2015 Result:
Conservative: 20978 (47.2%)
Labour: 15525 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 1487 (3.3%)
Green: 1043 (2.3%)
UKIP: 5415 (12.2%)
MAJORITY: 5453 (12.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. The whole of the Pendle council area.

Main population centres: Colne, Nelson, Earby, Barnoldswick, Barrowford, Trawden, Foulridge, Brierfield.

Profile: The seat is named after the local authority. There is no town called Pendle, rather it is the name of a prominent hill and the Forest of Pendle - the hilly landscape in the south eastern part of the seat. It is a Pennine seat, straddling the traditional boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire and mostly consisting of former mill towns that grew up along the route of the Leeds-Liverpool canal. The textile industry is long gone, leaving small towns of terraced Victorian housing that are now commuter and tourist towns.

Politics: A marginal between Labour and the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats also used to have significant strength here - they had an overall majority on the council until 2008, but in 2015 lost their deposit.

Current MP
ANDREW STEPHENSON (Conservative) Born 1981, Manchester. Educated at Poynton High School and Royal Holloway College. Macclesfield councillor 2003-2007. First elected as MP for Pendle in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 17512 (39%)
Lab: 13927 (31%)
LDem: 9095 (20%)
BNP: 2894 (6%)
Oth: 1617 (4%)
MAJ: 3585 (8%)
Con: 13070 (32%)
Lab: 15250 (37%)
LDem: 9528 (23%)
BNP: 2547 (6%)
Oth: 737 (2%)
MAJ: 2180 (5%)
Con: 13454 (34%)
Lab: 17729 (45%)
LDem: 5479 (14%)
BNP: 1976 (5%)
Oth: 1094 (3%)
MAJ: 4275 (11%)
Con: 14235 (30%)
Lab: 25059 (53%)
LDem: 5460 (12%)
MAJ: 10824 (23%)

2015 Candidates
ANDREW STEPHENSON (Conservative) See above.
AZHAR ALI (Labour) Born 1968. Consultant. Lancashire county councillor, former leader of Pendle council 2001-2003.

(Liberal Democrat) Engineer. Pendle councillor since 2007.
Comments - 141 Responses on “Pendle”
  1. This one’s going to be close. Just going off basic swing you’d expect a Labour gain, but I’d argue Labour have underperformed here in local elections compared to elsewhere in Lancashire.

    A Labour gain, but only just, would be my prediction at a push.

  2. Andrew Stephenson readopted as Tory candidate for Pendle.

  3. I’m expecting another close and exciting fight in Pendle in 2015. Nothing like a Pennine marginal to get an armchair psephologist’s heart racing.

  4. I read that the towns of Earby, Barrowford & Barnoldswick, which all used to be in Yorkshire but are now part of this seat, provided the only serious Labour vote in the old Skipton constituency. But they all seem Tory these days, and thus this seat looks more Tory-inclined at first sight than Nelson & Colne. Yet the comparative results between Lab & Con don’t seem all that different. Could it be that the Tories are stronger than they once were in the former Yorkshire towns, but Labour have become stronger in some of the areas which always have been in Lancashire, such as Colne? ( I know that Nelson has a reputation as a perennially Labour-inclined town.)

  5. As a Traditional Counties hawk I feel obliged to point out that Barnoldswick etc are just as much a part of the West Riding of the County of York as they ever were! 🙂 Do forgive me, Barnaby- it’s a little hobby horse of mine haha.

    I suspect that Labour has become even stronger in Nelson in the last 30 years or so. Ethnicity could well be a factor. All of the Nelson wards are now 30%+ Asian- indeed Whitefield is 72% Asian. I’m not so sure about Colne- the Lib Dems seemed to have done quite well there at times- pehaps they have been taking votes off the Tories (as can happen in West Riding/East Lancashire areas) thus trimming the Tory advantage over Labour. But as you say, the West Craven parts of the seat look pretty good for the Tories these days.

  6. Labour have selected Azhar Ali as their parliamentary candidate. Ali was elected to a safe Lancashire County Council division within the constituency in May this year.

  7. The demographics will indeed probably have played a part here over the years – as mentioned Nelson has become heavily Asian in population. I suspect the other parts of the seat may have become less Labour-inclined, partly in response.

    PS I thought Barrowford had always been in Lancashire.

  8. Barrowford is indeed in the County of Lancaster- a rare mistake by Barnaby. Earby and Barnoldswick are part of the West Riding.

  9. My humble apologies.

  10. Ind Labour Cllr Abdul Aziz defected to the Conservatives, last month. Labour had withdrawn the Whip before the summer.

  11. The declaration for this seat was shown by the BBC in 1983 and 1987 but not 1992- Ironic considering Labour gained it in the latter election, and yet the BBC didn’t show the result live.

  12. It’s interesting how different Colne is from Nelson despite being so close. Although both are struggling old mill towns, Colne is much less ethnically diverse than Nelson and seems to have coped a bit better with deindustrialisation, though unemployment is considerable. Even back in the 1960s I think Colne was much less Labour-inclined than Nelson was. IIRC, Nelson’s cotton weavers were staunchly socialist.

  13. Hylda Baker may have had that in mind when basing “Nearest & Dearest” in Colne. Her character Nellie Pledge was certainly a Tory, of the old fashioned working class puritanical kind.

  14. H Hemmelig- that’s an interesting point. The Conservatives certainly enjoy respectable levels of support in Colne, as they do in other Lancastrian ex-mill towns- particularly the smaller ones.

  15. Nelson was often referred to as “Red Nelson”, an epithet that was never applied to Colne.

  16. Now for some census miscellany.

    Pendle is home to the 2nd greatest proportion of manufacturing employees of all the English and Welsh constituencies. Which constituency has the highest proportion?

  17. Pendle Tory Cllr Abdul Aziz is wanted in Pakistan for questioning re the murder of his cousin! It was mentioned during PMQs. He defected from Labour earlier in the year. There’s certainly quite a few of Asian Cllr defectors who end up in Court, from Manchester to Tower Hamlets.

  18. Tory – Mid Worcs?

  19. No- though Mid Worcestershire is home to a higher than average proportion of manufacturing workers and nearly makes the top 100.

  20. I seem to remember that Stalybridge & Hyde is quite high on the list

  21. I’d read that Pendle was the highest.

    I’d guess that it would be another constituency consisting of small-medium sized towns. So maybe Hyndburn or Rossendale.

    Which constituencies have the lowest? Westminster and Chelsea probably.

  22. Probably not as there would be quite a few CEO types and head offices of large companies.

    My guess would be Richmond Park.

  23. The constituency with the highest proportion of manufacturing workers is… Scunthorpe.

  24. Hyndburn was a very good guess- it is ranked 25th.

  25. Could you provide a link to the list please?

  26. Well if it is Scunthorpe that’s another reason why the Conservatives should hold their 2014 conference there.

  27. what about south ribble?

  28. Indeed, I was thinking of you as I typed out the answer, Richard!

  29. South Ribble is ranked 193rd, Tim, so it is in the top half. Manufacturing is the second largest employer in that constituency after wholesale and retail trade.

  30. “Indeed, I was thinking of you as I typed out the answer, Richard!”

    Hopefully not as you typed the letters c u n and t 😉

  31. Haha, not at all! 🙂

  32. “Lord Lee: How I became Britain’s first Isa millionaire

    John Lee, a minister in the 1980s Thatcher Government, and now a Liberal Democrat life peer, he shares tips from 55 years of investing and how he became the UK’s first Isa millionaire”:

  33. Richard- yes here is a link to the list:

  34. Blacko & Higherford ward By-Election result: Conservative 370, UKIP 86, Labour 65, LibDem 34. Swing 15% to UKIP. The Tory Cllr was disqualified due to non-attendance.

  35. > 50% majority after the previous councillor was disqualified… pretty impressive.

  36. Joe – I hear only the Tories leafleted and it said, “Shelagh stands down” as opposed to moved to Dorset last year.

  37. This is about the safest Tory ward you could find, of course.

  38. Tory vote 200 down on its recent average – only half of that
    due to UKIP.

  39. Shelagh Derwent was quite popular locally I think, at least until she went AWOL

  40. Ladbrokes:
    5/6 Cons
    5/6 Lab

    The only other seat where we have the Tories and Labour at exact join-favourites is Ealing Central & Acton.

  41. I think this is rather more likely to go to Labour than Ealing Central & Acton, mainly because the LD vote here is likely to be far more left-wing.

  42. Are there other parts of this seat aside from Nelson that are strong for Labour?

  43. I’d agree with Andy’s comments. I find it pretty difficult to predict a winner here, joint favourites is quite reasonable. Ealing Central will be an easy Tory hold.

  44. Labour were ahead by about 1,000 and the LD vote was still quite high.
    This is actually not a marginal seat in one sense – it is very disparite.

    The Tories may end up holding on with a big majority but there is the risk the BNP vote could actually be a source of Labour votes aswell as a fair few Lib Dems.

    Perhaps UKIP are not likely to feature here much.

  45. Some of the BNP vote will go to them though. I think a big Tory majority is almost inconceivable here but as the odds reflect it’s possible they could win narrowly. I would tend to make Labour very slight favourites, especially as they tend to do better in national than in local elections in Pendle.

  46. Popular vote:

    Lab 9,375 (39.13%)
    Con 7,099 (29.63%)
    LD 4,701 (19.62%)
    UKIP 1,758 (7.34%)
    BNP 493 (2.06%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Lab +10.92%
    Con -3.94%
    LD -9.85%
    UKIP +7.34%
    BNP -6.00%

    Swing Con to Lab, 7.43%

  47. It looks like the Tories did quite a bit better in the 2010 general election than they did in the local elections on the same day.

  48. Which were the wards where the BNP used to do well here?

  49. The BNP held their seat but only got 500 votes? Turnout there must have been shocking.

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