Warwick & Leamington

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24249 (47.9%)
Labour: 17643 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 2512 (5%)
Green: 1994 (3.9%)
UKIP: 4183 (8.3%)
MAJORITY: 6606 (13.1%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Warwickshire. Part of the Warwick council area.

Main population centres: Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa.

Profile: The constituency consists of the two titular towns and some of the countryside to the south-west. Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa form a single urban area and are both affluent and successful towns. Warwick`s castle and historic buildings makes it a tourist destination, and the good communication links make the area a popular location for companies and hi-tech industry. The Technology park to the south of Warwick is home to the National Grid`s gas control centre, Jet and Bravissimo, while IBM and Volvo also have bases here. Leamington is perhaps the more industrial of the two towns, and the council estates to the south of Leamington form the core of Labour`s support here. Warwick university is not in the constituency, indeed, it is not even in Warwick - instead being situated on the southern edge of Coventry.

Politics: Historically Warwick and Leamington has been a safe seat for the Conservative party, most famously represented by Sir Anthony Eden from 1923 until 1957. It was a surprise gain for Labour in their 1997 landslide, and James Plaskitt managed to retain the seat in 2001 and (extremely narrowly) in 2005 before it returned to the Tories in 2010.

Current MP
CHRIS WHITE (Conservative) Born 1967. Educated at St Gregorys Catholic School and Manchester University. Former Engineer. Contested Warwick & Leamington 2005, Birmingham Hall Green 2001. First elected as MP for Warwick & Leamington in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 20876 (43%)
Lab: 17363 (35%)
LDem: 8977 (18%)
UKIP: 926 (2%)
Oth: 890 (2%)
MAJ: 3513 (7%)
Con: 21972 (40%)
Lab: 22238 (41%)
LDem: 8119 (15%)
GRN: 1534 (3%)
Oth: 921 (2%)
MAJ: 266 (0%)
Con: 20155 (38%)
Lab: 26108 (49%)
LDem: 5964 (11%)
UKIP: 648 (1%)
Oth: 664 (1%)
MAJ: 5953 (11%)
Con: 23349 (39%)
Lab: 26747 (45%)
LDem: 7133 (12%)
Oth: 1378 (2%)
MAJ: 3398 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHRIS WHITE (Conservative) See above.
LYNNETTE KELLY (Labour) Born Coventry. Educated at Coventry University. Academic. Coventry councillor since 2004. Contested Birmingham Yardley 2010.
HASEEB ARIF (Liberal Democrat) Born Leamington Spa. Educated at North Leamington School and University of London.
AZZEES MINOTT (Green) Educated at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Girls School and Coventry University. CAB advisor.
Comments - 148 Responses on “Warwick & Leamington”
  1. Well your “proposals” for my own area are ill-considered and frankly awful….an inverted T-shaped unitary authority stretching from Brighton all the way up to the boundary with Surrey at East Grinstead.

    The population of Mid Sussex and the rural northern half of Lewes district would be horrified at being lumped into a greater Brighton, to such an extent that it would never happen. The authority would cross the boundaries between East and West Sussex so probably a no-go on that point alone.

  2. Thanks for the comments, and sorry it was such a long post. I see no real reason to change the boundaries of the met counties (except for Wolverhampton and Sefton) and my priority has been mainly to re-organise two tier areas leaving existing unitaries as they are with a few notable exceptions.

    Pete, I used to be sympathetic to the cause of smaller unitaries and a much more radical re-organisation. I never got round to doing exact proposals for all parts if the country under that model. But for your area, you would come under a London Borough of Watford.

  3. London Borough of Watford?

    Good grief.

  4. H.Hemmelig, the Mid Sussex authority is based on a proposal made by the Redcliffe-Maud Commission in the 1960’s.

    The biggest opposition to such an authority would probably come from the Green group on Brighton Council.

  5. I thought the most controversy would have been caused by abolishing Rutland. Transferring Wombourne and Kinver to Shropshire and merging councils in South Wales may also be unpopular. But it needs to be done. You can’t justify some of the poorest areas of the country having unitary councils serving just 60,000 people when they’re crying out for resources.

    That’s why generally I’ve gone for larger whole county unitaries to maximise the benefits of economies of scale and to reduce the need for future reorganisations. I might have another look at some of the smaller unitaries in England.

    But Pete, with regard to Devon, Torbay and Plymouth are both sizeable authorities so shouldn’t need expanding.

  6. “H.Hemmelig, the Mid Sussex authority is based on a proposal made by the Redcliffe-Maud Commission in the 1960′s.

    The biggest opposition to such an authority would probably come from the Green group on Brighton Council.”

    Horseshit. I live in Mid Sussex and it would go down like a bucket of cold sick here. Can I ask how you have done your consultation process?

  7. If there was ever a good example of what Andrew Kennedy was saying about the Walter Mitty Society on here, then this is it!

  8. An easy alternative to that would be to have a Mid – Sussex unitary made up of the current Mid Sussex and Lewes districts, whilst Brighton & Hove remains as it’s own unitary authority.

    But on the same logic you’d have to keep South Hampshire independent from Portsmouth and Southampton and Rochford and Castle Point independent from Southend. The biggest challenge would be to keep Broxtowe and Gedling independent from Nottingham.

  9. Do you have any responsibility for actually designing or implementing new local government boundaries? I do hope not.

  10. No, this is just something I started working on a couple of years ago, based on a discussion we had about possible new unitary authorities in my home region in the West Midlands.

    I agree with you about it not being a wise idea to expand the boundaries of existing unitary authorities in urban areas. So Brighton & Hove could stay as it is with whole county unitaries in East and West Sussed, Southampton could stay at present with a South Hampshire authority covering Eastleigh, Gosport and Fareham and Portsmouth still absorbing Havant. Southend and South East Essex could become independent authorities with Nottinghams boundaries staying the same and a whole county unitary in the rest of the county.

    I still don’t see a need to enlarge any of the smaller English unitaries. I don’t think there have been any stories in the media about any of them facing major financial problems.

  11. You’ve missed the creation of a Greater Bournemouth (incl Poole, Christchurch and the surrounding suburbs like Wimbourne & Corfe Mullen). This would make as much sense as a Greater Portsmouth.

  12. …and like most such creations would be staggeringly unpopular locally. That particular idea has in fact been doing the rounds since at least the 1980s (‘Wessex City’ was one suggested name).

  13. Exactly. I can’t help suspecting that the people who decide these things really do think like Adam – sitting 200 miles away with scant local knowledge, enjoying drawing lines on maps and wittering on about “logic”. This is all about communities not making maps look neat.

  14. Whoever designed Sefton must have been both blind and stupid

  15. ‘This is all about communities not making maps look neat.’

    Whilst I can understand the Tory desire to remove the electoral bias in favour of Labour that the current system affords it – what they seem to be doing in adopting the American system where congrssional districts are decided purely on the basis of numbers, with no attempt to keep communities together

    It this becomes another example of this government’s desire to make the UK more like the Us [Snip – as ever, it’s not a venue for debating if policies are any good or not (and, for the record, local ties, etc, are still criteria in the boundary commission rules. The difference is that where previously getting as close to the quota as possible was given equal weight to the other criteria, now getting within 5% of quota takes priority over the other considerations (interestingly enough, getting as close as possible to quota is no longer a criteria at all, only getting within 5% of it)) – AW]

  16. A less one-eyed view would I think acknowledge that the Tories have a rather mixed record in this area – responsible for some really awful decisions in the early 1970s (and note there were yet worse proposals that didn’t make the final cut) but also responsible for reversing some of those in the 1990s with the abolition of hideous monstrosities like Avon and Humberside.

    If local government is about anything, it has to be genuinely ‘local’. And that does not mean drawing lines on maps with some vague appeals to demographic statistics or pseudo-MBA talk of ‘synergies’.

    I have no problem with local authorities being a jumble of different sizes and shapes, some of which may not be ‘optimal’ according to ‘technocratic’ criteria – as long as they represent, reasonably well, genuine identities on the ground. That is the basis for a democratic unit – there has to be an actual demos.

  17. Adam-

    Firstly thanks for the list- an interesting reading.

    Speaking as a traditional counties hawk I would make the following observations:

    (1) I very much approve of the abolition of the metropolitan counties and the return of the boroughs concerned to the traditional Counties for ceremonial purposes.

    (2) I would quibble with some of the names. For instance, given that Abingdon is the county town of Berkshire I would rather the Oxfordshire be renamed ‘Oxfordshire and North Berkshire’. Similarly I would prefer ‘Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire’ and ‘Leicestershire and Rutland’. I would also prefer the Yorkshire and Humber region to be known as Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire etc etc.

    (3) Although I would support a revived North Riding, it should not include the West Riding towns of Skipton, Ripon, Harrogate, and Selby. You could perhaps put the first three into a separate unitary but I am not sure where Selby might go.

    (4) I’d have Cumberland by itself with all of Westmorland put in with Lancaster and ‘Lancashire north of the sands’. I’d also return West Craven to whichever authority Skipton would be in.

    On practicalities (which don’t really interest me so much,, I’ll admit)

    (1) I like the idea of a redrawn West Lancashire but I’m not sure you could include all of Sefton. Southport, Formby, and Maghull would be ok but Bootle and even Crosby (these days at least) wouldn’t go and would have to go in with Liverpool. It would be no great loss for as Mersey Mike said, Sefton is spectacularly badly drawn.

    (2) I really like your Lancashire proposals- they strike me as well thought out.

    (3) I think the Nottingham proposals make sense, especially as the Commission was planning to rename a seat largely based on the current Gedling, ‘Nottingham East’. And IIRC, West Bridgford used to be in the Nottingham South division.

    (4) I would echo Pete regarding Devon.

  18. And like Runnymede, I have no problem with a jumble of shapes and sizes. I am not a Chartist on this issue and on reflection I would have voted against the boundary changes on the basis that the quota was too prescriptive.

  19. It was too prescrpitive, but it was better than the status quo.

  20. Bootle and Crosby are Liverpool suburbs these days – as frankly is Maghull.
    All could happily sit in Liverpool, as could the whole of Knowsley – which would make Liverpool a more realistic size for a city authority

  21. I agree. Likewise with North Tyneside. It is essentially a local government fiction. Being controversial you could even add Gateshead and split South Tyneside between Newcastle and Sunderland.

  22. What are the latest predictions for this seat? I think this will be a Tory hold witha slighly increased majority!

  23. I doubt it. Tories are strong favourites but I think their majority will be at least slightly down.

  24. I could see the Lib Dem vote holding here reasonably well. They continue to have representation in Leamington Spa at district and county level. Some of it may fall to Labour, but not enough to secure a gain. Some of those voters may be tempted to vote Tory if they’re in more affluent wards. Of the marginal target seats, I think there won’t be much movement in this one. Perhaps only a small drop in Tory support and correspondingly a small rise in Labour’s vote share.

    Labour has a reliable base in Leamington in about three wards which have quite sizeable Sikh populations. They can return councillors in the odd Warwick ward in particularly good years. The current boundaries of the seat are enough to keep them afloat but there hasn’t been any evidence that they’re well positioned to gain this. Even with a modest majority to overturn.

  25. There were unusually large swings in 2010 in the ring of towns surrounding the West Midlands. Past experience suggests that a reversion to the norm is likely in 2015 – ie a better than average Labour performance in seats like this. While the town is prosperous, the seat is now almost entirely urban, with a large representation of public sector workers and students. It is very much the sort of place that has been swinging away from the Conservatives long term, as results before 2010 showed.

    I would expect the Liberal vote to collapse here, as almost everywhere in the West Midlands.

    On the current national balance between the parties this is a good prospect for a Labour gain. It is a much better bet than Rugby, and in my judgement now probably a better bet than Nuneaton which has been moving the other way in the long term.

  26. John Chanin- I am not so sure. The local election results since 2010 point to Labour struggling in places like Tamworth, Stafford, Worcester etc. And on its pre-2010 boundaries, the Conservatives would have won Warwick and Leamington easily- you’d be talking about a majority of 7000 if my memory serves me correctly.

  27. Nevertheless, I do agree with you that Labour has a decent chance here because of the public sector/intellectual element. I nevertheless lean towards a narrow Conservative hold.

  28. Nuneaton looks like a far safer bet for labour than this seat!!

  29. Peter- yes I agree with you. This is a much likelier Conservative hold than N Warwickshire or Nuneaton but is clearly not as safe as Rugby.

  30. This seat contains lots of Warwick University students and academics. The exact date of the election will matter as to whether students vote in university areas or their home seats or not at all. An early June date would change quite a few seats.

    I suspect that Warwick students will drift more to the Conservatives at the expense of the Lib Dems than to Labour. the academics will go more from Lib Dem to Labour.

    The old boundaries will have includes rural areas, now in Kenilworth and Southam.

    This seat should be much more solid for the Conservatives overall, as their is population shift from Birmingham and Coventry.

  31. Local election results have been disappointing for Labour here. The party could however still win if, as sometimes happens, the student votes turns out more heavily in a general than a local election. However, since that is true of most voters anyway, I still think Labour will have its work cut out to win this one. If Labour is still in a national lead over the Conservatives come polling day, it could well still be a gain, but the seat is interesting as one which appeared to trend relentlessly to Labour for quite a number of years, but has bitten the party back quite hard since 2001.

  32. Since 2010 this constituency has been bordered by the seats of Kenilworth and Southam & Stratford-on-Avon. From 1997 to 2010 it was bordered by Bromsgrove, Meriden, Redditch, Rugby and Kenilworth & Stratford-on-Avon. I presume that from 1983 to 1997 the bordering combination was the same except for the then Mid Worcestershire replacing Redditch.

  33. From Ashcroft:

    All respondents, no constituency prompt:

    Con 26%
    Lab 24%
    LDem 4%
    UKIP 12%
    Green 6%
    Other <1%
    Would not vote 9%
    Refused 5%
    Don't know 14%

    DK breakdown:

    Con 15%
    Lab 18%
    LDem 15%
    NOTA 53%

    Excl. DK/WNV/refused. Weighted by turnout and past vote:

    Con 38%
    Lab 32%
    LDem 6%
    UKIP 16%
    Green 8%
    Other <1%

    Reallocating DK:

    Con 37%
    Lab 33%
    LDem 7%
    UKIP 16%
    Green 7%

    Constituency prompt:

    Con 28%
    Lab 25%
    LDem 6%
    UKIP 11%
    Green 6%
    Other <1%
    Would not vote 9%
    Refused 4%
    Don't know 12%

    DK breakdown:

    Con 13%
    Lab 14%
    LDem 17%
    NOTA 56%

    Excl. DK/WNV/refused. Weighted by turnout and past vote:

    Con 39%
    Lab 33%
    LDem 6%
    UKIP 14%
    Green 7%
    Other <1%

    Reallocating DK:

    Con 38%
    Lab 34%
    LDem 7%
    UKIP 14%
    Green 7%

  34. The Press Association has released its predicted declaration times.

    The interesting thing is that just 7 seats are scheduled to wait until Friday morning to start counting which I think is the lowest number ever, although why Warwick & Leamington is one of them is a bit of a mystery, unless they want the whole country to be watching them carefully in the event of a neck-and-neck situation.

    The seven are as follows:

    Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blyth Valley, Hexham, Kenilworth & Southam, Wansbeck, Warwick & Leamington, St Ives.


  35. Of the 7 seats waiting until Friday morning to start counting, 6 of them have counted overnight at previous elections. The only one that hasn’t AFAIK is Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    All the seats in Warwickshire counted overnight until 2010.

    All the seats in Northumberland except Berwick-upon-Tweed counted overnight in 1992. Wansbeck and Blyth Valley also counted overnight in 1987.

    St Ives counted overnight in 1987 and 1992.

  36. I’m (pleasantly) surprised at the lack of keenness from parliament on Friday counts, given the likelihood of hung parliaments becoming more regular. A Friday count and Monday as the anticipated conclusion to negotiations would take the heat off the parties just a little, relative to the media and market hysteria surrounding 2010.

    I’m against any change from overnight counting though, as it would make the process somewhat more boring.

  37. there could well be a recount here, which would slow up the declaration of course were it to happen.

  38. I’d much rather the seats are counted next day than aim to declare at 6:00 in the morning. While you expect a few stragglers the time of most counts projected is a disgrace.

  39. In 1987 and 1992 something like 90% of seats were declared by 3am (excluding those not starting the count until the Friday morning). Of course there were no local elections on those occasions which speeded things up somewhat.

  40. The declaration times given seem very conservative. I’d expect a lot more action around 0130-0230 than is implied there?

  41. Totally agree with CountyDurhamBoy.

  42. The predicted times were far too “radical” in 2010. Most seats declared a lot later than expected from the PA list.

    The reason they take so long is because they have to separate out the local election ballot papers and also do special checks on postal votes that didn’t used to be required to be done.

  43. I didn’t realise about the postal vote counting however sunderland actually has one of the highest postal votes in the country and local elections to boot and they declare 3 constituencies before 12! Having to wait 5 hours to have a decent amount of results really kills the excitement of the night.

  44. Countydurhamboy – in my experience (as a journalist and when attended as a friend of a candidate), its only just time to shower, change and eat before the results come in. Although some counts are woeful. Its a mystery to this day why Lpool Counts take til 3am or later in just the Locals when they have turnouts of 10-25%! This year it probably won’t be over til a recount in East Belfast on Friday night.

  45. “Having to wait 5 hours to have a decent amount of results really kills the excitement of the night.”

    In 2005 I watched the results from a hotel room in West Virginia….I would highly recommend it. You can go to bed at midnight and know who has won.

    Before 1997 the results were much quicker as general and local elections were usually not on the same day.

  46. My constituency of Ludlow is an interesting one. One of England’s larger constituencies by area. I think 2010 was the first time they counted on the night and it came in late, well after I’d gone to bed at 4am. The PA suggests 0230 this time – I’ll believe that when I see it!

  47. Although I am instinctively wary of phrases such as ‘traditional election night’ as all that stuff is a bit too nostalgic for my tastes, I would be strongly opposed to a Friday count.

    Although the count does now seem to have been pushed on far into the night, I think there is a duty and responsibility to count votes and declare results immediately and it does add to the drama. Counting votes and making declarations throughout Friday when many of us would be at work would be both anti-climactic and yet another victory for the common sense ‘safe’ culture dominant in the UK.

  48. In 1992 the general election was in April followed by the normal round of local elections in May – they had to re–spend on all the rooms, staff etc for a very low turnout because there’d just been an election. 1997-2005 it was n’t too bad because the non-mets who had locals were mostly in by 4.30 am. Now it’s deteriorated into a bit of a farce. Before 2010, a lot of councils were proposing to count on Friday. This caused a hoo-hah and legislation was rushed through so all councils had to start counting by 2am, failing which a returning officer would be clamped in irons and sent to the Tower ie nothing happened to them at all viz this constituency. The politicians also decided that people should be able to register/get a postal vote as late as possible, then ooh woops it was being abused so stricter checking was introduced. Some places are also having in addition parishes, mayoral and local referenda all at once.
    I do have some sympathy with returning officers and councils because of all this but I do wonder if some are thinking up yours and working to rule. .

  49. Con hold, majority 1500.

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