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 - 705 Responses on “Morley & Outwood”
  1. But its worth comenting that Balls result in 2010 was pretty horrendous – given he was defending a notional majority of over 12,000

    On that basis it’s hard to imagine how it could get worst for Labour, and Balls will benefit from first-term incumbancy

  2. Will he? I rather doubt it.

  3. As discussed elsewhere, the BNP and Lib Dem votes could collapse mainly in Labour’s favour, but if UKIP picks up some of it, and the Tories can move up a bit, then the pressure could be kept up on Balls.

  4. Ed Balls is said to be one of the key drivers in the change of position to HS2 by the Labour party. It makes me wonder whether part of his opposition is derived from his seat which surely maybe affected by the HS2 proposed route. It would be an interesting factor if his opposition were really derived from electoral calculation.

  5. Ed Balls was defending a majority that was closer to 9,000 on a notional basis than 12,000 I think, and the swing against him of 9% while high wasn’t that remarkable for that part of Yorkshire: Elmet & Rothwell, Normanton etc. and Leeds West (all neighbouring seats) had higher swings.

    Given his high profile, however, for him to come quite close to being unseated was unusual. If he does have a negative personal vote I wonder why this should be, given what a charming, civilised and attractive figure he is?

  6. He’s been negatively in the news lately in relation to the Baby P/Haringey/Shoesmith fiasco. This far from the election I doubt it will be much more than a memory by the time people are voting but maybe it’s another stick to beat him with, at least for now.

  7. Ed Balls seems to be a certainty for Shadow C of E for the GE. How can Ed Miliband axe Balls now with 18 months to go for the GE and have any credibility. So Balls and Ed Miliband will have a Herculean task in deflecting their record in government and opposition. Labour have a terrible platform to fight the next election on, they gambled on no recovery and no job growth and they were wrong given recent data.

    So when the focus is put back to Morley and Outwood a case could be made to show Balls is in trouble. His ousting would be bigger than Portillo being defeated in 1997 IMO as Portillo was not intrinsically linked to the Tories economic message as Balls is with Labour’s now.

  8. No, a case couldn’t be made. Because the Tories couldn’t take this seat when they were 7 points ahead, and current polling shows them about the same amount behind now.

  9. Balls will hold on easily here. I expect a massive Tory backlash here. Their 2010 vote was artificially high after all due to the campaign to unseat Balls.

    LAB: 44%
    UKIP: 26%
    CON: 21%
    LD: 4%
    BNP: 3%
    OTH: 2%

    Though I am anxious to see the council results next year. UKIP could win seats as part of their Euro surge.

  10. Balls will be ok in 2015 here- but 2020 could be very interesting indeed if the Tories can keep the swing down.

  11. Not quite sure that most voters will really think that Balls acted wrongly re Sharon Shoesmith. Very few voters will have any sympathy for her. Some of you are I think clutching at straws (if you’ll forgive the reference to another former cabinet minister) in your keenness to see Ed Balls embarrassed.

  12. Agree with Barnaby above.

    Also, to come back on HS2 potentially affecting Balls’ constituency. There is a huge amount of derelict railway land between Wakefield, Normanton and Leeds, along the route of the former North Midland main line. I haven’t checked but I would have thought that HS2 will take that route into Leeds, consequently it is likely to be quite uncontroversial and undisruptive.

  13. As this government has done nothing about public sector fatcats and the executive oligarchy they’re in no position to gain political capital at the expense of Balls.

    The only electoral effect will be drive a few more voters from establishment parties to protest parties.

  14. I think this seat had the biggest Con rise in Yorkshire in 2010 (debatable) but Balls should have no problems getting a 5000 majority here in 2015.

  15. Not just the largest in Yorkshire, A Brown, but the largest Con rise in the whole country versus a Labour MP.


    At least Balls is being honest here.

    I’ve (unsurprisingly) never been a ‘pub person’.

  17. In the past (within living memory, anyway) nobody has really noticed if an MP has had Co-op sponsorship. Will this change as a result of recent events so that at the next Westminster MPs the swing to/from Labour is different for Labour and Co-operative MPs compared to ones who are just Labour?

  18. Balls will be ok in 2015 here- but 2020 could be very interesting indeed if the Tories can keep the swing down.

    I agree!

    Balls could be in a strange position where Labour win nationally or are the party with the most seats in 2020 (after losing in 2015) yet he could lose his seat!!

  19. @Frederic Stansfield

    Many people in this part of the world actually understand the Co-Operative movement far better than Lynton Crosby does, so I imagine that what you ask about won’t have an effect on the result.

  20. Ed Balls seems to be saying the wrong thing again. His “I don’t give a toss” comments are far below the benchmark MPs should operate.

    The speculation on Balls being replaced I believe is miss place, Ed Miliband could have replaced him in the last reshuffle but to do so again before the 2015 Election would be too late for Labour rather like chopping Osborne in the run upto 2010 would be a sign of weakness not strength,

  21. Prediction for 2015-
    Balls (Labour)- 47%
    Conservative- 33%
    Liberal Democrats- 9%
    UKIP- 7%
    BNP- 4%

  22. Ed Balls uses a cuss words live on television!!

    This is the political equivalent of the Sex Pistols on the Grundy show.

    I was so incensed that I kicked my television in.

    The right thinking people of Britain should demand that he is hung from Big Ben tomorrow for this outrage.

  23. I can’t quite understand this frothing Ed Balls hatred that large sections of Tory politicians and activists seem to have. It gets boring very quickly….this certainly isn’t the place for it.

  24. I think that Shankly is being sarcastic – I suspect from the that he is a Labour supporter. Certainly Bill Shankly was.
    If however I am wrong, I would suggest he sees his doctor sharpish.

  25. Yes I realised that. My comments are more directed at Rum & Coke and Joe James B on here, as well as the vast amount of Balls obsession that goes on on other blogs.

  26. You are correct Mr Marder, incidentally, I am having dinner with the Shadow Chancellor next month, well, when I say dinner he is the guest speaker at our Burns Supper. Tickets still available but selling fast, would make a great Christmas present. £25.

  27. I haven’t met Mr Balls but have, albeit briefly, met both of the last 2 Labour chancellors. I met Gordon Brown at a reception at 11 Downing Street in 1998. Furthermore, I have never been to Mr Balls’s constituency & haven’t visited Mr Brown’s since the early 1970s (except going through it on a train). Mr Darling’s however I have gone to very frequently & have had some great meals, and excellent artistic experiences, there.

  28. Perhaps Anthony could look into why my comments are going into moderation no matter how uncontroversial they are.

  29. that one didn’t

  30. Barnaby – no idea why the one on this page did, but there was a batch that did yesterday because you misspelt your name and the system mistook you for a new person!

  31. OK thanks Anthony. By all means delete this & the previous post asking why there was moderation.

  32. Anthony- my comment on Halesowen has also gone into moderation despite its bi-partisan tone (I was agreeing with Barnaby’s prediction!).

  33. don’t know what Balls’s personal view of HS2 is but several heads of Labour – run councils appear to be against it. Seems that a project that few of their voters will use or care about and that will take money from social workers isn’t what the troops on the ground want to fight for.

  34. I’ve seen your post Tory so it must have been out of moderation very quickly.
    Re Ed Balls I suspect he is in favour of HS2.

  35. Which Labour councils were those? There have been several co-ordinated interventions of heads of Labour councils in favour of HS2 (Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool spring to mind), I don’t recall any against.

  36. I suspect that this seat has quite a few small ‘c’ voters who have tended to vote Labour in the past. I am thinking white van man type voters who are concerned with immigration, fuel costs and crime levels.

    I think issues like the fuel duty tax being suspended may help the Conservatives in this seat as balls is seen as being linked to the last governments fuel duty rises which if Labour had won the election would have meant prices being 10p higher per litre.

    Some on this site say Balls will get home easily at the next election, I am not so sure their is an outside chance of an upset IMO.

  37. ^Surely those voters are more likely to opt for UKIP than the Conservatives these days.

  38. UKIP is a semi- inflated bubble, they may well go for UKIP in 2014 Euro-elections but it is more uncertain how given a straight choice between Labour and Tory they would go. Besides UKIP have nothing to do with stopping further duty increases whereas the Conservatives can claim they have been effective in mitigating further erosion of disposable income.

  39. LAB HOLD MAJ : 13%
    LAB 42
    CON 29
    LD 12
    UKIP 11
    GRN 3
    OTH 3

  40. Tremendous wishful thinking by Rum&Coke. Ed Balls seems to attract a particular amount of a ) hate and b ) wishful thinking, but there is not the slightest shred of evidence to suggest he is in any danger of losing.

  41. Balls will certainly hold his seat in 2015. I don’t know about the demographics here longterm for the Tories but I would have thought Balls would be secure enough here for 2020 as well.

  42. The Tories have had a candidate in this seat for six months, they selected Andrea Jenkyns as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the 2015 General Election.

    It could be a very interesting battle as Ed Balls may well have a women problem in terms of garnering votes. Also I remember Labour claiming that in 1997 female candidates can draw up to an extra 3% of the vote, if so it surely must be likely that a female tory will get a similar vote uplift and that is Ed Balls gone!

  43. “I think issues like the fuel duty tax being suspended may help the Conservatives in this seat as balls is seen as being linked to the last governments fuel duty rises which if Labour had won the election would have meant prices being 10p higher per litre.”

    Rum & Coke needs to waddle outside of Conservative Central Office and visit the real world once in a while.

    The view which the average white van man holds of this government is unprintable (even by me).

    Balls will be re-elected with a significantly increased majority.

  44. “It could be a very interesting battle as Ed Balls may well have a women problem in terms of garnering votes. Also I remember Labour claiming that in 1997 female candidates can draw up to an extra 3% of the vote, if so it surely must be likely that a female tory will get a similar vote uplift and that is Ed Balls gone!”

    There is so much horseshit in that sentence that I could plough it into my garden and grow brussels sprouts with it.

    If you had any common sense whatsoever you would immediately realise that claims of females getting a 3% higher vote than men are complete and utter crap. We could all bore the pants off each other on here listing the hundreds if not thousands of examples from general elections where that simply has not proved to be the case.

    There’s also no evidence whatsoever that Ed Balls has “a woman problem” (except perhaps for his dubious taste in wives). On the contrary, it’s the Tories who currently have a major woman problem if the current polls are to be believed. Haven’t you heard of the gender gap?

  45. classic, HH. I made a similar point on another thread, but not as graphically or effectively as that!

  46. I wish party HQs would stop employing cheerleaders and sock-puppets on these kinds of blogs. They stand out a mile and are very boring.

  47. I think Balls was extremely brave in going for this seat in 2010 when his old Normanton seat was abolished- he knew he had to fight the seat as a marginal given the effort the Tories were putting into it, but now he’s in a handsomely increased majority near 7,000 seems possible for him in 2015 I would have thought,

  48. “I wish party HQs would stop employing cheerleaders and sock-puppets on these kinds of blogs. They stand out a mile and are very boring.”

    Totally agree. These cretins clog this site up with all kinds of nonsense. The sooner they are removed, the better.

  49. Just because you don’t agree with something does not mean it is rubbish. Pointing out that this is not a safe seat and the Tories are fighting it as a key marginal is not some sort of sin.

    I don’t work for a political party and if i did would not use my leisure time doing this. Given some peoples intolerant attitudes I am surprised they like A) living in a democracy. B) Bother to post stuff themselves. C) use expletives to describe others contribution.

  50. The bit which suggested that female candidates poll 3% more than male ones, without producing any evidence for this startling revelation (probably because there isn’t any) was worthy of an expletive. It certainly drew one from me when I read it.
    Yes yes I know the Tories are fighting this as a key marginal. But that’s the point. There is no evidence whatsoever that they can seriously aim to get anywhere near beating Ed Balls, who is going to enjoy a first-time incumbency effect in a large chunk of the constituency AND very likely a nationwide swing to his party, which furthermore is also very likely to be higher in this part of the world than southern England. Yet they have immediately in the vicinity 2 crucial marginal seats they should be seeking to defend – Elmet & Rothwell, and Dewsbury. The former is likely to be particularly close in most pundits’ estimation. If I were a Tory (and the guy who produced the schatological expletive, remember, is a Tory), I’d be concentrating hard on those seats. Yes OK it is just possible that the Tories could win a majority, and this seat is one that would be most useful to them in obtaining one, but I think, as surely the majority of serious Tory strategists also would, that they would be getting their hopes up excessively, and would be wasting valuable resources, if they overdo it here.

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