Barrow & Furness

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17525 (40.5%)
Labour: 18320 (42.3%)
Lib Dem: 1169 (2.7%)
Green: 1061 (2.5%)
UKIP: 5070 (11.7%)
Independent: 130 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 795 (1.8%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cumbria. The whole of the Barrow in Furness council area and part of the South Lakeland council area.

Main population centres: Barrow in Furness, Ulverston, Broughton in Furness.

Profile: The Furness peninsula and the area to the north of it. Barrow itself is an important industrial town, a major deepwater port and shipbuilding town, one of few sites capable of constructing nuclear submarines. It is also important for energy generation, with the Roosecote Power Station, the terminals for the Morecambe Bay gas field, servicing major offshore wind farms in the Irish sea. Note that the town and the council are called Barrow IN Furness, but since 1983 the seat has been called Barrow AND Furness.

Politics: This is a Labour leaning seat, represented by the party for most of the time since the second world war. The exception was 1983-1992 when the Conservatives won the seat, perhaps due to Labour`s then support for nuclear disarmament and the constituency`s connection with submarine building..

Current MP
JOHN WOODCOCK (Labour) Born 1978, Sheffield. Educated at Edinburgh University. Former special advisor to Gordon Brown. First elected as MP for Barrow and Furness in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 16018 (36%)
Lab: 21226 (48%)
LDem: 4424 (10%)
UKIP: 841 (2%)
Oth: 1615 (4%)
MAJ: 5208 (12%)
Con: 11323 (31%)
Lab: 17360 (48%)
LDem: 6130 (17%)
UKIP: 758 (2%)
Oth: 922 (3%)
MAJ: 6037 (17%)
Con: 11835 (30%)
Lab: 21724 (56%)
LDem: 4750 (12%)
UKIP: 711 (2%)
MAJ: 9889 (25%)
Con: 13133 (27%)
Lab: 27630 (57%)
LDem: 4264 (9%)
Oth: 1995 (4%)
MAJ: 14497 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SIMON FELL (Conservative) Born Lancashire. Educated at Warwick University.
JOHN WOODCOCK (Labour) See above.
CLIVE PEAPLE (Liberal Democrat) Retired headteacher.
ROBERT O`HARA (Green) Small businessman and former teacher.
IAN JACKSON (Independent)
Comments - 148 Responses on “Barrow & Furness”
  1. To be honest I think this has to be seen in the context of wider Labour party divisions and has to be debated in an open way to minimise the internal divisions and political capital SNP and the Tories will try and make from it.

    It’s also good to see pro trident Andy Burnham being honest about this.

    If the ‘damage is indeed done’ then a debate won’t do any further damage as Trident is certain to go through anyway even if every single Labour MP voted against trident.

    I’m still not convinced Trident is important as the economy and other issues but I admit Corbyn may well come undone on his wackier ideas on NATO and the Falklands which is more likely to be his undoing pre 2020.

    I think the idea that things would be hunky dory if Labour had simply elected a pro trident leader in September is a bit naive as well, even in Scotland Kezia Dugdale and Ian Murray would still hold diametrically opposed views.

    I should add that I don’t think it’s worth labour tearing itself apart over even though I’m leaning towards a rejection of trident.

    I agree Barrow may well be almost certainly be lost now in 2020 now anyway.

  2. The issue isn’t Trident per se – many people across the political spectrum are sceptical of it. It is the fact that with Corbyn & McDonnell the issue is a proxy for their wider views on defence & terrorism. Of course it wouldn’t all be hunky dory with a pro Trident leader but it would be hunkier and dorier than under Corbyn.

    After Corbyn has gone the party will have to spend the best part of a decade trying to persuade the public it wouldn’t get rid of nuclear weapons unilaterally, give back the Falklands, talk to IS, support the IRA etc etc etc. That’s even if the next leader wants to do that…..if they are a Corbyn protégé they won’t.

  3. We are busy attacking Labour; but in fairness we ought also to be attacking Cameron for proposing to spend £30 billion plus on Trident without even thinking about the issues.

    I agree that it will take Labour many years do undo their poor reputation on defence issues. But they could start by taking a fresh, dispassionate, look at what defence the UK needs.

    We rightly criticise the extreme views of Corbyn and his allies; but many of the extremists in the defence establishment, not least GMBATU, scare the life out of me. Both sides have lost touch with the basics.

  4. ‘…but many of the extremists in the defence establishment, not least GMBATU, scare the life out of me’

    The General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union?

  5. Yes. They are placing us at risk of nuclear war by insisting on having obsolete nuclear weapons instead of effective non-nuclear ones. Sooner or later somebody is going to go to nuclear war in the Middle East out of desperation and frustration.

  6. Labour has suspended Tom O’Carroll here.

    The paedophile rights’ campaigner was revealed by The Times to be a Labour Party member here in Barrow who re-joined last year to support Jeremy Corbyn.

    He still supports sex with 12-year-olds, but said he no longer supports full sex with 4-year-olds.

    John Woodcock has said O’Carroll should be expelled by the NEC.

  7. John Woodcock has written an article in the Daily Mirror calling on Labour MPs to rally against Jeremy Corbyn as Leader.

  8. Can I first check that John Woodcock is actually a member of the Labour Party and that he supports the Labour Pary and obeys its rules.

    He is quite right to suggest that a member who supports sex with 12 year olds and has in the past supported sex with 4 year olds should be expelled in accordance with Labour Party rules. Apart from anything else, such a person would be bringing the Labour Pary into disrepute.

    I don’t belong to Labour myself, so in one sense it is not my business. but if Labour puts up with paedophiles they will lose masses of votes.

  9. O’Carroll was indeed expelled by the NEC, FS.

    As was Derek Hatton and that Revolutionary who appeared on the BBC Daily Politics, a fortnight ago.

  10. Did Derek Hatton even have his membership approved to be expelled.

  11. Derek Hatton was a delegate to the Labour Party Conference at which he was expelled, so he will have had his membership checked. The Labour Party had then recently tightened up its membership checks as a non-member had been elected to the NEC at a previous Conference (this was covered up.)

  12. Labour now committed to replacing Trident as a result of their Defence Review. Woodcock might not be toast at the next election after all.

  13. Source for that? No way the current shadow cabinet are going to sign up to renewal, or that Corbyn would stand at a GE on a pro-Trident platform.

    At the end of the day what the Labour frontbench think on this doesn’t count for much at the moment because there is a clear parliamentary majority for renewal anyway.

  14. Just heard the report on Today. Sounds like a fudge to kick the issue of deciding their exact policy for 2020 down the road but Labour still likely to vote against renewal when it comes up in the next few months.

  15. Whatever the rights and wrongs of Trident, I hope the decision on whether to maintain the means of nuclear armageddon at the cost of billions is not based on pork-barrelling a marginal seat.

  16. It would surely be the biggest case of pork-barreling in a seat since the Hull North by-election in 1966!

  17. The ward branch of Ulverston and Rural Furness said to have passed motion of No Confidence in John Woodcock. Seems major divisions exist in this CLP. The chair of this CLP has backed Woodcock through.

  18. Do these motions of No Confidence passed by CLPs have the corollary of deselection?

  19. Rephrase that. Is the corollary of a CLP vote of No Confidence deselection?

  20. No they don’t so I have been told.

  21. So no-one has been deselected yet? Hunt and Eagle have just have votes of No Confidence passed in them

  22. No they’re more putting down a marker really.

    They have no effect legally in the same way the motion on Corbyn didn’t.

    Trigger ballots might lead to deselections in 2018 or 2019 of course.

    After the Boundary changes.

  23. I don’t see any deselections happening until then either because we don’t know what the seats will be that candidates will be selected to fight yet!

  24. Why does everyone think the boundary changes will go through when whoever is PM will have to rely on an irreconcilable awkward squad?

  25. They probably won’t go through tbh

  26. For many MPs backing the Boundary Review would really be like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

  27. I’ve said before I think they are overwhelmingly likely to go through. There were few Tory rebels last time and the boundaries are now even more out of date, making it harder to justify voting against on any grounds other than self-interest.

    What might change is that the new PM may face pressure (i.e. from local associations during the campaign) to reverse the cut from 650 to 600 MPs, which is the legacy of a Cameron pledge from 2010. If that was combined with agreeing with Labour’s not entirely unreasonable demand that the boundaries be based on the post-EU ref sign ups register then it would eliminate a lot of opposition. Though the boundary commissioners who have been working on the basis of 600 seats/the register as of the end of 2015 would probably be very annoyed at having to essentially start again. For this to happen realistically new legislation would need to be passed this autumn.

  28. Hawthorn – because most MPs support them in basic terms.

    Yes, the Gov’t majority is only 12 and more than 6 Tories will oppose them.

    But equally most Opposition MPs will not vote against them.

  29. @LANCS

    “But equally most Opposition MPs will not vote against them”

    Why would Lab, the LDs and SNP vote for them may I ask?

  30. Re the boundary review most opposition MP’s will vote against them, Lab have explicitly said they will as have the SNP and Lib Dems. I assume most of the others will follow suit.

    As has been stated before the reasons only about 5 or so Tory MP’s rebelled last time was because everybody knew the review was going to be blocked. The Lib Dems had already came out against them so the numbers didn’t add up. Thus why would a Tory MP vote against something that was going to fail anyway and just get in trouble with the whips? This time though it will be on their own shoulders.

    And finally related to Jack’s point about the only reason being self interest of course that’s the main reason but they always fudge it somehow claiming their seat is weird and the locals don’t like it or this time they could quote the differential registration figures and claim the proposed boundaries are inaccurate, their are a slew of excuses to use as cover for voting to save themselves.

  31. Given the above, will the boundaries ever be changed???

  32. The MP cut and the decision to use a 2015 cut-off date for the register give Lab, LD and SNP reason to vote against. I imagine they probably would if the vote were tomorrow but Labour and the LDs would be more likely to abstain if there were a change to the cut-off date to include pre-EU ref sign-ups..

    But the DUP and UUP, plus Douglas Carswell, will probably support the Tories as NI isn’t going to be that severely effected (it loses 1 seat) and they have been quite helpful to the Conservatives this parliament. That means you’d need about 16 rebels, assuming Labour have a reasonable turnout which is a very questionable assumption so far this parliament.

    Back in 2013, even though the vote came at a very rebellious point of the coalition, only four Tories rebelled on the boundary changes: John Baron, David Davis, Philip Davies and Sir Richard Shepherd (who is, of course, now retired). There were also a handful of abstentions but not a huge amount. I’d expect a similar number this time. At the end of the day despite the turkeys voting for Christmas aspect in some cases, most Tories appreciate that boundary changes are strongly in the party’s interest.

  33. I wonder if any Lab MPs will vote for them just to spite Corbyn if the issue goes down to a three-line whip for both parties

  34. Just to demonstrate their independence from Corbyn.

    If the Labour Party splits before the Boundary Reviews the Tories should have no problem getting them through.

    I am only going to consider boundary changes when they are certain to happen.

  35. Maxim
    Eventually in the following circumstances…

    1) We get some kind of PR like the additional member system that necessitates a review.

    2) The Tories win a much more comfortable majority so the rebels can’t make a difference.

    3) The Tories are RUTHLESS in appeasing their own MP’s that lose out, under the review i.e forcing elderly MP’s to retire and parachuting other MP’s in, overruling local CCP’s etc.

  36. Jack
    I agree there’s going to need to be about 15-20 Tory rebels for the review to be blocked but as I explained the reason so few rebelled last time in my earlier post, everyone knew it was going to fail so why get in trouble by rebelling?

    This time though I imagine were going to see about 5 rebels in Wales alone.

  37. I can see the review being successfully passed if the Tories call a snap election in the autumn and are returning with a big majority.

    I don’t see PR happening for a while yet, unless a Labour gov’t would be dependent on the LDs, SNP, PC and the Greens to survive.

  38. MP-R – I hadn’t considered the LD position (as there’s so few of them), or the SNP (as seem to be taking barmy positions in the Commons).

    But certainly some Labour MPs will vote for the proposals (some have said so) – and certainly enough.

    But I mainly considered the Tories & DUP MPs.

  39. Barrow and Furness Clp nominate Jeremy Corbyn. I suspect we may see Woodcock standing as an independent in 2020.

  40. Could a long anticipated byelection at last be on the cards here next year?

  41. I think Woodcock could do a Bruce Douglas-Mann.

    Trivia: Labour got the exact same vote share in Barrow & Furness, Copeland and Workington in 2015.

  42. That’s a spooky bit of trivia about the identical Labour vote shares…

    What could it tell us about what might happen in 2020 I wonder?…

  43. Not only that, but in Clwyd South and Wrexham Labour polled the same share of the vote: 37.2%.

  44. Christ know that IS frightening, for two neighbouring seats in North East Wales.

  45. I’m beginning to realise why Woodcock wouldn’t want to recklessly resign here- he stands to gain nothing at all if he does so.

  46. Incidentally one thing I probably share with John Woodcock is that I myself have also struggled with depression over the last two years.

  47. Yes I think Labour are weakening in Clwyd S and Wrexham as well as West Cumbria, South Durham and the Stoke area.

  48. Is it sensible to call it a terminal decline?

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