Birmingham, Hall Green

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8329 (17.7%)
Labour: 28147 (59.8%)
Lib Dem: 5459 (11.6%)
Green: 2200 (4.7%)
UKIP: 2131 (4.5%)
Respect: 780 (1.7%)
MAJORITY: 19818 (42.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: West Midlands. Part of the Birmingham council area.

Main population centres: Moseley, Hall Green, Springfield.

Profile: A seat in urban Birmingham, England`s second city. Hall Green is towards the centre of Birmingham and consists of the wards of Hall Green, Moseley and Kings Heath, Sparkbrook and Springfield. While Hall Green itself is better off and owner-occupied, it is not typical of the seat which mostly much more of an inner-city seat, dominated by victorian terraces and council estates, labouring under economic hardship and unemployment. It has the highest asian and Muslim populations of the Birmingham seats, with a majority of the adult population coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Politics: The seat has little in common with the Birmingham Hall Green seat that existed before 2010 and returned Conservative MPs up until 1997, other than Hall Green itself this constituency is mostly the old Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath seat, a seat with a far more solidly Labour past. In 2010 Labour`s majority was reduced to below ten percent thanks to a strong performance by Respect and Salma Yaqoob. Yaqoob subsequently left the Respect party and in 2015 this returned to being a safe Labour safe, with Respect getting under 1000 votes.

Current MP
ROGER GODSIFF (Labour) Born 1946, London. Educated at Catford Comprehensive School. Former bank clerk and trade union official. Lewisham councillor 1971-1990. Contested Birmingham Yardley 1983. First elected as MP for Birmingham Small Heath in 1992.
Past Results
Con: 7320 (15%)
Lab: 16039 (33%)
LDem: 11988 (25%)
Resp: 12240 (25%)
Oth: 1140 (2%)
MAJ: 3799 (8%)
Con: 3480 (9%)
Lab: 13787 (36%)
LDem: 7727 (20%)
UKIP: 1342 (4%)
Oth: 11856 (31%)
MAJ: 2786 (7%)
Con: 3948 (11%)
Lab: 21087 (58%)
LDem: 4841 (13%)
UKIP: 634 (2%)
Oth: 6137 (17%)
MAJ: 14950 (41%)
Con: 7315 (18%)
Lab: 26841 (64%)
LDem: 3889 (9%)
Oth: 2983 (7%)
MAJ: 19526 (47%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Birmingham, Sparkbrook & Small Heath

2015 Candidates
JAMES BIRD (Conservative)
ROGER GODSIFF (Labour) See above.
JERRY EVANS (Liberal Democrat) Archaeologist. Birmingham councillor since 2003. Contested Birmingham Hall Green 2010.
Comments - 73 Responses on “Birmingham, Hall Green”
  1. For anoraks, I see that the increase in the Labour vote in 2015, 26%, was the largest for any party at any General Election!

    One does wonder what caused the respect vote to be so high in 2010.

  2. Respect heavily targeted Muslim voters post-Iraq and consequently (thanks in part, it must be said, to inattentive local Labour Parties) made inroads in places like this.

    Labour’s second and third best vote share increases were in Brent Central and Sheffield Hallam, so the top three were all in special circumstances.

  3. There was also a significant personal vote for Salma Yaqoob, who was well respected in Birmingham and not just among Muslims.

    Note also as I have posted before this is one of the three most Muslim constituencies in the country, with the adult population being just over 50%.

    Birmingham had a separate Muslim political party with seats on the council, prior to Respect, which was wiped out by the ballot rigging in 2004, and subsequently decided to join the Liberals, who were the initial beneficiaries of the Iraq blowback.

    Salma Yaqoob appealed particularly to young Muslims as she was outside the traditional patriarchal Pakistani/ Kashmiri politics that apply in Birmingham as in Bradford. Her retirement effectively killed Respect in Birmingham.

  4. True, although I imagine Galloway would stand here in the event of a By-election.

    Incidentally, analysis of all 300 Islamists convicted in the UK over the past 20 years shows over 10% come from wards here:

  5. Not really a surprise. This is what happens if you allow parallel societies to develop with values greatly different from those of the host society.

  6. The first of the amusing Freepost election addresses are being reviewed on another site.

    The best/worst so far is:

    “Unwanted, Unnecessary, Opportunistic” next to a photo of this MP – and yes it’s his own leaflet!

  7. Roger Godsiff, probably the most obscure of the Labour leavers, is now supporting the People’s Vote campaign.

  8. LGBT Labour has passed a motion calling for Roger Godsiff to lose the Labour whip because of his support for the Anti LGBT education protests.

  9. Godsiff lost the first 2 trigger ballot meetings (one with 77% of votes for open selection and the other with 93%). Given there are only 4 branches, open selection will surely take place now.

  10. Godsiff has confirmed that he’ll stand as an Ind here.

    Should be as amusing as when Kilroy stood for Veritas.

  11. His 2 page letter details why he is standing as an Ind (he says Independent Labour).

    He blames a small number of LGBT fanatics.

    He says he has support from the Muslim community.

  12. Given that both Respect and LD polled 25% each here in 2010, dragging Labour down to 33%, is there any possibility of a large chunk of Muslim voters moving across to ‘Independent Labour’ Roger Godsiff and getting him over the line.

    My own outside view without local knowledge is that he could only possibly succeed if the local issues trump the national ones – as Corbyn is generally well-liked by the Muslim community having long supported many of the causes and anti-Americanism that they often espouse.

  13. I read an article somewhere with one of the tiggers complaining that because they were switching seats, if they lost they lose some sort of parachute payment than had they stood in the same seat and lost. I’m sure the figure was £20k or more.

    Maybe some of these independents standing for £500 makes good economic sense and don’t especially intend to fight a proper campaign?

  14. New Labour candidate is Tahir Ali, Cllr Nechells ward (which should be in Ladywood constituency).


    yes, to get the loss of office payment they need to stand and lose in the same constiutency they were sitting for before dissolution (or for a constituency that contains part of that if there are boundary changes).
    Angela Smith just discovered it and managed to write IPSA to tell how shocked she was to have discovered it

    However, Godsiff will immediately get his pension given his age.

    The term “moslem” became archaic at the same time that all the un-PC 1970s comedies started to be considered racist….ie some time in the 1980s.
    January 21st, 2015 at 11:06 am

    When I was at primary school in Marylebone in the mid-1990s, I distinctly remember my headteacher spelling it that way on letters given out to pupils. She was a white British woman in her mid-50s I would guess. It was a Church of England state school with a mixed demographic, including a sizeable Muslim minority (maybe a quarter?). By contrast, the comprehensive secondary I attended near Edgware Road was probably 80% Muslim. On holy days like Eid, only about a dozen pupils turned up (although I suspect many non-Muslims knew there was no point coming in that day, so didn’t bother).

  16. And Roger Godsiff’s behaviour was odd in the latter stage of his period as MP here. Barnaby suggested that Godsiff adjusted his views to fit the Muslim community. That could have been his cynical aim behind supporting the schools protests, but I’m inclined to think he really did agree with them – one of those issues on which an older right wing (and white) Labour MP might find that his views coincide with conservative Muslims. There were less than 20 Labour MPs older than him in the last parliament. There were efforts to deselect him over his statements, but I doubt his successor is much more liberal on this. If and when the issue comes up, he’ll probably just try to be more diplomatic than Godsiff.

    Curiously, Godsiff was one of the few openly republican Labour MPs, but it wasn’t as if that would have affected his majority. I wonder if, privately, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the area’s immigrant population, but they were a means to an end for him. Most MPs in such seats don’t rock the boat, although Mike Gapes in Ilford South did raise concerns about immigration. He probably realised that just because it was keeping him in a job locally, the area’s white flight would have negatively affected Labour’s prospects where those residents moved to, and across the country.

  17. “I’m inclined to think he really did agree with them – one of those issues on which an older right wing (and white) Labour MP might find that his views coincide with conservative Muslims.”

    That is my guess as well. Roger Godsiff was one of the best friends of John Golding, the so-called “hammer of the left”. Golding’s memoirs describe in extremely homophobic terms how he and Godsiff conspired to get rid of Peter Tatchell.

    In general there remains a widespread undercurrent of unease about sex education for very young primary school children, right across society, not just among muslims and not just focused on homosexuality. Schools have to tread a thin tightrope very carefully on this.

  18. Hemmy: “There remains a very widespread undercurrent of unease about sex education for the very young.”

    There’s a reason why professionals now refer to it as sex *and relattionships* education. When I was growing up fifteen or so years ago, sex ed was very mechanical, it was very much about the nozzle and the inlet valve, so to speak. We learnt very little about why someone would want to have sex, and sod all about notions like boundaries, consent, or – whisper it – love.

    Fortunately this is being fixed, and it’s worth remembering that in the early years children are not putting condoms on cucumbers or anything like that. They are learning about what sexual relationships are without discussing the act itself, just, how they are different from normal relationships. They are being taught what a loving relationship looks like. This is especially important for children whose parents are not in one. I am privileged enough that I never really had to worry about this, but for thousands if not millions of kids this is crucial information to help them make sense of their world.

  19. I should say that my kids’ primary school seems to have handled it quite well so far. My 8 year old son has an openly gay teacher who has recently adopted a baby, and he and the school have done a good job communicating his experiences to the parents and kids without triggering any outrage. But I guess that’s easier in suburban Sussex than in inner city Birmingham with such a large muslim population.

  20. PT – I agree. I’m no expert, but I believe the controversial lessons are merely explaining that there are same sex couples, and that some boys might like to wear a dress (for example). The primary school lessons aren’t about sex.

  21. TM/HH – re Moslem being archaic, Dr Paisley used to and current DUP MPs still refer to Muslims as Mohammedans.

  22. I always liked Roger Godsiff. He struck me as a sort of Tony Soprano figure of the politics world and all such people can’t all be Tories.

    His electoral stats suggest he remained popular with his electorate throughout – despite all the demographic changes.

  23. Surprisingly, he actually voted in favour of the legislation for LGBT content to be included in Relationships and Sex Education. Only one Labour MP voted against – the aforementioned John Spellar. So did Fiona Onasanya, who had been expelled from Labour after her conviction and prison sentence. I think she’s something of a fundamentalist Christian.

    A number of Labour MPs did abstain though, including some Muslims, and Kate Hoey, who has a poor voting record on these matters. Some of the abstentions are odd John McDonnell and Laura Pidcock were perhaps genuinely unable to vote that day. Kate Hollern represents a heavily Muslim seat (Blackburn), as does Stephen Timms (East Ham) – plus he’s an evangelical Christian. He abstained on the same-sex marriage bill too. I don’t think David Crausby was in favour of that either.

    There are, oddly enough, rumours about the sexuality of some abstainers on this vote. Some of the Tory abstainers are no surprise, and very much on the hard-right of the party. McVey and Rees-Mogg would be opposed as a matter of conscience, I think. IDS is a Roman Catholic. However, many of the abstentions probably decided they’ll have an easier life if they don’t vote against these bills.

    Of course, it appears that many of the Tory “noes” were from the hard-right of the party. Most of the DUP voted against, despite it being an EVEL bill. I suppose non-England MPs can vote on those bills, but it just has no bearing on the result? Other Scottish and Welsh MPs voted in favour of it.

    Surely, Tim, Godsiff’s electorate would generally vote Labour come what may. He was threatened by Respect in 2010 though. An investigation into the least active MPs (in parliament) had Godsiff at the top. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t an effective constituency MP, I’ll grant you.

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