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
2010
Con: 8763 (23%)
Lab: 19056 (50%)
LDem: 6618 (18%)
BNP: 2947 (8%)
Oth: 429 (1%)
MAJ: 10293 (27%)
2005*
Con: 5557 (18%)
Lab: 17799 (59%)
LDem: 6221 (21%)
Oth: 500 (2%)
MAJ: 11578 (38%)
2001
Con: 5647 (19%)
Lab: 18290 (63%)
LDem: 3923 (14%)
UKIP: 634 (2%)
Oth: 561 (2%)
MAJ: 12643 (44%)
1997
Con: 6685 (19%)
Lab: 24151 (67%)
LDem: 3689 (10%)
MAJ: 17466 (49%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
MARK MANIATT (UKIP)
KATE BISSON (Green)
Links
Comments - 125 Responses on “Leeds East”
  1. BBC reporting that George Mudie will stand down in 2015.

  2. Unlikely to be missed I think; one of the least intelligent MPs in the House.

  3. he speaks highly of you

  4. Runnymede’s spiteful comment captures perfectly why working class people feel so unrepresented in politics today.

    As I have said many times on this site and will say yet again, “intelligence” is over-rated in politics these days. We have made parliament a closed shop for pointy-headed intellectuals and Oxbridge educated SPADs, and look where it has got us.

  5. “We have made parliament a closed shop for pointy-headed intellectuals and Oxbridge educated SPADs, and look where it has got us.”

    And for all their intellectualism they don’t seem capable of any original thinking or plain common sense.

    Any organisation whose personel are from a narrow set of origins is likely to succumb to group think and complacency.

  6. If he is an engineer he is likely to be quite intelligent.

  7. I am not opposed to intellectuals serving in the House. Indeed, I think that Dons like Maurice Cowling and Roger Scruton could well have made fine parliamentarians (not unrelatedly, they would have been completely unacceptable to David Cameron). Alas, I don’t consider SPADS to be intellectuals in the true sense of the word.

  8. That said, I also see the force of HH and Richard’s points.

  9. “I am not opposed to intellectuals serving in the House.”

    Neither am I.

    What I am opposed to is pretty much EVERY MP now seeming to come from this background, which is the kind of situation we appear to be heading towards. And as you rightly mention, many of these MPs rate their intellect far more highly than others would.

    While parliament and government needs some intellectuals, it also badly needs common sense, grounded people who live in the real world, even if they don’t often progress from the back benches. This is especially true on the Labour side given their supposed role as the voice of the working class, but it does also apply to the Tories too. The Tories used to have many “knight of the shire” types sitting on the backbenches who brought the intellectuals down a peg or two when they were about to do something stupid…again there are not enough of them left today.

  10. I don’t think intelligence is necessarily related to having a degree.

    There can be back benchers from different backgrounds who as intellingt as the SpAds with an Oxforbridge degree.

    And at the same time there’re backbenchers who don’t seem to be able to put 2 sentences together without having to read them.

  11. Iain Duncan Smith doesn’t have a degree but is pretty clever in many respects, even though he was an unsuccessful leader of the Conservative Party. There have of course been many other intelligent MPs on other sides of the House who have had plenty of intelligence but no degree.

  12. I shouldn’t critize MPs who don’t put 2 sentences together…as I have the same problem (witness second line in my previous post!)

  13. The number of MPs who don’t have a degree is now vanishingly small, and basically confined to a modest part of the older generation. In 20 years’ time I predict it will be virtually zero, as the SPADs and PPE party hacks gain total domination of parliament.

    Society has the same problem as politics in some ways. The downside of pushing not very bright kids to do degrees in media studies at Luton University is that it has created an environment where kids leaving school at 16 to pursue vocational careers are seen as thick. Society is mad to encourage the former and discourage the latter, which is certainly a contributing factor to the economic and social mess we currently find ourselves in.

  14. % of MPs who attended University

    Con 80%
    Lab 72%
    LD 81%

    % of Oxbridge

    Con 34%
    LD 28%
    Lab 17%

    Compared to 1979, the % of Oxbridge is down among Con and Lab MPs and about the same among LD group.
    The big increase has been in the number of MPs graduating from other universities.

  15. The Labour selection will be an Open Selection. Deadline for applications is Friday 6 December, shortlisting 11 January and Final Hustings and Count 25 January.

    I’m surprised it is not an All Women Shortlist. Does that mean a Westminster SPAD is being lined up for this?

  16. It’d be a bigger indictment of the local CLP if they shortlisted and/or selected SPADs or other wonkish types over locals.

  17. Richard Burgon (runner up in Barnsley Central selection) is in the run for the nomination here. I gather there’re 2 Leeds Cllrs also running for it (one man and one woman).

  18. Thanks for the selection date BigD. I’ve added it to my spreadsheet.

  19. Well……this used to be Denis Healey’s seat so they are clearly used to a big-hitter.
    After a fairly anonymous former local council leader, maybe they might want someone with a profile again?

  20. Richard Burgon may actually fit the bill on both fronts – he’s a left winger, and comes from this constituency

  21. I assume Richard Burgon must be some relation to the former MP for Elmet since it’s an unusual surname.

  22. I believe he’s his nephew. For the record, he could probably also be classed as an intellectual, insofar as the term is meaningful – he’s a former chair of the Labour club at Cambridge.

  23. My forecast for 2015

    Lab 56
    Con 18
    UKIP 12
    LD 9
    Others 5

    My Dad has gone to medieval conferences in Leeds every year so I can predict whatever I like about Leeds constituencies.

  24. Labour selection process under way. All 4 wards met to nomination contenders:

    Crossgates and Whinmoor: Richard Burgon and Judith Cummins

    Gipton and Harehills: Mohammed Iqbal and Judith Cummins

    Temple Newsam: Mohammed Iqbal and Judith Cummins

    Killingbeck & Seacroft: Richard Burgon, Judith Cummins and Mohammed Iqbal (BAME nomination).

  25. LAB HOLD MAJ : 35%
    LAB 54
    CON 19
    LD 12
    UKIP 7
    OTH 6
    GRN 2

  26. Labour shortlist is
    Richard Burgon (trade union lawyer, from Leeds)
    Judith Cummins (Temple Newsam Cllr)
    Mohammed Iqbal (City and Hunslet Cllr, Leeds Central constituency)
    Katie White (Leeds activist, works for a charity)

  27. That’s a very local shortlist. I wonder whether anyone from further afield went for it and obviously didn’t get shortlisted or whether no one from outside the area bothered because they thought they wouldn’t stand a chance?

  28. There was Jo Coles who works for Ed Balls and previously worked for Yvette. She almost got Halifax pre 2005 (tied with Linda Riordan who won because she had more first preferences), then she tried for Leeds West pre 2010 (but finished a distant third) and now this (where she didn’t get any nominations). So her chances of success are decreasing term after term

  29. Apparently today is the Labour selection meeting to pick a new candidate for the seat.

  30. Richard Burgon has been selected.

  31. It seems that Richard Burgon, unlike his uncle, is very firmly on the Left of the party. I don’t think Leeds has ever had a left-winger in Parliament before.

  32. Harold Best was a left-winger, Leeds NW 1997-2005

  33. thanks, forgotten about him.

  34. I suppose if you count Pudsey as Leeds because it falls in the metropolitan borough, the previous Labour MP Paul Truswell’s voting record suggests that he was at least a moderate as he did rebel on certain issues, but was also loyal on other areas.

  35. In general though Leeds has been a bastion of the Labour Right, with figures such as Alice Bacon, Denis Healey, Hugh Gaitskell & Merlyn Rees coming to mind. Hilary Benn’s predecessor as MP for Leeds Central, Derek Fatchett, was certainly regarded as a left-winger when he stood in Bosworth in 1979 but was more Kinnockite in his outlook in Parliament. None of the existing Labour MPs in the city could be looked on as left-wingers either, despite Hilary Benn’s parentage – he’s described himself as “A Benn, but not a Bennite.”

  36. I thought John Battle was fairly left wing (perhaps not so much as the man he replaced though!)

  37. Not particularly, though perhaps it might be slightly unfair to call him a right-winger in some people’s opinion.

  38. I knew Mr Battle’s son (we were in the same year at school and shared some classes). Neither could be described as remotely right-wing.

  39. “Hilary Benn’s predecessor as MP for Leeds Central, Derek Fatchett, was certainly regarded as a left-winger when he stood in Bosworth in 1979 but was more Kinnockite in his outlook in Parliament.”

    I don’t have the knowledge know if you are wrong, Barnaby, nevertheless Alan Clark describes Derek Fatchett in his diary as “a nasty left-winger”. This being in the 80s sometime. It’s plausible that Fatchett moved to the centre later on, given that he accepted a ministerial job under Tony Blair, though so did other left-wingers such as Short and Banks.

  40. HH – your comment sounds rather patronising. Are you suggesting people who are working class can’t also be educated and/or Oxbridge? The real gap in the next generation of MPs will be working class kids, not due to a lack of miners, but due to a lack of grammar schools plus the imposition of tuition fees. Whereas there are currently plenty of MPs aged 45-65 who attended grammar schools. As the BBC’s This Week showed, there should be nothing right wing about wanting social mobility through grammar schools. I agree there are too many SPADs. Interestingly some wannabe MPs who are Commons’ researchers do not even have degrees, as some go from (mainly public) school to the job after an unpaid internship aged 18/19.

  41. Fatchett was no longer associated with the Campaign Group when Blair became PM. At the beginning of his time as MP he was still thought of as a left-winger in some quarters.

  42. “HH – your comment sounds rather patronising.”

    I didn’t intend that at all.

    “Are you suggesting people who are working class can’t also be educated and/or Oxbridge?”

    Of course not.

    “The real gap in the next generation of MPs will be working class kids, not due to a lack of miners, but due to a lack of grammar schools plus the imposition of tuition fees.”

    Why should working class or indeed any class of person have to have gone to university in order to become an MP? That was not the case in the past and it is bad that it has become the case now. Parliament is worse for not having factory workers, plumbers, builders, sailors, ordinary soldiers (as opposed to officers) and the like within its ranks. It is less to do with grammar schools than the new snobbery which indoctrinates kids that if they don’t go to university they are worth nothing. A practical career is far more fulfilling and lucrative for many people who are not naturally academic than forcing themselves to do badly at a second rate university. And that goes for middle class as well as working class people. I do agree with you on tuition fees though.

    “there should be nothing right wing about wanting social mobility through grammar schools.”

    And there is nothing left wing about taking the realistic view that bringing back an education system which makes 90% of children feel like a failure is wrong morally and economically, and will never work in today’s less deferential society. Once parents realise that most of their own kids are unlikely to get in to grammar schools and are instead condemned to a second class education, public support would demand a return to the current system.

  43. Glad to hear it. Grammar schools are very popular in the whole areas they exist such as Kent, Trafford, N Ireland and produce top results and ‘added value’ as examined by Ofsted rather than the claim that they just have a clever cohort. In authorities with just 1 or 2 State grammars such as Liverpool, they produce the best results and raise the average and neighbouring Knowsley is noteworthy for the worst in the Country with none. Btw the split tends to be 20-25% not 10%. Plus the attempts by the Left – as it is only ever far Left wing activists – to garner much vaunted petitions to close grammar schools all failed. By contrast when Militant Cllrs voted to shut two grammars in the late ’80s, petitions of 50,000 were presented to the Secretary of State who intervened to save the schools. I recommend the drama GBH, in case anyone is in any doubt how much the far Left hates schools who are different. I agree that it would be better to have a broader mix of people as MPs. Although I don’t subscribe to the view we should have eg a Chinese MP just because there isn’t one and x number of mentally ill MPs to be truly representative. You’re right that the ex military backgrounds are overrepresented as are ex union officials and ex lecturers and millionaires and Scottish people for that matter.

  44. I have to admit, as someone having kids in the next decade or so i desperately hope there are still grammar schools when my kids are at secondary school level. Probably nearly 20 years away.

  45. Lancs Observer makes the point that grammar schools are mostly popular where they exist already, and that is undoubtedly true. There’s no problem with leaving them alone and perhaps letting them expand where there is genuine demand. I do however think it would be utter disaster to force the majority of the country to convert back to the grammar vs. secondary modern system.

    “I have to admit, as someone having kids in the next decade or so i desperately hope there are still grammar schools when my kids are at secondary school level.”

    I’m assuming that you’re assuming that your kids will be amongst the 10% or so bright enough to get in. If they are amongst the 90% who won’t make the grade, they will undoubtedly do better at a good mixed ability comprehensive. If grammars mean so much to you you have the ability to move to somewhere like Kent where that system remains largely in force. Personally I’m happier living just across the border in Sussex where the comprehensive schools are good and my 2 kids won’t be scarred for life by the 11 plus.

  46. HH – plus I don’t feel people are as mean spirited as your last sentence suggests @ 11.05am ie cos our kids didnt get in, there shouldnt be any. Even in now solidly Labour areas of Merseyside, friends and neighbours are always pleased and proud to hear that a child in their road has passed the exam and/or interview to gain entry to the top performing school in the authority and thus vastly improve their life chances. “They will undoubtedly do better at a good mixed ability comprehensive” – I can only assume you mean in some sociological sense, as I think the top 88 were grammars in various league table performance. Although I would also argue that true grammars have pupils from a wide physical and social mix as they accept from eg 30 primaries across a city. Rather than being lucky depending where you live, or middle class parents moving to be near ‘good comprehensives’ or pretending to be religious as Nick Clegg or Cherie Booth did for their kids. Whilst its hypocritical for Diane Abbott she surely did the best thing she was able to for her child unlike the former Labour leader and ex MP who stated that even if her child passed the exam in Trafford, she wouldn’t send him to a grammar ‘due to her principles.’

  47. “I don’t feel people are as mean spirited as your last sentence suggests @ 11.05am ie cos our kids didnt get in, there shouldnt be any.”

    I didn’t say there shouldn’t be any. I said that a grammar vs. secondary modern system should not be forced onto areas of the country where it is not in force at present. I don’t object to selective grammar schools being built as long as they don’t turn the existing good comprehensives in the area into crappy secondary moderns with no academically gifted children in them.

  48. Labour selection vote tally: Burgon 181 Cummins 84 Iqbal 39 White 12

  49. I think UKIP will be the party to watch out for in this constituency. If you look at the local elections last May in the 2 wards they stood at out of the 4 they came in at a very high second place. I’m not sure if BNP are planning on standing anyone here again but if they don’t I could see UKIP scoring 20% here, taking the majority of the BNP votes and a lot of Cons votes and a few from the Lab and LD. But this still should still be a very safe Labour seat, even though Mr Mudie is to step down. Labour should take a majority of LD votes as there is no other strong Left wing party standing. I’m pretty sure the Green party aren’t stand anyone and the Alliance for Green Socialism aren’t very strong.

    Labour 55%
    UKIP – 20%
    Cons – 17%
    LD – 7%
    Other – 1%

  50. Labour Hold. 15,000 majority.

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