Birmingham, Northfield

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15164 (35.7%)
Labour: 17673 (41.6%)
Lib Dem: 1349 (3.2%)
Green: 1169 (2.8%)
UKIP: 7106 (16.7%)
MAJORITY: 2509 (5.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Longbridge, Northfield.

Profile: A seat in urban Birmingham, England`s second city. Northfield is at the South-West tip of Birmingham and consists of the wards of Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield and Weoley. It is a white working class seat, inextricably linked with the Longbridge car plant which once dominated the local economy. The factory closed in 2005 and has partially been redeveloped for housing and employment, but lower scale of MGs continues here under new ownership. The seat is mostly made up of owner occupied semis and former council properties bought by their owners in the 1980s, though Kings Norton has more council property.

Politics: Birmingham Northfield is a marginal between Labour and the Conservatves, albeit one that leans to Labour and can normally only be won by the Conservatives in their very best years - it was held by the Tories through the 1980s (except from the 1982 by-election caused by the suicide of Jocelyn Cadbury) but only by wafer thin majorities. In 2010 the Labour majority here fell sharply, but not enough to put it into Conservative hands.

Current MP
RICHARD BURDEN (Labour) Born 1954, Liverpool. Educated at Wallasey Technical School Grammar, Bramhall Comprehensive and York University. Former trade union official. First elected as MP for Birmingham Northfielf in 1992. PPS to Jeff Rooker 1997-2001. Chair of the parliamentary Palestian Group and strong critic of Israeli policy. Voted against the government over the Iraq war.
Past Results
Con: 14059 (34%)
Lab: 16841 (40%)
LDem: 6550 (16%)
BNP: 2290 (5%)
Oth: 2074 (5%)
MAJ: 2782 (7%)
Con: 8965 (29%)
Lab: 15419 (50%)
LDem: 4171 (13%)
BNP: 1278 (4%)
Oth: 1223 (4%)
MAJ: 6454 (21%)
Con: 8730 (30%)
Lab: 16528 (56%)
LDem: 3322 (11%)
UKIP: 550 (2%)
Oth: 404 (1%)
MAJ: 7798 (26%)
Con: 10873 (28%)
Lab: 22316 (57%)
LDem: 4078 (10%)
Oth: 337 (1%)
MAJ: 11443 (29%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
RACHEL MACLEAN (Conservative) Educated at Oxford University. Ran a family publishing business.
RICHARD BURDEN (Labour) See above.
STEVE HAYNES (Liberal Democrat) Seo consultant.
KEITH ROWE (UKIP) Businessman. Contested West Midlands Police Commissioner by-election 2014.
ANNA MASTERS (Green) Midwife.
Comments - 109 Responses on “Birmingham, Northfield”
  1. Has he taken another name so that he can’t be traced by posters on this site?

  2. “In other news an H.Hemmelig is now listed among the membership of vote2012 and supports the labour party. A very small amount of digging reveals it to be non other than our old friend, A. Brown.”


  3. It makes me think ‘What the hell is going on?’ I wonder if our very own H Hemmelig is aware of this development…

  4. I’m not up to date with Birmingham in terms of visiting, but I think the Tories should continue to target this seat. It will come off in due course.

    It’s a better bet than Edgbaston – particularly with Gisela Stuart there – and in some ways, wouldn’t really want to oust her anyway.

  5. Wouldn’t be too stunned if the Tories take this eventually. Or if not, a surge in UKIP support. I don’t know how Richard Burden is regarded as a local MP, but if he has a good reputation it would be more at risk if he decides to stand down.

    Demographics are not favouring Labour.

  6. I am not registered on vote 2012 and am not a Labour supporter….must be someone who is using the same name.

  7. And as someone who generally doesn’t get on with my parents that well, I certainly do not spend a lot of time referring to my mother online.

    I agree that A Brown seems to be a bit creepy.

  8. Just “a bit”? That is an understatement 🙂

  9. Now this is strange.

    It’s rather sad what’s happened to A Brown. I seem to remember him being quite a productive contributor to this site, but quite clearly some sort of mental health issue arose. I know we all thought that, but very rightly avoided saying that whilst he was still here.

    I can only hope his lessened activity here, AW’s moderation of his posts aside, is a sign that he’s getting help.

  10. I think it might just be him having a laugh actually :p.

  11. Unfortunately sites like this do have a tendency to attract people with ‘issues’ of the kind evident in this case. It’s a problematic area for the moderators/site owners.

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

    Conservative 37.2% (+ 0.5%)
    Labour 30.7% (- 4.8%)
    Lib Dem 3.3% (-12.9%)
    Green 3.8% (+ 1.5%)
    UKIP 23.6% (Only 1 candidate)

    UKIP hoovered up the sizeable BNP vote and the collapsed Liberal democrat vote, and clearly took votes from Labour here too. The Conservatives gained the marginal Kings Norton ward from Labour, and held Northfield which was lost at the last 2 elections. (C3 L1 this time, L7,C5 total).

    The Conservative lead with this good performance is now higher than in Edgbaston.

  13. Birmingham was a real bright spot for the tories. UKIP result in Longbridge took my breath away.

  14. UKIP were even closer in Shard End, but there is no effective Conservative presence there unlike Longbridge. The Frankley estate (which covers half this ward) is very isolated, and this is an (ex) Council estate ward, with a high proportion of skilled worker owner-occupiers (RTB), and a very low ethnic minority population for Birmingham.

  15. Why was it considered unacceptable to personally criticise a certain Tory on the Tottenham thread, but posts here making personal and rather offensive remarks about A Brown are allowed to remain ?

  16. I haven’t had a chance to look at the full Birmingham results yet, but from what I’ve seen so far they do like rather ok from a tory point of view, compared to some results in other areas.

  17. Some have mentioned Southampton itchen or H&K as long shot tory gains from labour.
    While i expect labour to hold I would cautiously suggest that if there is anyone left expecting a tory majority, northfield would also be one that would fall. Racheal maclean is a good candidate and there has been plenty of effort put into this seat including various cabinet ministers during the tory conference. Bham uni con soc has also put a lot of effort in here and the local results were actually rather encouraging.

  18. I really cannot see the Conservatives getting the 3.5% swing needed to take this seat in May. Interestingly, the Lib Dem vote nudged up here last time to its highest point since 1983 and will no doubt fall by perhaps 6 or 7%. I don’t imagine that the majority of these voters will go to the Conservatives.

  19. Northfield has become the key battleground in Birmingham with a big Tory effort. If the theory that white working class voters are moving away from Labour hold true here then it could be close.

    Northfield is noticeable for having come through the recession reasonably well and has seen a lot of investment around the old Longbridge site.

    I suspect that the distribution of ex Lib Dems will be critical, Richard Burden is a Labour candidate who should appeal to them. So unless the national picture changes I would put this down as a Labour hold with 43% of the vote against 36% for the Tories, with UKIP third.

  20. Recount

  21. Important point to note with regards to all the South Brum seats is that voting patterns in local elections are not quite the same as for General Elections in the area; in particular the Tories are (generically speaking at least) significantly stronger in local polls and have been been for decades now.

  22. Labour Hold. 5,000 majority.

  23. Just to reinforce the view here:
    (a) The Conservatives will outpoll Labour at the local elections
    (b) The Conservatives will do better here than in Edgbaston at the general.
    (c) Labour will win the seat reasonably comfortably

    The majority will be nowhere near 5000 however. 3000 is the best bet.

  24. I do tend to over-inflate the Labour vote a little, John. You may be right. We will see.

    By the way, apologies to anyone who has commented on any of my previous constituency predictions and hasn’t received a reply. I have been finding it so difficult to work through all the seats this time. I still have another 5 regions to do as it is without going back over the ones I’ve already done.

  25. I was reading that quite a lot of this seat once fell within Austen Chamberlain’s East Worcestershire division and was rather rural until the 1920s and the dreaded urban sprawl.

  26. This is a seat in which Labour might be serious trouble if it wasn’t for the relatively popular MP Richard Burden.

  27. Far too much emphasis is placed on personal votes, which are minimal most of the time, and certainly in Birmingham.

  28. Not sure Burdoen would make that sort of difference. There were rumours before the election that the tories could win this and they did put some effort in here. It’s now their only chance of winning a b’ham seat in the near future.

  29. Not much of a difference but if it came down to 500 votes either way it could be important.

  30. I think the Tories might keep getting close here without ever actually managing to gain the seat from Labour- a lot will depend on what the demographic trends are like for both parties in the next 20 years I think.

  31. In my opinion, if there were a General Election tomorrow (which of course there will not be), the Conservatives would win this seat.

  32. Not sure if this has been picked up elsewhere…. a councillor for Longbridge ward – Ian Cruise – has left Labour to go independent. I doubt this has much wider significance. He does however have three years to speak his mind should he choose to do so and could therefore be a thorn in the side of the Labour administration.

  33. The Tories should definitely target this – unless it’s radically redrawn beyond realistic hope.

    I have only just realised that part of Frankley that was in Bromsgrove (and hence Hereford and Worcester) was moved into Birmingham in 1995.
    I think part must have been Birmingham already as it is if anything to the north of this seat.
    This is includes the village of Gannow which is partly overspill housing.

  34. You mean Worcestershire, Joe!

  35. Of course historically much of this seat constituted the old East Worcestershire division represented by Austen Chamberlain before his father’s death.

  36. The Tories put a lot of effort into this one for 2015 – Rachel Maclean was paraded at party conference and so on – but in the end made only small progress. But one that will still be on the target list in 2020 for sure.

  37. Jeff Rooker has just said:
    “We need to get rid of him.” [Jeremy Corbyn]

  38. LAB: 7995
    CON: 7168

    Labour carried this, with a gain in Weoley.

  39. I would agree, this seat is much more promising for UKIP and by extension their potential to eat into Labs WWC vote which could hand the Tories the seat. Also a much smaller ethnic minority and public sector worker base for Lab to rely on and finally Edgbaston supposedly has a growing student population which can only help Labour in the future, this seat doesn’t. It all points to Northfield being the likely breakthrough area if the Tories are to ever gain a second Birmingham seat.

  40. This seat does seem to have suddenly got a bit better for the Tories in recent years. This is indeed a very white seat in Birmingham which can only help them in future elections, so they will no doubt continue to pour resources into this seat while remaining active in Edgbaston.

  41. I think its less a case of the seat being better for the Tories more it being worse for Lab, this is definitely the type of seat were UKIP’s rise disproportionately hurts Labour and thus when its already semi-marginal that puts Labour on shaky ground.

  42. ”this is definitely the type of seat were UKIP’s rise disproportionately hurts Labour ”

    Even if you accept that to be true (I don’t think that UKIP does nearly as well with traditional Labour voters as you do) these voters are not coming back into the Labour fold with your current leadership. I suspect many of these people would prefer May’s Tories to Corbyn’s Labour. If a general election were held imminently the vast majority of these people would continue to vote UKIP, stay home or reluctantly vote Tory. This coupled with probable further slippage with the WWC caused by the current mess the party is in as well as the leadership could well hand the Tories Birmingham Northfield if the election was held today.

  43. Probably yes – Labour seems to have a knack of hanging on though in a GE turnout.

    Regarding Edgbaston (although I was border line on the EU), not sure would really want to win against Gisela Stuart anyway – looks unlikely to happen as it’s a more middle class urban seat.

  44. I’m sure it is.
    Particuarly with a right wing Labour MP.

  45. Re Stoke South one aspect of that seat that I don’t think anybody has considered is the current council composition.

    As I’ve said before Stoke South is more a case of Lab weakness rather than Tory strength and UKIP eating into Labs WWC vote could theoretically allow the Tories to slip through the middle however if there is anywhere that Lab can appeal to UKIP voters by saying UKIP are just more radical Tories its in Stoke where UKIP are actually in coalition with the Tories. Could this persuade some Tory averse kippers back to Lab and make the seats present vulnerability seem deceptive? Who knows just my internal musings…

  46. Maxim
    “Tories are up 10% since 1997, Labour down 24.6%. Tories seem to be doing pretty well to me”

    Well of course that was their nadir in 97 and Labs zenith. We’re in agreement that its more a case of Lab doing badly than the Tories doing well but you have to remember the Tories are 4 points down on their 92 result in Stoke South. The last time the Tories got over 40% here was in 1959, they’ve been floating around the high twenties to mid thirties since then. Its really the votes Lab started haemorrhaging to the hard right (first the BNP now UKIP) from about 2001-05 that puts the Tories in contention. This really is a “slip through the middle seat” there just aren’t enough Tories here for them to win the seat on their own merits if you will.

    Agree about Newcastle, its definitely the Tories best bet. I think the majorities in the seats Lab gained from the Cons in 2015 are deceptive and the Tories will struggle to win most of them back meaning Wolverhampton SW is probably gone as a prospect for them leaving Newcastle as their best shot.

  47. “Chester
    Brentford and Isleworth
    Wirral West
    Ealing Central and Acton
    Lancaster and Fleetwood
    Wolverhampton South West
    Enfield North”

    I’d agree with that order pretty much exactly, maybe switch Ealing C and Dewsbury around but I’m just being petty.

  48. Dewsbury was a weird one, I’m off the belief that the ex Lab MP Malik was right when he said he only lost in 2010 cos of the intervention of an independent that ate a lot of Labs Muslim vote. 2015 was probably something in the way of a reversion to normal which is that its a Lab facing marginal albeit one with a growing ethnic minority vote which doesn’t help the Tories in the short term.

  49. Re the rest of West Yorkshire I think its a real mixed bag, I’d argue that most seats though like Keighley the Tories are helped by the UKIP vote. Seats like Keighley are very polarised with a Lab voting town and the surrounding Tory voting rural areas. The issue is UKIP came along did very well amongst Labs WWC vote in Keighley proper but got nowhere in the affluent rural areas and thus helped the Tories.

  50. Brentford was one of many seats where people underestimated just how much of the Lib Dem vote was Tory friendly, in hindsight its obvious that the affluent urban professionals of Chiswick might have flirted with the Libs in the past but probably wouldn’t vote Lab. The seats future depends entirely on if its demographics continue to change if you ask me.

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