2015 Result:
Conservative: 5374 (13.5%)
Labour: 14951 (37.6%)
Lib Dem: 11707 (29.5%)
Green: 850 (2.1%)
UKIP: 6864 (17.3%)
MAJORITY: 3244 (8.2%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. The whole of the Burnley council area.

Main population centres: Burnley, Padiham.

Profile: Covers the towns of Burnley and Padiham, both former industrial towns that grew up around the weaving and coal mining industry and are now more dormitory towns for Manchester and Blackburn, linked by the M65. The town has struggled economically, with other major employers like Michelin and Gardner Aerospace also closing in recent decades. There is a significant Asian population concentrated largely in the Daneshouse and Stoneyholme areas and Burnley has a history of racial tension, including riots in 2001.

Politics: Historically Burnley has been a safe Labour seat, but the Liberal Democrats gained strength in recent decades and briefly managed to hold the seat between 2010 and 2015 after the former MP Kitty Ussher stood down having been embroiled in the expenses scandal. There was also significant BNP strength here before the party`s self destruction, the party got over 10% of the vote in the 2001 and 2005 elections and returned local borough councillors..

Current MP
JULIE COOPER (Labour) Former teacher and owner of a pharmacy business. Burnley councillor since 2005, former leader of Burnley council. Contested Burnley 2010. First elected as MP for Burnley in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 6950 (17%)
Lab: 13114 (31%)
LDem: 14932 (36%)
BNP: 3747 (9%)
Oth: 3102 (7%)
MAJ: 1818 (4%)
Con: 4206 (11%)
Lab: 14999 (38%)
LDem: 9221 (24%)
BNP: 4003 (10%)
Oth: 6554 (17%)
MAJ: 5778 (15%)
Con: 7697 (21%)
Lab: 18195 (49%)
LDem: 5975 (16%)
BNP: 4151 (11%)
Oth: 866 (2%)
MAJ: 10498 (28%)
Con: 9148 (20%)
Lab: 26210 (58%)
LDem: 7877 (17%)
MAJ: 17062 (38%)

2015 Candidates
SARAH COCKBURN-PRICE (Conservative) Pendle councillor.
JULIE COOPER (Labour) Former teacher and owner of a pharmacy business. Burnley councillor since 2005, former leader of Burnley council. Contested Burnley 2010.
GORDON BIRTWISTLE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1943, Oswaldtwistle. Engineer. Burnley councillor since 1982, Leader of Burnley council 2006-2010. Contested Burnley 1992, 1997, 2005. MP for Burnley 2010 to 2015. PPS to Danny Alexander 2010-2012.
Comments - 210 Responses on “Burnley”
  1. If you go off the county elections, the anti-Labour vote being split more or less equally between the Tories and the Lib Dems could actually mean that Labour increase their majority even if they have a decline in votes.

    E.g. If the Tories and Lib Dems get say 10k each, Labour is home and dry.

    Also, working in Burnley I’ve seen very little presence on the ground from either the Tories or Liberals. Labour garden stakes and posters all over the place. Then I hear the Tory candidate is on holiday and the local Lib Dems are at war with one another (some became independents recently and apparently two of the remaining Lib Dems had a punch up last week!).

  2. An increased Labour vote, for Julie Cooper.
    The Tories in second place, the Lib Dems collapsed.
    Probably not much of a surprise actually.

  3. Perhaps more of a surprise that Birtwistle had managed to hold up as well as he did two years ago and only collapsed this time round?

  4. I think it’s reasonable to say that this place isn’t natural liberal territory – let’s not forget it was the only place UKIP got a councillor elected in this year’s locals. It only fell into their hands due to a couple of specific events. First, in 2005 the Iraq War pushed many of the city’s sizeable Asian population into their hands, and then in 2010 the fallout from the sitting MP’s expenses abuse pushed them over the line. I imagine 2010 will be the only time they ever win the seat, even if one day the party has 50+ MPs again.

  5. I quite agree yes. It really makes it all the more commendable on the part of Birtwistle I reckon that he was able to limit the damage of his loss in 2015 to the extent he did- perhaps an indication of a personal vote having been built up being retained at the time maybe?

  6. Then again Burnley can be a politically volatile town, much like its East Lancs neighbour Blackburn tends to be from time to time.

  7. There are clear limits to Blackburn’s volatility. Apart from the time when it was divided into 2 seats between 1950 & 1955, one of which was Tory, it’s not been a proper marginal at any time since WWII, but more like a semi-marginal. Even in 1983 Blackburn was pretty easily held by Labour.

  8. Both Labour and Conservative vote shares were down in 1992, with the Lib Dems actually increasing against the national trend.

  9. Also the Lib Dems held up pretty well here as well that year by 1992 standards.

  10. 3 UKIP Cllrs (Tom Commis, Peter Gill & Alan Hosker) have defected to the Brexit Party here.

    I recall Commis was a young PPC in 2015 and Hosker is also a County Cllr. They are typical of youngish new successful activists in all Parties in the North West.

    Burnley still has 7 Groups on the Council.

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