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 - 169 Responses on “Barrow & Furness”
  1. I work with many who struggle with depression, many friends and family too. With some they can’t manage journeys even into town John Woodcock has done well to manage his depression it what can’t be an easy field

  2. Depression is awful but one of the best natural treatments is to have a purpose. And being an MP gives Mr Woodcock that purpose for another three years, possibly in a way that most other jobs wouldn’t – since, ultimately, being an MP is about standing up for what you believe in and writing those beliefs into law.

    So despite everything I doubt he will resign.

  3. I believe that Trudy Harrison will go head to head with John Woodcock here in 2020 and win. The new Barrow & Furness will be a notional ultra Conservative marginal…that contains Tory parts of Copeland.

  4. I believe she will, and given the swing achieved in last night’s by-election, I should imagine she’d win here.

  5. Ms Harrison seems to have lost her chance to do the “chicken run” to this seat, given Mrs May’s announcement earlier today.

    Given the antipathy that Jeremy Corbyn is likely to generate in this defence reliant seat, I expect this to be one of the easiest Conservative gains in the country come June 8th. A plum seat for any up and coming Conservative candidate.

  6. John Woodxock has given an odd statement, saying he’s running as the Labour candidate but will never vote to make JC PM. Not sure what he means by the latter part.

  7. Trudi Harrison should be fine to hold on in Copeland. It could make for an interesting selection battle in 2022 if there are two Tory MPs competing for the same seat

  8. Isn’t there an argument that the big LAB-CON swing here happened in 2015 and that there can’t be that much more of a swing left.

    Obviously, I think the Conservatives will win 3/3 seats in West Cumbria but I don’t think the swing will be as big here because a lot already happened in 2015.

  9. If the Tories end up winning on anything like the scale suggested by polls they’ll obviously win here. But if things tighten a little Woodcock’s own personal vote – probably strengthened by his outspokenly pro-nuclear, anti-Corbyn stance since 2015 – could just come into play.

  10. Plopwellian Tory : Maybe, maybe not. The swing between 2005 and 2010 is given by the Nuffield General Election study as a mere 0.4% (note boundary changes so inevitably an estimate). So the 2015 result may have been a case of “catching up”.

    The roughly (?) equivalent seat in the 1980’s had Conservative majorities of 9% (83) and 7% (87), and this seat tends to be more “swingy” than some in Cumbria.

  11. John Woodcock seems like a decent MP with a personal vote may well hold up

  12. Matt, I expect a lot of sitting Labour MPs will be hoping/praying that their personal vote will save them from Corbyn’s lack of resonance with swing voters.

    The most immediate precedent – that of the sitting Lib Dem MPs in 2015 is not encouraging.


    Not sure how this squares with being the Labour nominee, but I suppose anything goes these days.

  14. To be fair the lib dems vote collapsed by more than half

  15. Suspect Corbyn’s antitrident stance will help the liberal democrats win this

  16. What’s the largest recorded swing in one seat? If lds wins i suspect they could break it

  17. There’s no danger of a Lib Dem win in Barrow, at least before the 2018 boundary changes. While they have some support in the ‘Furness’ rural parts of the seat, this is off-set by their almost complete absence in the town – they got 0.6% of the vote in Barrow Borough elections in 2015.

    This will be a Labour-Tory fight, with the key issue of nuclear weapons and to a lesser extent nuclear power shaping the seat.

  18. Until recently I lived in this seat and can categorically say I never once heard anyone say anything positive about John Woodcock. I say this as the posts above seem to assume he has some popularity in this constituency – the evidence for this is where? Huge swings in one of the most deprived areas of the country even when the Labour leadership was supportive of trident.

    What you do hear said about him is that he is in the wrong party, is not local and does not understand the people or area he represents. He is like Ed Balls – a spad parachuted into an assumed safe seat and not realising the local population expect more than a metropolitan elitist gracing them with his presence once or twice or month.

    John Woodcock will lose big. He has already lost the BAe pro-nuclear crowd long ago and ironically stands now to loose the remaining core Labour vote in the town by turning against the party leadership and failing to understand the working class concerns of this community.

  19. Conservatives did not gain Barrow & Furness in 1983. It was a notional Conservative Hold as Barrow in Furness was extended to become Barrow & Furness. It went from being based on the town of Barrow to then covering the whole Furness Peninsula that was much more Conservative.

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