Copeland

2015 Result:
Conservative: 14186 (35.8%)
Labour: 16750 (42.3%)
Lib Dem: 1368 (3.5%)
Green: 1179 (3%)
UKIP: 6148 (15.5%)
MAJORITY: 2564 (6.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cumbria. The whole of the Copeland council area and part of the Allerdale council area.

Main population centres: Whitehaven, Keswick, Cleator Moor, Egremont, Millom.

Profile: A seat on the remote west coast of Cumbria. The constituency is a mixture of hill farming countryside, impressive Lake District wilderness, including Scafell Pike itself, and somewhat economically depressed former mining or iron working towns. The main town is Whitehaven, historically a coal mining town and commercial port, mining ceased in the 1980s. The Marchon chemical factory also closed in 2005 leaving the nearby Sellafield nuclear power complex as the most important source of local employment. Keswick, to the north of the constituency, was the first place to produce graphite pencils and was for many years the base of Derwent, the manufacturers of fine art pencils. They are now based just outside the constituency in Lillyhall.

Politics: Copeland and its predecessor seat Whitehaven have been represented by the Labour party since 1935, although not always with comfortable majorities.


Current MP
JAMIE REED (Labour) Born 1973, Whitehaven. Educated at Whitehaven school and Manchester University. Former Sellafield press officer. Former Copeland councillor. First elected as MP for Copeland in 2005. PPS to Tony McNulty 2006-2008, PPS to Harriet Harman 2008-2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 15866 (37%)
Lab: 19699 (46%)
LDem: 4365 (10%)
BNP: 1474 (3%)
Oth: 1383 (3%)
MAJ: 3833 (9%)
2005*
Con: 10713 (32%)
Lab: 17033 (50%)
LDem: 3880 (11%)
UKIP: 735 (2%)
Oth: 1396 (4%)
MAJ: 6320 (19%)
2001
Con: 13027 (37%)
Lab: 17991 (52%)
LDem: 3732 (11%)
MAJ: 4964 (14%)
1997
Con: 12081 (29%)
Lab: 24025 (58%)
LDem: 3814 (9%)
Oth: 389 (1%)
MAJ: 11944 (29%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
STEPHEN HARALDSEN (Conservative)
JAMIE REED (Labour) See above.
DANNY GALLAGHER (Liberal Democrat) Former Preston councillor. Contested Wyre and Preston North 2010.
MICHAEL PYE (UKIP)
ALLAN TODD (Green)
Links
Comments - 1,189 Responses on “Copeland”
  1. I think one of the biggest fallacies promoted by older people like me is that wisdom is discovered only with age!

    I have detected a tendency even in myself to become more opinionated however! There are also some abilities such as political cunning, dirty tricks, unattributable leaking of information, and the ability to conduct a 10 minute interview without giving a straight answer that do seem to develop with experience…

  2. Nobody is even suggesting that Andrew…

  3. NTYUK,
    Sorry, I guess I got a bit teed off with the whole “wisdom of age” thing in the referendum!

    I tend to agree with you though that Mp’s could benefit from having had to live like their constituents for a while.. that would tend to disqualify most of them though….

  4. In my short existence I’ve become more libertarian in my views and I wouldn’t necessarily advocate enforcing a ban on outsiders who have little experience of the lives of their constituents standing. They do this in the US I believe. However, I’m pleased the Labour Party have chosen local champions of sorts to stand in parliamentary by elections of most recent. That’s how it should be. That shouldn’t exclude you by age I lived in my ward all my life and couldn’t be prouder to stand the minute I could. I was told I was too young and I was told I hadn’t a hope in hell. They were only right on one account imo.

  5. I see Tristram Hunt’s website still says:

    I’m Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central
    I became MP in 2010 because I want to represent the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central, and help make this great city fairer and more prosperous.

    Link here http://www.tristramhunt.com/

    Absolutely scandalous that 2 MPs are behaving like the spoilt footballers who kiss the badge/turf and profess neverending loyalty – until a better offer comes along.

    Being involved in politics should mean a bit more commitment than the ‘If I can’t be engine driver I’m not playing trains’ mentality on show here.

    Feel for the other applicants who could have done a better job than these self indulgent wasters, and the taxpayer who has to foot a £1/4m bill for each by-election.

    Why do the good people now have to wait until May for a new MP? Appreciate there is a protocol that defending party calls it, and there may be tragic circumstances (e.g. Jo Cox), but surely none of that applies here?

  6. The same people who have complained about MPs resigning to take jobs outside politics also complain about “career politicians” who have never had a job outside Westminster. You can’t have it both ways.

  7. ‘The same people who have complained about MPs resigning to take jobs outside politics also complain about “career politicians” who have never had a job outside Westminster. You can’t have it both ways’.

    Not at all. If you apply to be an MP you have a basic job description, but with some considerable flexibility to make of it what you will. OK there is still some wriggle room in the FTPA, but essentially you are applying for a position that is expected to last 5 years. If you can’t make that commitment, you shouldn’t apply.

    If the personal circumstances of the MP (or their close family/friends) change in a way that could not have reasonably been foreseen, and they will have difficulty in continuing to fulfil their role as MP then fair enough, resignation is appropriate.

    But that is manifestly not the case in both Copeland and Stoke on Trent.

    Any chance of BNFL and the V&A stumping up for the cost of the by-elections? 😉

  8. Bit surprised that Corbyn wants to run the campaign on the NHS.

    The latest poll shows the public trust the Tories far more than Labour to handle the Winter crisis. I think the lead was 11%.

  9. Lonewolf – I’d be inclined to surcharge the Member for causing a By-election in some cases.

    But obviously not illness or promotion/career change.

    The fraudsters (eg Rotherham) should at least have contributed to the cost though.

    Those resigning next to seek Metro Mayor posts might want to chip in too.

  10. “The latest poll shows the public trust the Tories far more than Labour to handle the Winter crisis. I think the lead was 11%.”

    What a daft (or at least poorly-worded) question to ask the public. How can Labour “handle the winter crisis” when they are in opposition? They can’t really do anything apart from complain about the government.

  11. I assume it meant any Winter crisis.

    After all any poll only ever asks: who do you trust on…or at the next election.

  12. A dire thought that a winter crisis in the NHS is so common it can be referred to as any crisis

  13. LONEWOLF – I think it’s silly to criticise MPs for not being loyal enough to stick with the job – they are as entitled as anyone else to leave for another job, providing they haven’t abused their position whilst an MP to secure that job. In these cases, I can’t say whether or not that is the case (I’m sure Hunt’s profile helped him land the V& A job, and likewise Reed, but I have no information that anything dodgy has gone on).

    Really- I’m more concerned about MPs staying, who’d rather be elsewhere. There are many, many people who are willing and able to do their job as MP.

  14. I agree with Ecowirral. MPs are just as entitled as anyone else to leave their job voluntarily without footing the bill for the cost to to their employer of finding a replacement.

    Their might be a case for something different happening if they are forced out due to misconduct, but not if its simply a personal decision that they want to do something else with their lives.

  15. ‘Absolutely scandalous that 2 MPs are behaving like the spoilt footballers who kiss the badge/turf and profess neverending loyalty – until a better offer comes along.
    Being involved in politics should mean a bit more commitment than the ‘If I can’t be engine driver I’m not playing trains’ mentality on show here.’

    You’ve certainly got a point but in the case of Reed and Hunt it’s pretty clear that the leadership of their party doesn’t currently have room for people with their views – it’s how people like Robert Jackson and Peter Temple Morris must have felt when their top brass was dominated by equally unelectable oddballs on the fringes of politics

    I hope you felt the same way when the likes of Louise Mensch decided to turn her back on the job she had claimed was her ‘dream’ to make more money in America

  16. In my opinion there is no higher honour than to be bestowed with the task of being a democratic representative.

  17. “The same people who have complained about MPs resigning to take jobs outside politics also complain about “career politicians” who have never had a job outside Westminster. You can’t have it both ways.”

    So true. the public is totally confused about what MPs are for. the left (the Miliband/Corbyn left, though Brown was of this view I think) seem to think that MPs are basically social worker/civil servants who should, as a rule, have no outside interests until they become ministers, of course, when it’s perfectly ok to be a member of the legislature and the executive at the same time.

    The older, more traditional view is that they are representatives of the people, not of the government, and should, as a whole, have a wide range of experience: soldiers, bankers, trade unionists, academics, small business people, writers, journalists, diplomats, industrialists, GPs lawyers, mechanics, landowners have all in my lifetime been MPs.

    That range is diminishing all the time. I happen to think it’s a shame and has led to a deterioration in the quality of the house. I suggest you look on you tube at debates in the early televised years of the house, the early 90s, to see how much worse generally articulacy and speaking ability without notes etc. has become.

  18. ‘The same people who have complained about MPs resigning to take jobs outside politics also complain about “career politicians” who have never had a job outside Westminster’

    back in my canvassing days I would have put someone like that down as ‘probable Lib Dem’ 🙂

  19. The average voter doesn’t want their MP to get paid or have any expenses, but also doesn’t want them to be independently wealthy and doing it for fun. They don’t want them to leave Parliament for anything else, but don’t want them to have spent their life in politics. They want them to be present in the chamber for every vote but be present at every primary school playground opening, agree with what they think on every issue but also stand up for their values whether people agree with them or not, and be a normal flawed person but also a well-groomed and slick performer.

    And if they get any of these things wrong, they’ll send them horrible tweets. Easy, really.

  20. That’s quite good. And more than a little truth in most of it.

    However, some MPS – usually Tories – have other jobs/directorships/ advisory roles. It’s all a bit dodgy and unsatisfactory. One wonders how much work for these other jobs are done from MPs’ desk at Portcullis Hse or at the HofC.

    In a lot of other jobs one is not allowed to have other jobs.

  21. The problem is outside interests. My solutions would be:

    – PR in a reduced HOC & much reduced HOL.
    – Lay down a maximum number of hours MPs can work on other jobs
    – Ban directorships etc which give money in exchange for no fixed hours
    – Make MPs sign à binding agreement which bans them from making direct future earnings from decisions/involvemrnts they have had in parliament. Make sure criminal charges can be brought in cases where they breach the rules.
    – Make it a criminal offence for MPs to ever profit from arms dealing, including after they leave parliament.
    – Give MPs a modest pay rise, and keep their pay increases entirely independent of parliamentary influence.

    I think this would be a fair balance, and make it less likely that future MPs could be corrupted.

  22. 2, 4 and 6 are OK. Hard to see how 4 could possibly be feasibly done without unintended consequences.

  23. BT says – It would undoubtedly be tricky to get the rules right, but I’m sure it coulfld be done. I think the main complication is any business interests they come in with (see Trump for an extreme example) in the first place. It amazes me that 5 isn’t higher on the agenda; there is no reason for MPs to ever profit from any part of the arms business, and it is such a terrible conflict of interests.

  24. I suppose 5 is also fair enough; not sure I understand this sector well enough tbh.

  25. @Number10gov announcement today: Not in single market; out of ECJ and of course control of borders means, I’m, CON are now anveven bigger favourite to win in COPELAND. I expect their odds with bookies to fall today.

  26. What’s your issue with 2? Other than it being another difficult one to pin down, I think it’s pretty obvious-no-one gives out money for nothing, and MPs should be able to demonstrate exactly what work they are doing to get their money.

  27. Sorry- 3!

  28. DEEPTHROAT – I expect Labour will still hang on. Any effect of today’s announcements will probably be at least cancelled out due to the concerns it will also cause. But the biggest reason I think Labour will win is motivation to vote: there will be a low turnout, and whilst many people may lean Tory at a GE at the moment, I think there are still too many concerns for them to be enthusiastic enough to turn out at a by election. Labour, on the other hand, were already squeezed down at the GE for the same reason, and Labour’s main problem in the polls (how split they are, and whether they could make a functioning govt) will be less important here.

  29. It will still be close; I’m going for a very similar result to 2015.

  30. PM May is determined to deliver a concrete Brexit – even stating UK will just walk away if a bad deal is forces on us. I believe that this will be a flip to their vote share in both by elections especially if they are held in April of May, after A50 trigger.

  31. Correction: PM May is determined to deliver a concrete Brexit – even stating UK will just walk away if a bad deal is forced on us. I believe that this will be a filip to their vote share in both by elections especially if they are held in April or May, after A50 trigger.

  32. It’s a long time until them – I expect a bumpy ride!

  33. @Eco

    “What’s your issue with 3? Other than it being another difficult one to pin down, I think it’s pretty obvious-no-one gives out money for nothing, and MPs should be able to demonstrate exactly what work they are doing to get their money.”

    I agree with the above statement, your point 3 above was too tightly worded though as you said “for no fixed hours” – this would deprive SMEs and others of much-needed investment of expertise (and cash) from those that are able to give it. They should do something for their money, and be able to demonstrate it, but that doesn’t mean ‘fixed hours’.

    Besides, I’m not totally sure what your objective is with this one tbh?

  34. It was just the debate on what we should expect from MPs, and how we can make the job accountable, professional and attractive to the right sort of people (ie competent, driven people who aren’t just in it to cream off as much cash as they can).

  35. Yes, I meant your objective on no 3 specifically though.

  36. BT SAYS – I would’ve thought that was pretty obvious. There seem to be a large number of current and ex-Ms recieving significant cash for ostensibly no work, from a variety of organisations. Sometimes they seem to have no particular skill to bring that is worth it either, and one has to question whether something corrupt is going on.

    It’s not just MPs, of course, it can be spouses, too. For example, Sam Cam recieved a 6-figure sum as sone sort of handbag consultant (I’m not joking) and one has to question what skills and input she actually provided which warranted that enormous sum of money. I’m not saying she did anything wrong under the current rules, but that is why they have to change.

  37. Ladbrokes Odds on the Copeland By-election:

    Conservatives 4/5
    Labour 11/8
    UKIP 10/1
    LibDems 25/1
    Greens 200/1

  38. Have bet on a Tory win

  39. Ah that might explain the Odds then (early bets skew the market).

    I’d rate it as 50:50 here at present until we know the Candidates and Polling Day etc.

    If on the same day as seems likely, I can see why the Tories might want to pile in up here and leave Stoke to UKIP and Labour’s NW CLPs split on where to help defend.

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