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 - 367 Responses on “Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough”
  1. A third candidate, Gill Furniss, has declared:

  2. Harry Harpham’s wife, for those not aware.

  3. I should think that those on the shortlist from before the election will at least apply.

    Cllr Jackie Drayton looks firmly from the Corbyn wing of the party from her Twitter feed:

    There’s also Mike Buckley (soft left, seemingly, he was backed by several unions last time IIRC):

  4. I should think that those on the shortlist from before the election will at least apply.

    Cllr Jackie Drayton looks firmly from the Corbyn wing of the party from her Twitter feed:

    h ttps://

    There’s also Mike Buckley (soft left, seemingly, he was backed by several unions last time IIRC):

    h ttps://

  5. @MrNameless

    An interesting entry…

  6. I find it a bit distasteful TBH.

    Politicians have very warped minds compared to the general population. Barely a week after burying their husband, what kind of grieving widow says “I know I think I’ll run to be an MP”. It also smacks of the kind of nepotism which ought not to exist in politics, especially not in the “socialist” party.

  7. Rumours still going around as to whether the election date will be early or in May – the short timescale for the Labour selection suggests early, but I suspect a final decision hasn’t yet been made.

    Coppard must be the candidate to beat given his profile and the goodwill generated as a result of his contest in Hallam. Involvement in the stay campaign for the referendum is unlikely to hurt him, but support for Liz Kendall may. There are some who would like a woman as a candidate due to the lack of women standing in by-elections for Labour (and the majority of Sheffield MPs are men), but I’d be amazed if Coppard isn’t at least shortlisted.

    Gill Furniss appears quite a strong candidate, she hasn’t had a massive local profile, but she’s a local councillor and obviously will know lots about the seat as Harpham’s widow. There’s a long tradition of this kind of succession, and she’s certainly more directly experienced than many such candidates.

    Will be interesting to see which other local candidates declare and whether any high-profile non-local candidates put their names forward (local rumour says Balls, but I think that’s just wild conjecture).

  8. Hemmelig: I imagine they would have talked about it privately as he lay on his deathbed. She may feel she has some kind of duty to finish what he started.

    Warofdreams: I don’t think Coppard’s support for Liz Kendall will hurt that much considering the Blairite/moderate Jim McMahon was selected for Oldham West.

  9. While Coppard did attend a Liz Kendall meeting early in the campaign, he came out for Yvette Cooper by the time ballots arrived.

  10. MrNameless: thanks, I wasn’t aware of that.

    PollTroll: I think the candidates and situation are rather different to Oldham W, but given the info from MrNameless, I agree that it will have little if any impact.

  11. As an outsider, you’d have thought it would be between Coppard, Furniss and a Corbynite candidate, if any of the councillors or local party people fit that bill.

  12. HH – quite a few do it successfully as Amber Valley proved.

    In fact he was a better PPC than his late wife was.

    I think they just see it as carrying on their record – as in Audrey after Alf Roberts in Corrie ha.

    Incidentally, I see we now have a Sally v Norris local election in May.

  13. I’d say nepotism applies more where their children become MPs.

    Or the gravy train where both are MPs or Cllrs at the same time.

    I’ve probably mentioned it before, but in Liverpool a decade ago, 20 of the 90 Cllrs were related. That can’t be right, but it’s what you end up with when turnout is 10-25% and ward or city-wide Parties have so few members.

  14. If the byelection is to take place before Easter the writ has to be moved next week.

  15. Gill Furniss did wait until after the funeral of her husband before announcing she would like to be a candidate in the by-election.

    I am, however, surprised that at this point of time she should already have a website asking people to help her become a parliamentary candidate. I would have thought it would be concentrating on her duties and services as a local councillor. Does she have a separate website for that or isn’t she competent enough to have had an internet presence as a Councillor before?

    If Gill Furniss chooses to enter a political fight so soon after her husband’s death she cannot complain if other people support their own case. If she loses out at the Selection Conference I trust she won’t claim she had a prior right to be selected because there should have been a sympathy vote.

    Labour Party activists have a long record of ignoring social niceties. It is one of the reasons that quite a lot of us no longer vote Labour, although admittedly we are not in Sheffield.

    Given the nature of this seat,, Labour should be looking to select a local person who will have sufficiently outstanding ability to become a junior minister, or even (as David Blunkett became) a Cabinet minister when, and if, Labour again forms a Cabinet. There is no room for sentiment in pursuing this aim.

  16. FS – I take your point re safe seats can produce future Cabinet ministers; but, plenty of Labour’s in Liverpool, Manchester etc never do.

  17. The Cpmmittee of a safe seat like this should have ambition! In addition to David Blunkett, A.V. Alexander in Sheffield Hillsborough was repeatedly appointed as First Lord of the Admiralty by Ramsay Macdonald and Attlee, and several other MPs from this part of the world were junior ministers or prominent backbenchers.

    In recent times, Labour ministers came disproportionately from Scotland, and to a lesser extent Wales. Now that Labour has been almost wiped out North of the Border, they will have to find a cadre of outstandingly able English MPs from which to appoint their leaders when and if, very much if, they gain a majority at Westminster.

    If Labour selects lrge numbers of MPs from the Northern English cities and industrial areas on the bais of their local connections rather than ability, the Party will not last long given its present parlous condition.

  18. You say that like it’s a bad thing!

  19. For by-elections a local candidate is always preferable (perhaps except on those rare occasions when the national party has a very good reason for wanting to fast track somebody in). For general elections there is a case for local parties taking strong outsiders, though not always of course.

    It is notable that the 2015 Labour intake has a very local feel to it, and many of them are also not exactly young. Normally this isn’t a great mixture if you want to get on the frontbench. As it happens with a lot of the more established MPs refusing front bench service under Corbyn a lot of them have in fact ended up with jobs.

  20. Frederic, in response to your point about Gill Furniss’ website, I notice it was built with Nationbuilder. This would in my experience mean you can put together a site like that in a matter of hours, so it’s not necessarily as if this has been a long-standing plan or anything.

    Good point about her missing a web presence as a councillor, but then in a ward like Southey I imagine most people aren’t too web-based about their politics anyway.

  21. So far Labour people who’ve said they’ll put themselves forward for the nomination are:

    Usman Ahmed – Councillor in Hadley and Leegomery (Wrekin area). Supported Andy Burnham in the leadership election though has rather enthusiastically taken to Corbyn and McDonnell, according to his twitter.

    Gill Furniss – Widow of recently deceased MP.

    Michael Buckley – Charity campaigner from Sheffield.

    Oliver Coppard – Former candidate against Clegg. Was a Cooper supporter in the leadership election.

    Stephen Hitchen – Junior doctor. Supported both Burnham and Corbyn in the Leadership election.

    Solomon Curtis – IMO the most surprising candidate, previous candidate in safe-Conservative Wealden. From Sussex. Definitely the furthest left of those named so far, he canvassed for Corbyn during the leadership election in the south. If he was selected and won he’d become the new Baby of the House, being just 19 years old.

  22. Bobby Smith, the Fathers 4 Justice campaigner who stood against Cameron in 2015, will be contesting this seat (the campaign team just emailed my student paper email account). He’ll be dressed as Elmo.

  23. The list of Labour candidates is growing rapidly. So far, I’ve got:

    * Oliver Coppard (stood in Sheffield Hallam in 2015)
    * Gill Furniss (local councillor, widow of Harpham)
    * Mike Buckley (local charity campaigner, shortlisted here in 2015)
    * Stephen Hitchen (GP and councillor in Chesterfield, basing his campaign on support for junior doctors)
    * Usman Ahmed (parish councillor in Telford, apparently lives in London, applied for various seats in run-up to 2015)
    * Solomon Curtis (stood in Wealden in 2015 as Labour’s youngest candidate in the election, big supporter of Corbyn, no local links)

  24. And also Jacqueline Robinson (Birmingham-based disability campaigner, applied for various seats in run-up to 2015)

  25. My friend, author and historian Chris Olewicz, has also put his name forward for the Labour selection.

  26. I guess that for a safe seat like this large numbers of Labour Party members will express an interest. Only a small proportion of these will stand a serious chance.

  27. “Uncut also understands there are complaints about a Young Labour nomination for Coppard which has been referred to the party’s Yorkshire and Humber regional office. No vote of actual young members appears to have been taken.”

  28. Another candidate I’ve just spotted is Jayne Dunn, a fairly high-profile city councillor, although her ward is outside the constituency. I think she has a strong chance of making the shortlist.

  29. Unison have endorsed Coppard

  30. I notice than nominations for theLabour candidacy closed on Wednesday 24th. February. The interviews are on Monday 29th. February nad the selection is on Wednesday 2nd. March.

    Rather than have s drip-feed or people rumoured to be standing, can anybody suppy a list of weho has applied. One might have thought that a Labour Party keen on freedom of information wuold supply the information. Prehaps, however, this wil not be the style of a Momentum dominated organisation

    More manageablly, people will interested on Monday and Tuesday as to who has been shortlisted..

    Mind you, if the candidate is to be selected on Wednesday we do not have long to wait anyway.

    Doubtless there will be lots of chater as to who has been shortlisted/selected and why, with reference to the current splits within Labour.

  31. No party ever provides more information than who makes the shortlist.

  32. Labour’s NEC did its shortlisting today. Anyone know he final list yet?

  33. Labour shortlist

    Cllr Gill Furniss
    Cllr Jayne Dunn
    Jayne Lim

  34. Doubt Jayne Lim will get it but if she does she’s interesting – junior doctor and Chinese (there has been no Chinese Labour MP before, and Alan Mak became the first Chinese MP last May). Got to be a good chance Gill Furniss will get it, replicating many of the early female MP in succeeding her husband.

  35. Jayne Dunn is not to be totally written off. She’s quite well liked among members for defeating former Lib Dem council leader Lord Scriven in Broomhill in 2012.

  36. Surprised Coppard didn’t make the shortlist.

  37. I’m also surprised Coppard didn’t make it. He acquitted himself well last May.

  38. IIRC Dunn tried Heeley selection last time

  39. Looks to me like the panel were keen to have a female candidate. Not necessarily anything wrong with that, though perhaps better to make that clear early on rather than impose an AWS anyway after lots of men have applied.

    It may, of course, be that Coppard simply didn’t impress in interview.

  40. Assuming a Labour victory, 3/6 Sheffield seats will be held by women. Might get the electoral commission off their backs.

  41. I too was surprised. It may be though that as one contributor mentioned above, we might have all got a bit carried away with his performance in Hallam. After all when he was selected in Hallam I can’t imagine anyone thought he had a hope in hell and it was only when the election loomed that it seemed he could win the seat. I think the Unison endorsement might have made it look a sealed deal to me as well but this time is was not to be.

  42. It is surprising the shortlist isn’t longer. It smells a bit of having an attitude of giving the locals as little say as possible.

  43. Mr Nameless – the Electoral Commission?

    They can recommend initiatives due to low turnout, but can’t re the % of female PPCs.

  44. My mistake then!

  45. @ Frederick Stansfield

    “It is surprising the shortlist isn’t longer. It smells a bit of having an attitude of giving the locals as little say as possible.”

    How can you square that comment with what you said on 20th Feb: your warning to the Labour Party against the dangers of selecting MPs “on the basis of local connections”?

    Looking back at this thread, you’ve provided some very interesting “advice” as to what Labour should be doing. To summarise, you think the Labour Party here should:

    A. Release the names of ALL applicants for the candidacy. Not doing so is the style of a “Momentum dominated organisation”.
    B. Stop “ignoring social niceties”. (You yourself stopped voting Labour due to the abandonment of social niceties).
    C. Not select a candidate with local connections;
    D. Give the locals a big say in selecting the candidate.

    Incidentally, are you yourself local to Sheffield?

  46. Shaffaq Mohammed standing for the Lib Dems here.

    He was the councillor for Broomhill until 2014, when seeing the writing on the wall he ran up to Crookes, a marginal, and was beaten by Labour’s Anne Murphy. In 2015 he was elected for the relatively safe Ecclesall ward.

  47. James E. I have a degree from University of Sheffield and worked here for a short period afterwards, before moving away for work reasons. I now live in Thanet. More precisely, I had a room in Walkley.

    You give an interesting summary of what I said, or you think I said! I don’t recollect saying all these things, In particular, I certainly do NOT think that Labour (or other parties) should NOT select a local candidate (excuse the double negative). On the contrary parties should select local candidates providing that they are good enough – and if Labour cannot find an excellent candidate from Sheffield I don’t know where they can find one. You are quite right that I think that locals should have a big say in choosing the candidate. But it is not enough for a candidate in a safe seat to be local. They must also reach the highest national standards.

    With regard to the names of candidates, I can understand that parties may not be keen on releasing them; but equally we would like to find out and it is a legitimate game to try to do so.

    The most serious point you make, and this is a nationwide point, relates to Labour being “Momentum dominated” and to the social niceties. I believe that if you a are a Labour supporter you should simply join up. go to meetiings and have your one vote equally with everybody else. But Labour increasingly became a matter of cliques in which people caucussed and voted for their groups at meetings whatever the arguments presented. I believe that the election of Corbyn as leader to some extent reflects, and to a greater extent supports, such an attitude to Labour. There are serious issues that this is introducing sexism and racism into the Party. I think I am far from alone in being concerned about this, and that the result is that Labour is as a result unelectable for the forseeable future. And in my case it means that I am no longer a Labour supporter. The result of course is that the Tories win by default, which many of us find desperately regrettable.

    In my opinion, I don’t think that the way Labour have controlled this by-election to date is a good advertisement for a national party which very much needs to improve the quality of its Parliamentary Party, as the recent leadership election demonstrated.

    An important final point. As I do not belong to Labour, or any other party, it is not for me to offer “advice.” But I can and do offer my opinions, for however much or little readers wish to take them. In my book, advice and opinions are two different things.

  48. @ Frederick Stansfield

    You have repeatedly implied that Labour’s actions here are in some way or another, ill-motivated.

    For example, what evidence is there that the decision to shortlist three candidates here was designed with the motive of “giving the locals as little say as possible”?

    And what evidence do you have of the description you have given of Labour operating in cliques, which are prone to “sexism” and even “racism”?

    And when you state “I am no longer a labour supporter”, I’m left wondering when exactly you were. Would you care to tell us?

  49. Frederic – how exactly have Labour controlled this by-election in an inappropriate way, and do you have any evidence to back up your assertions?

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