2015 Result:
Conservative: 16094 (39.6%)
Labour: 15364 (37.8%)
Lib Dem: 927 (2.3%)
Green: 930 (2.3%)
UKIP: 7330 (18%)
MAJORITY: 730 (1.8%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Shropshire. Part of Telford and Wrekin council area.

Main population centres: Telford, Ironbridge.

Profile: Telford is a rapidly growing new town development. The area previously had an important industrial heritage, including some of the earliest industrial development around Ironbridge Gorge and Coalbrookdale. In 1963 it was designated as a newtown and has expanded massively since, housing the overspill population of the urban west midlands. There is significant high tech and computer industry here and HMRC is a major local employer.

Politics: Like most English newtowns Telford is a marginal area - until 1997 it was part of The Wrekin, a marginal seat between the Conservatives and Labour. In 1997 the expanding population lead to the creation of a new Telford seat, carving out the urban centre from The Wrekin seat. This was held by Labour from 1997 until 2015 when it fell to the Conservatives.

Current MP
LUCY ALLAN (Conservative) Born 1964, Worcestershire. Educated at Durham University. Former investment manager and chartered accountant. Wandsworth councillor 2006-2012. First elected as MP for Telford in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 14996 (36%)
Lab: 15974 (39%)
LDem: 6399 (15%)
UKIP: 2428 (6%)
Oth: 1513 (4%)
MAJ: 978 (2%)
Con: 11100 (32%)
Lab: 16506 (48%)
LDem: 4941 (14%)
UKIP: 1659 (5%)
MAJ: 5406 (16%)
Con: 8471 (27%)
Lab: 16854 (55%)
LDem: 3983 (13%)
UKIP: 1098 (4%)
Oth: 469 (2%)
MAJ: 8383 (27%)
Con: 10166 (27%)
Lab: 21456 (58%)
LDem: 4371 (12%)
MAJ: 11290 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LUCY ALLAN (Conservative) Born 1964, Worcestershire. Educated at Durham University. Former investment manager and chartered accountant. Wandsworth councillor 2006-2012.
DAVID WRIGHT (Labour) Born 1966, Telford. Educated at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. Local government officer. Wrekin councillor 1989-1997. MP for Telford 2001 to 2015. PPS to Rosie Winterton 2004-05, PPS to David Miliband 2005-2006, PPS to John Hutton 2006, PPS to Jane Kennedy 2007-08, Government Whip 2009-10. Opposition Whip 2010-11.
IAN CROLL (Liberal Democrat)
DENIS ALLEN (UKIP) Educated at Bedford Modern. Former RAF officer and KwikFit management trainer. Former North Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin councillor for the Conservative party. UKIP councillor on Telford and Wrekin council since 2013.Contested North Shropshire 1997 for the Referendum Party, Telford 2010 for UKIP.
PETER HAWKINS (Green) Freelance journalist.
Comments - 114 Responses on “Telford”
  1. This seat has seen a 20% fall in the Labour vote over the past three elections since 1997 – a good deal more than their fall in vote share nationally. Perhaps the 58% they received in 1997 was extraordinary, but they almost held that share in 2001. Could this be a conceivable upset in a very close election? To answer my own question, that would seem to be unlikely, but the Labour fall in the share of the vote here (although not in actual votes) has been very marked since 2001.

  2. In 1997 there were only the three main parties contesting. In 2010 Others got 10%, add to that the national drop of 14% in Labour’s vote share since 1997 and it’s not too surprising.

  3. It is probable that this seat is trending Tory over time. Not even the 1997 result for Labour was very good in the context of the 1992 notionals, which had Labour leading the Conservatives 52-33. As it happens, I suspect the 1992 result will have been somewhat closer than that. Nevertheless, the Tories do seem relatively stronger here than they were twenty years ago. If the Tories win a majority at the 2020 election I would expect this one to fall, albeit narrowly. In 2015, however, I’d expect Labour to be fine.

  4. Yes, would tend to agree that any Tory win will be in the election after next, rather than in 2015, unless the Conservatives go back into the lead, in which case all bets are off. This seat does look as if it will drift out of Labour’s column at some point.

  5. ‘This seat does look as if it will drift out of Labour’s column at some point’

    This phenemenom has been seen in other new towns like Swindon, Stevenage and Harlow which used to be considerably more reliable for Labour than they are now

    Further North, the trend has yet to catch on with Labour still well entrenched in places like Newton Aycliffe and Skelmersdale

  6. Good point Tim – we could also add Crawley and Basildon to the list.

  7. I don’t believe the Tories will ever win Telford. Travelling through the town centre, you see some of the most depressing housing estates one could possibly imagine.

  8. well they weren’t a million miles away last time. Having said that, though, Dave Wright was dogged by controversy in the last election campaign which probably slightly exaggerated the swing against him & is unlikely to be repeated in future.

  9. Surely the long term trend in this seat is to the Conservatives, as they lose out in nearby Wolverhampton. The decline in Wolverhampton SW is tracked on the relevant page.
    It should follow places like Tamworth, Redditch, Nuneaton and Cannock favouring the Conservatives as they perform worse in the nearby Midlands cities.
    As with the London region, there are more seats in the outer ring that are trending Conservatives as the inner city reaches into the suburbs.

  10. I’m not 100% sure that Nuneaton entirely belongs in that list. There have always been some Conservative suburbs in Nuneaton like Weddington; much of the reason why Labour used to be so safe in the seat but doesn’t hold it now is boundary changes. Before 1983, Nuneaton was quite tightly drawn around Nuneaton & Bedworth, with fewer rural non-coalfield areas: since then, the 2 towns have been separated for parliamentary purposes & the seat has been marginal. The Tories are a bit better off than in 1992 but again there have been boundary changes. Perhaps someone could tell us whether the exclusion of Bulkington from the seat has only been in force since 2010, or if it happened previously; its absence from this seat, and presence in Rugby instead, hasn’t helped Labour.

  11. The reason for the additional Conservative seat in Nuneaton, as the old Nuneaton and Bedworth was historically a very safe Labour seat, is population growth leading to the split and the N Warcs seat. This is typical of the growth of the satellite towns and villages on the motorway system. The growing number of these seats and new house building in them is providing a counterbalance to the Conservative decline in the cities.
    The Nuneaton area also historically had significant numbers of coal miners, although this factor has largely gone now.

  12. The trend is against Labour, not necessarily to the Conservatives. UKIP kept its deposit in the last election and UKIP polling is high in the West Midlands euroregion. The lead MEP candidate for UKIP in the West Midlands is from Telford which is likely to strengthen the UKIP vote in Telford as well as providing the local party infrastructure to mount a serious challenge.

  13. UKIP must have seriously good prospects in this seat, whether at the expense of Labour or the Tories is yet to be seen.

  14. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 40%
    Con- 34%
    UKIP- 22%
    Lib- 4%

  15. A couple of weeks ago, it was suggested in the “Independent” that this was a seat where UKIP could cost Labour the seat.

    But after the Heywood and Middleton by-election I think we have to consider the likelihood that UKIP might well win this seat outright.

    Previous comments have observed how new town seats in the South, like Stevenage and Harlow, have been swinging away from Labour and predicting that this trend may extend northwards to seats like this.

    Perhpas I can observe that this and similar new town seats are essentially based on a mass of small semi-detacheds housing populated by lower-middle class and upper working-class voters in whom Labour has shown little interest for the past generation. There is also the more delicate issue that a considerable number of people in this area want to distance themselves from communities in Birmingham and the West Midlands connurbation more generally that tend to have Labour supporting cliques.

  16. Andrea has pointed out, on the Doncaster North thread, that this constituency has a low party membership.

    I cannot think why. This is a new town seat with quite a high middle class vote which might be expected to provide at least its share of activists. Also, I don’t know about the current MP but his predecessor Bruce Grocott was certainly a competent MP.

    With at least four serious parties, supplemented by the Greens, the General Election next year looks like falling into almost a series of by-elections. Canvassers and leafleteers at the grassrotts are going to make all the difference in seats like this.

    Incidentally, how many members go the Tories, UKIP and the LibDems have in this constituency?

  17. ‘But after the Heywood and Middleton by-election I think we have to consider the likelihood that UKIP might well win this seat outright. ‘

    But UKIP’s great result in Heywood & Middleton was 1) Because they are the current flavour of the month and 2) It was a by-election

    I’d be very surprised if it was so close at next year’s general election

  18. The polls do not suggest more than a modest pro-UKIP effect from the by-election. Many people fall into the trap of confusing by-elections with general elections, but most voters can tell the difference. Some sense of proportion is required when assessing their chances in some seats. It would be amusing to look at the threads pre-general-election 2010 & see the seats some people thought were realistic prospects for the LDs then; the same is almost certainly going to be true in respect of UKIP if we look back at some of the predictions being made at the moment in the cold light of day after the 2015 general election.

  19. Even if they get about 24-25% they will struggle to win lots of seats I think.

    So Con 31% Lab 31% UKIP 24% LD 5% Oths 9%

  20. LDs would still have about 35 seats on 5% so PR would be achieved under FPTP. Indeed they’d be a convert to it.

  21. Lab 410 31%
    Con 175 31%
    LD 36 5%
    UKIP 8 24%

  22. As you’re surely aware Joe if Labour got the same vote share as the Tories they would not enjoy a colossal lead in terms of seats such as that. I presume you’re being light-hearted at least to some extent.

  23. PR wouldn’t be achieved, it just won’t be the LDs who would hurt from it. Also it would hardly convert the party, they know damn well that their long term interests will always be better served by PR systems.

  24. ‘Even if they get about 24-25%’

    If UKIP gets that at the general election then surely the Tories will be down to below 30% – which I don’t see happening

    Personally I think UKIP will get about 15% and pick up maybe five seats at best – two of which will be holds from by-elections

  25. I’ve just noticed the Lib Dem candidate here is Ian Croll, who previously stood in North Shropshire in 2010.

  26. Drove through Horsehay, Dawley, Ironbridge and Madeley today and saw the sum of one garden stake supporting David Wright. You really wouldn’t know there was an election coming. Which surprised me as I thought UKIP would try a bit harder here.

  27. There could be a big increase in David Wright’s majority here because UKIP will hit the Tories quite hard here I would have imagined.

  28. Lucy Allan running a very strong campaign. Could this seat buck the national trend? As per ‘The Results’ she needs to strangle the UKIP vote though

  29. Labour Hold. 4,000 majority.

  30. It’s very likely that no seats will switch from Labour to Conservative at this election. But if anywherE bucks the trend I reckon it will be here.

  31. I think 24 seats may switch from Lab to Con.

    Morley and Outwood for one?

  32. Another CON gain. This is turning into a very interesting night

  33. I’m surprised the BBC forecast has not moved nearer 320 for CON yet

  34. Full Result:

    Con 16,094 39.6%
    Lab 15,364 37.8%
    UKIP 7,330 18.0%
    Green 930 2.3%
    L Dem 927 2.3%

    Majority 730 : Swing to Conservative 2.1%

  35. Not the most surprising gain was this seat really I don’t think given the heavy long- term trends towards the Tories here- Lucy Allan might have been a very good candidate as well.

  36. Nevertheless rather significant though; Telford is, to put it politely, not the most salubrious place.

    For the Tories to be winning these kind of towns really shows how narrow Labour’s appeal has become.

  37. Indeed. I think whoever becomes the next Labour leader really needs to make an effort to reconnect with voters in the New Towns.

  38. The centre of Telford is depressing to look at, but there are some very nice new estates being built around the edge of the town. I saw them a couple of weeks ago when travelling through the area.

  39. The changes in this seat since 1997 really do tell a story of how this area has trended towards the Tories-
    Conservative- +12.2%
    Labour- -20.0%
    Liberal Democrat- -9.5%
    Others- +17.3% (Including UKIP)

    A long-term swing of 16.1% from Labour to Conservative.

  40. it’s an impressive Con result to win this seat but I think the trend is or has been more anti Labour than pro Con.

    It was still a big surprise though despite the marginality because Labour won a by election last autumn in Ironbridge Gorge which which is presumably one of the nicer parts of the seat although it foretold the UKIP share in the constituency accurately.

    I’ll be surprised anyway if this doesn’t narrowly return to Labour at the next election if the constituency remains in more or less this form (boundary changes which put Hadley and Donnington would make this a notionally Labour).

  41. Maybe but as I said before the attractive new estates on the edge of town are continuing to be built at a relatively fast pace.

  42. It will be extremely tight I would predict- Probably headed for recount territory in 2020 without a doubt I reckon.

  43. This is pretty dreadful.
    Even if you add the Labour votes together for this seat and the whole of The Wrekin it comes to less than in 1979.
    And the latter clearly includes some areas outside the seat even then, whilst population has grown.
    Interesting that John Chanin thought there was some chance of it though.

  44. I think the Tory vote will possibly increase again here in 2020, and I wouldn’t rule out a shock hold for them even though it will be a top Labour target. Perhaps they could keep it along these lines?-
    Allan (Conservative)- 41%
    Labour- 40.5%
    UKIP- 16%
    Green- 1.5%
    Liberal Democrat- 1%

  45. Impossible to say. The boundaries will probably be different. The Tories may hang on even against a Labour swing if rural areas are added, although there are Labour areas in the areas removed in 1997. Much will depend on what the political situation is.

  46. LOL I’m at it again Joe!

  47. I believe that the abandoned proposed boundary changes made a Telford North and the Wrekin seat and a Telford South and Bridgnorth seat with the boundary running roughly along the line of the M54. As a result I would imagine that this would create two semi marginal Tory seats.

  48. I would guess that the next redistribution may well again propose Telford North and Telford South seats, The Telford seat, which I recollect was narrowly won by them in 1987, has become a progressively harder task for Labour and it is hard to see them winning either of the two seats if Telford is split down the middle and included with parts of rural Shropshire. Comparison with Swindon comes to mind.

    Bruce Grocott did very well to win Telford in 1987 given that nearby Wolverhampton North-East was lost by Labour in the same election; but leaving aside age considerations he is now in the House of Lords.

  49. Why would they recommend splitting Telford in two?

  50. Shropshire is not exactly pro-Labour at local level. Of course the boundary commissioners are politically neutral so that wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    Personally, I would have thought that Telford is a fairly natural consitituency. There are townships on the edge of Telford like Wellington, Ironbridge and Shifnal that can be included or excluded to adjust the constituency so that it is of average size. There is also the point that Telford as a Unitary authority has a smaller population than the quota for one constituency and it therefore seems odd to split the Authority between two seats.

    Even before Telford was founded The Wrekin was a marginal seat. I think it was Coalition Liberal in 1918, Independent Conservative in the February 1922 by-election, Conservative in 1922, Labour in 1923 and Unionist in 1924. It was Labour from 1929 – 1931, Conservative 1931 – 1945, Labour 1945 – 1955, Conservative 1955 – 1966, Labour 1966 – 1970, Conservative 1970 – February 1974, Labour February 1974 – 1979 and Conservative 1979 – 1983,

    Part of the reason the seat was marginal was that there used to be a coal-mining vote in the area.

    Perhaps the most notable MP for The Wrekin was Edith Picton-Turbervill, M.P from 1929 – 1931, who was on the left-wing of the Labour Party. Her father was a Conservative who owned mining royalties. But she was an evangelical Christian and campaigned for women to be made priests. She was still well remembered in Shropshire when I lived in Shifnal in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By all accounts she was an exceptionally hard-working MP.

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