Bolton West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19744 (40.6%)
Labour: 18943 (39%)
Lib Dem: 1947 (4%)
UKIP: 7428 (15.3%)
TUSC: 209 (0.4%)
Independent: 321 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 801 (1.6%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of the Bolton council area.

Main population centres: Heaton, Horwich, Westhoughton, Atherton, Blackrod.

Profile: Bolton West contains very little of Bolton itself, just the relatively affluent outskirts like Heaton. The majority of the seat is made up of the suburban and rural commuter belt between Bolton and Wigan, including the town of Horwich (home of Bolton Wanderers) and the former mining towns of Westhoughton and Atherton and the village of Blackrod. The seat is the whitest and the most affluent of the three Bolton seats, with the largest proportion of owner-occupiers..

Politics: A Labour-Conservative marginal, the seat was held by the Conservatives between 1983 and 1997 before falling to Labour in that years landslide. The Conservatives narrowly missed out on the seat in the 2010 election before wining it back in 2015.


Current MP
CHRISTOPHER GREEN (Conservative) Former engineer. Contested Manchester Withington 2010. First elected as MP for Bolton West in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 18235 (38%)
Lab: 18327 (39%)
LDem: 8177 (17%)
UKIP: 1901 (4%)
Oth: 936 (2%)
MAJ: 92 (0%)
2005*
Con: 15175 (37%)
Lab: 17239 (43%)
LDem: 7241 (18%)
UKIP: 524 (1%)
Oth: 364 (1%)
MAJ: 2064 (5%)
2001
Con: 13863 (34%)
Lab: 19381 (47%)
LDem: 7573 (18%)
Oth: 397 (1%)
MAJ: 5518 (13%)
1997
Con: 17270 (35%)
Lab: 24342 (50%)
LDem: 5309 (11%)
Oth: 1374 (3%)
MAJ: 7072 (14%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRISTOPHER GREEN (Conservative) Engineer. Contested Manchester Withington 2010.
JULIE HILLING (Labour) Born 1955, Oxford. Educated at Cedars School and Nottingham University. Trade union organiser. MP for Bolton West 2010 to 2015.
ANDREW MARTIN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Cambridge University. Fitness instructor. Bolton councillor since 2014.
BOB HORSEFIELD (UKIP) Lighting technician.
ANDY SMITH (Independent) Artist.
JOHN VICKERS (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 120 Responses on “Bolton West”
  1. One of the few middle class seats the Tories won in 2015

  2. Anyone know much about this seat?

    I know a little bit about the Atherton area and, based on that part, I could see this one being somewhere where turnout might improve for Labour based on Corbyn and the manifesto. Also an area where the UKIP vote might not be guaranteed to split to Tories in the same way as elsewhere. But obviously it includes a lot (more?) of leafy bits which I don’t really know except to pass through.

    Maybe one that could be better for Labour than the UNS? Probably not one where Labour stood a chance unless the polls narrow further?

  3. Con 47.9 (+7.3)
    Lab 46.1 (+7.1)
    UKIP 3.1 (-12.2)
    LD 2.9 (-1.1)

    Undoubtedly one of the better Conservative results in the north west.

  4. Definitely. The incumbency factor?

  5. Cons Gains in the NW so far include:

    Horwich, Bolton

    Standish, Wigan

    Kersal, Salford

    Saddleworth S, Oldham

    Ainsdale, Cambridge, Dukes – Southport

  6. Bolton Council is now Conservative-run, for the first time in 40 years.

  7. Big surprise.

  8. Lancs was right that Labour would get a drubbing in parts of the north and midlands.

    I was right that the Tories would be damaged by a Lib Dem and independent surge across the south.

    Politics either side of the Severn-Wash line is now increasingly different.

  9. ‘I was right that the Tories would be damaged by a Lib Dem and independent surge across the south.’

    I do wonder whether we start to see a gradual shift away from the Tories in the South – like what happened to the Republicans in their former strongholds in New England several decades ago

    There’s nothing in the 2017 election to suggest that’s about to happen any time soon although the impact of Brexit has yet to bite and someone told me that the South was the only area away from London, Scotland and the conurbations, where the bulk of the working population voted to stay in the EU

    The fact that the Lib Dems were able to win back working class Brexit-supporting areas in the South West (Yeovil, Devon North), last week suggests that Brexit might not lead to the political reconfiguration that some of us are assuming

  10. Working class areas WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING should be increasingly good for the Conservatives.

    But in much of southern England that doesn’t apply.

  11. HH – Yes, I think Prof Curtice is due to pen a more detailed piece; but, he said that in over 80% of cases it was simply a swing away from the incumbent in a ward to whoever was in second place last time.

    In many other cases though there wasn’t even an Ind last time ie several won from a standing start to win with 35% in the North West.

    Wirral was a particular case and not just about the Greenbelt, but about the arrogance of Council officers in Merseyside. [For those not aware, there have been a series of legal actions in order to obtain docs which should have been in the public domain. This also applied in Bolton where there was alleged corruption, but also allegations that Labour were favouring Asians with grants to Asons etc]

    Liverpool City Cllrs are due to vote on abolishing the position of city mayor next week, but that’s more due to the odious individual than the fact that Labour lost 20 seats in the city region last week. In fact I think – as with Stoke and corruption – almost all areas have ended up abolishing the position. Liverpool is unusual in that the city was never asked whether they wanted one, unlike Manchester. Derek Hatton has just endorsed the city mayor, because, “it’s his Liverpool” which has enfuriated people. At least abolition will save over £3m pa.

  12. @Tim

    ”I do wonder whether we start to see a gradual shift away from the Tories in the South – like what happened to the Republicans in their former strongholds in New England several decades ago

    There’s nothing in the 2017 election to suggest that’s about to happen any time soon although the impact of Brexit has yet to bite and someone told me that the South was the only area away from London, Scotland and the conurbations, where the bulk of the working population voted to stay in the EU

    The fact that the Lib Dems were able to win back working class Brexit-supporting areas in the South West (Yeovil, Devon North), last week suggests that Brexit might not lead to the political reconfiguration that some of us are assuming”

    The Republican’s hammering in New England is primarily down to the party embracing Christian religious fundamentalism to appeal to the South which unsurprisingly goes down like a bucket of cold sick in a region that isn’t particularly religious. The last Republican to win more counties than him there was Bush Snr. in 1988; this can probably be attributed to him not being a religious, holier than thou type of person. He did still do very badly in the Boston/New York suburbs (which cost him New Hampshire as the Boston suburbs extend into the southern part of the state) due to his obvious huge personality and political flaws but it shows a less extreme version of Trump with a half-competent figurehead could probably do pretty well in New England.

    As for the Tories despite the media hype of the ‘Tories moving to they right’ they actually haven’t changed their positions much on anything other the EU since the Cameron era and the EU itself is not a right-left issue. Arguably May is to the left of the unabashedly ‘neoliberal’ Cameron-Osbourne axis on numerous issues.

    The local elections didn’t show anything really other than the obvious fact that both the Tories and Labour are unpopular. The North-South split is thus mostly due to Labour being in power in most of the North and the Tories being in power in most of the South and voters choosing to punish the one that was in charge especially considering the fact that many Northern Labour metros are notoriously badly run as are many Southern Tory districts primarily due to the complacency and entitlement of the ruling party. The Lib Dem’s results don’t really correlate to Remain-Leave but what they do correlate to is areas where they were traditionally strong but go annihilated over the coalition years. In any case one party dominated councils are hardly healthy so it’s a good thing there’s more opposition.

    Whether we actually see a realignment though probably depends on what happens with Brexit of which there are several options:
    1)We never leave, probably due to a second referendum returning a Remain vote. In this case the Tory vote would be decimated in working class leave areas and the Brexit Party would surge. Their vote would effectively retreat back to Home Counties and parts of London.
    2)We leave with a deal. This deal would probably be a softer version of May’s deal probably with a customs union and maybe even single market. The most extreme Tory leavers would be very upset though most leavers would be relieved that the whole charade is over whilst the economy wouldn’t take a hit so Tory Remainers would be satisfied too (the small fraction of Tory inclined voters that are committed ‘Europeans’ have long since left and won’t be coming back for a long time regardless). This is the most preferable option for the Tory party’s long term electability.
    3)We Leave with No Deal. This would probably lead to the realignment you describe. No Deal would cause chaos and the government would likely be brought down by parliament (the Remain faction of the party would walk out). The ensuing election would see heavy Tory losses everywhere that isn’t over
    ~60% Leave (i.e. most of the South). The incoming (presumably Labour) government would come to some kind of agreement with the EU within days of taking office. This is not at all likely to happen in my opinion.
    4)The Tories elect a hard line no-dealer to succeed May and the government collapses or is brought down before No Deal happens. In this scenario the Tories lose ground in Remain areas to the Lib Dems with the latter gaining a handful of seats. The Tories are turfed out of power but it’s unlikely Labour would have a majority. If the Lib Dems end up propping up a Labour minority government I can’t see it going down too well in the wealthy South.

    In my opinion 1) or 2) are most likely, 4) is possible whilst 3) is exceedingly improbable.

  13. On the Tories’ left-right position, I do agree that Theresa May is a step to the left of the Cameron-Osborne axis on economic issues, but she hasn’t taken the rest of the party with her on this, either in cabinet or among the grassroots, and following the departure of Nick Timothy (who I think was the so-called brains behind a lot of her ideas) she has totally given up on workers on boards etc.

    It’s really strange to remember that, in the first twelve months of her premiership, Theresa May really struck a chord with middle England (particularly with THAT speech in front of Downing Street) and appeared to be forging a new middle-ground consensus. How long ago that feels now.

  14. Tbf May has continued with a lot of the Nick Timothy policy suggestions. Indeed not much legislation has been passed other than his list.

    Banning letting agents’ admin and renewal fees.

    Banning s20 evictions (due to come into force).

    Doubling council tax on long-term vacants.

    Abolishing repeat examinations by the DWP of those with permanent conditions (and sanctions to be reduced next).

    Gove overturning all of Grayling’s MoJ meddling and the small claims’ threshold to be raised to clampdown on troughing claimant lawyers.

    All of the above are popular with the DUP and Andrew Percy/David Davis wing of the Party.

    Indeed, the more she does of this, the more GO hates her.

  15. “In fact I think – as with Stoke and corruption – almost all areas have ended up abolishing the position.”

    Only Stoke, Hartlepool and Torbay abolished the directly elected Mayor position.
    Watford, Doncaster, Lewsiham, Middlesbrough, North Tyneside, Newham, Bedford, Hackney, Mansfield, Salford, Bristol, Tower Hamlets and Copeland still have it.

    Middlesbrough, North Tyneside and Doncaster had a referendum to abolish it but voted to retain the Maoyral model

  16. Sorry, I should have said most cities who have been asked, have. Although in Stoke’s case, it took 2 corrupt Mayors before they were given the chance.

  17. I’ve just double checked and as I thought all of these cities rejected the idea: Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Plymouth, Sheffield.

    Liverpool is the only major city to have one and they were never asked.

    Turnout was below 20% in Bedford, Salford & Sunderland.

    Tower Hamlets(!) – a well known saga.

  18. It is 3-3 among those askted to retain/abolish after having experienced the Mayors.

    Many rejected the Mayor idea when first proposed to them, both in the 2001-2002 attempts (11 backed the Mayors porposals and 19 rejected them) and 2012 (only Bristol voted to have the directly mayor).

  19. Leicster is the other one like Liverpool.

  20. Newham is voting on abolishing the mayoralty by 2022 ( a referendum will be held).
    .

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)