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 - 125 Responses on “Leeds East”
  1. Denis Healey has died aged 98. By my count that leaves only five surviving members of the Callaghan cabinet – Roy Hattersley, David Owen, Bill Rodgers, John Morris and Shirley Williams.

  2. Many Labour Party and former Labour Party members, as well as people from the wider political world, will be very sorry to here of the death of Denns Healey

  3. RIP Denis Healey. My favourite Labour politician, in many ways the Ken Clarke of the Labour party, who couldn’t bring himself to be nice to people he despised in the normal way of a politician and hence lost the chance to be party leader and Prime Minister. I was born in the year of the IMF bailout and reading of that period still fascinates me…I think a little of my own and the country’s history has died with him. The late 70s certainly are a very long time ago now.

  4. H Hemmelig- well said. They don’t make them like Healey anymore, on either side of the House.

  5. Dennis Healey was way before my time but someone I always admired. A great pity he never got to be party leader. After 98 years I hope he has a good rest

  6. Article in Prospect Magazine:

    “Denis Healey shaped the world we live in

    The late Labour giant understood the value of balancing high ideals with the pursuit of power”


  7. Yes, RIP Denis Healey. A truly outstanding career, even if he (scandalously in my view) never made it to party leader, and potentially Prime Minister.

  8. BURGONs odds with the bookies on being the next Labour leader have plummeted from 330/1 on BETFAIR to just 20/1. He is 25/1 with LADBROKES. (100/100 3 wks ago).

    Another Corbyn supporter, CLIVE LEWIS is currently 8/1 favourite with both.

  9. Favourite being 8/1 suggests nobody has a clue who’s going to be next.

    Who’s the leading Blairite in the race?

  10. Miliband – at 12/1

  11. While the PM is speaking in this seat I cannot forsee a Tory gain to happen here.

  12. No chance whatsoever, even with Brexit, Corbyn and May. The Labour vote here is just too strong. The only pockets of Tory voters probably lie in the nice bits of Colton, Halton, Pendas Fields and Fearnville. Far too much rock solid red in the rest of the seat, epecially towards the city centre. The main driver of any swing here will probably which demographic groups see the best turnout.

  13. The old Halton ward (taking in Colton, Halton, Whitkirk and parts of Crossgates) was very often Conservative, but did change hands quite a bit. These areas are probably the only thing stopping Labour having a 60%+ vote share in this constituency.

  14. “No chance whatsoever, even with Brexit, Corbyn and May.”

    The campaign slogan practically writes itself: “Leeds East – so safe not even Jez can lose it.”

  15. Cheesus – Yes, you’re right. The Tories also won the successor ward, Temple Newsam, in 2004, 2008 and in a 2009 by-election. Since then they’ve faded away for whatever reason – in common with so many other wards in suburban Leeds (e.g. Chapel Allerton, Headingley and more latterly Roundhay).

    I walk round the grounds at Temple Newsam from time to time as it’s just down the road from me. There is a very nice villagey bit on the way in from the road to Halton, and the whole Colton Village development is rather smart too, though more in an Audi A5 sort of way.

    I have to agree though that these areas probably make up the bulk of that Tory vote – the red sprawl of Seacroft, Gipton, Harehills et al vastly dominates the seat.

  16. Matthew – the Temple Newsam ward takes in Halton Moor, which probably explains why the Tories don’t do so well anymore. The old Halton ward did not include any areas of council housing, and was consistently one of the least deprived wards in Leeds.

  17. Very interesting that, thanks for the insight Cheesus 🙂 are you local by the way?

  18. I grew up in the area, yeah.

  19. Right – just for the record, Mrs May’s appearance last night was at the Shine centre on Harehills Road, which is indeed in Leeds East constituency (Gipton and Harehills ward).

    But the good news for anyone concerned that Mrs May might have been confronted by the tough realities of a multi ethnic, inner city ward is that it was a “by invite” event only. There’s hardly a single non-white face to be seen in the pictures of the event. In other words, just another phoney “meet the people” event which so disfigures our modern politics and is designed to keep our “snow flake” political leaders safe from any possible criticism.

    I wonder whose expense return it will end up on?

    (Also posted on the Leeds North East page)

  20. True or False – this seat will have a smaller LAB majority than Leeds North East.

    It seems unlikely and I’d be surprised if it did, but not shocked.

  21. False.

    I would be very shocked if it had a smaller majority than Hamilton next door.

  22. Well I called it. 12000 here cf 16000 for Hamilton

  23. Well done Paul – Con vote in Leeds East not that much lower than in Leeds North East! Crazy stuff that.

  24. Demographics – Leeds NE has become more ethnically diverse, East is still WWC

  25. Another Labour Cllr (Catherine Dobson) here has resigned from the Group to sit as an Independent. I think she’s the fourth.

    She represents Killingbeck & Seacroft Ward and cited the Labour administration’s, “waste of money on vanity projects while making cuts to local services” as well as a lack of democracy within the Labour Group.

  26. The Labour surge in Leeds NE was probably due to remain voting folk in areas like Roundhay, and the large number of young professionals in Chapel Allerton going for Labour.

    Hamilton is a decent guy with ‘cross over’ credentials, In the sense that his views are acceptable to soft Tory voters…

    I never thought he’d get close to losing, feeling he’d have a relative stable but bomb proof majority. Leeds NE and Leeds NW contain wards that the Tories carry remarkably easily at local level yet are nowhere near winning the constituencies in a GE.

    As for the Lab council, I might not be the right person to comment given my lack of affection for Labour, but Blake clearly is an inferior council leader to Wakefield, who was in before… and yes, reports of bullying and lack of democracy are regular.

    The problem is that next May she’ll get a bigger mandate, a larger majority on the council to push ahead with her brain dead ideas, when a ‘hung council’ or a smaller majority might place some restraints on her, or force her out altogether.

    It is also true that there are some good people on the Labour group who could do a decent job, but they’re probably worried about putting their head above the parapet, for fear of it being blown off.

  27. Luke
    “Hamilton is a decent guy with ‘cross over’ credentials, In the sense that his views are acceptable to soft Tory voters…”

    While I don’t think anyone would dispute the notion that Hamilton is a nice guy (which for what its worth I think is vastly more important than your political views regarding winning over floating voters) I really do struggle to see what “cross over” appeal Hamilton would have with Tory voters at least in the conventional sense. He’s on the soft left of the Lab party, a firm believer in much stronger unions, nationalisation and unilateral nuclear disarmament.

    I should clarify that I don’t think any of that necessarily puts off your average Tory voter nearly as much as the punditry thinks it does but it does still lead me to question what in particular you were thinking about when you referred to “cross over” appeal.

  28. Richard Burgon has won 30 thousand pounds in damages from the Sun as a result of they article about his band. He said he will use the money to create a scholarship for someone from Leeds. The Sun are appealing the decision and award of damages.

  29. I don’t care much for Burgon, but good for him. The Sun has been swimming in the gutter for decades.

  30. Have to say I find Burgon thoroughly unconvincing even amongst Corbynites as a politician. But i guess but anybody who leaves the depraved Rupert Murdoch out of pocket cant be all bad

  31. I absolutely can’t stand Richard Burgon. His horrible voice reminds me of Dustin Gee’s impression of Vera Duckworth. In every interview I’ve seen him in he comes across as thick as pigshit.

    Despite all that, The Sun’s story was the most ludicrous hatchet job and it’s good they’ve been sued. Though the damages seem very low compared to other recent cases – Katie Hopkins etc.

    The Sun and The Mail continue to believe that absurd, lurid smears are the best way to defeat Corbynism. They are effectively stuck in a 1987 time warp. I don’t think that’s a very effective strategy these days.

  32. Why the attack? Burgon got a degree from Cambridge and was a solicitor at 25 years old. Whatever your politics you can’t call him thick.

    Katie Hopkins has never sued The Sun. There was a case in 2017 where she had to pay £24,000 damages.

    Burgon was issued with £30,000 damages.

  33. I was referring to the numerous cases of The Mail being sued because of Katie Hopkins. And indeed Hopkins being sued of her own accord, for similar ludicrous claims on Twitter.

    Thick is perhaps unfair but I think he comes across absolutely awfully on TV. And there are plenty of useless lawyers about (ever bought or sold a house?), and plenty of useless graduates of top universities, many of them in the HoC as per Jess Phillips’ speech the other day.

  34. The food writer Jack Monroe successfully sued Hopkins a few years ago (Hopkins had been slagging her off on Twitter over something). Her award for libel was no great shakes as Deepthroat says, but of course Hopkins also had to pay Monroe’s legal expenses, which were considerable. Hopkins has subsequently been declared bankrupt I believe.

  35. ‘Whatever your politics you can’t call him thick.’

    He’s not thick but I have to agree with Hemmelig that he comes over awfully on tv – which obviously is no fault of his own but it does make his front bench role questionable at best

    He’s one of those MPs who comes over so badly – like Abbott and Thornberry – that I almost feel sorry for them and actually switch channels when they are answering questions on shows like QT, because even the foaming at the mouth ‘No Deal’ Brexiteers seem to run rings round them

  36. Partly because newspaper readers are not typical swing voters but core voters (and a lot of readers totally ignore what the newspapers tells them to do).

  37. Richard Burgon looks likely to be Labour’s new deputy leader. What a contrast he is to the previous Labour deputy leader from this seat.

  38. ‘Richard Burgon looks likely to be Labour’s new deputy leader.’

    No wonder Labour look likely to be out of government for at least another decade

    I’ve got nothing against Mr Burgon personally – I’m sure he’s well-intentioned and his work prior to getting into politics shows he’s got talent elsewhere – but Labour has to realise its precisely because of people like him which is why they lost the election so heavily

    His analysis of Labour’s defeat was beyond cringe-worthy and showed him to be more out of touch with working class Britain than those Tories he’s spent the last 5 years criticising

  39. Regardless of what he says, his manner of speaking is just awful. I’m amazed Labour has not sent him on some kind of public speaking course. Even at the most obscure of industry conferences you would rarely come across such a poor public speaker as Burgon.

    McDonnell has much the same views as Burgon but is an excellent communicator.

  40. And it’s Burgon who went to Cambridge and worked as a solicitor.

  41. I’d be amazed if Burgon is already got the deputy leadership in the bag given hes not actually confirmed his candidacy

  42. ‘McDonnell has much the same views as Burgon but is an excellent communicator.’

    Indeed. McDonnell was hauled in front of Andrew Neil once Labour’s impending rout was becoming apparent and whilst his defence was exactly the same as that used by Burgon when questioned on Newsnight 20 hours later, his whole demeanour and tone left me feeling somewhat sorry for Labour’s plight, as opposed to ‘well it serves you right’ which was my reaction after hearing Burgon’s rambling interview

  43. Burgon also said he doesn’t like the term the white working class – when asked why they didn’t vote Labour.

  44. He strikes me as someone with no self-analysis who will just give an interview any time anywhere without thinking. The one on election night was dreadful. Neil read out a list of red wall seats they’d lost. Burgon: “Oh that’s the Daily Mail’s fault”.

  45. I cannot understand this vitriol directed against Burgon. He’s smart and articulate. One of the best orators in the House imo


    But I see there’s the usual digs at Diane Abbott. So it’s probably to do with identity or looks rather than what’s been saying.

    I’m fairly sure that Diane will be ridiculed and hounded until she leaves us. Perhaps only then will some of those will contemplate what achievements that woman has attained. Daughter of working class West Indian immigrants- Grammar school, Cambridge, first black woman in Parliament at just 33.

    If on occasions she’s been in poor form, it should be no surprise. Anyone who got the aggression she gets would be at least temporarily knocked sideways.

    3 or 4 yrs ago she was receiving racist and sexist abuse online every day, such as threats of rape.

    And an Amnesty International report found that in the 2017 election campaign, Abbott was the subject of almost half of all abusive tweets about female MPs on Twitter, receiving ten times more abuse than any other MP.

  46. “I cannot understand this vitriol directed against Burgon. He’s smart and articulate. One of the best orators in the House imo”

    His manner of speaking is constantly punctuated by irritating pauses, either side of which he speaks far too quickly. He is a terrible orator.

    Abbott is a far better speaker, I think it’s the content of her speeches I would take issue with rather than her speaking style. Agree the racist and sexist abuse she gets isn’t on. Actually I quite liked her on This Week.

  47. Well I for one hugely respect Abbott’s achievements, even if I am not as left wing as she is. I think the media have definitely been less hard on her since 2017 (a recognition that they really went overboard on the criticism back then).

    I’m inclined to agree with HH re: Burgon, although I don’t have strong feelings about him.

  48. Another name I would throw out there is Angela Rayner. I failed to see what all the fuss was about previously, but I saw her on one of the election debates (the one aimed at young people), and she impressed me. I could see why people were tipping her as a future leader finally.

  49. Abbot was barely seen during the campaign – certainly one locked away like the tories did with Rees-Mogg after his greenfell comments.

  50. I think the issue people have with Abbott is her history of disingenuously playing the race card in response to legitimate criticisms of both her politics and her competence.

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