2015 Result:
Conservative: 6688 (20%)
Labour: 18755 (56%)
Lib Dem: 1244 (3.7%)
Green: 1643 (4.9%)
UKIP: 5139 (15.4%)
MAJORITY: 12067 (36.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Lancashire. Most of Preston council area.

Main population centres: Preston.

Profile: The middle slice of the city of Preston - the northern suburbs of Fulwood and Sharoe Green are in Wyre and Preston North, while places south of the river Ribble like Penwortham are outside the city boundaries and included in the South Ribble constituency. Preston is a Victorian industrial town and the administrative centre for Lancashire. The old textile industry and much of the manufacturing that replaced it in the twentieth century have now gone, with major employment sectors now including retail, distribution, call centres and the defence industry (BAE Systems have two major facilities located in villages to the east and west of Preston). There is a significant asian and Muslim population in the seat, with 19% of the population giving their ethnicity as asian in the 2011 census.

Politics: Before 1983 Preston had two constituencies, Preston North and Preston South, which were both close marginals between Labour and the Conservatives. Since the creation of a single Preston seat and the removal of the more affluent suburbs of Preston into neighbouring seats it has been a reliable Labour constituency, held by the left winger Audrey Wise and, since 2000, by Mark Hendrick.

Current MP
MARK HENDRICK (Labour) Born 1958, Salford. Educated at Salford Grammar School and Liverpool Polytechnic. Former engineer and lecturer. Salford councillor 1987-1995. Contested MEP for Central Lancashire 1994-1999. First elected as MP for Preston in 2000 by-election. PPS to Margaret Beckett 2003-2007, PPS to Jack Straw 2007-2008, PPS to Ivan Lewis 2009-2010. Opposition whip 2010-2012.
Past Results
Con: 7060 (22%)
Lab: 15668 (48%)
LDem: 7935 (24%)
UKIP: 1462 (4%)
Oth: 380 (1%)
MAJ: 7733 (24%)
Con: 7803 (23%)
Lab: 17210 (50%)
LDem: 5701 (17%)
UKIP: 1049 (3%)
Oth: 2318 (7%)
MAJ: 9407 (28%)
Con: 8272 (23%)
Lab: 20540 (57%)
LDem: 4746 (13%)
GRN: 1019 (3%)
Oth: 1464 (4%)
MAJ: 12268 (34%)
Con: 10540 (22%)
Lab: 29220 (61%)
LDem: 7045 (15%)
Oth: 345 (1%)
MAJ: 18680 (39%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
RICHARD HOLDEN (Conservative)
MARK HENDRICK (Labour) See above.
JO BARTON (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 79 Responses on “Preston”
  1. The Liberal Democrat candidate who stood here is currently a Sefton councillor in Southport.

  2. Not a secret, that

  3. LOL

  4. Is Preston a city in the traditional sense? It seems there is a greater division of voting patterns between the core area and the suburbs than most? Quite unusual to have a solidly Labour seat aswell as strong Tory areas within the local government unit.

  5. Haltemprice area, Rushcliffe, Blaby successor etc are outside the local givernment unit.

  6. I think Preston was always a large town, and was only designated a city comparatively recently I think. Therefore, I think the distinction between the place itself and its surrounding suburbs is greater because it isn’t historically a city in the true sense- Preston as you say Joe has the hallmarks more of a town since it isn’t all that far from some fairly rural Tory areas.

  7. Thanks – it does seem like a fairly significant area.
    The boundary with Fulwood is fairly clear physically

  8. You’re welcome as always Joe. Agreed RE the boundary, I can’t claim to know Preston all that well personally TBH although having said that I have been there once or twice and I do live about 50 minutes from there, which is closer than some I suppose. Fulwood is affluent as you may well know, but I’m not sure if it is as such its own settlement independent of Preston itself- perhaps it is still technically a suburb?

  9. I came into it (from the Lake District) in 2007 via Fulwood.
    They clearly are trying to market it as a city.

  10. I was last in Preston in the summer of 2008 and yes I got that impression as well I must admit. It was interesting to go round the marketplace though- It still had its traditional spirit intact I think.

  11. Former LD councillor Liam Pennington has left the LDs, (according to his status on the VoteUK forum).

  12. Both Tory and Labour Prime Ministers have thrown about City status almost like confetti in recent years, even if the status is officially conferred by the Queen.

    When will people see though this trick?. After all Proud Preston ws also fierecely proud of its status as a town, with a famous guild.

    Labour would only be under serious threat here if the town went back to having two seats, each spilling into neighbouring areas. I can’t see this happening.

  13. didn’t preston get city status because of its high rates of crime, something about city status providing extra funding?

    thats what prestonians tell me anyway

  14. I have just seen from Wikipedia that Ron Atkins, MP for Preston North, 1966 – 1970 and February 1974 to 1979 is now Britain’s oldest ex-MP. One wonders what celebrations are bieng lined up for when he is 100 next year.

    Who was the UK’s oldest ever MP? Emmanuel Shinwell was one who lived to be a centenarian.

    P.S. Nice story, John. I must admit that Preston has seen better days.

  15. What political effects is the water crisis in Central Lancashire having? I understand that this is the third weekend that the people of this area have been having to boil their water.

    Lancashire has plenty of rainfall. Why should the people of Central Lancashire have to drink water recycled from East Lancashire?

  16. Preston city centre was in Preston South from 1950 to 1983

  17. I am not sure about the reason for your post, Harry.

    Perhaps I could point out that the town centre, i.e. shopping and commercial centre, of Preston is nowhere near the geographical centre of Preston. It is only about ten minutes walk from the Market Place into Avenham Park and then across the river to Penwortham, which is of course in South Ribble.

  18. Some expert (never heard of him and certainly not in politics or psephology – I think it said community relations) was just on the regional News up here saying he feared Muslim turnout would be low as Ramadan combined with the Summer solstice means Muslims can’t eat or drink ’til 9.45pm on Polling Day.

    I would have assumed this has been known for a long time and postal votes could be sought. Unless he’s suggesting that Muslims aren’t going to go out at all this month which certainly isn’t the case for most, even if it is 26C up here today.

  19. On the contrary, it probably makes getting Muslim voters out on the day relatively easy. Can’t get told to sod off for canvassing someone during dinnertime if dinnertime is after polls close.

  20. Its a curious issue and one I hadn’t considered, surely there must be some historical precedent for this in Britain or elsewhere re Muslim turnout during Ramadan, I suppose if they can manage to get up and go to work voting isn’t that big a deal, the fact that as Mrnameless points out dinnertime will be so late for them it avoids the risk of them (starving as they must be) tucking in around 6-8pm and not bothering to vote afterwards.

  21. I wonder how the muslim vote compares to others, given that very few will have a European background (most being Indian Sub-Continental). Will immigration be a bigger factor for them? Possibly concluding that reduced European migration makes it possible for an increased amount from the Sub-Continent?

  22. Paul D
    I highly doubt that will be the thought process of many, of those who actually consider the issue they’ll realise that leaves best offering pertains to immigration which isn’t much of a concern for them and as for those who are not hugely engaged they’ll just see a bunch of politicians throwing out anti immigration rhetoric which will naturally turn them against said individual and more inclined to vote against them.

  23. A quick look on Google Scholar throws up this book on Gambian politics, which states the 2006 Presidential Election was moved forward a month to avoid overlapping with Ramadan – though they claim the move as a cause of low turnout, not a means of avoiding it.

    Of course that’s a much different country with an overwhelmingly Muslim (and therefore probably more strictly observant than the Muslim minority in Britain) population.

    In 1989 the local elections took place during Ramadan, so that would be where you’d look – but with a much smaller Muslim population back then I think it would be harder to identify any effect.

    This will presumably be studied before too long, since the next General Election is scheduled to take place during Ramadan.

  24. Happy 100th birthday to former Preston North MP Ron Atkins:

  25. Rivers10 – I can understand the Left hoping that way, but if you look at the polls and vox pops (in Wolvs, Oldham, Stoke, etc) all show it’s only 60:40 for Remain amongst Asian voters.

  26. In debates, on Question Time etc, BME audience members tend to be overly dominated by those who work as ethnic outreach workers etc. But the vox pops show that when you go into unfashionable towns and visit the Asian taxi drivers and takeaways, you get a much different picture, and a much less stereotypical “right on” response.

  27. Former MP for Preston North has died at the ripe old age of 104.

  28. Ronald Atkins certainly had a good innings, and it’s impressive he was a councillor aged 92. His daughter was the Labour MP Charlotte Atkins. Ronald became the longest-lived and oldest living ex-MP. I wonder who has taken the title of oldest living ex-MP now?

  29. Update: the oldest living former MP is Sir Patrick Duffy, Labour MP for Colne Valley 1963–1966 and and for Sheffield Attercliffe 1970–1992. He’s 100. Jill Knight, aged 97, who sat for Birmingham Edgbaston, is the oldest living female former MP.

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