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. Good god. A “charity manager” and an apparently thick, gobby and chauvinistic one at that. If this is the best that Labour have…

  2. Lancs: I think her point was “you can’t use the Cologne attacks as justification to crack down on refugees, because British folk can be just as bad”. That’s what I took from it anyway.

  3. The MP here is inexperienced at Westminster, and from her cv. may not have the broadest experience of those reaching parliament. But she does appear to be trying to say some important and difficult things that affect ordinary constituents in her area. If she is silences by the totalitarians of the left it will be very worrying.

  4. But British folk are not just as bad. It’s insulting to suggest that they are.

  5. Its the same sort of instantaneous change from ‘nothing is happening’ to ‘everyone is just as bad’ which we saw regarding Rotherham.

  6. I have just posted on the Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner thread, and I think the same applies here. One of the worst things that Blair did before the 1997 election was to muddy the Labour Constitution by taking out the sub-clause of Clause IV that specifically and simply said that Labour Party members should adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (He did introduce more detailed refence to human rights at several points but these references were considerably less than clear).Tony Benn was responsible for inserting this sub-clause at the 1960 Labour Conference, and it should be reinstated in equally simple terms.

    Labour Party members who flagrantly flout the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example over equal rights for women and men, need to be expelled from the Party. Let’s not mess about. If this means that many Muslims have to leave the Labour Party, so be it.

    I hope and trust that other major parties will also insist that their members keep to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  7. Most working mens clubs did not treat women equally until quite recently….some didn’t admit them at all! So the 1960 sub-clause seems to have been widely ignored. To have any credibility surely it would have impacted affiliated organisations to the party such as working mens clubs.

  8. Yes, it should have done.

  9. That’s not to say that your point isn’t a pertinent one.

    IMO, when the adult muslim population reaches a certain critical size in 5-10 years’ time, we may well start to see a viable “Muslim Brotherhood” type of party emerge and such a party will start to become competitive in elections in parts of inner London and perhaps other cities like Bradford. Labour would then be left holed below the waterline, their traditional WWC support having deserted years before.

  10. Hemmelig: isn’t the party you describe basically what Respect is?

  11. No. It would not have the SWP/loony left element which was a vocal part of the Respect coalition. I envisage something like a more national version of Tower Hamlets First, a party which is Islamist rather than extreme left.

    No muslim party has much hope of success when the muslim population is <5% of the national total, except in a few isolated enclaves. That will change when they steadily but inevitably rise to 10%, 15%, 20%, 25% of the population over the coming three decades.

  12. How many seats will have a 50% Muslim electorate by 2020? Bradford West?

  13. There are 3 seats with more than 50% Muslim population already according to the 2011 census (although not adults). Bradford West is the second largest. The other two are Birmingham Hodge Hill and Birmingham Hall Green. To be fair there aren’t any others that were close, so these 3 will likely be the only ones with a majority Muslim electorate at the next GE.

  14. How about the Tower Hamlets seats?!

  15. I’m surprised none of the Leicester seats are close, given that the town is majority ethnic these days.

  16. I think the Leicester seats are more Hindu (and maybe Sikh) than Muslim. ie Indians whereas Bengalis – who have the largest birth rate – are in Tower Hamlets and Oldham etc.

    The largest birth rate of any ethnic group in the UK ls now Orthodox Jews actually, hence the doubling in their numbers in just 8 years in Salford/Manc.and 3 London seats, although from a small base.

  17. According to Anthony’s pie charts, Leicester East is 58.1% Asian. However, I would very much doubt whether a majority of the population of Leicester East is Muslim.

    The problem s that certain areas are falling under the influnece of highly undemocratic and authoritarian groups which aere stamping on the rights and freedoms of others, both people outside their groups and many members of their groups, in particular women. These groups must be dealt with very firmly, indeed ruthlessly, before they become unstoppable. It is already very late to do this, which is making things very difficult.

    Let’s be honest, the groups I am writing about are certain Muslim groups. They are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians or even Islamic moderates (although I suspect that a larger proportion of Muslims are extremist than many people will admit).

  18. FS – Yes, the religious Census % are next to it.

    Leicester East is 32% Hindu, over 7% Sikh and 20% Muslim.

    Remember that’s the Census figure and not the electorate as 70% of UK Asians are aged under 30, so there’s a lag before ethnic minorities become a majority of the electorate or voters in any area due to almost all OAPs being White UK.

  19. Lancs Observer, your observations of the intereactions between ethnic group and age group are generally correct. It is however a mistake to think that “almost all” OAPs are white.

    There are seats in Lancashire and Yorkshire where large numbers of immigrants were brought in to work in the mills in the 1960s; but were left high and dry when the mills then closed, particularly in the early 1980s. I suspect that the consituencies concerned have considerable populations of Asian OAPs, often with particular needs..

  20. “How about the Tower Hamlets seats?!”

    4th – Bethnal Green & Bow 42%
    5th – Poplar & Limehouse 40%
    6th – East Ham 40%
    7th – Bradfored East

  21. Sorry – site did something funny

    7th – Bradford East 39%
    8th – Blackburn 38%
    9th – Birmingham Ladywood 38%
    10th – Ilford South 37%

    No others over a third. As rightly pointed out above the percentage of eligible voters will be lower.

  22. Jess Phillips has said she would find staying in the party if Corbyn is reelected as leader as incredibly difficult. I suspect if the party actually splits she will be one to go to the new party ( and she is not a blairite, She backed Yvette and Tom Watson last year)

  23. I’m not so sure, Jess Phillips is very much one of the “free spirit” MP’s that don’t fit into any one group and just do their own thing and have their own very unique set of beliefs.

    While she’s no fan of Corbyn she has openly said before that she describes herself as a Socialist and if she could she’d implement most of Corbyn’s policies, she also hasn’t had much in the way of nice things to say about the Blairites too, during the leadership election she accused Liz Kendall and her supporters of looking to a bygone era just as much as Corbyn and his own supporters.

    Given that any hypothetical breakaway group would be dominated by those on the far right of the Lab party she likely wouldn’t be comfortable amidst all the Blairites.

    The question then lies where does a maverick MP go?

  24. I believe Jess Phillips is a member of Progress. I’m not sure voting Yvette doesn’t make you a Blairite as I’m not exactly sure what Yvette believes in. As for Tom Watson he’s a member of Labour First I believe which aren’t Blairites but are a the old social demcratic right of the Labour Party.

  25. Yvette Cooper is clearly not a blairite considering she is married to Ed Balls, Brown’s closest adviser before he was an MP.

  26. I guess if you were going to pigeonhole Jess anywhere she’d be with Owen Smith & Lisa Nandy in the group of MPs elected to parliament in the the post-Blair era, which was more soft-left and less SpAd-ish in reaction to the triangulating managerialism which had gone before.

    Smith & Nandy aren’t going to leave the Labour Party. Jess Philips is more likely to resign the whip and sit as an independent than buddy up with Chuka Umuna & Liz Kendall.

  27. I’m sorry what. My girlfriend is a Green and I wouldn’t touch the party with a 10 meter stick. Do you choose your partner based on their political view or maybe you don’t have that problem….

  28. Jess Phillips left Labour under Blair and is really rather left wing. When she came into parliament she didn’t know who Jeremy Corbyn was and, though she didn’t support him (she’s a very passionate feminist who wanted a female leader) was willing to give him a chance. Like pretty much everyone else she’s seen his total incompetence over the past year.

    In saying she’d find staying in the party difficult she’s being characteristically honest. Most Labour MPs on all wings of the party (I don’t think the ‘right’ are the necaessarily more likely to split than the non-Corbynite left) are sticking rigidly to the Labour till they die line but I just don’t see how that could be sustained if Corbyn won and an election was approaching. They couldn’t credibly say they wanted their leader to be PM (‘any Labour leader is better than any Tory’ won’t cut it at a GE) and some, perhaps more than some, might have been deselected.

  29. Most political couples tend to have similar views and especially in party divisions stay in the same division.
    What is the difference in policy between Corbyn and say Caroline Lucas? Corbyn wanting coal mining back is about the only one.

  30. Now I didn’t know that about Jess Phillips that is fascinating. Interesting what you learn about someone. I did not expect that at all.

    I’m not sure I agree, I’ve come across a number of households that vote several different ways. On a number of a occasions I’ve had people say, ‘well one of us is Red and the other is Blue’. My next door neighbour is an ardent Tory and wanted to send their daughter to private school and his wife has voted for both my sister and myself, and really didn’t want her daughter to go to the private school. There are several houses with posters of different parties like Conservative and Lib Dem (before the coalition).

  31. Even some of the ones who untll last week backed Corbyn want him gone. Pat Glass has nominated Owen Smith. I think many of the whips nominated Owen or Angela and so did some of the serving Minsters and PPS who are still in place. And others didnt nominate someone but refused to back Corbyn.
    I actually dont think in the ballot any MP;s who did not vote Corbyn last year will vote for him this time unless they think their shadow cabinet position might go if Corbyn has gone.

  32. I like Pat Glass I think I had her in my fantasy shadow cabinet. I’m not sure she’s got any particular political leanings but I liked her prior experience in health before politics.

  33. She have still been in the shadow cabinet had she not announced her decision to stand down as an MP. She is a bit too gafe prone and would have soon caused another crisis had she remained there.

  34. My father and his fiance are an interesting couple. She is a lifelong Labour voter who claims to be an ultra-socialist right up until it is pointed out to her that she is one of the rich people who really ought to be paying a bit more tax. He is a lifelong Tory who can be heard every morning shouting at the radio, complaining about how cruel the government is. In reality they’re both fairly centrist, but both equally blind to the fact.

  35. My mother tends to just turn the radio off but I’m a shout at the radio type. I consider myself a socialist but I’m not quite sure how much council tax I owe since I lived with my girlfriend while she was a student.

  36. Matt – you’re right re different voting patterns in the same households – but you’re getting mixed up between politicians and non-politicians.

    It does happen amongst politiicians as well, but much less often due to their passion for their politics.

  37. Having spent less than two years as a backbench MP, Jess Phillips has released the first volume of her memoirs.

    She really is quite the self-publicist, isn’t she?

  38. HH – only just spotted your comment upthread.

    Whilst possible (an Islamic Party standing), Islamists don’t believe in voting – indeed they forbid it in the UK [presumably as it’s recognising the system in the same way SF won’t take the Oath].

    I think an Islamic Party did stand (Bradford or Rochdale 1992 rings a a bell?) in the days before Party names had to be registered with the Electoral Commission.

    I imagine any moderate Muslims wouldn’t bother – both for fear of attack by Islamists (as happened to both MPs in Bethnal Green at public meetings), but also as they can just join Lab/LD/Con or stand as Inds as a couple have done and held their deposits in Yorkshire seats.

  39. Indeed, the Islamic Party of Britain, led by David Pickford, stood for election in 1992 in seats like Bradford West.

    Pickford actually attended a pre-election rally as a special guest for George Galloway in Bradford West in 2015.

    Interestingly, I was in Bradford West for the election in 2015 and a lot of cars with election posters on were having documents slapped on them headed #StayMuslimDontVote, explaining how voting under Islam was haram.

  40. David Pidcock, sorry, not Pickford!

  41. It did, I believe the IPB stood there and in all 3 of the seats in Bradford in the ’92 election.

    Pidcock also stood in the Bradford North by-election in 1990, polling 2.2%.

  42. John Hemming is bidding to make a comeback here:

    Also good to see that he engages on a few sites including Vote 2007/2012. Hopefully we’ll see a few PPCs on here in the next month or so as we used to on the old site.

    I wonder if the voters think this MP is a bit of a Lembit? That seems to be an attack line Hemming is using re her tv appearances.

  43. I think its fair to say that the words “shy”, “retiring”, “modest” and “self effacing” are rarely found in profiles of either Jess or John.

    In truth this seat will probably stay Labour unless there is an monumental meltdown in their vote between now and June 8th. I suspect that the pre 2010 boundary changes (with the associated very confusing ward name changes), were more beneficial to Labour than realised at the time (The absence of an “1st time incumbency” bonus for Hemming in 2010 may have been due to this).

    Having said that when did Yardley ever bother with national trends? Since its transformation in the mid 80’s from an archetypal Lab/Con West Midlands marginal, at both constituency and ward level, it has gone very much its own way. As it was clearly Leave in the Referendum, we might even see it reverting to a 3 way marginal, as it was when Hemming first contested the seat in 92.

  44. True, although to be fair to Hemming he does have a career (in business or as a lawyer?) and a lot of experience unlike her. In fact I have no idea why she was even asked to go on the BBC’s This Week. Isn’t that usually a role for those at the end of a political career?

    Yes, any hustings should be almost as amusing as any McDonnell held in Hayes & Harlington in 1992!

  45. JS – having just re-read the thread and your comment [thanks btw v useful insight], I’m frankly amazed that any MP could be elected and not know who Corbyn (or any other longstanding MP of your own Party) was.

    Although as I’ve mentioned previously I soon realised over a decade ago that many PPCs and MPs know far less than those on here about politics. I recall PPC Debi Jones didn’t know what a 3 line Whip was, then-PPC Jake Berry didn’t know what psephology was when asked a Q and Esther McVey was positively Trump-esque when a student asked for her view on an international matter.

    Maybe a few airheads always got through but we do seem to have a fair few these days in both Labour and Tory who are fond of promoting themselves but I really don’t know what their views are on policy.

  46. The New Statesman has started doing its “view from the doorstep” pieces. There’s one here and one for Bridgend.

  47. Are the LD’s putting any significant resources in this seat?

  48. I’ve seen a few new deselection rumblings on twitter about Jess Phillips. Anyone familiar with the local Labour branch who can update on how it’s progressing?

  49. At this stage there is no selection process, so a rumour is all it can be. Nor am I hearing about any motion of no confidence in her.

  50. She’s a bit of a horrid woman.

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