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. and, incidentally, there is nothing in H.Hemmelig’s post which suggests that he disdains democracy. When there are people in the world who are in prison, or worse, for the political principles they hold, it doesn’t become you to complain about intolerance; you are entitled to express the opinions you have, and the rest of us are equally entitled to say it’s bollocks, horseshit, nonsense or whatever choice phrase we prefer to use if we genuinely feel that you have been talking rubbish.

  2. Rum & Coke

    If I want to readiCCHQ press releases about how the Tories are bound to win the election because Ed Balls is a big fat useless lump, I’ll go and have a look through my email spam filter.

    This however is a place for intelligent and non-partisan discussion of elections and I’d rather not have to read through all that crap here, and neither would most other posters of all persuasions, which is why indeed that is in the comments policy.

  3. Ed Balls is in trouble again in the papers, Mandelson said in today’s papers that Balls in no good at his job. Balls seems to be in a very bad place.

  4. I see that you have ignored the post directly above your latest attempt at muckraking.

  5. I like to comment on how I see things. In the run up to 2010 Osborne was seen as a liability and could still be argued to be one politically despite the recovery. The difference is of course Tatton is a safe seat bar what happened in 1997. Morley and Outwood is of course a marginal. Labour treat automatic re-election of Balls at their peril. I would laugh my head off if Tories and Lib Dems stitched something up.

  6. But they won’t and would be daft to do so. Like it or not, Balls will be re-elected in 2015 just as Osbourne will be. I dislike the latter a great deal but I don’t go on about him like you do with the former. Might want to consider giving it a rest for a bit. Season of goodwill after all.

  7. In today’s Labour Party, anyone who is dissed by Peter Mandelson is likely to be the opposite of being in trouble. Mandelson is despised by most in the Labour Party.

  8. Even so, he is right on this point.

  9. Yes but you’re as partisan as it’s possible to be without falling foul of the comments policy. Not everyone thinks the way you do.

  10. Ed Balls emptying his sack rather than getting the sack:

  11. Please can the profiles of MPs and candidates on this site indicate which people are sponsored by the Co-op Party as well as Labour? I believe this includes Ed Balls.

    Recent events in the Co-operative Movement should raise serious questions about the judgment of MPs who support the Co-operative Movement, particularly if they claim to be economic specialists. In a marginal seat like this one it could well affect the result.

    For what it is worth, my view of consumer co-operatives is that in theory they are a good thing, but because each individual member has so little say the organisation can easily be overtaken by unscrupulous wheeler-dealing, At least in capitalist firms unequal shareholdings means there is a clique of major stakeholders, although this has its own problems. The situation is different for worker co-operatives, which were by the way supported as an idea by the Tories at the end of the First World War when they were seriously concerned about Communist Revolution. As John Lewis/Waitrose shows, even in large Worker Co-operatives employees have a significant amount to lose if management get it wrong.

  12. UKIP won a council seat in this constituency which should worry the Conservatives as this is a target seat for them.

    UKIP won two seats on Wakefield Council and came second in every ward it contested except two, they polled over 1000 votes more than the conservatives across the Wakefield District despite only putting up 14 candidates to the Conservative 21.

  13. The question is who UKIP are taking votes from. In the South I would assume it is the Tories but in a once safe Labour area like this I would not be so sure.

    Labour has used Yorkshire as an area to find safe seats for ex-Cabinet members comparatively accessible from London. However, it seems that they are increasingly having to look over their shoulders, firstly at particularly good results for the Tories in 2010 and now at UKIP.

    Labour needs to do more to find local candidates with cabinet potential, rather then ones parachuted in from the Westminster village, and then to let those candidates develop policies that will serve local people, if they are to get back into Government.

    This seat looks like an accident waiting to happen.

  14. Following the Heywood and Middleton by-election, psephologists are looking to identify, on the basis of often lacking evidence, as to which seats UKIP might challenge Labour in or even win. Yorkshire seats such as Rotherham are being suggested as possibilities.

    Rotherham and other seats in South Yorkshire, such as the two Doncaster seats, are places where local elections suggests that UKIP is making a strong challenge in seats which were previously rock-solid Labour. What, however, is the position in seats like this (Hemsworth is another that comes to mind) where there was a heavy swing to the Conservatives which appeared to be largely a protest vote in unlikely Tory territory.

    If the UKIP vote increases substantially here, will it consist of recent Tory voters switching the beneficiary of their protest vote, or will it be in part yet more Labour voters getting fed up with years of neglect. probably both, but then in what proportions.

    Another issue here is how far UKIP will pick up votes following the disarray of the BNP.

    Not being local, it is hard to know what is going on here, but this seat needs looking at. It is far from a certain outcome.

  15. I live in Morley and help out with Labour. We certainly don’t think this is a safe seat. Andrea Jenkyns (who does not seem to be a very good candidate) has had 3 coloured newspapers delivered through the post showing her with David Cameron, George Osbourne and Eric Pickles (and others) in the constituency. It certainly shows they are willing to spend a lot of money here. Ed is in my opinion regarded quite highly and I think UKIP votes will tend to go 50-50. I do expect us to pick up more than 50% of the Lib Dem votes and the general government unpopularity will help us. Conservatives have very few members here compared to Labour and we hope the efforts of our members will cancel out the money from the Tories. Nevertheless, a seat to watch.

  16. Does anyone else think this is an example of poor caretaking of a seat by a high ranking front bencher?

    The 2014 council election results below, don’t make happy reading for Ed Balls, and judging by his treatment of local party members when I was in his HQ to deliver Hope Not Hate leaflets in Morley during the 2010 election campaign, I’d doubt he is an overwhelmingly popular constituency MP. I also don’t see him making much noise about local issues in the local press, whereas Yvette Cooper appears to be well organised on that front.

    Leeds (3 wards, of which 1/3rd of the third ward used to be in Morley South ward, before boundary changes in 2004) – 6 MBI councillors, 3 Lab councillors

    Lab 4,439 (26.8%)
    UKIP 4,022 (24.3%)
    Morley Borough 5,208 (31.4%)
    Con 2,093 (12.6%)
    Green 472 (2.8%)
    Lib Dem 284 (1.7%)
    TUSC (1 ward) 51 (0.3%)

    Wakefield (2 wards) – 5 Lab councillors, 1 UKIP councillor

    Lab 3,329 (44.4%)
    UKIP (1 ward) 1,542 (20.5%)
    Con 2,141 (28.5%)
    Lib Dem 494 (6.6%)
    TUSC (1 ward) 323 (4.3%)


    Lab 7,768 (32.3%)
    UKIP (4 wards) 5,564 (23.1%)
    Morley Borough 5,208 (21.6%)
    Independents (3 wards)
    Con 4,234 (17.6%)
    Green (3 wards) 472 (2.0%)
    Lib Dem 778 (3.2%)
    TUSC (2 wards) 374 (1.6%)

    The UKIP share isn’t surprising given BNP + UKIP was 10.3% in 2010. I don’t see the tory challenge being up to much here next year

  17. Any thoughts on where the Morley Borough Independents vote ends up at parliamentary elections?

    Do they have specific issues other than wanting to make a unilateral declaration of independence from the City of Leeds?

  18. Morley always elects MBIs at every local election. Having been here for 23 years I cannot remember them not being in Leeds City Council. As people here would say, Morley is a different town to Leeds. I find their election leaflets quite laughable when they say that their councillors got all these wonderful things for Morley even though it is a Labour controlled Leeds Council. Last election we were amazed to get a Labour councillor in our ward beating one of the MBIs. If you read Ed’s column in the Morley Observer and other local papers I think he does look at local issues and he is always ready to help/meet constituents with problems. Ashcroft did a survey in Morley around European elections time which was Lab 39%, Con 29% and UKIP 22% (LD6%), which is a fair starting point with a year to go and I think it also registers with your constituency poll. I disagree when you say ” I don’t see the Tory challenge being up to much here next year” because most of MBI’s voters tend to vote Tory at the General Election. There was a rumour (I honestly don’t know if it was true) that MBI asked UKIP not to run candidates where they had a councillor for fear it might let Labour in by default. Finally, according to the bookies Labour is a 1/10 shot to win the Morley & Outwood seat at the next General Election (put £10 on to win £1 back), so if you fancy the Tories or UKIP (put £10 on to get £200 back for UKIP) to win it may be a good idea to back them.

  19. Labour were 17 ahead in the last Ashcroft poll.

  20. When was that Ashcroft poll? I was not aware of that and it would be quite amazing if the Labour party did have such an advantage.

  21. Thanks, found it. The BBC on a map recently put Table 4 rather than Table 7 (I made a mistake with the 2 point difference for the Tories). I really cannot believe that Labour has a 17% advantage though Andrea Jenkyns has said one or two funny things recently as regards the constituency.

  22. @Chris James You must have a short memory. A quick google check shows that the Morley Borough Independents never stood before 2002, when they won Morley North at the first time of standing. Robert Finnegan , who had been a longstanding Labour councillor in Middleton I think, having left the party after having been suspended from the Labour group following allegations to do with misuse of council IT equipment. He actually lived in Morley, and decided to stand in Morley North which had traditionally been a Labour-Tory marginal until poll tax times when Labour won it every election until 2002. He also stood as an Independent in the 2005 GE and got 4,608 votes 10.8%.

    Since then, MBI won Morley North again in 2003, and then all 6 Morley seats in the all out postal vote elections of 2004, the same day as the euro elections. In 2006 the MBI lost Morley South to the BNP, where Chris Beverly, the BNP GE candidate in 2005 and 2010, and who now stands for the English Democrats, was elected. MBI defeated Chris Beverley in 2010 on the day of the GE, but lost a seat to Labour in 2011, which they hope to win back in 2015, and currently hold 5 of the 6 Morley seats on Leeds council.

    My view is that MBI have reduced the Labour vote by about 1,000 in each Morley ward and the Tory vote by 7-800 in both wards and taken a significant chunk of the Lib Dem votes in both wards. When first elected I think they got some of the a plague on all your houses vote as well, but that a significant chunk of that then switched to the BNP and has now transferred to UKIP, who have also seriously dented the tory vote at local elections, but not taken much from Labour in the two Morley wards, but have eroded the Labour vote along with the Tory and Lib Dem vote in Ardsley & Robin Hood, and the two Wakefield wards.

    I’ve only postsed this info, because I feel it gives an image rather similar to that of David Miliband when he stood down. Both high flying Labour MPs who don’t pay enough attention to their local constituents. Perhaps not surprising then that I didn’t vote for either of them at any stage in the 2010 leadership election.

    I expect Balls to be re-elected, but not as easily as it ought to be.

    Strangely I don’t think the MBI actually want to leave Leeds City Council, because they recognise Morley isn’t large enough to be a borough on it’s own. They were very happy when supporting Leeds Rainbow Administration of Tories & Lib Dems, along with the Greens, when engaging in pork barrel politics for that support enabled them to obtain significant investment in Morley. It isn’t something they can now get from the Labour Council, with the demise of all but one of the the Lib Dems Labour facing councillors since 2010.

  23. Excellent post.

    Not enough of them on here these days.

  24. You are right, I must have a short memory (well 12 years 5 months).Living here it just seems they have been around ad infinitum rather than just since 2002.

    Do you know whether Chris Beverley is standing in the General Election? I know the English Democrats don’t have much support but it could weaken UKIP’s vote by around 500-1,000. I tend to think that UKIP will do well to finish ahead of the Tories but in 5 months time things can change.

    It is very interesting about where MBIs vote at a local election, I would be slightly more even with the figures, but for the Parliamentary elections what do you think happened to the 4,608 votes from 2005?

    My inclination would be to say that these tended to go largely towards the 9,000 increase in the Tory vote. LDs, UKIP and BNP all increased by 1,300-1,500 but Labour’s vote fell by only 2,000 which is reasonable for an unpopular government at the time. However, this ignores the issue of boundary changes. I think Rothwell is regarded as slightly more wealthy than Outwood (I may be wrong without income figures) and this leads me to say that a lot of the 4,600 went towards the Conservatives although the amount of money poured into the constituency might well have made this difference.

    I personally expect Ed to get re-elected, but I’m not sure when you say” as easily as it ought to be”. This is a seat which is probably turning more Conservative with the new housing being built and with more funding from the Tories for Morley & Outwood it could possibly turn, however not with an unpopular government and where UKIP and the Conservatives tend to be chasing the same voters. Following last time I could perhaps see the majority go down to three figures or if there is more Tory votes going to UKIP it may go above 5,000!

    By the way in the last 6 weeks we have had no new newspapers from the Tories. Is the next about to come or have they eased the effort here from their 40/40 seats?

  25. Surprise, surprise we got the next Conservative fully coloured newspaper today and a rather long survey to say what we think is best for Morley. Around 6 weeks till the next newspaper? Will all this money work?

  26. the BNP saved Ball’s Balls in 2010.

  27. @ Robbie – Unlikely. The BNP probably took a lot more votes from Labour than from the Conservatives, here and elsewhere.

  28. In West Yorkshire the BNP took a lot of Tory votes. Look at Bradford for example.

  29. In 2005 the BNP’s big vote (Nick Griffin was the candidate) was also the probable cause of the virtually zero swing to the Tories in Keighley, too.

  30. In Morley South where the BNP got a seat MBI took it off them. The following year a Labour councillor was elected ahead of another MBI. Looking at the local constituency I tend to think it is 50/50 as regards votes from BNP (and possibly UKIP) coming from the Tories/Labour.

  31. Fourteen days after the last coloured newspaper we got a coloured leaflet for Ms Jenkins today delivered by the Royal Mail. Apparently, her English and knowledge of the area is weak. Apparently she does not know how to spell the name of a town in the area. (typo?)

  32. In Hallam, Clegg’s been sending round a Christmas card inside of which is a “hand-written” note. The signatures are different between the card and the note.

    It’s amazing how parties will spend huge sums without bothering to check basic details.

  33. Based on Ed Balls’ character and the closeness of the last GE result here, there is bound to be a lot of media hype surrounding the outcome of Morley and Outwood. It’s going to be the same in potential constituencies whereby UKIP thinks that they have a chance.

    Does anybody have any local knowledge – ? I suspect that Ed Balls will win by a bigger margin than last time, not least because many would be Labour stay at home supporters will turn out.

  34. The fact that Anthony Calvert has decided to move to Wakefield,, instead of standing again in this seat possibly indicates that local Conservatives believe they may have peaked in 2010.

  35. Presumably the marginal status of Morley & Outwood will mean that Ed Balls will have to spend more time during the campaign in his constituency than he’d ideally like to, meaning he’ll be available less for the national campaign?

  36. I live in Morley & Outwood, Ed is working hard, for sure.

    I’d like to see him get turned over but realistically it’s not happening.

    Andrea Jenkins is popular amongst the locals but being a nice person (I can’t comment having not met her) doesn’t necessarily translate into having votes.

    They were very comfortably out-polled by UKIP in the locals, even though a couple of the candidates were all but paper ones.

    There’s a strong anti-Ed vote, but it’ll be split and he’ll be in comfortably. Interestingly Jenkins asked UKIP close to a year ago if they’d consider standing down….

  37. I may be biased, but I think Ed has been working well for the last 5 years. I think some people wanted the last MP at the start but over 5 years I know the local party are fully behind him. Whatever you think of his policies/economics he is a friendly, calm and confident politician which I think surprised a lot of people.

    I did not know about Andrea Jenkyns asking UKIP to stand down, but I think that shows she is a very naive politician – it was not going to happen anywhere. I do not think she has stood for Parliament before and this will at least be a good learning curve for her.

    Even though William Hill make Ed the 1/12 favourite I am not convinced it is going to be so easy. I expect Ed to win but there is just a chance of a bad election campaign and UKIP dropping away could make it hard for him.

  38. Ed balls calm and friendly??????

    Lol. That made me chuckle.

  39. I’ve only met Balls on two occasions, one of which was at the local election count back in May, and the other was at the memorial service in November.

    To be honest I found him quite boorish. He clearly had lots of time for his Labour crew, but he (and every single one of the others) didn’t speak with anyone else – not the MBIs, not me…. and the Tories didn’t turn up.

    I think Andrea asking UKIP to consider standing down was back when everyone thought that UKIP only took votes from the Conservatives, when if you look at the election results, the strongest showings were all in the Labour held seats.

    I like a flutter at times, never backing anything as short as 1/12 but I’d make him shorter, 1/33.

    UKIP will squeeze Labour in the Wakefield part of the seat, and perhaps come close to overtaking the Tories overall.

    I’d love to see a copy of her election expenses because they’ll surely be through the roof – they’re throwing the kitchen sink at it…. wouldn’t surprise me to see her end up with a bronze medal for her efforts.

  40. I find Ed quite boorish, though I’ve only met him on two occasions admittedly.

    I’d have him at 1/33 to hold – the Tories are spending fortunes but realistically they are going to suffer at the hands of UKIP, as will Ed, but to a lesser extent.

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see the Tories back in 3rd.

  41. Has David Cameron’s “Bill somebody is a policy, not a name” jibe at Question Time stuck? I personally still remember it a week later.

  42. Frederic – I’m a Labour supporter and I like Balls but even I found it funny!!

    I don’t think it’ll stick though. People tend to forget these things after a few weeks or months.

  43. Bill somebody is just a question time jibe and may be funny at first. When a serious issue comes along like HSBC V HMRC it is quickly forgotten by the non-politicians. It might re-surface but it would tend to show the Tories going back to an old catchphrase and thus likely to be ignored.
    Have you seen Labour’s new advert with a tub of tax avoidance vanilla ice cream? That made me laugh!

  44. Balls is clearly safe here but it says something about his general unpopularity in that he secured what must be Labour’s worst ever post-war performance in the two towns he represents

    Looking back, I can’t figure out when people stopped taking Balls serious on the economy as prior to becoming an MP he was one of the wise men of the treasury and often cited as one of the most respected economists in the country.

    It all seems a long long time ago now

  45. ‘often cited as one of the most respected economists in the country’

    well only by people who knew nothing much about the economics profession/believed his own stories about himself

  46. Balls and Brown ended boom and bust economics Runnymede. Don’t you remember?

  47. From what I understand, Balls is quite popular with the local Labour party, plenty of them have been out and about grafting.

    This is one seat where the Tories and UKIP will really get in each other’s way, and he’ll cruise to victory.

    He’s certainly more popular amongst his local activists and the electorate than Rachel Reeves is. I’ve never met anyone with a good word to say about her.

  48. Chris,

    I know David reasonably well, couldn’t claim to know his campaign plans though.

    He has got some good council candidates, if they all pool their resources I’d imagine they would have a fairly strong team.

    If they all go in their own directions it might be difficult to hit everywhere.

    I had a leaflet from him just before Christmas, introducing him and the PPC for Elmet & Rothwell, but my letter box has been filled with stuff from the Tories, only one letter from Ed regarding immigration.

    My answer of ‘leave the European Union and implement sensible controls that neither favour nor discriminate against EU citizens, and let us be able to refuse entry to undesirables’ wasn’t included unfortunately.

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