Leeds East

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7997 (20.9%)
Labour: 20530 (53.7%)
Lib Dem: 1296 (3.4%)
Green: 1117 (2.9%)
UKIP: 7256 (19%)
MAJORITY: 12533 (32.8%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, West Yorkshire. Part of the Leeds council area.

Main population centres: Leeds.

Profile: The majority of this seat is made of up a sprawl of council estates to the east of Leeds such as Swarcliffe, Seacroft, Whinmoor, a mix of semis, terraces and concrete tower blocks suffering from deprivation, crime and anti-social behaviour. In the west the constituency stretches into inner-city leads and the Harehills area with its densely packed terraced housing and asian and black communities. To the south of the seat is the Temple Newsam country park, with its more middle class surroundings.

Politics: A safe Labour seat, held easily by the party since its creation in 1950 and most associated with its long serving MP Denis Healey who represented the area between 1950 and 1992.

Current MP
RICHARD BURGON (Labour) Born Leeds, nephew of former MP Colin Burgon. Former trade union lawyer. First elected as MP for Leeds East in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 8763 (23%)
Lab: 19056 (50%)
LDem: 6618 (18%)
BNP: 2947 (8%)
Oth: 429 (1%)
MAJ: 10293 (27%)
Con: 5557 (18%)
Lab: 17799 (59%)
LDem: 6221 (21%)
Oth: 500 (2%)
MAJ: 11578 (38%)
Con: 5647 (19%)
Lab: 18290 (63%)
LDem: 3923 (14%)
UKIP: 634 (2%)
Oth: 561 (2%)
MAJ: 12643 (44%)
Con: 6685 (19%)
Lab: 24151 (67%)
LDem: 3689 (10%)
MAJ: 17466 (49%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
RYAN STEPHENSON (Conservative)
RICHARD BURGON (Labour) Born Leeds, nephew of former MP Colin Burgon. Trade union lawyer.
EDWARD SANDERSON (Liberal Democrat) Contested Doncaster North 2010.
Comments - 134 Responses on “Leeds East”
  1. A massive exaggeration imho. May we please have an example?

  2. Deepthroat kind of sums up Labour’s problem at the moment. To many left wing labour activists the likes of Burgon tell them what they’ve wanted to hear for years and they simply cannot fathom that their far left policies are rejected by the very people it’s intended to benefit.

    Perhaps it does beggar belief that the sort of people Boris Johnson thinks are utter scum bags qued up to vote for him but it happened and Labour have to ask themselves how they allowed that to happen

  3. It happened because people wanted to vote for him. I think we need to stop thinking Boris is really unpopular. He’s just got 45% of the public vote. The Tories haven’t done that well in almost 40 years.

  4. I don’t think Boris is that popular – he’s just less unpopular than Corbyn. A bit like when Thatcher was beating Kinnock.

    The 2017 election was terrible for Labour as it convinced them Jeremy Corbyn was actually electable

  5. If we don’t address the fact people voted for Boris then we’ll be here in 5 years time wondering why he is re elected

  6. But people voted for Boris not because they liked him but disliked him less than Corbyn

    We simply don’t know as of yet how a more centrist leader would have fared against Johnson, but I suspect it would have been considerably better

  7. The Tories won this election in their own right. Boris got the largest share of any winning party since 1970 because that’s what people wanted. This wasn’t 1987. This wasn’t a split on the left. This was a commanding mandate. I don’t like saying it. But there it is

  8. Matt, I have to commend again that if everyone in the Labour Party was as intellectually honest as you then the party, and possibly the country, would be in a much better place.

    I think it is possible that Corbyn – rightly or wrongly – was such a terrifying prospect that he motivated some waverers to vote against him and for the Tories in spite of the Tories. Boris Johnson is historically unpopular for a PM in his first few months. There is then a certain level of motivated reasoning among such voters. Having voted for Boris, they then attempt to minimise their mental anguish with post-hoc rationalisations of why everything is going to be fine. But that’s not really the same as the voters wanting a Conservative government.

  9. Any idea who you want as party leader Matt? Or is it too early to tell in your opinion?

  10. Too early, of the two whove announced I’d rather Clive over Emily but I’ll wait to see who else officially declares and is nominated given the rule changes. I’m not that fussed tbh but I’m a bit concerned about having anyone who would be perceived as too London and too remain.

    I think both Clive and Kier are very talented and maybe good leaders in the future I worry this not their time.

  11. Fair enough. Do you buy the argument that the extremely posh, metropolitan Boris Johnson winning in those seats means that Labour shouldn’t worry about being too posh & metropolitan?

  12. Keir Starmer certainly isn’t ‘posh’. His parents were a toolmaker and a nurse.

  13. I must admit i haven’t heard that one before. Though i was told today that not one working class person had a bad word to say about rees-mogg or boris. I know this isn’t true but I don’t think it matters. People voted for boris regardless.

    Labour did well in subarban England holding places like Reading East, Canterbury, etc. while losing traditional rural mining communities like Bolsover, Rother Valley, etc. The Tories have an enormous lead amongst C2s.

    In 1997 Blair made the party appealing to the middle classes, ABC1s and gained seats like Reading East, Bristol North West, etc. Labour under Miliband and Corbyn continued to perform well in these seats. Labour’s majority in Lancaster and Fleetwood was larger than 2005. Chester, Ilford North, Brentford and Isleworth were the few seats Labour gained in 2015

    Labour went backwards in Morley and Outwood then Copeland and now Grimsby. There is a political alignment. ABC1s are no longer the centre ground. The next leader will have to wrestle C2s from Boris and with that will be whole different strategy. Never before have skilled labourers been so important in electioneering. A metropolitan remainer from London is not equipped for that imo.

  14. Matt

    Surely the next Labour leader is bound to be a Remainer. The few Labour MPs who backed Leave in 2016 have nearly all now left Parliament.

  15. sorry perhaps i didn’t explain myself well. I don’t necessarily mean someone who voted leave but I wouldn’t be keen on anyone who pushed for a 2nd referendum. I wouldn’t rule them out but atm I’m worried we wouldn’t win voters back because we had a leader who backed a 2nd ref or we wouldn’t win them back because our new leader no longer supports a 2nd ref and be accused of flip flopping

  16. Surely Clive Lewis is McCorbyn on steroids?

    Obviously he’s too young to have hobnobbed with IRA and Hezbollah, but

  17. Sorry.

    but otherwise hardly less radical than Corbyn in his beliefs, at least, surely?

    Although probably more TV savvy than Burgon even if not actually much nicer close up.

  18. Clive is probably the pro eu lefts candidate. Formerly in the TA and did two tours of Afghanistan. The experience entrenched his belief the invasion was wrong and along with his campaign for the left platform against Jim Murphy during his time with the NUS led to his opposition to New Labour’s education and foreign policy. I think unlike Corbyn he is multiilaterist and incredibly pro European.

    He was a journalist and does come across well though did struggle when challenged over opposing triggering A50. He’ll certainly win over Open Labour supporters like Rosie Duffield and Alex Sobel. Even those that might support RLB like Llyod Russell Moyle. I can see some union endorsements too like TSSA

  19. Feels like Clive Lewis has been preparing himself for this moment for quite a while now.

    He was, for about a week when Owen Jones got cold feet about Corbyn, Jones’s preferred successor. I’m guessing it is likely he’ll once again get that endorsement. Owen Jones still pretty influential among Labour Party members.

  20. Before Corbyn, Lisa Nandy was Owen Jones preferred successor. I think what will put a lot of people off Clive is his pro eu stance and support for a 2nd referendum. He could well be a future leader if not the next leader but it feels like this is not his time. For a lot candidates I think that’s true.

    Clive has been positioning himself for a long time. He and Emily have gone early for the same reason Liz Kendall did 4 years ago. There’s lots of overlap in support and if they can win support now then they’ll be nominated

  21. Paul Mason has written an article for the New Statesman. Mason basically throws his weight behind Clive. Mason describes Jess Phillips as a fresh personality but will not be supporting Jess. RLB must clear the LOTO of staffers he considers responsible for stifling party democracy. Mason concludes an internationalist from the left must carve out a role for themselves not as leader though

  22. Paul Mason always worth listening to. Clearly a supporter of the Corbyn project, but unlike so many others in the media he hasn’t staked his whole career on it. Enables him to have a clearer-eyed perspective on things than many commentators on the left.

  23. It’s funny because I always used to hold up the alt-left (as nobody has called them for a while) as a textbook example of the power of free markets, about how when the barriers to entry into the marketplace are lowered all sorts of previously unexplored niches get filled with products that people wanted to buy but nobody had been selling. There clearly was a space for left-wing shock-jock hyperpartisan content that people were willing to read, if only someone was willing to write. And when the climate was ripe – an obvious surge in consumer demand coupled with unprecedently low publishing costs – the invisible hand did its thing.

    Now, I’m not so sure. Many of those sites have slumped, most symbolically The Canary which was, I think, the first one to become a recognised name among politics-watchers, but has since been revealed to be a purveyor of conspiratorial codswallop, with dubious payment schedules and workers’rights for its contributors and an unsustainable business model. Moreover, the entire market has fallen prey to producer capture, with the Novaratrons now seeking to defend their interests over those of their consumers, who more than anything want to see a Labour government. I sincerely hope that these websites now die off. Of course the mainstream media needs left-wing voices, but the current set-up is doing more harm than good for their cause.

  24. I don’t think its Mason necessarily being objective but I think he wanted the leadership to push for remain and reform. He’s written a response to the election claiming the party lost because they had lost remain voters to the Lib Dems. It is true there was a larger than average swing to the Lib Dems the swing away from Labour amongst leave voters was larger than it was amonst remainers.

    On the Canary I’m of the view that the successe of alternative media is a product of disillusionment with print media which has collapsed in the last decade. The Canary take a hit when a campaign group called Stop Fake News lobbied to have advertisers pull their ads from the Canary website. Personally i don’t believe this deals with the problem. People vote with their feet and they are walking away from print media. Trying to bankrupt the Canary won’t stop people walking. The fact the Canary asked for donations to keep afloat and beat their funding target in 24 hours is proof of this.

    Last bit of news. Ian Lavery is said to be sounding out a bid for the leadership

  25. Akehurst reckons theres 40 left wing MPs so that might be enough for two left wingers

  26. What a contrast to the late Denis Healey Mr Burgon is. I just wanted to echo the views above to say that I also think he’s absolutely awful. He may well be highly educated, but he doesn’t come across that way. This is a funny clip of him being interviewed by Kay Burley.

    Interesting that he was being talked up as a dead cert for Deputy Leader last December – he came a distant third.

    I just can’t stand the petty tribalism and factional politics of people like Burgon, who essentially put their party before the country. Hardly surprised to read here that he doesn’t like the term “white working class” – it’s anathema to the far-left. (Can we call them the “alt-left”, as Polltroll suggested?)

    It is curious how identity politics is now central to the Bennite school of Labour thought. That kind of thing was in the ascendancy in the 1980s but I don’t think it was a big thing for the Labour left then – which, admittedly, was mainly old white men. I remember reading on here that H. Hemmelig thought Dennis Skinner’s brand of politics were similar to about 20% of ex-miners. The other 80% probably disagree with him on issues of race and immigration. Skinner liked to talk the talk in that regard – for example, when Mark Reckless won the by-election for UKIP, and Skinner made a speech in the Commons condemning the party. The homogeneous demographics of Bolsover perhaps meant such things weren’t an issue there. Although maybe Skinner thought differently in private, given he agreed with Alan Clark that he wouldn’t want foreigners running the country.

    But I guess identity politics are central to mainstream British discourse anyway, so it’s no wonder the far-left have adapted to that. Ian Lavery is supposedly more sympathetic to WWC concerns over immigration, so maybe his Campaign Group membership is just a relationship of convenience. I think Lavery, Grahame Morris (Easington) and Beth Winter (Cynon Valley) are, I think, the only Campaign Group members representing non-urban seats. I believe Wansbeck, Easington and Cynon Valley are all semi-rural, and held by Labour owing to the mining history of the areas.

  27. To be fair a lot of left-wingers do have their own version of “foreigners running the country” – but when they say it they mean people like Rupert Murdoch.

  28. I wouldn’t describe any of those three seats as semi rural. You are more likely to see a broken down factory than a blade of grass. They are classic ex-mining, heavy industry seats that there used to be a lot more of and which Labour used to have a vicelike grip over

    The modern world hasn’t been kind to such areas and even for red wall seats these are amongst the most deprived.

  29. I must say Burgon does sadly come across not as well as he’d perhaps like which is ashame as as you say he is well read bloke. He was never dead cert for deputy. Though coming third must have been disappointing though the Allin Khan did very well.

    As hard leftist I’ve no problem talking about the white working class though I have always been of the view the interests of working people have always been determined by their occupation, etc. Certainly at my work place the whole black lives matter stuff wouldn’t fly any more with the black staff than the rest. Equally I’ve had to manage accusations of racism and the white staff are just as outraged.

    Tbf the 1987 caucus, a group of BME MPs first elected in 87; Dianne Abbott, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz, etc. were all on the left of the party.

    I know Skinner like Ronnie Campbell was opposed to things like free movement of labour; cheap labour imported from abroad depresses wages. The speech made by Skinner was in regard to recent surgery he’d undergone where the doctors and nurses were from abroad. People opposed to FoM usually are in favour of the migration of better paid individuals.

    I think as a new generation of people enter politics the things they care about will gradually influence politics. Ian Lavery is someone who seems to have moved leftward. How many Labour MPs now represent non-urban seats. In 2010 Labour held NE Derbyshire, Telford, Rother Valley, Don Valley, etc. Labour have now swapped these seats for Cardiff North, Cardiff Central, Bristol NW, Bristol West, Reading East, Lancaster & Fleetwood, City of Chester, Brighton Kemptown, Hove, etc.

  30. Telford is about as urban as it gets – particularly for a rural county like Shropshire although yes, Labour seems to have lost what few rural seats it still had in 2019 – High Peak, Stroud, Workington, Anglesey etc

    Same happened to the democrats in the US although it mattered less as they build up their vote in the cities and the suburbs

  31. Cynon Valley has a lot of green space. It includes part of the Brecon Beacons and the St Gwynno Forest. Easington has a large nature reserve and wood. Wansbeck has a fair bit of green on the map too.

    Funny that Keith Vaz was in the Campaign Group. He left in 1991. Paul Boateng left in 1989 to join the front bench.

  32. Wansbeck is 79.27 % rural
    Easington is 24.58%% rural. There isn’t a recent list for Wales I can find

    Rural Urban Classification (2011) of Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies in England

    The ONS have a list which appears to be from 2010 (using data from 2001), but surely there can’t have been that much of a shift in Easington during that time.
    Wansbeck – 79.5% rural
    Easington – 71.3% rural
    Cynon Valley – 15.0% rural

    Nonetheless, all the three seats I mentioned do have a rural element, even if it’s small.

  33. The Rural Urban Classification list seems to be more up-to-date.

    From the Predominantly Rural seats, Labour lost Copeland in 2017. They also lost the following in 2019: Workington, Sedgefield, North West Durham, Bishop Auckland, Bassetlaw and High Peak.

    From that list, Labour hold Wansbeck, Hemsworth, and Lancaster and Fleetwood. Apparently 375 seats in England have a rural population, although in some cases it’s very small.

    Urban with Significant Rural: Labour hold City of Durham, Weaver Vale, West Lancashire.
    Labour lost Barrow and Furness, Bolsover, Stroud, Don Valley, Penistone and Stocksbridge, Keighley, Crewe and Nantwich, Dewsbury in 2019.
    Labour lost Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland in 2017.

    These Labour seats are Predominantly Urban but do have a rural population:
    Labour-held: Easington, Doncaster North, Warrington North, Canterbury, North Durham, Blaydon, Barnsley East, City of Chester.

    Below 10% rural: St Helens North, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Warwick and Leamington, Leeds North West, North Tyneside, Stockton North, Wigan, Newcastle upon Tyne North, Luton South, Sefton Central, Sheffield, Hallam, Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Hartlepool, Leigh, Wentworth and Dearne, Oldham East and Saddleworth, Halifax, Wirral South, Makerfield, Halton, Chesterfield, Houghton and Sunderland South, Bradford West, Wirral West, Tynemouth, St Helens South and Whiston, Bradford South, Brighton Kemptown, Enfield North, Rochdale, Wallasey, Bedford, Huddersfield, Garston and Halewood, Harrow East
    Batley and Spen, Coventry North West, Leicester West
    Jarrow, Enfield, Southgate, Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Reading East, Blackburn, Sheffield South East, Ashton-under-Lyne, Sheffield Heeley, Leeds Central, Rotherham, Cambridge, Stalybridge and Hyde, Leeds West, Knowsley, Walsall South, Worsley and Eccles South, Newcastle upon Tyne Central
    Dagenham and Rainham, South Shields, Bolton South East, Leeds North East, Wythenshawe and Sale East.
    Some of those are real oddities, but you’re getting into tiny figures of rural populations towards the end of the list.

    Labour losses in 2019 with a rural population: Rother Valley, Blyth Valley, Redcar, Scunthorpe.
    Below 10% rural: Hyndburn, Lincoln, Peterborough, Wakefield, Burnley, Warrington South, Gedling, Bury North, Bury South, Stockton South, Heywood and Middleton, Stoke-on-Trent North, Ashfield, Dudley North, Bolton North East.

    Mansfield and North East Derbyshire were lost in 2017 and are over 10% rural.

    Although I’m not sure that basing it on the population which lives in rural areas is the best method. In terms of coverage, I would think many of these seats have a significant rural area, but it’s uninhabited. I think many of Labour’s recent losses could certainly be described as ‘small town’. Telford’s rural population is 1.04% so yes, negligible.

    The ONS spreadsheet is at https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/methodology/geography/geographicalproducts/ruralurbanclassifications/2001ruralurbanclassification/ruralurbanlocalauthoritylaclassificationengland/parliamentaryconstituenciestcm77188159.xls

    To be fair a lot of left-wingers do have their own version of “foreigners running the country” – but when they say it they mean people like Rupert Murdoch.
    November 24th, 2020 at 4:24 am

    Yes, agreed – and there’s nothing wrong in principle with being opposed to foreigners running your country, but I think when H. Hemmelig was quoting Alan Clark’s diaries, he was detecting xenophobia in Clark’s statement. HH referred to Clark’s comment in the Commons tea room: “I’d rather live in a socialist Britain than one ruled by a lot of fucking foreigners.” To which Skinner apparently nodded approvingly. Probably more of a comment on demographic change than on foreign oligarchs seizing power.

    The left-wing 2019 PPC Faiza Shaheen (Chingford and WG) favoured restricting foreign property ownership. So as with Murdoch, there is antipathy to foreigners on the left, but only the rich ones.

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