Colne Valley

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25246 (44.4%)
Labour: 19868 (35%)
Lib Dem: 3407 (6%)
Green: 1919 (3.4%)
UKIP: 5734 (10.1%)
Independent: 54 (0.1%)
Others: 572 (1%)
MAJORITY: 5378 (9.5%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, West Yorkshire.

Main population centres:



Current MP
JASON MCCARTNEY (Conservative) Born 1968, Harrogate. Former RAF Officer and ITV Yorkshire news & sport presenter. First elected as MP for Colne Valley in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 20440 (37%)
Lab: 14589 (26%)
LDem: 15603 (28%)
BNP: 1893 (3%)
Oth: 2771 (5%)
MAJ: 4837 (9%)
Con: 16035 (33%)
Lab: 17536 (36%)
LDem: 11822 (24%)
BNP: 1430 (3%)
Oth: 2097 (4%)
MAJ: 1501 (3%)
Con: 14328 (30%)
Lab: 18967 (40%)
LDem: 11694 (25%)
GRN: 1081 (2%)
Oth: 917 (2%)
MAJ: 4639 (10%)
Con: 18445 (33%)
Lab: 23285 (41%)
LDem: 12755 (23%)
Oth: 1926 (3%)
MAJ: 4840 (9%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JASON MCCARTNEY (Conservative) See above.
JANE EAST (Labour) Educated at University of Wales. International development program manager.
CAHAL BURKE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1977. Educated at Huddersfield University. College lecturer. Kirklees councillor.
MELANIE ROBERTS (UKIP) Bookseller. Contested Colne Valley 2010.
CHAS BALL (Green) Contested Colne Valley 2010.
PAUL SALVESON (Yorkshire First) Educated at Salford University. Kirklees councillor 2012-2013 for the Labour party. Contested Professor, writer and former railway worker. Awarded the MBE for services to the railway in 2009.
MELODIE STANIFORTH (no description) Contested Colne Valley 1992, 1997, Richmond Yorks 2001, Sedgefield 2005 for the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Comments - 234 Responses on “Colne Valley”
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  1. Is this regarded as being marginal with Labour or the LDs?

  2. I would imagine that this seat is more of a three way marginal at the moment however it will be interesting to see if there is a shrink in the Lib Dem vote and if there is, what party will benefit.

  3. A very interesting seat. The Lib Dems aren’t the force they were during the Wainwright years but have mantained a robust vote, and haven’t fallen below 20% since 1950.

  4. Has Holmfirth been in this seat since 1918?

  5. I think it has but I am prepared to be contradicted if I’m wrong of course.

  6. Labour’s candidate will be one of these 5:

    Anita Cherryholme, a Barnsley councillor and MPs researcher.

    Binnie Joshi Barr, who runs a Linthwaite business,

    Sarah Cook, a senior manager for IBM and business lecturer.

    Roxanne Ellis, a Nottingham councillor.

    Louise Reecejones, a former Army officer and counsellor.

  7. Binnie Joshi Barr is the Labour candidate

  8. it seems she runs a fish & chip shop which she doesn’t own as such, it’s a family business.

  9. Not exactly – this business is her own, opened in 2012. Though she has worked in her family business as well

  10. good luck to her.

  11. The following is a copy of a post I have just made on the Cambridge thread in relation to possible Labour gains from third place.

    Colne Valley is a risky seat to predict. Albeit on considerably different boundaries, it was for instance the only seat Labour lost in 1966. My impression from what I hear of the Colne Valley area is that it has/is being gentrified, with computers to Greater Manchester and the Yorkshire cities/towns, So it is probably going to tend to get better for the Tories compared to other Northern seats. From the result last time, this might be enough to save the seat for the Tories if the swing is as the polls currently suggest. This is leaving aside the indications that Osborne is preparing giveaways which will probably benefit the Conservatives psephologically rather than the Coalition generally.

    Colne Valley is a seat Labour need, but may find difficult.

    There is a need to consider what rise there might be in the non-Tory right vote here, and how UKIP would get on if they stood.

    The result in this seat is likely to be critical for interpretation of the 2015 result. More comments, particularly from people with local knowledge, would be very helpful.

  12. It would be nice seat for Labour to win, but not one the party necessarily needs for a working majority.

  13. Labour did carry Colne Valley in the 2012 Kirklees elections (33% to 28% over the Tories by my calculations) but I don’t envisage 2015 being as bad for the Tories was in 2012 was. Furthermore, the results were slightly flattering to Labour insofar as an independent won Holme Valley North, a ward which usually favours the Conservatives in general elections.

    I don’t think Labour will gain the seat, though it might be close. I am not convinced that the Liberal Democrat vote will collapse here because it is long-established. And even if it did, I am not convinced it would break so overwhelmingly to Labour as to deprive the Conservatives of the seat. After all, remember 1987.

    I agree with Frederic’s hunch about demographics: 11.6% of employed residents are managers, directors and other senior officials (compared with 9.9% for Yorkshire and N Lincs and 10.8% nationally) while 19% work in professional occupations (compared with 15.4% for Yorkshire and N Lincs and 17.4% nationally).

  14. *I don’t envisage 2015 being as bad for the Tories as 2012 was

  15. The Labour vote share will be lower for sure, but nobody knows what will happen with the U-word. I guess we will know what the U-word situation here is next year.

    We can’t deny though that there will probably be a stronger CON to LAB swing in West Yorkshire than Surrey though.

    Even if there was a 3% swing nationally from CON to LAB, Labour could carry this one for sure as the swing is likely to be larger than average in Colne Valley.

  16. We should perhaps mention that this is a seat in which the performance of individual candidates is likely to be important. We do not know yet who the LibDem candidate is, so far as I can see.

    The size of the incumbency effect Jason McCartney manages to achieve will also be important.I do not know about how effective he is being as an MP.

    I am not sure why 111 expects a larger than average swing from Conservative to Labour here, or come to that in West Yorkshire generally as opposed to Surrey. Perhaps it is because of the large LibDem vote available for squeezing. But on the other hand we have, again, a possible incumbency effect, demographic chnage in this constituency and also swings which have hisotircally tended to be smaller, either way, in the North of England than the South.

  17. I’m not convinced of the idea that this is trending Conservative. It’s likely to be narrowly Conservative if the parties are level, but the gap between Tory and Labour votes has moved right in line with national trends, if comparing the 2010 result to either 1992 or 1997.

  18. My reasoning for the larger than average swing is based on what we have seen in local elections since 2010. Labour has gained back ground faster in the North than the South (a large generalisation I admit!).

    Also, as a Conservative member and until recently officer, I can say for sure that there is little in terms of organisation in much of the North (West Yorkshire included).

    They say now that UKIP is the second party of the North. I do admit that shamefully they are better organised than us as a whole north of Birmingham. Just look at their by-election performances. They are gaining ground from us because they have feet on the ground, while we just don’t have the same presence anymore.

  19. ‘We can’t deny though that there will probably be a stronger CON to LAB swing in West Yorkshire than Surrey though.’

    I can see why you think that. It’s fair to assume that Labour will recover more strongly in the north than the south. And on the whole, I too think this will be the case. But to play devil’s advocate: how typical is Yorkshire of the North? Remember that in 2010, the swing to the Conservatives in Yorkshire compared with 2005 was 6.6%, slightly more than the 6.5% seen in the South-East. And when we consider the 1992-2010 swing from Labour to Conservatives we in fact see that it was greater in Yorkshire (+2.4%, second only behind Wales) than the South-East (-1.5%). In fact, I would submit that the West Riding is probably the one part of the north where my party has cause for some optimism- much more than in the North-West, for example.

    ‘Even if there was a 3% swing nationally from CON to LAB, Labour could carry this one for sure as the swing is likely to be larger than average in Colne Valley.’

    For sure? It didn’t happen like that in 1997, when Labour got ‘only’ an average swing here. If Labour was to take Colne Valley despite a national swing of just 3%, the Liberal Democrat vote would have to fall by rather a lot and/or UKIP would have to undermine the Tory vote. I don’t see the Liberal Democrat vote collapsing because it is quite well-established. As for UKIP, we’ll have to see, as you say- the 2012 local elections don’t offer much of a clue because UKIP did not stand in any of the Colne Valley wards.

  20. Thanks for the explanations, James E and 111.

    You mention an important point about Conservative organization, 111. I posted a couple of weeks ago for several seats (e.g. Milton Keynes and Rugby) repeating reports in the press about membership numbers. If the Conservatives have less than 100,000 members nationally, as some recent reports suggest, it does indeed imply that Conservative organization is moribund in many areas.
    From a psephological point of view, we do want information about the strengths of the parties in different seats as it is likely to be one of the major factors affecting the swing in individual seats.

    One of the major reasons for the incumbency effect is that the MP gets moneyfor local (theoretically non-party) assistance, in addition to publicity in local newspapers etc. He or she is also present in the constituency and has a vested interest in building up membership. Nothing has been said on this site as to how effectively Jason McCartney is doing this.

  21. Tory- By ‘for sure’ I don’t mean absolutely certain to gain but more absolutely realistically feasible.

    I think that Labour will eat into the LD vote enough (less so than elsewhere but anything over 18% or so would be a good showing for the LDs here based on current polling). If Labour took only 6% from the LDs they are only 5% behind the Tories. A UKIP share of say 8% would make McCartney really vulnerable, even before we take CON to LAB transfers into account.

  22. 111- sorry I misread the meaning of ‘for sure’. On those projections, I agree that McCartney would be in some trouble. The difference between us is that I am somewhat more sceptical about such projections arising than you are. My prediction at this admittedly early stage is a Tory hold by 1500-2000 over Labour.

  23. I am too radical in my predictions probably! I want to see big swings just because it makes life more interesting, despite being a Tory member.

    No need to apologise Tory, my mistake for not clarifying originally.

  24. I see that Jason McCartney was one of the Conservative members to vote against the UK being involved in attacking Syria. It is too early to estimate what effect this will have on his vote, but clearly the vote on Thusday 29th. August, like the vote to go to war with Iraq when Blair was in power, is likely to remain in voters’ minds at future elections.

  25. Other Yorkshire and N Lincolnshire rebels were: David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden); Philip Davies (Shipley); Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole); and Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes).

  26. I’m not sure Syria will make that much of a difference to an MPs’ personal vote. Even Iraq didn’t make much difference in this regard (except in a few cases, e.g. one of two seats with large Muslim communities and university seats, although even here the Cambridge Labour MP’s vote against the Iraq war didn’t save her from defeat at the hands of the Lib Dems in 2005).

    Regardless of Syria I reckon Colne Valley is probably Jason McCartney’s to lose.Labour require a 6% swing and that’s a big ask against a newly-incumbent Tory MP (especially as the nationwide swing will be 0%).

    Con hold.

  27. I don’t agree that the national swing will be 0% and regional variations could be considerable. We expect to win sell our targets in the north west.

  28. Mike, Robin has long been the chief ultra-pessimist amongst the Labour supporters on this site. I am a reformed over-optimist who now regards himself as a realist. Today’s national poll is most interesting – the Labour lead has jumped back up to 10% – and I suspect that, if Downing Street continues with its policy of attacking Ed Miliband for supposed bad faith on the issue of military action against Syria, Labour will continue to do better than of late. There is now a narrative that Ed Miliband, though he comes over as diffident & even nerdy (even his speech last week was hardly a great tubthumping performance), is someone who stands up to major interests, such as Murdoch & the USA, by taking stances & decisions which are strong, and this could be a big selling point for him. Of course, this may not last, and who knows today’s poll may prove to have an element of sampling error, but I don’t think that the damage to Cameron will be repaired all that quickly, if at all. FWIW the poll shows Labour doing particularly well in the north rather than the Midlands or Wales. Yes the Tories are favourites to hold this seat, but it’s not a done deal yet.

  29. I agree it’s not a done deal but I would still be most surprised if the Conservatives lost Colne Valley. As I’ve said above, I think there are grounds for doubting that the West Riding will be representative of how the North votes. I agree with Mersey Mike that the North West will likely see substantial Conservative casualties.

    I am not entirely sure where I would locate myself on the optimist-pessimist scale. I would like to think I am a realist. I hold out scant hope for a Conservative majority and tend to think Labour will emerge as the largest party in a hung parliament.

  30. I think we will win the popular vote by around 2% and be slightly the larger of the two parliamentary parties. It would give the LDs something to think about.

  31. Richard Wainwright’s electoral record in Colne Valley-

    1959- 11, 254 (25.8%, N/A)
    1963 by-election- 15, 994 (39.4%, +13.6%)
    1964- 18, 350 (41.6%, +15.8%, +2.2%)
    1966- 22, 006 (48.6%, +7.0%, 2, 499 (5.5%) majority)
    1970- 18, 040 (38.1%, -10.5%)
    February 1974- 20, 984 (40.3%, +2.2%, 719 (1.4%) majority)
    October 1974- 21, 997 (44.3%, +4.0%, 1, 666 (3.4%) majority)
    1979- 20, 151 (38.4%, -5.9%, 2, 352 (4.5%) majority)
    1983- 21, 139 (39.8%, +1.4%, 3, 146 (5.9%) majority)

  32. Robin Hood makes interesting observations about the effects of a big foreign issue like Iraq or Syria on individual MP’s votes.

    My view is that a big issue like Syria tends to lead to a step change in national voting intentions. I think it is too early yet to see whether the Syria issue will lead to such a change and if so in what direction.

  33. Did the 1963 by-election here have any notable impact on Wainwright’s progress here or would he have ended up gaining the seat as quickly as he did anyway?

  34. “1979- 20, 151 (38.4%, -5.9%, 2, 352 (4.5%) majority)
    1983- 21, 139 (39.8%, +1.4%, 3, 146 (5.9%) majority)”

    There were massive boundary changes in 1983 so the figures are not comparable. I don’t have the notional result to hand but it was notionally a Labour seat, possibly with the Conservatives second as it took in much of the old Huddersfield West seat where at that time the Liberals had no establshed support and lost one of their stronger areas in Saddleworth

  35. 1979 notional:

    Lab: 19,816
    Con: 17,577
    Lib: 14,436
    Others: 111

  36. Thanks very much for those notional figures Andy.

  37. A closer look at the result here in February 1974-
    Wainwright (Liberal)- 20, 984 (40.27%, +2.17%)
    Clark (Labour)- 20, 265 (38.89%, -1.01%)
    Davy (Conservative)- 10, 864 (20.85%, -1.15%)

    Majority- 719 (1.38%)
    Swing- +1.59% From Lab to Lib.

  38. David Clark was in the unusual (I dare say probably not unique) position of having gained his seat while his party lost power nationally and lost it as the regained power

  39. I suspect there will have precedents for David Clark’s situation in the 1920s, although I don’t know of them off-hand.

  40. I’ve a couple of questions for Mr Whitehead. Firstly, how much of the pre-1983 Colne Valley went into the post-1983 seat of the same name? Secondly, was the post-1983 Colne Valley more of a successor to Huddersfield West?

  41. IIRC 4 of the present 6 Colne Valley wards were in the pre 1983 Colne Valley.

    The pre 1983 Colne Valley lost the Saddleworth area to the 1983 Littleborough & Saddleworth and the Denby Dale area to the 1983 Dewsbury but in return gained 2 wards from the pre 1983 Huddersfield West.

    I would say that the majority of the pre 1983 Colne Valley was still in the post 1983 Colne Valley while a majority of the pre 1983 Huddersfield West went into the post 1983 Huddersfield together with a majority of the pre 1983 Huddersfield East.

  42. Pretty much as Richard said although slightly yhe majority of Huddersfield West came into this seat (28,583 (52.6%) against 25,781 which went to Huddersfield.)
    of the old Colne valley seat 59% remained in this seat with 26% going to Litleborough & Saddleworth and 15% to Dewsbury.
    The majority of voters in the new Colne Valley had been in the old Colne Valley, but not an overwhelming majority – 37,066 (56.5%) as against those 28,583 from Huddersfield West.
    There was an orihinally a proposal to call this seat Huddersfield West

  43. Excellent, gentlemen, thank you.

  44. “I suspect there will have precedents for David Clark’s situation in the 1920s, although I don’t know of them off-hand.”

    In terms of seats, Birmingham Kings Norton was gained by Labour in 1924 as they were swept aside in a Tory landslide and regained by the Tories in 1929. The Tory MP who lost in 1924 and the one who gained it in 1929 were not the same person though.
    In Frederic’s own neck of the woods both Hastings and Maidstone were gained by the LIberals in 1900 but regained by the Tories in 1906 though again the personalities were not the same (also the situation is not comparable as the Tories didn’t gain power in 1900 – they already had it). In the case of Maidstone corruption played a part int he anomalous 1900 result.
    I’m not sure what particular local factors lef to the anomalous result in Kings Norton but am fairly sure it had something or other to do with the Cadburys

  45. An old Huddersfield West was of course Liberal (unopposed by the Conservatives) between 1950 and 1964.

  46. A closer look at the result here in 1983- (With notional vote share changes in brackets)

    Wainwright (Liberal)- 21, 139 (39.8%, +12.1%)
    Holt (Conservative)- 17, 993 (33.9%, +0.1%)
    Williams (Labour)- 13, 668 (25.8%, -12.3%)
    Keen (Independent)- 260 (0.5%, +0.3%)

    Majority- 3, 146 (5.9%)
    Swing- +12.2% From Lab to Lib.

  47. What happened to the Conservative vote in Colne Valley during the Richard Wainwright era-
    1. C.J. Barr (1959, 13, 030, 29.9%, -15.9%)
    2. A.C. Alexander (1963 by-election, 6, 238, 15.4%, -14.5%)
    3. A.C. Alexander (1964, 7, 207, 16.3%, -13.6%, +0.9%)
    4. R.D. Hall (1966, 3, 786, 8.4%, -7.9%)
    5. K.E. Davy (1970, 10, 417, 22.0%, +13.6%)
    6. K.E. Davy (February 1974, 10, 864, 20.9%, -1.1%)
    7. K.E. Davy (October 1974, 7, 337, 14.8%, -6.1%)
    8. S.G. Kaye (1979, 14, 450, 27.5%, +12.7%)
    9. John Holt (1983, 17, 993, 33.9%, +0.1%)

    What happened to the Labour vote in Colne Valley during the Richard Wainwright era-
    1. William Glenvil Hall (1959, 19, 284, 44.3%, -9.9%)
    2. Patrick Duffy (1963 by-election, 18, 033, 44.5%, +0.2%)
    3. Patrick Duffy (1964, 18, 537, 42.0%, -2.3%, 2.5%)
    4. Patrick Duffy (1966, 19, 507, 43.1%, +1.1%)
    5. David Clark (1970, 18, 896, 39.9%, -3.2%)
    6. David Clark (February 1974, 20, 265, 38.9%, -1.0%)
    7. David Clark (October 1974, 20, 331, 40.9%, +2.0%)
    8. P.J. Hildrew (1979, 17, 799, 33.9%, -7.0%)
    9. Arthur Williams (1983, 13, 668, 25.8%, -12.3%)

  48. Both Patrick Duffy & David Clark went on to represent safe seats after they lost here.

  49. It should be noted that here Wainwright’s progress may well have been accelerated by the by-election that took place in 1963- Without that would the Liberals have don as well here?

  50. My prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 36%
    Labour- 32%
    Liberal Democrat- 23%
    UKIP- 5%
    Others- 4%

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