2015 Result:
Conservative: 10764 (24.5%)
Labour: 22542 (51.2%)
Lib Dem: 1464 (3.3%)
UKIP: 9228 (21%)
MAJORITY: 11778 (26.8%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: East Midlands, Derbyshire. The whole of the Bolsover council area and part of North East Derbyshire council area.

Main population centres: Bolsover, Blackwell, Creswell, Pinxton, South Normanton, Clowne, Scarcliffe.

Profile: A Derbyshire mining seat (though the pits closed well over a decade ago - Markham Colliery finally shut in 1993) probably best known for its current MP, Dennis Skinner. The seat itself is mostly made up of former mining villages between Chesterfield and Mansfield and with the mines gone, the largest employer is the East Midlands Designer Outlet off the M1 at South Normanton.

Politics: Bolsover is monolithically Labour, albeit Skinner`s share of the vote has fallen over the years and no longer reaches the heights it did was this was an active mining community. At a local government level Labour is still the only game in town, with other parties only putting up a scattering of candidates and many Labour councillors being returned unopposed. Other than a few independents, the only non-Labour councillor in the borough was one Green councillor who resigned in 2013..

Current MP
DENNIS SKINNER (Labour) Born 1932, Clay Cross. Educated at Tupton Grammar School and Rushkin College. Former coal miner. First elected as MP for Bolsover in 1970. A left winger, member of the socialist campaign group and regular rebel against the Labour whip. Skinner is an assiduous attender of House of Commons debates, where he normally sits on the front row of the benches below the gangway. His heckling in debates earned him the nickname the beast of Bolsover.
Past Results
Con: 10812 (25%)
Lab: 21994 (50%)
LDem: 6821 (16%)
BNP: 2640 (6%)
Oth: 1721 (4%)
MAJ: 11182 (25%)
Con: 6702 (17%)
Lab: 25217 (65%)
LDem: 6780 (18%)
MAJ: 18437 (48%)
Con: 7472 (20%)
Lab: 26249 (69%)
LDem: 4550 (12%)
MAJ: 18777 (49%)
Con: 7924 (17%)
Lab: 35073 (74%)
LDem: 4417 (9%)
MAJ: 27149 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PETER BEDFORD (Conservative) Educated at The Ferrers School and Leicester University. Chartered accountant. Former East Northamptonshire councillor.
DENNIS SKINNER (Labour) See above.
DAVID LOMAX (Liberal Democrat) Bed and breakfast owner. High Peak councillor. Contested Tatton 2010.
ROY CALLADINE (UKIP) Sales and marketing director.
Comments - 198 Responses on “Bolsover”
  1. In the best traditions of NUM politics, I’d be amazed if Skinner hasn’t already anointed a successor. By ploughing on to the bitter end he makes it less likely that his chosen successor can be frustrated by AWS or a centrally imposed shortlist.

  2. I don’t think Dennis Skinner is in the business of anointing a successor, as such, though he would be likely to have a view on it.

  3. Agreed, he’s sure to have a view given his track record.

    Assume though that these are references to when he eventually goes, as I’ve heard nothing to suggest he’s standing down before the General Election (and would be surprised even at his age if he did personally) unless anyone else has some information?

  4. Is Dennis Skinner standing in May?

  5. Skinner and Diane Abbot are, imo, about as worthy as the rest of their party put together.

  6. Speaking as a Labour Party member, that’s very kind of you, Robbie. I’m sure I speak for other Labour Party members who are regular users of this site such as MrNameless when I say this. Perhaps in future you might deign to consider making less obviously partisan remarks.

  7. I believe Dennis wanted to retire in 2010, but stayed put so that Tory defector Quentin Davies wasn’t parachuted in.

    The Beast of Bolsover – what a legend. His quips in Parliament really do make me laugh, especially at the State Opening. I really do admire his conviction though. At An Audience with DS at the Labour Conference when asked about becoming Father of the House, he basically said he had no wish to be known by that title. Read into that what you will.

    The Audience With was very good. The next day he signed my copy of his autobiography, and said to me, “I know who all the left-wingers on Coronation Street are – you’ve got to maintain interests outside of politics”. Echoing the hinterland of another Labour Denis, although not one I imagine he saw eye-to-eye with!

  8. Since Skinner enjoyed quite personal relations with Tony Blair, it wouldn’t be surprising if he also does so with Denis Healey.

  9. Am I right in saying that, despite their vehement political disagreements, Dennis Skinner and Margaret Thatcher actually had quite a lot of respect for each other? Or am I mixing up with Eric Heffer?

  10. You could be right Barnaby. Skinner supported David Miliband for the leadership, as he had the best chance of winning an election in his view.

  11. ‘Am I right in saying that, despite their vehement political disagreements, Dennis Skinner and Margaret Thatcher actually had quite a lot of respect for each other? Or am I mixing up with Eric Heffer?’

    I think you might be, yes. I don’t recall Skinner having anything nice to say about Thatcher when she died, for example.

    I believe there was mutual respect between her and Heffer, and possibly also her and Benn (at least in the later years).

  12. If Skinner were to retire I wouldn’t like to predict how well UKIP might do.

  13. Apparently – and I have no reason to doubt it – when Margaret Thatcher announced that she was leaving the Commons Dennis Skinner, showing a compassion for which he is not normally noted when dealing with Tories, said “We’re going to miss you, love”. It is true however that he has always refused to go in for pairing, and generally speaking he does avoid Tories.

  14. It would be nice if they took the trouble to get the name right of the UKIP candidate. However, the demographics of Bolsover as a constituency are changing due to the mines closures as mentioned in the commentary and the influx of workers who commute out of the area on the M1

  15. Sorry Dennis in case you are reading this we won’t be able allow you to retire without an act of parliament and it will only be possible to produce the green paper after a 100% referendum result and we can’t hold that till after the EU one in 2017 at the earliest we know father of he house is not your bag so sorry but you will just have to be speaker and that is a compulsory 10 year minimum. Best we can do old chap

  16. Assuming he is re-elected, a pretty safe bet!, Dennis Skinner will be one of the longest standing MPs. Will he be the Father of the House, whether or not he wishes to take up the title, or is there somebody else more senior, and if so who?

    By the way, I have recently posted on the Buckingham thread about the deficiencies of the procedures to adopt standing orders (Erskine May) and to elect a speaker. As Parliament cannot bind its successor, the incoming Father of the House could have an interesting time if MPs raised points of order and votes to set up new Standing Orders and to elect the Speaker by secret ballot. As I understand it, this business would have to be carried out under natural law as Erskine May would not be in force. Would Dennis Skinner be up for this or has he gone “establishment”?

    There doesn’t appear to be much to comment on the General Election here as not even UKIP appear to be putting in a serious challenge.

  17. Frederic, Skinner is one of the 4 MP’s standing again elected in 1970 (two of the others are Gerald Kaufman and Ken Clarke, my brain has gone and I forget the 4th for the moment apologies).

    Anyhow Gerald Kaufman swore the oath of allegiance first in 1970 I do know that, so he will be father of the house assuming he’s re-elected in Gorton on 7th May on that curious basis, that it goes to the first to swear in when elected in the event of a tie.

  18. “Frederic, Skinner is one of the 4 MP’s standing again elected in 1970 (two of the others are Gerald Kaufman and Ken Clarke, my brain has gone and I forget the 4th for the moment apologies).”

    Michael Meacher.

    The order of taking the oath in 1970 was Kaufman, Clarke, Meacher, Skinner

  19. You would have thought they would have taken the oath in alphabetical order, all else being equal, so Clarke is very unlucky not to get it.

  20. Thanks Andrea, and apologies to Michael Meacher!

    Agreed Paul AD it is a curious system.

  21. I see UKIP are not contesting the Bolsover NW district ward that they came within 21 votes of winning back in January. Seems strange.

    They are contesting Bolsover W and three wards in Shirebrook. Although they could well come second in the parliamentary election I doubt they will come close to winning any district wards on a GE turnout.

  22. As a member of Bolsover Labour, I’m not sure there are any suitable successors! Anne Western, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, will certainly want the seat. CLP Secretary Gary Ransford hasn’t the appeal or friends to get the seat. He likes to bend with the wind and is a bit of a pushover.

    Voting members certainly wont go for a London parachute though, so don’t worry about that.

  23. Labour Hold. 15,000 majority.

  24. There was a clip on the Channel 4 News Facebook page in a Bolsover pub. The reporter asked those who were in if they were Labour supporters and if they’d vote in the leadership race. They all said yes. When asked if they’ll vote for Corbyn, there was a mixture of noes and hesitant responses.

    That’s a really tiny snapshot, but perhaps if they do gauge the proper working class rank and file of the party who aren’t on social media with the #JezWeCan stuff, perhaps we will see a much closer or a different outcome/

  25. Let’s not be too hasty. I remember seeing a stat that something like two thirds of Labour members are in the A or B socioeconomic groups. I suspect that’s a problem for all parties given the time and money demands full membership can make. That said the trade union affiliate members are much more working class I would have thought.

    But yeah, there is a large silent electorate in this leadership election. They’re not rabid Blairites or Trots, and who they turn to is important

  26. I respect your insiders view of Labour party matters Mr Nameless, but it has to be said that Tony Blair’s intervention was cack handed and ill-judged. He seems to have forgotten how unpopular he is with the party members who will be voting in this contest. I’m pretty sure his intervention will help Corbyn rather than damage him. There’s something supremely arrogant about how Blair pops in from making his millions in Kazakhstan to make some high handed statement from his pulpit, jetting back out again afterwards.

  27. I agree with you. I’m beginning to wonder if Blair doesn’t secretly want Corbyn to win, to give the left enough rope to hang itself. He should certainly understand he’s making that more likely.

  28. Well if Corbyn wins there’s at least no danger that the 90-day rule will be in jeopardy.

  29. A comment has been posted on the Ashfield thread that Labour are unlikely to lose this seat. However, in my view they should not be so complacent. Apart from the disappearance of coal-mining, I wonder how much of Dennis Skinner’s vote he will be able to pass onto his successor, not least becasue Skinner’s Campaign Group affiliation hardly looks natural for this seat.

    Given reports about the lack of opposition on the local council, one wonders what shape the local Labour Party is in if a threat does emerge.

    Finally, one wonders what boundary changes will do to this seat. I can’t help thinking that a fair few right-wingers would be delighted if this seat was abolished or re-organised beyond recognition.

    Nobody would wish ill on Dennis; but as he is over eighty it is legitimate to speculate as to what might happen if there were a

  30. New to this, interesting reading people’s comments.

    As a former Bolsover constituent, it is clear that the area is moving gradually away from Labour but not near enough to make it competitive so soon. Skinner still holds a fairly good reputation from people on different sides.

  31. Today is Dennis Skinner’s 84th birthday, meaning he’ll be 88 by the time of the next scheduled general election.

  32. Happy birthday Dennis.

    Have been at the annual African mining conference in Cape Town this week and you’d be surprised how well the Beast of Bolsover is known internationally. Blair was here last year but stayed away this year.

  33. Belated Happy birthday Denns Skinner.

    @H.Hemmelig – Can’t believe you’re wishing Skinner a happy birthday! I thought you’d despise him considering his ultra-left wing views.

    On a different subject, there was a report broadcast on the BBC’s Inside Out programme regarding the influx of Eastern Europeans over the last decade to this constituency. Very interesting programme. I’d recommended you’ll all watch it. A very interesting report.

    It’s on the BBC’s IPlayer for the next month.

  34. ‘Can’t believe you’re wishing Skinner a happy birthday! I thought you’d despise him considering his ultra-left wing views.’

    It seems a bit of a stretch to suggest you should hate somebody and wish them ill just because you don’t agree with their political views

    Of course if that somebody happens to be as repugnant and obnoxious as say a Donald Trump or a Nick Griffin then I can understand people thinking otherwise, but as democrats we should accept the views of those we disagree with, even if we don’t respect them, agree to differ and them move on

  35. I haven’t come across anyone who hates Dennis Skinner.

  36. I don’t disagree that this seat will become more marginal but don’t think it will be down to Skinner’s retirement. The trend in most parts of the country seems to be urban areas drifting Labours way and rural areas drifting the Tories way.

    The old mining vote here is fast dying off and the old pit Towns are becoming dormitory towns for neighbouring cities. I imagine it will stay Labour for a good while yet but its obvious which way the seat its drifting.

  37. “the old pit Towns are becoming dormitory towns for neighbouring cities.”

    Not all of them are. Some have spiralled into decline and become total shitholes. There are examples of both prosperous and shitty former mining villages in Bolsover, just as elsewhere, and others are a mix of the two. It will be several decades before Labour are at risk of losing here.

  38. Dennis Skinner was taken to hospital on Friday.

    Having undergone x-rays and an ECG, he has a UTI and a low red blood del count.

    I’m told he’ll live to fight another day (but not another election).

  39. Lancs Observer
    I think most people were expecting Skinner to retire come 2020, he’ll be 88 after all. The question is who is being eyed as a replacement? I imagine Skinner’s endorsement will play a huge role in who is selected to replace him and lets be honest Skinner is going to endorse the biggest leftie available, Chris Williamson former MP for Derby North perhaps?

  40. Some new MP declarations for the referendum today (none very surprising). I’ll post all here to save multiple posts on different threads:

    – Dennis Skinner is Leave
    – John Cryer is Leave (semi-interesting because as chair of the PLP he is sometimes listed as a shadow cabinet member. It would make him the only shadow cabinet member supporting Brexit).
    – Strong rumours that John Mann will be declaring for Leave tomorrow
    – Khalid Mahmood, however, has defected from Leave to Remain (he’d already left Vote Leave because he didn’t like the arguments they were putting forward on immigration)

    On the Tory side Grant Shapps is Remain.

  41. “Grant Shapps is Remain”
    And presumably Michael Green is for Brexit 😀 Sorry that’s the nerdiest political joke I’ve ever made 😛

  42. Technically John Creyer has not formally declared as such. I don’t think he will publically confirm it because it was said months ago he will remain publically neutral because of his role.

  43. Tomorrow’s Sun says Cryer is indeed voting Leave, but has been threatened with the sack from the Shadow Cabinet if he endorses them publicly.

  44. Skinner and Mann declaring for Leave seem like the big stories to me because they’re that rare thing — MPs who actually command a certain level of respect with the public in their areas.

  45. Really? I would have never known you thought that it’s not like you’ve ever said this before

  46. One gets the impression this seat is a bit like Sedgefield. The Tories could do pretty well in both constituencies in the future.

  47. Re Bolsover I do think people are over egging it somewhat. Lab majorities here are obviously nowhere near what they once where but this hasn’t correlated with a massive rise in the Tory vote. Tories are up 7% on 97 but Lab are down 23% this is naturally due to the loss of the old mining vote and the political loyalties that went with it damaging Labour but not particularly helpful to the Tories.

    I was once a believer that this seat might be a marginal in a few decades but comments from people who actually know the area and doing some more research it really is apparent its not trending Tory at any great pace. There is just no reason for the wealthy middle class to colonise the area. This translates into the fact that the Tories don’t have a single councillor in the seat and no real prospects of one either. While the days of 50% majorities are long gone I struggle to see this being anything other than a reliable Lab seat for the foreseeable future.

  48. In relation to Sedgefield the Tories have a definite base there in the rural Darlington wards and the ward of Sedgefield itself is clearly drifting their way, no such advantages exist in Bolsover however.

  49. Re NE Derbyshire I definitely agree, that’s a seat Lab really need to watch as the Tories have a solid base of councillors there (always have done to be fair) and the Lab majorities in the East of the seat are only just enough to outweigh it, a further slip on Labs part or a further rise for the Tories and the seat is gone.

    Bishop Auckland is in a similar situation albeit a bit more tricky for the Tories however they have their base in Barnards Castle and Bishop Auckland itself is the exact type of town that could morph into commuter territory.

    Penistone I’ve shared my thoughts on before and I’m also not quite sure if the Tories have great promise there, as has been pointed out Lab almost doubled their majority there in 2015.

    As for Stoke North and Mansfield I’d agree totally there just isn’t (and might never be) enough Tories in the seats to win it for them, the current tightness is down solely to Lab weakness rather than any great Tory strength.

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)