Weaver Vale

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20227 (43.2%)
Labour: 19421 (41.4%)
Lib Dem: 1395 (3%)
Green: 1183 (2.5%)
UKIP: 4547 (9.7%)
TUSC: 94 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 806 (1.7%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Cheshire. Part of the Cheshire West and Chester council area and part of the Halton council area.

Main population centres: Northwich, Runcorn, Frodsham, Weaverham, Helsby.

Profile: As the name suggests, the seat covers the lower valley of the river Weaver. However, this consists of some wildly contrasting areas, from the industrial salt mining and chemicals town of Northwich, the 1960s and 70s newtown development of East Runcorn and the smaller towns, villages and farming areas inbetween, such as Helsby and Frodsham.

Politics: Weaver Vale was created as an additional seat for Cheshire in 1997 and with its discordant parts and the division of Runcorn between constituencies it carries a distinct air of being made up of the bits leftover after other more natural Cheshire seats had been created. Runcorn and Northwich tend towards Labour, the more rural towns and villages inbetween towards the Conservatives. Between 1997 and 2010 it was held by Labour MP Mike Hall and was very narrowly won by the Conservatives in 2010.

Current MP
GRAHAM EVANS (Conservative) Born 1963, Poynton. Educated at Poynton High School and Manchester University Business School. Former manager and marketing specialist. Macclesfield councillor 1999-2009. Contested Worsley 2005. First elected as MP for Weaver Vale in 2010. PPS to Michael Fallon since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 16953 (39%)
Lab: 15962 (36%)
LDem: 8196 (19%)
BNP: 1063 (2%)
Oth: 1816 (4%)
MAJ: 991 (2%)
Con: 11904 (30%)
Lab: 18759 (48%)
LDem: 7723 (20%)
UKIP: 1034 (3%)
MAJ: 6855 (17%)
Con: 10974 (28%)
Lab: 20611 (52%)
LDem: 5643 (14%)
UKIP: 559 (1%)
Oth: 1484 (4%)
MAJ: 9637 (25%)
Con: 13796 (29%)
Lab: 27244 (56%)
LDem: 5949 (12%)
MAJ: 13448 (28%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GRAHAM EVANS (Conservative) See above.
JULIA TICKRIDGE (Labour) Educated at Bangor University. College lecturer. Cheshire West and Chester councillor since 2011.
MARY DI MAURO (Liberal Democrat) Former Manchester councillor. Contested Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election 2014.
Comments - 84 Responses on “Weaver Vale”
  1. CWAC Winnington and Castle by election result with % change on 2011

    Lab 525 39.5% (-9.1%)
    Con 418 31.4% (-3.4%)
    UKIP 307 23.1% (+23.1%)
    LD 80 6.0% (-3.6%)

    Lab-Con swing of 2.85%.

    Note that the BNP stood in 2011 and managed 7.1%.

  2. Quite an encouraging result for the Tories – inching back to 2011. I wonder how long the North London urban liberals can keep tut tutting at UKIP as if it’s only a Tory problem.

  3. Well, it’s arguably an improvement on 2011, Joe. Of course, it is highly likely that Labour will take the parliamentary seat of Weaver Vale next year but there are grounds for supposing that the Tories can keep the swing low and the seat winnable for 2020.

  4. JJB- yes UKIP get votes off labour, but they will damage the tories more…why can’t people understand that saying that UKIP harms the Tories more is not the same as saying that UKIP doesn ‘t get any votes from labour….in fact it’s the opposite of that. UKIP hurting tories more means that they are getting votes from labour but not harming them as much as the tories….it’s very simple.

  5. I kind of know where Joe is coming from but it has to be said it has been proven in most results at local elections, and indeed in by-elections, that UKIP hit the Tories worse than Labour.

    To give a recent example- The Newark by-election, where the Tories easily held the seat by 7, 403 votes, saw their vote go down by 8.9%, while Labour’s by contrast ONLY, and I stress the world only, decreased by 4.6%. Put that into the national picture at a general election, and that would be a 2.15% swing to Labour, because of the effect that UKIP have had.

    The effect may be minimised as we head towards 2015, but it clearly points to Labour ending up as the largest party, if UKIP still take enough votes away from the Tories in the wider context of a general election.

  6. In safe Labour areas, particularly in the urban North, UKIP have also picked up a bit of support from disillusioned Labour voters.

  7. Until they gained this seat in 2010, I would argue that the Tories had rather underperformed here- they fell back in 2001 and in 2005 only managed to get the vote share back above by 1997 by a small amount. I don’t know how hard Graham Evans worked to win this, but something worked for the Conservatives here- the 1992 notionals show that Labour would have won fairly comfortably had it existed then.

  8. i also forgot to say that several people here said that they had recently been phone canvased (too recent to be Ashcroft) . was not able to figure out who by though?

  9. Gay marriage was also mentioned twice in a single day ( i have had it come up only two other occasions in the last 4 years! I gather speaking to locals that the church are still very influential in Hartford and are very displeased about gay marriage and encourage their members to think likewise.

    not surprising at all…tory activists all over the midlands and south east outside london have been saying the same thing.

    The Omnishambles Budget, Gay marriage and boundaries scre*ed the tories this parliament. To be fair to crosby, they only hired him after these debacles…

    they are kept in the game as a kind of pyrrhic victory prospect, i.e being the largest party, by mili’s general direness and the snp in scotland…once again the snp could help keep a tory PM in downing st.

  10. ‘Gay marriage was also mentioned twice in a single day ( i have had it come up only two other occasions in the last 4 years! I gather speaking to locals that the church are still very influential in Hartford and are very displeased about gay marriage and encourage their members to think likewise.

    not surprising at all…tory activists all over the midlands and south east outside london have been saying the same thing..’

    Whilst that’s undeniably true, if it is such an issue it does make you wonder why such people are Conservatives in the first place given the hugely disproportionate amount of gays – specifically gay men – within the Tory party

  11. This one is really difficult. Evans does have greater name recognition but boundary changes have incorporated more of Runcorn so it’s easier (in theory) for Labour, despite their (in my opinion) limp candidate. Unless there are significant changes to either boundary (was scheduled to be abolished under the coalition plans) or circumstance this will be marginal in 2015 and 2020.

  12. The last boundary changes put less of Runcorn into this constituency, not more, changing it from a safeish Labour seat into a marginal.
    l think it’s going to be very hard for the Tories to hold it – not least because Evans hasn’t really troubled the scorers much since winning it.

  13. Any predictions for this seat?

  14. Whillst the Eastern part of this seat – based around the indusyrial town of Northwich – has been trending decisively to the Tories since 1997, if anything the reverse is true for the Runcorn wards in the far West of the seat – so losing some of those wards was very damaging for Labour, as the bit in between the trwo towns is pretty staunchley Tory

    Still expect Labour to win this back in 2015 – and do the same with most of the Cheshire seats the Tories took off them in 2010

  15. Can see why people are reticent to have a go at this seat.

    Being from Chester originally it certainly does split very much into the Runcorn wards and the Northwich area.

    This is very tricky, but I am expecting per the Ashcroft polls more than the national swing to Labour in the North West, so allowing Evans a little for incumbency I’ll go Labour by about 1,500-2,000.

  16. Christian – you asked for “any predictions”, directly under my post which pretty clearly is a prediction. This will be a Labour gain.

  17. Labour Gain. 3,000 majority.

  18. Drifting Con long-term albeit there is still too much of Runcorn here for their liking.

    Lab gain 2200.

  19. How on earth did the tories manage to hold this? After Chester fell this should have gone at a canter?

  20. ‘After Chester fell this should have gone at a canter?’

    Maybe, although Labour used to be strong in Northwich – a town which seems to fallen out of love with the party

    If Labour are unable to win seats like Warwickshire North, Amber Valley and Sherwood, it stands to reason that they would fail here too

  21. This is still an ultra marginal though unlike North Warwickshire, etc. The presence of Runcorn is where Labour’s strength lies.

  22. Another seat on my ‘surprise ‘ CON holds list.

    Was no shock to me that the Tories held on.

    Although it’s one of the few where I didn’t have any bets on the Tories here.

  23. Graham Evans has done very well here electorally I think it has to be said- I don’t know if this seat is moving towards the Tories in the longterm, but the last two results here have been very strong for him, and his latest increase shows he has been an effective first-time incumbent.

  24. Yes, a good result here- only the slightest of swings to Labour. That said, I am not sure that the seat is trending Conservative to a meaningful extent. At least Labour did actually manage a swing here unlike in other small town marginals. The resilience of the Labour vote in East Runcorn probably explains this.

    Of course all this may well be academic come 2015 as Weaver Vale is set to be dismembered.

  25. I wonder why the Tories have performed so very well in this seat? They have had two strong vote share increases in a row virtually out of nowhere, but I would guess the demographics of this seat have possibly got slightly better for them over the last few years for some reason. I don’t know this for certain, but is Weaver Vale probably too far out to be impacted at all by any Merseyside Effect?

  26. Frodsham is Conservative and I suspect Northwich is becoming more favourable to them.

  27. Well that’s interesting. So this seat has actually moved towards the Tories demographically then, can it be presumed? Or is their impressive position here equally attributable to the fantastic efforts of its MP Graham Evans, who must have done something right to hold on to this seat the way he did, given next-door Chester was lost with a much bigger swing required?

  28. Yes the demographics have got better for the Tories. The Frodsham/Weaverham area is more upmarket than it was twenty or thirty years ago which means that the Conservative grip on that area has strengthened. And I dare say that as in a lot of small wwc towns, Labour’s vote in Northwich is not what it was. Still Labour will continue to be very competitive here while East Runcorn remains part of the seat.

  29. Interestingly, it looks like I have contradicted my post earlier this year! On reflection I think there is a Conservative trend but it’s fairly gentle.

  30. The LD vote broke down in complex ways that I’m not sure are yet fully understood. It seems to have been very different in different regions and seats. In the Merseyside/Cheshire area it does seem to have predominantly gone LAB. But in many other places in the north and midlands the split is more even and, it would be seem, virtually cancelled out by UKIP gains at the expense of the two main parties. In the ex-LD strongholds in the south LAB made only very marginal progress, suggesting that most of the LD loss was to the Tories although in vote share terms this is slightly masked by the fact that UKIP gained a significant number of Tory votes in these seats (they can’t have got many from LAB who are barely saving their deposit in many). In Scotland it was another story again with the LDs generally not falling back quite as far in held seats but collapsing even further in seats they didn’t hold than in England. I guess this was a result of unionist tactical voting for the incumbents.

  31. Oh, and in response to your comment, yes, absolutely. And even if there wasn’t the ex-LD vote factor I’d be very wary about drawing out trends from one election. It may just be the candidates, a particularly strong campaign from one party, some local issue we don’t know about etc.

  32. Labour gain.

  33. Mike Amesbury – shadow minster for employment- apologies for a Facebook post in 2013 which was clearly antisemitic. He at first denied it due to a misunderstanding of how facebook works (He didn’t realize old posts will have any changes to your profile pic since they were posted on them.)

  34. Far be it from me to defend this behaviour, but I’ve never thought it was fair to criticise MPs for things they said years before they were MPs.

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