Penistone & Stocksbridge

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12968 (27.7%)
Labour: 19691 (42%)
Lib Dem: 2957 (6.3%)
UKIP: 10738 (22.9%)
Others: 500 (1.1%)
MAJORITY: 6723 (14.3%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, South Yorkshire. Part of the Sheffield council area and part of the Barnsley council area.

Main population centres: Penistone, Stocksbridge, Chapeltown, Dodworth.

Profile: The seat covers the north-western suburbs of Sheffield and the steel town of Stocksbridge, set to the north west of Sheffield on the edge of the moors. The northern part of the seat drawn from the borough of Barnsley covers the rural villages in the foothills of the pennines around the market town of Penistone and, to the east, the former mining village of Dodworth. Most of the seat is made up of traditional industrial areas, loyal to Labour, though with the decline of coal and steel and the old allegiences that went with it, there is more new build housing and commuters into Sheffield and Barnsley.

Politics: By the standards of South Yorkshire, one of Labour`s most reliable bedrocks in England, this counts as a marginal. Labour have only just over 40% of the vote and it is only the division of opposition support - once between Conservative and Liberal Democrat, now between Conservatives and UKIP that keeps the seat in Labour hands..

Current MP
ANGELA SMITH (Labour) Born 1961, Grimsby. Educated at Tollbar Secondary and Nottingham University. Former College Lecturer. Former Sheffield councillor. First elected as MP for Sheffield Hillsborough in 2005. PPS to Yvette Cooper 2007-2010.
Past Results
Con: 14516 (31%)
Lab: 17565 (38%)
LDem: 9800 (21%)
BNP: 2207 (5%)
Oth: 2428 (5%)
MAJ: 3049 (7%)
Con: 6890 (15%)
Lab: 23477 (51%)
LDem: 12234 (27%)
BNP: 2010 (4%)
Oth: 1273 (3%)
MAJ: 11243 (25%)
Con: 7801 (18%)
Lab: 24170 (57%)
LDem: 9601 (23%)
UKIP: 964 (2%)
MAJ: 14569 (34%)
Con: 7707 (15%)
Lab: 30150 (57%)
LDem: 13699 (26%)
MAJ: 16451 (31%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Sheffield, Hillsborough

2015 Candidates
STEVEN JACKSON (Conservative)
ANGELA SMITH (Labour) See above.
ROSALYN JANE GORDON (Liberal Democrat)
COLIN PORTER (English Democrat) Contested Barnsley East 2010 for the BNP.
Comments - 105 Responses on “Penistone & Stocksbridge”
  1. This seat was run quite close at the last election. It will be interesting to see what happens at the next election in terms of the Lib Dem vote and UKIP vote. Given the polls are pretty narrow at the momnet some Labour MPs like the incumbant here may be on the defensive.

    For the record I don’t rate UKIPs FPTP machine and think they are overhyped. The next GE is likely a realignment election anyway; it is the dirty secret of British politics as time ticks away toward a GE there will be an increasing urge for a Coalition ticket and Labour may well get thumped if it turns out to be the case and Labour will kiss seats like this goodbye.

  2. If the Conservatives and Lib Dems team up a National ticket would win by something like the following:
    Conservative National (50.2%)
    Labour: (37.8%)
    BNP: 4.7%
    UKIP: 4.2%
    English Dem: 1.1%
    MAJORITY: 6.6%

  3. Sorry the majority would be about 12%.

  4. PENISTONE & STOCKSBRIDGE and DON VALLEY mean that there are now two Lab/ Con marginals in South Yorkshire.

    DON VALLEY is traditionally a solid Labour seat, but its seems that it gained Tory parts of Doncaster and lost is more reliable Labour areas to the new Doncaster North in 1983. There must also have been major pro-Tory demographic change such as considerable new house building. Looking beyond 2015, PENISTONE & STOCKSBRIDGE and DON VALLEY, could these seats become better Tory prospects than Birmingham Edgbaston or Gedling?

  5. Dalek: good question.

    I think P&S and Don Valley can become better Tory prospects than Edgbaston and Gedling- maybe by 2025 (2020 may be rather too soon though you never know).
    Whether that in fact does happen doesn’t rest simply on demographics but also on personalities and policies. As Richard has often argued, it will probably take a different kind of leader from Cameron to resonate here and in other West Riding seats of that nature (I find the West Yorkshire/South Yorkshire split rather arbitrary).

    Gedling is clearly becoming a long shot for the Conservatives. The Tory vote share in 2010 was down on the Tory vote share in 1997. And as H Hemmelig and others have commented on the Gedling thread, Carlton and Arnold have become more like Nottingham city.

    I doubt the Tories have any more cause for optimism in Edgbaston. There are sizeable Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities, a high proportion of public sector workers (38.7%) and a high proportion of youngish voters (46.6% of residents are aged 16 to 44, which is considerably above the national average of 39.2%). We all know that the Tories have struggled to resonate with such people, even if they are middle-class.

  6. VI don’t know where the idea of a joint Coalition ticket came from.
    Tory activists are itching to ditch the LibDems.

  7. “VI don’t know where the idea of a joint Coalition ticket came from.
    Tory activists are itching to ditch the LibDems.”

    Not only that, but coalition candidates would mean that anti-coalition Tories and Lib Dems would certainly stand as independents and win many thousands of votes. It could even lead to the coalition parties losing seats rather than gaining them. Certainly the idea that a coalition candidate would win this kind of seat in 2015 is absolutely barking mad.

  8. I don’t know whether this seat includes the Tankersley area – think it does, which has been Conservative at local level.
    There will obviously be no joint candidates.
    The Tories should be looking to pick this seat up. It probably needs more changes in the area.
    More of the LD vote is likely to go to Labour.

  9. There’s a huge divergence in the way white working-class voters are behaving in seats in this area and, say, Merseyside. The latter is as strong as ever for Labour whereas in the South Yorkshire area the Labour vote appears to be weakening.

  10. Joe James B –

    Yes, Tankersley is in Penistone East ward, which has three Conservative councillors, and is in this seat.

  11. While the seat isn’t quite as solid as Brightside, the implosion of the Lib Dems should make this decent for labour. The 2012 council results suggest it’s more likely to be a 3 way fight between the Tories, Liberals and UKIP for 2nd-4th places. The Lib Dems and UKIP both only stood in 1 of the 3 Barnsley wards. There is a significant ‘Barnsley Independent’ vote in Dodworth. Not quite sure where all the tory votes have gone, even allowing for differential turnout they seem slightly short

    Lab 10144
    Con 3925
    Lib 4301
    UKIP 3096

  12. That can’t possibly be right. Firstly, the figures suggest a huge drop in turnout; secondly, I really don’t see how the LDs can get 2nd place. More likely, the Conservatives & Labour will squeeze their vote heavily, with IMO Labour getting more of it.

  13. Barnaby –

    The figures Craig quotes are the results of the 2012 local elections.

    For completeness the results were:

    Lab – 10,144 (42.6%)
    LD – 4,301 (18.0%)
    Con – 3,925 (16.5%)
    UKIP – 3,096 (13.0%)
    Ind – 1,662 (7.0%)
    Grn – 702 (2.9%)

  14. Thanks David – and good luck gaining this seat.

  15. Barnaby, I agree that the numbers (particularly how low the tory vote is) seem a bit odd, but they are as David said the 2012 council results. I know the tories put a lot of effort in here in the run up to 2010 and if they’ve now eased off, lost some voters to the Lib Dems tactically in Sheffield and others to UKIP that might explain it, But I suspect that 2010 was the tories best chance here and given that it didn’t come off despite a lot of money and Cameron visiting the seat during the campaign, the transfer of Social Democratic LD voters back to labour will make this less marginal in 2015.

  16. I apologize Craig, I thought you were making a detailed forecast for 2015 & didn’t realise that you were simply reproducing the 2012 election results for the constituency.

  17. According to the map at
    this seems to be the second least deprived (by that measure, i.e. deprivation affecting children) Labour-held constituency in England, after Sefton Central.

    (This is sort of in reply to some of the comments above.)

  18. Sheffield Star’s reported that UKIP has taken a seat in West Ecclesfield.

    They’ve also run close to Labour in some Sheffield South East wards.

  19. So they’ve now gained East Ecclesfield too.

  20. UKIP gain Stocksbridge and Upper Don. This side of Sheffield is turning out really well for them. I honestly thought it was going to be Sheffield South East that would be their best bets for gains. Totally missed this one. Three councillors now.

    Sheffield is suddenly looking a bit more varied in local politics.


    UKIP 8,842 (34.39%)
    Labour 7,363 (28.64%)
    Conservative 3,761 (14.63%)
    Liberal Democrat 2,367 ( 9.21%)
    Independent 1,397 ( 5.43%)
    BIG 997 ( 3.88%)
    Green 984 ( 3.83%)

  22. This was a very poor result for Labour what ever way you look at it. If I was Angela Smith, I’d be concerned about UKIP’s rise here.

  23. I’ve given some Greens an earful about this seat since it was their vote in the Ecclesfields which allowed UKIP through to the council.

    Agreed with Neil that this is very concerning for Lab. They need to hope for a boost in their fortunes or some decline in the UKIP vote before the GE. It did seem in the few days before the elections that the barrage on Farage was starting to score the occasional hit.

  24. “I’ve given some Greens an earful about this seat since it was their vote in the Ecclesfields which allowed UKIP through to the council.”

    I voted Green. Had the Greens not stood, I wouldn’t have voted. It’s such a crude analysis to suggest that all those Greens would’ve blindly switched to Labour / Lib Dem.

  25. I honestly think Labour will lose this seat in 2015 which is a shame because Angela Smith seems like a really nice lady and a good MP.

  26. But to whom? To UKIP? The results hardly suggest that the Tories are about to take this. I would disagree & think she will survive against an even more split opposition than before.

  27. Hope you’re right Barnaby.

  28. ……. However, this constituency is trending towards the Tories very quickly as the former mining towns are gentrified and become middle class communter villages/towns.

    I expect this constituency to become a safe Tory seat in 15/20 years time.

  29. Maybe on the the Barnsley side. But UKIP is likely to become a very potent force on the Sheffield side, mopping up former Lib Dem votes who don’t go back to Labour.

  30. “I expect this constituency to become a safe Tory seat in 15/20 years time.”

    That’s assuming the Sheffield and Barnsley parts haven’t gone into separate seats by then in boundary changes.

  31. It’s also ignoring the fact that Labour have been doing quite well in Penistone in recent years. The trend isn’t that quick, evidently.

  32. Adam’s point is a good one. This is a somewhat oddly-assorted seat & if S Yorks were to lose a seat, this probably would be it.

  33. Barnaby- true, though lumping Penistone with parts of Barnsley town is hardly an improvement. It should really be in a constituency with Homfirth and Denby Dale in my view-a proper Colne Valley seat rather than the one we have currently.

  34. not the worst suggestion. Not sure it would have much partisan effect. It’s possible that the surrounds of Penistone might just push it very very slightly in a Labour direction, though not Penistone itself.

  35. An astonishingly good UKIP result – but I don’t think they’ll win the seat.

  36. Barnaby- I suspect a less Huddersfield-influenced Colne Valley which instead included Penistone would be a clearer cut Tory-Labour marginal with the Lib Dems less competitive.

  37. Penistone would fit well with Holmfirth, although it’s an unlikely pairing as they are split between South and West Yorkshire.

    It wouldn’t be a “proper Colne Valley seat”, though, as Penistone is in the Don Valley, not the Colne Valley, and has never been part of a seat named Colne Valley – it was last paired with Holmfirth from 1885 to 1918 in the Holmfirth constituency.

  38. Penistone West By-Election:

    LAB – 31.4% (+2.5)
    CON – 29.2% (+1.5)
    UKIP – 25.3% (-0.1)
    IND – 14.1% (-3.9)

    UKIP momentum stalled here?

  39. I think that PENISTONE & STOCKSBRIDGE will remain as marginal in 2015, perhaps even closer.

    It will become a more likely future Conservative Gain in the long term than Birmingham Edgbaston.

  40. Surely if Labour can win even in Penistone itself there can be no serious danger in the constituency as a whole. The by-election result seems to be a perfect illustration of what I said a few weeks ago on this thread.

  41. I don’t know much about Penistone, but one local issue Labour could pick up on in Stocksbridge is the town’s poor connectivity with Sheffield. Bus services are scarce and there’s not even a railway station.

    Luckily the town is undergoing major retail and housing redevelopment with the Fox Valley project. It started earlier this year.

  42. UKIP 16/1 Ladbrokes

    UKIP topped the poll in May, winning all three Sheffield wards.

  43. I noted the death of Christopher Price earlier. Reading his obituary, I’ve noticed that Helen Jackson, former MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, is his sister. hadn’t heard that. (the letter double-u doesn’t type on this keyboard!)

  44. “but one local issue Labour could pick up on in Stocksbridge is the town’s poor connectivity with Sheffield. Bus services are scarce and there’s not even a railway station.”

    Contrary to popular myth, Thatcher didn’t close many railways, but the one through Stocksbridge was one of them (1983). The tracks are still in place down to Sheffield but the trackbed has been severed between Stocksbridge and Penistone by a road built in the late 80s.

  45. Another Labour victory with UKIP in second; they should be fairly close here, perhaps about 10% behind. The Tory vote will drop, but not disappear, and they could yet return to challenge at future elections. No such promise for the Lib Dems, who may not hold their deposit.

  46. Labour Hold. 3,000 majority. UKIP may come 2nd, but Tories could still stay ahead of them.

  47. I’m trying to vote tactically in this constituency but have no idea which way to go. We haven’t had anyone canvassing at the door so it doesn’t look like the parties see this as marginal. Biggest issue to me seems to be the plans for 1400 houses – even if it doesn’t swing the election this time it will certainly change the demographics for the next election.

  48. Decent finish for Labour with Angela Smith more than doubling her majority (6,723). That said, the opposition is very split here and this might prove tricky for Labour in the future if they coalesce around one party.

  49. Labour vote up 4%, Tory vote down 3%, Labour majority more than doubles, and it’s surely trending Tory?

  50. So both the seats you mentioned as trending Tory had unusually good results for Labour? The numbers I gave you were from Penistone and Stocksbridge.

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