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 2 3 5
  1. This has Labour gain written all over it, especially with Hemming’s private life. Lib Dem swing will give Labour a majority in excess of 7,000, the way that the polls are going.

  2. Have you checked the local elections in this seat?

  3. Joe has a point (I’m going to answer even though I give no credence to most of what Bob is predicting); however, it is worth noting that the LDs have consistently done better in this seat in local than in parliamentary elections. Not many years ago, they were scoring well over 60% of the vote in local elections while Labour was still pretty competitive in the parliamentary seat. I still think a Labour gain is very likely, though not by much, and I wouldn’t be astonished if Hemming hung on even in the event of an overall Labour majority nationally.

  4. What happened in the late 80s and early 90s for this seat to suddenly come from nowhere to become a Lib Dem target?

    Or more specifically, how did the Lib Dems manage to build up such a strong base locally in the wards that make up this seat, when all the while they did nowhere near as well in many of the other Birmingham seats?

  5. I have Joe and unlike Barnaby Marner, I have checked the projected swing from Electoral Calculus. Liberal Democrat seats like this will be gained by Labour. People who accuse of others of having no credence, should look at the demographics and need to stop being foolish. This is about psephology and polling, and all the evidence points to this seat becoming a Labour gain.

  6. John Hemming’s electoral record in Birmingham Yardley-
    1992- 12, 899 (30.2%, +9.6%)
    1997- 12, 463 (33.0%, +2.8%)
    2001- 11, 507 (38.3%, +5.4%)
    2005- 13, 648 (46.4%, +8.1%)
    2010- 16, 162 (39.6%, -2.5%, boundary changes)

  7. On this occasion I do think Bob has a point. Labour should be able to gain this seat in 2015 especially given the large Muslim population which I imagine will only be larger by 2015

  8. Local election results for this constituency from 2012. Every ward held an election, which makes my life easier in tabulating this!

    Liberal Democrats 9,630 (46.5%)
    Labour 7,755 (37.4%)
    UKIP 1,173 (5.7%)
    Conservatives 785 (3.8%)
    BNP 715 (3.5%)
    Greens 486 (2.3%)
    National Front 71 (negligible)
    TUSC 58 (negligible)
    SDP 50 (negligible)

    Total votes: 20,723

    Compared to the 2010 council elections here:

    Liberal Democrats: -1%
    Labour: +10.4%
    UKIP: +2.5%
    Conservatives: -8.9%
    BNP: -4.1%
    Greens: +1%

    Swing from Lib Dem to Labour: 5.7%

  9. Whilst I’d like to share Bob’s optimism here, his utter confidence in a Labour gain here is very much off-base. This is a remarkably resilient local Liberal Democrat vote – one of the best I’ve seen in an urban area. To still be off the Lib Dems by 9 points in 2012 is a very bad sign.

    Reading the old PG page on this constituency, I appreciate that the Lib Dems do better locally than parliamentary here, but even still if this is really the trend of things in Yardley, I’d rather be in Hemming’s place than I would most other LDs in urban areas.

  10. Lib Dems will, however, be very stretched, what with this seat and Solihull being next door.

    They might have to choose which of the two to let go of, or risk losing both.

  11. I’ll try working out the local results for Solihull. From a LD perspective, there are plenty of urban seats which they might as well give up on (Manchester, Withington being a prime example), but Yardley is not one.

  12. The Cons were about 8-9% ahead in May 2012
    but a bit more in 2011.
    Solihull is an obvious C target but we didn’t get it last time.

  13. I think Solihull will go Tory next time- the local election results have been reasonably good, if not exactly spectacular. But it will probably be quite tight again.

  14. yes…an Lorely Burt seems to be one of the more Tory leaning Lib Dems – even I would admit it.
    I’d have thought her luck will run out though if we have a reasonably good night.

  15. Just put up the results on the Solihull page. Conservatives ahead by 6% in 2012. UKIP didn’t stand though, whilst Labour and Greens did, so much more of a spoiler vote working against the Lib Dems.

  16. In fact we still need quite a lot more local election data for the Met areas.
    2011 was a bit of a honeymoon
    and 2012 was a fairly fallow year
    and in London very much distorted by the C/Lab contest

  17. ‘Lorely Burt seems to be one of the more Tory leaning Lib Dems’

    As I understand it, like many other former moderate Conservatives, she defected to the Lib Dems from the Tories in the mid nineties

  18. Agreed. For the Tories, 2011 was still a honeymoon, whilst for the Lib Dems…it wasn’t. End result, well, from experience, in Reading Tories gained a seat only because the Lib vote fell faster. That was replicated nationwide in alot of places.

    2012, I imagine the Tory slump was amplified due to the bad news cycle – i.e. the chaos of the budget. Perhaps not the best indicator of Tory fortunes. Given a couple of weeks, things would have stabilised.

    And 2014, it’ll be the European elections which will exaggerate UKIP support.

    Basically, we’re not going to have the best set of data to make accurate predictions in urban areas with.

  19. The 2013 elections do give us some good news in the Tories if you try to factor in UKIP
    but they are for the most part areas where you’d expect the Tories to hold rather better.
    I agree we need the 2014 results.

  20. ‘Lib Dems will, however, be very stretched, what with this seat and Solihull being next door.

    They might have to choose which of the two to let go of, or risk losing both.’

    If I were an LD, I’d go with Yardley. In the long-run, it’s important for them to try and maintain as many footholds as they can in big urban areas like Birmingham. Heaven knows they look pretty doomed in enough other places like Manchester. And in anycase, the LDs have performed alot better in local elections here than in Solihull. Even considering that they do better locally than nationally here, the trend looks more encouraging in Yardley.

  21. Yes that makes sense.

    Maybe Hemming will turn into a Simon Hughes type figure, hanging on to his seat comewhat may.

  22. Hemming did reasonably well to increase his majority given the substantial unwinding effect of the Tory tactical voting that aided his election in 2005. The Tory vote increase from 2910 to 7836.

    The Labour vote is certain to rise here so his only option to survive is to persuade the 3rd placed Tories to vote for him.

    I don’t think this seat will be a wash out like Dumfermline, Edinburgh Western or Edinburgh Southern at the last Holyrood elections, but I could still see the Labour winning by 2000 – 4000.

  23. I can’t really predict this one.
    The local elections do suggest that the Tories are still vulnerable to a re-squeeze despite the good result in 2010, but probably the local elections are different.

    Probably very close – which here rather means I don’t know.

  24. Estelle Morris won this seat for Labour twice despite the Liberals holding all the council seats in the constituency.

    I would put a small bet on Hemming holding this seat, but a large one on Labour should he retire.

  25. The key for me is the fact that, although the LDs do better locally than nationally, to still be down only 1% on the local vote from 2010 to 2012 is very impressive. Although next year’s elections will be more telling, I really can see this being an LD hold.

  26. ‘The Results’ asked how this seat came from nowhere to be a Lib Dem target. The answer is essentially that John Hemming wanted to be an MP and decided that the demographics of Yardley and the existing local base made it look like somewhere that could have a Lib Dem MP and he then worked at it for many years. It helped that he was a millionaire and so could resource the campaign when starting from nothing. It’s pretty much the same strategy that Lynne Featherstone adopted in Hornsey & Wood Green.

    I’m not sure how much his colourful private life will matter here as I think it was reasonably well known locally before it appeared in the national press.

  27. I would think that Hemming’s failure to build a commanding lead over Labour in 2010 at their annus horribilis leaves him very vulnerable in 2015.

    The Lib Dems are utterly discredited in Birmingham, but just for their national coaliton with the Tories but also for them forming a coalition with the Tories to run Birmingham City Council until 2012.

    Labour gain, but not by a landslide.

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

  29. I believe Labour has had a tendency over the years to perform less well in Birmingham at local elections when compared to parliamentary elections.

  30. “What were the wards of this constituency from 1983 to 1997?”

    I’m trying to take a short break from UKPR but as usual Harry manages to coax me into posting.

    The answer is Acock’s Green, Sheldon, and Yardley.

    These were also the wards comprising the constituency from 1997 to 2010.

  31. You should note that the present Acocks Green ward contains only just under a third of the old Acocks Green ward, the successor of which is the present South Yardley ward. The current Acocks Green ward is based the old Fox Hollies ward.

  32. I’m inclined towards a narrow Labour gain here now and am relatively confident of it.

  33. I’m inclined to a Lib Dem hold. What got me was just being 1% down in 2012 from the 2010 locals, and still 9 points ahead of Labour. LDs do better locally here than at the parliamentary level, but really feel Hemming will win this one.

  34. I think he is such an oddball he is seen as an individual and might be shielded from the national swing quite a bit.

  35. May I wish everyone on here a Happy New Year. I hope all UKPR contributors have a happy and healthy 2014.

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

    Lib Dem 45.5% (- 2.0%)
    Labour 29.1% (+ 2.1%)
    Conservative 5.3% (- 7.4%)
    Green 3.0% (+ 1.7%)
    UKIP 14.6% (+11.4%)

    UKIP hoovered up the sizeable BNP vote and probably the Conservative vote, which more than halved. However Hemming will be delighted with the Lib Dem performance as they held all 4 wards with only a small swing against – much better than they did at the last 2 elections (LD4 L0 this time, LD8,L4 total).

  37. The problem for Labour is Sheldon where they came third behind UKIP.

  38. I think Hemming will win.

  39. Excellent spreadsheet. Thanks Andy

  40. There must be a few mistakes given the volume of data I was entering. I did double-check at the time but you usually have to triple-check to get rid of all errors.

  41. Ashcroft Poll:
    Lib Dem – 34%
    Labour – 31%
    UKIP – 19%
    Conservative – 12%
    Green – 2%
    Others – 1%

  42. That’s fantastic for the LDs.

  43. Very positive for the LDs. It’s quite amazing to me that they’re polling better and more securely in Birmingham Yardley than they are in Sheffield Hallam.

  44. Yes, that is amusing, when you think about it.

  45. It’s not surprising. Yardley isn’t an intellectual constituency so Labour are not doing well compared to Hallam.

  46. Hallam is relatively intellectual as well.

  47. Surprisingly good poll for team yellow.

  48. Pretty clearly this is John Hemming’s personal vote coming through.

    The non-constituency figures were:
    LAB 37
    UKIP 23
    LD 18
    CON 18
    GRN 3
    OTH 1

  49. Eh, not dissimilar figures come through for almost every constituency, although that does look high on first glance, I’ll admit.

1 2 3 5
Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)