Luton North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12739 (29.9%)
Labour: 22243 (52.2%)
Lib Dem: 1299 (3.1%)
Green: 972 (2.3%)
UKIP: 5318 (12.5%)
MAJORITY: 9504 (22.3%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Eastern, Bedfordshire. Part of the Luton council area.

Main population centres: Luton.

Profile: A wholly urban seat, entirely consisting of the northern part of Luton. Luton was historically a manufacturing town, originally for hats (hence the nickname of Luton Town football club, based in the constituency) and more recently for Vauxhall cars and Electrolux. The Vauxhall car plant closed in 2002 and the fast growing London Luton Airport, the hub of EasyJet`s operations, is becoming a far more important part of the local economy - Luton reportedly has the highest proportion of taxi drivers per head of anywhere in the UK. The constituency has a high proportion of ethnic minorities, in the 2011 census almost half the population was non-white and one in five were Muslim.

Politics: A marginal seat between Labour and the Conservatives, but one where the Conservatives seem to be making little progress - the Conservatives did not just fail to take the seat in 2010, they went backwards, with the election producing a small swing to Labour. This wasn`t unusual in Scotland or in no hoper seats for the Conservatives, but happened in very few English marginals.

Current MP
KELVIN HOPKINS (Labour) Born 1941, Leicester. Educated at Queen Elizabet`s Grammar School for Boys and Nottingham University. Former trade union officer. Luton councillor 1972-1976. Contested Luton North 1983. First elected as MP for Luton North in 1997. A member of the Socialist Campaign Group.
Past Results
Con: 13672 (32%)
Lab: 21192 (49%)
LDem: 4784 (11%)
UKIP: 1564 (4%)
Oth: 1806 (4%)
MAJ: 7520 (17%)
Con: 12575 (32%)
Lab: 19062 (49%)
LDem: 6081 (16%)
UKIP: 1255 (3%)
Oth: 149 (0%)
MAJ: 6487 (17%)
Con: 12210 (31%)
Lab: 22187 (57%)
LDem: 3795 (10%)
UKIP: 934 (2%)
MAJ: 9977 (25%)
Con: 16234 (34%)
Lab: 25860 (55%)
LDem: 4299 (9%)
Oth: 939 (2%)
MAJ: 9626 (20%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DEAN RUSSELL (Conservative)
KELVIN HOPKINS (Labour) See above.
AROOSA ULZAMAN (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 63 Responses on “Luton North”
  1. I understand that Labour were helped significantly by the 1997 boundary changes.

    Luton North use to be part rural Bedfordshire/ part Luton, extending to include Toddington on the M1.

    The creation of a 7th Bedfordshire constituency in 1997 effectively made this constituency much better for Labour.

    I am certain that the Conservative would have won the 1983 – 1997 Luton North in 2010 (and perhaps also in 2005).

  2. Not sure about that. The Tories were a long way behind in the Luton part even in 2010. Certainly I think you’re wrong about 2005 and possibly 2010 as well.

    Again, we need to call in the expert Mr Whitehead to judge.

  3. I don’t have much in the way of figures. I have worked out ward voting figures only as recently as 2001 for Bedfordshire. At that election the Tories would only have been about 1,500 ahead in the wards outside Luton which were formerly in Luton North (Flitwick would have been very close between the two parties then). Obviously this would have increased substantially in 2005 and 2010 but not to as much as the c.7,000 which would have been needed to outvote the Luton wards. Afterall probably only 15-16,000 votes in total were cast in this area with the Tories winning no more than half of these

  4. This seat is wasted on Kelvin Hopkins, I am waiting forward for his retirement. The man wants extremely hgih rates of income tax as high as 70% on those who don’t even pay the highest rate of income tax. He said that he was even in favour of a 98% tax on millionaires. He is bonkers, Ed Miliband should look for fresh blood for this seat – progress with the next stage of modernisation of the Labour Party and get rid of this relic from he extreme fringes of Old Labour’s past. That being said, Hopkins is a nice man even if he is a nutter.

  5. Many thanks for that Pete. It seems you have confirmed what I suspected.

    Luton must have moved against the Conservatives almost as much as places like Lewisham and North Croydon have since 1992.

  6. It is because of the demographics, resulting in this place becoming a safe Labour seat. Now, all Labour need to do is give this seat to someone who doesn’t want to kill off aspiration and success.

  7. Bob, Ed Miliband does not get to pick the Labour candidate for this seat. Check the rulebook.

  8. Well Ed Miliband is on the NEC, he does have influence. How do you think Lucy Powell and Polly Billington got selected?

  9. By the membership, you idiot.

    The NEC’s role is to ratify the decision of the CLP. And unless there are procedural irregularities or the candidate selected is seriously unsuitable, it will do so.

  10. Hopkins’ result was one of Labour’s best in the entire general election of 2010. No doubt Bob in his infinite wisdom would that down purely to demographics, but that would fail to explain the fairly decisive swing to the Conservatives in Luton S. It would be clear to many other people that Hopkins has been seen to be doing a good job by local voters, and in stark contrast to Margaret Moran was totally blameless on the question on expenses. I am getting heartily sick of this site being used to further a narrow sectional interest within a political party – in this case, mine. Let the local Labour Party select its own preferred candidates, as long as they are not in breach of party rules. Even Tony Blair recognised that not all Labour candidates could be carbon copies of his own ideas – it’s time that some his more egregious acolytes did the same, and even then, if they must persist with attempts to witchhunt left-wingers out of the Labour Party, perhaps they could choose a more appropriate forum than this one. Edward above is quite simply correct.

  11. If it’s not a little off topic for me to ask, but I’ve often wondered. How exactly do each of the three main parties select their candidates?

  12. Must admit can’t see this country gains too much from the presence of Kelvin Hopkins in Parliament, as Bob says his ‘ethos’ is pretty bizarre all round and not in tune with anything except failure and virtual communism.

    Though presumably – psephologicallly speaking – he is quite acceptable to a good half of those who bother to vote here.

  13. I think that H.Hemmelig was right (on another thread I think). Bob’s twaddle is not worth bothering with, and I will in future not reply to any of his stuff, however much it annoys me. Please remind me of this, anyone, if I fail to stick to this. I will just make 2 remarks before I ignore him completely :
    1 ) If the Labour Party needs to be more right-wing, and Ed Miliband is too left-wing, how come the party is going to win every marginal or even semi-marginal seat hands down?
    and 2 ) The appalling over-confidence he shows does his, and my, party no good whatsoever. I will remind him that the man he so adores, Tony Blair, took no chances whatsoever when he was elected in 1997, pouring vast resources into super-marginal seats such as Mitcham & Morden, which all the polls said Labour would walk, and not targetting the longer shots which the polls suggested Labour might win more narrowly. This may have cost Labour the odd seat (Uxbridge is a possible example), though most of the longshots were won anyway. Even when the polls unanimously predicted a landslide, Blair & the Labour high command took nothing for granted. I suggest Bob follows Blair’s wise example, especially in these times when the polls, while not

  14. (contd) bad at all, do not suggest a landslide. Indeed, the Ipsos Mori poll yesterday puts the Labour lead at only 3%. It MAY be an outlier, but making such an assumption at this stage would be a grievous error.

  15. Think I will leave this to Anthony to deal with. Its not what this site is for.

  16. Not true. I voted Labour in 2005, even though I had left the party over Iraq. However, I did not want to see the return of a Tory government. So I voted Labour in 2005, as we were then in a marginal before the boundary change. I rejoined the party in 2010 after the last election. Unlike you, I actively worked for the local campaign to elect Ed Miliband as Party leader.

    I am very much hoping that I will have a Labour candidate to vote for next time who does not believe in discrimination against me and other gay men and lesbians. The current MP does. He may well retire before the next election. I hope he does. I will find it very difficult to vote for him given his stance on this issue.

  17. Have you voted for this MP previously? Or have you moved seats?

  18. I think thats a very respectable reason not to vote for your party’s MP MerseyMike.

  19. As it happens his MP has a ginormous majority……I was once in a position whereby I thought I’d have to vote for a Labour candidate I deplored (he’s now a very well-known Labour MP). Fortunately I was spared such a dilemma because I also had the opportunity to vote in Brighton Pavilion, an opportunity I took. Those who know about me will know which Labour candidate I refer to. I would have voted for him with extreme reluctance had it been necessary. I have never voted against a Labour candidate in an election, though I have abstained altogether, several decades ago, in 2 Euro-elections.

  20. I would certainly vote agaisnt a conservative candidate if I thought they were not up to the job or I had severe differences in ideology with. There are several MPs in parliament who would come into this category.

  21. Merseymike

    Your reasons for not voting for (I presume) Joe Benton are, given your own circumstances, completely understandable.

    I am personally torn between disagreeing with his stance on the substance of the issue, but admiring his guts in standing up for what he believes in against 95% of the rest of the Labour party. It cannot be easy to take a stand like that in the Labour party today and he must have encountered a lot of pressure to go with the party line.

    Is Joe Benton’s opposition to gay equality mostly reflective of his personal principles, or is it more because of consitituency pressure from the Catholics in Bootle?

  22. Benton is a devout Catholic. When some Labour “Powers That Be” complained about old MPs staying on in the run up of 2010 GE, it was said Benton didn’t want to retire because he wanted to have the occasion to meet the Pope in the upcoming visit to UK.

  23. Gay marriage seems an awfully bizarre issue to base one’s vote on.

  24. not if one is gay oneself.

  25. Merseymike didn’t mention gay marriage in particular, but gay equality issues in general. Joe Benton has consistently voted against an equal age of consent and civil partnerships etc, so from Merseymike’s perspective I can understand his point of view.

  26. I think Labour’s performance here is

  27. continued….

    quite remarkable – a higher share of the vote here than in Normanton, P&C, Leigh and Middlesbrough.

    Kelvin Hopkins must be doing something right – whenever I have heard him in the House, he comes across well (not that I necessarily agree with some of his views)

  28. I’m in exactly the same position as Merseymike when it comes to having a constituency MP who is of the party which I have always voted for, but whom I totally disagree with when it comes to the one issue he insists on making a big fuss about.

    I’ve talked about my views on Europe on the old site many times before from my slightly old-fashioned , Clarkeite, Europhile Tory perspective, so it might be slightly ironic that my local MP is the only one of the whipless eight who’s still in the House of Commons.

    Never-the-less, I still voted for Richard Sheppard in the last 2 general elections (as long as I’ve lived in the Aldridge-Brownhills seat), and he’ll be 72 at the time of the next election, so I’m quietly hoping he’ll stand down.

  29. The difference is Merseymike is in the mainstream, wheras you are the oddball.

    Personally social issues like gay-marriage (im not gay) are hugely important to how I would vote. I don’t understand why that is seen to be weird. Drugs legalisation (I don’t use any drugs or hardly even drink) would be another one where any support to be around. Likewise, EU-philes would be a big turn-off.

    I would never dream of voting for Peter Bone or his ilk, unless it was to stop labour (in my personal view a greater evil) and would prefer to vote liberal.

    There is probably some nightmareish scenario in which I would be forced to spoil

    UKIP (fruitcake wing)
    Peter Bone (having got deselected and got selected in Westmorland)
    Tim Farron

    Would probably be one!

  30. I hardly think Merseymike is mainstream. He represents a very small but very vocal brand of homosexual militancy. As Barnaby says, for someone who is homosexual, the kind of political issues relating to homosexuality are obviously going to be important and it is understandable for Merseymike to be unsupportive of politicians who might be seen to be hostile to his personal interests. So I wouldn’t necessarily condemn him for that, but as I say it can hardly be described as a mainstream view as opposed to a niche obsession.
    Its a little bit harder to understand in the case of Joe who constantly feels the need to point out that he isn’t gay but has a strange fixation on this particular issue. I really can’t see why its something anyone would care very much about if they weren’t directly affected. If he’s talking more broadly about various so-called ‘socially liberal’ causes then that is different because attitudes to such issues may form part of a broader political outlook.
    I have my own ‘niche obsession’ as regards to my opposition to the various draconian rules against smoking – again this is because it is an issue which directly affects me and the smoking ban (while in fact an attack on property rights rather than on the alleged rights of smokers) has had a significant detrimental affect on my life. There are similar issues which have less direct affect on me but where I would take a dim view of nannying legislation. For example there has been talk of banning smoking in cars with children present and there was the abortive attempt at fixing alcohol prices. I would be reluctant to support a candidate with the kind of anti-libertarian instincts which would be necessary to even countenance such measures, even though they would not personally inconvenience me (I very rarely buy alcohol from supermarkets and I never smoke in the car when my children are present). So take a hypothetical situation where at the next election there were no UKIP candidate in St Albans and I was considering whether to vote tactically for Ann Main. If she had voted for these two measure I would be reluctant to vote for her, but would probably do so because she is relatively sound on the far bigger issues of the day such as the EU and infinitely preferable in this respect to her LD or Labour opponents. But the smoking ban is a different matter, because I am reminded every time i’m standing outside a pub in the pissing rain that this person helped pass the legislation that put me in that position. As such it becomes very unlikely that I’m going to use my vote to return them to the legislature for another term

  31. “This seat is wasted on Kelvin Hopkins, I am waiting forward for his retirement. The man wants extremely hgih rates of income tax as high as 70% on those who don’t even pay the highest rate of income tax. He said that he was even in favour of a 98% tax on millionaires. He is bonkers, Ed Miliband should look for fresh blood for this seat – progress with the next stage of modernisation of the Labour Party and get rid of this relic from he extreme fringes of Old Labour’s past.”

    While not agreeing with that view of taxation I don’t see why Kelvin Hopkins should be deselected for having his own views rather than his party’s establishment’s views on that or any other issue.

    Many of the problems this country faces have been caused by the political-business-government establishment being able to steamroller their wishes and worldview over everyone else.

    We should all welcome more widespread debate on the issues of the day.

    Nobody has a monopoly of good ideas and nobody loses out for being a little more openminded.

  32. HH: Bootle is Catholic, sure, but there really is no pressure – in fact Liverpool’s Catholic Archbishop has never made a public statement on the subject to my knowledge. And the CLP executive voted unanimously for gay marriage

    Its very much Benton’s own stance and it is something I find very difficult. I get on OK with him, actually, but despite my offering he has never taken me up on my request to discuss the issue with him
    And its far wider than gay marriage – I just have a problem voting for someone who doesn’t regard me as equal.

    Pete: hardly describe myself as ‘militant’. I’m an activist, sure, but my approach is moderate: concentrating on liaison work – particularly with the police force. I served as an independent on the police authority for 4 years! I’m sure you’d agree that there’s nothing wrong with focusing on particular issues if you feel strongly about them. Indeed, that’s how most issues including those you care about become part of the mainstream – because people who are bothered put a bit of effort into it.

    I think Benton is also worried that if he stands down there will be an all woman shortlist. But if he dies in office this might be the case anyway. The current leader of Sefton Council would, I think, like to be the MP.

  33. I’d agree with Pete on both the smoking ban, which I am also * militantly* about (a non-smoker too!) and alcohol prices (I do drink but nothing that would be affected by minimum pricing). I’m rather less militant about the latter.

  34. Yesterday’s Luton council by-election

    Lib Dem 679
    Labour 635
    Conservative 397
    Green 63

    LD Hold

  35. Apologies for leaving out percentages..

    LD 38.1%
    Lab 35.9%
    Con 22.4%
    Green 3.6%

    3.2% swing to LD, 4.1% swing to Labour, 4.3% swing against Conservative, 3% swing against Green

  36. Labour Hold. 9,000 maj.

  37. It is being rumoured that Kelvin Hopkins – 74 year-old life-long Eurospectic and Labour Leave campaigner – has been appointed to the shadow cabinet.

  38. I’ve been anxiously awaiting a call, but alas…

  39. I like Kelvin, good friend of my dad’s. I saw him speak at a rally five minutes from Luton Airport Parkway, the old Vauxhall centre. Bit obsessed by trains and trams but good man.

  40. Kelvin Hopkins was one of five Labour MPs who voted against his own party in an amendment to guarantee the rights of EU Nationals to remain in the UK after Brexit. I can see how the likes of Kate Hoey, Frank Field and Graham Stringer would take such a position but where are these Corbyn supporters coming from? The former very right wing MP for this seat John Carlisle would be proud.

  41. How did Skinner vote? He and Galloway talked a bit about how free movement of labour undercut british workers, there is a left wing argument against immigration.


    Kelvin Hopkins loses the whip. No idea what for.

  43. “Following allegations received today” Labour HQ.

  44. Well, quite. That could mean anything from knee-touching to sexual assault.

  45. Telegraph says he sent innappropriate texts and rubbed up against a young lady in an innappropriate manner. My mouth is climbing up from the floor tbh. Dad was good friends with Kelvin from NUPE. There were MPs dad said were inappropriate but he never said anything about Kelvin

  46. We need a lot more information about this. The things that strike me about are that the accuser is a party member from outside parliament, and that his guilt may have some implications on the Labour leadership for putting him in the shadow cabinet (when nobody else would do it). We know that there have been huge numbers of potentially politically-motivated accusations within the labour party in recent times (often around misogyny, homophobia and anti-semitism), and this could be another. Labour are still in a mess, remember! (This certainly isn’t me saying he’s innocent, just that it may be difficult to ever really be sure).

    I’m actually surprised that there hasn’t been a more serious, westminster-based accusation against a Labour MP yet. There must be enormous pressure to find one from many parts of the palace and beyond.

  47. @Ecowirral

    I think for Corbyn to suspend one of his oldest allies, something has to be afoot.

    He’s in a position with the membership where, cynically put, he can ignore any allegation he likes if he wants to and the membership will give him cover for it.

    As you say, the party is in a mess. If this were someone with a record for speaking out against Corbyn, the first paragraph of your post might read differently. Would Corbynites be so keen to say ‘hang on are we sure this isn’t a stitch-up’ if this were someone accused of disloyalty? No, they wouldn’t.

  48. CHRIS RILEY – I don’t think that’s fair. In other strands, I’ve actually advised caution over some of the tory accusations (I have only torn into Fallon because of his unconvincing responses, which suggest signisicantly more bad behaviour than we are currently aware of). The only extra reason to wonder if it is a stitch-up is that there has been a track record in recent times of the Labour right (at many different levels) engaging in a range of stitch-ups, fuelled by their sense of entitlement and belief that their party has been infiltrated.

    None of that means he’s innocent, as I say, and unless we get significant evidence either way, we will probably never really knkw. That goes for any of the accused who will follow, and I would have said just that.

  49. Also:

    “I think for Corbyn to suspend one of his oldest allies, something has to be afoot.”

    I think that’s very unfair on Corbyn. He has never been seen to unfairly protect his allies – look at the even-handed way he dealt with Ken Livingston.

  50. @Ecowirral


    A lot of people are very concerned about what has been going on around the member for Wansbeck but the party resolutely refuses to delve into it, and the member for Norwich South seems to have more political lives than a political cat.

    I don’t recall you or many other Corbyn supporters calling for a period of calm reflection when highly-convenient allegations started about the former member for Rochdale either. He was swiftly (some might say pre-emptively) tried and condemned in the court of party opinion.

    That said, the leadership looks to have swiftly done the right thing in this case even if it making people uncomfortable.

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