Oldham West & Royton

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8187 (19%)
Labour: 23630 (54.8%)
Lib Dem: 1589 (3.7%)
Green: 839 (1.9%)
UKIP: 8892 (20.6%)
MAJORITY: 14738 (34.2%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of Oldham council area.

Main population centres: Oldham, Chadderton, Royton.

Profile: Oldham is a former centre for the textile industry, a town of red brick mills and dense terraced housing. There is a large Asian and Muslim population here and a history of racial tension which culminated in the Oldham riots in 2001, which later reports blamed upon self-segregation between the communities. As well as the western part of Oldham itself the constituency includes the towns of Chadderton and Royton to the west and north-west. These too are former textile towns, though both have seen substantial modern housing development. Major employers include 3M, Park Cake Bakeries, the Stationary Office and Trinity Mirrors printworks.

Politics: Generally speaking Oldham West is a safe Labour seat. It was held by the veteran left-winger Michael Meacher from 1970 to 2015, though before that it was briefly represented by the Conservatives after a 1968 by-election win. It was easily held by the current MP Jim McMahon in the by-election following Meacher`s death. The seat received brief notoriety at the 2001 general election when, in the immediate aftermath of the Oldham riots it was contested by Nick Griffin of the BNP. Griffin finished third, ahead of the Liberal Democrats and only five hundred votes behind the Conservatives. Fearful of further inflaming local tensions the returning officer banned speeches at the declaration and Griffin infamously appeared at the declartion wearing a gag in protest.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in LAB HOLD. For full details see here.


Current MP
JIM MCMAHON (Labour) Born 1980, Manchester. Former local government officer. Oldham councillor since 2003, Leader of Oldham council 2011-2015. First elected as MP for Oldham West and Royton in 2015 by-election. Awarded the OBE in 2015 for services to Oldham.
Past Results
2010
Con: 10151 (24%)
Lab: 19503 (45%)
LDem: 8193 (19%)
BNP: 3049 (7%)
Oth: 2014 (5%)
MAJ: 9352 (22%)
2005*
Con: 7998 (21%)
Lab: 18452 (49%)
LDem: 7519 (20%)
BNP: 2606 (7%)
Oth: 987 (3%)
MAJ: 10454 (28%)
2001
Con: 7076 (18%)
Lab: 20441 (51%)
LDem: 4975 (12%)
BNP: 6552 (16%)
Oth: 918 (2%)
MAJ: 13365 (33%)
1997
Con: 10693 (23%)
Lab: 26894 (59%)
LDem: 5434 (12%)
Oth: 1560 (3%)
MAJ: 16201 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
KAMRAN GHAFOOR (Conservative) Born Oldham. Educated at St Augustines RC High School and Salford University. Petrol station entrepreneur. Oldham councillor 2003 for Labour. Contested Oldham West and Royton 2010.
MICHAEL MEACHER (Labour) See above.
GARTH HARKNESS (Liberal Democrat)
FRANCIS ARBOUR (UKIP)
SIMEON HART (Green)
Links
Comments - 963 Responses on “Oldham West & Royton”
  1. H. Hemmelig.

    I don’t think ever brought the family nto it. I din’t know about the new MPs marital statuse noor do I particularly care.

    I do believe, however, that we should all cast our votes individually.

  2. I find it an interesting contrast that though we see a relentless and now overwhelming move of society from physical contact – physically going to shops etc- to one which is conducted through the Internet and by mobile phones, some people seem to be advocating a retrograde move to everyone (unless they prove they cant ) voting physically in a place maybe 500-600 yards away from their residence.

    There is very little wrong with postal vote system in the UK and although we had some regrettable scandals- a system where PVs are difficult to obtain is a bad move for democracy.

    FWIW IMO voting thru your laptop or phone should be bright in in time for the GE2020 but I rather suspect that this will not find favour among the right of centre parties.

  3. Internet voting is, in my view, a very dangerous road to go down – it will happen eventually, but I wouldn’t like to do it with the current level of security.

    I do, however, agree with you on postal votes.

  4. Internet voting has a lot of practical issues which haven’t been resolved yet, though I do agree that anything that raises turnout is good for democracy. I would not like to see it become the only method of voting, as this disadvantages groups whose voice already struggles to be heard, such as the homeless, amongst whom turnout is barely 10%.

    However, one thing that really should have been sorted out by now is electronic voting for parliamentary motions. MPs often find themselves drawn away from other, more important business by a party whip, and with the technology available to effectively allow them to be in two places at once it is absurd that they still physically have to walk through the lobbies. Apart from anything else it leads to dirty tricks like what happened right at the end of the last parliament where the Tories, taking advantage of the fact that many Labour and Lib Dem MPs had left parliament early to campaign in their constituencies, tried to dethrone the Speaker, and were only prevented from doing so by rebels from their own side.

  5. @Polltroll

    I disagree fundamentally on parliamentary voting. I think its crucially important that people are on the parliamentary estate when they vote. Else what you’ll get is people spending most of the week in their constituencies, which isn’t what an MP is for.

  6. Oldham Council page with full figures for Bye-election is here :-

    http://committees.oldham.gov.uk/mgElectionAreaResults.aspx?ID=158&RPID=9737715

    Gives electorate as 70,545. Only figure missing is Spoilt ballot papers which was given as 74 by RO announcement on the night.

    WarofDreams (December 4th, 2015 at 3:53 pm up-thread ) gave electorate as 69,033. Not sure where this was sourced.

    Telegraph has electorate as 69,009. Press Association has a TBA for the electorate.

    BR

  7. As usual there’s confusion as to what the correct electorate figure was.

  8. deepthroat

    “A) In Werneth the 18+ BrAsian population is c5300. Votes for LAB in the council election was 3640…this is 68%. So at most I would estimate at most only roughly 62% of the BA vote went to LAB in the most heavily BA populated Oldham ward.
    Compare this to Hants NE where there’s a 96% white pop. CON vote share was 66% – and so roughly 65% of the white pop voted CON.”

    You’re comparing turnout with share of the vote.

    A lot of lab wards in the distant past may have had 80%+ Lab votes but off a 20-40% turnout.

    The possible difference here is 80%+ lab votes off 60-80%+ turnout

    That’s not necessarily fraud – and apart from bits and pieces here and there personally I don’t think it is – but if 80% of the Lab vote is coming from just those wards then the analysis of the election is totally wrong.

    It would mean (if correct) that

    1) Lab are now totally dependent on that bloc vote
    2) Ukip won the vote among the rest.

  9. If there is a substantial turnout difference then it might be spottable by looking at council elections.

    The actual turnout percentages might vary between council, bye and general elections but the ratios in council elections may tell you something.

  10. FS – yes, it may be that photo ID should be requested for anyone who hands in postal votes at polling stations, in the same way staff check ID in all Northern Ireland elections.

    HH – Graham rather than Frederic S raised the new MP’s marital status.

    Deepthroat – actually Labour objected to full remote voting when it was suggested for Liverpool’s Central ward by the Electoral Commission (due to the ward having the lowest turnout in the EU). Presumably as internet and smartphone voting would harm their Party.

    PollTroll – in case you’re not aware, internet voting was trialled in two wards in local elections in Liverpool a decade ago. It was apparently a success, although all candidates complained that there was no point attending the Count, as there was nothing to verify or recount, ie the computer just collated the data. I don’t think it’s been used since.

  11. Mr Nameless – FS is correct (whether it’s right or not depends on your politics).

    In UK General Elections, as well as British citizens, over 1.1m Commonwealth citizens from over 50 countries are entitled to vote, as are 345,000 citizens of the Irish Republic.

    Migrationwatch’s has called for the former to be abolished and Liam Fox, David Davis and Graham Brady have said that the Irish should lose their right to vote here as its an historic anomaly.

    Over 90% of EU citizens here cannot vote in Parliamentary, but can in local elections.

  12. All correct – but FS’ point was about reciprocity of voting. Most Commonwealth nations extend the same voting rights to UK citizens as we do to theirs – India, Canada and South Africa being notable exceptions. British citizens can also vote in Irish elections.

    British citizens, as EU citizens, also have the same voting rights across the EU as other EU citizens have here.

  13. I personally, while a critic of the last Labour Government, feel that reforms to PV make me feel nostalgic about legislation that enfranchises people. There may be many flaws to the system but I feel increasingly angry at reforms made in the UK, US and Canada like IER and photo ID which are disenfranchising people. Electoral Fraud is awful, don’t get me wrong but the cases of fraud in comparison to the number of people dropped from the register as a result to changes of legislation does not justify these changes. I’ve already made my thoughts clear on IER but Photo ID I’m particularly against, because my mum doesn’t have driving licence with a photo on it since she passed her test in 1969. My partner’s mum hasn’t been abroad in over seven or eight years and so doesn’t have passport. Requiring photo ID just disenfranchises sections of society and is just as bad as vote fixing because your preventing ‘blocks’ of people who don’t vote for you.

  14. “Most Commonwealth nations extend the same voting rights to UK citizens as we do to theirs…”.

    I looked into this a few years ago when posting on the old UKPR site and that simply isn’t true. Hardly any other Commonwealth countries are as generous as the UK in allowing citizens of other Commonwealth nations the right to vote. The only remotely comparable one I could find was Barbados, but even there UK citizens had to be resident for a minimum period of time.

    Ireland also treats UK citizens less generously than Irish citizens are treated in the UK. There Brits can vote in elections to the Dáil, local and European elections (in the latter two situations they are treated the same as other EU citizens), but not in presidential elections or referenda.

    “Electoral Fraud is awful, don’t get me wrong but the cases of fraud in comparison to the number of people dropped from the register as a result to changes of legislation does not justify these changes”.

    The assumption behind a lot of these criticisms of individual registration is that any name present on the register compiled under the old system that is not present on the one compiled under the new rules is an individual who has been deprived of the vote. This simply isn’t the case. Many of those names will be people previously registered at more than one address, people who have moved or died, or the names of people who never existed. The Electoral Commission report into the introduction of individual registration in Northern Ireland makes clear that in some wards the number of names on the old register substantially exceeded the adult population shown in the census.

    I am not I favour of compelling voters to show photo ID at polling stations, but I do think you should have to show your polling card. Currently their is nothing to stop someone who knows my name and address turning up, saying they are me and voting on my behalf.

  15. KW – I think it is reasonable to ask for the polling card- in the absence of which proper address ID; Ctax bill, energy bill etc.

    But this is all talk about absolutely miniscule instances of dodgy shenanigans. We should provide several means of voting:

    In person; postal; proxy; online.

    But really I do not see why we need polling stations for voting in person – in 20 years time all voting will be ‘remote’.

  16. “reland also treats UK citizens less generously than Irish citizens are treated in the UK. There Brits can vote in elections to the Dáil, local and European elections (in the latter two situations they are treated the same as other EU citizens), but not in presidential elections or referenda.”

    As we are not a republic, and thus do not have a president, TBF you are not really comparing like with like. As you note, the Irish DO allow us to vote for the Dáil, and they can thus vote for our MPs. Seems a reasonably fair relationship to me.

    Regarding referenda…waaaay too many now in the UK for my liking anyway. I would prefer politicians to make tough decisions (EU reeferndum aside) and stand by them rather than hiving them off to a plebicite.

  17. RR. It is arguable.

    We ought to have an elected Head of State anyway.

  18. When Ireland left the Commonwealth, there were a lot of Irish people who had lived in the United Kingdom for many years but who would be disenfranchised if the normal qualification rules were applied. Identifying them would have been an administrative nightmare.

    More important, politically, the Attlee government stood to lose a lot of votes. The simple course was adopted of letting Irish citizens vote in the UK.

  19. Two days after his maiden speech Jim McMahon has been made PPS to Tom Watson. Labour seem to be struggling to fill these roles (in part because many 2015 intake MPs are already shadow ministers).

  20. Unlike the Other Oldham seat I think this one will be safeish for Labour. Majority will be drop under 10 thousand through.

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