2015 Result:
Conservative: 12002 (27.3%)
Labour: 24762 (56.3%)
Lib Dem: 955 (2.2%)
UKIP: 6280 (14.3%)
MAJORITY: 12760 (29%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Part of the Blackburn with Darwen council area.

Main population centres: Blackburn.

Profile: A former centre of the textile industry now fallen on harder times. Blackburn is a mix of deprived inner-city wards dominated by Muslim voters, white working class areas and Conservative voting suburbs. According to the 2001 census around a quarter of the population is Muslim.

Politics: A safe Labour seat, represented by the party since its recreation in 1950. It has had only three MPs since 1950, being previously represented by cabinet minister Barbara Castle and then her former political advisor Jack Straw, who in time also rose to cabinet rank. Several far-right candidates from the BNP and splinter group the English First Party have won seats on Blackburn and Darwen Council in the past and in 2005 the BNP retained their deposit here.

Current MP
KATE HOLLERN (Labour) Born Dumbarton. Blackburn councillor since 1995, Leader of Blackburn council. First elected as MP for Blackburn in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 11895 (26%)
Lab: 21751 (48%)
LDem: 6918 (15%)
BNP: 2158 (5%)
Oth: 2777 (6%)
MAJ: 9856 (22%)
Con: 9553 (23%)
Lab: 17562 (42%)
LDem: 8608 (21%)
BNP: 2263 (5%)
Oth: 3819 (9%)
MAJ: 8009 (19%)
Con: 12559 (31%)
Lab: 21808 (54%)
LDem: 3264 (8%)
UKIP: 1185 (3%)
Oth: 1668 (4%)
MAJ: 9249 (23%)
Con: 11690 (25%)
Lab: 26141 (55%)
LDem: 4990 (11%)
Oth: 2784 (6%)
MAJ: 14451 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
BOB EASTWOOD (Conservative) Educated at St Marys Roman Catholic Grammar School and Lancaster University. Retired police chief superintendent.
KATE HOLLERN (Labour) Born Dumbarton. Blackburn councillor since 1995, Leader of Blackburn council.
GORDON LISHMAN (Liberal Democrat) Born 1947. Educated at Manchester University. Former Director General of Age Concern. Contested Bradford North F1975, O1974, Pendle 1983, 1987 for the Liberal party. Awarded the CBE in 2006 for services for older people.
DAYLE TAYLOR (UKIP) Educated at Chester University. Student.
Comments - 73 Responses on “Blackburn”
  1. That’s interesting.

    Fully agree with Straw about ‘plebgate’ BTW.

  2. For lots of reasons, I am so pleased that I won’t now have to consider voting for him. I moved to Blackburn a few weeks ago and my views of Mr Straw when he was Home, later Justice, Secretary were one of the reasons I stopped voting for Labour for a while.

  3. I’m a bit surprised, since he was interviewed on the radio only a few weeks & stated he would run for one more term. Whoever follows him is obviously going to achieve high government office! No pressure, then.

  4. Only two MPs since the 1950s here

  5. that’s correct in a sense, since Blackburn was briefly divided into seats between 1950 & 1955, one Labour & one Conservative. Apart from that, the town has had just 2 MPs since WWII, Castle & Straw.

  6. Early runners and riders for this seat from the local rag. One of the potential candidates, Hyndburn councillor Claire Pritchard, unseated her own Father in Accrington North at the CC elections this year.

  7. Early runners and riders from the local rag. One of the potential candidates, Hyndburn Councillor Claire Pritchard, unseated her own Father in Accrington North at the CC elections earlier this year.

  8. I wonder why Will Straw didn’t wait to step into his dad’s safe seat instead of jumping into the marginal next door. Quite refreshing in a way.

  9. H.Hemmelig. Will Straw probably applied for the selection next door because the opportunity arose. His father might well not have told him at that point that he intended to stand down.

    Whether candidates find them in safe or marginal seats is to a considerable extent a matter of chance, although we could have a considerable discusssion as to how major the chance elemnet is.

  10. Of course his father will have told him ages ago that he was thinking of standing down

  11. AWS for Labour selection.

  12. That will not go down well with the local party, especially among the ambitious Gujarati community who might see it as a slap in the face for their leading male representatives.

  13. I think its gone too far, personally – it should have been seen as a short term necessity not a permanent part of the selection process

  14. Sorry to repeat myself, but I support the continuation of AWS but only on the basis that it applies to all sitting MPs as well. They should go through a mandatory reselection with 50% of all Labour held seats reserved for a woman. That would solve the problem in one election and get rid of piles of dead wood. Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas though, and sitting MPs’ support for AWS would mysteriously melt away. It’s the I’m Alright Jack hypocrisy of it that I can’t stand.

  15. Catholicleft’s concern that AWS would upset the Gujerati male aspirants should not really worry him. According to the stats only 0.5% of the electorate are Hindu.

  16. These are Gujerati muslims of course of which there are many here. Nonetheless I don’t see why Catholic left is more concerned that male Gujeratis might be put out by this than that male aspirants of all other backgrounds are also discriminated against

  17. In response to Hugh Careless, there is a very large Gujarati population most of whom are, as Pete points out, Muslim.
    In response to Pete, I am not having more concern about male Gujaratis than other males, just making an observation because of the known ambition of some senior councillors.
    The truth is, I am remarkably unconcerned although I share Mike’s belief that the days of AWS should perhaps have come to an end. I also have some sympathy with H. Hemmelig about the need to shake up time-servers.

  18. I think Maryam Khan could be a potential Labour candidate for Blackburn. Intelligent woman, lawyer, former councillor in Manchester, daughter of future MEP and former PPC in Bury North.

  19. Maybe at some point in the future, but no for this contest.

  20. Bearing in mind that Blackburn has had only 2 MPs since the war then if you dont show interest this time around you might have a long wait till the next selection contest.

  21. 9 women have applied to Labour selection.

    As expected Council Leader Kate Hollern is one of them. Then also in the race:
    Manchester Cllr Nasrin Ali (previously shortlisted in Dewsbury)
    Ann Courtney (activist from Middleton, run Burhnam’s HQ during his leadership campaign)
    Agnieska Grabianka-Hindley (daughter of former MEP and Hyndburn council leader Michael Mindley)
    Sara Ibrahim (barrister living in London, shortlisted in WIrral West)

    I don’t know who are the other 4. Local paper says 2 are coming from Huddersfiel and Wolverhampton.

  22. Excepting Kate Hollern, what a shower of wannabees from the political inner class! Time was that people would spent years building a local presence in a safe seat like this where the MP’s retirement was obviously imminent.

    Jack Straw, who was already nationally known as President of the National Union of Students, spent years as Barbara Castle’s political assistant before inheriting the Blackburn consitutency, in which he has since worked assiduously.

  23. Barring either a mishap or an exceptionally good candidate, it’s hard to see anyone other than the council leader winning the selection.

    In a couple of other seats Labour selected local council leaders as their candidates. David Ellesmere in Ipswich and Sharon Taylor in Stevenage. Not sure if there are any others.

  24. Labour shortlist

    Kate Hollern (council leader)
    Ann Courtney (from Rochdale)
    Sara Ibrahim (barrister living in London)
    Naheed Arshad-Mather (Hudderfield Cllr)

    Hollern has 25 nominations from wards and affiliates branches. Courtney 8, Ibrahim 6 and Arshad-Mather 5.

  25. As expected Cllr Kate Hollern won Labour selection

  26. Thanks Andrea.

    Any idea of turnout/voting figures?

  27. Straw did well here last time – although the Lib Dems can provide some extra Labour votes. A majority of around 30% looks fairly likely.

  28. I think the Lib Dems thought they had a chance here in 2010, from some of the posts on the old site.
    Silly old sausages.

  29. Good to see them going with a local candidate.

  30. She won on first round. Local paper says that there were 220 postal votes. So turnout may have been higher than normal selections just because of this.

    Hollern is already 57. So maybe Blackburn CLP won’t have to wait 30 years for another selection

  31. Kate Hollern 199 votes
    Sara Ibrahim 53
    Naheed Arshad- Mather 44
    Ann Courtney 39

    25 postal votes disallowed

  32. Now that is a pretty definitive result. Polled more than the three other challengers combined.

  33. “Former police chief Bob Eastwood has been named as the Tory candidate for Blackburn MP at next year’s general election.”

  34. Why are the Tories no longer competitive here? In 1970 Barbara Castle was run quite close by Trixie Gardiner – her majority being less than 3,000. Boundary changes?

  35. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 53%
    Con- 24%
    Lib- 9%
    UKIP- 8%
    Green- 4%
    BNP- 1%
    others- 3%

  36. “Why are the Tories no longer competitive here? In 1970 Barbara Castle was run quite close by Trixie Gardiner – her majority being less than 3,000. Boundary changes?”

    1. Huge non-white population now (40% of the electorate)

    2. General decline of the Tories in working class north west areas

    Pete or Barnaby will know whether boundary changes are also a factor

  37. There won’t have been very major boundary changes here since Blackburn has for a number of years been about the right size for a compact urban constituency. I know there have been some though.

  38. Trixie Gardiner. Quite often see her if you look at Lords Parliament Channnel.
    Think she was on the front bench quite recently.

  39. This may be one for UKIP to eat up the Labour Voters and also give former Tory voters somewhere to go. Especially considering the Labour Rotherham scandal.

  40. UKIP don’t stand a chance here – the Asian population (not a natural UKIP demographic) is approaching 40% and rising. They would need capture the entire white working-class vote and then some (and then get them to turn out).

    Rotherham also unlikely to be a political issue as Blackburn’s Labour Council has been acknowledged as one of the more proactive local authorities in attempting to fight the Rotherham-style grooming gangs – Blackburn’s anti-grooming team were brought into Rochdale to sort things out in the wake of their failings –

    Kate Hollern could go on a world cruise between now and May and would still win this by a considerable margin.

    Neighbouring Darwen & Rossendale is more likely UKIP territory (although can’t see them actually achieving anything there either).

  41. Straw was evidently hoping to go the Lords. Is that still likely now?

  42. It would be quite a big thing to deny a former Foreign Secretary a peerage. I’d guess yes, though perhaps Miliband will wait till the dust has settled.

  43. It might be a good time to deny two former Foreign Secs peerages.

  44. Today’s Times reports aids to Millband as saying Straw won’t get a peerage in the next lot of nominations. They don’t appear to have said never.

  45. I find it improbable that Straw could be offered a peerage before the Chilcott report is finally issued. What reputation he still has could be further shredded by its conclusions.

  46. That’s a very naïve view. Chilcott won’t be issued till everybody has forgotten what it is. It won’t contain anything interesting. Straw will get his peerage in the next but one list.

  47. The Lords is becoming more and more and more bloated with prople getting peerages on the rations, “earning” more in allowances than most people in Blackburn could even dream of. It is high tiime the Lords was abolished and replaced by an Upper House of reasonable size, consisting of people chosen for a limited term to scrutinise legislation. Sadly, this is not likely to happen in the near future.

  48. I’m told the Labour selection was looking a close-run thing between Ibrahim & Hollern…until the postal votes arrived.

  49. having attended a husting event organised by the local paper. It is clearly evident the the choice of kate hollern as labour candidate has created a fault line through local labour party members. Bob Eastwood the best by far at the event. would be wrong to view the asian populas as a homogenious group now that Straw has stepped aside. Intresting comments in the town

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