures need to include which year they refer to in order to provide some meaningful comparison. The fact that the Lab majority was just 3% in 2015 shows that this seat was far from safe.

    What seems to have happened to this ward in May 2016 is that the non-Labour vote was split evenly between Con and UKIP, inflating the Lab majority – rather like what happened in some seats (for example, Ashfield) in the 2015 GE.

  50. People talk as though the UKIP vote was always a Conservative vote in disguise, that its collapse (and in particular, its collapse in favour of the Conservative Party) was inevitable. What is never acknowledged is that actually the Tories worked very hard under Theresa May to make sure that it happened. Had the Tories chosen a different strategy maybe UKIP would still be on 8-10%.

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