Wyre Forest

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22394 (45.3%)
Labour: 9523 (19.3%)
Lib Dem: 1228 (2.5%)
Green: 1117 (2.3%)
UKIP: 7967 (16.1%)
NHA: 7211 (14.6%)
MAJORITY: 12871 (26%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Hereford and Worcester. The whole of the Wyre Forest council area.

Main population centres: Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport on Severn.

Profile: Wyre Forest mainly consists of the industrial town of Kidderminister, a centre for the carpet industry, but also includes Stourport and Bewdley and outlying villages.

Politics: Politically the seat is unusual. It would probably be a Conservative/Labour marginal but in 2001 and 2005 it was won by an Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern candidate, Dr Richard Taylor, on the back of a campaign against the closure of the casualty unit at Kidderminister hospital. The Conservatives retook the seat from Dr Taylor in 2010. In 2015 Taylor stood again, now under the mantle of the National Health Action party, but sectured only fourth place..

Current MP
MARK GARNIER (Conservative) Born 1963, London. Educated at Charterhouse. Former Fund manager. Forest of Dean councillor 2003-2007. Contested Wyre Forest 2005. First elected as MP for Wyre Forest in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 18793 (37%)
Lab: 7298 (14%)
LDem: 6040 (12%)
UKIP: 1498 (3%)
Oth: 17270 (34%)
MAJ: 2643 (5%)
Con: 13489 (29%)
Lab: 10716 (23%)
UKIP: 1074 (2%)
Oth: 21708 (46%)
MAJ: 8219 (17%)
Con: 9350 (19%)
Lab: 10857 (22%)
UKIP: 368 (1%)
Oth: 28487 (58%)
MAJ: 17630 (36%)
Con: 19897 (36%)
Lab: 26843 (49%)
LDem: 4377 (8%)
Oth: 1982 (4%)
MAJ: 6946 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MARK GARNIER (Conservative) See above.
MATTHEW LAMB (Labour) Born 1970. Educated at King Charles I High School and University of the West of England and Birmingham University. College director. Worcester councillor since 2010.
ANDREW CRICK (Liberal Democrat) Contested Henley 2010.
MICHAEL WRENCH (UKIP) Born 1968, Kidderminster. Former soldier. Wyre Forest councillor. Contested Wyre Forest 2010.
NATALIE MCVEY (Green) Service development co-ordinator.
RICHARD TAYLOR (NHA) Born 1934. Educated at Leys School and Cambridge University. Retired hospital consultant. MP for Wyre Forest 2001-2010. Contested Wyre Forest 2010.
Comments - 215 Responses on “Wyre Forest”
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  1. Wyre Forest, 2013 local elections:

    Con: 6,007 (25.4%)
    UKIP: 5,578 (23.6%)
    Lab: 4,917 (20.8%)
    Health Concern: 4,670 (19.7%)
    Liberal: 1,233 (5.2%)
    Ind: 580 (2.5%)
    Green: 565 (2.4%)
    LD: 39 (0.2%)
    Others: 69 (0.3%)

    Total: 23,658
    Electorate: 77,906
    Turnout: 30.4%

  2. Dr Taylor announces he will stand again even if he’s already 80 year old.

  3. Dr Matt Lamb has been selected as Labour PPC.

    I think he’s a councillor in Worcester.


    HC 32
    CON 30
    LAB 19
    LD 8
    UKIP 8
    GRN 3

  5. Windsofchange, I think the Greens will support Dr. Taylor’s candidature (if he does not die by the time the 2015 general election comes around, given that he will be 80 then) and not stand against him in Wyre Forest. Therefore, the prediction may look something like this:

    National Health Action (he will probably use this description instead of Health Concern): 35
    CON 31
    Lab 19
    LD 5
    UKIP 5
    Liberal 5

    The old Liberals will likely stand here, and could do well to take Liberal Democrat votes.

  6. what is the “continuing” Liberal Party? Something for Nick Boles to latch onto?

    where are they on the political spectrum?

  7. There’s a small Liberal Party presence on Liverpool council. Think they have about 30 to 40 councillors across the country. Don’t think they’re what Nick Boles has in mind. The party’s leader Steve Radford is one of the councillors in Liverpool.

  8. I believe the Liberals occupy a similar space to the left wing of the LD’s. I don’t know their policy platform in detail but a cursory glance a few years ago did highlight that the Liberals are EU-sceptics, which is obviously a big difference from the LD’s. I believe the scepticism is based on a view that the EU is undemocratic, rather than on nationalistic reasons.

  9. A large percentage of Lotus White’s predictions are completely bonkers. The Lib Dems are not going to win Bosworth in a million years, and neither is Dr Richard Taylor going to win his seat back. This seat will be a Tory hold, perhaps with an increased majority as Taylor’s previous vote continues to dissipate back to the normal parties.

    “The old Liberals will likely stand here, and could do well to take Liberal Democrat votes.”

    Another utterly bonkers statement. Many if not most voters will confuse them with the Lib Dems and they will probably lose votes as a result. This is a marginal seat and very few people will waste their vote on cranks like the continuing Liberals, they’ll certainly get nowhere near 5%.

  10. The most bonkers prediction was the Greens gaining Norwich South, despite all indications pointing to an easy Labour gain in 2015. That would mean coming from fourth place and having to contend with what seems like a fairly left leaning Labour candidate.

  11. Yes I’d forgotten that….there’ve been so many. One bonkers prediction is a good laugh….twenty of them one after the other is a pain in the arse. I wish certain people on here better understood the saying “all things in moderation”.

  12. I’m sure the predictions are made in sincerity. However Greens are not always noted for the greatest realism or accuracy in such predictions. The Left of the Labour Party is also sometimes guilty of this, although of course I myself am an honourable exception. 🙂

  13. I would just like to say that I have not made 20 predictions so far, and most of them are not completely bonkers-in fact I admitted in several of them (especially regarding Hampstead & Kilburn and Bosworth) that they were ‘unlikely surprises’ which could catch people trying to predict elections out in 2015.
    Few people really believed in 1992 that Plaid could gain Ceredigion from 4th place, that Michael Portillo could lose Enfield Southgate even with the situation of 1997, or that Norwich South’s 2010 result would be as close as it was, but that is exactly what happened in those years.
    With minor parties (not just UKIP) on the rise from 2010, and with two parties (the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) in trouble instead of one, and with Labour not offering much of an alternative to the coalition government, many marginal seats will probably yield rather surprising results. Also, I will say that we Greens will target Norwich South quite significantly (it is our best shot of gaining a seat as opposed to holding it or just doing well in a seat we cannot win yet) and the Greens are still popular in Norwich.

  14. Lotus, I do agree that H.H. was a little out of order. All I ask is that you appreciate that, unfortunately, we have dealt with some Green commentators in the past who were rather more interested in indulging in their fantasies of some ongoing Green surge than actually engaging in proper psephology. However, you do seem sincere and smart, and whilst I haven’t seen all your predictions you do seem to be a commentator acting in good faith, so I extend a welcome to our website.

  15. I was suprised when IKHHC held on here in 2005 and then even more shocked when they lost in 2010 so I have a terrible history of getting it wrong in this constituency- however I am going to have a go anyway.

    Locally the health concern have been loosing council seats and not being the incumbent should shave a few points off the Dr Taylor’s vote and add a couple to the Tories share…

    On balance I should think Tory hold with the same majority as now but with a jump in the labour vote which should see them in a very close battle for second..

    Could be one of the few places UKIP help the Tories as the more “others” who run the more split the none con/lab vote will be

  16. Although unlikely to happen, the lib dems and the greens should agree not to run here to give Taylor a chance at the seat, there’s not way either party would win here even in several elections time, if the lib dems really are committed to pluralism they should step aside for independent/independent minded candidates who have a shot at winning, its my belief that the lib dems should cooperate with other parties of whom they share values (ie. greens/independents) (when there is no chance of a win)

  17. Shared values? The LDs are in coalition with the Conservatives. They are clearly closer to Cameroonite Conservative thinking than that of the Green Party, although in the past they & Dr Taylor have had similar views on many matters.

  18. ‘They are clearly closer to Cameroonite Conservative thinking than that of the Green Party,’

    The Labour Party are closer to Cameroonite Conservative thinking than that of the Green Party, although the Lib Dems should stand aside and let Taylor run who except on some social issues, where he was quite conservative, voted almost as if he were a Lib Dem MP – and a good one at that

  19. I relish the demise of the “Health Concern”. I would preference this seat:

    LD / UKIP
    LD/ UKIP (candidate dependent)

  20. I agree with Jock and Tim. The LibDems have been the beneficiaries of tactical voting in lots of places in the past but in this case should indulge in some here by not fielding a candidate… The party could do with more Machiavelli and less high-mindedness… they should have left Wythenshawe for the others to slug it out..

  21. ‘The party could do with more Machiavelli and less high-mindedness’

    I totally agree with that…

  22. I like Dr Taylor, especially his refusal to do any canvassing, saying “it is such a terrible intrusion on what should be a private decision”.

    That said, his decision to stand again is a mistake, and the likely result will be, if not a humiliation, then at the very least a much reduced vote and Labour perhaps taking back second place.

    The main beneficieries of the Lib Dems standing aside would probably be Labour. I don’t see why Lib Dem voters would be any more likely to be happy supporting a single issue candidate than supporters of other parties.

  23. ‘ I don’t see why Lib Dem voters would be any more likely to be happy supporting a single issue candidate than supporters of other parties.’

    Because Taylor’s voting record is almost identical to that of Lob dem MNp’s during his time in the House – although he was considerably to thre Right of the Lib Dems on social issues

    You might be right though – it would have made far more sense for them to have withrawn their candidate in 2010

  24. The Liberals were the challengers to the Tories here in the 1980s. Indeed, they were 15.94% behind in 1983 and 13.16% behind in 1987. The Lib Dems collapsed here in 1992 however against the Alliance.

  25. Hubris had them standing a candidate…even before Cleggasm seized the party’s collective imagination (if that isn’t mixing too many metaphors..)

  26. I remember that the Alliance did well in Stourport, and some parts of Kidderminster too. When the Alliance broke up, much of this support transferred to Labour, though only until 2001 really.

  27. Does anyone remember the last Conservative MP for this seat before Mark Garnier, Anthony Coombs, who was MP here from 1987 to 1997? Was he a quite effective MP as he did speak a lot in the House of Commons, according to Hansard?

  28. The only thing I remember about him was shortly after the 1987 election (when he was first elected) there was a tabloid story about his wife having been a former glamour model, or something on those lines

  29. I searched his name on ITN Source and there are one or two items where he makes an appearance. He increased his majority here in 1992, but whether that was to do with his incumbency as well as the Lib Dem collapse is another matter probably.

  30. I remember him – quite elaborately coiffured, and politically a standard-issue Tory, neither wet nor all that right-wing. His predecessor was the cider baron Esmond Bulmer. There was a big improvement in Labour’s share of the vote at the expense of the LDs in 1992, which was seen in a number of other seats such as Brigg and Cleethorpes & Warwick and Leamington. Labour’s winning of the apparently minor battles for second place in 1992 in seats like these was more important than it seemed at the time, since the party was able to go on & take so many of these seats from the Tories in 1997. The narrow failure to do so in some others, such as Wycombe, in 1992 could conversely have assisted the Tories to save seats of that type in 1997, because of residual tactical voting.

  31. Interesting post Barnaby. Anthony Coombs is now a company director I think. But going back to what you said about the battles for second place going into 1997, you’re quite right that it did make a lot of difference in Labour being able to make gains much lower down their target list. In some cases they still made gains where they had been third in 1992 (Shrewsbury and Atcham, Hastings and Rye, St Albans), while in others they fell short (Wycombe as you said, Shropshire North, Suffolk Coastal to name but a few).

  32. He used to appear on the local BBC news show, Midlands Today, at regular intervals and also on the BBC Midlands Sunday morning/afternooon discussion programme.

  33. Yes I suspected he would have been active on the local news. He just seemed like that sort of MP who had a profile. Who were the most active MPs in the West Midlands during the late 80s/Early 90s if we had to say? I would go for (In no particular order) Clare Short, Bruce Grocott, Roger King, Dave Nellist and Bill Cash.

  34. ‘Does anyone remember the last Conservative MP for this seat before Mark Garnier, Anthony Coombs, who was MP here from 1987 to 1997?’

    I remember Coombs, with his Beatles-style haircut

    He was quite right wing as I remember but very good at defending government policy. I remember him getting the better of Alan Howarth, a year or so before Howarth defected, in a Tory v Tory argument on the Major government on Westminster Live back in the mid 90s

  35. This is what I remember him looking like:


  36. “I remember Coombs, with his Beatles-style haircut

    He was quite right wing as I remember but very good at defending government policy. I remember him getting the better of Alan Howarth, a year or so before Howarth defected, in a Tory v Tory argument on the Major government on Westminster Live back in the mid 90s”

    Anthony Coombs did look like a 60s British Invasion group frontman. Interesting to hear that debate he had with Alan Howarth, perhaps made all the more ironic by his later defection to Labour as you hinted at. They were both West Midands MPs at the time as well, with Alan Howarth then MP for Stratford-on-Avon.

  37. Anthony Coombs of course lost his seat here to David Lock in 1997, who in turn lost this to Dr. Richard Taylor in 2001.

  38. If Dr Taylor does stand here again, I can see him retaining around half his 2010 vote, and the main parties all seeing increases, although understandably Labour the most, in accordance with the anticipated national swing. I can see this happening:

    Conservative Party – 39
    Labour Party – 22
    Health Concern – 15
    Liberal Democrat – 14
    UKIP – 7
    Others – 3

    If he doesn’t stand, we’ll still see a Tory hold, but with a narrower majority over Labour. In any case though, this will be one of the few seats to see an increase in the Lib Dem vote share..

  39. UKIP were 93 votes away from topping the popular vote in Wyre Forest:

    Con 6,715 (26.19%)
    UKIP 6,622 (25.82%)
    Health Concern 5,343 (20.84%)
    Lab 4,616 (18.00%)
    Lib 1,083 (4.22%)
    Ind 836 (3.26%)
    Green 352 (1.37%)
    TUSC 76 (0.30%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Con -12.88%
    UKIP +25.82%
    Health Concern -3.92%
    Lab -0.61%
    Lib -2.69%
    Ind +3.26%
    Green -0.27%
    TUSC +0.30%

    At the top of this page you can see that UKIP were 429 votes behind the Tories in last year’s local elections, so they’ve closed the gap.

  40. This could end up being an important seat for the Tories next year. I think that Dr Taylor’s vote will fall away somewhat, but I can still see him polling 20% on a good day. The real question here is how many Tory and UKIP voters vote for Dr Taylor as this is one of the seats that UKIP is likely to be targeting if they are targeting 25 seats or whatever like they say they are.

    If the Lib Dems had put up candidates here in the local elections this year I think that UKIP would have topped the poll, making this seat definitely one to think about UKIP having a chance in. I have a feeling that UKIP voters are more likely to support Dr Taylor than Tory ones though.

  41. I don’t know much about this seat. The hospital issue aside, is there a demographic that’s very amenable to voting UKIP? The local election results this year as well as last might suggest that. Or is it more a large protest element of the electorate from when Health Concern had an MP (those voters now looking for a new home)?

  42. I think it is the sort of seat where UKIP will do well in due to having good demographics, but also one which they could win on a lower vote share due to the presence of a strong third candidate in the form of Dr Taylor. The local election results do suggest that Health Concern support here has declined somewhat since 2010, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still gather a large number of protest voters on the hospital issue (plus presumably people who thought that Dr Taylor was a good MP. I do get the impression that he is very well-thought of round here). I see the result here next year depending on how well Dr Taylor does. If he does well then he is likely to attract voters from the Tory and UKIP camps, therefore it is a question of who he will take more votes from seeing that UKIP and the Tories are pretty much even here right now. I guess that there is a small chance that Dr Taylor could take the seat again himself, though I am sceptical that he will poll much (if anything) above 25%.

  43. I think it’s likely that in a general election UKIP will do distinctly worse than in the local elections, and Health Concern (isn’t it called the NHS Action Party now?) better with Taylor still as the candidate. The Tories will still hold the seat though.

  44. I think that in general UKIP will do worse in general elections than local elections, but in their target seats (especially ones with terribly ill-suited MPs) they could well hold up pretty well or in some cases do slightly better than they did in the local elections due to local circumstances (stronger campaign than in 2014 etc.).

  45. This is a moderately safe tory seat with the Health Concern Party probably picking up a disproportionate amount of labour support.

    I wonder if demographically this seat may have moved to the right somewhat in addition to that? Its the type of seat that has – very white with lots of C1s and C2s.

  46. Current prediction for 2015-
    Garnier (Conservative)- 32%
    Labour- 24%
    Taylor (Health Concern)- 23%
    UKIP- 15%
    Liberal Democrat- 5%
    Green- 1%

  47. Actually I’ll revise that in case the old Liberal Party stand as well-
    Garnier (Conservative)- 32%
    Labour- 24%
    Taylor (Health Concern)- 22%
    UKIP- 14%
    Liberal- 5%
    Liberal Democrat- 2%
    Green- 1%

  48. I reckon Taylor still narrowly second ahead of Labour, personally. But well behind Garnier.

  49. It’s interesting I reckon to speculate about how this seat would have voted if it had stayed ‘normal’ without the emergence of Health Concern. I reckon it would have been like this after 1997-
    Labour- 46.5%
    Conservative- 37.1%
    Liberal Democrat- 9.5%
    Others- 6.9%
    Majority- 9.4%

    Labour- 41.0%
    Conservative- 37.8%
    Liberal Democrat- 13.2%
    Others- 8.0%
    Majority- 3.2%

    Conservative- 41.5%
    Labour- 34.8%
    Liberal Democrat- 14.2%
    Others- 9.5%
    Majority- 6.7%

  50. I don’t think the Lib Dems will be that low. This is one of very few seats where I could actually see them making gains. Because they stood aside for Taylor and a lot of their support still probably went to him in 2010, they could do about as well or a tad better.

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