Leeds North West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8083 (18.6%)
Labour: 13041 (30.1%)
Lib Dem: 15948 (36.8%)
Green: 3042 (7%)
UKIP: 2997 (6.9%)
Others: 246 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 2907 (6.7%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

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

Main population centres: Leeds, Otley, Yeadon, Bramhope.

Profile: Only around half this seat is actually made up of Leeds itself, the rest is the rural hinterland to the north of the city, including affluent commuter towns and villages like Bramhope, Otley and Yeadon and the Leeds-Bradford International Airport. The part of the seat in Leeds proper is very much the the city`s student quarter. The seat contains Leeds Metropolitan University and while Leeds University's campus lies outside the seat to the south-east, Headingley is also popular residential area for its students. Together well over a quarter of the seats voters are students, making it one of the ten seats with the highest proportion of students in the country.

Politics: Including what were traditionally some of Leeds nicer residential suburbs, Leeds North West was for many decades a reliable Conservative seat before falling to Labour in their 1997 landslide. Like many seats with a high student population the 2005 election saw a significant shift towards the Liberal Democrats on the back of Iraq and student fees and the party successfully won the seat from third place, holding it at the 2010 and 2015 elections.

Current MP
GREG MULHOLLAND (Liberal Democrat) Born 1970, Manchester. Educated at St Ambrose College and York University. Former promotions manager. Leeds councillor 2003-2005. First elected as MP for Leeds North West in 2005.
Past Results
Con: 11550 (27%)
Lab: 9132 (21%)
LDem: 20653 (47%)
BNP: 766 (2%)
Oth: 1382 (3%)
MAJ: 9103 (21%)
Con: 11510 (26%)
Lab: 14735 (33%)
LDem: 16612 (37%)
GRN: 1128 (3%)
Oth: 726 (2%)
MAJ: 1877 (4%)
Con: 12558 (30%)
Lab: 17794 (42%)
LDem: 11431 (27%)
UKIP: 668 (2%)
MAJ: 5236 (12%)
Con: 15850 (32%)
Lab: 19694 (40%)
LDem: 11689 (24%)
Oth: 818 (2%)
MAJ: 3844 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ALEX STORY (Conservative) Born 1974. Film and documentary producer, former Olympic rower.. Contested Denton and Reddish 2005, Wakefield 2010, Yorkshire region 2014 European election.
ALEX SOBEL (Labour) Educated at Leeds University. Manager of Social Enterprise Yorkshire. Leeds councillor.
GREG MULHOLLAND (Liberal Democrat) See above.
JULIAN METCALFE (UKIP) Director of a construction company.
TIM GOODALL (Green) Educated at Leeds University. University officer.
BOB BUXTON (Yorkshire First) Physics teacher.
MIKE DAVIES (Alliance Green Socialism)
MARK FLANAGAN (Above and Beyond) Born 1974, York. Journalist, author and media consultant.
Comments - 472 Responses on “Leeds North West”
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  1. Given that councillors are overwhelmingly middle-class, they should if anything be less criminally inclined than the population at large.

  2. James E –

    Kieran concluded by saying (after mentioning how many Cllrs there are):

    “I reckon it’s about the same as the general population.”

    It is not.

    [Although even I do not claim that say ‘5%’ are – as an ex Priest did or “perhaps 10% are” as Edwina Currie remarked – because the Courts are currently playing catch up in that they’re dealing with largely historic offences. But equally it may also be the case that some current cllrs are not caught for years]

    I can dig out figures if you like; but, 2015’s stats should be on here somewhere (eg c 300 teachers, 200 priests and so on re offenders’ occupation at the time the ofences were committed). Indeed even Grayling mentioned the extra 450 sex offenders jailed were one of the reasons for the rising population.

    HH – as for a study sadly it’s unlikely politicians will ask for this; but, you’d hope some academic would.

  3. PT – hmm, good point. I assume you mean shires or parish cllrs to get to that ‘most though?’ Certainly in the Mets I still reckon half are working class (rising to 90%+ in places such as Knowsley or St Helens, both of which have each had 3 ex Cllrs jailed just in recent years).

  4. Well, I wasn’t entirely sure, but I was guessing since membership of political parties is mainly middle-class (Labour membership is 70% AB’s and, while I don’t know for sure, I’m guessing even higher for the Tories) that councillors, who excluding a sprinkling of independents are party members, are going to be middle-class too.

    Plus you have to be relatively comfortable to be able to give up your time like councillors do.

  5. @ Lancs

    To put the numbers of offences you quote into context, the total number of sexual offences recorded for 2015 was over 100,000 in England and Wales. That’s roughly one offence for every 500 people. As you say, there has been a significant overall rise.


    If there any specific studies which point to elected councillors as particularly likely to be sexual offenders then please post a link. I’ve not got an agenda to push either for or against local councillors here, but by reference to the shockingly high overall rate, a subset of 20,000 of the population might be expected to account for around 40 of those 100,000 offences.

  6. PT – again that’s cos allowances are low for non-Mets.

    Around 25% of Cllrs up here quite happily live only off their allowance and expenses of £10k – £25k pa.

    James E – er, yes that was my very point (above). In one year alone the numbers of priests, teachers, cllrs convicted far exceeded the level convicted in the general population.

    Even more so when you consider we’re not talking about all sexual offences, but CSE or child porn.

  7. Lancs, why are you lumping priests, teachers and councillors together when this discussion started as one specifically relating to councillors?

    You are answering a different question to the one I was trying to address.

  8. Plus don’t forget you’re referring merely to recorded offences (most of which don’t result in anything).

    I’ve only been detailing Cllrs – and others – convicted. The number of people convicted of such offences in the general population is far rarer than your figure,which makes my point even more.

    In short, if your point is that Cllrs may be less likely to have a criminal record than the general population: that may well be true (say 5% v 10%). But the opposite is clearly the case just on one year’s figures when you consider those convicted of CSE or child porn. Probably something more like 2% v 0.02% which if it were the case would mean cllrs were 100 times more likely.

    We then get into HH’s Q as to why that is. Due to authorities now investigating historic offences, or the fact most have free laptops or whatever. Or simply that more local politicos are offenders.

  9. Kieran W – I am not ‘lumping them together.’

    They were merely the three groups identified previously when we had this discussion, hence I provided the figures for the numbers of priests, teachers and cllrs convicted in one year.

    [But indeed a proportion were both teachers & cllrs so it’s not actually that unreasonable if I had done so, as clearly they seek out certain occupations.]

  10. @ Lancs

    But you’ve NOT demonstrated that the number of councillors convicted of sexual offences does exceed the level convicted in the general population! And certainly not demonstrated that the conviction rate of teachers (of whom there are over 400,000, as opposed to the estimated 20,000 councillors) exceeds the average. I think it should be clear that the rate of sexual offences among teachers is lower than average, but given their profession any such offence is all the more shocking.

    For what it’s worth, I suspect that the number of sexual offences by councillors which you’ve reported on this site in the past year is around 30.

  11. PT may be onto something re class.

    Certainly the number of cllrs jailed for violence offences is far lower than the population as a whole.

    But the numbers convicted for drink driving is probably higher.

  12. James E – if you mean current cllrs you may have a point.

    But by definition I imagine 90% are ex-cllrs when jailed, which is why I said occupations at the time the offences were committed.

    I didn’t claim the level of teachers was higher – merely that it should come as no surprise that offenders seek out to work in this profession. I reiterate that the number of priests is undoubtedly higher than the % convicted in the general population and on one year’s figures the % of Cllrs was also higher.

    I was actually being generous to your contrary viewpoint: that this may be explained because eg 2015 contained many historic offences – it is just when many reached trial.

    [Also just spotted that the other group I listed previously on here was celebs convicted, but even 4 of these had been teachers at the time such as Fred Talbot, so I in fact failed to count those extra few.]

  13. “James E – if you mean current cllrs you may have a point.
    But by definition I imagine 90% are ex-cllrs when jailed, which is why I said occupations at the time the offences were committed”.

    I am not aware of any source that gives a figure for the number of ex councillors in the country. That makes calculating the offending rate among current and former councillors problematic. I go back to my original point, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the rate of sex offending is any higher among that group than it is among the general population.

  14. It doesn’t at all. My point re ex-cllrs was simply most resign upon being charged. I wasn’t referring to the churn in cllrs though I’m happy to look at that if you think it really skews the figures (a quick look shows it doesn’t as around half of those convicted were cllrs for decades and given the age profile of cllrs it’s also likely that many die before being charged).

    As I said, I was being very generous to James’ suggestion by pointing out that 2015 may be a higher figure than the norm because most of the convictions in that year were for historic crimes.

    But of course he was referring to all recorded sex offences.

    Whilst I was referring to those convicted of CSE or child porn. ‘Only’ 298 were convicted in the year I looked at and yet the majority of these came from the 3 groups (which is why I listed them) of priests, teachers and cllrs at the time the offence was committed.

    As I said it’s not therefore 1 in 500 (James’ point is only true of all sex offences).

    Put simply: no, cllrs aren’t as likely to be rapists as the average man, but on one year’s figures alone they are far more likely to be convicted of CSE/porn than the general population. It’s not even close.

    Even if I accept the 20,000 cllrs figure – which I do not as my list is comprised of paid cllrs ie largely in Mets of whom there are closer to 1,000, as well as the fact parish cllrs are far less likely to be reported in the media – you’d only expect 2 or 3 Cllrs to be convicted per year. Even James concedes I have listed 30, although I think it’s nearer 45.

    As I said, it may be that that is because Courts are playing catch up from the 1960s onwards, but the numbers being convicted of CSE amongst cllrs isn’t falling over the past 3 years. If anything it’s rising.

  15. Kieran W – or to make it more obvious to your Q of:

    “I have seen nothing to suggest the rate is any higher”

    How many examples do you want?

    In Liverpool 2 ex-Cllrs jailed for CSE (5 if you include candidates). That’s 2% of Cllrs or candidates.

    In St Helens, 3, 2 apiece in Wirral and Knowsley. 2 in Oldham.

    Of course if 2% of the general population had been jailed for CSE, we’d need a prison population of 1 million!

    [Incidentally, I can recommend Spotlight if you’re also not convinced re the numbers of priests]

  16. “Even if I accept the 20,000 cllrs figure – which I do not…”.


    Add the total figures together (there will be a bit of double counting of individuals who serve on district and county in the shires) and that’s roughly what you get.

    Me: “I have seen nothing to suggest the rate is any higher”

    Lancs “How many examples do you want?”

    Examples don’t prove anything unless the number of them is put into the context of a total population.

    As you don’t seem to even understand the very basics of statistics I am not discussing this issue with you any further.

  17. “I go back to my original point, I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the rate of sex offending is any higher among that group than it is among the general population.”

    I’m not qualified to know whether you or Lancs are correct on this.

    Nevertheless, even if rate of sex offending is similar amongst councillors to the rest of the population, IMO this is a very sorry state of affairs.

    We should expect those we elect (and pay) to represent us to set an example. As indeed they do with respect to most other crimes, where rate of offending for councillors is surely far below the population as a whole. When’s the last time you saw a councillor jailed for burglary or street theft? It seems sex crimes and fraud are two major exceptions.

  18. The difference I would have thought between sex crimes and burglary/street theft is that there is likely to be an economic motivation behind the latter (more often than not the need to fund a drug habit). The general demographic profile of councilors will mean that motivation is almost totally absent.

    In contrast with sex crimes the motivation is gratification, and I wouldn’t expect councillors to be any more or less likely to crave that type of gratification than anyone else. If anything the more middle class profile might mean that as a group they are more likely to have the opportunity to abuse a position of trust/authority in order to satisfy their need for that type of gratification.

    Partly for the latter reason I don’t dismiss the idea that there might be a problem re councillors and sex crime, I just don’t think at the moment the evidence is their to prove its existence.

  19. Pretty obvious isn’t it? These people use their position to take advantage, and historically a lot of such people get away with it because of their position (I really don’t understand why either).

  20. Kieran W – I’m not disputing how many parish cllrs there are.

    Merely pointing out my list of convictions is comprised 90% from Mets, so it yourself who is seemingly incapable or unwilling of understanding that we should only compare that with the number of Cllrs in Mets.

    The examples provided CLEARLY show the prevalence is far higher in Merseyside ie 2% of Cllrs convicted for CSE/child porn v 0.02% of the population.

    But I’m happy to listen to any stats re offending you present – as you have yet to present any, other than referring to bogus comparisons ie the number of parish cllrs or the number of all recorded sex offences. AS I said I’m not alleging Cllrs are more likely to be rapists; what I am pointing out is that just in the North West (area I know best), those convicted of CSE/child porn are indeed far more likely to be remunerated Cllrs than Joe Bloggs.

  21. I said I wouldn’t engage in this discussion any more, and for the most part I intend to keep my word. However I will just point out that the figures I linked to do not include parish councillors, only district, met, county and unitary. They also show the total number of met councillors as over 2,000 not the 1,000 suggested by Lancs.

  22. At least 2 Labour MPs and a union leader attended an event that a person with cor virus attended, last week.

    For obvious reasons, the MPs have cancelled their surgeries and are to self-isolate during half term.

    One of them attended PMQs and so all MPs and House staff are being advised to call 111 if they experience any symptoms and not to take transport to A & E.

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