Wyre & Preston North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26528 (53.2%)
Labour: 12377 (24.8%)
Lib Dem: 2712 (5.4%)
Green: 1699 (3.4%)
UKIP: 6577 (13.2%)
MAJORITY: 14151 (28.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Part of Preston council area and part of Wyre council area.

Main population centres: Thornton, Garstang, Sharoe Green, Poulton-le-Fylde.

Profile: A rather awkward seat that takes in the comfortable northern suburbs of Preston, and then a large swathe of quiet rural towns and villages to the north, places like Gastang and Bowgrave along the M6. To the west it then meanders along the northern bank of the Wyre before crossing the river to include the towns of Thornton and Poulton-Le-Fylde near the Wyre estuary. On the eastern side it runs up into the moorlands of Bowland Fell. It is an affluent area, with one of the highest proportions of owner-occupiers of any seat in the country.

Politics: Wyre and Preston North was created in 2010 as an extra seat for Lancashire and was correctly expected to be a safe Conservative seat.


Current MP
BEN WALLACE (Conservative) Born 1970, Farnborough. Educated at Millfield School and RMA Sandhurst. Former officer in the Scots Guard, seeing service in Northern Ireland and Central America, and director of Qinetiq. Contested MSP for North East Scotland 1999-2003. First elected as MP for Lancaster and Wyre in 2005. Former PPS to Ken Clarke, Government whip 2014-2015. Junior Northern Ireland minister since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 26877 (52%)
Lab: 10932 (21%)
LDem: 11033 (22%)
UKIP: 2466 (5%)
MAJ: 15844 (31%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
BEN WALLACE (Conservative) See above.
BENJAMIN WHITTINGHAM (Labour)
JOHN POTTER (Liberal Democrat) Contested Stalybridge and Hyde 2010.
KATE WALSH (UKIP)
ANNE POWER (Green)
Links
Comments - 50 Responses on “Wyre & Preston North”
  1. As the profile says, this is an awkward seat. It does have one certain link – the “A6 corridor” – but there’s not much of a commuting tradition between Fulwood and Garstang so even this is tenuous.

    It is, however, solid Tory. I know that in Wyre there’s something of a spluttering UKIP branch who turn up at elections now and then, which gives hope of some variety. Outside this, there’s very little to report. Fulwood is very safely Tory, though in two Preston council wards Labour are starting to look active for the first time in years. These are College (based on the central Fulwood suburbs surrounding Preston College), and Sharoe Green (named for a road through it but it goes out into the 90s housing boom sprawl in the north east. Labour’s vote at city council level has improved year after year after year.)

  2. Thanks DoktorB that is actually a very interesting description of an area I used to go through frequently (my grandparents lived in St Annes) but have never got to know very well.

  3. No probs 🙂

    Fulwood and Poulton are semi-rural and rural-commutervill

    Wyre is country town/leafy expanse/gastropub types

  4. I went through the seat today to visit my grandparents. Its the type of place grandparents live!

  5. (Grandparents also living in St. Annes)

  6. …which is in Fylde 😉

  7. Indeed it is, and in S Fylde before that – it may be a little confusing to note that Poulton-le-Fylde isn’t in that constituency. It was in N Fylde when it existed & presumably in Fylde before that. Many many years ago, before the motorway to Blackpool was built, I used to go through the northern suburbs of Preston to go to St Annes, and a few years ago revisited the area a bit. I was done for speeding on the Blackpool Road in Preston, exactly as my dad was a generation earlier.

  8. Doktor B- would I be right that the Garstang area is the most Tory part of the seat? Although I know the Tories will have support in Fulwood too (given its leafy character), Electoral Calculus have the Lib Dems and Labour doing reasonably well there.

    My other question is how would this have voted in 1997? I imagine that the Conservatives would have held it but how close would Labour have got?

  9. I reckon a Tory hold by about 5-6,000.

  10. Tory – I’d call Garstang the most Tory, but there’s a fair amount of competition!

    Fulwood is often described as being a Tory “rock” but there have been LibDem and Labour councillors in recent memory and as I said, Labour are getting very close in two specific wards.

    In 1997 this seat specifically would have been Tory but it would have been very tight. Remember that Lancaster & Wyre went Labour, and that couldn’t have been entirely down to Lancaster!

  11. I don’t remember any Labour councillors being elected in Fulwood in all the time i’ve been following these things, but my memory could ber failing me, or I suppose it depends what you mean by recent..

  12. Or what I mean by Fulwood 😉

    You are, of course, correct. I mis-spoke.

  13. I always assumed Poulton Le Fylde was the main town in the Fylde consutuency, and was part of the reason why along with Lytham St Annes – both considered up-market tourist alternatives to the more populist Blackpool – were the rreasons the Fylde seat was always so syrongly Tory in a region that has swung against them of late – and am flabbergasted to find it’s actually in this seat

    I would have thought a Tory majority around 8,000 the most likely result had this seat been fought in 1997, although Tory majorities in really safe seats like Altrincham were subject to a heavy squeeze in 97 so it could have been lower

  14. It would have been much closer than 8000.

    Labour won Lancaster and Wyre in 1997 and 2001 despite Fleetwood – their strongest area in Wyre – being in a different seat. Lancaster isn’t big enough to outpoll the rest of the seat so Labour must have done pretty well outside Lancaster as well. My guess is a Tory majority of 2000 or so.

  15. There is a danger of underrating Labour’s strength in Lancaster itself. If Labour was still leading in wards like Bulk, University, John O’Gaunt, and Castle in 2010 conditions, they’ll surely have enjoyed considerable leads there in 1997. Saying that, I take H Hemmelig’s point that Labour must have been competitive elsewhere in the seat to win it. Therefore, I think the majority in Wyre and Preston North would have been about 3000-4000.

  16. “There is a danger of underrating Labour’s strength in Lancaster itself.”

    For how long has the city of Lancaster itself been won by Labour? Lancaster constituency was Tory held from 1970 through to 1997 (haven’t checked before that). Through all the years up to and including 1992, did Labour outpoll the Tories in Lancaster only to be outpolled by the Tories in the rural areas…..or did the Tories used to win Lancaster city and have only lost it to Labour since 1992. I would assume the latter, given that the rural areas can’t have been all that populous given how small that seat was.

  17. H Hemmelig- I wonder if Pete has some projections from 1992 and 1997- they would help.

  18. I haven’t got an accurate estimate of the 1997 Labour majority – but I think Labour would have been pretty high without the Tories being under any threat.
    One can see that on the contributor seats.

    Poulton le Fylde is certainly very pleasant, and is a Tory stronghold but I do suspect Labour may do a shade better there in General Elections than some realise – even in 2010.

  19. The 1997 Con majority over Labour of course.

  20. As a bit of fun, I have tried to work how North Fylde would have voted in 2010. My projection is:

    Conservative 55% (just over 30,000 votes)
    Lab 29% (about 16,000)
    LD 10% (6000 or so)

    Labour would be a stronger second than in the old days, but at the expense of the Liberals rather than the Tories. The Tories got 54% in N Fylde in October 1974 on a similar national share to 2010. I reckon ’97 would have been close though.

  21. I’d be interested to know if Pete has a (no doubt, more accurate) estimate of how North Fylde would have voted?

  22. HH; the old Lancaster seat was quite small in terms of numbers as well. The Tories used to do better there than they do now. They held nearly all the rural wards. The two Scotforth wards could elect Tories, though the presence of the University kept Labour ahead in Scotforth East. I am sure they used to hold one of the Sterton wards as well, now in Morecambe and Lunesdale and very safe Labour. However – Lancaster itself did have a Labour majority, perhaps not in 1983, but the rural wards were hugely Tory.

  23. MM- yes, I guess you’re talking about places like Forton, where the Tories are still very strong. Indeed the rural areas were no doubt the key to Ollerenshaw’s win in 2010 given that Lancaster and Fleetwood are not exactly Tory places.

  24. Pilling and Preesall are also massively Tory wards- they will have been in Wyre between 1983 and 1997 and Lancaster and Wyre until 2010- and then Lancaster and Fleetwood.

  25. The editor of the Spectator’s Coffee House blog today referred to Ben Wallace as the MP for Lancaster and Wyre. Very sloppy.

  26. Prediction for 2015-
    Wallace (Conservative)- 49%
    Labour- 27%
    Liberal Democrat- 14%
    UKIP- 10%

  27. CON HOLD MAJ : 15%
    CON 43
    LAB 28
    LD 15
    UKIP 10
    GRN 4

  28. Adverts for the LibDem selection here (and Preston) to be uploaded soon.

    Unless somebody knows different, Ben Wallace MP has yet to be readopted here.

  29. Can’t find any information online about Ben Wallace being reselected.

  30. Benjamin Whittingham selected as Labour candidate.

  31. Preston Cllr John Potter for the LibDems here.

  32. Anne Power standing for the Greens
    https://m.facebook.com/CentralLancashireGreenParty

  33. con hold 12000 to 12500

  34. Like previous posters have said, this seat is full of middle class area’s with nice big houses who pretty much all vote tory. And farmers, who again, all vote tory. There is council estates though, but they are still very pleasant. I expect some people living there to vote Labour but there simply isn’t enough of them to outnumber the first group of people.

    And this is my seat, the one I’ve lived in my whole life, been to Garstang High School, and live near there. I’d advise anyone that has the time to drive through the area, you won’t be dissapointed, the countryside is quite majestic and the quality of life very high. I consider myself extremly fortunante to have grown up here.

    Another reason why I like this seat is because it throws out the (North = Poor, who all vote Labour. South = Rich, who vote Tory) stereotype. Some people must be amazed when they see that a Northern seat has such a huge Conservative majority when they watch the results come through on the Election programme. This seat is like the exact opposite of Peckham in many ways.

    Anyway my predictions:

    Conservative: 31,000
    Labour: 7,000
    UKIP: 4,000
    Libs: 3,500
    Greens: 250

  35. Conservative Hold. 12,000 majority. Labour 2nd.

  36. Britain’s oldest living former MP, Ron Atkins, who was twice MP for Preston North, appeared today at a rally in favour of Jeremy Corbyn in Preston, looking very youthful & well, appropriately perhaps bearded & not needing the use of a walking stick or any other aids to mobility as he stood up & made his speech. He celebrated his 99th birthday in June.

  37. Who would have won the old Preston north if it existed this year I wonder?

  38. I’d have thought so because Fulwood is patently not the Tory stronghold it once was. Labour were within 10% of the Conservatives in wards like Sharoe Green, Garrison, and College in this year’s local elections- a massive improvement on even 5 years ago.

  39. … and if anything I would have thought that the Labour parts of Preston North (Fishwick, Deepdale etc) will have got more Labour over time.

  40. yes l’d agree with that. Fulwood is Tory still but much less so than it was. Of course, what would have been Labour’s biggest strongholds in the days when Ron Atkins was elected are not in this seat but almost all in the Preston constituency.

  41. It would be interesting to know precisely why the Tories have declined in Fulwood. The 2011 census data suggests it was becoming more multi-ethnic, with reasonably large Asian communities in College (22%) and Garrison (17%). I suspect that will have quite a lot to do with it.

    In some ways this seat is akin to South Leicestershire insofar as you have a suburban inner bit that is becoming more mutli-ethnic and much less reliably Tories counter-balanced by a swathe of rural and small town wards where Tory strength remains overwhelming.

  42. *much less reliably Tory.

  43. Who did this seat’s CLP nominate for Labour leader?

    Glad to hear about Ron Atkin’s goo health. I suspect Labour would have won a seat on the old Preston NOrth boundaries in th election last May as this part of the world has swung a little less awy from Labour than, in particular, the South-East not only in 2015 but also in other recent elections.

  44. Both Wyre and Preston North and neighbouring Lancaster and Fleetwood have notably awkward boiundaries. Will the reduction in the total number of Westmiinster seats currently proposed lead to boundary revisions in this part of Lancashire along lines that make more geographical sense?

  45. What seats has the village of Grimsargh been in? Trying to settle an argument with a friend…

  46. This MP claimed more than any other Tory MP in expenses. £213k in 2014/15.

    Followed by Ben Gummer @ £210k and

    Anna Soubry @ £198k.

    The ones who claimed the most in air travel were all SNP MPs @ £20k pa each.

  47. Rossall Ward By-election, 12.10.17:

    Labour 50% (+16%)
    Cons 35% (+ 9%)
    Ind 15% (15%)

    No other Inds (20%) or UKIP (21%) this time.

  48. That comes under Lancaster and Fleetwood. Quite a good result for Labour.

  49. Cllr Ian Duffy and Cllr Ruth Duffy have defected from Labour to sit as Inds.

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