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Meriden

2010 Results:
Conservative: 26956 (51.68%)
Labour: 10703 (20.52%)
Liberal Democrat: 9278 (17.79%)
BNP: 2511 (4.81%)
UKIP: 1378 (2.64%)
Green: 678 (1.3%)
Others: 658 (1.26%)
Majority: 16253 (31.16%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 23485 (47.5%)
Labour: 15717 (31.8%)
Liberal Democrat: 8477 (17.2%)
Other: 1721 (3.5%)
Majority: 7767 (15.7%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 22416 (48.2%)
Labour: 15407 (33.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 7113 (15.3%)
UKIP: 1567 (3.4%)
Majority: 7009 (15.1%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 21246 (47.7%)
Labour: 17462 (39.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 4941 (11.1%)
UKIP: 910 (2%)
Majority: 3784 (8.5%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 22997 (42%)
Labour: 22415 (41%)
Liberal Democrat: 7098 (13%)
Referendum: 2208 (4%)
Majority: 582 (1.1%)

Boundary changes:

Profile:

portraitCurrent MP: Caroline Spelman(Conservative) born 1958, Bishops Stortford. Educated at Herts & Essex High School for Girls and Queen Mary College. Prior to her election worked for the NFU and the Centre for European Agricultural Studies. Contested Bassetlaw 1992. MP for Meriden since 1997. Shadow Secretary of State for International Development 2001-2003, environment spokesman 2003-2004, shadow secretary of state for local government 2004-2007. Served as Chairman of the Conservative party from 2007 to 2009, the latter part of this being overshadowed by allegations that she wrongfully paid her nanny from her Parliamentary allowance. Shadow secretary of state for communities and local government since 2009 (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitCaroline Spelman(Conservative) born 1958, Bishops Stortford. Educated at Herts & Essex High School for Girls and Queen Mary College. Prior to her election worked for the NFU and the Centre for European Agricultural Studies. Contested Bassetlaw 1992. MP for Meriden since 1997. Shadow Secretary of State for International Development 2001-2003, environment spokesman 2003-2004, shadow secretary of state for local government 2004-2007. Served as Chairman of the Conservative party from 2007 to 2009, the latter part of this being overshadowed by allegations that she wrongfully paid her nanny from her Parliamentary allowance. Shadow secretary of state for communities and local government since 2009 (more information at They work for you)
portraitEd Williams (Labour)
portraitSimon Slater (Liberal Democrat) Solihull councillor.
portraitElly Stanton (Green)
portraitBarry Allcock (UKIP)
portraitFrank O`Brien (BNP)
portraitNikki Sinclaire (Solihull and Meriden Residents Association) Former UKIP party secretary. Contested Medway 2001, Halesowen and Rowley Regis 2005 for UKIP. MEP for the West Midlands since 2009, originally elected as UKIP.

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 105114
Male: 48.5%
Female: 51.5%
Under 18: 25.3%
Over 60: 19.4%
Born outside UK: 4.6%
White: 95.4%
Black: 1.3%
Asian: 1.3%
Mixed: 1.6%
Other: 0.5%
Christian: 77.9%
Full time students: 2.2%
Graduates 16-74: 17.8%
No Qualifications 16-74: 30.9%
Owner-Occupied: 72.6%
Social Housing: 22.8% (Council: 19.5%, Housing Ass.: 3.3%)
Privately Rented: 2.8%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 3.6%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide

147 Responses to “Meriden”

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  1. Electorates

    1959 62,449
    1964 70,085
    1966 73,621
    1970 99,764
    1974 96,380

    I imagine most of the substantial growth which took place between 1966 and 1970 was down to the growth of the council estates around Chelmsley Wood, its therefore quite suprising that this didnt show up as an improvement in Labour’s position in 1970. The 1974 boundary changes made barely a dent in the hugely oversized electorate and again the relatively small swing is surprising given the level of social change. In other words the position of the parties was very similar to in 1955 when the seat was first fought, but since then the eletcorate had almost doubled, with most of the increase being accounted for by the construction of massive council estates.

  2. Incredibly fast growth,
    so it had risen by about 30,000 by the time the new boundaries were actually used.
    Yes I take your point that is a lowish swing given the social change.

    The 1968 by-election perhaps caused some ripple in the Tories favour.

    It’s heartening how many people used to vote even in estates such as this.

  3. I should have added the 1955 electorate as well which was 54,596 so there was substantial growth up to 1966 as well, though much more rapid afterwards. I guess that some of this will have involved private housing in places like Coleshill and Castle Bromich so this will have to some extent cancelled out the growth of Labour support in the estates.
    Castle Bromich is a strange place – all owner occupied but not very high in status and in a far from desirable location surrounded by Chelmsley Wood (or rather Smiths Wood) to the east, Shard End to the south and Castle Vale to the north and west. I’ve often wondered if some kind of sense of being under siege accounts in part for the overwhelming Tory support in that ward.

  4. “I’ve often wondered if some kind of sense of being under siege accounts in part for the overwhelming Tory support in that ward.”

    Perhaps Pete. Or maybe its just a mark of the general Conservative strength in the area. Don’t forget they almost won Chelmsley Wood itself not long ago!

  5. Believe Nikki Sinclaire was been kicked out of UKIP so will no longer be the candidate here

  6. I’ve just been looking at the 1983 boundary changes which took place in this seat and it says that 1,228 voters were moved from Meriden to Coventry NW then – presumably this would be Allesley and Keresley (they have a combined population of about 1,600) so I’m not sure what the change was in 1974. It may have involved some tinkering with the boundary with Stratford on Avon.
    I hadn’t realised how favourable the boundary changes were for the Conservatives, converting an actual majority in 1979 of 4,127 to a notional 10,040. It is apparent from the notional results for Solihull that the wards added from there (Knowle and Packwood) supplied a Tory lead of 5,735 therefore the areas removed (mostly the North Warwickshire district) would have been virtually neck and neck between Conservative and Labour. It is certain therefore that on these old boundaries Meriden would have gone Labour in 1997 and 2001

  7. Thanks for these further details – this very interesting and rather divided seat.

    Yes, the revised seat of 1982/83 did put up the Con majority heavily, and as you say put the seat just beyond range for Labour in 1997 and 2001.

    I guess Atherstone and Coleshill, some of the departing areas in 1982/3 were/are marginal.

    Knowle, I would suspect, is the most affluent part of Solihull district.

  8. David Butler & Denis Kavanagh’s book – The British General Election fo February 1974 – says there was a 7.4% swing from Con to Lab here that year.
    The appendix does not show the usual comparisons for each party against the previous election (1970), but it does have swings, and increases in the Liberal vote (no candidate here then),
    so they did do some notional calculations.

  9. Thats interesting as the swing had there been no boundary changes would have been 6% so this does indicate there were some further boundary changes which did favour the Tories and its clear some areas were removed then (therefore presumably Labour leaning areas). As far as I can tell there was no change to the boundaries of Nuneaton so I think it possible that before 1974 the seat still included some of those parts of Tamworth (Wilnecote, Stonydelph) which had been in Warwickshire but were moved into Staffordshire around that time.

  10. I’d be surprised if that were the case but have no evidence one way or the other.

    Lichfield & Tamworth electorates:

    1970 – 82,257
    Feb 1974 – 89,000

    There were boundary changes in L & T coming into force in Feb 1974 according to FWS Craig.

  11. I think thats likely then because Rugeley had been in Lichfield & Tamworth before 1974 but was moved to Cannock then with perhaps 12-15,000 voters so I dont see where the extra 20,000 voters would have come from to make it up to 89,000. Obviously there will have been some growth in Tamworth in particular but not that much in less than four years surely? We have never quite managed to nail down the shifting of the county boundary around Tamworth despite discussing it at length elsewhere. I think you need to settle this matter once and for all Andy

  12. Actually I think we can settle this. I can confirm that these areas which are now in Tamworth were in the 1955-74 version of Meriden. I cannot find a map of the 1974 boundaries, but the BBC/ITN guide to the new constituencies in 1983 shows that no electors were moved from Meriden to Staffordshire SE then, therefore they must have been moved in 1974

  13. I’m sure you’re right on this.

    There was very heavy population growth in both Lichfield and Tamworth in the 1970s however.

  14. The BBC reported yesterday that Nikki SInclaire has had the UKIP whip withdrawn.

  15. Actually Joe Coleshill is pretty Conservative-inclined, though perhaps not overwhelmingly. Atherstone tends towards Labour though again not overwhemingly.

  16. If you want to find out about previous boundary changes, try a Google search on Boundary Commission and name of seat and you may find the full transcript of the hearing. Or go into a public Library in the consituency and ask for Boundary Commission Proposals. If you are really keen, go the the records Office of the County or City and ask to see the Electoral registers in the archives.
    But the turnover in population from one GE to the next could be somewhere in the region of 25 % or more.

  17. Cons Hold= 13,000 maj

  18. Nikki Sinclaire is standing here – but for “Solihull and Meriden Residents Association”. Does this mean she represents this party in the European Parliament???

  19. Con Hold

    Maj 9900

  20. At a public meeting arranged by the Solihull & Meriden Residents Association (SAMRA) in Knowle, on Wednesday April 7th, Nikki Sinclaire MEP declared that she would stand for the Association in the forthcoming General Election against Caroline Spellman, one of a number of MPs hit by expenses scandals, in the Meriden constituency.

  21. BNP have selected Frank O’Brien

  22. Con maj 12,000

  23. Full List

    Barry ALLCOCK (UKIP)
    Frank O’BRIEN (BNP)
    Nikki SINCLARE (Solihull and Meriden Residents Association)
    Simon SLATER (Liberal Democrat)
    Caroline SPELMAN (Conservative)
    Elly STANTON (Green)
    Ed WILLIAMS (Labour)

  24. CON HOLD

  25. Easy Con hold – Lib Dems second and SAMRA & BNP to hold deposit. Derisory vote for UKIP after the Nikki Sinclaire debacle

  26. C hold by 16,253 – with a swing from Labour of 7.9%.

    I thought Caroline Spelman might have been damaged by all the palaver over expenses – but it seems to have made no difference whatsoever.

  27. Caroline Spelman is now Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

  28. C vote is 10.4% up on 1997
    so 2.6% down on 1992.

    Has there been a reshuffle then?

    Some wheel must have come off elsewhere already then.

  29. Was this one of those marginals that was targeted by labour in 2001 when the polls showed they would win a majority of more 200.

  30. I notice that in the local elections last year the Greens came second in both Chelmsley Wood and Smith’s Wood. Interesting since you wouldn’t have thought those wards were natural areas to find a high level of Green support.

  31. Yes I wouldn’t have expected that atall.

    Although the Tories have almost won their way back to 1992 level in percentage terms, I think it’s somewhat artifical caused by a slump in the Labour turnout on the estates from 2001 onwards.

  32. Chelmsley Wood is certainly a very unusual ward. In 2006 the BNP won the ward by 19 votes over Labour and then in 2010 the Greens came within 22 votes of winning the seat from Labour. Unusual combination.

  33. In a backhanded way, the BNP do have some quite green credentials.

    Along with the Greens they are the only political party to officially subscribe to the peak oil theory.

    Plus they are against imports in favour of local suppliers at all costs, pro-rail, and throwing immigrants and foreigners out of the country which they claim will help conserve resources and our local environment.

    I’m being flippant, yes, but I think there’s untapped potential for right wing Green voters based on these kind of themes (I doubt Chelmsley Wood is the right place, though).

  34. Prior to the 2009 Euro elections there was a ‘which party do your views match’ type internet quiz.

    IIRC I got 50/50 match with UKIP but to my surprise a 49/50 match with the Greens – with all the other parties much lower.

    In many a right wing Green party would interest me as I despise consumerism (especially when debt funded) though the present Greens lost all credibility in my eyes when they opposed increasing VAT (ie taxing consumption).

  35. Local election results, May 2010 (with general election figures in brackets):

    C – 23,502 (26,956)
    LD – 10,111 (9,278)
    Lab – 9,009 (10,703)
    BNP – 3,917 (2,511)
    Green – 3,316 (678)
    Residents – 2,126 (658)

    (UKIP polled 1,378 in the general election).

  36. The Greens did actually win Smiths Wood in 2008. I agree that superficially at least this area would seem the unlikeliest of locations for Green electoral success – there is usually a very clear demographic divide between the kinds of areas where the Greens do well and those where the BNP do well and the Chelmsley Wood area falls firmly into the latter. I believe there may have been some kind of local re-development issue which they were able to play on, but I still had to check several times when I saw that result in 2008 as I thought it must be a mistake

  37. Perhaps the local issue was a planning application for a nuclear power station,
    and would have provided a lot of jobs.
    I did see a program about some Greens are converts to nuclear power.

  38. With the Labour rise at the minute, I doubt people like the Greens can beat Labour this year unless the ex-Lib Dem voters vote Green but most Lib Dems are going to Labour according to national opinion polls. Labour could make gains in other wards to grow their numbers in Solihull

  39. Castle Bromwich and possibly Bickenhill are the only other wards I can see Labour having any chance of doing well in apart from the 3 wards in which they already have councillors.

  40. Caroline Spelman is up there with the obvious suspects Warsi and Clarke as the person Tories disapprove of most in the Cabinet.

  41. I’d like Clarke to remain in post,
    but the government must have a tougher message (and reality) on crime.
    And it’s worse, our non message is obscured by votes for prisoners.
    The forest sell off is likely to be heavily watered down or dropped in my opinion.
    Caroline Spelman did come up with some good plans in opposition to increase the supply of affordable private housing, and I do rate her abilities, but
    she could be damaged by the forests.

  42. Surprised that no-one has commented that this seat becomes a marginal on the new boundary proposals with Labour Shard End replacing Tory Knowle. Caroline Spelman has a real problem since the safe Tory seat of “Kenilworth and Dorridge” is likely to go to Jeremy Wright. If there is some point in voting the disaffected residents of Chelmsley Wood might actually turn out.

    However the Boundary Commission’s proposal of adding Castle Bromwich to Birmingham Erdington is nearly as daft as Mersey Banks and is unlikely to survive consultation – although it is really hard to come up with alternatives for the Birmingham area which do not involve splitting wards.

  43. I think the idea of adding Castle Bromwich to Erdington is one of the BC’s more sensible ideas. When you drive into Birmingham in that area the two areas seem pretty indistinguishable.

  44. It’s on the wrong side of the biggest natural boundary in Birmingham – the river Tame/M6/main line railway. Castle Bromwich would link fine with Hodge Hill.

  45. Greens hammered Labour in Chelmsley Wood and Smiths Wood again.

  46. Chelmsley Wood is very disaffected. Hard to see what is going to motivate these voters. Protests on very low turnouts has been the order of the day for some time.

  47. Turnout was I think only about 16% there in the May 2000 elections.
    Given we had a disappointing drop in turnout this year – which is a concern for all parties – it was probably only about 18% there this time.

    It is a strange place for the Greens to do well, I must say, but that has been commented on before.

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