Birmingham, Yardley

2015 Result:
Conservative: 5760 (14%)
Labour: 17129 (41.6%)
Lib Dem: 10534 (25.6%)
Green: 698 (1.7%)
UKIP: 6637 (16.1%)
Respect: 187 (0.5%)
TUSC: 135 (0.3%)
Others: 71 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 6595 (16%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Yardley, Sheldon, Acocks Green.

Profile: A seat in urban Birmingham, England`s second city. Yardley is in the east of the city, covering the wards of South Yardley, Stechford and Yardley North, Acocks Green and Sheldon..

Politics: Yardley was once a Conservative vs Labour marginal and for many years was a bellwether seat, normally being won by the party that won the most seats nationwide. However, in the 1997 election the Conservatives were pushed into third place and have been surplanted by the Liberal Democrats as the anti-Labour option. With the retirement of Estelle Morris in 2005 the seat was won by the Liberal Democrats John Hemming, a somewhat eccentric politician with a colourful love life who came to public attention for using Parliamentary privilege to name bankers and footballers who had used superinjuctions. In 2015 the seat was regained by Labour.

Current MP
JESS PHILIPS (Labour) Educated at Leeds University. Former charity manager. Birmingham councillor since 2011. First elected as MP for Birmingham, Yardley in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7836 (19%)
Lab: 13160 (32%)
LDem: 16162 (40%)
BNP: 2153 (5%)
Oth: 1539 (4%)
MAJ: 3002 (7%)
Con: 2970 (10%)
Lab: 10976 (37%)
LDem: 13648 (46%)
BNP: 1523 (5%)
Oth: 314 (1%)
MAJ: 2672 (9%)
Con: 3941 (13%)
Lab: 14085 (47%)
LDem: 11507 (38%)
UKIP: 329 (1%)
Oth: 151 (1%)
MAJ: 2578 (9%)
Con: 6736 (18%)
Lab: 17778 (47%)
LDem: 12463 (33%)
Oth: 164 (0%)
MAJ: 5315 (14%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ARUN PHOTAY (Conservative) Educated at Tettenhall College and Hertfordshire University. Business development manager. Wolverhampton councillor since 2012.
JESS PHILIPS (Labour) Educated at Leeds University. Charity manager. Birmingham councillor since 2011.
JOHN HEMMING (Liberal Democrat) Born 1960, Birmingham. Educated at King Edwards School and Oxford University. Businessman. Birmingham councillor 1990-2008. Contested Birmingham Hall Green 1983, Birmingham Small Heath 1987, Birmingham Yardley 1992, 1997, 2001. MP for Birmingham Yardley 2005 to 2015. A somewhat eccentric campaigning MP, who in recent years has come to prominance by using Parliamentary privilege to name celebrities who had obtained superinjunctions preventing the press from reporting stories about them, including Fred Goodwin and Ryan Giggs.
GRANT BISHOP (Green) Educated at Cockshut Hill Technology College and University of Wales.
PETER JOHNSON (SDP) Contested Birmingham Hodge Hill 2010.
Comments - 230 Responses on “Birmingham, Yardley”
  1. I like her. What others see as shameless self-promotion, I tend to see as a more authentic connection to the public than most MPs. Each to their own I guess.

    As regards the rumours: (a) I doubt anything will happen, and (b) it would reflect very badly on the local Labour Party if it did.

  2. I wouldnt go as far as horrid but I don’t see the admiration that some people give her.

  3. POLLTROLL – Why would it “reflect badly on the local Labour Party”? What is wrong with wanting to replace a candidate who doesn’t reflect the views of the party?

  4. MATT WILSON – I think she’s one of the least talented and most narcissistic MPs in parliament (and I disliked her before any of the Corbyn stuff), fast-tracked into a seat she didn’t deserve. Her trump card seems to be her supposed feminist credentials, but her grasp of the issues involved is pretty infantile, to be honest. She is everything that turned people like me away from Labour under Blair.

  5. …..she’s a bit like the new Hazel Blears….

  6. Eco: this isn’t about Jess Philips per se, deselection would look bad wherever it took place (at least if it was on ideological grounds – if an MP is given a criminal sentence or something that is obviously different). It would look like the beginnings of a purge, it would validate the rumours of hard-left entryism, it would be a PR disaster.

    And as for “not reflecting the views of the party” – which views of the Labour Party – as opposed to the leadership – does Miss Philips not reflect?

  7. I enjoyed this exerpt from a Jess Phillips piece in the Guardian:

    “There is no one in the world I argue with more than my dad, even though we agree on most things. Our relationship is typical father/daughter (or typical at least in a¬†political¬†family). He plays the role of old-guard leftwing ideologue, I play the petulant zeitgeist-obsessed sulky teen that he will never understand.”

    Yes. One could easily replace the word “Dad” with “Party”. (although the party may not continue to be “he”, of course!)

  8. POLLTROLL – Well, for a start her views on the leadership are entirely at odds with her party (though not her parliamentary party). She may be on the right of the party, but the reason I think her deselection would be justified is that Labour are behaving hypocritically by not doing so. This is the party which has recently kicked out members for retweeting Caroline Lucas, and yet the powerful Blairites (including the man himself) brief the press against their own party, and (as with Phillips) make her whole campaign about her independence as an MP, by implication trashing her own party’s chances. Would the tories put up with that behaviour, and allow an MP to stand again? I doubt it very much.

  9. “This is the party which has recently kicked out members for retweeting Caroline Lucas…”

    [citation needed]


    “Showing support for the Green party on Twitter in 2014 & 2015”.

    These are extreme caaes, and clearly shouldn’t have happened. But they do highlight how hypocritically the party is behaving by suppressing deselections etc. (I know some Labour/Momentum activists who have many examples of the Labour hierarchy trying to subvert all they do)

    So yes, if I was a Labour member in Yardley, I’d push for deselection. I also don’t accept the assumed wisdom that it would “reflect badly on the party”; it would be a storm in a teacup….I cite Danczuk as an example of that.

  11. It should not be for Labour Party members outside this constituency, let alone for non-members on UKPR, to determine whether Jess Phillips should or shouldn’t be the Labour candidate here. That is down to Birmingham Yardley CLP and rightly so. I am very far from being a fan of hers but would never call for her deselection – it’s none of my beeswax.

  12. Danczuk slept with a seventeen-year-old girl. Not illegal, but in a post-Yewtree world quite clearly a disreputable action. It is that, rather than his attacks on the leader, that did for him. Not to mention he was not even deselected, he had the whip suspended which is a different kettle of fish.

    What has Jess Philips done? Made a couple of ill-judged comments about frontal stabbing and the New Years’ Eve attacks in Cologne. There is no equivalence.

  13. POLLTROLL – I’ll give you that Danczuks case was different, but I still don’t see why a local party using its democratic processes is a problem, providing due process is followed.

    BARNABY MARDER- Many things we discuss on this site are none of most peoples beeswax. That doesn’t mean we don’t or shouldn’t have an opinion. In this case, I think this is an important debate about how parties should work- who are the people who are assuming a challenge is out of order? There seems to be a bizarre orthodoxy people are signing up to, which has no logic behind it whatsoever.

  14. Im with barnaby on this. Its up to Yardley members and constitency who their representative is.

  15. MATT WILSON – I fully agree with that. However, all the indications are that the Labour membership is overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn, and I suspect it is very likely that Yardley Labour members may well prefer a new candidate. Unfortunately, though, we seem to be being fed the assumed wisdom that it is somehow wrong for those members to use their party’s democratic powers. So the hypocritical Labour heirarchy and the political elite are the ones suppressing the members choice, not me!

  16. Jess Phillips has said never say never to her quitting Labour (as she did over her opposition to the Iraq War) but at the moment she does not plan to.

  17. Reminded of that infamous “I will scan you in the front” comment.

  18. Stab not scan.

    Bloody autocorrect.

  19. According to her wiki it was her father that stopped paying her subs

  20. Jess Phillips’s speech on the no-deal debate just now was something else.

  21. This MP’s lifestory is to be made into a tv drama. Ye Gods! I hadn’t even realised she’d written it.

  22. Much as I love Jess Phillips, even I think this is going a little bit too far.

  23. Jess Phillips, forever whining about the personal abuse she gets from others, engaging in the same by attacking Boris’s children in the commons. They can’t answer back and on such a topic you can’t expect him to either. No sympathy from me next time she’s moaning about the abuse directed at her.

  24. Massive overreaction from HH IMO. She wasn’t slagging off Boris’ kids, she was referring to his crap parenting skills (this is what happens when you can’t even confirm how many children you’ve fathered). To compare her comments in.the Commons to threats to rape her is twisted and rather transparent. You just don’t like her anyway, so why not admit it.

  25. No problem admitting that, I don’t like Boris either. But what does she or you or I know about his parenting skills? And what has it got to do with commons debate? Of course it’s not comparable to threats to rape etc. But you can bet she gets a whole load more of them because of this kind of thing.

  26. Not even Boris’ most deluded, foaming at the mouth supporters would deny that he is generally thought of as a crap husband and father. Luckily for Boris the Tories have stopped banging on about family values etc so no one can accuse him of hypocricy. Yes, it was a cheap shot from Phillips and rather indicative of how petfy and childish politics can be now.

  27. Labour fairly confident of holding this with the vote apparently holding up well unlike in Northfield, Erdington and Edgbaston where Labour are struggling. Selly Oak was seen at risk but the Lib Dem threat in streets where 70% plus voted labour in 2017 has rescinded.

  28. Jess Philips has withdrawn from the Labour Leadership election.

  29. I’m with Owen Jones on this (not something you’ll hear me say often).

    Jess Phillips was the Rory Stewart candidate in the race – mostly admired by people who will never join or even vote Labour. Some of that support reflects her blunt attacks on her own leadership benefitting political opponents.

  30. I found the comments about the probability of an Islamic Party earlier upthread fascinating, as I’ve pondered this myself. The community’s relationship with Labour is a marriage of convenience which is showing signs of strain (although nothing to cause anyone in Labour to worry for more than a second or two). Tower Hamlets First could indeed be a pointer to the future, although the electoral system makes winning seats in Parliament difficult, unless the constituency is really monolithic, which may happen in some seats. This is relevant to this constituency because, to her credit, Phillips was the only Birmingham MP brave enough to stand up to those protestors against LGBT lessons in schools. Statements by some other Labour MPs in Birmingham had a touch of appeasement in their words.

    I don’t think she is a serious politician, in the way that many members of the public aren’t either. I quite like her honesty (which is refreshing), although I’m less inclined towards some of her more strident positions and identity politics campaigning. However, she is a lot more ‘normal’ than many politicians. Lancs Observer commented upthread about the lack of knowledge some politicos have. Phillips has admitted that she needed to Google things like the Single Market (IIRC) before speaking on them. Phillips is a bit like Marmite. My sister and another friend, neither of whom are anoraks like us here, are both enamoured of her. But no doubt, like Harman, her militant feminism goes down badly in other quarters.

    HH, you also agreed with Owen Jones about Chuka Umunna. This surely sets a worrying pattern!

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