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”
  1. Yes- as with Calder Valley, Colne Valley has reinvented itself rather successfully as a commuter base for northern professionals following the decline of the textile industry. One would have thought that the proximity of the M62 has helped in that regard.

  2. And yes, I also think that the Conservatives will hold by about 2000-2500 in 2015.

  3. Are there residents resembling the cast of Last of the Summer Wine in Holmfirth, or are they completely different?

    I sometimes like to ponder which characters might be Tory or Labour – I can imagine the coffee ladies being the “voted Labour all me life” type (unless you get people like Ivy in those North Yorks Tory heartlands tea rooms?). Barry is either a Tory or swing voter. Clegg (Peter Sallis votes Tory simply because his father did) and Truly would probably be Tory. Compo Labour of course.

  4. Bill Owen in real life was Chairman of Arts for Labour & I knew him quite well in the 80s. I have canvassed Peter Sallis in Richmond & he usually votes Conservative. He has never mastered a Yorkshire accent as Bill was able to.

  5. Peter says in his book that he’s never had a political thought in his life… But then goes on to say he has always voted Tory because his father did.

  6. This seat like at least 20-30 others – one where the CON/UKIP/right wing split will hand LAB a win.

    Is it possible Nigel Farage will try a rapprochement between the Tories?? and UKIP & decide not to put candidates in seats where there’s a eurosceptic Tory??.

    He did this of course in Clacton and Rochester for GE2010 and has indicated in the past that he may do this nationally (in selected seats)

    Let’s look at 14 ‘eurosceptic’ CON MPs who defied a 3 line whip, in Oct2011, on a motion demanding an EU referendum in 2013 – so they are genuine eurosceptics (at least).

    They face losing their seats to LAB by small margins (predicted 4-10% because of a significant UKIP vote in the seat). These 14 MPs are:-


    So do you think Farage not fielding a UKIP candidate in these seats is:-

    a) very likely
    b) probable
    c) not very likely
    d) c’est impossible


  7. Telegraph is reporting McCartney supposedly emailing a constituent and urging them to vote Green… he should be careful what he wishes for.. The Tory delusion that a Green vote is only taken out of the hide of Labour or the LibDems may be a miscalculation..

  8. Ashcroft poll

    Con 33%, Lab 34%, LD 9%, UKIP 13%, Green 9%

    Fieldwork 2-12 feb 2015.

  9. Are you sure? In his presentation he says the Tories have a 1 point lead in Colne Valley:

  10. Constituency VI is

    CON (33) LAB (32) LD (12) UKIP (11) GRN (10)

  11. The Tories are one point ahead in the second question (the constituency specific one), Labour one point ahead in the first. Basically the poll suggests a tie.

  12. There were two VI questions.

    If there was a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for?

    p.4, table 4 is Con 33%, Lab 34%

    Thinking specifically about your own PARLIAMENTARY constituency at the next General Election and the candidates who are likely to stand FOR ELECTION TO WESTMINSTER there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?

    p.7, table 7 is Con 33%, Lab 32%

  13. I don’t like this 2 question format. When the answers differ, you can’t trust either.

  14. You can trust that it’s on a knife-edge. The Tories were always going to have a problem here because of the large LD vote which is likely to favour Labour over them, (although not by as much as it would in an urban constituency).

  15. As I mentioned on the main thread, the LD tradition in this seat is a remnant of the pre-Labour Liberal tradition (also in Oldham East and Saddleworth). We are not talking Red Dems annoyed about Iraq. The fall is astonishing and may end a tradition around since Victorian times.

    I never thought Labour would be in touching distance here.

    I grew up here and used to campaign here in the 1990s.

  16. Having said that, 12% is still good by national standards, but this area was strong for the Liberals even in their back of a taxi era.

  17. The collapse in the LD vote share is surprising given that they have done alright in local elections here post 2010. I’m still happy with my forecast of a Con hold though it may well be tight.

  18. Tory

    There is a lot of split ticket voting in Colne Valley.

  19. “I never thought Labour would be in touching distance here.”

    I presume you mean now, as they held it from 1997-2010. Hadn’t noticed Labour were pushed into third last time though. 2010 looks almost like like a three-way marginal.

  20. TM

    I actually campaigned for the former MP back in 1997. I did not expect Labour to come back from third. Kali Mountford is the only Labour MP on the post 1987 boundaries to hold it for Labour. The next most recent Labour MP was David Clark who lost the seat in one of the 1974 elections if I recall correctly.

  21. But before Labour won it back, it was starting to look as if it was moving towards becoming a safe Tory seat.
    There certainly is ticket-splitting and local elections sometimes have little comparison to national ones – Independent councillors hold one ward, and in the past a Conservative held a ward where they rarely featured because of her personal local vote.

    I’m a bit sceptical about Ashcroft polling but this is much closer than I had imagined it might be given the national polls

  22. TM – yes, there’s lots of seats like that from 2010 eg Warrington S, Wirral S etc where the LDs will collapse back to ’80/’90s levels this time.

  23. Warrington South looks quite three-way but in Wirral S I’d say the Libs were about thirteen points behind the Tories who were second so not as much. Hampstead and Kilburn was possibly the tightest three way on 32.8 (Lab) / 32.7 (Con) / 31.2 (Lib). Any idea what the closest seat was to the national vote shares? It was 36.1% (Con) / 29.0% (Lab) / 23.0% (Lib) overall. So it could be said that the three-way marginals represent snapshots of the national picture (if there’s one where they were placed in that order). Safe seats and two-way marginals seem to be far more common than those reflecting the “big three” (although the Libs may not be able to claim to be part of it for much longer).

  24. This poll – together with the one for High Peak – is very encouraging for Labour, suggesting they are competitive in seats in the 4-5% swing range. It probably also puts the similar and neighbouring seats of Calder Valley and Pendle into play.

  25. People don’t really get numbers at all…nearly every poll this year have shown a 4-5% swing to labour in England and Wales…I have to keep saying, a la Smithson, the tories beat labour by 11% in England and Wales in 2010. Nearly every poll in the last 4 years has suggested that the gap, in England and Wales, will be much closer…

    Therefore it is highly likely that the tories will lose a significant 35+ number of seats to labour in England and Wales…

    people don’t seem to get this. Ashcroft’s latest constituency polls simply corroborate what we have known for a very long time now.

  26. stephen – worth reminding you that Ashcroft polled Pendle & found the tories a little way ahead of labour. i’d be pretty surprised if labour won any of those 3 seats, but they’re in play all right. Pendle looks the most likely despite the Ashcroft poll there – it’s perfectly possible there was simply random sampling error in favour of the tories there.

  27. Not wishing to be pedantic but Colne Valley does not border Pendle, does it?

  28. Runnymede – I stand corrected.

  29. When one looks at the data in more detail, the Conservatives are not losing support to Labour- the issue is that Labour has taken twice as many ex-Lib Dems. Nevertheless, the fact that the Conservatives are still 1% ahead despite a frankly staggering in the Lib Dem vote is in itself worthy of comment.

  30. *frankly staggering collapse

  31. Tory

    I think the Green vote is key here. If they weren’t around, Jason McCartney would probably be writing his CV this morning.

  32. “When one looks at the data in more detail, the Conservatives are not losing support to Labour- the issue is that Labour has taken twice as many ex-Lib Dems. Nevertheless, the fact that the Conservatives are still 1% ahead despite a frankly staggering in the Lib Dem vote is in itself worthy of comment.”

    It’s the same in England and Wales as a whole…most of the apparent swing from C to labour is not measuring conservative voters switching to labour. It is merely a function of lib dems going to labour, and more tories 2010 voters going to ukip than labour voters going to ukip.

    That is the conservative to labour swing in a nutshell…I still think this will be decisive factor this may.

  33. Peter- yes, I tend to agree with you. I don’t think it will be enough to win Labour this seat but as I’ve said previously, I do think Labour can manage 35-45 gains off the Conservatives, which even if there is a Labour wipeout in Scotland, may well be enough to put Miliband in Downing Street.

  34. yes tory, we have both been on this page for months now.

    people seem to think that because labour are facing a meltdown in Scotland, somehow that the same thing will occur in England. It still might, but none of the polling data, even the polls showing the tories ahead, so far points to this happening….

    as i can’t stress enough, a 4-5% swing in England and Wales from Con to Lab will result in dozens (maybe 40+) seats going from Con to Lab…that’s what the swing means.

    You can argue that the swing will be less than that, say 2%, but none of the polls, constituency or national, suggest that this is the case, though things may change in the next 9 weeks.

    I would be alarmed about this if i were a tory strategist, but their calmness under fire is to be commended, but the tories still remain almost buoyantly confident.

  35. Why anyone is contemplating a LAB increase in % in their polling and end % figure in the GE, I find puzzling.

    Apart from 1979 & 1992 there’s been noticeable swing back – if the Tories get this in 2015 it going to be late late late. But still I think we will see this ….why?

    1. Improving economic climate. Remember the Government hold the cards and control the purse strings…nationally and locally.

    2. Distrust in Miliband/Balls partnership.

    3. Probable decline in UKIP support.

    “SWINGBACK” – a potted history
    MORI –
    Mid-term average: Con 29.5, Lab 36.5, Lab lead 7%
    1983 Result: Con 44, Lab 28, Con Lead 16%
    1983-Swingback to Govt CON 11.5% – as against mid-term polls

    Mid-term average: Con 35.5, Lab 35.5, Lab lead 0%
    1987 result: Con 43, Lab 32, Con lead 11%
    1987 – Swingback to Govt CON 5.5% -as against mid-term polls

    Mid-term : Con 36.5, Lab 48, Lab lead 11.5%
    1992 result: Con 43, Lab 35, Con lead 8%
    1992- Swingback to Govt CON 9.75% – as against mid-term polls

    Mid-term : Con 24.5, Lab 56, Lab lead 31.5%
    1997 result: Con 31, Lab 44, Lab lead 13%
    1997- Swingback to Govt CON 9.25% – as against mid-term polls

    Mid-term average: Con 27, Lab 53, Lab lead 26%
    2001 Result: Con 33, Lab 42, Lab Lead 9%
    2001- Swingback to Oppo CON 8.5% – as against mid-term polls.

    Mid-term average: Con 29, Lab 43, Lab lead 14%
    2005 result: Con 33, Lab 36, Lab lead 3%
    2005-Swingback to Oppo CON 5.5% – as against mid-term polls.
    ICM –
    Mid-term: Con 29.5, Lab 49, Lab lead 19.5
    1997 result: Con 31, Lab 44, Lab lead 13%
    1997-Swingback to Govt CON 3.25% – as against mid-term polls

    Mid-term Average: Con 30, Lab 48, Lab lead 18%
    2001 Result: Con 33, Lab 42, Lab Lead 9%
    2001 -Swingback to Oppo CON 4.5 – as against mid-term polls.

    Mid-term average: Con 32, Lab 38, Lab lead 6%
    2005 result: Con 33, Lab 36, Lab lead 3%
    2005- Swingback to Oppo CON 1.5% – as against mid-term polls
    Approx Swingback to Govt LAB 5.8%- against 20 mths from GE.

    So always a swing to the Government and / or CON.

  36. But we are not in midterm. We are 9 weeks from the election. Your data would have been relevant two and a half years ago, but it tells us nothing now.

  37. As I understand it, Ashcroft’s poll has the Tories hangin on narrowly here, but well within a margin of error. I don’t see any reason to disagree with him. Incidentally, I am antiicipating that the Tories will use election give-aways so that they do rather better on the day than is currently predicted by the polls.

  38. We could do with reports, indeed we badly need reports, as to what is happening on the ground in this seat.
    Ashcroft is putting this seat down as very marginal as people stand. However, I suspect that a couple of things are going the Conservatives’ way. Firstly, they will have a first time incumbency ef’fect. Secondly, they may benefit from the increasing commuter vote here, and not least the migration of people away from Lancashire and Yorkshire large towns and cities where it feels that Labour is not so much ignoring middle-class interests as wishing to run them down out of spite.
    I suspect that a fall in the LIbDem vote is in this seat likely to favour the Conservatives rather than Labour. But again, we need detailed analysis from the grass roots. Ashcroft has taken us as far as we can go in relation to surveys from outside.

  39. In terms of political activity, there’s been a newsletter from Jason McCartney, a leaflet fromJane East and also leaflets handed out about train fare rises from Labour at the railway station (actually in Huddersfield but Colne Valley leaflets). Nothing re constituency from the Lib Dems, though have had letter from councillors this year. It’s actually quite quiet given election only a couple of months away.

    While he comes across as a bit smug, McCartney has voted against the party line on tuition fees and fracking and he has got local connections, so may get more of a personal vote for that. Jane East from the literature come across as a bit of a party hack, but then so did the previous Labour MP

    I usually vote Lib Dem, but disillusioned over the last 5 years and they have no chance of winning this time, so will probably vote Labour without much enthusiasm. Expecting the Tories to hang on here.

  40. Thanks, LexBoz1310

  41. Quick update on the relatively low-key campaign here.

    Two more leaflets from Jason McCartney, one very good, showing lots of things he’s done and groups he’s worked with/helped, the other more obviously political and less impresssive. One from the Lib Dems totally about council elections and not mentioning the GE or PPC once.

    Nothing more from Labour. Might it be that with the sitting MPs majority of almost 6000 over them and McCartney’s relative popularity, that they’ve decided to divert resources elsewhere?

  42. Given the Ashcroft poll earlier this month, Labour would be foolish if they were not targeting this seat. If they are truly aiming for an overall majority they need to gain some of the Pennine marginals.

  43. It remains relatively quiet here. Election leaflet from Jane East, which was fairly mundane. A couple of Labour and Tory posters have gone up.

    In discussion in the local paper following the first hustings, there was mention of a poll giving UKIP 20% here, unsure the nature of that poll. The Ashcroft poll had them around 15%, which seems around right. They don’t seem politically active enough here to get significantly above the national average.

  44. Don’t know where you guys live, but I have been out knocking on doors several times a week for most of this year and last, and have delivered many a calling card and leaflet. Would hardly describe my life as a bit quiet. And as for Jane East being a party hack – you clearly haven’t met her. Yes Jason pretends to not tow the party line, but he still votes for cuts and privatisation – votes with his party 95% of the time but prefers not to mention them on leaflets.


    While I understand where you’re coming from politically, saying, to roughly paraphrase, Jason is an evil Tory and Jane is wonderful, doesn’t assist in determining which way this seat will go a few weeks time. I am aware of a couple of acquaintances who didn’t vote for Jason McCartney last time, aren’t particular fans of the last government, but will be voting for him as they believe he’s been a good MP. The incumbency factor will work in his favour, though may not be decisive.

    As a party activist, it’s inevitable that you’ve devoted a lot of time to political activity. My day job precludes political activity, though wouldn’t want to be involved this time even if I could. I lived in Milnsbridge in 2010 and was called on by both Labour and LibDems , as well as getting a leaflet from the 3 main parties almost weekly. I’ve been in Linthwaite for 2 years, missed a Labour canvasser last year think around autumn, but none yet since the election called.

    It would be interesting to hear how Jane East is going on the doorsteps, do your returns put her in with a good chance of winning and where the LibDem vote is mainly going.

  46. The bottom line of the recent comments is that this seat is not getting the attention it deserves on the basis of the result last time.

    Apart from Labour and the Tories, it would be interesting to know how much effort UKIP are putting into this seat.


    Do you mean attention from UKPR, or from politicians?

    Ed Miliband launched the Labour campaign at David Brown’s, which is in this constituency.

  48. Richard Wainright’s legacy decimated!


    The UKIP candidate is also standing for a council seat in my ward. So far nothing from them, no posters. I don’t know how well organised UKIP are nationally or where their nearest target seat is, but they don’t seem to be putting much effort in here.

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