Morley & Outwood

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18776 (38.9%)
Labour: 18354 (38%)
Lib Dem: 1426 (3%)
Green: 1264 (2.6%)
UKIP: 7951 (16.5%)
Others: 479 (1%)
MAJORITY: 422 (0.9%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Morley, Outwood, East Ardsley, Wrenthorpe.

Profile: A pair of small towns between Leeds and Wakefield, both former industrial towns turned into residential dormitories. Morley was once a textile and coal mining town, now a hub for new housing development. Outwood was a former pit village, but has seen a massive expansion of new build housing over the last few decades. The area is also, perhaps somewhat incongrously in this post-industrial landscape, a centre for growing forced rhubarb. The area between Morley, Rothwell and Wakefield has for centuries been the centre for rhubarb growing and in 2010 won Protected Designation of Origin status.

Politics: Morley and Outwood was previously the seat of Ed Balls, Gordon Brown's ally and the Labour shadow Chancellor under Ed Miliband. After boundary changes in 2010 the Tories ran an energetic campaign hoping to defeat Ed Balls and provide a "Portillo moment" of the election, but fell tantalising short. In 2015 the situation was the opposite, no one expected a Tory victory here given the polls were pointing to Labour gains, but Balls was the most high profile casualty of the surprise Conservative victory.

Current MP
ANDREA JENKYNS (Conservative) Born Beverley. Former business development manager, music teacher and singer. Lincolnshire councillor 2009, 2009-2013. First elected as MP for Morley & Outwood in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 17264 (35%)
Lab: 18365 (38%)
LDem: 8186 (17%)
BNP: 3535 (7%)
Oth: 1506 (3%)
MAJ: 1101 (2%)
Con: 8227 (19%)
Lab: 20570 (48%)
LDem: 6819 (16%)
BNP: 2271 (5%)
Oth: 4608 (11%)
MAJ: 12343 (29%)
Con: 9829 (26%)
Lab: 21919 (57%)
LDem: 5446 (14%)
UKIP: 1248 (3%)
MAJ: 12090 (31%)
Con: 12086 (26%)
Lab: 26836 (58%)
LDem: 5087 (11%)
Oth: 529 (1%)
MAJ: 14750 (32%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Morley & Rothwell

2015 Candidates
ANDREA JENKYNS (Conservative) Born Beverley. Business development manager, music teacher and singer. Lincolnshire councillor 2009, 2009-2013.
ED BALLS (Labour) Born 1967, Norwich. Educated at Nottingham High School and Oxford University. Financial journalist and advisor to Gordon Brown as Shadow Chancellor and Chancellor. MP for Normanton 2005 to 2015. Economic Secretary to the Treasury 2006-2007, Secretary of State for Children and Schools 2007-2010. Shadow home secretary 2010-2011, Shadow Chancellor 2011-2015. A close ally of Gordon Brown throughout the last Labour government. Balls was elected as MP for Normanton in 2005, but saw his seat abolished in the boundary review, despite legal attempts to have the boundary commission recommendations overturned. In March 2007 he was selected to fight the Morley & Outwood seat in place of the retiring Colin Challen. Unsuccessfully ran for the Labour leadership in 2010. Balls is married to Yvette Cooper, the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.
REBECCA TAYLOR (Liberal Democrat) Born 1975, Todmorden. Educated at Leeds University. Contested Rotherham 2010. MEP for Yorkshire 2012-2014.
DAVID DEWS (UKIP) Wakefield councillor since 2014.
MARTIN HEMINGWAY (Green) Teacher and former archeologist. Leeds councillor 1990-2002 for the Labour party. Contested Leeds North West 2005, 2010, Yorkshire and Humber region 2009, 2014 European elections.
ARNIE CRAVEN (Yorkshire First) Born Leeds. Educated at Leeds University.
Comments - 687 Responses on “Morley & Outwood”
  1. I think the next Labour leader will be a woman, 100%.

    Though I think Cooper would get the job on merit anyway, I’m not a fan particularly but she’s a strong character rather than a wandering nomad like Corbyn and could get the PLP functioning again.

    If the polling is anything like accurate this ought to convince the Labour movement that the dream is over, and that they can only be as left wing as the electorate will allow…

    If I was Labour leader (perish the thought) the first thing I’d do would be to jettison Abbott, Thornberry and McDonnell to the back benches. Thornberry first, she just typifies the sneering, metropolitan style that has caused such a prejudice toward Labour from the working classes.

    Not suggesting Labour goes full ‘put the Great back into Great Britain’ or anything close, but something different.

    I know it’s satire but much of the Jonathan Pie stuff illustrates what the failings are.

  2. I hope it is a woman – there was a good article in the New Statesman saying how much the support for Yvette is in the parliamentary party, even saying it might be the case that she could be elected without it going to a vote. The only other “moderate” woman is Lisa Nandy though I think the greater experience would tip things Yvette’s way.

  3. I think Yvette Cooper would have Emily Thornberry in the shadow cabinet. Emily was a key figure in Yvette’s campaign in 2015.

  4. From the outside it appears that the most popular people in the PLP among colleagues are Cooper, Benn and Watson.

    Watson strikes me as a master fixer, the sort of bloke you’d want on your side.

    Some of the names touted don’t make sense, Rebecca Long Bailey… Clive Lewis…

    My favourite would be John Mann, but he would trigger a lot of Labour’s new support.

  5. I think Yvette Cooper would have been a very good leader, and still would be, but her chance of ever becoming PM has in all probability passed. Realistically the leader of the rump Labour Party in the new parliament will on the best case scenario be a transitional leader who restores some stability, and perhaps achieves gains at the next election, before handing over to somebody else. Given that I’m not really sure if somebody like Yvette would be so keen on the job.

  6. You can get reasonable odds of 25/1 on Thornberry, Watson and Benn but there are no odds on John Mann – he seems to be less likely than Tony Blair and Simon Danczuk.

  7. Happy ed balls day

  8. We didn’t get constituency by constituency results, but overall results for Leeds are 49.7% voted to leave the EU.
    So Morley is a remain area.

  9. The Chris Hanretty estimate (they are not gospel but they are the best we have) is that M&O voted leave by a 60-40 margin. I’d imagine Morley itself would be at least 55% for leave – it is much whiter than Leeds generally, and doesn’t have as many young people.

  10. I was at the count for the Leeds area, Morley was one of the strongest areas for Leave in Leeds. Might have even been the strongest. There and Middleton were v strong.

  11. Morley returned a BNP councillor before.. so make of that what you will. Not the kind of place I’d want to call home.

  12. It was an honest comment which most people would at heart agree with.

    Name me one place which has elected a BNP councillor which isn’t a run down shithole which few would choose to live in….I can only think of the Isle of Dogs which breaks that rule and that’s only because it has gentrified beyond all recognition since then.

    Frankly, sitting in Oxford in your ball gown and calling other people snobs for not wanting to live in some godforsaken dump makes you look a bit ridiculous….if that’s what you think why not move to Morley, or Swanley, or New Addington yourself?

  13. “My point is more that I don’t have the general attitude to these places.”

    Yes you do, or you’d choose to live in them.

  14. Morley is actually a nice town, but the voters are quite volatile….

    The BNP had been working the area for quite a few years and saw a gradual rise in support, with the independents thrown in, the vote share doesn’t have to be all that high to win there back then.

    I didn’t live here at the time so can’t really put a finger on why they were successful, mind.

  15. “Put it this way, I much prefer Newton Aycliffe people than Brighton folk.”

    Bloody hell, you must be very popular with your Oxford classmates.

    Don’t waste your youth on being a young fogey…you’ll get plenty of chance to be an old one.

  16. “You can not live in a place without berating the way people there vote.”

    Normally I’d agree but If you are happy to live amongst large numbers of neighbours who support the BNP then, for someone of your education, you are seriously weird.

  17. I think H Hemmelig is being a bit harsh. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in BNP-voting areas but by the same token, I wouldn’t be all that keener on living in metropolitan liberal places- I had three years of that at Cambridge and whilst I have good memories, I am much happier in provincial England.

  18. Plop – just think of all the good you’re doing, puncturing those metropolitan echo chambers 😉

    In all seriousness, there is a serious issue in this country with groupthink among the metropolitan middle classes. They are far more prone to it than provincial folk, precisely because they are the sort of people to talk politics to each other, and therefore reinforce each other’s opinions. The opinions of an individual at Oxford University are likely to be an amalgamation of the opinions of those around them.

    It’s good to be different – not to be contrary for the sake of being contrary, nor to be totally unwilling to listen to other points of view, but it is most certainly anti-intellectual to just go with the consensus for no reason other than it being fashionable to do so.

  19. “In all seriousness, there is a serious issue in this country with groupthink among the metropolitan middle classes.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. And it appears to have got a lot worse in the last 15 years or so. I remember being at school in the very pro-EU mid 1990s and we had a number of highly educated teachers, including Oxon, Cantab, master’s and Doctorates, and they all had very different views between them on everything from the gay movement to climate change to the EU. There seemed to have been more Right-Wing intellectuals in the past (albeit they were always in a minority).

    At University (Politics, York) I had some very left wing professors, but they were quite OK with me espousing right wing arguments in essays, provided they were considerd and predicated on sound justification. We had quite a young left-wing lecturer who was pretty Eurosceptic and disputed the thesis that the UK was an “Awkward Partner” in the EU.

    It is seriously anti-intellectual to accept an point of view without considering the contrary position and aiming to disprove oneself. I wonder why this “groupthink” has happened? Perhaps social media is to blame. Hard to concoct an rational political debate in 50 characters or fewer…

  20. I suspect the metropolitan middle classes are, by and large, aware that their opinions are often at odds with the rest of the country. This is one reason, amongst many, that they live where they do – to be around like-minded individuals. And perhaps more pertinently, I suspect they simply do not care what the rest of the country is thinking.

    I think another thing to consider is that the metropolitan middle classes are generally more politically aware anyway, and thus tend to be more rigid in their viewpoints. They are less likely to change votes, and are less susceptible to things like political canvassing or party broadcasts, because their minds are already made up. They are much more likely to be clued-up on things like policies than the average voter.

    As for my original comment – I stand by that. Places that have significant votes for parties like the BNP or UKIP tend to be unpleasant in a variety of ways, and I have no interest in even visiting them let alone living in them.

  21. “I think H Hemmelig is being a bit harsh. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in BNP-voting areas but by the same token, I wouldn’t be all that keener on living in metropolitan liberal places- I had three years of that at Cambridge and whilst I have good memories, I am much happier in provincial England.”

    I am also happiest in provincial England, as it happens.

    Though I find metropolitan liberals generally nice enough and count a fair few as friends, I’m not really one myself and never have been. Though I undoubtedly prefer their company to that of the stereotypical BNP voter.

  22. “Places that have significant votes for parties like the BNP or UKIP tend to be unpleasant in a variety of ways2

    That’s where I’ll disagree with you….plenty of nice places have in recent years had a fairly high UKIP vote, including large swathes of the deeply Tory home counties and very attractive rural areas.

    This will most likely change at the 2017 GE however….with the absurd decision to focus his entire campaign on burkhas, Paul Nuttall seems to be determined to re-invent UKIP as BNP mark II and will most likely only end up with a significant number of votes in areas where the BNP went down well.

  23. Well Cheesus, I would definitely disagree with you as regards living in Morley. I live in a very middle class housing area which was built at the start of 90’s which apparently – look at Ian Mallett 17/2/15 on the Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford page – is a very large executive type housing.
    The BNP got elected by 12.58% of voters mostly from a small area of town where it had 90 members (in the constituency) in 2008. He easily lost the seat when it came round to re-election in 2010.Since then the BNP councillor moved out and not surprisingly it crumbled. Nowadays there are so many more executive housing estates and this seat is heading towards being a safe Tory seat. Labour lost last time because of the “Balls effect” – the majority being bigger than Andrea Jenkyns’s. However, Luke is completely correct when he says Morley was a roughly 60-40 leave constituency.

  24. In a four way contest as it will have been at the time, a candidate can come through the middle and win, as happened with Chris Beverley.

    Morley is a patriotic town… the Tories haven’t ever figured all that prominently in local elections…

    The only wards which the BNP could ever have won was Morley South, Middleton and Ardsley & Robin Hood.

    Weird that the latter nearly returned BNP and English Democrat councillors, and also UKIP too… yet was strongly for remain in the referendum.

  25. Luke, by the latter do you mean Ardsley and Robin Hood? Myself and my partner live in that ward and voted Remain, and I’ve always assumed since that in so doing we’d been in the minority.

  26. Hi Matthew – yes, Ardsley & Robin Hood.

    Mainly Robin Hood to be honest… leave voters in parts of Robin Hood were less common than Tory voters in parts of Liverpool.

    It was a target ward for UKIP in 2016… I’d reckon that Ardsley would be a bit Ukippy, esp East Ardsley, whereas the rest of the ward would be fairly split.

    Tories have under performed badly in this ward for years, struggling to hold second against UKIP when you have the sitting MP and UKIP polled badly across all of Leeds (without fail) is damning.

  27. That’s really interesting. Can only think that’s because Robin Hood’s more young families and young professionals, on the surface at least. I lived there at the time of the referendum but now live in East Ardsley. That’s definitely slightly more down at heel, particularly the Westerton area between Ardsley Reservoir and the A650. Loads of new housing going up though which will probably make it more like Robin Hood as it becomes prime commuter territory (my partner and I are typical of that demographic, living in a new build estate near Thorpe).

  28. HH- ‘I am also happiest in provincial England, as it happens.
    Though I find metropolitan liberals generally nice enough and count a fair few as friends, I’m not really one myself and never have been. Though I undoubtedly prefer their company to that of the stereotypical BNP voter.’

    Yes I would agree with that. I also have liberal metropolitan friends and enjoy seeing them, though I had to keep fairly quiet during and following the referendum.

  29. ‘That’s where I’ll disagree with you….plenty of nice places have in recent years had a fairly high UKIP vote, including large swathes of the deeply Tory home counties and very attractive rural areas.’

    Which is why I said ‘tend to’, because there are obviously exceptions. For example, areas of Kent and Essex such as Brentwood and Sevenoaks have high UKIP votes but are both perfectly pleasant middle-class towns. Surrey, by contrast, has a low UKIP vote. This is probably because Surrey is established middle-class, while Kent and Essex are home to many working class types who have ‘done good’ and ‘upsized’ from East London. Big difference between the two beyond economic status.

    But in general, stereotypical UKIP towns like Margate and Clacton don’t even bear thinking about it, and places around here (Leeds) that have high UKIP votes are almost always unpleasant, whether they lean Tory or Labour.

  30. Luke Senior – how do you know Ardsley and Robin Hood voted Remain, given Leeds City Council as no ward-by-ward figures, unlike Birmingham or Nottingham? Are there estimates?

    I’d hazard a guess that somewhere like Headingley or Roundhay would have the highest Remain vote, and Middleton Park the highest Leave vote.

  31. “Surrey, by contrast, has a low UKIP vote.”

    That’s a generalisation. Some of the nicer bits of Surrey have quite a high UKIP vote (eg East Surrey / Tandridge) as well as some of the more working class bits like Spelthorne.

    Also plenty of nicer bits of Kent where UKIP do well – you mentioned Sevenoaks, there’s also Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and the Weald bit of the Maidstone seat.

  32. Yes, it is a generalisation. UKIP voters tend to be poorer and less educated, and tend to be most concentrated in poorer, older towns. It is very much the party of the ‘left behind’ segment of our society who have not felt the benefits of globalisation.

    There are always exceptions to any general rule, but it’s no secret that more middle class areas with highly educated populations are usually not fertile ground for UKIP support.

  33. “It is very much the party of the ‘left behind’ segment of our society who have not felt the benefits of globalisation.”

    Some of their voters certainly conform to that yes, but a vast chunk of UKIP’s voter base is simply retired people who don’t like immigrants and don’t like Europe. Plenty are quite prosperous and not really left behind.

    Correlating UKIP support to level of education tells you nothing more than the obvious fact that fewer retired people have university degrees than younger people.

  34. HH- agreed. Goodwin and Ford infuriated me when they kept banging on about ‘left behind voters’. It’s not only patronising, it is wrong as Eric Kaufmann has shown:

  35. Neil Dawson is the candidate for Labour.

  36. Cheesus…

    Ardsley & Robin Hood voted remain because… more people voted remain than leave, I was there. I saw the boxes and tallied some of the votes coming out, remain was clearly ahead.

    Morley was more for leave than Middleton, though not by much.

    Strongest remain areas… Headingley obviously, Farnley & Wortley was surprisingly strong for remain.

    Two separate people from different parties have confirmed that the seat was strongly for Leave, who both live there. I can’t give any estimates because the tally sheets are in landfill somewhere.

  37. “the stereotypical BNP voter”

    I would rather live among any voter, than Labour, Tory or UKIP activists.

  38. Looks like this will be a straight Con vs Lab scrap.

    All the other parties sitting this out.

  39. Just the three candidates:

    Neil Dawson (Labour)
    Craig Dobson (Liberal Democrat)
    Andrea Jenkyns (Conservatives)

    There are Education hustings on 23rd May in Morley Town Hall which Neil Dawson will be at and I believe Andrea Jenkyns will. It is largely sponsored by the unions so am surprised she will be there, however it is a case of “between a rock and a hard place” – if she does not go it will be purely giving Neil a time to speak to the electorate about education. Personally, I think it is good that she has the guts to go – it should be a good evening for candidates to put their case.

  40. Andrea Jenkyns was not at the rescheduled election debate last night but there was a green candidate …………… who are not standing in this seat. Earlier there was a debate between Andrea and Neil on Made in Leeds. I was not at either debate so I cannot say. What do you think the majority will be Luke. I tend to believe the more pessimistic polls for Labour and I tend to think this might lean the Conservative way which annoys me because like Ed she was a stranger to the area 2 years ago, she has moved into Gildersome (and has been shopping in the Co-op!) and if she loses she will surely leave the area whereas Neil after 33 years would obviously stop. Also, I see/hear many things which relate to her being a poor MP – I believe all her original helpers left within 18 months (correct me if I am wrong) which cannot have helped during her pregnancy. Labour do far more doorstepping throughout the election campaign and all year. The one thing I believe in that the Tories have done right is putting their office on the main street which makes it easier to reach voters and that is one area where I think Labour needs to improve. Personally I think it would be unfair if Neil with his dedication to Morley (and Outwood) were to lose this seat.

  41. I think we are looking at re-count territory again.

    With the swing away from May and Jenkyns having been off on mat leave and not being able to be as active as she’d like…

    Dawson is local – which is key in Morley…

    I’m certainly less sure than when the election was called.

  42. That’s interesting Luke. At the start I thought we had a good chance and I still say we are not out of it but I tend to think it will be a narrow Tory majority though as you say local is key in Morley. We tend to be getting more UKIP than nationally and for some reason the few that used be BNP are now supporting Labour. Personally, I tend to believe the worst polls for us and I would guess a 1,500 Tory majority……but it is still close.

  43. Chris James

    A lot of the West Yorkshire “I vote UKIP and used to be Labour” types don’t mention that they had a stop-off with the BNP on the way.

    An acquaintance (now dead) was a Labour to BNP switcher about 10 years ago or so.

  44. This seat may be an interesting one to watch on election night. Still predicting a Tory hold though.

  45. A single example does not constitute a rule of thumb.

  46. Plopwellian Tory

    She is seen as a fairly poor MP by a lot of people – she took a MP away from his wife according to The Sun, she then had a baby which meant she could not be around and some idiots have defaced her posters. Having said that she is a nice person. As regards UKIP, I think this will cause Labour many problems throughout the country, but I think we will beat the national average.


    The BNP disappeared from Morley about 2011. Our records before then show them moving to Labour six years later, we don’t know if they went to UKIP in the meanwhile. In any case it is just a small number.

  47. While I’ve been out and about I’ve not come across many who voted UKIP last time, those that did are breaking slightly more to the Tories but not overwhelmingly.

    Lots of UKIP voters used to be Labour and still want to be deep down… the press have created an underdog out of JC and therefore the ‘you aren’t for us anymore’ effect is cancelled out by those saying ‘if that’s what the establishment least want me to do, I’ll go and do it’ types.

    I think she’ll hang on, the national trend of Lab > Con will be bucked here by Labour selecting a local Cllr with a decent reputation.

    Unless you know Morley well you can’t possibly understand how ‘we’ll always support one of our own’ the folk are. Hence Neil’s little ‘I’m more local than you’ dig, which was quite clever.

    Looking forward to the count actually, I’ll be renewing acquaintances with Mr Benn of course.

  48. Luke,

    Yes, I used to live in Morley many years ago and was married to someone who grew up there, and the biggest post-war tragedy for most people was being absorbed into Leeds (just the same in Pudsey). Hence the long term success of the “Morley Independents” at council level..

    But the huge amount of new build in the Morley area must be changing things…

  49. Morley Borough Independents are basically Tories without the whip.

    It must be the one of a tiny number of seats where the sitting MP doesn’t have any councillors?

    Other than those stuffed with Independents and very few party political ones.

    When I’ve been out and about talking to voters, some of the negative stuff toward Andrea is around things she’s actually done, trying to block the housing on Laneside Farm etc, which I think is strange.

    Perhaps an issue with making sure her efforts are publicised, but lots of people see a newspaper from the MP and just bin it.

    The national campaign hasn’t helped matters, I must admit. They’ve made an underdog of Jeremy Corbyn, Brits love underdogs.

    Gut instinct and logic would tell you that May would be returned with a fairly healthy majority, but there’s a nagging thought in my mind that some of the electorate will stick two fingers up and vote Labour in protest… resulting in a hung parliament.

    Obviously then May would have to go.

  50. They don’t need to be ahead, though, just narrow it enough to pick up a handful of ultramarginals.

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