Walsall South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 13733 (32.8%)
Labour: 19740 (47.2%)
Lib Dem: 676 (1.6%)
Green: 1149 (2.7%)
UKIP: 6540 (15.6%)
MAJORITY: 6007 (14.4%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands.

Main population centres:

Profile:

Politics:


Current MP
VALERIE VAZ (Labour) Born 1954, Yemen, brother of MP Keith Vaz. Educated at Twickenham County Grammar and London University. Former solicitor. Ealing councillor 1986-1990. Contested Twickenham 1987. First elected as MP for Walsall South in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14456 (35%)
Lab: 16211 (40%)
LDem: 5880 (14%)
UKIP: 3449 (8%)
Oth: 886 (2%)
MAJ: 1755 (4%)
2005*
Con: 9687 (27%)
Lab: 17633 (50%)
LDem: 3240 (9%)
UKIP: 1833 (5%)
Oth: 2922 (8%)
MAJ: 7946 (23%)
2001
Con: 10643 (31%)
Lab: 20564 (59%)
LDem: 2365 (7%)
UKIP: 974 (3%)
Oth: 343 (1%)
MAJ: 9921 (28%)
1997
Con: 13712 (32%)
Lab: 25024 (58%)
LDem: 2698 (6%)
Oth: 144 (0%)
MAJ: 11312 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
SUE ARNOLD (Conservative)
VALERIE VAZ (Labour) See above.
JOEL KENRICK (Liberal Democrat) Strategy consultant.
DEREK BENNETT (UKIP) Sales manager. Contested Walsall 1997 for Referendum party, Walsall South 2001, 2005, 2010 for UKIP.
CHARLOTTE FLETCHER (Green)
Links
Comments - 61 Responses on “Walsall South”
  1. Has the area covered by St Matthew’s ward always been in this constituency? (It may of course have earlier been in different wards with different boundaries)

  2. Harry, since I have been aware of local politics it has been, as historically Walsall South has always included the Town centre which is St Matthews

  3. Thank you Ian

  4. Walsall South town centre is in this constituency.

    I wonder what St Albans UKIP activist Pete Whitehead thinks about the outcome of this court case:

    http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/article/3070/teen-avoids-jail-over-walsall-edl-violence-as

  5. I know it’s still a few months away, but I’m going to make my prediction for this years Walsall local elections. Predictions are based on when these councillors last stood for election in 2010 and take into account changes in turnout, the national state of opinion polls, the 2011 & 2012 local elections and some local circumstances.

    Aldridge Central & South: Conservative Hold

    Aldridge North & Walsall Wood: Conservative Hold

    Birchhills & Leamore: Labour Hold

    Blakenall: This ward was won by a Socialist Labour candidate in 2012 by just 13 votes. But the far left in Walsall isn’t what it used to be and that result (not the first time Labour have lost the most deprived ward in the borough) may be down to the personal vote of that particular councillor who isn’t up for re-election till 2016. I’m predicting this as a Labour hold.

    Bloxwich East: Labour Hold.

    Bloxwich West: This is the Tories strongest ward in the Walsall North Westminster constituency, but Labour have done very well here in 2011, 2012 and in two by-elections since they last won it in 2010. It is a polarised ward and a lot will depend on how well Labour can get their core vote out on the Mossley estate and how well the Tories can get their core vote out on the Turnberry estate. But even with Labours national poll lead beginning to shrink, they’re resent good performances in this ward make me think the Tories will lose their last councillor in the Walsall North seat. I’m predicting a Labour Gain.

    Brownhills: This used to be a safe Labour ward but has managed to go Tory in some of their better years more recently. It has more in common with Cannock and Burntwood across the border in Staffordshire and in my opinion it’s following those towns in trending Tory in the long term. Brownhills is currently represented by 1 Tory and 2 Labour councillors. Whilst part of my thinks the Tories only managed to hold this in 2010 because of local elections being held on the same day as the general election and many traditional Labour voters switching to the Tories because of Richard Shepard’s personal vote, Labours performances in 2011 and 2012 don’t back this theory up. Labours majority here in 2012 was substantially reduced compared to 2011 and because of their recent poor performance in national opinion polls, I’m predicting this to be a Conservative Hold.

    Darlaston North and Bentley: Labour Hold

    Darlaston South: This ward has switched hands between Labour and Independents several times over the years and is therefore difficult to predict. It’s the part of the borough I’m least familiar with, so I’m not 100% sure as to why Independents do so well in what on paper should be safe Labour territory. The last time Labour won here was in 2011 with a majority of just 3.2% and the Independents gained it in 2012 with a majority of 350. This is the difficult ward in the borough to predict, but I’m going for an Independent Hold.

    Paddock: A previously safe Tory ward which has been trending Labour for years now, but one which they’ve never managed to take. A strong UKIP candidate usually takes away some Tory votes here, but I’m still predicting a Conservative Hold.

    Palfrey: Labour Hold

    Pelsall: Conservative Hold

    Pheasey: Conservative Hold

    Pleck: Labour Hold

    Rushall & Shelfield: This is another difficult ward to predict. Labour gained it in 2012 after several years in Tory hands, although there was a very close by-election in 2010 in which the Tories may have held on simply through winning over Labour voters who were fearful the BNP we’re going to win. Going on the size of Labours majority in 2012 it looks like it will be a close result and could be the crucial ward that decides whether Labour take overall control of the council or not. On balance I think the slight increase in turnout caused by the European elections being held on the same day could just about save the Tories here, although the intervention of a UKIP candidate will probably take some votes away from them. All thing considered, I’m going to predict a Labour gain.

    Short Heath: One of the two Walsall wards where the Lib Dems are competitive. Although recent Lib Dem majorities here have fallen (nothing unusual there), there wasn’t much change between the 2011 and 2012 results so I’m guessing their vote is holding up well. But their decision to form a coalition with the Tories two years ago might just cost them enough votes to lose here. It’ll be close and it could be another ward which determines whether or not Labour take overall control. I’m predicting a Labour gain.

    St Matthews: A ward which the Tories won back from Labour in 2012 and a very ethnically and demographically mixed ward. A Labour gain is not out of the question completely, but I’m predicting a Conservative hold.

    Streetly: Conservative Hold

    Willenhall North: This ward went against the national trend in 2012 when the Lib Dems gained it from Labour. That might be something to do with the small Labour majority in 2011 (the first time Labour won here in a long time) and the fact that the Lib Dem group leader was up for re-election here that year. But the 2011 result shows that the Lib Dems can be vulnerable here if they don’t have a strong candidate and just like in Short Heath, the coalition issue will probably cost them votes. I’m predicting a Labour gain.

    Willenhall South: Labour Hold.

    This will leave the composition of the new council as follows;

    Labour: 32
    Conservative: 22
    Liberal Democrats: 3
    Independents: 2
    Socialist Labour: 1

    So after 14 years, Labour will be back in overall control of Walsall Council.

  6. Very interesting reading, thanks Adam.

    IIRC, Labour has also been helped in Paddock by boundary changes. I know it used to be a very safe Tory ward before then.

  7. That is a significant BME vote in Walsall S. It’s surely trending to Labour at this stage. Should go back to being a comfortable majority next year.

  8. Adam, I should point out that the Blakenall councillor,Pete Smith, belongs to Democratic Labour (which fights as part of TUSC) not Socialist Labour, which whilst ‘hard left’ is still a different party from TUSC’s component parts.

  9. Prediction for 2015-
    Labour- 48%
    Conservative- 32%
    UKIP- 16%
    Liberal Democrats- 4%

  10. Sorry Lotus, my mistake. My knowledge of the far left is pretty limited, especially since there are no so many minor parties and splinter groups.

    So are socialist labour not part of the TUSC coalition of parties?

  11. Socialist Labour is Scargill’s party & doesn’t currently combine with other parties.

  12. It’s an interesting history as to how the British far left has evolved over the years. A lot of today’s far left groups can trace their origins back to the decline of the militant tendency and the anti poll tax movement of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Although the far left is one part of British politics I’ve Neve taken much of an interest in.

    And I certainly had no interest in the anti poll tax movement at the time. As I’ve mentioned on here before, one of my first experiences in politics was handing out leaflets for the Tories in the Mid-Staffs by election in 1990.

  13. Brilliant post Adam, I’ve really learnt a great deal about the political situation here.

  14. I’m not expert, but that’s just my opinion on what will happen based on local knowledge and looking at recent election results and trends.

  15. I’ll be voting Tory in the Streetly ward like I always do, and the big thing I’ll be watching out for locally is if the Tories can hold on in Sutton Vesey over in Birmingham after losing it to Labour in 2012. That was the first time Labour won a Sutton ward since the town was incorporated into Birmingham in 1974 and could be the first tangible sign that Sutton (or at least the southern side of the town closest to Erdington) is trending Labour long term.

  16. Adam- there is a school of thought that Labour’s win in Sutton Vesey in 2012 had a lot to do with Rob Pocock’s personal appeal. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how someone other than Pockock does for Labour.

    I will also be interested to see if the Conservatives can reopen their leads in Trinity and New Hall, which weren’t all that massive in 2012 (relative to previous years).

  17. Two weeks to go until the local elections and I’m only going to make one change to the prediction I made back in January, and that’s that I think Labour will hold onto the Brownhills ward. The intervention of a UKIP candidate this time will take votes away from the Tories, giving the ward to Labour. It’s for similar reasons I’m more confident that Labour will also gain Rushall & Shelfield. UKIP are doing far better in the polls now than what I thought they would back in January, so this will cost the Tories votes.

    I’m also more confident that Labour will gain Bloxwich West because the roadworks on the Broad Lane railway bridge have over-run and the bridge won’t re-open to traffic until after polling day. This is a big local issue and I’m guessing many residents will blame the council/government for this even though Network Rail are responsible for the project running behind schedule.

  18. OK, the prediction I made back in January was hopelessly out of place with reality. I guess I though we were still living in the more simplistic and predictable era of 3 party politics. In fact UKIP now have 3 seats on the council.

  19. The Conservatives have held Bloxwich West. However, Labour gained Rushall.

  20. The 5 wards where my prediction was wrong were:

    Brownhills : UKIP gain from Con

    Willenhall North: UKIP gain from Lib Dem

    Short Heath: UKIP gain from Lib Dem

    Bloxwich West: Con hold

    St Matthews: Lab gain from Con

  21. Upon closer inspection of the results, UKIP either won or got 2nd place finishes in 15 out of the 20 wards.

  22. Walsall South, local election votes:

    Lab 8,982
    Con 8,354
    UKIP 5,936
    No Descr 872
    LD 455
    Eng Dem 130

  23. Conservatives did a lot better here in the local elections than in Walsall North and UKIP did noticeably worse.

    That’s slightly odd because I thought this seat had more favourable demographics for UKIP, particularly in the Paddock ward.

    But UKIP’s success across the Walsall borough seems to be built on their ability to tap into the disaffected WWC vote more than anything.

  24. This constituency has long seen Conservative overperformance at the local level while Walsall North has always been the opposite (notwithstanding some more recent successes in Bloxwich). It’s hardly surprising or atypical either that UKIP performed better in primarily WWC areas than in areas which are quite heavily Asian

  25. Does anyone know why this keeps happening in the W Midlands?
    Tory local successes even when Labour is out of Government.

    I can understand it more in London where I think there is a bit of a lingering distrust of Labour in local Government even amongst some left leaning voters
    but it is more widespread and long standing here.

  26. I wonder whether the differential turnout effect is greater in the West Midlands – I have no data on this. 2014 was a repeat of 2010 local elections which coincided with the general election. Certainly in Birmingham this routinely matters.

    Also it would require rather more data to show that Conservative overperformance in the West Midlands is persistent and general. The Conservatives did particularly badly in Birmingham in 2012 for example.

  27. I wonder if the Tories have an Asian middle-class vote in Paddock?

  28. As of 2011, 39% of Paddock residents were Asian- very high indeed for a ward that votes Tory in local elections (albeit narrowly these days after the boundary changes).

  29. The Tories did do badly in Birmingham in 2012 but this over performance seems more often than not. They did well in the 1991 local elections and Labour relatively well in 1992. Birmingham Northfield had a 50pc con vote in 1991. Even in 2012 the Tories carried the Edgbaston Parliamentary seat as they always do except in 1994-5 which were the worst ever Tory years.

  30. I get the feeling actually that the Tories recovered better in some of their West Midlands WWC targets in 2010 such as Nuneaton and Warwickshire North better than they have in much of Birmingham.

  31. Yes – a poor swing in Wolverhampton SW aswell in 2010.

  32. It’s a case of them having to compensate in town areas where they can still win because of the demographics, whereas in the cities in the Midlands they’re still struggling.

  33. Well it’s the classic conurbation-small town dichotomy. The Conservatives underperformed in the urban centres of Birmingham, Coventry, and (arguably) the Black Country but did very well in small town Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

    Incidentally I had caused to grind my teeth this week at an article by Greg Clark MP praising Coventry and Warwickshire for working together as if they were two lands unfamiliar to one another rather than different parts of the same traditional County. No wonder these people think that some Northern megacity is possible.

  34. This dichotomy goes back years & years. I remember the 1987 election for example ; in the local elections which immediately preceded it, the Tories outpolled Labour in the Birmingham Perry Barr constituency despite the 1983 boundary changes (which are still basically in force) that put most of the old Handsworth seat into it. Yet in the general election Jeff Rooker for Labour beat the Tory candidate (John Taylor, later famous for various reasons) by fully 6,000 votes. There are not many examples of the opposite in Birmingham – almost always Labour does better in general elections than in local ones within the city. Not so much in other boroughs in the W Midlands necessarily.

  35. I suppose it could be some people who don’t want a Labour council but want a more interventionist Government. It’s not that unusual a view.

  36. I looked at that picture and for one horrifying second thought it was Katie Hopkins.

  37. Apparently she’s a newspaper tycoon and a district councillor in Lichfield.

    I’ve heard of worse people standing as parliamentary candidates.

  38. ‘I’ve heard of worse people standing as parliamentary candidates.’

    Katie Hopkins being a shiny example

    She actually stood for some anti EU party waaay to the Right of the Tories in the Euro elections – and got deservedly trounced

    Whilst UKIP are happy to embrace the likes of Kilroy-Silke, Neil Hamilton and Roger Helmer, I think even they would draw the line at Hopkins – surely one of the most dislikeable people to have ever existed

  39. She was initially We Demand A Referendum candidate for one of the English regions in this year’s Euro elections, although they strangely vanished from the final candidates list.

  40. Pleased to see I’m listed as the General Election candidate for the Green Party, you are welcome to have a photo – just email me.

    And for anyone wanting to find out more you can find me on twitter as @CFWalsallGreen, on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Fletcher/347748762082601 or soon you will find me on the Green Parties national website of candidates.

  41. Labour hold – Majority 4,000.

  42. Ancient history in more than one way, but Tory’s post of 28 June 2014 above highlights the flaws in becoming wrapped up in nostalgia for old county boundaries and the wish that local government areas today should conform to them. He says that Coventry and Warwickshire were “different parts of the same traditional County”. Of course, this is wrong: Coventry was a county in its own right from 1451, and was only briefly administratively part of Warwickshire before becoming an independent county borough.

    But where do you draw the boundary? Should urban areas which are clearly and distinctly part of modern Coventry, such as Coundon, Wyken or Walsgrave be returned to Warwickshire because they only became part of Coventry on this day in 1932?

    The fact is, local government boundaries need to be revised from time to time, to realign them with the facts of urban development and social changes.

  43. The Lib Dem candidate is Joel Kenrick.

  44. Labour Hold. 5,000 majority.

  45. Is this seat likely to be affected by the next boundary changes?

  46. Surely the MP is the sister of Keith Vaz.. not the brother!

  47. According to Wikipedia, Keith Vaz is Valerie Vaz’ younger brother.

    Valerie Vaz is married to a man named Paul Townsend.

  48. Correct. Valerie is Keith’s sister.

    One of, I think, three pairs of siblings currently in the Commons along with the Eagle twins and the Johnsons.

  49. Sorry but I find it all rather creepy. Find your own career rather than scrounging off your sibling.

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