City of Durham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10157 (22.5%)
Labour: 21596 (47.9%)
Lib Dem: 5183 (11.5%)
Green: 2687 (6%)
UKIP: 5232 (11.6%)
Independent: 195 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 11439 (25.4%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North East, Durham. Part of the County Durham council area.

Main population centres: Durham, Waterhouses, Ludworth, Brandon, Coxhoe, Sherburn.

Profile: Co-terminous with the old City of Durham local authority, now subsumed in the unitary authority of County Durham, the seat includes Durham itself - a small medieval city dominated by its cathedral and ancient university - and the surrounding villages such as Waterhouses, Ludworth, Brandon, Coxhoe and Sherburn.

Politics: A Labour seat since 1935, but became a marginal seat with the SDP in the 1980s and, more recently from the Liberal Democrats. While Durham itself has had some Liberal Democrat strength (the City council was controlled by the Lib Dems until its abolition), the outlying villages are largely former mining areas and in many cases monolithically Labour.

Current MP
ROBERTA BLACKMAN-WOODS (Labour) Born 1957, Belfast. Educated at University of Ulster. Former lecturer and professor at the University of Northumbria. Newcastle councillor 1992-95, Oxford councillor 1996-2000. First elected as MP for City of Durham in 2005. PPS to Hilary Armstrong 2006-07, PPS to Des Browne 2007-08, PPS to David Lammy 2008-10.
Past Results
Con: 6146 (13%)
Lab: 20496 (44%)
LDem: 17429 (38%)
BNP: 1153 (2%)
Oth: 1028 (2%)
MAJ: 3067 (7%)
Con: 4179 (9%)
Lab: 20928 (47%)
LDem: 17654 (40%)
Oth: 1603 (4%)
MAJ: 3274 (7%)
Con: 7167 (17%)
Lab: 23254 (56%)
LDem: 9813 (24%)
UKIP: 1252 (3%)
MAJ: 13441 (32%)
Con: 8598 (17%)
Lab: 31102 (63%)
LDem: 7499 (15%)
Oth: 213 (0%)
MAJ: 22504 (46%)

2015 Candidates
REBECCA COULSON (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Musician and singing teacher.
CRAIG MARTIN (Liberal Democrat)
JOHN MARSHALL (Independent)
JON COLLINGS (Independent)
Comments - 81 Responses on “Durham, City of”
  1. I didn’t expect the Labour vote to go up that much here given how well they held up in 2010 but they must have been a bit disappointed to not edge over 50%.

    The Tory vote clearly must have risen due to major tactical unwind and to be fair to Hemellig and Frederic they suggested that would happen.

    I suspect the LD challenge is done for good now and that County Durham could see an LD wipeout in 2017 with the Tories (and Greens to a lesser extent) also gaining in the city itself although I would welcome people like Joe R’s views on this.

  2. The Tories also had an enthusiastic young candidate, whereas Labour’s campaigning was tepid at best, and the Tory candidate has local roots: her father was a long sitting exceptionally popular academic at the univeristy.

  3. Labour have seen off a strong LIbDem challenge here. I cannot see anybody else seriously challenging Labour in this seat for a considerable time, unless Labour implodes totally at a national level

  4. The Lib Dems will probably hold up locally, as they did this year in e.g. Newcastle, Gateshead. It probably won’t be indicative of any resurgence in a Parliamentary election.

  5. Hello again. Been a while

    Very different atmosphere than the last election. Last time I flirted with the tories but didn’t vote for them. Then I was seen as mad for even considering the thatchers baby eaters.
    At the moment Labour vote is crumbling, the change from Cameron to May has helped tories massively. Cameron was toxic due to his background even if he gave everyone in the county a million pound he’d still have been hated.

    I tend to think labour should rally their core vote but this worse I’ve ever known it.
    However I’m not here to ramp are some tidbits. Working on a Tory lead 15-20% or so.
    Labour are going to run a core vote strategy, focusing on NHS and school funding.
    Darlington – This will be main Tory target and labour will fight on NHS downgrade aka Copeland
    Bishop – This seat is in play. 50/50
    City of Durham- Labour are concerned this seat is close, LD performing strongly in the city. University students will still be present but election is during exam period.
    In other seats reports large numbers of middle class switchers. My parents both Labour last time are going Tory. Mainly over Brexit

  6. Anyways prediction – LD’s to regain 2nd place.

    LAB 39
    LD 27
    CON 24
    UKIP 6
    GRN 4

  7. The final balance for the wards in this seat at the 2017 local elections was 15 Labour, 10 Lib Dem and 1 independent councilors. In the wards covering Durham City itself, however, the result was 8 Lib Dem to 1 Labour.

    I think that what this illustrates is that while the name of the seat is ‘City of Durham’, it does extend to some of the former mining villages and these remain staunchly Labour. I suspect that this will be enough to carry the seat for Labour in 2017 even though the city itself would lean Lib Dem.

  8. To my amazement Richard Moss reckons the tories are targeting here! The chancellor was up campaigning here on Thursday. They may have picked a candidate here who is a perfect fit for this seat but they need to be careful they don’t overreach and fail in Bishop and Darlington.

  9. Yeah, that’s wildly overconfident from the Tories. They’ll do well if they halve the majority.

  10. I was wondering if they would keep second at one point. Think they will manage it comfortably now.
    The chancellors visit is probably a feint.

  11. Seems an unlikely target. Prehaps the torries think a fair bit of Labour to Lib Dem leakage in the city centre plus Labour to Tory swing could just do it.

  12. It depends on how much the Labour to Lib Dem vote is here on if the Torries have a chance.

  13. Dawdon ward By-election:

    Labour 693
    Seaham Community 633

    Lab 52% (+6)
    SC 48% (+11%)

  14. Roberta Blackman Woods will retire at next GE

  15. So, my take on the whole Cummings saga. Hopefully it’ll bring an atom of nuance to the ugly sight of a baying mob and a government in denial.

    1) Despite the macho attempts to pass himself of as something greater, Dominic Cummings is a human being, and he’s doubtless as stressed as we all are right now, if not more so. He just wanted what was best for his kid.

    2) It is not for me or anyone outside the Cummings family to judge what is best for Cummings, his child or his parents. We cannot possibly know his own family better than he does.

    3) Nonetheless, these are rules that the government he works for is expecting everyone else to follow. And this isn’t a grey area. If you have COVID symptoms, you and everyone you live with *must* self-isolate for 14 days, and in particular you *must not* visit people in vulnerable categories. Lawmakers cannot be lawbreakers. So he has to go.

    4) Cummings’s behaviour reinforces a notion among the electorate with more than a kernel of truth to it: that those in the ruling classes, and particularly in the Conservative Party, believe that rules that apply to the masses don’t apply to themselves. This is corrosive to the social contract, at a time when social cohesion is more valuable than ever.

  16. T.y for that although would have been best to put it on UXBRIDGE. Anyway, the PM has firmly, unequivocally backed his senior side (and so have many of the Cabinet, including the legal assessment of the Attorney General) but imo the public will not back him on this. A high stakes bet.

    The PM said…” I think he followed the instincts of following every father and every parents and I do not mark him down for that.” The whole point is the state has been asking people to ignore their instincts and in many cases, punished them for not doing so.

    If the media can keep the story going, there’ll be enormous pressure on Johnson. I cannot see him toughing it out and not doing a U turn. If Tory poll ratings fall dramatically and Labour rises most Tory MPs are going to blame Johnson. Further, if anything further embarrassing comes out on Cummings, Johnson can’t detach himself.

    Perhaps he should realise that lots of ppl in the media and in the general.public are stlill v much furious about Brexit and they see Cummings as one of the chief Brexiteers, so the argument is not likely to disappear anytime soon.

  17. 23May snap yougov:
    68% of Brits think he broke the rules.
    52% think he should resign.
    28% think he should not, the rest unsure.
    66% Labour voters think he should go, compared to 41% for Con voters.

  18. This is all just a res herring. Government was on back foot over schools and now we’ve got this dead cat to talk about instead

  19. It’s precisely because he’s hated by the Left, unions and civil servants that he won’t be sacked.

    Although personally I’d be tempted to move him to a new role reforming the BBC and see how the broadcast media then react to that one.

    68% think the media are held in lower regard after their Qs at the daily briefings.

  20. I would just like to say that my opinion has changed over the past 36 hours as the situation has evolved. The action itself was wrong – but would have been forgivabke if Cummings had subsequently done the right thing and fallen on his sword. Instead, the tin-eared tenacity with which the governing party has defended him over the scandal that has tipped this incident from yesterday’s fish-and-chip paper into a defining moment in the Johnson administration.

  21. As a trade unionist and left winger i don’t hate Cummings

  22. Cummings unapologetically fronts up in the Rose Garden in a first for a SPAD.

    Most of what he said was – at a stretch believable – apart from the odd 60 mile round trip to a castle beauty spot on his wife’s birthday (to test his eyesight and general fitness), which imo has undermined his entire account.

    It’ll be some feat of power and persuasion by Johnson and Cummings if he stays on.

  23. #ScumMedia is now trending thanks to Sky News doorstepping his parents.

    They didn’t like the facts – in response to their inane repetitive Qs – yesterday, so now they’re all breaching social distancing rules themselves and proving Cummings was right not to reveal the address.

    Indeed they’ve managed to engender sympathy for him, given his 4-year-old autistic son was hospitalised and his uncle died. The behaviour of Beth Rigby et al showed that they hate him and we know why. I think even Peston realised by the end of the hour that they weren’t getting anywhere and to show the public what the lobby are like was probably the best course of action available.

  24. But if anything, public opinion seems to have hardened against Cummings after his ill judged press conference yesterday

    What I personally found interesting – besides his Northern accent – was that he has came across more as a muddled, uninteresting beaurocrat – which is obviously far from his true nature

    Another interesting nugget was the revelation that after bragging that he had predicted coronavirus last year investigators found that he had added the corona bit this April – which really underlines the sort of person we are dealing with here

    I’d expect the likes of Lance to sympathise with an sense of humourless immoral psychopaths like Cummings but I can’t see too many of the general public following suit.

    Also interesting that Cummings’ supporters have already been onto social media – one of whom threatened to kill one of the Bishops who spoke out against Johnson’s condoning of his chief aide’s behaviour

  25. What is most fatal about this is that Cummings prides himself on being the voice of the northern working class raging against the unaccountable elite.

    It also plays into the age old stereotype that “it’s one rule for the rich members of the Tory government and one rule for the rest of us”. A charge that Eton-educated Boris is particularly vulnerable to.

    It’s like what would have happened if Prime Minister Corbyn was caught off-camera raging against the Jews, or complimenting an IRA bomber. It plays into the worst prejudices of his opponents.

  26. All the polls bear this out…they are showing a big jump for Labour and Tories losing several points.

  27. Lancs Observer may want to check out the Daily Mail comments sections if he thinks this is simply about the revenge of the soya latte drinking leftie liberals re: Brexit. I think the most damaging thing for Cummings is that his whole schtick only works if people are scared and awed by him. Now he’s a figure of fun and hugely undermined. Also, his rather timid, softly spoken, wishy washy appearance in the rose garden was, as Tim said, a very strange performance.

  28. Cummings quite clearly isn’t going anywhere. Boris arrived in number 10 without a clue of what to do – Cummings not only gave him one, but one which proved to be a springboard – aided of course by an unpopular leader of the opposition – to an 80-seat majority.

    Without Cummings Boris would be completely at sea – and it’s funny that a lot of Tory MPs – and also says something about Cummings lack of popularity – don’t seem to appreciate it.

    I’m sure this won’t be Cumming’s last misdeed in his current role and those Tory MPs who have dared to call for Cummings – should watch their backs in upcoming months.

  29. I will reiterate the point I have made before, that Cummings is an extremely canny operator, but that this is not a time for canny operation. It’s a time that calls for professional expertise, a commitment to public service, and the ability to engender trust; not amateurish bluffing, a commitment to serving oneself, and a reliance on ruling with an iron fist.

  30. Labour have lost control of their very last county council, Durham. A historic day – even in the bleakest times under John Major, the Tories held a majority in Buckinghmashire, so I think this is the first time either party has not got sole control of a single county council.

    They remain the largest party, though, and they also held onto their highly-rated PCC, so I guess it could have been even worse for them given recent psephological trends in this part of the world.

  31. Plus it was their first ever council, 100 years ago.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)