Advertising

Staffordshire General Election preview: Will Stafford be bellwether seat again?

Staffordshire | General Election 2019 | Published:

We preview the Staffordshire seats on our patch: Stafford, Cannock Chase, South Staffordshire, Lichfield and Stone.

Four candidates are vying to replace Jeremy Lefroy in Stafford

There are five Staffordshire constituencies on the Express & Star patch and all five are currently Conservative, but will that be the case on December 13?

There will definitely be at least one new MP due to Jeremy Lefroy's decision to step down in Stafford after nine years, but the four standing for re-election are expected to win comfortably.

Bill Cash, Gavin Williamson, Michael Fabricant and Amanda Milling are all odds on to hold their seats, while Tory candidate Theo Clarke is also the heavy favourite to win in Stafford.

  • Scroll down for the preview of each Staffordshire seat in our area
  • Stay posted with all the latest election news at expressandstar.com/election
Jeremy Lefroy is standing down from the Stafford seat he held since 2010

Stafford: Rees-Mogg's niece bids to keep town blue

Stafford will have a new MP on December 13 after Tory Jeremy Lefroy decided to stand down ahead of the election.

The constituency is a bellwether in every sense of the word, with the party which has won it going on to form the government at every election since 1983.

Advertising

At the last election the Conservatives won a majority of 7,729, a slight fall on the margin of victory from 2015.

Who are the Stafford election candidates?

  • Theo Clarke, Conservative*
  • Emma Carter, Green
  • Joyce Still, Labour
  • Alexander Wagner, Lib Dem

What was the 2017 Stafford election result?

Advertising

  • Jeremy Lefroy, Conservative - 28,424
  • David Williams, Labour - 20,695
  • Christine Tinker, Liberal Democrat - 1,540
  • Tony Pearce, Green - 1,265
  • Spoiled papers - 122
  • Turnout - 76.04 per cent

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/14, Labour 7/1, Liberal Democrats 25/1, Green 100/1

Labour held the seat for three elections onwards from 1997 when Tony Blair surged to power – with David Kidney taking Stafford ahead of a Tory hopeful by the name of David Cameron.

The Conservatives regained the seat in 2010 under Mr Lefroy, who decided against standing this time as he was unable to commit to another five years in Parliament.

His stance against a hard Brexit had prompted concerns among some in his local association, with 56 per cent of people in Stafford having voted Leave in the EU referendum.

Tory candidate Theo Clarke has been campaigning alongside Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds

His replacement is Brexit supporter Theodora Clarke, the niece of Jacob Rees-Mogg – who she describes as her “uncle by marriage” – and a descendant of former US President Theodore Roosevelt.

She disagrees with Mr Rees-Mogg’s stance on slashing foreign aid, having founded the Bill Gates-funded Coalition for Global Prosperity, whose mission is to present Britain as a “force for good in the world”.

Ms Clarke, who ran as an unsuccessful candidate in Bristol at the 2017 general election, clearly has friends in high places.

She has been seen out on the campaign trail with Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

In the campaign she has focused on local issues including social care provision, tackling flooding and congestion, improving the high street and creating more jobs in the town.

Joyce Still is standing for Labour in Stafford

Labour’s candidate is NHS worker Joyce Still, who has put concerns over emergency services in Stafford at the forefront of her campaign.

The 65-year-old nurse and midwife has also called for more cash for youth services to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour, a reduction in homelessness, and regeneration for the town centre, which she says is currently “going to waste”.

Liberal Democract candidates have lost their deposits at the last two elections, having gained more than 16 per cent of the vote in 2010.

Teenager Alex Wagner is the Lib Dem candidate in Stafford

This time Jo Swinson’s party is fielding Alex Wagner, who is the country’s youngest parliamentary candidate.

The 18-year-old campaigner from Shrewsbury went to school in rural Shropshire and wants to stop Brexit.

The Greens have also struggled to make an impact in Stafford over the years, with the party’s best performance coming in 2015 when 2.9 per cent of the vote was secured.

Emma Carter is the Green candidate in Stafford

Emma Carter, who lives in Stafford, is the Green candidate this time around.

She says she is concerned about “over development”, “neglect” of the town centre, and changes to NHS provision at County Hospital.

Stafford is made up of most of the wards in Stafford Borough and also includes the South Staffordshire market town of Penkridge.

Cannock Chase: Just three candidates

Pollsters are predicting that the entire county of Staffordshire could become Tory at next month’s election.

And while some seats are likely to go down to the wire, it would be a major shock if Boris Johnson’s party did not retain Cannock Chase

Amanda Milling has represented Cannock Chase since 2015

The Tories’ grip on the seat has grown increasingly stronger since 2010, when there were just over 3,000 votes between them and Labour.

Who are the Cannock Chase election candidates?

  • Amanda Milling, Conservative*
  • Paul Woodhead, Green
  • Anne Hobbs, Labour

What was the 2017 Cannock Chase election result?

  • Amanda Milling, Conservative - 26,318
  • Paul Dadge, Labour - 17,927
  • Paul Allen, UKIP - 2,018
  • Paul Woodhead, Green - 815
  • Nat Green, Liberal Democrat - 794
  • Turnout - 64.3 per cent (47,950 out of electorate of 74,540)

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/100, Brexit Party 16/1, Labour 40/1, Green 66/1, Liberal Democrats 150/1, UKIP

Amanda Milling has held the seat since 2015 and enjoyed a comfortable majority of 8,400 at the last election two years ago.

Labour’s chances of victory appear to be slim.

They will be represented by Anne Hobbs, who will be hoping to spring a surprise.

Anne Hobbs, Cannock Chase Labour Party candidate

The only other candidate is Paul Woodhead for the Greens, a well-known campaigner and local councillor.

Since 1997, voters in Cannock Chase have always mirrored the national picture. During the Blair years it was a safe Labour seat for Tony Wright.

Cannock Chase's Green Party candidate Paul Woodhead

That all changed in 2010 when Aidan Burley took it for the Tories.

It has remained blue ever since and is now considered fairly safe for the Conservatives.

The area voted heavily in favour of Brexit at the 2016 referendum, with 68.9 per cent voting to leave.

Lichfield

Meanwhile in Lichfield Michael Fabricant will be confident of being returned to Parliament in the seat he has held since 1997.

He has nearly 30 years of experience in the Commons, having held the Mid-Staffordshire seat from 1992 before it was abolished.

Michael Fabricant is once again standing for the Conservatives in Lichfield

Who are the Lichfield election candidates?

  • Michael Fabricant, Conservative*
  • Andrea Muckley, Green
  • John Madden, Independent
  • Dave Robertson, Labour
  • Paul Ray, Liberal Democrat

What was the 2017 Lichfield election result?

  • Michael Fabricant, Conservative - 34,018
  • Christopher Worsey, Labour - 15,437
  • Paul Ray, Liberal Democrat - 2,653
  • Robert Pass, Green - 1,416
  • Turnout - 72.1 per cent (53,524 out of electorate of 74,430)

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/200, Labour 25/1, Liberal Democrats 50/1, Green 100/1

The seat is a safe one for the Conservatives, with the eccentric politician, a firm Brexiteer, securing a huge majority of 18,500 in 2017.

The closest Labour has come to winning in 1997, when Sue Woodward came within a whisker of adding to the Blair landslide, losing by just 238 votes.

Since then Mr Fabricant has increased his majority at every election.

In the EU referendum, Lichfield voted to leave with 58.8 per cent backing Brexit.

Dave Robertson is taking him on for Labour, Paul Ray is standing for the Lib Dems and Andrea Muckley for the Greens. John Madden is standing as an Independent.

South Staffordshire and Stone

They are among the safest Conservative seats in the country – and there will be no surprises this time.

The constituencies of South Staffordshire and Stone are true blue.

South Staffordshire Tory candidate Gavin Williamson was sacked as defence secretary before returning to cabinet as education secretary

Who are the South Staffordshire election candidates?

  • Gavin Williamson, Conservative*
  • Claire McIlvenna, Green
  • Adam Freeman, Labour
  • Chris Fewtrell, Liberal Democrat

What was the 2017 South Staffordshire election result?

  • Gavin Williamson, Conservative - 35,656
  • Adam Freeman, Labour - 12,923
  • Hilary Myers, Liberal Democrat - 1,348
  • Claire McIlvenna, Green - 1,182
  • Spoiled ballots - 171
  • Turnout - 69.8 per cent

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/200, Labour 33/1, Liberal Democrats 40/1, Green PArty 500/1

One is currently home to cabinet minister Gavin Williamson and the other Tory veteran Sir Bill Cash.

Both will be defending commanding majorities secured in 2017, Mr Williamson a massive 22,700 and Sir Bill 17,500.

It has been a turbulent two years for Mr Williamson since the last election.

The man who was once tipped as a potential future Tory leader found himself booted out of the cabinet by Theresa May for allegedly leaking details of a secret meeting, only to be welcomed back when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and handed the education brief.

Veteran Eurosceptic Bill Cash is the Tory MP for Stone

Who are the Stone election candidates?

  • Bill Cash, Conservative*
  • Tom Adamson, Green
  • Alec Sandiford, Liberal Democrat
  • Mike Stubbs, Labour

What was the 2017 Stone election result?

  • Bill Cash, Conservative - 31,614
  • Sam Hale, Labour - 14,119
  • Martin Lewis, Liberal Democrat - 2,222
  • Edward Whitfield, UKIP - 1,370
  • Samantha Pancheri, Green - 707
  • Spoiled papers - 99
  • Turnout - 73.91 per cent

What are the odds? (From Betfair at time of writing)

  • Conservatives 1/200, Labour 25/1, Liberal Democrats 33/1, Green Party 250/1

Staunch Eurosceptic Sir Bill has been a thorn in the side of past Conservative leaders but is more in tune with Mr Johnson’s Brexit stance. He’s been an MP since 1984.

Putting themselves forward for Labour is Adam Freeman in South Staffordshire and Mike Stubbs in Stone, with Chris Fewtrell and Alexander Wagner for the Lib Dems and Claire McIlvenna and Tom Adamson for the Greens.

There will be no Brexit Party candidates.

Advertising

Top Stories

Advertising

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News