North West Durham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10018 (23.4%)
Labour: 20074 (46.9%)
Lib Dem: 3894 (9.1%)
Green: 1567 (3.7%)
UKIP: 7265 (17%)
MAJORITY: 10056 (23.5%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Consett, Crook, Lanchester, Willington.

Profile: A large rural seat, covering the remote and sparsely populated Wear Valley and part of the former Derwentside council area. The isolated towns and villages here are the relics of heavy industry now departed, former coal mining villages in the Wear Valley and the old steel town of Consett. The steelworks closed in the early eighties, devastating the local economy and rendering this an unemployment blackspot. More recently the area is better known for making snack food than steel - the Phileas Fogg company (now part of KP Snacks) used to advertise their crisps as being made in Medomsley Road, Consett..

Politics: The coal mining and heavy industrial traditions of the area have the unusual result of created a remote rural seat that is overwhelmingly Labour. The seat has been held by Labour since its creation in 1950, for most of the period by members of the same family (Ernest Armstrong, the MP from 1964 until 1987 was suceeded by his daughter, Hilary Armstrong, who represented the seat until 2010. While Labour have been dominant at the Parliamentary level, at a local level there has been significant Liberal Democrat and Independent strength on the old Wear Valley and Derwentside councils. Watts Stelling of the Derwentside Independents contested the 2005 and 2010 general elections, retaining his deposit both times.

Current MP
PAT GLASS (Labour) Born 1957, Esh Winning. Former education advisor and officer. First elected as MP for Durham North West in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 8766 (20%)
Lab: 18539 (42%)
LDem: 10927 (25%)
BNP: 1852 (4%)
Oth: 3731 (9%)
MAJ: 7612 (17%)
Con: 6463 (16%)
Lab: 21312 (54%)
LDem: 7869 (20%)
Oth: 3865 (10%)
MAJ: 13443 (34%)
Con: 8193 (21%)
Lab: 24526 (63%)
LDem: 5846 (15%)
Oth: 661 (2%)
MAJ: 16333 (42%)
Con: 7101 (15%)
Lab: 31855 (69%)
LDem: 4991 (11%)
MAJ: 24754 (53%)

2015 Candidates
CHARLOTTE HAITHAM-TAYLOR (Conservative) Born 1978, Malton. Educated at Heathfield School and City and Guilds of London Art School. Artist. Wokingham councillor since 2010.
PAT GLASS (Labour) See above.
OWEN TEMPLE (Liberal Democrat) Durham county councillor since 2008. Contested North West Durham 2010.
Comments - 117 Responses on “Durham North West”
  1. Oh Jesus that was the BC’s initial proposal last time, some weird rural seat snaking between Darlington, Stockton and Hartlepool right up to Easington. Thankfully that idea got shot down by everyone.

  2. The Durham/Northumberland area looks a real mess

  3. Indeed the Bc are mad but not quite mad enough to pair Berwick and Washington…as of yet

    I prefer pairing Berwick and Hexham but one gets accused of gerrymandering against the Tories if you support that idea. See that whole massive debate that was had on the Berwick thread.

  4. I agree it isn’t gerrymandering but that’s what I was accused of.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone in the NE bar Opperman opposed the review if I’m honest. Lab MP’s for obvious reasons, Trevelyan for the reasons you set out and Wharton might too, the proposed Stockton West shaves off about 1,500 votes off his majority.

  5. Pat Glass has submitted a Private Members’ Bill to cancel the boundary changes. It passed the first reading.

  6. To be pedantic (sorry) it passed second reading today. The bill also wouldn’t actually cancel the boundary review – it would only change the rules (650 MPs, 10% quota rather than 600/5%) and the electoral register cut off date.

    Getting second reading for a PMB opposed by the govt. is very unusual – the result of Labour and the SNP whipping members to attend, unlike most Fridays, whilst the Tories had no such whip. However, I wouldn’t hold out much hope that it will advance much further. The govt will almost certainly encourage fillibustering at committee stage (where they can appoint willing backbenchers to the ctte. specifically for that purpose) and report stage which will in all probability result in it being blocked.

    What is more significant is that the debate and vote ( today signal that opposition parties are likely to be united in voting against the SI to agree to the final proposals in 2018. There were also two Tories voting against today – Peter Bone and Steve Double. If the opposition parties do vote against then the Tories won’t be able to afford more than 10 or so rebels. It could therefore get quite dicey. I still expect it will happen but the chances of it being put off again are increasing.

  7. “How rural is NW Durham?”

    “I’m not sure whether to include it in my list of long-term Tory-trending seats?”
    Hard to say but I’d say no, partially cos I think the Tories will hit a short to medium term ceiling here cos Consett is definitely no Bishop Auckland but also cos 2015 was not as good a result as other seats, Labs majority up 6.5 points doesn’t point to a seat that’s rapidly drifting Con.

    “I note that Weardale ward seems quite good for them, I guess that’s the most rural and similar…”
    Almost identical demographically, why Lab do quite a bit better in Weardale compared to Barnards Castle is beyond me.

  8. I’d expect LDs higher and UKIP lower given how both have been trending since 2015 but it’s really too early to say – unless we DO get a snap election this spring.

  9. Consett is by far the largest town in this constituency.

    Given the Labour Party has become more Metropolitan over a period, you could see contests being closer in the future.
    That said, the tradition will be very strong and there isn’t much basis for Conservative support given it’s a rather isolated town.

    I looked into Consett quite a lot several years ago (2007>). The speed with which the steel works was closed then cleared was quite eerie (September 1980).
    It was surprising that Tory support didn’t dip in 1983 – albeit in a safe Labour seat. Perhaps they didn’t have much support in 1979 to begin with.

  10. Some basis for Con support I should say. A strong Labour tradition almost regardless of national party.
    Wild and slightly threatening countryside.

  11. Sadiq Khan will be 69 come 2040…

  12. Very bold prediction, personally I think Sadiq has blown his chances of becoming leader. He only became Labs nominee for Mayor cos he was the (on paper) second most pro Corbyn candidate but his actions since the nomination have been totally different to prior and the word within the membership is many feel betrayed by Kahn, thus rightly or wrongly he’s lost his credibility as even a soft left candidate amongst the membership.

  13. Why so little Conservative increase in that prediction ?

  14. Lab 38
    Tory 40
    Lib Dem 12
    UKIP 7
    Other 3

    Tory gain

  15. Labour selected Laura Pidcock, she’ a Cllr in Northumberland

  16. Could be a close one here. Current polling gives Torries a decent chance.

  17. And if it does look close I wonder if the PM will make a return visit to where she stood 25 years ago.

  18. Eh? I don’t see how. Unless you mean UNS.

    This MP standing down could actually help Labour here.

    Just look at the last 20 results here and you’ll see it isn’t a contender for the Tories. Largely due to the history of the area but indeed in part ‘cos they always parachute in a posh Southerner as a PPC weeks before Poling Day.

  19. Durham county council elections may give some sense of whether this type of seat is worth pursuing for the Cons.

  20. Totally agree with Lancs, even the absolute best polls for the tories have Lab winning this thus I don’t see a Tory win on the cards for the foreseeable future.

  21. Is that a prediction or where you think she’s already been? I’d assume seats in each Region will be visited, so what about Cornwall, Kent, Lancs again (I realise the PM began in Bolton) and maybe N or W Wales and maybe even Bangor, NI?

  22. I realise they have helicopters etc but I really can’t see her going as far as Aberdeen or Durham.

    Although she did get to Copeland pretty quickly.

    After today I imagine one more visit to Scotland at most would make sense. I did hear a Racecourse was planned but obviously there’s plenty to choose from and even the regional press don’t get told who in advance – it just tends to say senior Cabinet Minister for security and other reasons ’til a few hours before.

  23. This has to be one of the most small-c conservative seats that are “safe” for Labour. Other than the old industrial connections, people here don’t have the tangible link to Labour that you get in the big cities. And I just can’t tell whether Labour will rack up enough votes in Consett itself to come out ahead. One thing is for sure, the Tories will beat their Uniform National Swing by a country mile in this seat.

    This will be a close call, possibly needing a recount. But I’ll go for a small Labour majority in the region of 500.

  24. I’m sure the Tories will improve but I’ll be surprised if they get close. The ruralness of Durham NW is deceptive: most of the population is in the east of the seat in the former Durham coalfield. The villages there are large and have a post-industrial character rather than rural. The electoral dynamic is more akin to towns like Hartlepool and Sunderland. Mixed in with that are older, non-mining villages such as Witton and properly rural areas high up the dale such as Stanhope.

    Bishop Auckland is similar but it has a greater weight of areas without much mining heritage – Barnard Castle and a broad swathe of Teesdale – relatively to mining villages such as Shildon and Spennymoor.

  25. She was in Leeds the other day too, you missed that off

  26. The Tories are not going to win a seat containing Consett for decades, unless it’s joined with somewhere in the Home Counties in a bizarre return to discontinuous seats.

  27. Sadly Anne hart selected for the conservatives here

    God help labour she is one hell of a campaigner

  28. Labour held Durham Council this week; they’ll be fine here whoever the Tory candidate is

  29. Lib Dems have selected Owen Temple their 2010 and 15 candidate. He’s a very popular councillor who probably was the reason LD’s got 9% of the vote here instead of losing their deposit.
    Makes this even less likely of a Tory gain as anti Labour vote has a strong alternative.

  30. The new Labour MP here Laura Pidcock delivered her maiden speech yesterday and its caused quite the ruckus on social media.

    She spoke about how Westminster is archaic, intentionally intimidating and a “monument to greed” as well as provoking the Tories to meet her constituents who have been sanctioned/are using food banks amongst other things.

    Naturally those on the left (myself included) where quite impressed with her while most on the right have dismissed her.

    Anywho I just thought I’d mention it, its not often a maiden speech goes viral like hers appears to have and its certainly bestowed upon her those, probably too frequently used terms “rising star” and “one to watch”

  31. I remember how Mhairi Black’s maiden speech went viral in 2015. Somehow feels like a distant memory now given how soft those SNP majorities have turned out to be. Hers included.

  32. Mhairi Black probably held her seat because of her profile

  33. Remarkable that people predicted a Tory win here. The Tories had their best ever performance in the constituency but still lost easily.

  34. Yes I think we may not have heard the last of Ms. Pidcock, the third female Labour MP in a row here.

  35. I hope not, I am acquainted with her & am a supporter of hers.

  36. “Yes I think we may not have heard the last of Ms. Pidcock”

    You certainly have an odd turn of phrase at times. How would it be possible to have heard the last of someone who was elected?

  37. I’m more wanting to know if there’s anyone in the Labour Party past and present, that BARNABY MARDER hasn’t met.

  38. Ha ha I was being a bit surreal I suppose there.

  39. AlexF of course there is. However as you know I co-run Red Labour, and Laura is fairly close to us. I wasn’t born until 1960 so obviously I can’t claim to have known historical figures born before then. I have never met Tony Blair and have only met 3 Labour Party leaders past & present.

  40. who died* before then

  41. Just wanna say my comment was meant as a back handed compliment.
    ; )

    An amazing speech by the new MP here – tearing into the establishment of Parliament.

    She, argued that “the intimidating nature of this place is not accidental”.

    “Turning to this place, this building is intimidating. It reeks of the establishment & of power; its systems are confusing—some may say archaic.”

    “I believe that the intimidating nature of this place is not accidental. The clothes, the language, and the obsession with hierarchies, control and domination are symbolic of the system at large.”

    I am with her and imo it’s a good thing that Speaker Bercow has allowed MPS to come tie – less. I wonder how long before Corbyn turns up at PMQS open necked?

  42. Whatever she thinks of Westminster’s arcane structures – and she has a point! – she is going to have to learn to use them if she wants to achieve anything. This should be easier than usual for an opposition backbencher, given the parliamentary arithmetic (see Stella Creasy’s amendement for example).

    On a broader note, I have never understood the anarchic streak on the left. There seem to be very few concrete differences between the philosophies of anarchy and libertarianism, even though these are placed notionally at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Douglas Carswell could have said a lot of those things – in fact his maiden speech referred to how he was “embarrassed” to be in Westminster when he felt that real change could best be delivered outside parliament.

  43. Why connect a desire for a more modern place of elected representatives to acting like an anarchist?

  44. I haven’t seen the whole speech, only the snippets quoted here, so maybe I’m reading them out of context – did she suggest any improvements or was she just having a good old moan?

    If I’m reading too much into this, it’s only because of how excited people on here became. Maybe I read something interesting and radical into something that has actually been said a thousand times before.

  45. I am not sure what the MP’s views on Parliament have to do with polling.

  46. I agree. I did mention that there were some over-wild predictions about this seat earlier but they seem to have been overtaken……sorry if I contributed

  47. When you think about it our parliamentarians are protected from all manner of measures that has reduced and depleted the working lives of other public servants, who have had to endure:

    Sell off of beloved public buildings (uneconomical to run)
    Pay rise of 10% – 2 yrs ago
    Sell offs to private sector
    Cuts in numbers
    Constant improving in procedures
    Constant cost cutting

    Meanwhile the inhabitants of the Palace of Westminster just rumble along like it is 1899.

  48. Laura Pidcock has revealed she is pregnant.

  49. Has anyone on here come across a David Lindsay?

    A quick search reveals a blog, a Trial where he was the Defendant and so on. He says he’s a socialist, but ran a High Tory Dining Club @ Durham Uni at the same time as the infamous Mark Clarke was there.

    Does he stand in the locals as often as Bill Boakes was a PPC?

    A colleague said, “Oh, you must have heard of him. He claims to have his own Party” as I’m from ‘up North’ – but, of course, this character is firmly in the North East as far as I can tell, so I’ve yet to hear of his antics.

  50. The Labour CLP here has passed a motion calling for Hilary Armstrong to be expelled from the Labour Party according to fellow former MP for the Seat Pat Glass.

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