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
Con: 12528 (27%)
Lab: 18499 (40%)
LDem: 10474 (23%)
BNP: 3239 (7%)
Oth: 1385 (3%)
MAJ: 5971 (13%)
Con: 8355 (21%)
Lab: 19438 (50%)
LDem: 7261 (19%)
BNP: 1855 (5%)
Oth: 2144 (5%)
MAJ: 11083 (28%)
Con: 10707 (28%)
Lab: 22377 (58%)
LDem: 4329 (11%)
Oth: 1366 (4%)
MAJ: 11670 (30%)
Con: 11637 (23%)
Lab: 29179 (58%)
LDem: 7908 (16%)
Oth: 750 (1%)
MAJ: 17542 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 434 Responses on “Heywood & Middleton”
  1. I’m not really sure at the moment about UKIP here. I think they should manage the mid-20s percentage wise, but it’s not really the best territory for them, so I think they’ll possibly stay under 30% here. I could be wrong of course.

  2. when are the tories picking a candidate?
    and none of those labour hopefuls are particularly local not just Miriam o’reilly

  3. Liz McInnes wins Labour selection.

    Iain Gartside is chosen as Conservative candidate.

  4. I think D.Alex and robbietriestopredictpolitics are turning out to be the new Bob and A Brown in terms of silly and/or uninformed posts on here

  5. I must say I didn’t think Liz McInnes would win it. Let’s see how she does.

    Iain Gartside is the councillor for Tottington, Walshaw and Affetside on Bury Council.

  6. The ward is simply Tottington, I should add. He’s done that annoying politician thing on his Twitter where he lists places that aren’t in the official name.

  7. ” must say I didn’t think Liz McInnes would win it.”

    she was backed by the Danczuks last night

  8. I think both candidates are councillors in towns (in different local authorities) which aren’t far from this constituency at all, so at least neither are parachuted from a corner of the south of England.

  9. A few people on Twitter have picked up on McInnes’ Unite affiliations. That controversy died alongside the stuff on the Falkirk selection, but it can still garner a reaction from political opponents.

  10. The thing is that shouting “Union-backed!” really doesn’t put off most Labour voters (and probably encourages a few more).

    It might be a useful card to play in a really tight race if scaring your own voters into turning out to stop them is an important factor, but neither the Cons or UKIP are strong enough to take this.

  11. Rochdale council gets the name of the Heywood & Middleton constituency wrong on their official page:


  12. SoPN now up on Rochdale council web site.


    UKIP John Bickley (UKIP)
    Con Iain Gartside (Con)
    Green Abi Jackson (Green)
    Lab Liz McInnes (Lab)
    LD Anthony Smith (LD)

    5 in all.


  13. Interesting that the BNP have disappeared despite piling up quite a few votes in 2010.

  14. Interesting, but not particularly surprising; the BNP are pretty much finished as any kind of political force.

  15. UKIP candidate gives an address from Eddisbury constituency
    Con from Bury North
    Green from Heywood and Middleton
    Labour from Rossendale and Darwen
    LD from Heywood and Middleton

  16. Wasn’t John Bickley UKIP’s candidate for the Wythenshawe & Sale East by-election earlier this year?

  17. He was indeed, and performed respectably if not tremendously well. I suspect a similar result might be in order here.

  18. Probably, MrNameless, given the relatively respectable Conservative result last time (better than Wythenshawe and Sale East’s 2010 result for the Conservatives) and the fact that BNP voters will largely drift to UKIP.

    There may only be five candidates for this by-election (the joint-lowest for mainland UK by-elections so far in this parliament), but I am still pleased a Green candidate, Abi, is among them 🙂

  19. John Bickley’s proposer is called Warren Mitchell. I can’t say I’m surprised that Alf Garnett has jumped ship to UKIP.

  20. So what’s the minimum UKIP have to get here to avoid underperforming expectations? I expect most attention will be on Clacton, but what do UKIP need here to avoid spoiling their evening?

  21. If they can get 25% they’ll be having a good night in my view. Any less than 20% and questions will be raised.

  22. They should get 25 no bother… This is fairly good territory for them, as shown by the 2010 bnp result.

  23. ECB: I don’t think it matters as much as it would have if the by-election were triggered by something other than a death.

    UKIP coming second is highly likely, which would be priority number one. If it’s a strong second they can claim that they are the main challengers to Labour in this part of the world, and if it’s a weak second they simply say that it’s very hard to motivate people to vote for change weeks after the death of one of the ‘relatively few’ [their words, not mine] establishment party politicians of his era who was genuinely respected by his electorate for his convictions.

  24. I think voters will also take into account Labours recent failure to be able to prevent child exploitation, this is a similar area, full of mill towns, and has seen similar problems to those in Rotherham.

    Ukip could even snatch this seat to, its feasible that 30% could be enough to win.

  25. It really isn’t. 30% victories require three parties in with a real shot, and if UKIP get that high they will have decisively knocked the Tories out of the contest.

  26. Neale – it also happened here (the first Asian grooming gang to be convicted was here). Middleton is also where Lee Rigby was from.

  27. excuse me NEIL I check up half the things I say on wikipedia to see if I am telling the truth afterwards! I am not uninformed!

  28. (It might be better to check things before posting them rather than after.)

    Anyway, FA with ECB – whilst UKIP may well achieve 30% here, there’s no way this will achieve victory. Cons / LD / Others will have a combined max of 30%, unless the Green candidate turns out to be some superwoman high profile candidate, which leaves min. 40% for Labour.

    UKIP would need upper 30s at least for victory, and if a strong ‘anyone but UKIP’ vote emerges then definitely more than this.

    Whilst not impossible for UKIP to win, it’s a big ask and would require a fairly high profile and gaffe-free campaign with boots on the ground. They don’t have to have councillors to win seats in by-elections, but they would have been stronger had they had at least one here.

    If I were them I’d go for it – but I’m not sure how strong their organisation is for running two campaigns at once, or how much their boots on the ground come at their bidding. Of course, with Carswell pretty much able to win Clacton single-handedly, there should be a strong argument for concentrating physical resources on helping Bickley here.

  29. “but I’m not sure how strong their organisation is for running two campaigns at once, or how much their boots on the ground come at their bidding. Of course, with Carswell pretty much able to win Clacton single-handedly, there should be a strong argument for concentrating physical resources on helping Bickley here.”

    2 campaigns and a half. South Yorkshire PCC by-election is taking place on October 30th. As it covers a big area, they probably need to start to do some campaigning before October 9th.

  30. FE, LO & ECB,

    Yea ,your right, maybe 30% is to low. I stand corrected.

    I still feel the Labour vote will fall though, I think people will realize that Labour have lost an awful lot of credibility due to not wanting to upset certain community groups, and giving such policies priority over organised child exploitation, for such reasons, is abhorrent.

    Rotherham, at the time of the crimes highlighted in the reports had a Labour MP, a vast majority of Labour councillors and a Labour Police Commissioner(for the last few years). Labour everywhere and yet nothing to protect children!

    I think that many Labour voters will switch to UKIP in this By-election, UKIP or Labour winning with around 36%, Labour do seem to be running scared of UKIP, I’ve been watching the first hour from Salford and already UKIP have been mentioned 4 times by 3 different comrades.

  31. I can’t help wondering whether Clacton getting the lion’s share of the national coverage will help UKIP here, make no difference here, or hinder UKIP here.

    Logically you’d say the latter (former Tory vs current Tory), but by-elections are a strange beast.

    The fact remains that for polling purposes UKIP are still something of an unknown quantity in a FPTP General Election, and these two by-elections won’t completely change that.

  32. This is a tough one to predict, especially as there has been no constituency polling as of yet. However I do think that UKIP will surprise people here. All the current circumstances are going for them at the moment, for example the scottish referendum fallout in England, recent Rotherham and other local child exploitation, and a prime oppertunity for a protest vote that has no ramifications as the GE is only 8 months away… Taking that into account and also the amount of coverage they will get with their party conference and Clacton by election, along with a solid working class candidate, I predict:

    Labour- 46%
    UKIP- 29%
    Conservatives- 17%
    Lib Dems- 4%
    Green- 4%

  33. UKIP won’t get 36% here.

  34. UKIP averaged 31.5% in the wards in which they stood in 2014 so 36% isn’t completely out of the question. However, it is unlikely. I think they will be in the late 20s about 10-15% points behind Labour.

  35. The wards in which UKIP did not stand in 2015 were Castleton (Labour) and the Conservative stronghold of Bamford.

  36. Why are there no polls for this constituency yet? The Clacton poll came out fairly soon after Carswell’s resignation, but it has been nearly a week and a half, and no poll? Is there something that the polling agencies don’t want to reveal?

  37. I think somebody did refer to this seat on the 1983 ITN program as Jim Callaghan’s seat thinking it was the former Prime Minister.

    As in Middleton and Prestwich, there was a sizeable Liberal vote in Heywood and Royton before 1974 for several elections – although both were Lab-C contests.

  38. Both Labour and the Tories did very well in vote share in Heywood and Royton in 1979 –


    I’ve argued this before, but the decline in the two party vote share nationally didn’t really take place until 1983 in any major way (apart from the two elections in 1974). That may be true of 1950-5 compared to after, but the poor Liberal aggregates and subsequent increases were in large part due to increases in candidates.

  39. I would like to know why there is no specific Heywood and Middleton by-election thread or a Clacton by-election thread when the by-elections of Newark, Wythenshawe & Sale East etc. have been given their own threads.


    Yes – that’s only just dawned on me.

  41. UKIP could pip this seat. They received 32% in the local elections this year with 8 out of 10 seats contested.
    The local Labour branch is split with infighting.
    The Greens will probably take 3 – 5 % from Labour, UKIP will also take from Labour and the Conservatives, it just leaves the Liberal vote to fight for as there vote will collapse. If UKIP manages to swing the Liberals to them, they could win. It all depends on who the Liberal voters swing to

  42. BBC North West Tonight just said that Labour are worried about this by-election due to UKIP and also stated that some local Labour members had resigned as a local wasn’t allowed on the shortlist.

  43. According to Pb.com Jennifer Williams of the MEN has been tweeting that Labour are worried about losing to UKIP here. Personally I don’t believe it. I reckon it’s just Labour trying to make sure there vote comes out. I won’t be taking the 3-1 Ladbrokes currently offer on UKIP.

  44. Hard to disagree with that. I’d say a UKIP win is nigh on impossible. Their vote ceiling is 30% or so, meaning that they would need a 3 way split to win. The Tories and Lib Dems will be nowhere so that isn’t going to happen and no way will Labour be below 40% with such a big Lib Dem vote to squeeze.

  45. I don’t think we can say with any confidence that UKIP’s vote ceiling here is 30%, given the local election results reported up thread and the fact that this byelection will follow close on the heels of a likely UKIP triumph at Clacton which ought to given them huge publicity. I think this could be quite close and I have had a flutter on UKIP at 10/1.

    That said, a UKIP win could be positive for Labour as perhaps they would rid themselves of a leader who really does look utterly inept.

  46. @Runnymede:
    Both by-elections are on the same day: 2 Oct. So the run-on effect won’t be there. However if there is a lot of news media circus in the run up for Clacton this my blow over to Heywood & M. But, I would have thought, not worth more than 2 – 5 % extra on the UKIP vote.


  47. I’d imagine UKIP start on 25% here. UKIP + BNP + a third of the Tory and LD share from 2010. Arguably 30%+ with some Labour share. I can’t see Labour losing, but I can see it as a possibility, though I’d rate it at only 20/1 or a 5% chance.

  48. Reading DAN’s comment above, I just remembered I saw this rather vague comment on the Twitter yesterday.

    @britainelects – “We understand polling for Heywood and Middleton has been conducted. Polling company/person unknown. Release date unknown.”

    I’ve no idea how they came across that information then, but a slim hope is better than no hope.

  49. Con – Something
    Lab – A Number
    UKIP – ?
    OMRLP – Votes
    Lib Dems – Nowt.

  50. I think it’s safe to say the Lib Dems will be pretty ecstatic to beat the Greens and keep their deposit here. With part two of that aim being quite unlikely in my book.

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