Bishop Auckland

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12799 (32.5%)
Labour: 16307 (41.4%)
Lib Dem: 1723 (4.4%)
Green: 1545 (3.9%)
UKIP: 7015 (17.8%)
MAJORITY: 3508 (8.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North East, Durham. Part of the Durham council area.

Main population centres: Spennymoor, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Coundon, Barnard Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Staindrop.

Profile: This is the rural south west of County Durham, stretching westwards into farmland, open moorland and the pennine hills. There are several small towns and villages in the rural west of the seat, most notably the historical town of Castle Barnard, a tourist location and site of a major GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals factory. Most of the electorate, however, is in the eastern part of the seat in the old Durham coalfield. Bishop Auckland is the historic seat of the Bishop of Durham, but in the nineteenth century became a mining town and is surrounded by other former colliery towns like Spennymoor and Coundon.

Politics: The rural western part of the seat votes Conservative, but it is easily outweighed by Labour voters in the traditional coal mining towns of the east, making this a reliable Labour seat, held by the party since 1935.

Current MP
HELEN GOODMAN (Labour) Born 1958, Nottingham. Educated at Lady Manners School and Oxford University. Former chief executive of the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries. First elected as MP for Bishop Auckland in 2005. Junior minister at Department for Work and Pensions 2009-2010.
Past Results
Con: 10805 (26%)
Lab: 16023 (39%)
LDem: 9189 (22%)
BNP: 2036 (5%)
Oth: 3083 (7%)
MAJ: 5218 (13%)
Con: 8736 (23%)
Lab: 19065 (50%)
LDem: 9018 (24%)
UKIP: 1309 (3%)
MAJ: 10047 (26%)
Con: 8754 (23%)
Lab: 22680 (59%)
LDem: 6073 (16%)
GRN: 1052 (3%)
MAJ: 13926 (36%)
Con: 9295 (20%)
Lab: 30359 (66%)
LDem: 4223 (9%)
MAJ: 21064 (46%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HELEN GOODMAN (Labour) See above.
STEPHEN WHITE (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 177 Responses on “Bishop Auckland”
  1. Labour start off with the same majority (8-9%) as they had in 1983 in, I believe, a very similar seat : which rather suggests a long term swing to the Conservatives in recent decades. The economic, social and demographic indicators do not suggest this is Corbyn country. I would still call it “Lean Labour” but if the campaign goes badly for them, this could be a rare case of a seat won by the Conservatives which they did not hold in the 80’s.

  2. I’m predicting a 5 1/2% swing here against probably 4% nationally. It’s not that incredible.
    Worth noting during Corbyns re-elect campaign many supporters attacked Owen Smiths due to his previous employment with Pfizer.
    I can just imagine the Corbyn campaign making some ill thought out attack on pharmaceutical industry and losing voter working at GSK.

  3. Since 2015 UKIP have strengthened locally such that they have several people vying for the Parliamentary place instead of having to bring someone in from Durham city like in 2015. UKIP were the only party campaigning for Brexit in the Constituency with Labour actively campaigning for Remain and the local Conservative leader passively supporting Remain. With a danger that Mrs May may be looking for a big mandate to sign away our Territorial fishing rights as part of a “deal” with the EU as well as other concessions, the ONLY way to keep Brexit on track for the full benefit of British people will be to return several UKIP candidates. Bishop Auckland are an intelligent electorate who understood what leaving the EU meant and the extra knowledge gained since last June re EU will mean that they will understand this logic.

  4. Christopher Adams, who contested the seat in 2015, was reselected unopposed yesterday. He runs a technology business.

  5. Plop
    What do you think is going on in these seats? Lets assume that the Tories win all these seats, come the next election when/if Lab advances nationally seats like this will probably be the first to fall back to them.

    Yes many of the things that once made Lab very strong in these areas (mining and other heavy industry) has disappeared and the WWC vote that dominates the electorate Lab is struggling with BUT by and large the WWC vote is (surprise surprise) working class thus Lab do have a pitch to win them back when they square the circle on immigration/social issues, its not like the working class is totally alien to Lab and the Tories will only be able to fool people with their flag waving for so long.

    Thus for Lab to NEVER win these back the seats will have to see an unprecedented Fulham-esque gentrification which just isn’t going to happen. For one of the seats you list only two are gentrifying at all (Bishop Auckland and Derbyshire NE) I know Wrexham very well and any illusions that its becoming some sort of lovely picturesque market town full of upper middle class professionals need to be nipped well into the bud cos it just isn’t happening (yet)

    My prediction, we’ll look back at (potential) Tory victories in the likes of Wrexham like we look at the Tory win in Mitcham in 83 or the Labour win in Shrewsbury in 97. Anomalies caused more by the state of the incumbent than any deep love for the challengers.

  6. Agree with 90% of what you say, but current polls aren’t solely the result of the current state of the Labour Party. The Conservatives, and Theresa May in particular, are actually pretty popular. Theresa May has caught the zeitgeist bang on, and I put this down to two main factors:

    1) The Erdogan tendency: British politics has been so volatile recently that many voters have found their long-held assumptions challenged, and don’t really know what to think any more. Theresa May offers decisive, authoritarian leadership and a call to bring a divided country together under her banner.

    2) The Merkel tendency: Theresa May may be highly authoritarian, but she tends more towards the centre on economic issues. You can laugh at her “burning injustice” rhetoric if you want, but as I see it, workers on boards and similar issues are things she really wants to push through (libertarians and fiscal hawks in her cabinet are preventing this, at the moment), and in general she feels that government should have an industrial strategy beyond “bruh, markets”. Her call is for a big majority to be able to remodel the party along Christian Democrat lines, to be able to push these reforms through. At the same time she can trade on her party’s reputation for economic competence to make this offer sound credible.

    These assets combine into a genuine appreciation for Theresa May. You can argue that this popularity is built on sand, and you might have a point, but it exists regardless.

  7. Apparently Open Britain have endorsed this MP will the £300,000 Gina Miller has donated make a difference

  8. Polltroll
    I see where your coming from but I’d have to disagree for the most part. I disagree totally that May is popular, unlike Cameron who I personally found to be a total sleazeball but who the public kinda liked the response to May seems to match her persona…cold. Her approval ratings I feel are entirely due to who she is being compared to and a clear, patriotic position on Brexit which has endeared her to hard-line Brexiters. Frankly I’m not the only one who has been truly amazed at how bad May comes across at times, only today she was giving an interview and forgot which town she was located in. If she was facing a more competent Lab party and didn’t have Brexit/flag waving to fall back on I think she’d be getting slaughtered.

    As for the “Merkel” tendency I’ll believe it when I see it but regardless of what she may or may not want to do I don’t think her positions on such issues are making any difference. When I go canvassing nobody mentions Tory or May’s policy, its either “can’t vote for Lab with Corbyn in charge” or “Brexit means Brexit” Tory policy in other areas doesn’t get a mention which is inevitable since as the media keep pointing out the Tories don’t seem to have any policies.

    I’ll stick my neck out and say give it a few years, if Lab gets its act together post June May will quickly be revealed as a cold, robotic drone. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Tories ditched her before 2022

  9. Plop
    “I’m afraid our democracy is not for sale”
    Not a line of attack a Tory should be making, have you ever read about the Tories black and white ball?

    “And Rivers, I do think North East Derbyshire will become progressively safe for the Conservatives, as Sheffield, Hallam once was”
    They might improve a bit further but I doubt it will go beyond ever being a straight up marginal. Much of the Tory strength in the seat cones from the rural dales where the Tories can’t do any better than at present, there is room for the likes of Wingerworth, Tupton and Dronfield to become a bit more Tory friendly but I doubt they’ll ever dominate, as for the rest of the seat, seriously Maxim head to Eckington or Clay Cross, loss of mining hit these places HARD, I believe Clay Cross had the highest % of heroin addicts in the UK until fairly recently.
    I believe it was HH who summed it up best when he told you something to the effect of “nobody would relocate here unless they’d just gone bankrupt” The Tories will never be competitive in those parts.

  10. Im 22. Shes not loved among my demographic. May just released a video on instagram. Go read the comments on that if you think May is popular. The Tories aren’t popular under May. People liked Cameron. But they don’t like May and they’re beginning to realize the foundation of the Tories is basically lies. They’ve lied on so many issues that trust is becoming a real issue. They’re still gonna win but May would be swept aside by a totally competent opposition.

    Now, I’m going to Bishop Auckland on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. What should I expect? And is there anything you want me to report back on?

  11. Instagram being a great indicator of whether a politician is respected or not, I’m sure!

  12. I’m not sure I agree. Cameron was seen as very out of touch. The benefit of Cameron was he was the Tories’ answer to Blair. Out of the two I think Cameron was a more adept PM. However, when Cameron was leader Corbyn led Cameron by 5+ among working class voters May now leads Corbyn by 45+. Cameron was good at winning back the aspirational voters the Conservatives lost to Blair. However, he was disliked by many eurosceptics and working class for being out of touch and elitist. May seems to be appealing to the ‘I’ve never voted Tory but…’ group. I think she will lose pro EU Tories to the Lib Dems but she is clearly winning over UKIP voters and the like.

  13. I think Rivers is right though this election will offer false comfort to May. If she does win a stonking majority I think that could be quite easily undone by the next election given brexit, the economic forecast, etc.

  14. It definitely could, but the more seats she wins the harder it becomes for Labour to oust the Tories next time as they’ve to focus on so many more seats and thus dilute their resources.

  15. Quint- I accept May is not popular with millennials (one of a vast number of issues on which I am completely at odds with my generation) but my impression is that she is very popular with middle-aged and older groups, including traditionally Labour-voting people if my dad is anything to go by.

  16. Excellent post from Matt re the differences between Cameron and May and (whether he intended it or not) a corrective to the Tory modernisers’ creed about what the party needed to do in order to win majorities.

  17. Lab hold. 1500 maj.

  18. The UKIP vote is not all going to the Tories. Some of it is coming back to Labour. Some of it won’t return to the polls. Greens are unlikely to stand. If Labour can find 2000 extra votes theyre safe. I reckon it’s doable but then I am biased. I don’t know if it is trending tory or not. The local labour cllrs seem to be popular. Could definitely help. Also Durham has relatively few marginals so Lab won’t be stretched so thin.
    Still wouldn’t be surprised by a con gain. Tory candidate is a young local entrepreneur. He did very well last time.

  19. On current polling, this seat is 100% going to turn blue. Labour won’t hold it unless there is a significant shift in pubic opinion.

    Also, there is no evidence of any of the UKIP vote going to Labour at all. The polls have been pretty consistent – whenever UKIP have dropped, the Conservatives have gone up and Labour stayed still. It is plausible that there could be some UKIP->Lab and Lab->Con switching, with the overall effect being UKIP->Con, but Occam’s razor would suggest that it’s just UKIP voters moving over to the Tories directly.

  20. Looking at it from a national pov it should turn blue. But I did some work in the UKIP heartlands and it was very very positive flr lab. Of course so hard to tell from that sample. I don’t get the feel that it’s a natural conservative seat.

  21. Labour lose it by 500 odd votes.

  22. I think this seat will turn Conservative.

  23. YouGov have this est. Lab 51 Tories 43

  24. It’s probably less likely to flip now than it was. Quite possibly the LAB poll surge is ex-Kippers in the north now going red rather than blue, blunting Tory hopes in a lot of these seats that they looked like taking a month ago

  25. Interesting documentary about Bishop Auckland Election campaign.

    A good increase for the Tories but they should have taken it.

  26. Interesting vid. All i woukd say in reply is while i know UNS doesnt work anymore and seats that havent had a tory for a longer period of time but i dont think this was ever going to be as easy as sone people thought. As the video says labour seat since 1931 not had a tory for 99 years it was no. 46 on the hit list and wed be looking at a maj. of over 100. By polling day im not sure this was a seat the tories were going to win for definite

  27. Derek Foster, Lord Foster of Bishop Auckland and Former MP here from 1979-2005, has died aged 81 of cancer.

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