Ashton Under Lyne

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8610 (22.1%)
Labour: 19366 (49.8%)
Lib Dem: 943 (2.4%)
Green: 1531 (3.9%)
UKIP: 8468 (21.8%)
MAJORITY: 10756 (27.6%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of Tameside council area and part of Oldham.

Main population centres: Ashton under Lyne, Failsworth, Droylsden.

Profile: Ashton is in the borough of Tameside, to the East of Manchester, though the seat also takes in two wards from Oldham council. Ashton itself was dominated by the textile industry and, since its decline, has suffered from high unemployment. The seat also includes Failsworth and Droylsden. The area continues to rely upon manufacturing, though significant retail development is also taking place with the opening of the Ashton Retail Park in 2003 and the redevelopment of the centre of Failsworth based around a new Tesco superstore.

Politics: A safe Labour seat, held continuously by the party since 1931.

Current MP
DAVID HEYES (Labour) Born 1946, Manchester. Educated at Blackley Technical High School and Open University. Former manager for Manchester Citizen`s Advice Bureau. Oldham councillor 1992-2004. First elected as MP for Ashton under Lyne in 2001. Active trade unionist and member of UNISON. Generally a low profile MP, Heyes rebelled against the government over the Iraq war and the 2006 Education Act.
Past Results
Con: 9510 (25%)
Lab: 18604 (48%)
LDem: 5703 (15%)
BNP: 2929 (8%)
Oth: 1686 (4%)
MAJ: 9094 (24%)
Con: 7259 (20%)
Lab: 21211 (57%)
LDem: 5108 (14%)
BNP: 2051 (6%)
Oth: 1338 (4%)
MAJ: 13952 (38%)
Con: 6822 (19%)
Lab: 22340 (62%)
LDem: 4237 (12%)
BNP: 1617 (5%)
Oth: 748 (2%)
MAJ: 15518 (43%)
Con: 8954 (19%)
Lab: 31919 (68%)
LDem: 4603 (10%)
Oth: 458 (1%)
MAJ: 22965 (49%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
TRACY SUTTON (Conservative)
CARLY HICKS (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 189 Responses on “Ashton Under Lyne”
  1. My genuine thoughts on Covid-19 related deaths amongst BME is much like Covid related deaths amongst lower socio economic classes. We talk about this virus as if it is indiscriminate because it affects everyone but at the end of the day those with more will struggle less in self isolation. I mentioned my brother sending his child back to school. He lives in a 200k 2 bed London maisonette with the four of them and he’s an essential worker. Lockdown has not been easy. Whether it was safe for him to send his child back isn’t really a question when the answer is he’s going back even if it isn’t

    As for Red Len, he isnt the only person elected on a low turnout and record low turnouts in local elections haven’t stopped councils putting up tax, MEPs earning 150k, etc. we’ve changed the voting system for European elections in the hope it’ll reinvigorate voters snd it hasn’t. The answer is more than just the constitutional question

  2. Matt W – if he’s a key worker, surely they never stopped going? As opposed to being a new returnee last week. I respect that it’s a personal decision of any parent: that’s why I think City Mayors (on £88k pa) had no business taking that choice away from parents who work in the private sector and were returning to work. That’s why I find it so hypocritical of unions and the public sector in general who are receiving 100% pay.

    Interestingly, there’s little evidence of that – that poorer equals greater % of deaths per se – although I have heard it trotted out often enough, as if it were already evidenced. Liverpool for example has the most deaths, yet within the city they are largely in the most affluent 4 wards, ie where the Drs and commuters live. The poorest ward has in fact had the fewest deaths from covid-19. So I think we need to await a proper study, because even in London for example some of the poorer wards (such as Millwall in Towr Hamlets) have had hardly any and yet Surrey Docks had a dozen or more.

    It appears to correlate to train and bus travel, then of course you can get into propensity to survive largely being based on age, but also having poorer chances if ethnic, obese, diabetic and so on.

  3. No he was not sending his child while he was working. His wife hasn’t been working and they also had 2 weeks self isolation. I think he’d probably have preferred to send his child back when the other key workers did. It’s not really a personal choice it’s the inevitable decision of the situation.

    Well yes clearly there is a certain demographic of people who get public transport. Aa Thatcher once said if you were still travelling on buses at 25 you’ve failed in life. So it’s those failures who are obviously at risk. That we would be me had i not passed my test and bought my car in march.

    Yes there are particularly groups that are mote likely to have diabetes, bowel cancer, etc. and are therefore more at risk of covid 19

  4. I can give examples of people who are racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. Indeed Rev Al Sharpton is all of these:

    BLM and black power fists are themselves racist, of course.

  5. What a surprise that you say Sharpton and the whole Black Lives Matter movement “is racist.”

    Almost certainly you also say things like “Black Lives Matter??..All lives Matter!!”

  6. That’s a daft thing to say.

    Black Lives Matter is not racist. Raising concerns about police brutality is not racist. The I Can’t Breath protests that a BLM member organised, originated after that woman’s father last words were i can’t breath. She had to watch her father say those words on cctv as he died at the hands of police officer. Wanting justice for her father is not racist.

    I know what it’s like to watch a family member die on cctv. I cannot abide this mealy mouthed equivocation by people who should know better. Until you’ve had to witness some thing as horrible as a family member dying on cctv you cannot dismiss their calls for justice

  7. @ Lancs

    I really don’t know where to start with your post from a couple of days ago. On the “Labour supporter” bit this seems to indicate you feel that a “Labour supporter” can have no professional detachment to do the job? I suppose the same applies to heads of the BBC?

    Subject to mitigating circumstances and queries over different countries statistics it is quite clear that the UK has one if not the worst records on Covid cases and deaths in Europe, no regional variations in lock down policies despite regional differences in current rates of transmission. Second opinions therefore seem quite valid. Sage modeled 9 scenarios for Primary schools to re-open- the government chose a 10th.

    On the “no scientific evidence”, there is a great deal of varying opinions and uncertainty on many aspects of Covid-19. All scientists seem to agree that the schools plans would increase the R rate even if just a little. Some scientists think the R rate in the North West could be above 1 therefore it seems sensible for regional decision makers to err on the side of caution. That seems to me to be a scientific based decision. There seems very little political capital in “posturing”.

  8. “All scientists seem to agree that the schools plans would increase the R rate even if just a little. Some scientists think the R rate in the North West could be above 1 therefore it seems sensible for regional decision makers to err on the side of caution. That seems to me to be a scientific based decision. There seems very little political capital in “posturing”.”

    Primary schools across most of Europe have already been open for weeks, without significant impact on infections.

    Arguably we have the worst of both worlds here because some kids being back in school means a big reduction in home schooling for those primary kids still at home (due to all teachers being allocated to the returned age groups and having to teach all day).

    As a society we are happy to sit back and watch thousands of people congregate together to smash up statues with impunity in the middle of a pandemic whilst tut-tutting about getting kids back into school. It’s absolutely barmy.

    Note Hancock has now said that most kids won’t be back in school till September *at the earliest*, a mealy-mouthed way of saying that it will almost certainly be later than that. A second wave of COVID19 in the autumn would probably mean many kids, including my son, having to stay out of school until next spring, having missed an entire year of school.

  9. Tweet from Tom Newton-Dunn, until recently the political editor of The Sun-

    “I’m told Eton is developing its own comprehensive testing regime so it can fully reopen as a bubble. Other private schools will do the same, but state schools cannot afford this. So the educational chasm between rich and poor will only widen further. A huge tragedy.”

    Ironically, complete silence from the left, who usually can’t stop prattling on about the injustices of private education. The inequalities of all this are going to be absolutely brutal for society for years to come.

    Certainly, if my kids aren’t properly back in school by September, I will look to pull them out of the state system and find a private school for them even if it means major personal economic sacrifices.

    On a country-wide level, for how long can the country tolerate the appalling binary choice between the most incompetent government in living memory and a useless woke-obsessed opposition happy to support gangs of yobs vandalising town centres with impunity in the middle of a pandemic, as long as they are the right skin colour? The Tommy Robinson far right tendency is going to make hay if Boris doesn’t get a grip soon.

  10. All the stuff that you say about schools is spot-on, but that last paragraph about the “terrible choice” this country faces is, I feel a bit wide of the mark. I think you are conflating electoral politics with a very online culture war which is irretrievably polarised by design, and which the same among us can simply walk away from. Keir Starmer’s comments on the statue have actually been reasonable – that he doesn’t endorse either the deification of slave owners or mob rule.

  11. @ HH

    Looking at when most of Europe re-opened primary schools it was at a level of cases much lower than what we have at the moment.

    I accept all your arguments are valid but I don’t think we are out of step with Europe to be honest. You’re not comparing like with like in terms of whether re-opening schools has an impact because if there are lower cases in the community then of course there is not likely to be much of an impact. If there are more then who really knows?

    Personally I can respect anyone with a different viewpoint to me because there are no absolutes and I respect the economic arguments as well, but to my mind get the cases numbers down as quickly as possible and we have a better chance of kick starting the economy because people will be happy to go out and about with a low risk, parents will be happy to send their kids back to school and so on.

    A drawn out first wave or a second wave risks far more inequality than if we keep at it a bit longer and gets cases into the low hundreds. Also, I guess it depends on the schools and their home schooling programme but there is a school of thought that if teachers are busy with social distance enforcement eating into educational time and children are not benefiting much in the way of socialising then the benefits of opening are less significant than zoom teaching and time for teachers to work on home schooling projects and monitoring with phone calls and one to one help. If you have 3 year groups back with half the class sizes then all teachers are occupied on this task and the remaining year groups are going to suffer.

    What I am really saying is there are no absolutes on any of this. The biggest mistake the government has made is imposing a system for re-opening rather than engaging with schools as to what is the best way to proceed and provides the most benefits.

  12. I’ve had a text from a friend who wasn’t sending his children back last week but with the r rate dropping significantly over the last week feels things are safer now to return now.

    I saw the government announce it was backing down on reopening primary schools to all year groups and it will be up to schools, it’s expected we may not see a full return until at least September

  13. PollTroll – KS comments on the statue have been incomprehensible. The statue should have come down but should not have been pulled down despite campaigns for the statue to come down since the end of the 20th century including a petition with 10,000 signatures, enough for the petitions committee yet no reply so far. The best solution so far was an additional plaque about slave trading which was vetoed by Marvin Rees.

    The statue was never going to come down and fortunately for KS he now doesn’t have to argue for it to come down when he knows it would only come if it was pulled down but knowing he can’t say that. There’s actually more logic in arguing for the statue to remain because of its history and its wrong to remove statues because they offend you. Fortunately KS doesn’t need to face such argument now

  14. “I saw the government announce it was backing down on reopening primary schools to all year groups and it will be up to schools, it’s expected we may not see a full return until at least September”

    If schools can’t fully conform with social distancing today, how are they ever going to be able to do so, in September or at any time in the future?

    Absent some kind of vaccine, state education is going to be permanently 60% “online” with pupils going in 2 days a week. Or parents will have the choice to go private, where class sizes are small enough to operate within the rules. This is going to be an absolute disaster for state education and the kids who depend on it.

  15. HH: I would like to know why “…the inequalities of all this are going to be absolutely brutal for society for years to come”…?
    This is some claim. I’m not necessarily disagreeing btw.

  16. Because under permanent social distancing measures, with kids not going in to school every day, the quality of state education will deteriorate massively. Anyone who has undertaken home schooling this past 11 weeks will tell you that it is a very poor substitute for being in school, no matter how diligent the parents and kids are. And plenty are not diligent at all and have done next to no home schooling since March.

    The private sector will likely expand enormously if we do not return to normal, creaming the richer pupils out of the state system, leaving the rest of the kids whose families can’t afford it even further behind. When they leave school they will have to compete for jobs not just with privately educated British kids, but with immigrants from Europe and elsewhere whose countries have not permanently closed their schooling for half the week. The implications don’t bear thinking about and I hope I am wrong.

  17. I understand from my gf mother who works at a school in East Yorkshire that the phased return of year groups is to maintain social distancing

  18. Shevii “On the “no scientific evidence”, there is a great deal of varying opinions and uncertainty on many aspects of Covid-19. All scientists seem to agree that the schools plans would increase the R rate even if just a little.”

    Yes, but not as great as being struck by lightning apparently!

    Because affiliation has to be declared – thankfully even Newsnight has now been forced to do this, after the Dr John Ashton fiasco.

  19. Mark F “What a surprise that you say Sharpton and the whole Black Lives Matter movement “is racist.”

    I said so, because it’s a fact and not just a one off as detailed in the piece about Sharpton.

    Both BLM & the ANL were founded by far Left activists with convictions for public order offences. On a previous thread I detailed – for the benefit of Rivers, Merseymike & Eco Wirral (who all denied that the far Left were violent), that in fact MORE far Left activists were convicted than far Right in both the 1990s & 2000s.

  20. BLM were not founded by the far left. They wete founded by people who saw their family die at the hands 9f police brutality

  21. The Black Lives Matter website lists the aims and beliefs of the group in some detail. It includes things like abolishing the nuclear family and destroying capitalism.

    I agree with the slogan “Black Lives Matter”, as I’m sure more than 90% of the population does, and concur that there are genuine issues about policing and statues that we have to deal with as a society. I do not see the logical link between that and smashing up capitalism and family structures.

  22. They might have ideas that you find concerning but that’s not quite the same as casting them as hard left

  23. I think most people would describe the revolutionary positions Hemmy describes as hard left, including people who believe in those positions.

    Whether the average BLM activist believes in that stuff is hard to say, but it’s clear most of them want to do a lot more than reform US policing. And that’s not a bad thing per se.

  24. I hope they wouldn’t. Once again this is conflating political opinions with economic ideologies. It might be revolutionary to emd to nuclear family but it is not left wing. Plenty of people can believe this regardless of their ideology. You can’t juat put tye word revolutionary in front of something and claim that makes it left wing

  25. @ Lancs

    “Interestingly, there’s little evidence of that – that poorer equals greater % of deaths per se – although I have heard it trotted out often enough, as if it were already evidenced.”

    Some of the crowd are on the pitch… well there is evidence now!

    The stats are drilled down to postcode and looks to me like a higher differential than normal deaths from other causes.

  26. The thing about poverty versus coronavirus deaths is that there are likely to be a dozen different confounding variables, which obscure the truth. For example, poor people are more likely to die young (which is a disgrace in its own right); therefore they are less likely to reach the age at which coronavirus carries a much greater lethal risk.

    These issues make working out whether poverty increases risk of Covid death a lot more complicated than just measuring the wealth of Covid victims versus the general public.

  27. I was surprised to read from HH and POLLTROLL that Black Lives Matter aims include “things like abolishing the nuclear family and destroying capitalism.”

    I’ve looked at the BLM website and it doesn’t mention capitalism.

  28. On the subject of the family, it states: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable”

    Which is not the same as “abolishing the nuclear family.

  29. Hmm. This sounds like one of those motte-and-bailey “speaking both ways” formulations that enables people to maintain plausible deniability while hiding in plain sight as they seek a far more revolutionary goal. Communities can help each other without “disrupting nuclear families”. (I’d also note that the idea of communities helping each other out of the goodness of their hearts is not so different from Cameron’s Big Society, a mechanism for letting the state off the hook for things it really should be held responsible for, and an excuse to shrink the jurisdiction of politics. The notion of people voluntarily helping each other sits rather outside the notion of politics, being entirely a matter of individual choice, so in fact the only political part of the statement is the “abolish families” part.)

    And that’s before I even get onto the idea that nuclear families are “western-prescribed”. Nuclear families are prevalent the world over, and more than that, over most of the animal kingdom. Most of the deviations from the nuclear family pattern originated and are much more widespread in the west. The only non-western deviation I can think of is the harem; I would hardly suggest that that is a model to follow.

  30. Matt W – of course revolutionary is far Left.

    Indeed to deny that really is cognitive dissonance.

    It remains a fact that founders were far Left. Just because one of them happened to be related to a prisoner, doesn’t alter that fact. It reminds me of people who claim far Left activists who stay at uni for a decade or two and end up as Profs are somehow ind experts.

  31. Shevii – again yes, but just look at the maps by ward.

    Indeed, in all boroughs I have looked at to date, the complete opposite is true,

    It really is lazy thinking in the extreme to assert poorer areas and by that they only mean boroughs or cities. Because within those councils it has been the more affluent wards with most deaths.

    Hardly surprising either given that they contain a train station, its where Drs and commuters live, a nursing home. The outer council estates not near a station have the fewest deaths in Liverpool, Sefton, West Lancs, Halton, Knowsley plus the upto now 22 boroughs I have looked at up close.

    If you want specifics the most affluent ward in Lpool has had 28 deaths and the poorest ward just 2. So quite stark and the reverse of the BBC headlines. As I said, this also appears to be the case in East London.

  32. Liverpool City Mayor Joe Anderson has admitted that it is safe for children to return to school in the city.

    Asked what brought about he sudden change – he said it was a disgrace when the Govt announced a June phased return which he would “resist” – he refused to comment.

    It seems PMQs (when Starmer refused 3 times to answer whether it was safe) may have caused the change, as Starmer spoke to Joe, Burnham et al this afternoon.

    I’m told Labour Cllrs had received a huge amount of emails from parents returning to work, asking why schools weren’t open, when they were in neighbouring authorities.

  33. Yeah i don’t think that’s true somehow. I was talking to my colleague and her daughter is still at home. When i asked when she’d go back she said September. I’m not convinced there is rush to send kids back. I’ve got one friend who wasn’t sending his kid back but has been reassured by the drop in infections.

  34. Looks like HH was half right. Doctors will be receiving a 2.8% pay rise but teachers will receive a 3.1% pay rise too. The rest is outlined below:

    Police, prison officers and National Crime Agency staff will be given a 2.5% rise in pay and members of the armed forces will receive a 2% uplift. Members of the judiciary and senior civil servants will also have their pay topped up by 2%.

    No mention of other NHS staff probably because of the pay rise they got only a few years back but Prison officers and police got one back then too

  35. Angela Rayner is no longer deputy leader of the Labour Party.

    Unclear what has happened here. Sources make it sound like this is Keir Starmer’s doing, but she was elected by members and I didn’t think it was in his gift. (Also, if it was his doing then it’s comfortably the worst decision of his leadership.)

  36. She’s still deputy leader (it’s the role she was elected to), she was sacked as party chair and campaign coordinator.

  37. Not sure how this is Starmer taking responsibility for the results. That said, if Rayner had responsibility for the campaigning maybe it’s not that surprising.

    Seems like the much speculated reshuffle of the shadow cabinet could be on the horizon if more decisions are being made about who should be at the top of the party.

  38. Strange looking decision if true and assuming she’s not been offered something else.

    Lots of furious reaction to the reshuffle from the likes of Lavery, Burgon, McDonnell… Starmer called a coward by the last two.

  39. The soft left are up in arms as well. Andy Burnham straight up said he doesn’t support this. Emma Buck Lewell also condemned the decision. Alex Sobel said he supoorted Angela.

    LabourList reporting a breakdown in relationship between LOTO and Deputy leader. KS aide Jenny Chapman faces lot of criticism and KS responded with his sacking as a way to assert himself. LabourList report sources earlier this week say this was planned by KS preparation for losses

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