Sheffield, Brightside & Hillsborough

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4407 (11%)
Labour: 22663 (56.6%)
Lib Dem: 1802 (4.5%)
Green: 1712 (4.3%)
UKIP: 8856 (22.1%)
TUSC: 442 (1.1%)
Others: 171 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 13807 (34.5%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Sheffield.

Profile: This is the most working class of the Sheffield seats, and generally suffers from the highest levels of unemployment in the city. It is made up mostly of the inter-war and post-war housing estates like the huge Shiregreen and Parson Cross developments. While right-to-buy has reduced the proportion of council homes, over a third of the housing remains in the social sector. The constituency includes Hillsborough stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday but perhaps more immediately associated with the 1989 stadium disaster.

Politics: A falling electorate in the seat resulted in boundary changes for the 2010 election but while the historic Hillsborough name was retained as part of the new constituency name, this seat is overwhelmingly made up of the old Sheffield Brightside seat. Brightside has been a Labour stronghold since before the second world war, often one of their safest seats in the country. It was previously represented by the left-winger Joan Maynard, once Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group and David Blunkett, once a similarly left-wing figure as leader Sheffield council, but later to serve as Home Secretary under Tony Blair.

Current MP
HARRY HARPHAM (Labour) Educated at Sheffield University. Former Parliamentary researcher and miner. Sheffield councillor since 2000. First elected as MP for Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 4468 (11%)
Lab: 21400 (55%)
LDem: 7768 (20%)
BNP: 3026 (8%)
Oth: 2252 (6%)
MAJ: 13632 (35%)
Con: 2205 (9%)
Lab: 16876 (69%)
LDem: 3232 (13%)
BNP: 1537 (6%)
Oth: 779 (3%)
MAJ: 13644 (55%)
Con: 2601 (10%)
Lab: 19650 (77%)
LDem: 2238 (9%)
UKIP: 348 (1%)
Oth: 715 (3%)
MAJ: 17049 (67%)
Con: 2850 (8%)
Lab: 24901 (74%)
LDem: 4947 (15%)
Oth: 543 (2%)
MAJ: 19954 (59%)

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

2015 Candidates
ELISE DUNWEBER (Conservative) Elmbridge councillor since 2011.
HARRY HARPHAM (Labour) Educated at Sheffield University. Parliamentary researcher and former miner. Sheffield councillor since 2000.
JONATHAN HARTSON (Liberal Democrat)
JOHN BOOKER (UKIP) Sheffield councillor since 2014.
JUSTIN SAXTON (English Democrat)
MAXINE BOWLER (TUSC) Contested Sheffield Central 2005 for Respect, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough 2010 for TUSC.
Comments - 378 Responses on “Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough”
  1. The hatred she gets from Labour acquaintances my age is largely to do with her self-righteousness. Particularly, trotting out the “I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me” meme when you were born after Blair became leader doesn’t really hold water.

  2. I have no problem with a 21 year-old going into the Commons. If every MP was 21 that wouldn’t be a good thing but in fact there are only a handful under 30. She clearly generates interest in politics and that is largely a good thing.

    Having said that I agree that her speeches so far have often not made much sense. In particular her ‘I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me’ line made no sense on a number of counts: 1/ that Blair was leader when she was born, as MrNameless said, 2/ Labour have never been a pro-Scottish independence party, 3/ under her logic now Labour have probably their second or third most left-wing leader ever she should be rejoining them.

  3. MR N: The speech you refer to that included the line:” I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me”, has been viewed an astonishing 10 million times.

    In A recent meeting with her, Jeremy Paxman in the FT writes, “Black has been cheery, energetic and modest company throughout our lunch; her manners impeccable and her conversation frank.”

    If anything, MR N, you’re the one is being self righteous.

    The observations by MR N & JS, that she was a child during the 1997-2010 Labour government is a lame one. Her mum and dad were teachers and active in politics and this is where her influence comes from. Her future as she sees it was affected by New Labour’s policies.

  4. “But sadly, BLACK is the latest in a long line of maligned female PPCs/MPS on this website, following TOLHURST, BORWICK & PATEL et al.”

    A list with 4 people on it is hardly a “long list”.

  5. Note to self: steer clear of mentioning of Mhairi Black on this site in future.

  6. “3/ under her logic now Labour have probably their second or third most left-wing leader ever she should be rejoining them.”

    That hasn’t stopped a lot of Scottish nationalists attacking Jeremy Corbyn though. It doesn’t matter that he stands for similar positions as them (and his views are probably closer to the SSP than the SNP). Independence pretty much trumps everything for them now and it’s become so dogmatic. The online abuse Cyber Nats dished out to unionists was possibly worse than even the Corbynistas did to others in Labour. Corbyn is still seen as a unionist in their eyes. He leads a party they’ve turned on, no matter how anti-Blairite he might be.

    Sturgeon was far from congratulatory to him when he became leader because she has her own interests to protect. I.e. the unlikely hope of securing a second referendum and being leader of an independent Scotland one day.

  7. As for Mhairi Black, something about excessive precociousness at 21 is just geeky and weird. Or at least that’s the image she wants to project. Young people being engaged with politics is important, but most of them have lives beyond that too.

  8. It is perfectly reasonable for the SNP to campaign for an independent Scotland and to be critical of Corbyn’s Labour Party. Tactically it also makes complete sense for them to continue with a strategy that has been enormously successful of late – talking from the left, especially in a Westminster context, but governing from the centre/centre-left at Holyrood.

    What isn’t reasonable is to suggest that Labour once represented what the SNP do now – Labour have never, however Kier Hardie might be selectively quoted, been a party of Scottish nationalism which is ultimately what the SNP are about. And it is just dishonest to say that her/the SNP’s politics is about anti-austerity rather than nationalism – ‘austerity’, for the SNP, is a stick to beat Westminster/the UK with.

  9. Jack: actually, while Westminster Labour is very clearly unionist, Scottish Labour (and, for that matter, the Scottish Lib Dems and Scottish Greens) are a little bit confused on the issue – Kezia Dugdale recently said that she would “allow Labour Holyrood candidates to support independence” – and it seems to be that Labour in Scotland want to be the left-wing party that the SNP claim to be but aren’t so much in practice, and aren’t too bothered about the independence question which currently polarises Scottish politics. Sensible in one sense because picking a side immediately alienates the other half of the electorate, but simultaneously a vote loser because it leads to the party being squeezed between parties with more defined stances (ie Scottish Nationalists & Unionist Tories). It doesn’t help either that many signature Labour policies, such as opposition to Trident and tuition fees, are already shared with the SNP, leaving the main difference seemingly being that Labour intend to raise Scottish income tax to pay for public services while the SNP will instead try to fleece Westminster for the money. That’s a real tough one for the voters…

  10. M.Black’s honest.

  11. Rosie Winterton will presumably move the writ next Monday – it can’t be before then as parliament is not sitting this week. The by-election will therefore probably be on 17th March.

  12. Presenting a personal quandary for me as my friend’s birthday meal is in the evening and I’ll no doubt be tramping around Burngreave nosing for votes. But perhaps not as terrible a turnout/weather situation as feared come mid-March.

  13. Wouldn’t Labour prefer to hold the by-election on the same day as the local elections?

  14. The local elections are a bit late, no? Technically it may be possible to delay moving the writ so as to facilitate that but it would mean a longer vacancy than is normal. It may also allow longer for opposition parties to organise (not that I think this seat could remotely be in any danger).

  15. It might deaden turnout in the northern wards at the locals. People don’t like having to go and vote twice in six weeks.

  16. I’d imagine Labour will follow the Oldham template. Choose a sensible, local candidate and get the by-election out of the way as soon as possible. Don’t let it get mixed up in the Euro-campaign as UKIP could conceivably get a boost from that, and a long run-up can only benefit the challengers in a seat like this.

  17. A very useful constituency guide from Progress for anyone planning to follow the by-election:

  18. “The local elections are a bit late, no?”

    Not at all, many by-elections have been delayed for far longer than the time between now and the beginning of May.

  19. I hear Elliott Adair is being pushed forward to run for Labour here. I know you shouldn’t pay much attention to gossip, but you can’t ignore it when its said a group of MP’s are backing him. By the looks of the demographics he will fit right in.

  20. They held off on Leicestershire North West in 2010 but were probably expecting to lose the by-election (as it turns out they lost the vacant seat at the General Election). In a safe seat that there’s no realistic chance of them losing I’d have thought they would want a new MP there to reduce the government’s majority as quickly as decency allows.

  21. You’d get a higher turnout on the same day as the locals.

  22. Holding a by-election on the same day as local elections has two advantages for Labour. Firstly, Labour has more members than the other parties and can better afford to run several elections at once. Secondly, having local elections on the same day as a by-election reduces the amount of impact that any lesser party, e.g. UKIP will achieve by doing well in the by-election.

    Now that Harry Harpham’s funeral has taken place, what iis the situation with regard to the selection process for a Labour candidate?

  23. On the other hand Frederic, a longer campaign increases the possibility of an insurgent party gathering momentum and challenging for the seat.

  24. I disagree Frederic,

    Labour are trying to maintain control of the city council and are therefore defending over a dozen wards while also trying to make the odd gain. By comparison the Lib Dems are only seriously fighting seven wards, and UKIP and the Greens even fewer. Local elections on the same day dilute Labour strength much more than any other party.

  25. Selection timetable (source: Conor Pope from Labour List on Twitter):

    Applications – now open
    Applications close – Wed 24th
    NEC interviews – Mon 29th
    Selection – March 2nd

    That tallies with mid-to-late March (17th or 24th).


    Oliver Coppard is seeking selection. I had a feeling we’d be hearing from him again after his GE performance last year.

  27. He would be a very good candidate

  28. Being able to say he doubled Labour’s vote share in the toughest constituency in the city is a big selection vote winner. Whether he gets it should I think depend on who else stands.

  29. It was a very good campaign from what I could see. I would be interested to see who else will stand

  30. Neil’s link to the local newspaper indicates that Sheffield Council are expecting a mid-March election. I expect they know!

    Oiliver Coppard is sounding like a shoo-in too.

    This does not look as though it is going to be a very interesting by-election.

  31. If somebody senior from Sheffield Council puts their name forward it could be interesting, but Coppard must stand a good chance. All of the other Sheffield seats being very safe, I’m sure most local activists will have been working on his campaign in Hallam in May and therefore look at him favourably.

    I agree that this one is likely to be very boring. The result will be quite similar to the GE I imagine.

  32. Deepthroat – the M Black Maiden Speech was viewed 1 million times. Not 10 million times as Salmond said to Andrew Neil on BBC1. Neil corrected him the next day.

    I doubt Labour will delay moving the Writ here, to hold it in May or June. These days, any delay seems to result in UKIP moving the Writ (although that’s largely local council by-elections rather than Parliamentary, as if anything UKIP accuse Labour of calling Parliamentary By-elections too swiftly as they did with H&M). The week before Easter seems favourite for this By-election here.

    I’ve also just heard that a NW MP is v ill – but a bit distasteful/morbid to name them on here.

  33. I wonder if we will see David Blunkett on the campaign trail. What’s he doing these days?

  34. Guest lecturing in Politics at the University of Sheffield. Some acquaintances have him as a dissertation supervisor.

  35. COPPARD would appears well placed. I think the by election will be held in May along with the local elections.

    LANCS OBSERVER: BLACKs speech has been watched more than 8 million times on Channel 4 and Buzzfeed’s Facebook pages, with hundreds of thousands of views on newspaper sites, 650,000 times on YouTube and the SNP’s own site. On the BBC, the story has been viewed 150,000 times.

  36. Odds: (Ladbrokes)
    LAB: 1/50
    UKIP: 9/1
    CON: 100/1

  37. Posted this on wrong page as was meant for here:

    Stephen Hitchin has declared and claims to ‘wish to take the junior doctor fight to westminster for the NHS’, the irony here of course is that as a GP he does not work for the NHS but part of a pricate business thanks to a loophole GPs argued for many moons ago.
    The man is also a Labour Party Councillor in Chesterfield, a GP in Chesterfield, and a Captain in Royal Army Medical Corps reserves in Sheffield.

  38. Deservedly so. His performance against Nick Clegg was superb, and he resisted what must have been a big temptation to run a nasty campaign. Coppard didn’t deserve the very bad write up Guido gave him yesterday.

  39. I’m guessing however that Coppard is a moderate who may therefore get derailed by Momentum and the left.

    This is a seat with a long history of selecting left wingers – Joan Maynard was so left wing she was nicknamed Stalin’s Granny. David Blunkett was on the left in the 80s when he led Sheffield council, though he became a Blairite later on. And I assume Harpham was at least on the soft left, given his background.

  40. I don’t agree with this lauding of Coppard on the basis of his performance in Hallam. I think the result there was far more a reflection of the circumstances of the seat than his merits as a candidate. He got a big increase in a Labour vote that had been artificially depressed for decades due to tactical voting. The natural Labour vote in the seat these days is probably pushing a third anyway.

    I don’t think he should be given any credit for not running a vociferously anti-Clegg campaign. The decision not to do that was just pragmatism. It was always obvious such an effort would be counter productive; scaring Tory leaning voters into voting tactically for Clegg.

    I also think Guido has a point that the resources put into Hallam could have been better directed elsewhere. There’s a bit of hindsight in pointing out that activists would have been better off taking the thirty minute train journey to Derby to try and save Chris Williamson. However it was obvious at the time that gaining Hallam would not help one bit in securing Labour’s main objective: gaining enough Tory seats to ensure their couldn’t be a Conservative led government.

    A lot of Labour people wanted to punish Clegg for the coalition. That led them to turn a blind eye to Hallam’s irrelevance to the bigger picture.

  41. “I also think Guido has a point that the resources put into Hallam could have been better directed elsewhere.”

    Well duh…I don’t think we all need to be political science graduates to work that one out. But can you tell me why that was Oliver Coppard’s fault? It was an issue for the central party. Candidates always welcome whatever campaign support comes there way.

  42. I would dispute that Hallam was entirely irrelevant. At the time a renewed CON/LD coalition was still being talked about (on the assumption the LDs would hold 25 or so rather than 8 seats, of course), something that would have been much harder if the LDs were left in the awkward position of having a leader with no seat. In a hung parliament no Clegg could therefore have made it harder for Cameron to form a government and helped Miliband into number 10. Whether this possibility was worth diverting resources from CON/LAB marginals is, of course, open to debate.

  43. Arguably, Labour targeting Hallam forced the LDs to pull resources out of seats where they were then beaten by the Tories

  44. I hope I don’t have to repeat myself too often that Hallam CLP got far less support from the central party than Guido seems to have decided, certainly not on the level of a target seat. If anything blame the activists (like me) who ignored the emails telling us to go to Dewsbury or Elmet and Rothwell.

    Jack Sheldon is right. Had the polls been accurate and another coalition been on the cards, the makeup of the next government might well have depended on the whims of the voters of Hallam. That the polls were wrong wasn’t Coppard’s fault.

  45. From media interviews etc, Coppard comes across as a surprisingly nice guy, and I don’t often say that about Labour people or indeed any politicians.

    I can totally understand Kieran disliking a formidable potential opponent from close to his (former) home turf but that shouldn’t colour our judgement.

  46. “Well duh…I don’t think we all need to be political science graduates to work that one out. But can you tell me why that was Oliver Coppard’s fault?”

    It wasn’t his fault, but he benefitted from those misplaced resources. It reinforces my point that the Hallam result had little to do with Coppard’s merits as a candidate.

    I don’t dislike Coppard. I know very little about him. I just don’t see anything in the Hallam 2015 result to suggest the Labour performance was anything above par given the context.

    There was virtually no way the Hallam result would have decided who governed the country. The crucial factor was always going to be the number of Conservative seats.

  47. I think given that the Ashcroft polls were showing Coppard doing well – the Last one was 34% Clegg – 32% LAB; ( the bookies werd just 5/4 Coppard); & Coppard’s skills and likeability, it was a no-brainer to put lot of resources were put into Sheffield Hallam. Remember the wisdom was that LD GE2010 voters were going over to LAB rather than CON by a ratio of 2-1.

    Whether the extra effort put in it detracted significantly from other targets meaning a loss in those targets is just pure conjecture – no one can know. Anyway, which seats? Fawkes doesn’t name any, I don’t think.

  48. Probably the nearest realistic Labour target was High Peak, though the areas where you might expect a significant Labour GOTV operation (Glossop etc) are at the western end of the seat, a long way from Sheffield.

  49. I suggested Derby N.

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