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. @shy kipper effect

    Because of the voting inertia among Labour-Identity voters I think it’s more “guilty labour” than “shy kipper” voters i.e. they’re still labour in their head but in transition.


    “Nevertheless, I am puzzled at how sanguine Labour is about this result- dressing up a vote increase of less than 1% point from the depths of 2010 as some kind of achievement.”

    They can’t admit to themselves the truth of what they’ve done so they’re trapped.

    @Lanc Observer

    “although, of course, the only Tory leaders to win majorities in the past 45 years have been from normal backgrounds.”

    Having “officers” isn’t the problem, it’s not having NCOs. Tebbit – despite his elocution lessons – was an RSM to his toes.

  2. @Ukip predicting

    You don’t have to believe this but for the sake of argument imagine

    1) a massive crime was perpetrated by the political class on about 15% of the population over the last 16 years concentrated in the most urban areas.

    2) Until very recently the media covered 99% of it up and even now they’ve only reported the tip of the iceberg.

    3) The people this crime was perpetrated on can’t talk about it because they know the other 85% of the population will think they’re making it up.

    4) Despite that those 15% are still sitting there angry about what was done and is being done to them and that is creating a force in one direction

    5) Acting in the opposite direction is the massive inertia among labour-identity voters to switching their vote and it starts by stopping voting for a (long) while before a switch.

    Then if your Ukip prediction based on what you think is the reality is always out of whack with the results then apply this model to your original prediction and see if it fits the actual result better.

  3. Some comments from 2007 on the Derbyshire NE page of the old site.

    The potential weakness of Labour in this sort of constituency was identified by PeteW and myself but still comes as a shock to the metropolitan ‘experts’.

    If EdM becomes PM next year then these seats will be won by UKIP at the following election.

    Derbyshire NE, Rother Valley, Don Valley, Bassetlaw and Penistone/Stocksbridge have near identical social makeups and election results.
    They have a number of characteristics that could bode well for the Conservatives in future:
    Extremely white, very few students, no extremes in wealth, socially conservative, distrust of London and Europe, good motorway communications leading to new commuter developments, formerly dominated by old-labour industry (coal) but no longer, discredited local Labour party.
    With the right sort of leader (David Davis would be better in these areas than David Cameron) and Rosindell style local candidates the Conservatives would have great potential.
    This may sound far-fetched but how many people would have predicted only 10 years ago that the Republicans could win West Virginina (by 15% no less) whilst losing New Hampshire.
    This could also apply to the four Labour constituencies in Cumbria.
    July 11th, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Exactly. Indeed I made the same point re: West Virginia elsewhere, I think it was on one of the Cumbria seats in fact, and I think the similarities between electoral geography in the US and UK are greater than the differences.
    I need to resist making too many points about the Tory leadership or votedave will rightly tell me off for drifting away from purely psephological discussions, but it is relevent in places like this and this is why I think the whole strategy adopted by Cameron et al is flawed because it ignores the potential in areas like this while chasing after metropolitan voters that to be honest are probably lost forever.
    July 11th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    If we had been writing in the 1950s Pete would have been saying the same thing about seats like Bosworth and Cannock. I’m interested in the theme Richard has been developing here and on other seats, what we might call the ‘West Virginia syndrome’. This, if anything is, is the key to the future long term success of the Conservative party – far more than trying to curry favour with the long lost metropolitan chattering classes in Hornsey & wood green.
    If they can successfully tap in to the resentment against that liberal elite they can break the ‘my family have always been Labour’ attitude in places like this, especially as Labour in power still demonstrates an orientation towards the prejudices of that metropolitan elite.

  4. I agree with Richard and Pete that the way political allegiances have shifted in the US over the last 50 years may have much to tell us about the future here. UKIP’s success in H&M, Rotherham and similar places may represent the start of the kind of shift they are talking about.

  5. I predict that most of these fantastical predictions will come to nought. We seem to forget that 85% of voters will not be voting UKIP….

    As Curtice said on BBC the Heywood result underlined both weakness and strength of UKIP, they still couldn’t get over the line in a by election in v favourable circumstances with 36% turnout and in a seat that Lab had probably not worked for a long time. In GE turnout in 2015, 2020 Lab will hold nearly all those Northern seats bar a few odd places like Grimsby that might be a tight 3 way contest and some Southern marginals – people will always be voting for a govt in a GE and in places like Heywood they on the whole prefer Lab govt to a Tory one that will be the real choice. FPTP will also ensure that ConLab hegemony although diminished has a few decades left in it.

  6. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that FPTP has many more decades in it – it isn’t going to be sustainable when we possibly have a party winning a majority with less than a third of the vote and if that constantly works to the advantage of one party and to the disadvantage of another then it isn’t going to be long before the disadvantaged party calls a halt.
    As to whether these were the most favourable circumstances possible, I remember hearing the same thing said about Rotherham. These kinds of arguments seem to miss the rather glaringly obvious point that these are byelections held in safe Labour seat at a time when Labour is in opposition and in the lead in national opinion polls. It isn’t difficult to imagine more favourable circumstances if Miliband is in government and plumming the depths of Brownite or even Hollandesque unpopularity.
    Don’t let me shake you out of your complacency though – suits me fine

  7. AM et al – if anything you could argue the low turnout saved Labour, given that UKIP edged it on Polling Day. That’s also why Labour called it even before Jim Dobbin’s funeral. The Dr Ford evidence is that 30% is UKIP’s ceiling, not 15%. I accept its 15% in London or Scotland, but 60% in Essex or Stoke. These aren’t predictions, just its easy for many to forget places like Wigan, Rotherham, Grimsby exist.

  8. The UKIP ceiling is nowhere near 30% nationally even LDs couldn’t bust LabCon shares at their peak in 2010, we forget that none of the polls have UKIP anywhere close to the 25% national vote share that LDs polled in 2010. It isn’t just London & Scotland. 60% in Essex – pie in the sky have you got any hard data on that? I bet that the Tories will win overwhelming majority of seats in Essex in 2015 and Labour will win handsomely in all Stoke seats.

    This UKIP people’s army hype is divorced from reality – Lab & Tories will likely poll in mid thirties and UKIP at a stretch 13-15% but will in all likelihood be a bit lower. I say it again 85% of votes at next general election will not be for UKIP.

    With all respect Pete, you missed the point – by elections are by elections not General Elections. FPTP will be with us for sometime, public rejected AV and it is both main parties self interest to maintain the status quo.

    I agree that UKIP and SNP are competing for protest votes that would have in the past always gone to the official opposition but they are not alternative UK govts that is the essential point.

  9. Lancs Observer – 15% is also very generous for UKIP in Scotland or London they will poll significantly less than that in many places in GE.

  10. As I said, it wasn’t a prediction, but those indeed are the ceiling % in those areas. The reports are based on demographics, rather than the European elections ie Knowsley was near the top of the ‘left behind’ UKIP-friendly seats, but they have no history of even standing there until this May.

  11. btw Labour’s latest excuse for their poor performance in H&M is that Dobbin had a ‘large personal vote’.

  12. @AM — I suspect you spoke too soon regarding UKIP’s polling! Very amusing.

  13. 15-17% with YouGov & Opinium in Observer. Survation have them at 25% for first time – one swallow does not a summer make

  14. Well, AM, UKIP are on 25% tonight according to Survation! I suspect it is an outlier of course, but who knows. Some minor points, the Lib Dems didn’t poll 25% in 2010, they polled 23%. The “hard evidence” of UKIP being capable of hitting 60% in seats in Essex surely came 2 days ago, when UKIP scored, um, 60%, in Clacton. The SNP are not competing for protest votes – they’re the most popular party in Scotland – whether or not UKIP are competing for protest votes is a moot point – I guess if the Conservatives became worth voting for again I’d go back to them.

    On the issue of what UKIP will achieve at the GE though, until very recently I would have agreed with you that 13-15% would be the ceiling, and in all likelihood they would fall back to about 10%. Now, however, I’m not so sure. The election is getting pretty close, and the momentum seems to be getting stronger. Take a scenario where someone like Gordon Henderson defects a week or so before the Rochester election, UKIP go on to win Rochester by a double digit margin, and Henderson then holds his seat for UKIP in a January poll. Getting ahead of ourselves, but quite plausible. UKIP could be heading into the campaign proper with close to 20% support, and while the campaign may well see them drop off slightly, it is not at all inconceivable for UKIP to score 15%+ in May.

  15. Yes because every seat in Essex is like Clacton with a popular defecting incumbent?

  16. Hey neil how did you get your comment box to be ukip purple?

  17. Just in case AM doesn’t realise what ceiling meant (in the report and I take it to have the same meaning) and isn’t just choosing to deliberately dismiss or misunderstand it – it meant those who would ever consider voting UKIP in that area, in part because of the demographic data. It isnt a prediction and doesnt mean they’re all registered and will vote. I realise a large chunk, (perhaps 35%) hate UKIP, but their vehemence doesn’t make their polar opposites cease to exist. As much as Matthew Parris and the Cameroons et al might like. [The ‘People’s Army’ was actually used by a journalist who noted Farage’s packed public meetings and UKIP’s rise in membership, in 2013, but Farage then took it up a year later and it chimed with some.]

  18. This is just a guess but one way to tease a “shy kipper / guilty labour” vote might be after asking for voting intention (aka identity in some cases) then for those answering Labour as their VI ask something like

    “how well do you think Labour represents someone like you?”

    (or similar)

    on a scale of 0 to 10 and then cross check the people who claim Labour VI but who answer “0” to the second question with the actual result.

  19. AM

    “15-17% with YouGov & Opinium in Observer. Survation have them at 25% for first time – one swallow does not a summer make”

    Although your ‘UKIP denial’ isn’t really credible, given that you didn’t backtrack even when a poll popped up showing the 25% you said they were polling, the reason I don’t think the Survation poll is credible is cos’ of the crazy low showing for ‘Others’ on 5/6%, lower than any pollster had shown for years and even more bizarre given the SNP surge and Green increase that is current.

    So that 25% is definitely to be taken with large pinches of salt.

  20. Breitbart has a story that the Mayor here has apologised and said it was a mistake to say she’d rig the By-election. Was she also the Returning Officer?

  21. Iain Dale has forecast a UKIP gain in Haywood & Middleton due to the effect of the by-election.

    That would be a terrible result for Labour, but is it likely?

  22. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I would be incredibly surprised if UKIP won here. The turnout is likely to be much much higher than the by-election. However Tory voters will know this seat is a straight 2-horse race now which may help UKIP.

  23. No. Complacency will be gone from both Labour campaigners and Labour supporters who might not have bothered voting at the by-election, thinking this was a safe seat. Meanwhile UKIP have limited resources and are likely to use them elsewhere.

  24. Well: Ladbrokes, who do their homework & know their stuff, do not think so:


  25. Poll Troll, UKIP are targeting this seat and are likely to have enough resources, but I agree very unlikely for UKIP to win here.

  26. Low turnout was pretty much the only thing that made this close in the by-election. On General Election turnout they will fall back considerably.

  27. I understand Iain Dale’s logic, the bandwagon effect from the by-election and the social makeup of the seat (WWC) being right for UKIP.

    But if UKIP can’t beat Labour here, can they beat them anywhere? And does it mean that in 2015 UKIP are overwhelmingly a problem for the Tories rather than Labour?

  28. Yeah UKIP are overwhelmingly a threat for the Tories. Not because they will win a lot of Tory seats – they will probably win two or three plus holding Clacton and maybe Rochester – but because they are likely to split the right-wing vote in Con/Lab marginals.

    UKIP will mostly take Labour votes from safe seats in North England – like here. I’d be surprised if UKIP made any gains from Labour but they might nick one on a good night.

    As if there weren’t already enough electoral bias in UK politics…

  29. Dale strikes again. If they didn’t win the seat in the by-election, they clearly won’t manage it in a general election with a higher turnout & a Labour MP who by then will have a little bit of a track record. They’ll be a good second but no more than that.

  30. I agree with that. But Labour will still have to fight this as a marginal seat I think. UKIP would be extremely disappointed not to at least stay second here after the by-election however. As we all know, by-elections often tend to have lasting effects for a certain amount of time, so the Tories could still fall back above average here at UKIP’s expense, but I might be wrong to assume that.

  31. ukip winning labour seats is overhyped garbage…the bookies see this very clearly. currently ukip aren’t favourites to win a single labour held seat.

    you can’t get shorter odds than ukip 11/8 to win Grimsby… EVERY other labour held seat has worse odds for UKIP, let’s get real guys!

  32. Abi Jackson, who was the Green Party candidate at the by-election here, has been selected again 🙂 http://northwest.greenparty.org.uk/elections-2015.html
    (this means all five candidates from the Heywood and Middleton by-election of 2014 have been selected for the general election)

  33. There is a lack of Ashcroft polling in Labour seats but I would suspect that Labour could be given a run for their money by UKIP in Hackney Central, Liverpool Kirkdale, Birmingham Stetchford, Newcastle West, Hull Central, Manchester Openshaw, Bristol North East, Lambeth Central and Glasgow Kelvingrove.

  34. UKIP winning Hackney Central is the craziest thing, in stiff competition, that i have ever read on this website.

  35. Dalek, buddy, i get your joke now…most of those seats you mention are no longer seats…sorry was being thick. feel embarrassd.

  36. no such seat.

  37. These are all ghost constituencies (all abolished in 1983) hence ideal prospects for UKIP gains because they no longer exist 🙂

  38. oh OK….good one Dalek

  39. Interestingly, Dalek, some of these abolished 1983 constituencies’ names would have been brought back again had that 2013 boundary review not been rejected by MPs (specifically: Hackney Central and Hull Central, according to Electoral Calculus).

  40. Hull Central is one of a select band of constituencies, past & present, which have had delayed contests in general elections because of death of a candidate. The defending Labour MP for the seat died after being nominated in 1945, necessitating a contest a few weeks later. The seat was (of course) won by the Labour candidate, a trade union official called Mark Hewitson. The seat was abolished in 1950, but made a brief reappearance from 1974 to 1983, when it was held by Kevin McNamara who represented Hull North before & after those dates. Oddly enough, the last MP for Hackney Central, Stanley Clinton Davis, knew my mother at university, but now is friendly with my ex-girlfriend, of whom he & his wife are fans. He continues to take the Labour whip in the House of Lords. Newcastle West essentially still exists, but it’s called Newcastle North nowadays; the 2 seats are not identical, but they are very similar.

  41. The Coroner held a verdict of misadventure as Jim Dobbin died after being 5 times the drink drive limit, after consuming strong Polish vodka at a Council of Europe dinner. The other guests suggested he ‘sleep it off’ and sadly he didn’t wake up.

  42. I have been at quite a few of those kind of dinners – though most often in China rather than East Europe.

    It is basically impossible to refuse the alcohol if you don’t want to offend the hosts and ruin whatever business you’ve gone out to do.

    Deaths afterwards are far from unknown, in young and old alike, amongst those unlucky enough to be intolerant to very strong alcohol.

  43. Dalek found a novel way of meeting his contractual obligation to mention Glasgow Kelvingrove at least once per calendar month

  44. Not sure if it was even so much the strength of the alcohol. It sounds like he choked on his own vomit, having gone to bed. Very sad.

  45. Jim Dobbin’s death was very sad, but I don’t go along with the idea that it was unavaoidable. If the Whips had, and enforced, strict Standing Orders about MPs’ consumption of alcohol, and about other misdemeanours, I think that even foreign guests would go along with it.

    The Palace of Westmisnster has had an absolutely deplorable record on members’ behaviour, not least relating to alcohol consumption. In most organizations, Directors and senior members have to drive, so business has become much less alcohol fuelled. Unfortunately from this point of view MPs (and peers) can go home by taxi or underground, so they have not kept up with changes in the “real world”.

    It is my view that MPs should not drink alcohol whilst they are carrying out their dutieis, which means that they should not do so in hte Palace of Westminster or elsewhere whilst carrying out political duties.

    From a psephological point of view, it would be interesting to know how many votes MPS and candidates would lose if thier opponents started reporting about candidates who drink excessively.

    Th Commons has for long been a club in which members of all parties have covered up for each others’ failings. I have a feeling that the public have got fed up with this..

  46. “If the Whips had, and enforced, strict Standing Orders about MPs’ consumption of alcohol”

    …..then it would be the equivalent of asking Gary Glitter to babysit. Westminster is drowning in alcohol and always has been, whips office included, in fact it’s a bit better now than it used to be.

    “I think that even foreign guests would go along with it.”

    Dobbin was the guest and the foreigners were the hosts…he died in Poland I think.

  47. Westminster is indeed better than it used to be, not least because there are fewer night-time sittings.

    If Gary Glitter were baby-sitting, how many electors would vote for him? And how many voters are coming to think that metaphorical Gary Glitters have been baby-sitting?

  48. “If Gary Glitter were baby-sitting, how many electors would vote for him? And how many voters are coming to think that metaphorical Gary Glitters have been baby-sitting?”

    Ha ha. If all of the candidates on the ballot paper are babysitting Gary Glitters, one of them is bound to win.

  49. It ia depressing how few electors are asking whether retiring MPs and other candidates are “Gary Glitters” or, much more frequently, are taking the quiet life as politicians rather than challenge their parties if their parties condone behaviour which is miles byond the pale.

  50. Well on that point, Tom Watson MP has now named Leon Brittan as a “multiple child rapist” in a newspaper interview at the weekend and for the avoidance of doubt he repeated the allegation today on Sky News.

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