2015 Result:
Conservative: 15122 (30.7%)
Labour: 23965 (48.6%)
Lib Dem: 1331 (2.7%)
Green: 1006 (2%)
UKIP: 7865 (16%)
MAJORITY: 8843 (17.9%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire. Part of the Bassetlaw council area.

Main population centres: Retford, Worksop, Harworth, Misterton, Carlton in Lindrick, Langold, Beckingham, Walkeringham.

Profile: The northern part of Nottinghamshire, the seat consists of the towns of Worksop and Retford and several small villages. Retford is a traditional market town, Worksop and the surrounding villages a former coal mining area that has suffered economic difficulties since the decline of the industry, including problems with heroin addiction. Major employers include Wilkinsons and Premier Foods, which produce Oxo in Worksop..

Politics: There is significant Conservative strength on Bassetlaw council (they had overall control of the council until 2011), but the Bassetlaw constituency is safely Labour, held by the party since before the Second World War.

Current MP
JOHN MANN (Labour) Born 1960, Leeds. Educated at Bradford Grammar School and Manchester University. Former trade union officer. Lambeth councillor 1986-1990. First elected as MP for Bassetlaw in 2001. PPS to Richard Caborn 2005-2007, PPS to Tessa Jowell 2007-2010.
Past Results
Con: 16803 (34%)
Lab: 25018 (50%)
LDem: 5570 (11%)
UKIP: 1779 (4%)
Oth: 407 (1%)
MAJ: 8215 (17%)
Con: 12010 (30%)
Lab: 22847 (57%)
LDem: 5485 (14%)
MAJ: 10837 (27%)
Con: 11758 (30%)
Lab: 21506 (55%)
LDem: 4942 (13%)
Oth: 689 (2%)
MAJ: 9748 (25%)
Con: 11838 (25%)
Lab: 29298 (61%)
LDem: 4950 (10%)
MAJ: 17460 (36%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SARAH DOWNES (Conservative)
JOHN MANN (Labour) See above.
LEON DUVEEN (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 144 Responses on “Bassetlaw”
  1. Many Conservatives in mining areas will not be impressed by the Cameron / Osborne government and would have voted UKIP in 2015.

  2. Maxim
    Re Merseyside I can attest to the situation for the Tories there, I think it might be a lil bit more complicated than just Hillsborough (though that certainly is a factor) but being from there I can confirm that you are raised in no uncertain terms to HATE the Tories. Consequently even those who grow up to become middle class successful professionals (and thus one would assume more sympathetic to the Tories) remain if not pro Labour at least hugely averse to voting Tory cos it was ingrained in us from birth essentially. My sister and her fianc√© are perfect examples of this, both are well paid private sector managers living in affluent Formby and anywhere else in the country they’d probably be at the very least open to voting Tory. Being as they were both raised with that (for lack of a better term) “indoctrination” I just spoke off they are both staunch Lab supporters who don’t even humour voting Tory.

    As for this seat/Mann I agree he probably has something of a personal vote and its definitely the type of seat that Lab central HQ would be insane to parachute a North London SPAD into (something I can’t see a Corbyn led party ever doing thankfully) I’m against parachuting in general but in seats like this in particular are just asking for trouble, look what’s happened in the likes of Derbyshire NE, Barrow or Stoke post parachutes.

  3. Rivers10 shows his age (or youth) by that comment, of course.

    As MP-R noted, Liverpool was a Tory city in the 1960s and as recently as 1977 the Tories won almost every ward in the city (in the County Council elections of that year). They had 2 MPs, the MEP and over a dozen City Cllrs ’til the mid ’80s, so their collapse really is a recent phenomenon that happened in the 1990s onwards.

    I can certainly attest to what Rivers10 says, however – there’ve always been those in Lpool who were brought up to hate the Tories and that was particularly those of Irish Catholic heritage until the ’70s, as we saw in the Cilla drama.

    But equally the reason Cilla, Jimmy Tarbuck, Kenny Everett, Ken Dodd were/are Tories is because most were in Liverpool when they grew up.

    Liverpool is less of a Labour city than Manchester which is why I was confident that Labour’s clean sweep there would never happen in Liverpool in the Locals.

  4. “I loathe parachute candidates”

    Agreed. I understand the need for parachuting on occasions like if you have a truly exceptional candidate who lives in the one of your parties deserts but it should be done sparingly, only to get the very best people involved who have literally zero chance of getting a seat locally and the seat they must be parachuted into must be at least somewhat compatible i.e no Tristram Hunt’s in Stoke Central type affairs which frankly I think is taking the bloody p**s

  5. MP-R – the votes exist, the local Assocs just seem inept and incapable.

    From memory the Tories came within 100 votes of getting Roby (Knowsley) back in 2008. Likewise within 400 or so of getting Woolton back (Lpool) and within 100 votes of a seat in Manchester.

    But they seem to chop and change candidates almost yearly rather than targeting with a local.

  6. Here’s a couple of facts which will amaze you – the Tories in Liverpool have over ¬£600k in the bank and more members than the LDs (who ran the city 1998-2010).

    Anyone else could win a ward with those assets.

    But they’ve been riven by infighting (featured over 2 days by the Daily Post) and seem to just be a social club for Freemasons.

  7. Lancs Observer
    Oh I’m totally familiar with Liverpool’s electoral history, in fact it all makes perfect sense to me in the grand scheme of things. Like Glasgow Tory strength in Liverpool was preserved into the early 60’s by sectarian divides, as that became less relevant the Tories started to decline from the previous positions of strength. You are right though that the real decline happened in the 80’s and early 90’s Whether this be Thatcher, Hillsborough, the general decline in the city over the period or whatever it lead to many who were never Tories (like my parents) to become militantly anti Tory and many of those that where Tories (particularly in South Liverpool) to go off them and drift to the Lib Dems. This all factored a incredibly anti Tory feel to the city that can possibly only be rivalled by Glasgow.

    I would have to disagree with your characterisation of Manchester though. Many forget Manchester city council is essentially just the city centre, the suburbs are located in the likes of Stockport, Trafford etc where there remains significant pockets of Tory strength.

  8. MP-R – I wasn’t comparing the 2 seats. My point was that Tories here and in Birkenhead prefer Mann and Field to a Southern Tory PPC.

  9. MP-R – 1977 doesn’t stand out though. My friend did his dissertation on the decline of the Tories in Lpool (hence I have all of the detail to hand). The Tories gained Lpool Garston in 1979 and the seat of Liverpool in the 1979 European elections later that year (in a fierce fight against a Militant candidate for Labour). That seat actually excludes the most then – Tory suburbs, so that really was some achievement. So it shows that’s it’s lazy/false shorthand to attribute the decline in Lpool to Thatcher. In fact the only gains the Tories made in Lpool were under her leadership in the 1977-80 period. The decline would seem to be more due to depopulation (Tories leaving the city under the Militant council), Tories dying off as well as the decline of the Orange Tory vote, as well as the useless local Party.

    Rivers10 – there’s plenty of suburbs within Manc City Council’s boundaries, hence Chorlton, Brooklands etc. In fact Salford council boundary comes into Manc city centre.

  10. MP-R – it was as much as anti-Labour vote too, of course. After all, Liverpool was where ‘the dead went unburied’ and this footage was used in the Tory PPBs and billboards in 1979.

    I just about consider myself young (in my mid 30s) and to me it’s hard to imagine over 100,000 people voting Tory in Liverpool – as they did for Maggie n 1979.

    Rivers10 is absolutely right re Formby and Crosby though.

    But again that is linked to the sectarian divide/legacy ie plenty of wealthy RCs live there.

    Crosby is one of the most Catholic areas of England and Shirley Williams admitted that this meant that she was ‘pushing at an open door’ in the By-election.

    Claire Curtis-Thomas (and Debi Jones to a lesser extent) both made a point of mentioning their church going at hustings. This is rare these days in seats in England.

  11. The decline (in terms of them leaving the city) has stopped. Indeed the city’s own population has finally stabilised.

    There are pockets of examples of local candidates making inroads (such as doubling the % in a ward or gaining a by-election as Ian Lewis did in Leasowe, but these tend to be essentially community campaigners doing it almost as Independents.

    The last Lpool Count I attended, I noticed that the Tories won (ie a plurality of the vote) in the city centre polling district, but they wouldn’t win that ward, so other than a purely city centre ward being created as in Manchester under a boundary review, I can’t see them gaining seats unless they change their ways and personnel.

  12. I think the thing with ex-mining seats is that there’s probably a decline due to the weakening of the Labour movement in general once the mines closed. Whether there’s a further movement after that depends on other factors, such as what happens next in the area. Some tend to trend Tory quite rapidly if they happen to end up becoming commuter areas. Others which don’t happen to be near a major city and which don’t pick up much economically will remain fairly secure for Labour for the foreseeable future, even if the majorities are substantially less than those racked up in the past.

  13. When looking at Nottinghamshire compare this constituency and Bolsover to Mansfield. Whilst the Conservative vote there has moved about over the last few elections, it has generally managed a very reasonable second. More interesting in Mansfield is the large drop in the Labour vote. This was happening before the UKIP vote surged in 2015. Labour had 57.1% of the vote in 2001, 38.7% in 2010 and 39.4% in 2015. Mansfield shows how the Labour vote could go in the wider North Notts mining seats. Family and friends in the area, regardless of party allegiance, all think highly of John Mann.

  14. Mann is a very good fit for his seat, that ever rare breed of a parachute that goes down well in his seat.

  15. One thing that you haven’t mentioned is that the coal mines lasted much later in Notts than in Derbyshire, and specifically in Bassetlaw and Sherwood where the final mines shut only a year or two ago. The last coal mine in Derbyshire was I think Markham in Bolsover which closed in around 1993.

  16. John Mann is an anachronism, I always think, though a ‘good’ one. He’s one of a handful of the old fashioned patriotic Labour types that are still left. Sound on the EU also.

    Labour MPs with this outlook have been vanishing at an accelerating rate since the late 1960s, to be replaced largely by hideous middle-class public sector drones/daleks and a sprinkling of armchair revolutionaries.

    In another 20 years I doubt there will be any such MPs left, and I think Labour’s support in these seats will have substantially evaporated.

  17. Good Lord you are straining my knowledge here.

    There were a couple of mines around Doncaster until very recently, including Hatfield and Maltby, not sure whether any of the last ones were actually in Don Valley but they were nearby so some workers would have still lived in the seat.

    All the others – the last mines closed 20/25 years ago at least.

    Penistone & Stocksbridge would have been Dodworth colliery – closed in late 80s.

    Sedgefield & Bishop Auckland – 1980s perhaps even earlier. I think the last mines in the North East were on the coast in Easington and Wansbeck, they closed early/mid 1990s.

    Newcastle under Lyme – Silverdale which closed in 1993

    I don’t think there were pits in Stoke North & South that were still open in the 70s/80s – maybe I’m wrong

    NE Derbyshire – I think the last pit closed around 1987/88

  18. I did my undergraduate dissertation on the economic & political impact of pit closures in the UK.

    As part of that I have a list of all the pits still open in 1992 when the Heseltine mass closure programme began – together with the constituency they were in. There were just over 50 pits left at that time. Can dig it out & post when I have chance if you want.

  19. Hem Heath (Stoke South) closed in 1996.

  20. Welbeck was the last Bassetlaw pit it closed in 2010
    Bassetlaw pits were
    manton closed 1994
    Harworth mothballed and never reopened 2007
    Shireoaks 1990
    Firbeck Colliery 1968
    Bevercotes 1993

  21. As for the 2015 locals the cons did ok in Bassetlaw in fact they could have won up to 4 more seats if they had put up full lists in Worksop south and Retford east.
    Labour 24,120 41.1% 33 missing in 1 ward
    Conservative 19,821 33.8% 12 missing in 3 wards
    United Kingdom Independence Party 9,865 16.8% 0
    Independent 2,360 4.0% 3
    Green Party 1,712 2.9% 0
    Liberal Democrat 835 1.4% 0

  22. Mann has said he expects a dozen more Labour MPs to stand down.

  23. John Mann saw his majority reduced to 4, 852.

  24. Yes they did just as we had all been by and large predicting on here in these ex-mining seats scattered throughout South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire/ North Nottinghamshire.

  25. The tailor-made UKIP demographics went to the Tories en masse in these seats, just as I thought they might…

  26. Lots of Labour voters or non voters from GE2015 not supporting the trouble maker, Mann.

  27. Bolsover is getting to the stage where it could quickly become marginal after Skinner is no longer around, whenever that happens- hopefully not for a while.

  28. I think Ashfield has come from nowhere virtually for the Tories because of the long-term Lib Dem collapse after Jason Zadrozny’s near-miss there in 2010. As for the other three, very strong shouts I would have thought in South Yorkshire?

  29. Yes both Ashfield & Mansfield were huge swings.

    I think the Sunday Times are producing every seat result as well as some analysis. The Guardian are following up on East Devon, Hove and Hastings from memory.

  30. I’d have thought that after the results of various elections and referendums in the last 3 years, no – one would be speculating about the long term.

  31. John Mann MP has said that Corbyn must answer the, “Bolsover question” of why there were huge swings against Labour in white working class seats and said that Labour simply cannot ever win a majority unless their concerns are heeded.

  32. The thing is that Labour can afford to stay still here if they continue to expand their appeal in the south and make further inroads in Scotland. The reason that these areas performed worse for Labour wasn’t really anything to do with the Labour campaign, it was the fact that the Conservatives have been heavily targeting these kind of voters. And, it turns out, that was a flawed strategy, as for every one of these voters they attracted there was a middle-class liberal going the other way.

  33. The boundaries of this seat are far better for the Tories since 2010 – Retford came in from Newark and a very Labour area around Warsop went into Mansfield. IMO it’s very likely the Tories could have won here in the 80s on these boundaries….and on 1980s boundaries Mansfield would now have a Tory majority a few thousand higher.

  34. John Mann has repeated that he will name a Labour MP – who apparently behaved inappropriately towards a young female on a Parliamentary trip abroad – if action is not taken.

    He did threaten to in the House last week, but the Speaker asked him to write to him with the details, rather than using Parliamentary privilege to name him.

    The Labour HQ source said, “It won’t be quite as many as the expenses’ crisis, but there will be resignations and a lot standing down if the dam breaks.”

  35. Resignations? From what? The Shadow Cabinet? The whip? Being an MP?

  36. Didn’t elaborate, but I’d assume standing down from any portfolios, then standing down at the next election (as most expenses’ offenders did).

  37. John Mann MP has said Jeremy Corbyn will be too old to be Prime Minister in 2022, pointing out he’d be asking the Country to elect him at 73 and serve ’til he’s 78.

    “I certainly don’t intend to be an MP in my 70s.”

  38. Churchill was 80 when he left office.

    John Mann may not want to be an MP at 70 but Ken Clarke and Dennis Skinner are into their 80s

  39. 4 Labour MPs voted with the Govt today, including John Mann MP.

    6 Tories voted with the Opposition.

  40. John Mann, as it stands, will vote for the deal. Lots of calls on social media, for the whip to be suspended, from both corbynites and non cobynites remainers.

  41. Yes, he’ll vote with Frank Field and the ex LibDem MP.

    The predictions’ spread on her losing has fallen, but it still has her losing by 45 – 115, as opposed to 225 last month.

    However the Gov’t is 1/20 to win any confidence vote, as the DUP and Lady Harmon have confirmed their support.

  42. John Mann has said he will not quit Labour but if he ever did he would call a by-election.

  43. Labour hold. Think it’s a bit surprising given that it’s a Brexit-voting district? Data showing that the Conservatives lost 7 with Labour making 4 gains.

    Already had a firm majority in 2015 but anticipated a drop this time.

  44. And the results in Bolsover and Ashfield. But then Amber Valley was a Labour Gain from the Tories.

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