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 - 64 Responses on “Birmingham, Hall Green”
  1. Which seats has Moseley been in since 1955?

  2. Selly Oak until 2005, then Hall Green.

  3. You mean until 2010 Richard.
    There was a Birmingham Moseley seat but Labour very narrowly failed to take it in 1945. Labour didn’t win Selly Oak until October 1974, with the Tories’ Harold Gurden, a churchy Monday Clubber, holding it for 19 years. After that however, despite Tony Beaumont-Dark’s 3 victories, a mixture of boundary & demographic change started to tilt it towards Labour.

  4. Well I meant 2005 was the last election Moseley was in Selly Oak.

  5. This seat has the highest Moslem vote of any seat in the country. Calling it a 3-way marginal is obsolete – the Conservatives no longer have any vote here, with Labour coming from third to take Hall Green ward for the first time ever last year, and repeating this year.

    Moseley remains a popular residential area among white residents, but they certainly aren’t Conservative voters. I believe the Liberals are now dead in the water here as well. Godsiff has one of the highest negative personal votes of any MP, and should Labour select someone more popular this would be among the 50 safest Labour seats in the country. Selma Yacoub’s personal vote cannot be transferred to another independent Moslem.

  6. There are few precedents for any constituency going through such a radical transformation through boundary changes.

    Ormskirk was effectively transformed from a safe Tory constituency in 1970 (Con Maj 15,031) to one that could be retained by Labour in 1979.

    In this case, this is not really Birmingham Hall Green at all but Birmingham Sparkbrook Small Heath gaining the Hall Green ward with more of the old Hall Green constituency forming the new Selly Oak than the previous Selly Oak.

    The adoption of the name Birmingham Sparkbrook Small Heath is uncommon in boundary changes, and I can think of only two other examples of a new constituency with a city pretext adopting a double barrel name reflecting the two previous constituencies; Liverpool Scotland Exchange in 1974 and the Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn Holyrood constituency in 2011.

  7. Dalek – plus Plymouth Sutton & Devonport and Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough

  8. Both of those should have been given shorter names IMO.

  9. Andy JS- I very much agree. I can’t be doing with these long-winded names that seem to have become fashionable.

  10. Thanks Anthony….

    Just as well the merger of Scotland Exchange and Toxteth became Liverpool Riverside….otherwise we would have had Liverpool Scotland Exchange Toxteth 🙂

  11. Jerry Evans reselected for the Lib Dems

  12. What were the wards of this constituency from 1983 to 1997?

  13. Again, as with Edgbaston, I’m not sure that there were extensive boundary changes in 1997. I thought that it was Hall Green itself, Billesley & Brandwood as subsequently

  14. I wish the Parliamentary Constituencies England Order 1983 was available online…(sigh)

  15. Harry — would you like me to send you my 1995 boundary report which contains maps showing both the 1983-97 and 1997-2010 constituencies?

  16. LAB HOLD MAJ : 28%
    LAB 45
    LD 17
    RES 15
    CON 12
    UKIP 6
    GRN 3
    OTH 2

  17. The answer to the question is Hall Green, Billesley, Brandwood.

  18. A bit presumptuous that Respect will field a candidate here next time. A party that works only when it feels like it and is only remembered if Galloway is on TV.

  19. Moreover, Salma Yaqoob quit the party last year so even if they do select a candidate next time, they’ll plummet below 10%.

  20. They didn’t even attempt to defend Yaqoob’s council seat, which therefore went to Labour by a huge majority (though Washwood Heath is even safer still). I wouldn’t be surprised to see them fail to put up a candidate. Roger Godsiff may not be the brightest star in Labour’s firmament (lol) but I suspect he is going to enjoy one of the most whopping swings anywhere in the country in his favour.

  21. Prediction for 2015-
    Godsiff (Labour)- 57%
    Conservative- 15%
    Respect- 9%
    Liberal Democrats- 8%
    UKIP- 7%
    Others- 4%

  22. A 42% majority?????

    This is Birmingham not Cloud Cuckoo Land!

  23. Godsiff has always struck me as a bit of an enigma in the Labour party. A bit like Frank Field or Kate Hoey (though maybe not as popular in Tory circles), he seems rather cut off from the mainstream of the party.

  24. ”A 42% majority?????
    This is Birmingham not Cloud Cuckoo Land!”

    This is England.

  25. I don’t think TheResults is as far off the mark as you think Paul. A very large proportion of those who voted for Salma Yaqoob in 2010 will switch to Labour even if Respect stands & so will a lot of LD supporters. The only question is who will be second – I suspect it may just still be the LDs but they will not be even remotely in contention as they were last time. Godsiff is an odd character. He’s a Londoner who’s been Birmingham-based for many years (he contested Yardley in 1983) and has realised that he has to placate the Muslim vote big-time to keep a ) the seat itself and b ) the Labour nomination in the seat. Thus he rarely pipes up except on middle Eastern or similar topics, or those appertaining to race relations. He’s pretty right-wing in Labour Party terms by instinct, as Yardley candidates have always tended to be, but has had to adopt interests & positions which may well not be his natural priorities to keep his job. He’s done OK so far – in many ways keeping the Labour Party nomination is harder work than actually winning the seat or its various predecessors, with the exception of the last election.

  26. Interestingly, he was one of the signatories to an Early Day Motion a few months ago which expressed concern about an amendment to the law which would outlaw caste discrimination. It emphasised the need for a full consultation process before anything would be implemented. Something which is quite pertinent to parts of the Hindu community. Wonder what motivated that, seeing as how less than 5% of his constituency are Hindu.

    Regardless of your view on the matter, other signatories like Bob Blackman and Barry Gardiner seem to make sense given the large Hindu populations they represent.

  27. Godsiff traditionally comes from the old Labour trade union right. He was APEX and then GMB.
    Along with John Golding and John Spellar, he was a pretty prominent behind the scene fixers in late 80s-early 90s during the Kinnock vs Bennite vs Militant fights.

    Unlike Spellar, he became more outspoken and out of official line in the last decade.

    As for keeping the party nomination, 2 other factors could also play a role:
    the various internal factions allegedly dislike each other more than they dislike Godsiff.

    And in 2005 GMB had something like 9 branches affiliated to his CLP. So it’s impossibile for him to lose the trigger ballot with just 4 ward branches

  28. It would be interesting if Salma Yaqoob ran as an Independent, as she has now quit Respect.

  29. I think she cited ill-health as the reason for her resigning her council seat – she announced she wouldn’t be standing for re-election when she was still a Respect member IIRC. If that is the case it’s obviously unlikely she’d run.

  30. She was on Question Time a few months ago. Think it was filmed in Blackburn.

  31. Local election results with comparison to 2010 (general election day).

    Labour 52.7% (+ 21.9%)
    Lib Dem 25.8% (- 1.5%)
    Conservative 8.6% (- 6.1%)
    UKIP 6.1% (No candidates)

    Labour hoovered up the sizeable Respect vote (they are now defunct in Birmingham). This isn’t UKIP territory, as one of the 4 most Muslim seats in the country. Labour picked up the remaining seats in Hall Green & Moseley wards from the Lib Dems (L4 LD0 this time, L11,LD1 total).

    I know no-one is interested in this seat, but it happens to be where I am living at the moment, so I am posting the data anyway.

  32. I assume the higher Lib Dem vote has been sustained by the apparent collapse of the Conservative vote in Hall Green Ward?

  33. The one remaining LD seat is in Springfield ward, I think partly a personal vote for Jerry Evans.
    Unless Yaqoob were to stand as an Indy (unlikely), there I no question who would come second.

  34. Iain is correct about Jerry Evans, who survived by less than 100 votes in 2012, a good performance amidst the devastation. He was the parliamentary candidate in 2010.

    The Liberal share of the vote hasn’t dropped much because of the much lower turnout and the disappearance of Respect. Labour took 83% of the vote in Yaqoob’s old ward (Sparkbrook).

    There was an independent in Hall Green ward who polled 1000 votes and seems to have taken them from the Conservatives.

  35. Would Labour have won on the old Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath boundaries in 2010?

  36. It isn’t of course possible to be precise, but it would have been very close.

    The old boundaries contained 3 of the 4 East Birmingham Moslem wards, and we can assume that around 5000 votes in each went to Respect. There would have been probably 1200 votes or so for Respect in Moseley ward. So the switch of Moseley for the old Small Heath would be about 3800 more votes to Respect (and of course most of these votes would have come from Labour).

    The majority was only 3800. However Labour would have polled better however in the old Fox Hollies ward than it did in Hall Green ward (neither would have generated significant votes for Respect).

    My guess is that Salma Yaqoob would have narrowly won…

  37. John – I’m sure you don’t intend to sound like Alf Garnett or Albert Steptoe, but they are usually the kind of people who talk about “Moslems”.

    You have just reminded me of this absurdly stuck-up old woman sat opposite me on the train last week, who kept going on about how her father had worked in “The Argentine”….I didn’t think anyone had used that old colonial phrase for decades.

  38. I was just thinking about the similarities between Roger Godsiff & John Spellar yesterday. Both are in their late 60s now, both are Londoners, both are hard-Labour-right union apparatchiks, both have lost Birmingham constituencies for Labour in the past (Spellar after he had won a by-election, he skin of his teeth) & both now have very multicultural W Midlands constituencies. Also, both have adapted to their changed constituencies by taking up concerns which are mainly those of their Muslim & other non-white constituents, especially Godsiff who rarely pipes up on issues other than those of particular concern to Muslims. Basically, they’re tough, pragmatic survivors. Spellar was once a real hate-figure to the left (even the soft left) of the Labour Party, but his loyalty to the party is in no doubt & we’ve learned to get used to him now. He first stood for Labour in the 1970 general election, in what was then his home constituency of Bromley, when he was only 24.

  39. All of a sudden I realised Moslems were people from Moseley. Then it sll made sense.

  40. Curious. I gather from these comments that the spelling “moslem” is now considered unacceptable. This is news to me – I have always used the spellings interchangeably. Classical Arabic was a 3 vowel language, but most modern arabic dialects are 5 vowel, and “moslem” is slightly more accurate representation of the pronunciation of most of them than “muslim”.

    Perhaps rather than sneering someone could explain to me (or point me in the right direction) as to how and when this happened. Changes in language often just occur without being highlighted, and it will certainly happen to you as you get older…..

  41. I doubt whether that many people would find “Moslem” offensive, but it is generally considered archaic today, like Peking or Canton for example.

  42. 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.

  43. That spelling is not inherently offensive, but it does have a curious propensity to be used by those being offensive about muslims, particularly online. Perhaps it’s because such people tend to be older.

  44. Respect have today announced their candidate for this seat, Shiraz Peer –

    I imagine they should keep their deposit at least – a shame really given they probably know had they not alienated Salma Yaqoob, they very well may have had 2 MP’s come 2015.

  45. In Hall Green I expect Labour to put some serious squeeze on Respect. UKIP will have very little appeal here. Moseley & Kings Heath appears to have moved strongly into the Labour camp and should combine with Sparkbrook to deliver a substantial Labour vote. The Lib Dems should still get second as their candidate will get a decent vote in Springfield and they are strong in Hall Green.

    My prediction as of today is Labour 51% Lib Dems in second place with 17%

  46. H.Hemelig refers to the term ‘The Argentine’ as ‘colonial’. Leaving aside the fact that Argentina was never a British colony, the term ‘The Argentine’ was short for the Argentine Republic, which was a direct translation of the country’s official title in Spanish ‘La Republica Argentina’. The now universal usage of ‘Argentina’ is the equivalent of calling the Czech Republic simply ‘Czech’.
    It is of course quaint and old-fashioned to use the term ‘The Argentine’ but old-fashioned and offensive/colonial are not necessarily the same thing and to imply so is verging on ageism.

  47. Labour Hold. 10,000 majority.

  48. I agree with Stockland that Labour will poll over 50% here, and that the Liberals will be a very distant second, thanks primarily to apersonal vote for Jerry Evans.

    Given that Respect is effectively defunct it will be interesting to see whether the candidate can retain his deposit. I reckon he will but not by much.

  49. “MPs have to follow their consciences and if the consciences are different to Corbyn’s, that is what they have to follow. That is what he has done on 500 occasions over the last 20 years,” Lord Hattersley said.

    “If that means a Parliamentary Labour Party voting in favour of continuing Trident when the leader of the Labour Party doesn’t want it, too bad. The leader of the Labour party would be out on his own.”

    Roy Hattersley weighs in on the leadership if Corbyn wins. “Go forth and raise hell” might be the most powerful weapon the anti-Corbyn camp has.

  50. Perhaps the only weapon.

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