Heywood & Middleton

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9268 (19.1%)
Labour: 20926 (43.1%)
Lib Dem: 1607 (3.3%)
Green: 1110 (2.3%)
UKIP: 15627 (32.2%)
MAJORITY: 5299 (10.9%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of the Rochdale council area.

Main population centres: Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale.

Profile: The seat covers some of the more affluent suburbs of Rochdale itself and the two neighbouring towns of Heywood and Middleton, both former mill towns that are now largerly residential, with mixtures of more affluent private developments and overspill council estates. In the north the seat stretches into the West Pennine moors and includes part of the Scout Moor Wind Farm, the largest onshore wind farm in England.

Politics: Heywood and Middleton has been held by the Labour party since its creation in 1983. There was a by-election here in 2014 following the death of Jim Dobbin on a Parliamentary trip abroad. The by-election was held the same day as the Clacton by-election which received much greater media attention, but in the event UKIP came incredibly close to winning this seat too, leaving it one of their prime targets in the north.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in LAB HOLD. For full details see here.


Current MP
LIZ MCINNES (Labour) Born 1959, Oldham. Educated at Hathershaw Comprehensive and Oxford University. Former biochemist. Rossendale councillor. First elected as MP for Heywood and Middleton in 2014 by-election.
Past Results
2010
Con: 12528 (27%)
Lab: 18499 (40%)
LDem: 10474 (23%)
BNP: 3239 (7%)
Oth: 1385 (3%)
MAJ: 5971 (13%)
2005*
Con: 8355 (21%)
Lab: 19438 (50%)
LDem: 7261 (19%)
BNP: 1855 (5%)
Oth: 2144 (5%)
MAJ: 11083 (28%)
2001
Con: 10707 (28%)
Lab: 22377 (58%)
LDem: 4329 (11%)
Oth: 1366 (4%)
MAJ: 11670 (30%)
1997
Con: 11637 (23%)
Lab: 29179 (58%)
LDem: 7908 (16%)
Oth: 750 (1%)
MAJ: 17542 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
IAIN GARTSIDE (Conservative)
LIZ MCINNES (Labour) See above.
ANTHONY SMITH (Liberal Democrat) Businessman. Contested Heywood and Middleton 2014 by-election.
JOHN BICKLEY (UKIP) Born 1953. Businessman. Contested Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election 2014, Heywood and Middleton by-election 2014.
ABI JACKSON (Green) Educated at Cardinal Langley High School and Huddersfield University. Contested Heywood and Middleton 2014 by-election.
Links
Comments - 463 Responses on “Heywood & Middleton”
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  1. This must be one of only a few seats where the Conservatives’ vote share in 2005 was lower than 1997- Their candidate that year incidentally was Stephen Pathmarajah, whose vote decreased by 6.2%. I am still to this day not really sure why the fall was as much as that…

  2. The Conservatives as expected comfortably held Norden ward last night, but it was quite a good result for Labour, in fact one might be tempted to describe it as very good in that particular ward;
    Conservative 1081
    Labour 627
    LD 246
    NF 156

  3. “This must be one of only a few seats where the Conservatives’ vote share in 2005 was lower than 1997”

    I haven’t checked but I think there were quite a lot of seats in that category, in London, Birmingham, etc.

  4. It was quite common in urban seats, and in Scotland.
    Then there were places like Solihull, Cambridge.

  5. The Tories narrowly topped the poll in this seat in the 2008 local elections.

  6. Jim Dobbin has died aged 73 while on a Council of Europe trip.

  7. Sad to see another MP die. Condolences to his family.

    This will be a fascinating by-election. The seat covers part of Rochdale Borough, where the child abuse scandal continues. It also had a solid Liberal Democrat tradition, but they have lost almost all of their council seats in the Borough in recent years – they only held one this year.
    UKIP polled strongly and gained some close second places in May. This is one of the few places where the Conservatives gained councillors in May and they have some strong rural wards.

    The demographic profile is very white, very different from neighbouring seats.

    Interestingly that this is the sort of seat that is ignored by politicos and indeed no one has posted here for 17 months. I suspect we will see more action now.

  8. “This must be one of only a few seats where the Conservatives’ vote share in 2005 was lower than 1997- Their candidate that year incidentally was Stephen Pathmarajah, whose vote decreased by 6.2%. I am still to this day not really sure why the fall was as much as that?”

    Look at the demographics of the seat, look at the size of the BNP and UKIP vote, then look at the surname of the tory cnadidate. I think that says all you need to know about the make up of much of the previous tory vote, particularly in Heywood & Middleton in previous elections. You can see this trend regardless of party since 1987 when ethnic minority candidates started standing in greater numbers, although the impact in Labour seats tends to wear off over time, or due to demographic change.

    Look at the London local elections results even in 2014. A party candiadte even Labour ones, in areas that are mixed or mostly white, with a non Englsih sounding surname, always trails the same parties canditates with English sounding surnames by a couple of hundred votes, and it’s exaggereated even more if they are the alphabetically last of that parties candidates in an all up election.

    Caribbean heritage candidates can often avoid this syndrome in all out elections in urban areas because their surname sounds English, but it isn’t always the case, particular yin single seat elections where candidate pictures cannot hide a candadates ethnic background.

  9. Another thoroughly decent politician and good person died – this year has been particualrly bad for political deaths (Bob Crow, Margot Macdonald, Tony Benn).

    And an increasingly rare example of someone who had a career outside of politics before becoming an MP

    God Bless you Jim!

  10. The phenomenon described by Ian Mallett works both ways of course

    https://mgov.newham.gov.uk/mgElectionAreaResults.aspx?XXR=0&ID=10&RPID=12703966

    Candidates and voters from Pakistani muslim backgrounds in particular have very loose party loyalties – many of the Tory candidates in Newham for example were former Labour members. Multiple and serial defections from this element are common and therefore it is apparent that voters from this background are supporting someone from within their own ‘community’ rather than the political label under which they happen to be standing. Elected representatives from these backgrounds will often tend to see themselves as spokesmen of their ‘community’ rather than of the political party they ostensibly represent or the wider community. It isn’t all that surprising therefore if people from outside this narrow demographic base sometimes decline to vote for those from within it, even when they would otherwise support a candidate from the same party.

  11. 2014 locals

    Lab 10051 (40.2%)
    UKIP 6130 (24.6%)
    Con 5397 (21.6%)
    LD 2459 (9.8%)

    You’d think UKIP would have a decent chance of finishing second. They outpolled the Tories in 2014 here despite standing in only 8 out of the 10 wards.

  12. * UKIP 24.5% sorry.

    UKIP’s nearest miss was West Heywood where they trailed Labour by an agonising 23 votes.

  13. I’ve different % but same total votes.
    Other than the top 4 I’ve Greens at 281 votes and 2 Independents polling 845 for a 25,163 total

  14. A UKIP 30% may be possible. Lib Dems have been decimated around there in local elections, and Tories are not too popular. The Labour MP was liked though by many accounts but maybe the Rotherham effect will help UKIP. Rochdale had a similar underage abuse scandal in 2012 – not the same scale but pretty widespread. I’d not really heard read too much about it before and looked it up – awful reading and seems identical to Rotherham in many ways -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_sex_trafficking_gang

  15. Andrea- I’d missed the Greens in Norden. Thanks for spotting. I’ve now got 25,163 votes too. As such, the correct percentages are-

    Lab 39.9
    UKIP 24.4
    Con 21.4
    LD 9.8

  16. Jim was a dear friend and a thoroughly decent man; I am devastated at his death and my heart goes out to Pat and their children.
    I would ask that we leave detailed discussion until his funeral has taken place, as has been the convention. I know this seat exceedingly well and will share my views and knowledge then.
    I am shattered. God bless you and Rest in Peace Jim.

  17. I am very sad to hear of Jim’s death. He has always struck me as a principled MP. He was one of my favourite Labour MPs.

  18. Maybe things have changed since the 1990s. I have (admittedly vague) memories that when Tory MPs such as Nicholas Fairbairn, Stephen Milligan and John Dudley died there was immediate speculation in the media (ie. TV and radio) about who would win the subsequent by-elections.

  19. Was that John Dudley’s death that caused the famous Blackburn byelection?

  20. The Lib Dems frequently used to get excited about potential byelections whenever an MP from either of the other two parties was ill, never mind just after they had died. Not any more though it seems.

  21. I remember the BBC news when Robert Taylor, Conservative MP for Croydon NW, died in 1981. They said when announcing his death “the constituency is expected to be contested strongly by the new SDP-Liberal Alliance”. Not very good form. It turned out to be true of course, though the winner of the by-election, Bill Pitt, is nowadays in the Labour Party. One by-election which stands out in the memory was the Fulham one caused by the death of the Tory MP Martin Stevens (of a rare exotic illness as I recall, from a foreign trip) in 1986. The Labour victor, Nick Raynsford, at the beginning of his victory speech insisted on a long silence in memory of Stevens (he was respected widely as a man of independent mind) & I can’t recall any other such instance, certainly not in a televised election.

  22. ”The Labour victor, Nick Raynsford, at the beginning of his victory speech insisted on a long silence in memory of Stevens (he was respected widely as a man of independent mind) & I can’t recall any other such instance, certainly not in a televised election.”

    That’s very interesting Barnaby. What a very honourable and respectful thing for Nick Raynsford to do in Martin Stevens’ memory. It would be nice if it were to happen again in the future I think.

  23. The thing about Fairbairn, Milligan, etc., was that their seats were likely to flip, especially when, like Milligan and Fairbairn, their party was in a bad spot. There’s very little chance of Labour not holding here, I should think.

  24. At this extremely early stage, I would guess the by-election here might go-
    Labour- 52%
    UKIP- 23%
    Conservative- 17%
    Liberal Democrat- 4%
    Others- 4%

  25. ” the death of the Tory MP Martin Stevens (of a rare exotic illness as I recall, from a foreign trip) in 1986. ”

    Was ‘rare exotic illness’ a euphemism for something?

  26. No Pete, I think it actually was a genuine rare exotic illness contracted on a foreign trip. Just as I said. I can’t find an accurate online reference to back up my memory on this, though. I am pretty sure it was not as a result of sexual activity, if that’s what you mean. I noticed that he was a candidate in the 1966 general election, so he had quite a long wait before he did manage to enter Parliament which he did when he gained the seat from Labour in 1979 following Michael Stewart’s retirement.

  27. Barnaby. Really not sure you are right here. I think Martin died of an Aids-related condition.
    He was indeed a liberal and independent Tory.

    Its also interesting that Jim Dobbin was one of the few social conservatives left on the Labour benches – tended to be hostile to gay rights. A couple more will retire at the next election.

  28. I recall it being said at the time that Martin Stevens had died of septicaemia.

  29. The Results- I would be most surprised if Labour’s vote recovered to that extent. I think they’ll win straightforwardly enough but if UKIP do reasonably I doubt Labour will break out of the low-40s. Look at this year’s local election results.

  30. “Was ‘rare exotic illness’ a euphemism for something?”

    Of course it was. Though it may have technically been true, as his AIDS would have lowered his immunity and he perhaps picked up something fatal overseas as a result. But it was certainly “AIDS-related”, as we would say today. The 1980s was a different time and many AIDS related deaths were not described as such.

    “The Lib Dems frequently used to get excited about potential byelections whenever an MP from either of the other two parties was ill, never mind just after they had died.”

    Indeed. The best relatively recent example of course was Brent East, where the Labour MP was well known to be terminally ill for many months before he died. This is one reason why I can’t ever take Sarah Teather seriously when she’s trying to claim the moral high ground. Good riddance to her, even if it means the return of the hideous Dawn Butler.

  31. For once I might have to agree with Hemmelig. It really is disgusting when people are so flippant about human life. Politics may be a huge part of what sets the world agenda, but when we can’t be decent to each other about it (amusingly, more or less why I’ve taken issue with Hemmelig in the past), we truly slip into a very dark place that I for one find remarkably distasteful.

  32. H. H. Might be straight talking and sometimes abrasive but I don’t think he’s somebody who would glory in the death of an opponent. I don’t think there’s anyone on these forums who I’d not describe as decent, although an interest in psephology tends to give us some common ground.

  33. I was just going by what they said on the news re Martin Stevens. Clearly the BBC news was rather euphemistic at that time.

  34. Nameless, I wasn’t implying that he would, just that Hemmelig and I have different ideas about political discourse and what language is appropriate in such discussions.

    And Barnaby, yes indeed. It’s a pity, too. If we’d been willing to talk more openly about AIDS at the time, many deaths might have been averted.

  35. It is always sad to learn of the death of a long-standing MP.

    This will be an interesting by-election but we should wait a few days before discussing it, i.e. until after the late MP’s funeral, assuming that this is reasonably timely.

  36. The by election won’t take place till mid November though, now that the campaign has to last a minimum of 25 days and there won’t be an opportunity to move the writ until after the conference recess.

  37. Don’t shoot the messenger… I wasn’t intending to post any of my own comments on this subject. This is from the Guardian:

    “Labour ‘planning early byelection after Jim Dobbin death to foil Ukip’
    Party wants to kickstart process so Heywood and Middleton poll can be held on day of the Clacton vote, officials say

    Labour strategists are understood to be planning to stage an early byelection in a vacant Greater Manchester seat in an attempt to minimise the potential of an embarrassing threat from the UK Independence party.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/09/labour-early-byelection-plan-jim-dobbin-death-foil-ukip

  38. That was a painful article to get through. Have they let the millenials run the paper again? Bunch of reckoning and speculation, not a single bite of actual fact or attributable quote in there.

    And they haven’t even the guts to enable comments. Honestly with their weirdly pro-Yes stance in recent days and the long running anti-Labour campaign the Guardian has lost a lot of its readers’ respect.

  39. Jim Dobbin’s relatively conservative views socially sort of remind me of current Labour MP for Bootle Joe Benton (like Joe, Jim was Roman Catholic).

    As for the by-election, I believe an easy Labour hold is assured despite the fact the demographics look reasonably good for a strong UKIP performance. I am hoping the Green Party will field a candidate here…

  40. Would a Green candidate get 2 or 3 per cent?

  41. Probably not more than 2%.

  42. The Greens have contested most of the by-elections so far but have done pretty poorly in them. They beat the LDs in Newark but when Professor Pongoo can do it…

    Jim Dobbin reminds me of Paul Goggins (although that may just be their geographic location, opposition to same sex marriage and sad deaths in office).

    I may end up campaigning here if my Labour club can scrape together the funds for travel (maybe even if not). I’ll let people know the situation on the ground if I do.

    Couldn’t have campaigned for Jim Dobbin himself of course because we passed a very stupid resolution stopping us from campaigning for any Labour MP who voted against SSM.

  43. Goggins was a practising Catholic too. Even in England there is still a strong Catholic influence in the Labour Party. There are certainly some Campaign Groupies with strong Catholic backgrounds, even some who still practise the religion (Ronnie Campbell for example), so while there’s been a long association between Catholicism & the Labour Right there are plenty of exceptions too.

  44. “Couldn’t have campaigned for Jim Dobbin himself of course because we passed a very stupid resolution stopping us from campaigning for any Labour MP who voted against SSM.”

    Who is we? and why do you feel bound by such a stupid resolution?

  45. They moved the writ today for 9th October.

  46. ‘ “Couldn’t have campaigned for Jim Dobbin himself of course because we passed a very stupid resolution stopping us from campaigning for any Labour MP who voted against SSM.”
    Who is we? and why do you feel bound by such a stupid resolution?’

    I want to know this too

  47. If you want to help in a different seat just email someone there and say do you want me to come and help.
    What a load of bollocks.

  48. 9th October? Goodness me is that quick,Andrea. With so much coverage of the Clacton by-election, there will be barely enough time for political parties to submit nominations-generally nominations close approximately two or three weeks before the by-election date (so for Heywood and Middleton and Clacton, the statement of persons nominated will likely appear in the last two weeks of September).

  49. Surely its up to you if you want to campaign as an individual. But the Labour club is quite entitled to decide where to devote its energies

    I don’t want any more MP’s with Jim Dobbin’s views on the Labour benches and would have neither campaigned nor voted for him. It is also the reason I could not vote for Joe Benton in 2010 and voted for his reselection this year before he withdrew from nomination having had all but one ward vote for a trigger ballot

  50. “9th October? Goodness me is that quick,Andrea. With so much coverage of the Clacton by-election, there will be barely enough time for political parties to submit nominations-generally nominations close approximately two or three weeks before the by-election date (so for Heywood and Middleton and Clacton, the statement of persons nominated will likely appear in the last two weeks of September).”

    Lotus A White: yes, that’s the whole point of calling it so quickly. So the incumbent party doesn’t face the sort of challenge it might have faced had there been a longer time frame.

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