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. Ecowirral – since you’ve made a partisan point, as l see it, may l be permitted to reply? lf you’re not economically left-wing, you’re not left-wing, period – surely? I cannot understand how anyone of principle can possibly want George Galloway to win. He is extremely bad on rape and other women’s rights issues, quite apart from anything else. Yes, Labour’s leadership is not left-wing, in terms of a socialist transformation of society, but there are about 30 defending Labour MPs, and some new candidates certain to be elected (e.g. Richard Burgon, Kate Osamor) who are. Surely it is not right to wish defeat on Labour in these circumstances? l am unapologetically left-wing, but l am desperately hoping that Labour takes this seat. Unfortunately, l have less than total confidence that it will happen.

  2. Anyone who is in favour of democracy and decency would want this man to lose. He is a demagogue and a truly divisive influence. Common sense and the ‘comments policy’ advises me to leave it at that.

    I think it will be desperately close here, but I hope that he is defeated.

  3. If he loses I can see him and Respect shifting out of Bradford and the seat should go back to being a fairly secure Labour seat.

  4. I fear Galloway will give way in another 10-15 years to far worse people, playing and even more unpleasant communalist and divisive tune. London, Bradford and Birmingham could all play host to such individuals.

  5. You better not describe me as neo-liberal – nothing could possibly be further than the truth. l am a very radical left-wing socialist.

  6. A radical socialist should surely be voting for & helping TUSC or GREEN party, over the Labour Party, shouldn’t they?

  7. Not at all. TUSC has no MPs, the Greens are a radical non-socialist party with one defending MP, Labour will have about 30 radical socialist MPs in the next parliament and a majority of its membership agrees with left-wing policies on many matters. And, very importantly, Labour can form a government, the others can’t.

  8. It depends on the candidate. Never Mr Galloway though.

  9. Catholic left- “sexual good manners” – a terrible phrase, and potentially politivpcal suicide. However, his intent was very clearly to question the integrity of the accusations against Julian Assange, and not to shift the narrative on sexual violence. Silly and politically unwise-yes. Misogynistic and supporting rapists- no. Also, the fact that his oppenemt happens to be female is irrelevant.

    Barnaby- I wasn’t calling you a neo-liberal. But the fact that you can only say 30 of the 258 labour MPs share your values is quite telling. It sounds like you’d be better placed in the Green Party.

  10. No. l am a socialist, and have profound differences with the ideology of the Green Party. There are many good things about the Green Party, but it is not a socialist party and thus l could never be at home in it.

  11. Many Green members do describe themselves as socialist unless I’m mistaken.

  12. Indeed. Peter Cranie, Peter Tatchell both left Labour for the Greens because it wasn’t socialist enough under Kinnock.

  13. That’s perfectly true, but nowhere in their constitution do the Greens describe themselves as a socialist party. On the other hand, l think Plaid Cymru do, or have done.

  14. Barnaby- So The Green Party aren’t a socialist party (there is an argument for that point of view, but they currently look like one) but the Labour Party ARE? How does that work? Any neutral observer would note that the Greens are, and have been for at least 20 years, to the left of labour. They also have a much higher ratio of members who self-identify as socialist. The Labour party, in that time, have developed an overwhelming majority of their MPs who don’t sekf-identify as socialist, and certainly haven’t acted like socialists in office. Most people don’t want a socialist party, of course, and I’m not saying that being further left makes you automatically correct, but The Green Party ARE to the left of Labour, and it is clearly more justifiable to think of them as a socialist party than labour.

  15. The constitution and aims of a party are much more important than you give them credit. l am in favour of a socialist transformation of society. The fact that Labour governments have, of course, failed to bring such a transformation about, and that on many issues they are more right-wing than the Green Party, does not negate the basic aims, constitution and origins of my party. The Labour Party is, by foundation, the party of the organized working class, as its name suggests. That is still true, inasmuch as most of Britain’s major trade unions remain affiliated to it and play a large role in it. That is why politicians such as John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, Katy Clark and Linda Riordan who favour a socialist transformation of society are in the Labour rather than the Green, or smaller socialist, party/parties. The Green Party has many policies with which l and the above can agree, but it doesn’t offer the transformation of society which would cause me to throw in my lot with it, and while the trade unions remain an integral party of the Labour Party, and while it remains an explicitly socialist party, l’m not leaving to join another one. To have some policies which are better than Labour’s current policies doesn’t make the Greens a socialist party as such, and it doesn’t claim to be one either.

  16. 7 reasons why some the UK working class / poor people could be forgiven for thinking Labour are NOT socialist: (1997-2010)

    1. Very very little building of homes
    2. No effective action against landlords/high rent
    3. No effective action against energy companies
    4. Failure to make pub transport affordable
    5. Failure to act against the banks
    6. Allowing massive flood of cheap labour during 2004-7
    7. No reversal of anti TU laws

  17. oh we know all that. l’m a member of the Labour Party, not the Labour Government. When we vote, we vote for the Labour/Conservative/Green etc. Party Candidate, not for the government. It’s a very important distinction for me.

  18. 7 reasons why some the UK working class / poor people could be forgiven for thinking Labour ARE socialist: (1997-2010).

    1. A minimum wage.
    2. Surestart.
    3. Major public investment in schools and hospitals.
    4. Nationalisation of banks and East Coast Rail.
    5. Windfall tax on energy companies.

    Anyone can cherry pick. Point is, you have to weigh up five or so factors to decide these things:

    – The current policies of a party.
    – The underpinning ideology of a party.
    – The beliefs of a party’s members.
    – A party’s record in office.
    – A party’s ability to win elections.

    The Greens are on the liberal left at the moment. They have some real divisions between their old ecologist past and the new supporters who want them to become the party of the hard left.

  19. I know that was 5 reasons before anyone picks it up!

  20. Number 4 is bordering on being dishonest.

  21. Ecowirral, you only responded to one of my points, completely swerving the one about Mr Galloway’s choice of media employment and his tactics against his Labour opponent.

  22. Catholicleft-It isn’t really my place to defend all of Galloway’s business-I’m not even a Respect voter (though probably would be if I lived in this seat). I said that he’s a dirty campaigner, and I’m not familiar with all his media contracts or relationships. But is your issue with Al Jazeera? If so, why?

  23. I must say that I find Galloway’s appeal totally perplexing. I suppose he is a belligerent, feisty speaker and debater.

  24. Tristan-undoubtedly a good speaker & debater, and he also makes many valid points. He obviously has many flaws too.

    I think lots of people find the idea of many politicians appeal totally perplexing. Michael Gove? Hazel Blears? Esther McVey? All these people and many more have had large numbers of people actually vote for them, and it is difficult to see why. Politics, eh?

  25. Ecowirral, George Galloway is not a presenter for Al Jazeera, a channel I hold in grest esteem. He has a programme on Russia TV, the Putin version of FoxNews – if you get a chance to watch his progamme, it is a doozy – he used to be a presenter on the disgusting Press TV, funded by the Iranian regime, and also worked for a pro-Syrian government TV channel.
    Who would vote for a man who took money from these sources?

  26. “Who would vote for a man who took money from these sources?”

    Muslims in Bradford apparently, despite the widespread hatred of the Shi’a in British Sunni circles.

  27. Deep throat

    This isn’t the place for policy discussion but I take exception to item number 6 on your list. IMO it’s a policy perfectly compatible with socialism and I think its inclusion on that list has very unfortunate implications.

  28. As I say, it isn’t my place to defend Galloway, and I’m not aware of the Russian/Syrian TV thing. I’d need to find out more on it before expressing an opinion. If it is dodgy, than that would probably (in the hypothetical position where I lived in this seat) swing me away from a tactical vote for Respect, to voting “with my heart” for the Greens. But I’m on the fence at the moment.

  29. “We are in last days of the ground war….I live here, I have an office here…I’m winning by a big margin” just said by George Galloway @BBCRadio4, ten minutes ago.

    RESP….4/6 Favourite

  30. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he.

  31. Not only was this an extraordinary by election gain 3 years ago for Galloway but also the Con vote was down from 31% to 8%.

    Surely very few Con voters moved to Galloway and they must have stayed at home or swung to Labour which if so meant Labour suffered an even bigger swing to Respect.

    I find this seat very hard to predict and if pushed would go for narrow Hold by Galloway.

    What do other posters think please? Thanks

  32. The belief that Tory voters wouldn’t switch to Respect in this constituency shows a complete misunderstanding of the way electoral politics works here.
    Mr Galloway is doubtless favourite to hold the seat.

  33. Not sure why my comment of last week is still awaiting moderation.

    Just to repeat: I see the excellent Southall Black Sisters have put up a post on their Facebook page deploring the so-called Respect Party’s disgusting attacks on Naz Shah. Also, has the fascist “Respect Party” done anything to discipline the woman among their ranks who made pro-Hitler remarks a couple of years ago? (Regular readers of the constituency guide will remember I posted a link to the offending comments at the time).

  34. Catholicleft, could you explain the appeal of Galloway to Con voters? I can’t pretend to understand Galloway’s appeal to anyone, so please do enlighten me.

  35. I can see why Labour socialists would not necessarily defect to the Greens: perceptions of the party as single-issue and middle class; lack of explicit support for a traditionally socialist society; etc., but to claim that the Labour party is still a socialist party I think borders on the delusional. It gives the impression that those on Labour’s left wing would happily support the party whatever as long as it still had the word ‘socialist’ in the constitution.

  36. “oh we know all that. l’m a member of the Labour Party, not the Labour Government. When we vote, we vote for the Labour/Conservative/Green etc. Party Candidate, not for the government. It’s a very important distinction for me.”

    That is a very good analogy there, a lot of people are members of political affiliations without agreeing with the decision by their parties when they get power.

  37. I see Galloway is saying today that if he loses Bradford West he will run for Mayor of London.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1470829/galloway-i-will-run-for-mayor-if-mp-bid-fails

  38. Respect win

  39. I’ve been on the ground campaigning in this constituency for the last week so I’ll give a little insight into how its going.

    As an outsider, getting involved in politics in Bradford West is pretty exciting – I’ve never been anywhere with politics like it – its fair to say your average constituency pales into utter boredom compared to the shenanigans here.

    I have to say, things are looking good for Respect – their campaign certainly doesn’t yet have the momentum of the by-election victory in 2012, but the numbers are beginning to swell heading into the final two weeks of the campaign.

    The Asian community by and large still class George Galloway as a friend and it seems many are likely to vote for him as they did in 2012 – Labour’s campaign here seems almost non-existent to me – George Grant, the Conservative candidate, seems to be giving a good go at it in all fairness.

    Bradford politics is very difficult to predict but having been in the constituency a while now, its only given me further confidence that Respect and Galloway will hold here – especially given his huge majority from last time.

  40. Labour Gain. 3,000 majority.

  41. I drove through the Asian areas of the constituency today and I thought Labour won the garden stakes/large poster by 2:1. Interestingly there was one shop with a large Respect poster on jts side with a large Labour poster just below it. Of course poster wars don’t win elections.

  42. No local poll done in this seat and the only seat that YouGov’s Nowcast refuses to predict! We have absolutely nothing to go on other than reports from the constituency itself – and as with all constituencies that is largely going to be from someone involved with one campaign or another.
    In short, almost impossible to call.
    I would say Galloway as he managed it with Oona King in 2005 when I thought he wouldn’t.

  43. A recount ordered reportedly.

  44. Dimbleby now reporting there wasn’t a recount and it seems like Galloway could’ve lost. At least some relief for Labour.

    Glad Naz Shah could be the incoming MP.

  45. Just been mentioned that Galloway has lost!

  46. Galloway officially OUT!!

    Naz Shah wins with an 11,420 majority.

    Good luck to her and one of the nicer moments of the election.

  47. Good riddance to Galloway. Anti Semitic boor.

  48. The Conservative vote share declined by 15.9% could some of that have gone to Labour tactically to keep Galloway out?

  49. Neil, from what I saw on the ground, that is almost certainly a reason behind Shah’s majority. There were a number of Tory voters I spoke to who were voting Labour in order to rid the constituency of George Galloway.

    Some soul searching to be done for him and I’d suggest this could very well be the end of the Respect Party.

  50. Galloway mounting a legal challenge, apparently.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/george-galloway-to-mount-legal-challenge-over-election-defeat

    Hilarious. Hope it costs him a shitload and fails miserably.

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