Bradford West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6160 (15.3%)
Labour: 19977 (49.6%)
Lib Dem: 1173 (2.9%)
Green: 1085 (2.7%)
UKIP: 3140 (7.8%)
Respect: 8557 (21.2%)
Independent: 100 (0.2%)
Others: 98 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 11420 (28.3%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, West Yorkshire. Part of Bradford council area.

Main population centres: Bradford, Thornton.

Profile: Covers Bradford city centre and the area around the university, the northern suburb of Heaton and the more Conservative villages of Clayton and Thornton on the outskirts of the city. It is a seat with a young population, problems of poverty and deprivation and a high proportion of ethnic minorties. It has the highest proportion of people from a Pakistani background and the second highest proportion of Muslims, particularly in the inner-city Manningham area to the north of the City Centre. There is a history of racial tensions here, with riots breaking out in the Manningham area in 1995 and 2001.

Politics: Prior to boundary changes in 1974 Bradford West was a marginal seat, but since then it has normally been Labour. Racial politics have had a major impact here, particularly the birideri clan system amongst Kashmiri voters. It has a history of moving against the trend - in the Labour landslide of 1997, the seat swung towards the Conservatives as they put up a popular Muslim candidate Mohammed Riaz against Labour`s Sikh candidate Marsha Singh. Singh himself remained MP here until 2012, but his later years were marred by ill-health and absence, and he eventually resigned his seat in early 2012, dying later the same year.

The 2012 by-election that followed Singh`s resignation produced a shock win for George Galloway, the former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Appealling to disaffected Labour voters, disatisfaction with the dominance of Kashmiri clan politics in the local politics and trading on his own fame from his opposition to the Iraq war and appearances on Press TV, Galloway managed to achieve the largest by-election swing since 1983, which he referred to as the "Bradford Spring". He was defeated at the subsequent General Election when the seat returned to Labour.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in LAB WIN. For full details see here.


Current MP
NAZ SHAH (Labour) Born Bradford. First elected as MP for Bradford West in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 12638 (31%)
Lab: 18401 (45%)
LDem: 4732 (12%)
BNP: 1370 (3%)
Oth: 3435 (8%)
MAJ: 5763 (14%)
2005*
Con: 11544 (32%)
Lab: 14570 (40%)
LDem: 6620 (18%)
BNP: 2525 (7%)
Oth: 1110 (3%)
MAJ: 3026 (8%)
2001
Con: 14236 (37%)
Lab: 18401 (48%)
LDem: 2437 (6%)
GRN: 2672 (7%)
Oth: 624 (2%)
MAJ: 4165 (11%)
1997
Con: 15055 (33%)
Lab: 18932 (42%)
LDem: 6737 (15%)
Oth: 3496 (8%)
MAJ: 3877 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
GEORGE GRANT (Conservative) Educated at Edinburgh University. Business development manager and former journalist.
NAZ SHAH (Labour) Born Bradford.
ALUN GRIFFITHS (Liberal Democrat)
HARRY BOOTA (UKIP) Born Pakistan. Educated at Fairfax Grammar school. Businessman and former serviceman.
CELIA HICKSON (Green)
THERESE HIRST (English Democrat) Educated at Durham University. Retired RE teacher. Contested Bradford South 2005 for Veritas.
GEORGE GALLOWAY (Respect) Born 1954, Dundee. Educated at Harris Academy. MP for Glasgow Hillhead 1987-1997, MP for Glasgow Kelvin 1997-2005, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow 2005-2010. Contested Poplar and Limehouse 2010. MP for Bradford West 2012-2015. A flamboyant left-winger, talented orator and outspoken critic of Tony Blair and George W Bush, long involved in Palestinian and Arab causes. He opposed the 1991 Gulf war and travelled to Iraq several times, meeting both Saddam Hussein and Tariq Aziz and in 1998 founded a charity to campaign against sanctions on Iraq. He opposed the Iraq War and in 2003 was expelled from the Labour party for making comments encouraging British troops to refuse to obey illegal orders, he subsequently helped found the Respect party. He was elected in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005 on a pledge to serve only one term, in 2010 he contested the neighbouring seat but lost. He resurfaced again in the 2012 Bradford West by-election.
JAMES KIRKCALDY (Independent)
Links
Comments - 464 Responses on “Bradford West”
  1. I think Respect could hold this seat, although their margin would only be about three figures rather than the huge majority they had at the by-election, due to a larger turnout of Labour votes. Labour would need to improve drastically if they have any hope of regaining next time.
    Prediction- Respect hold (only just though)

  2. I’d really not bet money on that HISTORIAN1986.

    I think there is every chance that the Pakistani community in Bradford West will be left with as much egg on their face for electing Galloway as the Bangladeshi community were in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005. Sooner or later they will realise what an unprincipled carpetbagging opportunist he is, and how they were used by him to further his ego.

    Galloway’s demise in Bradford West could be accelerated if he’s as poor a constituency MP as he was in Bethnal Green and Bow, although I can’t say I have any direct information about this.

  3. I expect Galloway to hold on here, though with a reduced majority. Come 2015, some of his sheen will have come off, there will be an increased turnout of Labour-supporting voters – particularly, and I hate to phrase it this way but it’s true, white Labour voters – and some voters who opted for Galloway in the by-election will switch back knowing the formation of the government is at stake. But, I expect this decline won’t be enough, like it was for GG in 2010, to offset the still-passionate supporters of GG. Plus, I haven’t heard that the Labour council there has improved much since, so that’ll feed in still, and no doubt people will vote for him as the anti-establishment candidate. Basically, it won’t be anything near the gobsmacking victory of 2012, but I expect it’ll be a victory.

  4. I’m still surprised though that Respect didn’t do better at the council election last May. I fully expected the momentum of Galloway’s victory to carry on over. Does partly demonstrate I suppose how much of a one-man band Respect really is.

  5. George Galloway claimed that his by-election victory was the most outstanding ever “bar none”.

    He was, of course, wrong…

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FLincoln_by-election%2C_1973&ei=QYlVUaW6CMLb0QWkyIDYAw&usg=AFQjCNGy9Cx1tgYkWUmHf1B9AQHf5Scbig&bvm=bv.44442042,d.d2k

    Incidentally, it’s almost exactly 40 years to the day since the Lincoln by-election.

  6. I hadn’t realised the White UK population was as low as 32% here, especially given the BNP vote at the last 2 Generals.

  7. ‘I hadn’t realised the White UK population was as low as 32% here, especially given the BNP vote at the last 2 Generals.’

    I would have thought that is precisely why the BNP got what they did in the last two elections

  8. The white British % here has fallen staggeringly fast…from vague memory it was 60-70% in 2001. Also the races in the seat are very divided geographically. Both these factors help the BNP.

  9. Galloway signalling that he wants to jump ship already:

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/george-galloway-considers-run-for-mayor-of-london-8652106.html

    Wonder what the implications are for next General Election both if he does or doesn’t.

  10. Clearly the implication would be big if he didn’t stand. One of Respect’s problems (and I include a present inability to appeal to WWC voters), is that it has never, and continues to, show very little evidence of moving away from an appearance as a one-man band. Obviously, there are other figures in the party (heck, Galloway isn’t the leader), but ask anyone to think of any other Respect person and you’d be left wanting with most voters. Galloway had a pull factor because he’s a larger than life character, whilst any hoped-for successor is likely not to have that.

    Add to that all the reasons above in this thread on why I, and others think, Respect’s vote would fall even if Galloway stood, and Respect are in real trouble if Galloway doesn’t stand. Even more so if he stands for London – talk about looking as if you’re abandoning your constituents.

  11. Surely what is going to make the difference is who stands for Labour should Galloway stand down – which I think likely.
    Being a diligent constituency MP has never really been part of his profile

  12. If Galloway stands down, Labour will win. However Galloway seems further stuck in here than Bethnal Green and Bow as the majority is enormous. His vote share here (if he contests it again) would be well down on the by-election but Labour would struggle to shift him, and frankly their efforts are best placed elsewhere.

  13. 3/1 seems like very reasonable odds on Respect at PaddyPower – any reason why Labour are so short at 1/5? I thought this seat was a tossup, possibly even leaning to Respect.

  14. Just checked out Odds Checker and was surprised to see Labour as favourites in Bradford West. I think that George Galloway’s 12000 majority will be down to 2 of 3 thousand but I can’t see him losing.

    Bradford West Lab 4/11 Respect 6/4

    Brighton Pavilion Green 5/6 Lab 6/5

    I also see the Greens holding on more securely in Brighton Pavilion.

    Broxtowe Lab 1/3 Con 11/4

    I see Broxtowe as being closer.

    Cambridge Lab 4/6 LD 6/4

    I agree with Cambridge, a close result with Labour being slightly favoured.

    Cardiff Central Lab 4/9 LD 2

    Agreed, Lib Dems doomed here.

    Corby Lab 2/17 Con 6

    A by election loss that will be hard to regain, but the odds suggest a large Labour majority.

    Eastleigh LD 8/15 Con 3

    Weighted in favour of the Lib Dems but I question the margin of victory.

    Hove Lab 1/3 Con 3

    Disagree, I think Hove will be close.

    Inverness LD 4/5 Lab 11/4 SNP 3

    I think Labour will be third here (albeit a relatively close third). LD hold and SNP second.

    Kingswood Lab 1/4 Con 3

    Don’t see Labour winning by this margin.

    Sheffield Hallam LD 1/3 Lab 4

    Agreed. I could see tacticle voting here going from Lab supporters voting LD to keep the Tories out the Tories voting LD to Labour out. I am certain that Clegg will hold on, but also that Lab will take second place.

    Watford 4/7 Lab Con 2

    I am not certain of a Labour victory here, and certainly not by this margin.

    Wolverhampton SW Lab 1/3 Con 3

    A likely Labour gain.

  15. I wouldn’t mind betting on a Tory hold in Kingswood based on those odds!

  16. This seat didn’t even make it onto Labour’s target list for 2015, so perhaps they’ve resigned themselves to the possibility of Galloway holding. If he decides to stand again, he’ll probably hold but on a reduced majority. Labour should increase their vote share, but I don’t think it’d be enough. Tory and Lib Dem vote shares could decline further.

    Thing is though, he could quit Respect and still hold as an independent as the party is simply a vehicle for him more than anything else. If Galloway stood down in 2015, this would be a clear Labour gain (much like Bethnal Green in 2010).

  17. The reason why Labour have not put it as a target seat is because they consider it a hold. They know they’ll take it back come 2015 and are not going to put money into a by-election freak win but will put money into taking back marginals that they will win back. Galloway has confirmed he will stand for Mayor of London in 2016 in The Standard, so he knows he is gone. He’s very unpopular in Bradford West.

  18. I doubt he is THAT unpopular. Most people don’t have much contact with their MP and if they voted for him in huge numbers before, why would they not do so again?

    Galloway’s problem, as it was to a degree in 2010, is that when you have general elections where the govt is likely to change, his vote gets squeezed. So he can win in by elections, or like in 2005 when Labour were going to win anyway, but in 2015 people are more likely to vote Labour to keep the Tories out.

    It will be interesting to see if he even stands now. Going into a London mayoral campaign whilst still representing a northern city won’t be helpful, but then he won’t want to be out of parliament either.

  19. It would be extremley arrogant of labour to presume this would be gained. It would also be puzzling as to why it would not be considered a possible gain.

    All in all, the absence of this seat from the target list is very strange.

  20. I couldn’t possibly disagree with Bob less. Evidence, dear boy, evidence? What evidence is there that Galloway is unpopular in Bradford W?
    I personally totally abhor Galloway, but if he does present himself to the starting post in 2015 I think it would be very hard for Labour to beat him. If he does stand down, however, it would clearly be a Labour regain.

  21. The reason why this is not such an easy ‘regain’ for Labour is the scale of the Respect majority in the by election.

    I also see the Respect vote as being more solid in the longer term here than in Bethnal Green & Bow.

  22. I agree with others that Labour shouldn’t behave arrogantly about this seat. As Barnaby said, what evidence is there that GG is unpopular locally? I don’t like Galloway’s politics at all, but the local Bradford Labour party did themselves no favours, after years of mismanaging the city.

    On the flip side, Bradford West or any other seat with a similar demographic profile, will come out for the individual and not the party. Respect has always seemed like a one-man project. In London, they gained representation in Tower Hamlets and Newham, only to see them collapse in 2010. Galloway and Salma Yaqoob (before she quit the party) are/were the only recognisable faces of Respect. Without a prominent figure, I daresay Respect won’t amount to much.

  23. I meant “I could not AGREE with Bob less”, of course, as should be clear from the rest of my contribution.

  24. The depressing reality is I suspect that Galloway’s brand of politics is actually quite appealing to many voters in this constituency

  25. He probably lost a lot of support of women voters after those disgusting remarks last summer. Wasn’t that a contributing factor to the Respect leader resigning?

  26. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-23690063

    So maybe internal party problems and Galloway’s insatiable ego might just hand this back to Labour.

  27. My personal opinion is as long as Galloway keeps on about British troops in foreign lands and all the usual anti British rubbish that he comes out with, a large section of the 51.3% Muslim community here (probably larger by now) will vote for him in 2015. No doubt more moderate Muslims will shift back to Labour but this seat will not be a straight forward easy gain for Labour.

    It goes to show that for all Labours gerrymandering through mass immigration (see Mandelson and Neathers remarks) their new core vote can still abandon them.

    The key will be where the White propulation decide to cast their vote. If they stick with respect to punish Labour then Galloway will hold. If they move back to Labour then Labour may just scrape through…..or if they back the Tories (as in 2010) then Galloway will be safe.

  28. True, didn’t think of it in that way. Also depends if Galloway bothers to stand again though. If he doesn’t Respect would crumble in Bradford.

  29. I feel the need to repeat myself again, Galloway is not going to be re-elected and he knows it.

  30. “Also depends if Galloway bothers to stand again though. If he doesn’t Respect would crumble in Bradford”

    Yes, he may not bother but I think his chances here are far better than if he stood in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2010. IMO if Galloway thinks he’s likely to lose, he will stand down but if the signs are showing Respect and Labour fairly close then he may risk it and stand again.

    Why are you so sure he’s got no chance HH? Maybe there is something I’m not thinking about.

  31. Paddy Power seem to agree with Hemmelig’s assessment of Galloway’s chances of being re-elected. They are the only firm pricing up this seat at the moment and offer 4-11 Labour, 6-4 Respect.

    I actually think that 6-4 represents a bit of value, as this is not an easy seat to predict. I agree with L Bernard that Galloway is pretty good at pushing the right buttons of voters in seats like this.

    However I am not tempted by a bet that would require me to tie up my money until the spring of 2015 when I don’t see anything happening in the intervening time to shift those odds appreciably. National polls don’t mean a lot in the context of this seat.

  32. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/george-galloways-respect-party-in-turmoil-over-his-plan-to-stand-for-london-mayor-8771395.html

    And the plot thickens. Make friends in 2012, then alienate them. Respect is a misnomer since Galloway shows none of it to the very people who (foolishly) put their trust in him.

    PS If he thinks he’s in with a chance of becoming London mayor, he’s even more barmy than I thought.

    Since GG has been on this ego trip for the last 7 or 8 years, the Scots have so far been the only people wise enough to reject his politics (2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections).

  33. I feel sort of sorry for those who thought that Respect was a respectable left-wing alternative to the Labour Party. It is, and will be until it ceases to exist, a vehicle for the ego of one man. And he had the rind to call Christopher Hitchens a popinjay.

  34. I feel rather sorry for Salma Yaqoob, though she should have had the bravery to say no to GG joining.

  35. Galloway was the leading figure in the party from its foundation, although it originally included the SWP as a counterpoint to his control. Yaqoob could have chosen not to join, but she wasn’t in any position to exclude Galloway.

  36. The SWP was always an odd fit with Galloway & it was no surprise that they departed quickly. It was an oddly opportunist moment in the party’s history.

  37. 2015 will be a fairly close election that can go either way. Labour will plausibly be able to argue that a vote for Galloway will be a vote to keep the Tories in office (given that he hardly ever votes in the commons).

    I think people are vastly underestimating the fact that very many muslims will return to Labour in the general election, especially given what I say in the first paragraph. In 2015, bread and butter domestic issues will be more important to many muslim voters than increasingly distant arguments about Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I still think there’s a fair chance Galloway might not even stand for re-election.

  38. There probably is a seat somewhere that Galloway could win in 2015. It’s just a question of which one.

  39. Conservative Home reports that all the 5 Respect councillors in Bradford – 2 of whom had already been suspended for daring to criticize Galloway – have now resigned from the party. The wheels are falling off now.

  40. Interesting. I said earlier in this thread that a Galloway re-election here was his to lose, but quite clearly he’s doing what he can to throw that away. I expect he retains a large and very committed base of voters, and I still think he could win re-election, but he’s trying his very best to let his ego sabotage his network of activists.

    And that’s even presuming he stands again. I was intrigued to read these gems on his Twitter account (no, I don’t follow him, just decided to look him up today);

    In response to someone lambasting him for possibly not running again – ‘I never said I would remain in parliament. Never. Sometimes I think I should other times not. Plenty of time to decide’

    In response to a former voter of his suggesting he’s just using Bradford as a stepping stone for London – ‘stepping stone? Was Bethnal Green stepping stone to Bradford? London election is in 2016. My Bradford term ends 2015’

    If there was doubt before, there isn’t now: he’s clearly eyeing a run for Mayor.

  41. I hope Galloway’s Student +Muslim electoral coalition falls apart in 2015.

  42. No need to hope. It WILL fall apart given the reports of his new ambition. All the Respect councillors are sitting as independents and no one even knows it exists unless he is making some kind of noise.

  43. George Galloway has surely finally lost the plot if he thinks he can win the London Mayoral election. He very narrowly won in Bethnal Green at the height of the Iraq war, and was soundly beaten in Poplar and Limehouse in 2010.

    He is undoubtedly a great speaker and a big personality, but he is not even popular with all left wing voters, let alone centre ground or Tory voters. The reason Boris has managed to be successfully elected twice is because he can rely on Tory voters AND get support from elsewhere.

    If Galloway wishes to remain in politics his best bet is to stay where he is and try to get re elected in Bradford.

  44. “but he is not even popular with all left wing voters”

    This is very true. It was well highlighted in left-leaning Scotland where he stood in the 2011 Parliamentary election there and was roundly rejected by voters.

    He has managed to destroy relations with the very people who were attracted to Respect in the first place. Lesson: Galloway might accuse other people of having problems with him. That doesn’t explain why people from different parties/organisations can’t work with him.

  45. Hector is quite correct. I am very left-wing, but totally abhor George Galloway. I don’t see anything socialist about most of his beliefs, and would certainly not even for a moment consider voting for him as Mayor of London.

  46. ‘I am very left-wing, but totally abhor George Galloway.’

    Whereas I am more to the centre, but actually quite respect him

    He talks a hell of a lot of rubbish and whilst i don’t agree with the vast majority his beliefs (they are surely Socialist Barnaby if nothing else) he is the only politician willing to say how it is with tregards to Israel, despite the obvious threats to his own life through doing so (Mossad kill anyone in any position of authjority they believe to be anti Israeli) and he’s the only politician I have ever known of to run rings around a senate committe and show their members for the self-serving, greedy, unintelligent and incompetent tw*ts some of us always suspected they were

    He;s also a good orator – and there aren’t many in British politics today

  47. His pandering to the most reactionary & misogynist elements within the Muslim community is utterly opposed to socialism as I understand it. I am personally all in favour of criticism of Israel, but Galloway in my opinion has a simplistic “Arab good, Jew bad” outlook which makes him an anti-Semite in my book. And those who know me know full well I do not bandy such words around lightly.
    I can quite understand if Anthony decides to snip this but I couldn’t let everything you said Tim go unanswered.

  48. I was flicking through between the BBC & Sky News channels coverage of Kiev and the President fleeing etc. Galloway was on Russia Today defending Venezuela with a Chilean Communist and some woman even defended N Korea. You really couldn’t make it up!

  49. Why is RT even broadcasted in this country? I find certain things BBC News runs bordering on propaganda, but RT is seriously taking piss.

    Venezuela is a country venerated like some sort of goddess by western ultra left types (think SWP). Like Maduro they love bandying the word fascist around.

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