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 - 471 Responses on “Leeds North West”
  1. Leeds University exams finish this week and most students will have gone home by the 8th. Student turnout will be much smaller than 2015..

    Tories were in 2nd place going into the 2015 election, and Mulholland will be hoping he can squeeze them down a bit further.

    Labour maxed at 42% here in 2001 when they were over 40% nationally. They tend to get something similar to the national %, so they have a chance if they exceed 36% nationally, but I suspect the voters that stuck with Mulholland in 2015 are fans of his, and with no UKIP and a falling student vote Labour may need over 40% to beat him..

  2. Also remember Labour were third in 2010. It’s not impossible, but I think it’ll be a hard ask for them. I actually thought, before Labour’s poll rise, the Tories would easily take second here.

  3. If Mulholland survives I think it will be on tactical votes from Tories. I expect the Labour vote to go past 37% due to 3 factors: increased student turnout, movement from Grn to Lab, movement from UKIP to Lab.

  4. How in the world will there be increased student turnout? That’s utterly nonsensical for two reasons:

    1. The anti-LD student wave was at its zenith in 2015

    The student turnout will go down.

  5. “The student turnout will go down.”

    I doubt that very much. Their enthusiasm for Corbyn now seems to be unmitigated.

    What % of students voted in 2015?

  6. Mr Pitt
    Re students going home there are two things to consider. Firstly it depends where they decide to vote, their have been a great many websites and apps (with an awful lot of hits/downloads) designed for students to inform them as to which seat their vote counts the most (their home address or term time address) thus I imagine a great many here will have checked and realised their home address is in a safe seat so their vote is best utilised in this seat (whether that means staying back for a few extra weeks or getting a postal vote)

    Secondly you also seem to be forgetting that most students don’t pack up and head home the moment their exams are over, the bulk of halls and practically all private rented accommodation provide a near year long tenancy so the students will still be able to live in their accommodation till late June at the earliest and I imagine most all of them take advantage of their freedom from both studies and parents (I know all my friends did/do)

  7. Some will, some won’t; I’m not saying there will be zero student votes, just that the turnout amongst students will be down. Why? Because early May is in term, early June isn’t. It is really that simple. Plenty will stay around; I never said otherwise. But it’ll still be a lower student turnout than it was in 2015 because it won’t be during the school year.

    I don’t think that’s a contentious statement, frankly.

  8. I disagree – although it’s entirely possible that many of those student votes will be case in a different constituency than their University one. Perhaps that was meant to be your point?

  9. Yes, I am referring to the student turnout in Leeds North West. I am confident that will be lower than it was in 2015.

  10. Individual registration has undoubtedly reduced the student vote in Leeds NW.. In 2015 the Headingley electorate was 13,384 (already well under quota). In 2016 it was 10643 in the local elections. I am sure it was more in the referendum and will be on June 8th, but the default position of many students is “not registered”.
    I teach at Leeds University and there is no doubt that many students go home or go traveling once the exams are over. Of course the politically active students will make sure they vote somewhere, but that will not necessarily be Leeds NW. At the start of this campaign a great many Labour seats looked in danger… Less so now, but Labour voting students from Wakefield or Dewsbury would be well advised to vote at home rather than try and unseat a Lib Dem. So for many reasons student votes will be reduced compared to 2015 here.
    That does not mean Mulholland is safe though. This seat has often seen big swings. The main thing that may save him is his personal vote tbh. I have spoken to at least 20 people who live in Leeds NW in the last couple of weeks, not one had a bad word for Mulholland (even those intending to vote Labour), and more than half had met and spoken to him on some occasion, often on their own doorstep.. This is not normal! Others mentioned being on his regular email list, which appears to be large..

  11. Yes, he seems very popular, almost totally independent of his party.

    At the start of the campaign, I actually thought the Tories would come second (something like LD 43, Con 29, Lab 17), but now obviously that does not look like a reasonable situation…

  12. YouGov have this seat as 41% Labour and 35% Lib Dem. Con vote rises a bit to 21%.

    Would be quite a triumph for Labour.

  13. I’m doubtful. Wouldn’t utterly shock me, but I’m doubtful.

  14. Fair point about the student turnout, Mr Pitt.

    Nonetheless I think the turnout rate amongst those that stay will be high, and strongly Labour. I don’t find the Yougov prediction that surprising.

  15. I would expect about the same margin as 2015, to be honest. I can’t see Mulholland losing unless the LDs are below 7% on total vote share, or Labour about 37%. I think he has a buffer, and I also think there will be some students who will vote LD. They aren’t nearly as toxic to students as they were in 2015. In fact, their anti-Brexit stance should net a solid percentage from that demographic.

  16. “”I can’t see Mulholland losing unless the LibDems are below 7% and Labour above 37%”. Look at the latest opinion polls.

  17. “YouGov have this seat as 41% Labour and 35% Lib Dem. Con vote rises a bit to 21%.”

    Looks about right to me.

  18. I can’t see this going Labour unless LDs and Tories split and Labour have a landslide, really… Like, if they’re up where they were in ’01, they’ll definitely win.

  19. Don’t forget that a large proportion of the voters in this seat are in higher and further education, leaving it vulnerable to a tidal wave of social media influenced young voters.

  20. Uni term is over

  21. Yeah, student turnout may rise NATIONALLY, but it will be lower than in 2015 in this seat and in Sheffield Hallam. Could well save the LDs ā€” or help them in Cambridge, too.

  22. Much will depend on how efficient students have been in registering and then casting postal votes.. I doubt how many students these days would vote in person even during term time: they live in a different world to pensioners like me.

  23. This constituency is also rather academic.. not just because it has a lot of students but because it has a lot of well-educated urban professionals, and a number of professors who teach at the two unis.

    It isn’t just the students who could give Labour a boost here.

  24. Cheesus,
    That is the group of people in the whole of the population who care most about Brexit and are most likely to switch from Lab to Lib Dem because of that.

  25. Most likely, perhaps, but I bet an overwhelming majority won’t. Most seem resigned to the fact that Brexit is happening, and it’s better to vote for Labour because they’re less likely to walk away without a deal, and seem less confrontational with Brussels than the Tories.

  26. Yes, but we are talking about Leeds NW here, where it is a straight choice between Lib Dem and Labour, a fact that the well educated and politically aware part of the electorate know very well.

    The University vote almost certainly swung Labour here in 2015, and I don’t see it swinging further this time. It is more the ex UKIP votes on the council estates that might win this for Labour… Don’t underestimate Mulholland’s personal vote among this group as well though..

  27. He has a video on his website with an endorsement from Brian Deane (popular ex Leeds footballer), is a well known rugby league fan, and very popular amongst pub landlords… None of that will save him from swing if it is large enough though..

  28. YouGove currently predict for this consitiuency: –
    Labour 45%
    LibDem 31%
    Conservative 22%.

    The LibDems are not toally out of it; but have a very uphill task.

  29. Well, that assumes that YOuGov’s current prediction is RIGHT, Frederic.

    It could easily be wrong, too. Remember, that’s not an actual poll; just a guess based on demographics/data. The thing is, LDs are inherently harder to guess based on demographics (since they have less of a clear demographic nationwide), which also explains why their vote share 95% confidence interval on YouGov’s thing is usually much larger than the other parties’.

    So, to put it another way: YouGov could be dead wrong.

    They are 95% confident that:
    Labour will be between 36% and 54%
    Lib Dems between 22% and 40%
    Tories between 18% and 27%
    Greens between 1% and 5%

    And that still leaves a 5% chance, by their estimate, the vote shares will be outside of that ā€” and it’s not even a prediction, but a current snapshot; it’s what they think if the election were held TODAY.

    Basically, what I’m saying is, you can’t assume YouGov is right at all. They might be. They also could be way off. And, of course, things could change.

    On balance, I still guess Mulholland will hold, but it could be very, very close. I doubt there will be a Labour win by 14%. That seems next to impossible.

  30. Based on the recent trend I’d say Mulholland is now in serious trouble. This seat apparently has the second highest proportion of 18-24 year olds in the country, and that demographic seems to be going big time for Corbyn.

  31. Mullholland needs Tory tactical votes to save him.

  32. Mulholland is gone.

  33. Must be disappointing for Mulholland, he had been a good local MP too from what I’ve heard.

  34. I was knocking up in Leeds NW on Thursday. Most people who had voted Con or Lab assumed he was perfectly safe because he was “such a good MP”.. Relative to Hallam Mulholland did keep the Tory tactical vote however..

    It does remind me of 1997 when Labour won by a mile from 3rd place. And of course this is the first election since then where there has been a significant increase in the Labour vote nationally, plus the students who don’t really care much about how good the MP is… just a perfect storm for an excellent MP…

  35. I must admit I’m quite gutted about this. He was clearly the victim of a huge Labour surge in Headingley ward, and the rest of the seat not really coming out for him in sufficient numbers… the young haven’t really forgiven the Lib Dems yet, if they ever will.

  36. Former Lord Mayor of Leeds Neil Taggart was jailed in July for 32 months for possession of child porn.

    He had been a Labour Cllr for 32 years and was also previously chair of the police authority.

  37. The reports of the case are very damning.

    I must admit I found his deselection a bit strange at the time despite the health issues he was supposedly having… one might think he’d have stood down for health reasons, or if he was able to carry on his duties they’d stick with him in the hope he’d recover?

  38. Why do we have to have these court cases reported her on UKPR?They add zero to political debate. In very nearly all cases it won’t affect voting patterns in the locals and certainly not in the GE.

    I mean the offence is deplorable beyond words, yes, but we surely don’t need these (often old) cases resuscitated here.

  39. I agree. There are other sites for those obsessed with this topic but I can’t see the relevance here.

  40. Alex F – it self-evidently affects the local vote (I can provide countless examples should you honestly believe this bizarre claim to be the case). Indeed in half of the cases it results in a by-election which almost always results in a swing against the Party of the jailed ex-Cllr.

    Nor are they ‘often old’ cases – I apologise that 2 of the 6 I posted yesterday were 7 weeks old, but it was holiday season and there’s in fact a backlog of Cllrs going through the Courts.

    Merseymike – your view indeed defence on one occasion on here of some assaults is well known, so I can understand why you don’t think it’s relevant if politicians are convicted sex offenders. Most on here and most of the public thankfully disagree with you on both scores.

  41. I have to agree with Lancs here. Posting about councillor convictions is relevant and interesting information which most of us here wouldn’t get to see. He does it in a non-partisan and sober manner and only once in a while. I hope he doesn’t stop informing us of these things.

    I know I sound like a broken record on this but there really does need to be an inquiry into why so many local politicians are prosecuted for child porn / abuse. Is it because political types are naturally more inclined to that sort of thing, or that they are more likely to get caught? The number of prosecutions of councillors for this really is scandalous and I’m surprised it tends to receive so little attention above & beyond individual cases in the local press.

  42. Also I wanted to say welcome back to Mike & hope you are well.

  43. “…Iā€™m surprised it tends to receive so little attention above & beyond individual cases in the local press.”

    Get a subscription to Private Eye. It’s one of their favourite topics.

  44. Private Eye is a niche publication with a tiny circulation, I meant that it is a mystery that the issue isn’t picked up more by the national press..

  45. If ppl want to see them publicised here- ok fair enough.

    And I would most certainly like to be made aware of election upsets due to member of a party being prosecuted.

  46. Lancs seems to do a round up once a month or so. If it were spamming the threads on a daily basis I’d agree that’s too much.

    It’s an interesting time in local government IMO – the Tories have been the leading party in terms of councillor numbers for a decade or so – now I’d be really surprised if they don’t go into a bit of a downward spiral as voters hit out at their local councils after nearly 10 years of austerity. I think this year’s local elections will be a shocker for the Tories, especially in London.

  47. “I know I sound like a broken record on this but there really does need to be an inquiry into why so many local politicians are prosecuted for child porn / abuse”.

    I am not convinced the rate of offending among local politicians is any higher than the rate among the general population. You have to remember there are about 20k elected councillors at shire district level and above in the UK at any one time. Add in former councillors and you obviously end up with a much larger number.

    While 10-20 instances of local politicians being sent down for these kind of offences might seem like a lot when they pop up in the press, or on threads on here, over the course of a year I reckon it’s about the same as the rate of offending among the general population

  48. Agree Hemelig.

    I think in some parts they’ll do well and possibly gain seats from Labour, the strong leave areas but in the cities it’ll continue to be dismal, especially London.

    We’ve a by election in Morley & Outwood that we can gain from Labour potentially. Let’s see…

  49. HH – thanks.

    Alex F – it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If a local govt by-election is caused by the incumbent being jailed, quite apart from the by-election being an inconvenience and unnecessary cost, the reason for the jailing will harm the local ward Party. Indeed in my own area when an ex Cllr was jailed (he’d also been the PPC), longstanding LDs refused to help in the by-election such was the distaste that they had presumably helped him get elected previously.

    Kieran W – untrue.

    The rate amongst Cllrs and priests is far higher than the general population convicted of such offences. I’d agree if it were “10-20” but it’s currently around that level each month!

    That shouldn’t come as a surprise as experts tell us that they seek out jobs as teachers, priests and so on.

  50. @ Lancs – what Kieran actually said was that he wasn’t convinced of a higher rate of sexual offences among politicians.

    While you might be right that the rate of sex offences is higher among councillors, it would be good to see specific evidence of that rather than simply endless examples.

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