2015 Result:
Conservative: 20955 (39.1%)
Labour: 22406 (41.8%)
Lib Dem: 1924 (3.6%)
Green: 1366 (2.5%)
UKIP: 6649 (12.4%)
Others: 330 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 1451 (2.7%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Dewsbury, Thornhill Edge, Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe, Kirkburton.

Profile: Dewsbury is an industrial former textile town in West Yorkshire. The old textile areas have a large Asian populaton, Savile Town is overwhelmingly Muslim and home to the Markazi Mosque, run by Tablighi Jamaat and one of the largest in Europe. The Asian community in Dewsbury has historically been largely Pakistani and Indian and in recent years there been some strife between the existing Pakistani community and the rising Kurdish population. Other areas, like the Chickenley council estate to the east, are largely white and have been fertile ground for the BNP, who secured one of their highest shares of the vote here at the 2005 general election. As well as the town itself the seat also stretches southwards to include more rural and Conservative areas like Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe and Kirkburton.

Politics: Dewsbury has been a Labour seat since the 1920s with the exception of 1983 when the sitting Labour MP defected to the SDP, splitting the Labour vote and allowing the Conservatives to win, and 2010 when the Conservatives gained the seat, helped by favourable boundary changes and, according to the defeated Labour MP Shahid Malik, the intervention of an independent candidate Khizar Iqbal.

Current MP
PAULA SHERRIFF (Labour) Born Glasgow. Former dermatology care service manager. Wakefield councillor. First elected as MP for Dewsbury in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18898 (35%)
Lab: 17372 (32%)
LDem: 9150 (17%)
BNP: 3265 (6%)
Oth: 5323 (10%)
MAJ: 1526 (3%)
Con: 11192 (29%)
Lab: 15807 (41%)
LDem: 5624 (15%)
BNP: 5066 (13%)
Oth: 906 (2%)
MAJ: 4615 (12%)
Con: 11075 (30%)
Lab: 18524 (51%)
LDem: 4382 (12%)
BNP: 1632 (4%)
Oth: 1038 (3%)
MAJ: 7449 (20%)
Con: 12963 (30%)
Lab: 21286 (49%)
LDem: 4422 (10%)
Oth: 3385 (8%)
MAJ: 8323 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SIMON REEVELL (Conservative) Born 1966, East Yorkshire. Educated at Manchester Polytechnic. Barrister, specialising in criminal law. MP for Dewsbury 2010 to 2015.
PAULA SHERRIFF (Labour) Born Glasgow. Dermatology care service manager. Wakefield councillor.
EDNAN HUSSAIN (Liberal Democrat) Born Dewsbury. Educated at St John Fisher High School. Works at PC World.
MARK THACKRAY (UKIP) Educated at Huddersfield University. Company director.
ADRIAN CRUDEN (Green) Personnel manager. Contested Bury South 1992, Dewsbury 2010.
RICHARD CARTER (Yorkshire First) Born Holmfirth. Former business advisor. Contested Yorkshire and Humber region 2014 European election.
STEVE HAKES (CPA) Educated at University of South Africa. Independent Bible College principal.
Comments - 76 Responses on “Dewsbury”
  1. Contrary to Mr Malik’s claims, according to a friend of mine who lives in this seat, Mr Malik himself was one of the main reasons for his defeat.

  2. Labour have made this seat an AWS which hasn’t gone down well with the Muslim male members here, according to the Guardian.

  3. The media in Pakistan are saying Pakistani muslims will shift alliegance to the Respect Party if more Pakistani muslims are not chosen as Labour Party candidates.

  4. sorry spelt ‘allegiance’ wrongly.

  5. There was a slightly odd result here in 1997. The changes in share of vote compared to the 1992 notionals were as follows:

    Lab: +2.1%
    Con: -9.9%
    LD: +0.4%
    BNP: +3.7%

  6. Not sure there was much of a boundary change here in 1997.

  7. Andy JS- it is indeed a puzzle. According to Robert Waller, the 1992 notional result was as follows:

    Labour 23,186 (47.3%)
    Conservative 92 19,637 (40.0%)
    LibDem 4,835 ( 9.9%)
    Other 1,385 ( 2.8%)

    Even if one goes on the actual 1992 figures, the result was not terribly good for Ann Taylor.

  8. *Conservative 19,637

  9. But then she didn’t have a very good result in 1992 either, increasing the Labour majority from 445 to 634.

  10. The Pennines marginals were good for the Conservatives in 1987 and 1992.
    The two parties generally increased their vote about in line with each other in a number of seats.

  11. The Tories almost won back Halifax in 1992, reducing the Labour majority from 1,212 to 478. It wasn’t mentioned on any of the election programmes though.

  12. “Not sure there was much of a boundary change here in 1997.”

    Actually IIRC there was.

    Namely losing Conservative Kirkburton and marginal Denby Dale wards to Wakefield constituency and gaining Labour Heckmondwike from Batley constituency.

    Hence the significant increase in the notional Labour lead in 1992.

  13. Wasn’t it largely reversed in 2010? At least that’s what I seem to remember Shahid Malik implying in his rather rambling speech at the count in 2010.

  14. yes it was, it’s likely Malik could have held on (although extremely narrowly) on the old boundaries, though that’s arguable.

  15. Yes it was reversed and yes Malik would have held on.

    But the knock on effects might have meant that Wakefield and/or Normanton would have been very close.

  16. I think there are grounds for supposing that the Tories would have won Wakefield on its 1997-2010 boundaries. They’ll have led Labour by about 3500 in the Kirkburton-Denby Dale area and I’m not sure that Labour’s leads in Wakefields East and North would have been enough.

  17. Was Wakefield Rural in the 97-10 Wakefield? If so, I would be even more inclined to think that the Conservatives would have won.

  18. Dewsbury Labour shortlist:

    Nasrin Ali (Manchester Cllr)
    Paula Sherriff (Pontefract North Cllr)
    Cathy Scott (Dewsbury East Cllr)

    Selection on November 2.

  19. Paula Sherriff selected for Dewsbury it seems. She’s an NHS worker (not sure in what capacity) and a councillor on Wakefield Council (Pontefract). While not exactly a local, Pontefract isn’t that far from Dewsbury. Don’t think Simon Revell is from Dewsbury originally either.

    There was a fair bit of fanfare about how good she is on Twitter. A bit surprised they didn’t go Cathy Scott who is from the area. I guess Paula made a bigger impression on the local members.

  20. I was at selection meeting this afternoon. All three candidates seem very good and suspect Paula Sherriff (who made a strong impression) will find favour with the locals more than a part time tory MP from the posh bit of Yorkshire. The unwillingness of the current MP to do something as obvious as defend the local hospital would make me think he accepts this as a one term post.
    The interesting question around here is what will become of Lib Dem and BNP votes as both parties seem to have gone into a rapid decline. The last Lib Dem candidate joined Labour in 2011 and the BNP all fell out with each other.

  21. Had the local Conservative Association thought that Simon Reevell was a one term only man, he would not have been reselected. He would not continue to work tirelessly in the constituency, for the people who voted him in. The comment from David, is the usual Labour rubbish, part time MP, Tory Toff etc. Re the Hospital,he has stated on many occasions that it is a decision that should be made by the clinicians. Any final decision will be made by an Independant body.
    As to Ms Sherriff, she is the preferred candidate of Unison, chum of Mrs Balls, wants to save the NHS while working for……… Virgin HealthCare.

  22. Votes cast in local elections:

    Lab 13,126
    Con 10,681
    Greens 3,821
    UKIP 1,310
    LD 1,165

  23. I am surprised no one has mentioned the Tebbit Cricket Test in relation to Baroness Warsi. She seems to unashamedly say that she represented Muslims at the Cabinet table and has praised Hamas in the past.

    Sajjad Karim MEP has also just called for children from Gaza to be treated on the NHS and then given asylum.

    For that matter, I think more people would take Respect/Galloway/Stop The War more seriously, if they ever protested against the govt of Syria or Iran, or the treatment of Christians in Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, China etc.

  24. Andy JS – that’s very true. A colleague told me that the Tories ran heavily on abortion in Halifax, in 1992 and it almost unseated the far Left Alice Mahon, but she held on after a recount.

  25. I think the ‘changing demographics’ here will turn this into a marginal labour seat 2015, a semi-marginal by 2020 , a safe labour seat by 2025 and a ultra safe labour seat by 2030…

  26. I don’t think a Pakistani is very likely at all to defend Assad or Iran. Both are shia.

  27. You’d expect Labour to win one of their biggest majorities against a sitting Tory MP in this seat. But on the other hand this seat does have a history of confounding expectations.

  28. Latest Ashcroft polling figures for Dewsbury:

    Conservative: 30%
    Labour: 40%
    Liberal Democrat: 4%
    Green: 6%
    Other: 3%

    This is a prime target for Labour in West Yorkshire so would pretty much expect this to be a gain. I think that Green vote might be from Kirkburton where they have some local representation. The UKIP figure, however, is a impressive. They didn’t stand last time so presumably they’d mop up most of the BNP vote and a fair bit of Tory support too.

  29. Look at the BNP vote in 2005, and 2010 even allowing for Heckmondwike ward being moved into Batley & Spen and regaining Kirkburton & Denby Dale wards where BNP support was less, and you can easily see where the UKIP vote is coming from.

    UKIP only stood 4 candidates in Kirklees in May, but I think all 4 came second or third without actually trying very hard. Turnout increases showed they picked up virtually all the ex BNP voters who stopped voting at all, once the BNP stopped standing for the council. They even knocked a couple of ward based Tories who had started running decent local anti Labour/the council planning based campaigns out of second place.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if UKIP got 20% here this time with the tories being the biggest sufferer. The asian vote also won’t be as split as last time, and I would imagine significant chunks of the Dewsbury wards Lib Dem vote and Kirburton Green vote where they have 2 Kirklees councillors and control the Parish Council, will vote Labour next year.

  30. According to this poll, a lot of swing voters – see the Table 6.

  31. 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.


  32. This must surely be an easy Labour gain – I don’t think the Tory expected it last time.

  33. A combination of Malik’s expenses and an independent probably taking Labour votes handed it to the Conservatives. Even with the removal of Heckmondwike I expect this to be a straightforward Labour gain.

  34. Leader of Yorkshire First to contest Dewsbury

  35. Given that Yorkshire First polled 1.5% of the vote in the Yorkshire and Humber Region (which also includes North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, not part of Yorkshire although votes for Yorkshire First were nevertheless recorded in those districts) in last year’s European elections, which is pretty good from a standing start and without a full list, what effect could they have in marginal constituencies like this one?

  36. Zero

    Fringe parties do better in Euro elections. As a Green you should know that only too well. They won’t get 1.5% of the Yorkshire vote in May, or anything close to it.

  37. “Two West Yorkshire teenagers are believed to have travelled to Syria, counter-terrorism police have confirmed.

    The boys, both 17 and from Dewsbury, were last seen by their families on 31 March.

    They are believed to have flown from Manchester airport to Dalaman in Turkey on the same day, police say.”

  38. Labour Gain. 3,000 majority.

  39. Lab gain 3800 majority

  40. Where do people expect the almost 4000 BNP/ED votes from 2010 to go here this time?

    A mixture of Lab, Con, Yorkshire First?

  41. Clearly many of them will go to UKIP. l do think however that a lot of the votes which went to the Independent last time will go to Labour.

  42. The fact that there is only one Asian candidate could be significant.

  43. The Lib Dem asian candidate isn’t a councillor, so he won’t carry much clout amonst the community, unlikr the 3 asian labour councillors in the constituency do.

    The one remaining tory asian councillor is also up for election this year. Given it will be a GE turnout, I’d expect him to finally be defeated by labour in Dewsbury South ward.

    I agree that most of the vote that went to the independent last time will go to labour. He was actually a tory councillor who failed to win the tory nomination and stood in pique as an independent, then rejoined the tory group on the council before losing his seat in 2012.


    Decent result for Labour in the circumstances. I mean a bad night in narrower target seats and the boundaries here made it more challenging.

  45. No prizes for guessing which community probably did for the Tories here.

  46. Looking at the 10 Labour gains from the Conservatives, the interesting thing is that the largest majority in any of them was just 1,451 votes. If you’d predicted that before the election most people wouldn’t have believed it.

    Dewsbury (1,451)
    Lancaster & Fleetwood (1,265)
    Hove (1,236)
    Enfield North (1,086)
    Wolverhampton SW (801)
    Ilford North (589)
    Brentford & Isleworth (465)
    Wirral West (417)
    Ealing Central & Acton (274)
    City of Chester (93)

  47. I hadn’t realised just how tight all those gains had been. Even Enfield North wasn’t as doomed as we all thought. All of them were gained due to demographic change except Lancaster.

    Dewsbury (1,451)
    Enfield North (1,086)
    Wolverhampton SW (801)
    Ilford North (589)
    Brentford & Isleworth (465)
    Ealing Central & Acton (274)

    Increase in non-white population

    City of Chester (93)
    Wirral West (417)

    Increase in number of Scousers (?)

    Hove (1,236)

    Increase in the number of gays and London urban trendies

    Lancaster & Fleetwood (1,265) (?)

  48. Following the resignation of Paula Sherrif MP as the councillor for Pontefract North a council by-election has been called which should be interesting.

    Pontefract North 2014 election results:

    Lab 48%
    UKIP 36%
    Con 14%
    TUSC 2%

    I suspect more parties will contest the by-elec

  49. Yorkshire First and the Liberals are contesting the by-election.

    The Greens aren’t bothering I don’t think.

    It won’t take a huge turn out to win it, the UKIP candidate lives in the ward and polled nearly 10k votes against Mrs Balls.

  50. I was amused to hear that Warsi had been tweeting about the Casey review as if Warsi was some sort of expert.

    She tweeted things like “72% of those convicted of domestic violence were White” and later “only 12% Asian” (which she later deleted when people pointed out that given their % of the population was telling)

    That in itself is startling – but not for the way she implies – given that 85% are White British. Indeed it shows that Asian men ARE disproportionately likely to attack their wives.

    She just seems a bit dim. I imagine any 16-year-old Geography, Economics or Politics student could point out why she is wrong on almost every stat she quotes.

    Casey herself was on BBC Daily Politics. The most telling fact was that most young Asians spoken to in the majority Asian wards studied thought that Britain was 90% Asian!!!

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