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 - 220 Responses on “Burnley”
  1. Harry Porter is fine

  2. In small doses yes (to be fair he hardly ever appears here these days)

  3. The Results has never struck me as a troll at all. His contributions are usually quite reasonable.

    Teddy and Robbietriestopredictpolitics are the two who are most egregious, in my mind. Their predictions are often inexplicably bizarre.

  4. Responding to Pete’s question I’m not expecting such huge losses for the LibDs because we all know that LibDems are difficult to dislodge, due to a combination of factors such as personal votes, hard work and nice candidates. The dynamics of any election usually are not uniform and often, parties will win a few and lose a few regardless of national swing. If you were to push me I think we might lose Solihull, possibly redcar, but we could stand to pick up a few close marginals such as Oxford west, Montgommeryshire, Ashfield and Rochdale.

  5. “nice candidates”


  6. Sorry Teddy but the Lib Dems are going to lose a lot more than the handful you suggest. Take a look at the Ashcroft polls summary on the Lib Dem defence list page posted by (I think) Barnaby.

  7. Teddy = JJB

  8. Yes we will definitely take Rochdale, take a look at local elections there and you couldn’t make any other conclusion.

    Teddy, stop trolling

  9. The Lib Dems will lose between 15 (at an absolute minimum) and 35 seats. My current prediction of losses:

    To Tories:
    Mid Dorset
    St. Austell
    Somerton & Frome
    North Cornwall
    Taunton Deane
    Brecon & Radnorshire

    To Labour:
    Norwich South
    Bradford East
    Brent Central
    Manchester Withington
    East Dunbartonshire
    Birmingham Yardley
    Hornsey & Wood Green
    Cardiff Central

    To SNP:
    Argyll & Bute
    Aberdeenshire West
    Edinburgh West
    North East Fife

    So that’s a total of 27 losses by my count, down to 30 seats.

  10. I think Labour will take Cambridge

  11. And I don’t think they’ll lose N.Cornwall, Berwick, Brecon, Bermondsey, W.Aberdeenshire, Inverness or NE Fife….that makes 37 seats – my hunch has always been they will hold closer to 40 than 30.

    We can all nit pick of course.

    But PT Richards’ thought process is unarguable. I’d be surprised if any Lib Dems truly think like Teddy today.

  12. Haven’t the Lib Dems been quite resilient B’ham Yardley in the local elections since 2010? It’s not an impossible Labour gain, but it won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch.

    Bermondsey & Old Southwark will be with the Lib Dems as long as Simon Hughes is the MP.

  13. I am fairly confident that the lib Dems will be 3rd in w Aberdeenshire, but predicting the winner is tricky.

  14. “But PT Richards’ thought process is unarguable. ”

    I’m not sure about that. Until just a few weeks ago he had the LDs “shock hold”ing everywhere and set to pick up quite a handful of others.

  15. No, Robberbutton, I said there was a chance of a shock hold in a number of seats, never did I predict one, because, well, the definition of the word “shock” would preclude that. I still think we’ll see some from my list held and some off it lost. That’s how elections work.

    They might pick up one (not entirely unlikely, even), but it’s impossible to say where.

  16. Watford is probably the most likely seat for a lib dem pick up.

  17. Ashcroft:

    LAB 38
    UKIP 25
    LD 23
    CON 11
    OTH 4

  18. Yeah P.T Richards sticking up for the results as per. I Wonder why…

  19. The Results literally has not commented on this for a month, Robbie! I am not the Results! PLEASE STOP!

    Anthony, can you please make this endless stream of accusations against me stop? It is incredibly irritating and does not deserve a place here!

  20. UKIP have just nominated their local Branch Chairman, Tom Commis, as their Parliamentary Candidate for the General Election on May 7th.

  21. You kno

  22. sorry. As I was saying, you know, I’ve noticed a few LD seats where a large BNP vote, probably taken from Labour has allowed to liberals to prevail in the lib-lab marginals in 2010. Just an observation.

  23. Tory candidate is Sarah Cockburn-Price:


  24. Allegra Stratton just used this seat (and Birmingham Yardley) as an example of a Lib Dem “fortress” seat in her piece.

    Clearly someone doesn’t understand…

  25. And then there were five, the GREEN party have recently selected the magnificently bearded Mike Hargreaves, as their Parliamentary Candidate for the Burnley Constituency..which was assisted by their raising £550 through “Crowd-funder”.

  26. burnley a fortress? that’s crap journalism. other instances include the bbc yesterday – after saying that the west midlands is a battleground, they chose birmingham ladywood of all places for a mini-straw poll! l think you can guess which party the passers-by were supporting. then the argus in brighton had an article which said, apropos of pavilion, ”the greens claim to be 10% ahead”. they can do so with some justification, seeing that that’s what the ashcroft poll said….

  27. “Allegra Stratton just used this seat (and Birmingham Yardley) as an example of a Lib Dem “fortress” seat in her piece.”

    Like Jericho…

  28. Oh dear. I don’t think Burnley is in the same category as Yardley.

  29. The profile of Ladywood was hilarious. They went to the Midlands because it has ‘many marginal seats’ which the on the spot reporter proceeded to repeat, talking about how key the Midlands was. He then did an in-depth profile of B’ham Ladywood and interviewed the Green candidate. An utterly bemusing bit of reporting.

  30. What that likely means is that an interview was cancelled while they were going to report on it. The reporter was told “stop wherever you are and get something from somebody about that seat”.

  31. Green Candidate, Mike Hargreaves, is a former member of the Punk Bank, the “Not-Sensibles”, who had a minor hit with the ironically titled, “I’m in love with Margaret Thatcher”, a song which reached 35 in the Top 40, following her death last year…
    He wishes to provide a Socialist option for the electors of Burnley, and works as a Nurse, specialising in working with people with a Learning Disability, according to the local press.

  32. I assume this is one of the few seats the BNP are standing in again. Andy JS – have you any listed? I heard Derek? Adams was standing again in a Greater Manchester seat. Think he was Blackley last time.

  33. Confirmed that there are 5 Candidates for the Parliamentary Seat….Conservatives,Greens,Labour,Liberal Democrats & UKIP…
    BNP conspicuous by their absence…

    In the Locals, Labour & the L/D’s have a full slate,Tories & UKIP 12/11 out of 15…Greens contesting 5/15…and TUSC and the BNP one each…



  35. I make no claim to have polled anyone but already available evidence allows me to make a not dissimilar guess.

  36. Just under 3 weeks out…I predict

    Lab 34%
    L/D 25%
    UKIP 22%
    Con 13%
    Green 6%

    I may be wrong but if people think UKIP are going to poll sub 15% here, they are mislead….

  37. http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2015/01/burnley/
    Ashcroft poll from last october.
    Reasonably close to your prediction radio.

  38. Update…Labour are getting big names to visit..they stay for 40 minutes..have a photo with activists..buy a sandwich at a local shop and then scarper..modern campaigning at it’s worst..Ed Balls,Stella Creasey & Eddie Izzard within the last 2 weeks…no notice in local press & certainly not allowed to speak to ordinary people…also two letters a week to each voter which is getting very wearing on the locals..
    Conservatives..odd leaflet from local Candidates but nothing from Parliamentary Candidate, but their web-site has been updated for the first time since 2013..
    Lib/Dems…hoping to be re-elected Gordon Birtwistle is leafleting and sending out Lib-Dem pseudo-newspapers for fun..all of which have no mention of Clegg, airbrushed from history like some disgraced member of the Politburo.
    UKIP…Trying their best with very limited resources. Couple of ads in local papers, letters to postal voters, and an active facebook presence…
    Greens…One banner seen in the back of a car and a very poor performance at local hustings..no leaflets

  39. Don’t think it will be that close ideal4radio.

    Labour should just manage to clear 40%. UKIP looks too high, sub 20% is more like it.

  40. The local LibDems seem to think they have a fair chance here.

    My source believes that the Labour candidate is very unpopular but that some of Birtwistle’s voting in the HoC will count against him with voters.

    Personally I think the LibDems are being optimistic as I can’t see them holding on here but I’ve been wrong before.

  41. LDs will do well to keep it within 8% of Labour

  42. Labour by 5,000 over LD

  43. Labour Gain. 6,500 majority.

  44. Approaching the end, Birtwistle’s support holding up amongst older,traditional voters,Burnley’s above average Catholic community,& some Asian heritage voters..due to his vote against Gay marriage..
    Labour have thrown everything at this, despite a poor Candidate..& have come under criticism for de-selecting their own respected Councillor, John Fifield, only to have him replaced by former Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik’s sister in his safe Labour ward.Their father Rafiq Malik, is a former Mayor.
    Burnley Labour operates a woman only short-list…fast forward to 2020 and go figure…
    UKIP plough on with a small budget and very committed Candidate….
    The Conservatives,with their “Jolly Hockey Sticks” Candidate, having resorted to dying a Sheep Blue on a local farm, are constantly tweeting that simply everyone they meet are voting Conservative…
    The Greens seem to have protested about the effect that printing leaflets have had on the planet, and gone home, as I’ve met no-one who’ve even had a leaflet…

  45. The swing was 6% from LD to Lab. Good but not that impressive:


  46. Considering the national picture, the defending L/D Gordon Birtwistle polled very well, down only 6.2%…with Labour’s Julie Cooper up 6.3%. Apart from 18 months in 1931/2, this seat has always been Labour until Birtwistle’s shock win in 2010. IMHO, he ran a strong campaign & got a large personal vote which is unlikely to be replicated in future for the L/D’s.
    It may look like a straight swing,but I think there’s more to it than that…some Conservatives stayed loyal at the local elections,but voted L/D to try to stop Labour at the GE, some of the trad. L/D protest vote went UKIP especially from ex-Labour voters. Greens took 850 votes from mainly student & old hippy vote..and ex BNP were split Lab/UKIP/DNV..
    UKIP did get a number of voters to vote who’d been inactive for many years.
    Labour threw the kitchen sink at this,with Unite Union backing, 4 Campaign Offices open in a small Lancashire Mill Town Constituency..& still their Candidate returned the 2nd lowest share of the vote since WW1..the lowest ? The same Candidate in 2010 !!

  47. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESEFnrYsdPw

    This is a long tape of the count – these can be quite interesting – not really here.
    The Returning Officer just gave the result without inviting the candidates into a group.

  48. Curiously strong Lib Dem showing here compared to the disaster that befell them generally. Their vote is still well above where it was in 2005 and one could imagine them challenging again strongly here.

    The Labour vote seems particularly weak in this seat given both its history and demographic, although I guess the BNP vote between 2001-10 and the UKIP vote in 2015 were composed of a good proportion of ex-Labour voters. I think Labour will remain very vulnerable in this seat.

  49. Gordon Birtwistle might have been quite popular locally here I think, perhaps restricting the swing against the Lib Dems in losing the seat to Labour.

  50. I don’t know why the candidates weren’t invited onto the stage by the returning officer here- I think it varies in some cases; sometimes you’ll get returning officers who will automatically invite all candidates onto the stage for the entire declaration, some don’t at all for whatever reason- There are others who do invite the candidates onto the stage, but only after the declaration has been made by the returning officer themselves i.e. they are all allowed to make speeches. The number of candidates who are allowed to speak after the result is declared tends to vary as well- a lot only let the winner speak, some let every candidate say a few words.

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)