2015 Result:
Conservative: 13288 (28.2%)
Labour: 18603 (39.4%)
Lib Dem: 1642 (3.5%)
Green: 1486 (3.1%)
UKIP: 11850 (25.1%)
TUSC: 324 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 5315 (11.3%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire. Coterminous with the Mansfield council area.

Main population centres: Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Market Worsop.

Profile: A traditional former mining town on the western edge of Nottinghamshire. The coal mines have long since closed, and unemployment problems have been further exacerbated by the closures of other industries, such as the Mansfield Brewery and the AG Barr factory.

Politics: Mansfield has been held by the Labour party since the 1920s, althought not always entirely safely (in 1987 it was an ultra-marginal). The local Mansfield Independent Forum is extremely strong at a local level and this has translated into significant independent challenges in the Parliamentary seat - Stewart Rickersey took 17% of the vote in 2005 and Andre Camilleri 9% in 2010.

Current MP
ALAN MEALE (Labour) Born 1949, Bishop Auckland. Educated at St Joseph Roman Catholic School and Durham University. Former seaman and political assistant. First elected as MP for Mansfield in 1987. Opposition whip 1992-1994, PPS to John Prescott 1994-1998. Junior DETR minister 1998-1999.
Past Results
Con: 12741 (26%)
Lab: 18753 (39%)
LDem: 7469 (15%)
UKIP: 2985 (6%)
Oth: 6447 (13%)
MAJ: 6012 (12%)
Con: 7035 (18%)
Lab: 18400 (48%)
LDem: 5316 (14%)
Oth: 7525 (20%)
MAJ: 10875 (28%)
Con: 10012 (27%)
Lab: 21050 (57%)
LDem: 5790 (16%)
MAJ: 11038 (30%)
Con: 10038 (21%)
Lab: 30556 (64%)
LDem: 5244 (11%)
MAJ: 20518 (43%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ANDREA CLARKE (Conservative) Solicitor.
ALAN MEALE (Labour) See above.
TONY ROGERS (Liberal Democrat)
PAUL FROST (Green) Careers advisor.
Comments - 106 Responses on “Mansfield”
  1. The new MP appeared on the BBC Daily Politics (East Midlands).

    It was the first time an MP from Mansfield had ever appeared on the BBC to be interviewed apparently.

  2. HH – I realise it’s easy to forget but the Tories have risen at each of the last 3 General Elections nationally.

  3. ‘ There’s certainly no guarantee Mansfield will stay Conservative after cross-party soft Brexit and the inevitable downturn which we are due by virtue of the economic cycle. IMO the Tories are on the decline and aren’t going to recover until after the next Labour government. I mostly agree with your thoughts on inter generational issues which are also becoming a big factor. ‘

    There’s no guarantees of anything and I agree about the economic cycle.

    Still UK electoral-demographics do seem to be following those in the USA so we can expect places like Mansfield to trend to the Conservatives just as the likes of Gedling go the other way.

    Where did you read my thoughts on inter-generational issues ? Was it here or at another place ?

  4. I’ve read them both here and elsewhere. I have never agreed with tuition fees right from the start, though abolition now would have to be accompanied by a big cut in mickey mouse courses which might be unpopular.

    If you’re right that our voting patterns are going to be like the USA then the Tories should be very worried indeed….the Republicans have outpolled the Democrats only once in the past 7 presidential elections. Relying solely on WWC voters is not enough for a convincing victory without adding others to the coalition.

  5. Sir Alan Meale has confirmed that he won’t seek re-election even if there’s another election in the next year or two.

    Of the other losing 50 or so MPs, 8 have so far said the same with the rest understandably taking time to consider the matter.

    Although clearly on age alone David Winnick, Byron Davies and a couple of others are hardly likely to.

    I wonder if Alex Salmond will return again as SNP Leader?

  6. ‘ I have never agreed with tuition fees right from the start, though abolition now would have to be accompanied by a big cut in mickey mouse courses which might be unpopular. ‘

    Its amazing how many people who I would class as being on the centre-right but capable of independent and intelligent thinking say the same.

    How the Conservatives got themselves into the current mess astonishes me.

    As to demographics the Conservatives are boosted by the differences between here and the USA and whereas the Republicans struggle with all minority groups the Conservatives can do very well among Jews and middle class Hindus. Something which probably saved them four North London seats this time.

    And while the Republicans struggle in Presidential elections their greater voting efficiency boost s them in Congressional and State elections.

    Likewise Labour piling up such enormous majorities in London, Merseyside and other cities achieves very little.

  7. True, plus whilst HH is right on vote share, Bush and Trump still won the election despite that being true.

    I realise Labour MPs in London won’t be bothered by the trends we saw but several are in the North.

    Incidentally the Odds now show that the Parties will face leadership elections in the following order: UKIP, LibDem, SNP, Labour, Tory so the consensus now seems to be May will go after Brexit with a new Leader in place by the 2019 Tory Conference.

  8. An interesting article on the decline of the Labour vote amongst the middle classes coupled with the decline of Labourism (fewer trade unionists and the ABC1s are now more likely to vote Labour than the C2DEs):

  9. Lancs Observer

    I would take the views of the member of Spiked (AKA the former Revolutionary Communist Party) with a pinch of salt if I were you.


    Fair to say that Ben Bradley’s seemingly impossible mission to get young people voting Tory has not got off to a good start…

  11. Another case of someone being pilloried for something when they were probably too young to know better. I probably said a lot of rubbish on this sort of front when I was 20, the problem these days is everything remains “in print”, so to speak.

  12. I’m torn on this. Nobody is squeaky clean, and if we carry on like this, with a single off-the-record comment being able to end careers, then in a generation’s time we will have precious few MPs left.

    However, historical comments like this are in themselves very revealing. In a world where politicians routinely say whatever is politically expedient, old tweets and the like can shine a light onto the sorts of things they really think, and highlight lying or hypocrisy. That is of immense public interest.

  13. ‘Another case of someone being pilloried for something when they were probably too young to know better.’

    Perhaps I am just naive but I would not say 20 is too young to know better. At what point do people become accountable for their words and actions?

    And in any case he would have been 23 or so when he made those comments. I would say that is almost certainly old enough to know better.

  14. Oh, and let’s not kid ourselves – many Tories, both young and old, will agree with what he said, without making it publicly known. Unfortunately for Mr Bradley, he probably didn’t envisage himself being an MP in 5 years time.

  15. For Mansfield of all places

  16. Cheesus: “Tories, both young and old, will agree with what he said, without making it publicly known.”

    They are probably still a minority, but yes, these sorts of views do fall within the broad tent of Conservative voters and their elected representatives.

    Ultimately, this is why Ben Bradley’s comments haven’t caught fire in the same way Jared O’Mara’s did. O’Mara’s bigoted opinions fell well outside what is considered acceptable in the Labour Party – which led an internal revolt against him. Not quite the same for Bradley. (Also, so far it’s just one isolated comment. O’Mara was a serial offender.)

  17. Unfortunately I think such comments are going to come increasingly commonplace in Brexit Britain, now the racists, bigots, retards and wannabe snobs have their mojo back

  18. Leaflets decalaring ‘your Tory MP supports police brutality’ to go out to every resident?

  19. “Perhaps I am just naive but I would not say 20 is too young to know better. At what point do people become accountable for their words and actions?

    And in any case he would have been 23 or so when he made those comments. I would say that is almost certainly old enough to know better.”

    I’d be totally forgiving if an old fart in their 70s made those comments. That’s the way of the world. But coming out of the mouth of a 23 year old, forgive my French, makes him sound like a young fogey Tory Boy twat. A wannabe young William Hague or Justin Hinchcliffe. It just goes to show that the comprehensive schooled Tory Boys are often even more offputting than the public school variety.

    I expect Labour will re-take Mansfield next time and that Mr Bradley will fade into Aden Burleyesque obscurity. But this won’t have much to do with it.

  20. ‘It just goes to show that the comprehensive schooled Tory Boys are often even more offputting than the public school variety.’

    That’s been case for many years now

    Tories from comprehensive schools – David Nuttal, Andrew Percy, Tebbitt, this fellow – on a whole seem to be much more right wing and populist that those from the traditional ruling class – Heseltine, Cameron, Soames – and thus prone to making remarks their public school counterparts wouldn’t dare, even if they agreed

    I guess it’s natural that any political party becomes more like the people who vote for it

  21. Tim: I think you are cherry picking there. There are posh right-wingers (eg Jacob Rees-Mogg), and working-class moderates (eg Justine Greening). I don’t particularly see any correlation overall.

  22. Rees-Mogg wouldn’t dream of making such stupid remarks.

  23. Should say also that anyone can fall on hard times these days, in our increasingly insecure and precarious job market. You can’t just send your kids back. Bradley is tempting fate given how marginal his seat is.

  24. To be fair to this guy, the Tories difficulties with young people started way before these comments were revealed (obviously). I think this comments are simplistic and naive, but probably not career ending.

    As HH said, the vast majority of British are not- or ever will be- ‘rich’ in any real sense. Life feels more precarious than ever, even if you have a reasonably well paying job and save regularly. And Christ knows when people of my age will be allowed to retire.

  25. HH – although on a polling site it’s only fair to point out that over 80% support the £20,000 pa Benefits’ Cap and 68% support the 2 child limit for Child Benefit.

    I imagine of those who switched from Labour to Tory here, they also agree with those policies.

  26. JRM doesn’t believe in police brutality

  27. Maybe my initial instincts were wrong, maybe there is more nasty stuff to come out of the woodwork here.

    Certainly police brutality is something else, something that I don’t think has anything more than fringe support in this country. I don’t think anyone in this country defended Mariano Rajoy’s use of state-sanctioned violence against Catalans, for example. It’s not like a somewhat crass defence of actually quite popular limits on state welfare, it’s significantly more damaging than that.

    Still think it’s unlikely he’ll end up suspended, but less confident than I was yesterday. And whenever I say something’s a storm in a teacup, it tends to blow up.

  28. PT – many – including the EU – defended Spain’s actions.

    I’m more of a libertarian than authoritarian, but polls have shown the British do support tough physical actions by the State in certain circumstances. The only polls I can think of are those that showed 72% supported the decision to send the SAS into the Iranian Embassy and 56% supported the availability of water cannon against rioters and looters in London 5 or 6 years ago.

  29. ‘I imagine of those who switched from Labour to Tory here, they also agree with those policies.’

    Almost certainly

    It’s often said that many WWC Labour (should that be former) voters were traditionally way to the Right on social issues of their middle class counterparts, and it’s these types of voters, many of whom voted UKIP in 2015, that seem to be switching from Labour to Tory – arguably once and for all in the same way the WWC deserted the Democrats for the Republicans in the US over past decades

    Whilst it might not seem like it at the moment, I think in the longer term this shift has more negative implications tor the Tories than Labour

  30. Momentum-backed councillor has won by a landslide in Mansfield.

    Labour group leader Sonya Ward won the selection race on the first round, receiving 151 votes out of 286 at the meeting. There was 3 0ther candidates.


    I actually feel a bit sorry for him at this point.

  32. There have been no shortage of bottom of the barrel Mps in recent years but this guy really does take the biscuit i would feel sorry for the electorate but they obviously saw something no one else has as he’s the first Tory to win here since the 1930s

  33. The party probably didmt think hed win

  34. That’s a reasonable excuse for someone like Jared O’Mara, or some of the dodgier SNP MPs. But at the time of Ben Bradley’s selection, the Tories were miles ahead nationally, and they were expecting Labour to roll over in seats like this. If anything, there are probably more dodgy Tory candidates that might have been MPs had the polls stayed that way – their candidate in Hove, for example, was a faith healer who rejected the findings of hundreds of years of mainstream medical research in favour of a “laying on of hands”.

    I guess the mitigating factor is that there wasn’t time to vet candidates properly, due the sudden nature of the election.

  35. In fact I was wrong – 2017 was the first time Mansfield has EVER elected a Tory MP since it was created as a constituency in the 19th century

    As the result shows, these are exactly the sort of places like this where the Tories can win over support as electors do have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot by voting for things that will make them poorer (Brexit) and by electing MPs to represent them who are a neither competent nor ethical

  36. Tim J – Ben Bradley is VERY active and popular indeed in Mansfield (even amongst those who didn’t vote for him).

    Indeed the most regular comments are ‘good to see our MP mention Mansfield again’, ‘a breath of fresh air’ & ‘makes a nice change from Sir Alan who.’

    I fully expect him to increase his majority irrespective of the national swing.

  37. Ill hold you to that Lancs

  38. ‘Tim J – Ben Bradley is VERY active and popular indeed in Mansfield (even amongst those who didn’t vote for him).’

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least – Brexit Britain is very much like that – in that spades of voters in these types of areas are willing back anyone – no matter how lacking in talent they are – so long as they support Brexit and say a few nasty things about immigrants and beggars

  39. As usual, Tim, you seem to let your snobbish prejudices get in the way of reasoned debate.

    Bradley spoke very articulately and eloquently at the Conservative conference about his experiences as a young Tory and the honour he has got from winning his seat and how he hopes to shape this in the future.

  40. “Ben Bradley is VERY active and popular indeed in Mansfield (even amongst those who didn’t vote for him).”

    How would you know that sitting in Liverpool….have you even ever been to Mansfield?

    “I fully expect him to increase his majority irrespective of the national swing.”

    That’s a very foolhardy statement indeed. Firstly we don’t know when the next election will be and what circumstances will cause it….we could see an early election caused by a Brexit calamity which results in a big Labour win…or the parliament could go its full course, Brexit turns into a damp squib and the Tories are re-elected with a majority. Both outcomes are highly possible as are many other scenarios in between, resulting in many different possible results in marginal seats like this.

    What will make Mansfield a very tough hold for the Conservatives is their total lack of any local base here. There is the sum total of 1 Conservative district councillor in this constituency. That makes it very different from outwardly similar mining seats like NE Derbyshire and Sherwood where the Tories have had a fairly strong base of councillors for decades.

  41. Yes, as my brother-in-law lives there and my colleague’s family lives within the seat.

    Incidentally, we have just moved (border of West Lancs but just inside the Southport constituency – on either the current or proposed boundaries).

    Which is precisely why I said irrespective of the national swing! Bradley has a personal vote building by the weeks, compared with Meale who managed to cause a negative personal vote over his years without holding a surgery.

  42. By the spurious yardstick of a colleague’s family living somewhere, we could all claim to be an expert on about 200 seats.

    I spent the first 18 years of my life living 10 miles from Mansfield and still have lots of family in the area. One of my first memories is riding the merry go round in the now sadly defunct Mansfield market. I would humbly suggest I probably know the area better than you do. To have such confidence in the outcome in this kind of seat when the circumstances of the next election are so unclear is daft. There are plausible scenarios where the Tories could hold and equally plausible ones where they lose. What is not in question though is the weakness of their local party and almost total lack of councillors whilst Labour remains quite strong locally. In a 50/50 situation that might be the decisive factor.

    I agree Alan Meale was a liability by the end but that will probably help Labour’s chances given that he isn’t standing again. He was a very divisive choice for the seat given his antipathy to the UDM and this partly explains his awful result in 1987. However the seat got to quite like him in the 1990s until he blotted his copybook in the expenses scandal. IMO he wasn’t really any lazier than your average ageing incumbent in a safeish seat.

  43. The “personal vote” of an incumbent is over estimated by a lot of ppl. And often exaggerated by sitting MPs of crse!

    Research and studies suggest that the PV of an incumbent is very rarely above 3% or roughly 1400 votes. Very often – in most seats – it’s virtually non existent.

    Gavin Barwell in Croydon reckoned that he built up a big PV by taking 30-40 constituents around the Palace of Westminster every Thursday eve for years between 2010 and 2015 and this got him over the line in Croydon. He lost badly in 2017 of course.

  44. HH – although of course by your own definition that means you KNEW the area 30 years ago.

    I have, however, met and interviewed PPCs from all Parties and have a pretty good record of predicting marginal seats – and where PPCs are lazy or chime well with locals.

    A mere look at either Ben Bradley’s activity in the local press or his Facebook page will show you much more recent evidence of both why he gained the seat and why he has continued to be a hard working since becoming the MP.

    As I said, the vast majority of Comments are positive even from people who didn’t vote for him or at all in 2017, which is why I fully expect him to increase the Cons vote here again.

    I saw years ago why Esther McVey, Chris Grayling just shouldn’t be allowed on the doorstep as they repelled voters the first time they stood as a PPC, whereas at the other end of the spectrum: Ben Bradshaw, Kate Hoey, Jeffrey Donaldson have the highest voter ID %s and this knocking up has paid off.

  45. HH – PS That can be a hindering factor (many Cons Assocs are woeful).

    Although equally I have heard a couple of Con PPCs/MPs comment that their Assoc was a hindrance because of infighting amongst cllrs and layers of bureaucracy, not a lack of members. Indeed the four I’m thinking of had the highest memberships in their Area.

    I can also think of a couple of examples – including Southport & Mansfield – which were gained by the PPC and a small team effectively almost ignoring the Association. That seems to be the route to success.

  46. “A Momentum-backed councillor has won by a landslide in the key target seat of Mansfield to become Labour’s next parliamentary candidate.

    Local councillor and Labour group leader Sonya Ward won the selection race on the first round, receiving over 50 per cent of the 286 votes cast at the meeting.

    At the next election she will fight Mansfield, where sitting Tory MP Ben Bradley has a thin majority of just 1,057.”

    Labour List 19feb

  47. It seems to me having party infrastructure is almost essential to building a core vote. Something i witnessed in the fag end of the new labour years as members left and our councillors who lost their seat quietly vanished, leaving very few of us to GTVO. Unsurprisingly the dozen active members we had couldn’t do much more than salvage half our vote. This is something Tories like HH and Rob Halfon get but others like Lancs don’t.

  48. That’s most likely a problem that will stay with them for the foreseeable future, then, or even get steadily worse. I don’t see the Tory membership numbers turning around any time soon. Being a party member just isn’t a very attractive proposition for right-leaning folk who might otherwise be interested – the party doesn’t treat its members very well, it’s going through a bit of an identity crisis right now, the highly polarised nature of society means becoming a member is likely to lose you friends, and you don’t even get any say in how the party is run. No wonder they’re down to – what was the latest figure – a rumoured 70k?

  49. Andy Abrahms (Labour) has been elected Mayor of Mansfield by two votes over incumbent Kate Allsop (Independent) in the second round. Independents have held the mayoralty since 2002.

    Wow. Two votes. Very close. And it’s been a bumpy ride for labour with candidate problems, clp infighting and antisemitism scandals.

  50. Andy Abrahams’ seat has been lost only weeks after he won it:

    Sandhurst ward by-election:

    Mansfield Ind Forum 227
    Labour 177
    Cons 71
    UKIP 56

    Mansfield Inds Gain from Labour.

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