John Harris

Journalist & Author

A warning to the Tories: Britain’s true-blue suburbs have turned liberal | John Harris

From Trafford to Kingston upon Thames, our affluent areas are becoming more diverse and progressive. Theresa May’s monochrome retro-politics has little appeal for them

Two weeks ago there was a small earthquake on the southern edge of Greater Manchester. The Tories lost control of the borough of Trafford, the “island of blue in a sea of red”, whose supposedly ingrained Conservatism has long been highlighted by its selective school system. Labour gained four seats – but in the detailed Trafford results, there was something arguably even more seismic. In the affluent suburb of Altrincham, where the senior Tory backbencher Graham Brady has his constituency home, two victorious Green party candidates ended a Conservative dominance that used to seem as natural as the weather. This means that, having already watched Trafford vote 58% for remain, this most Eurosceptic, Thatcherite, grammar-school supporting of MPs now shares the local air with representatives of a politics that sits at the opposite end of just about every political spectrum you could think of.

David Cameron, George Osborne and their circle bigged up diversity and liberal values. Then came the referendum result

Related: Finchley: few seats can boast such stark differences in wealth | Rafael Behr

Related: Black flight: how England’s suburbs are changing colour | Hugh Muir

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