Calder Valley

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23354 (43.6%)
Labour: 18927 (35.4%)
Lib Dem: 2666 (5%)
Green: 2090 (3.9%)
UKIP: 5950 (11.1%)
Others: 554 (1%)
MAJORITY: 4427 (8.3%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Brighouse, Hipperholme.

Profile: Calder Valley starts with the reservoirs and moorlands of the Pennines before following the string of towns along the Calder Valley westwards and circling south around Halifax to include Elland, Brighouse and Hipperholme. These are mostly former mill towns, now turned dormitory towns for Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford. Hebden Bridge in the constituency has a reputation for being bohemian and counter-cultural, and reportedly has the highest proportion of lesbian residents of any town in Britain.

Politics: A key marginal seat between Labour and the Conservatives. Its predecessor Sowerby was held by Labour from the war until the 1970s, it fell to the Tories in 1979 and was Conservative throughout the 1980s until being won by Labour in their 1997 landslide. It was regained by the Conservatives in 2010.

Current MP
CRAIG WHITTAKER (Conservative) Born 1962, Radcliffe. Educated at Belmont High School. Former retail manager. Calderdale councillor 2003-2011. First elected as MP for Calder Valley in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 20397 (39%)
Lab: 13966 (27%)
LDem: 13037 (25%)
BNP: 1823 (4%)
Oth: 2557 (5%)
MAJ: 6431 (12%)
Con: 17059 (36%)
Lab: 18426 (39%)
LDem: 9027 (19%)
BNP: 1887 (4%)
Oth: 1371 (3%)
MAJ: 1367 (3%)
Con: 17150 (36%)
Lab: 20244 (43%)
LDem: 7596 (16%)
GRN: 1034 (2%)
Oth: 1401 (3%)
MAJ: 3094 (7%)
Con: 19795 (35%)
Lab: 26050 (46%)
LDem: 8322 (15%)
Oth: 919 (2%)
MAJ: 6255 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CRAIG WHITTAKER (Conservative) See above.
JOSHUA FENTON-GLYNN (Labour) Born Hebden Bridge. Educated at Calder High School and Liverpool University. Trade union officer.
ALISDAIR CALDER MCGREGOR (Liberal Democrat) IT Service Analyst.
PAUL GRAHAM ROGAN (UKIP) Born Manchester. Businessman and smallholder. Contested Calder Valley 2010 for the English Democrats.
JENNY SHEPHERD (Green) Writer, lecturer and filmaker.
ROD SUTCLIFFE (Yorkshire First) Born Halifax. Retired doctor.
JOE STEAD (World Peace through Song) Folk musician.
Comments - 172 Responses on “Calder Valley”
  1. Think this may be trending Labour’s way slightly possibly- probably down to the Hebden Bridge influence.

  2. ”A good result for Labour here.”

    Yes it was. However when I saw the Tories had lost Colne Valley I was actually a bit surprised that they clung on in Calder Valley as I had previously assumed Labour would do better in Calder Valley due to it containing some very Corbynista elements. I suppose the Tories must have done fairly well in Brighouse and environs which was just enough to bail them out from the huge pro-Labour swing in the Hebden Bridge area.

  3. I think JFG will get this at his third attempt of trying, even if said election won’t be with us for another two or three years say. He’s come this far- indeed he secured a swing in his favour in 2015 significantly against the national trend; I suspect he’ll be looking to finish the job for the party here locally and take the seat from Craig Whittaker.

  4. I’ve seen an attempted ward breakdown by Electoral Calculus (which I know is little more than dressed-up guesswork). That suggests that while Calder ward voted overwhelmingly Labour the Tories continued to enjoy a slight lead in Brighouse & Rastrick as well as several other wards.

  5. Tp be fair on electoral calculus they use MPR to work out that kind of data, the same system of calculating data that YouGov and Survation used to great success in this election

  6. Actually thinking about it Labour could turn this into a fairly safe seat in years to come once they take it back I think based on the demographic trends.

  7. Indeed I think the perception of this seat is a bit warped, I think many (including myself initially) saw this as little more than a collection of ex mill towns and thus might go the way of other such ex industrial WWC seats. In reality though the seat appears to have become prime commuter land for Greater Manc, Huddersfield and Bradford and actually has a much more middle class professional vibe but with the added toxic (for the Tories) element of being quite bohemian around Hebden Bridge. A seat that has certainly changed significantly over the decades.

  8. Given the interesting mix you describe it should really bode extremely well for Labour on the face of it in years to come shouldn’t it? That’s not to say the Tories won’t still continue to hold up in their own rural areas of strength in this seat, but may begin to find themselves outnumbered somewhat.

  9. Of course I don’t see this going the way of Sefton Central or anything like that but yes a seat Lab should expect to do well in and might pose problems for the Tories down the line especially if (as I’ve heard) something of a Brighton effect takes place around Hebden Bridge where Lab voting trendy types look to move there but being unable to afford to do so instead colonise surrounding towns as happened to Hove and increasingly so Worthing.

  10. Interesting phenomenon you describe I have to say. It would make perfect sense as well that it would parallel Brighton in that sense Hebden Bridge.

  11. Of course I should emphasise Hebden Bridge is a lot smaller than Brighton so the effect is limited. What I meant was that whereas Brighton Pavilion, as a whole constituency, is able to influence other whole constituencies whereas Hebden Bridge is just part of Calder Valley thus its influence will likely remain limited to other parts of Calder Valley. I don’t expect Halifax or Colne Valley to be influenced much by any “Hebden Bridge Effect”

  12. Ah now I understand what you mean. Thanks.

  13. Labour have a presence in Todmorden too. I think they’re competitive locally in towns like Mytholmroyd and Elland.

    The Tories are strong in Brighouse and the villages which surround Halifax.

  14. Thanks for that Neil.

  15. THE RESULTS – Will JFG get the chance next time? I would imagine he’ll have competition to stand – he’s pretty lightweight and also not to Momentum’s liking. Had he won, fair enough, but as he remains just a candidate, I struggle to see how they won’t be able to find a more appropriate candidate.

  16. Maybe they will maybe so but who could be another local alternative and consider that Josh has already stood here twice, vastly improving each time.

  17. It depends largely when the election is. The longer the current parliament lasts, the more time Momentum have to install their preferred candidate.

  18. A Tory councillor has been suspended for online comments about “Muslim parasites”.

    What a charming man…

  19. ‘A Tory councillor has been suspended for online comments about “Muslim parasites”.’

    Sadly I suspect that’s probably be the last we’ll hear about it

    The Tories will wait for a long enough time for people to forget about it and then quietly reinstate him

    Like Trump in America the Tories need to appeal to the ‘bigot’ demographic to have any chance of cobbling together a majority again, as I fear that Brexit will rob of them of their post war reputation for economic competence

    Fortunately for the Tories – as Brexit proved – there’s plenty of voters who make up that demographic so they’ll be rich pickings a’plenty as both main parties move further away from the centre ground

  20. Tim: do you think the “bigot demographic” is growing or shrinking right now?

  21. “Tim: do you think the “bigot demographic” is growing or shrinking right now”

    My gut instinct tells me this demographic is growing right now – almost hand-in-hand as the levels of immigration go up – although I’m not sure that’s right.

    I think long-term as the full implications of Brexit become clear, people will eventually turn their back on this type of right-wing populist politics which has been so successful in harnessing the ‘bigot’ vote, but we’re a good few years, if not decades, away from that yet

  22. I think the Tories are in trouble here. Lived in Brighouse last year- most people I met had little sympathy with the Tories (not helped by the local MPs lack of appearances). And Brighouse is meant to be their area of strength in the constituency.

    Clearly, cost of living is a big concern in this constituency, perhaps more so than other constituencies. Unless he raises his game, Mr Whittaker’s days in the Calder Valley may be numbered.

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