Wellingborough

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26265 (52.1%)
Labour: 9839 (19.5%)
Lib Dem: 2240 (4.4%)
Green: 2218 (4.4%)
UKIP: 9868 (19.6%)
MAJORITY: 16397 (32.5%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Northamptonshire. Most of Wellingborough council area and part of East Northamptonshire.

Main population centres: Wellingborough, Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Wollaston, Bozeat.

Profile: Wellingborough has grown rapidly since the war through overspill development for London and is projected to grow further in coming decades, the town also has a significant ethnic minority population. The traditional industry for the area was shoemaking, and it continues to be represented in the area with the Dr Martens factory in Wollaston and army boots being manufactured in Rushden, but the area has also diversified into more prosperious high-tech and service industries.

Politics: A classic Labour-Conservative marginal that has switched between the two parties several times over the decades.


Current MP
PETER BONE (Conservative) Born 1952, Billericay. Educated at Westcliffe on Sea High School. Former chartered accountant. Southend on Sea councillor 1977-1986. Contested Islwyn 1992, Pudsey 1997, Wellingborough 2001. First elected as MP for Wellingborough in 2005.
Past Results
2010
Con: 24918 (48%)
Lab: 13131 (25%)
LDem: 8848 (17%)
UKIP: 1636 (3%)
Oth: 3128 (6%)
MAJ: 11787 (23%)
2005*
Con: 22674 (43%)
Lab: 21987 (41%)
LDem: 6147 (12%)
UKIP: 1214 (2%)
Oth: 983 (2%)
MAJ: 687 (1%)
2001
Con: 21512 (42%)
Lab: 23867 (47%)
LDem: 4763 (9%)
UKIP: 864 (2%)
MAJ: 2355 (5%)
1997
Con: 24667 (44%)
Lab: 24854 (44%)
LDem: 5279 (9%)
Oth: 1489 (3%)
MAJ: 187 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
PETER BONE (Conservative) See above.
RICHARD GARVIE (Labour) Born Kettering. Educated at Our Lady and Pope John, Corby. Television and radio presenter and former supermarket manager.
CHRIS NELSON (Liberal Democrat) Born Kettering. Educated at Ise Community College and Oxford Brookes University. Contested Kettering 2010.
JONATHAN MUNDAY (UKIP)
MARION TURNER-HAWES (Green)
Links
Comments - 348 Responses on “Wellingborough”
  1. Quite. For example, the swing in 1997 was 10% (the largest since the war), so to be wrong by that margin the pollsters would have had to think that John Major was heading towards another majority.

  2. ” . . .the swing in 1997 was 10%”

    When even the reality was such a huge swing, it’s easy to forget how much ground the Tories made up latterly (!)

    And even the late polls were predictive on average, of about a 13% swing, possibly more – so they were still out, but who cares / notices when Labour still achieve a record landslide / Tories lose about 150 seats?

  3. That’s right. I remember Bob Worcester saying the polls did “just fine” in ’97, but the reality was the scale of Labour’s victory in terms of seats masked the fact that the polls still exhibited an anti-Tory bias in terms of vote share.

  4. “They were roughly accurate”.

    I think ICM did OK (from memory they’d made the most radical adjustments to their methodology after the ’92 debacle), but the rest were skewed towards Labour.

  5. “What recent national contest anywhere in the world have they got wrong by as much as that?”

    The last GE? I believe the average on polling day was a Lab lead of 1 point and it ended up being a Tory lead of 8 points.

    Or in the US election in various state-wide polls most notably Michigan where I believe the polls had a Clinton lead of 14 points only for Trump to narrowly win it (that being the most extreme example)

    But don’t take the +/- 10 literally basically I was just saying I don’t trust the +/- 3 figure the pollsters role out, they might be within that margin but frankly as of late that’s been the exception not the rule.

  6. The 3% figure quoted by pollsters is the random error. What Rivers is talking about is the systematic error. These are quite different; the random error is merely a mathematical fact (and tends to average out over a large number of polls), the systematic error is caused by the pollsters being crap at their jobs (and doesn’t average out because the pollsters are using the same flawed models to analyse the raw data in every poll).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observational_error#Systematic_errors_versus_random_errors

  7. It’s kinda more fun if the polls are only within 10% accuracy. It actually challenges us to use our brains to work out likely outcomes in specific places.

    And highlights, usually, how little most of us really know. 🙂

  8. BT
    “It’s kinda more fun if the polls are only within 10% accuracy. It actually challenges us to use our brains to work out likely outcomes in specific places”

    Indeed and I’m seriously annoyed I paid as much attention to the polls as I did in the US election. Both my head and my gut were telling me Trump would win in Michigan but the polls said Clinton would walk it so I chickened out of putting money on it and then Trump goes and wins it…

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  9. ”The last GE? I believe the average on polling day was a Lab lead of 1 point and it ended up being a Tory lead of 8 points.”
    In that regard its obvious the Tories are ahead nationally but I wouldn’t swear to what extent.”

    But Rivers I think even you have to concede that the poll numbers feel right at the moment and it’s pretty obvious to anyone who doesn’t live in a bubble that the public don’t think Labour are a credible government in waiting and that they aren’t just behind the Tories but miles behind. In the run up to the last election the polls felt off though most people (including me) mistakenly believed them. The Tories were miles ahead on economic credibility and leadership, Labour had the SNP thing hanging round their neck and the public thought Miliband was a joke. The fundamentals didn’t feel like the Tories were about to get unceremoniously turfed out of office after one term but the fundamentals now do indeed feel like Labour is doing abysmally.

    The Corbynistas are a small proportion of the electorate and all of them almost to a person are very proud to announce their political leanings despite their views, particularly their social views, being extraordinarily unpopular and even many times more unpopular than that of the dreaded establishment. The average person has very right wing views on things like immigration well to the right of Theresa May but many don’t feel comfortable expressing it in public which is why they are often under polled. What a lot of people say behind closed doors would quite frankly make UKIP blush. For example if you had a referendum on banning the hijab I bet polling would show it passing 55-45 or thereabouts though in the actually referendum the yes side would be well clear of 60 perhaps even approaching 70 (with the majority of Labour and Lib Dem voters supporting it).

    I imagine that one of these is the case:
    a)The pollsters have got their methodology fixed and the current numbers are in the ballpark.
    b)They are still sampling wrong and Labour’s numbers are even worse than they’re showing

  10. I’m no expert but I did keep a casual eye on fivethirtyeight and the polls in Michigan were nowhere near 14% on aggregate. For Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania I believe the aggregate leads were <5%.

  11. Chris

    Correct. The polls massively tightened following the fresh announcement by the FBI (which was presumably part of Trump / Russia’s plan), although – as always – they did vary fairly wildly depending on which company polled.

    Clinton knew by the last days that her numbers were crashing (Nate Silver now estimates that of those who made up their mind and voted in the last seven days in those 3 key states, she lost out by something like 55-35 – horrendous collapse) – it’s no coincidence that she belatedly decided to visit Michigan (chased quickly by Trump again late election eve, when he realised she’d gone) and focused more sharply on Pennsylvania.

  12. Multiple posters on here acknowledge how Russian interference probably paid a big part in Clinton’s defeat, yet strangely no-one has speculated how similar forces could just as easily influence our own elections.

    We can expect the Russians to work against the Tories with multiple embarrassing hacks in the run up to 2020, which could have very serious consequences given the sensitivity of the Brexit process. Putin would like nothing more than a weak Prime Minister Corbyn. Of all the factors which make Maxim Parr Reid’s wet dream unlikely this is the one which no-one has really touched on.

  13. Not easily, but we can expect to see persistent interference which will be aimed at eroding the government’s popularity. Your view that the next election will see some kind of landslide is IMO a pipe dream.

  14. Am I the only one who feels a bit uncomfortable with otherwise sensible people swallowing entirely unsubstantiated claims re Russian interference in overseas elections as fact? I am absolutely no Putin fan/defender but such serious accusations should be made on the basis of more than just conjecture.

  15. “You think so? I guess you would given you didn’t want Brexit and therefore want it to fail to vindicate your own position on leaving the EU.”

    What I don’t understand at all is your desire to be governed by a thousand year Tory Reich with a humungous majority and absolutely no opposition whatsoever. You are a bright young guy just starting university. Surely you must see how your generation has been totally shafted by recent governments and that the current administration is enthusiastically entrenching your generation’s shafting. I am 40 and received an excellent university education which was entirely free and received grants for living costs. You are about half my age and will most likely graduate around £50,000 in debt thanks to the politicians you want to govern over you with no oversight or opposition whatsoever (unless you’re too rich to care that is). I bought my first property in 1999 for £47,000 and when it is your turn to buy that property it will be five times more expensive. The government bends over backwards to protect gold plated benefits for baby boom retirees and to ensure the property assets of relatively rich people like me keep increasing. But what is the incentive for you to support giving them untrammelled and unchecked power? It’s madness.

  16. Am I the only one who feels a bit uncomfortable with otherwise sensible people swallowing entirely unsubstantiated claims re Russian interference in overseas elections as fact?

    The funny thing is, these are the same people screaming about ‘fake news’.

    For them, it seems, ‘fake’ now means ‘something that doesn’t fit my preconceived world view’.

  17. Jack (& Runnymede)

    Except that it’s not “entirely unsubstantiated” – unsurprisingly and obviously, there are still a lot of blanks to fill in – hence Obama taking the unusual step of requesting an official investigation. But the idea that it is unsubstantiated is something only Trump’s most ardent supporters claim.

    It’s not insignificant that leading Republicans such as Mitch McConnell (and a good many others) are saying that this goes way beyond what is partisan, and supporting Obama going ahead with this as clearly America needs to get to the bottom of this.

    Please don’t otherwise intelligent posters like your good self confuse this with the many conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’ sites prevalent in the USA, which indeed are a growing problem but nothing to do with this.

  18. HH
    “What I don’t understand at all is your desire to be governed by a thousand year Tory Reich”

    Well as you well know HH I have no desire for that though I am curious why Maxim or Pepps or indeed anyone below the age of 30 supports the Tories these days (unless of course your a trust fund billionaire child)

    I am curious though are you still a Tory? Frankly that whole spiel (minus the personal references to your own wealth which is obviously dependant on the individual) could have been reeled off by any arch Corbynista. Have you had a post Brexit conversion by any chance? 😉

  19. Pepps
    I really have to reign myself in cos I promised I’d stop making huge posts and getting into massive debates with you over Corbyn, all I ‘d say is I’m not dismissing the polls outright I’m just taking them with a big pinch of salt.

    Also I’d dispute the notion that the public think Corbyn is a total joke, they ultimately might come election day but as I’ve said before I go out door knocking most every week and I just don’t pick up that sentiment, not saying people love Corbyn but they definitely take him seriously, the one thing I’ve been very heartened by is the sympathy for his positions on most economic issues. Now I cant extrapolate too much from that but the one thing I can extrapolate from is our canvass returns, most of the time we just knock on the doors of known Lab sympathisers, not die hard Lab supporters but people who normally vote for us and the returns have been very promising, they just don’t show the drop in support the polls point out. Now that obviously doesn’t mean we have advanced and it certainly doesn’t mean the Tories haven’t surged ahead but it makes me very sceptical of polls that put us in the mid 20’s

  20. Russian interference in the US election appears to be – at the very least – a case of “no smoke without fire.” I would, however, be interested to see the evidence for Ben Bradshaw’s rather extraordinary claim in the Commons yesterday that there was also Russian intervention in the EU referendum.

  21. Con Estimate
    “None of this bothers me much though”
    Thatcher would be proud, the “I’m alright Jack” philosophy lives on…

    Don’t you have ANY sympathy for people our age who don’t have a big inheritance heading their way? Or people our age who didn’t get into Oxbridge?

    But even if you put that aside what about the issues where you are equally being shafted. The erosion of workplace rights, how does that help you? Lack of action on climate change, how does that help you? The running down of the NHS and most every other public service, how does that help you? All paid for by mass privatisations that renders this whole economic outlook totally unsustainable, the gov are really scraping the bottom of the barrel, their now planning on re privatising Network Rail and also privatising social care and the national grid, frankly their running out of things to flog off..

    Unless your a top rate taxpayer older than 50 the Tories are parking a pretty big proverbial turd on your lawn and it gets bigger the younger and poorer you are.

  22. MPR is how old, 20? His mother realistically will be between 45-60 years old. He’ll hopefully be waiting decades for his 200k…let’s see if he’s so cocky about it all in 20 years. I’m 33 and I’m not even thinking/ considering my inheritance…pathetic to just sit around waiting for what you feel is ‘due’ to you.

  23. Tristan
    “pathetic to just sit around waiting for what you feel is ‘due’ to you”

    As I often joke this is all brought to you by envoys of “the party of personal responsibility”

    lol

  24. “Well as you well know HH I have no desire for that though I am curious why Maxim or Pepps or indeed anyone below the age of 30 supports the Tories these days (unless of course your a trust fund billionaire child)

    I am curious though are you still a Tory? Frankly that whole spiel (minus the personal references to your own wealth which is obviously dependant on the individual) could have been reeled off by any arch Corbynista. Have you had a post Brexit conversion by any chance?”

    I’d describe myself as a floating voter at the moment. Reluctantly in an election today I’d probably vote for the Tories but I think a landslide with all opposition nuked would lead to awful governance.

    “MPR is how old, 20? His mother realistically will be between 45-60 years old. He’ll hopefully be waiting decades for his 200k”

    Could easily get swallowed up by care home fees as well. Relying on inheritance is never a great strategy.

    “Unless your a top rate taxpayer older than 50 the Tories are parking a pretty big proverbial turd on your lawn and it gets bigger the younger and poorer you are.”

    I think for wealthier people my age (40 rather than 50) a Tory government pursuing current policies is probably also better than a more redistributive one on a selfish level, but the balance of the equation is closer than for the over 50s. I do worry about the kind of country my kids will have to live in.

  25. HH

    What sort of Brexit do you think we will achieve?

    Compromise on free movement
    Minimal tariffs

    or
    bump out

  26. I think the former is probably more likely but it will take a lot of effort, both in terms of negotiating with the EU and also in terms of convincing the British public that they aren’t being betrayed. We will see whether May is up to it. I think there’s perhaps a temptation amongst some in the EU to play hardball and force us into a binary choice between hard Brexit or changing our mind (even if Article 50 has been triggered already). We should try to avoid that.

  27. Good post HH, tend to agree with that. I think the public will need to feel like there hasn’t really been much compromise tbh, by being very specific about the industries it applies to / conditions attached.

    Hard to see it working out politically otherwise, without playing straight into UKIP’s hands et al.

  28. And here lies May’s problem and why she was so desperate to not outline any details, ultimately unless she achieves some miracle deal where we end free movement and maintain total single market access she will either have to fudge or she will annoy a big chunk of society.

    As far as I can tell she has four options…
    1) Prioritise market access, infuriating UKIP and Tory Brexiters and risk adding fuel to the dying embers of UKIP. Hope the ensuing inferno burns up more of Labour than her own party and that she will be vindicated economically.

    2) Prioritise immigration, clear overtures to UKIP voters and WWC Lab voters but seriously peeve off business and liberal Tories who may deign to jump to the Libs. Hope the inevitable economic collapse comes after she’s gone or that she can somehow blame it all on Labour.

    3) Middle ground fudge that hopefully pleases everyone, probably just annoys everyone though…

    4) “Red, white and blue Brexit!!!”

    Take a guess which one she’ll pick.

  29. Thanks HH

    I hope you are right.
    I think we will get that – with a lot of wrangling.

  30. The main problem is that the cabinet is as divided as the public over a Brexit strategy, full stop, and the likes of Fox and Hammond are so polls apart in their positions on the issue that I just can’t see the government reaching a compromise, and that’s before the negotiations even start

  31. ”not saying people love Corbyn but they definitely take him seriously”

    I don’t mean to be rude my dear but these people probably just want to get you off their doorstep. In my experience everyone apart from the Corbynistas (who live in a bubble) think he is unfit to PM. Nobody but the delusional Momemum lot and the Greens think Corbyn is remotely credible to be PM. You are living in a bubble I think… wake up!

    Do you seriously actually delude yourself that Corbyn is popular?… To be honest I actually I thought you were a bit too smart for that lol

    If they don’t take him seriously (which is the medias fault for portraying him as an idiot not a danger) then they are either a Corynista or clued up to him unhinged he is.It does amaze me what alternate universe you’re living in if you think the public would vote for one of the IRAs biggest fan though the far left has never been especially talented at living in the real world…

  32. “What I don’t understand at all is your desire to be governed by a thousand year Tory Reich with a humungous majority and absolutely no opposition whatsoever.”

    He doesn’t want to be governed. He wants to govern…

  33. I don’t know if I’m alone but I have no idea what alternate universe the far left live in even the clever ones…

  34. Oh and Rivers with regard to Brexit the public is very clear on where UKIP the Lib Dems stand and the Tories are in charge. Labour has zero opinion and is being frozen out on Brexit. If you think that is what will help Labour you are again living in an alternate universe.

  35. ”known Lab sympathisers”

    This is exactly why your living in an alternate universe. A lot of your vote comes from people you haven’t even identified as sympathetic or get canvasses at all. If I went to canvas Tory ‘sympathisers’ of course I’d get a good response.. duh. If you live in a bubble you are going to convince yourself that you are right. Try going incognito in a Nuneaton pub and gently prompt people’s actual views, trust me you’d be horrified.

  36. I think it’s wrong to say that anyone posting here lives in a bubble. This site has a very broad and fairly representative spread of opinions, and Rivers for one has in the past said he deliberately follows right-wingers on Twitter to try and see things from a different perspective.

    Having strong opinions is not the same as living in a bubble.

  37. Well I’m pretty certain you don’t live in a bubble either. What are the political leanings of your lecturers?

  38. Pepps
    “I don’t mean to be rude my dear but these people probably just want to get you off their doorstep”
    Go canvass and it becomes apparent immediately who wants you gone and who’s up for a bit of a chat. Some people will tell you straight up that they’re busy and slam the door in your face!!! and of those too polite to do that they give very generic one word answers and its easy to tell they just want you gone. But then you get people giving their own views unprompted, asking questions etc its obvious their not desperate for you to leave.

    “Do you seriously actually delude yourself that Corbyn is popular?”
    When did I say that? Again re-read my post I said the exact opposite. All I said was people take him seriously, the two are not mutually exclusive.

    “it does amaze me what alternate universe you’re living in if you think the public would vote for one of the IRAs biggest fan though the far left has never been especially talented at living in the real world”
    Seriously Pepps you seem to hate Corbyn vastly more than I admire him so if anyone has a jaded opinion its likely you. I have never claimed Corbyn is popular, you however have levelled every negative adjective imaginable on Corbyn, really dude just chill a bit.

    “If I went to canvas Tory ‘sympathisers’ of course I’d get a good response”
    Not necessarily, the point of these canvases is that we check up on people who “often” (not always) vote for us and have voted for other parties in the past, aka Mr and Mrs Generic living on number 4 somewhere street, they voted Lab through the Blair years, voted Tory in 2010 and then (begrudgingly) voted Lab in 2015, we see how they are responding to Corbyn and if they say “Corbyn’s a joke we’re never voting Lab so long as he’s in charge” we panic but (in my experience) they for the most part sympathise but have some concerns over media smears which they have swallowed (does he really want to abolish the army? Was he really friends with Bin Laden etc etc) that’s the whole point of canvassing, parties don’t just canvass swing voters and they never have done.

    “Try going incognito in a Nuneaton pub and gently prompt people’s actual views, trust me you’d be horrified”
    Perhaps I would but lets not pretend you’ve done that either so its kind off a non sequitur.

  39. Pepps
    “I don’t know if I’m alone but I have no idea what alternate universe the far left live in even the clever ones”

    I wonder the same thing about the right most every day welcome to politics…

  40. Welcome to mankind, if we understood what everyone was thinking then we’d perhaps be a nicer world

  41. Interesting account from Peter Bone of how the gang of right-wingers forced David Cameron to offer them a referendum.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-parliaments-38402140

  42. Now I MIGHT well be wrong here, but I THINK Peter Fry may well have managed to achieve the highest vote share here for a losing Tory MP anywhere in 1997. I’m not 100% about this, but I know they held up relatively well in Northamptonshire for a very long time- indeed in neighbouring Kettering Roger Freeman did very well in my opinion to only just lose his seat by a slim margin.

  43. The losing Conservative vote shares for the two MPs I mentioned in 1997 were-
    Peter Fry (Wellingborough)- 43.80%
    Roger Freeman (Kettering)- 42.90%

    Both seats had very low Lib Dem vote shares.

  44. The 2 seats were almost identical in 1997 but there was a substantial further swing to Labour in 2001 in this seat, at which time it was thought that Peter Bone was unelectable (he’d lost Pudsey by a large margin in 1997). How wrong that proved to be. Since then, this seat has surged to Bone & there has been a minor but significant boundary change in Kettering, but not here.

  45. Yes I rather think the good burghers of Wellingborough have in fact rather warmed to him and taken him to their hearts over the last 12 years or so it appears. Interesting how Kettering remained knife-edge in 2001 but Phil Sawford did manage to increase his majority despite it staying in the three figures.

  46. Though if you look at it another way, this seat has moved roughly in line with national trends. The Tory vote here is up 13.5% since 1997, against a nationwide figure of 11.8%. A pretty bog-standard Tory-leaning seat.

  47. Yes that’s right I think I can agree with what you say to be honest- the real surprise here was obvs. in 2001 when Bone first failed to take the seat from Labour’s Paul Stinchcombe.

  48. Higham Ferrers Lancaster Ward By-election, 15.02.18:

    Conservative 611
    Liberal Democrat 244
    Labour 189
    Green 33
    UKIP 22

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