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. @ James E

    “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?”

    I think I recall that Frederick has previously indicated that he left the Labour Party in the mid 80s, because he objected to the presence of Militant supporters and other parts of the 57 varieties of Trotskyism being active in his local branch/constituency etc, and how he perceived that they operated on a entryist/caucus basis. I also think that personal issues politics may have played a part, as most such groups were very unwelcoming of such issues back then, because they saw it as detracting from the class based economic determinist struggle that was the foundation of their belief system.

    He seems to think the same is happening now with Momentum, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this happening.

  2. Ian Mallett’s recollection is basically correct. I drifted away from Labour in the later 80s for a mixture of reasons, some of which were more to do with my personal situation than anything to do with Labour’s politics. I was unhappy with the Blairite reaction to the “far left” as well as with the far left itself. Specifically, I was unhappy with the Labour right’s re-writing of Clause IV in relation to Human Rights.

    You might also ask when I joined the Labour Party. That is much clearer. I joined the Labour Party immediately following the 1979 General Election, when I actively campaigned for the Party In Reading West. I wondered whether to work for the Liberals or Labour, and I happened to be in a Labour marginal. I thought that Thatcher would be a disaster for the country, as in my opinion indeed she was, and that therefore I should work as hard as possible to secure the election of a non-conservative MP.

    I voted Labour in 1970. In 1974 I voted SNP in February and Liberal in October. I voted Labour from 1979 to 1992 inclusive. I voted Plaid Cymru in 1997. In 2001 I voted Labour (tactically). In 2005 and 2010 I voted Green. In 2015 I did not vote because I was in the middle of moving house and my registration got in a muddle.

    I may be in a small minority on this, but if you wanted to get me to vote for Labour again the first thing you would do is insert a separate sub-clause on the Labour consitution commiting the party and its members to pursue the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with nothing else included in the same sub-clause.

    It is their business, but I am surprised that Labour did not short-list more than three candidates for this seat when there would obviously have been more people wishing to be considered, and indeed when more than three serious potential candidates were mentioned on this site. I believe in genuine grassroots democracy, which means that I believe that local party members should be involved in selections by virtue of their Party membership and without interference by caucus groups.

    Purely on the basis of what I read in the newspapers, I am unhappy with the comparative emphases that Momentum places on foreign affairs, sexual equality and racial equality; but I do not have the resources (not least of time) to substantiate these concerns in the depth that people who have just posted on this thread would clearly wish.

  3. By definition a shortlist is, erm, short.

    To me you come across as a classic “sod the lot of you” kind of voter, full of conflicting negatives about everything under the sun with barely a good thing to say about anyone or anything. I sense a lot of bitterness about how your life has turned out, which may explain it. Given what I’ve just written I’m slightly surprised that you haven’t previously been a Lib Dem and that you aren’t currently UKIP.

  4. Maybe you are right, H.Hemmelig. And by the way if I had voted last year I would probably have voted UKIP, failing which Green.

    However, I am not just motivated by personal bitterness. In my previous note I indicated adherence to human rights as a basic political tenet. On a wider political front I postively want to see a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, and I want to see constitutional change to bring the notion of subsidiarity onto British politics. And I would like, perhaps this is a perennial plaint of the underdog, to see more openess and honesty in British politics.

    Unfortunately, standards in British political life have fallen a long way in the last fifty years, on the part of all the parties. and in that wishing to rectify this therefore does place me out of kilter with all the parties I have no apologies for in many respects taking a “sod the lot of you” approach. It is as a result of my considered view of the political situation, not a personality defect.

    You criticised me personally, H. Hemmelig, so I am repliying in relation to my individual views. I would, however, point out that there a various indications, such as the poor esteem in which politicians are held when people are asked relevant questions in opinion polls and the desires of electors here and abroad to search around for outsiders to support, such as Corbyn and Farage in the UK and Trump and Sanders in the USA, that a lot of voters take similar lines when it comes to their political preferences – if you like the “sod the lot of them” has widespread, if unfocussed support.

    Finally, if you are going to criticise me for being full of conflicting negatives, H.Hemmelig, can I ask back what motivates you so repeatedly to make critical and, in their attempt destructive, responses to my posts?

  5. Separate point. If a shortlist is being drawn up for consideration at a normal length meeting, I would usually expect it to have between about four and six names if sufficient quality candidates are available. If there are two or three names common sense suggests to me that the people drawing up the shortlist are likely to be deliberately restricting the choice available to the larger meeting.

  6. I didn’t mean to be critical or offensive.

    Merely I meant to suggest that you appear the kind of voter who is impossible to please, so you can’t be surprised when political parties give up trying to please you.

  7. “I am unhappy with the comparative emphases that Momentum places on foreign affairs, sexual equality and racial equality”

    Is that what you meant by “sexism” and “racism”?

    And weren’t women’s rights and race issues fairly prominent in the Labour Party you supported under Michael Foot in the 1980s?

  8. If we can take a pause from psychoanalysing Mr. Stansfield, Labour have selected Gill Furniss as their candidate.

  9. There was a fair bit of racism and sexism in the 1980s Labour Party in practice if not in theory.

    I know I am hard to please, and perhaps sad but not surprised if the parties do not try to please me. However, when large numbers of voters seem to be alienated from values shared by all the parties at Westminster, unless the existing parites move to meet popular opinion they may well find that voters start supporting new and differrent parties on a larger scale even than is already the case.

    We might perhaps remember that in 1966 Labour won 75.9% of the vote in Sheffield Brightside. Admittedly, in 2015 this was exceeded in Liverpool Walton where Labour got 81% of the vote. But it is hard to belive that Labour, or anybody else, will get three quarters of the vote in Sheffield Brightisde in future. We should discuss why this is.

    Incidentally, in 1945 Labour only got just over 60% of the vote in Sheffield Brightside because the Communist candidate saved his deposit.

  10. @MrNameless

    Any intelligence on how close it was? And on what wing of the Labour party she is on (judging by her website seems pretty mainstream – nothing on it that anyone from Liz Kendall or Jeremy Corbyn would disagree with)?

    Some will question her succeeding her husband so soon after his death but I’d say good for her. I’m sure she’ll be determined to carry on the campaigns he’d started on and to make her mark at Westminster in the way he sadly couldn’t.

  11. The ever quick off the mark @MrMemory on Twitter says Furniss will be the first to succeed their spouse since Irene Adams succeeded Allen Adams in Paisley North in 1990.

  12. ” And on what wing of the Labour party she is on ”

    She voted for Burnham in the leadership contest

  13. Jack Sheldon,

    My source estimates she got over two thirds of votes cast – about 200, or one-third of the CLP.

  14. Thanks Andrea and Mr N!

  15. It seems to me that Gill Furniiss is coming to this campaign with comparatively little previous background. Whether or not we actually support Labour and Ms. Furniss, we wish her well in what we hope will be a clean contest.

    Ms. Furniss’ hard but achievable target might be to exceed the 75.9% vote share in 1966.

    Mr. Nameless has told us that Shaffaq Mohammed is standing for the LibDems. Clearly he will be hoping to save his deposit, although on the basis of recent by-elections in seats where the LlibDems had little chance he may have his work cut out.

    What news is there of other candidates, e.g. Conservative and UKIP? It is quite possible that the major issue in this by-election will be whether UKIP can hang onto second place, or whether the Tories can regain it.

  16. Now that Labour’s selection process is over, perhaps one might comment that from outside it did not appear to treat Oliver Coppard kindly.

    If I can add one further thing about Gill Furniss, I hope she will not over-trade on sympathy. People, not only from the consitutency, will want to know what she herself thinks.

  17. Oliver Coppard is 33 and well connected. I doubt he’ll never again have the chance to become an MP.

  18. Without specific reference to Oliver Coppard, it is surprising how few losing candidates get elected to parliament at later elections. More specifically relating to Oliver Coppard, it now appears likely that he will have to stand again in Sheffield Hallam (or whatever seat it is redistributed into), which will not be an easy seat for Labour to win.

  19. Hallam is set to get significantly easier for Labour if Dore and Totley is moved out (as it was planned to be in the scrapped review).

    The Greens have reselected their GE candidate. Not that she’s likely to make much impact.

  20. I was under the impression that the boundary review proposed pairing Hallam with Didcot and was notionally a Labour seat. Even if the new review is different all the surrounding wards are Lab inclined and I heard there was a possibility that Labour’s weakest ward (Dore and Totley) might be removed which can only help Labour.

  21. Though the 2013 proposal was for a Sheffield Hallam and Penistone seat, so Angela Smith (assuming she doesn’t retire) would presumably be the candidate. The boundary commission may well not do that but, whatever they do, I expect it would end LD strength in Sheffield – especially as Nick Clegg will almost certainly step down.

  22. “Oliver Coppard is 33”

    How surprising. I thought he was quite a bit older than that. I’m almost 40 and IMO he looks older than me.

  23. “Though the 2013 proposal was for a Sheffield Hallam and Penistone seat, so Angela Smith (assuming she doesn’t retire) would presumably be the candidate.”

    I think Smith had a substantial territorial claim also on the proposed Sheffield North and Dodworth in 2013.
    Brightside & Hillsborough was essentially split between North/Dodworth and the proposed Central. Labour would have avoided selection battles thanks to Blanket’s retirement.
    If the same arrangements are proposed in this boundary reviews, there could be some clashes between sitting MPs if Blomfield (he’s in his second term but he will be 67 in 2020) doesn’t retire.

    Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) is a potential retirement for 2020.

  24. @Andrea

    Paul Blomfield doesn’t look like he’s in his 60s!

    Were those boundaries to be repeated I expect the carve up would be:

    Sheffield Central – Blomfield
    Sheffield Hallam and Penistone – Smith
    Sheffield Heeley – Haigh
    Sheffield North and Dodworth – Furniss
    Sheffield South East – Betts

    More of Penistone and Stockbridge goes into North and Dodworth than Hallam and Penistone. But the rest of Brightside goes into Sheffield Central and Rotherham so it is the obvious place for that MP to go.

  25. Just realised I said Didcot in an earlier post, stupid me I obviously meant Dodworth and as it happens Hallam wasn’t due to be paired with it anyway…that’s why you don’t post things based of memory, you end up looking daft.

  26. There’s been snowfall (which has settled) for those unaware down South.

    LAB win in an early May by-election. CON will be 2nd and UKIP a shock third.

    And there’ll be six more weeks of snow.

  28. Furniss is a solid, safe choice and I’m sure she will comfortably win the seat. A good target would be for her to take more than the 55.0% of the vote which Blunkett managed in 2010; Harpham won 56.6% last year.

    UKIP are bound to be second; however, holding this on the same day as the council elections won’t help them, as the seats they are hoping to hold are in Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency. The Conservatives’ best prospects in Sheffield are also elsewhere, but they won’t win any seats either way. They remain highly disorganised in Sheffield, but should manage third again.

    I’ll be looking to see whether the Greens overtake the Lib Dems; both will be campaigning elsewhere in the city to hold or gain council seats but unlike the Conservatives and minor parties do have some concentrated areas of support in the city and a reasonable number of activists who could help out.

  29. I think UKIP will be focusing all their national resources on the EU referendum and the Welsh Assembly election. I’d expect a very easy Labour hold, conceivably with an increased majority on the GE.

  30. UKIP don’t have any major figures locally, either.

    The Sheffield Greens have limited resources and use them inefficiently. It’s not inconceivable they could divert some resources this way, but with changed boundaries they’re already under pressure in Broomhill and Central (now City).

    The Lib Dems won’t have much trouble in four wards (Stannington, Fulwood, Dore and Totley, Graves Park) but will be going hard after Beauchief and Greenhill, and Crookes will be its usual tough fight. Ecclesall is not somewhere they can completely leave off either. They’re better at targetting than the Greens, so probably won’t make much of an effort. Especially given their large presence in Oldham West yielded so little reward.

  31. Rare visit from me. There seems to be a pattern in recent local by-elections of UKIP holding up quite well in the south (outside London – no evidence they’re doing anything in London) and parts of the Midlands, but doing much more poorly in the north. l should have thought this is quite a good choice by Labour and it’s going to be extremely difficult for UKIP to get that close, though at least they have the advantage of starting in second place, unlike in Oldham W.

  32. Recent local by-election results are weird. A few patterns that match absolutely nothing in national polls – UKIP decline in north, LD surge in CON-held seats are the main two. Personally I suspect it’s down to campaigning intensity and local election factors (people think LDs make quite good councillors and UKIPpers don’t) rather than any great national shift.

  33. yes good pts JACK. one reason I wouldnt be surprised at all, if UKIP finished fourth behind LD. They have selected SAFFAQ MOHAMMED a city cllr for 11 yrs and FARRON being patently Northern might help a bit.

  34. @JackSheldon I imagine it is partly because the Lib Dems tend to have a fairly good reputation in local government but it is also and probably more importantly because most of these local by elections have pathetically low turnout so if the Lib Dems can just mobilise their core activist base with a 15% (or so) turnout then it is often enough to win. The impression I get is the Lib Dems put rather more effort into council by elections than most other parties do. I would also note that local by elections are an atrocious guide to what is going on nationally, the Lib Dems were still gaining council seats in by elections all the way up to their general election meltdown!

    I can’t see them making much progress in the upcoming by elections in Sheffield and Ogmore, in fact it’s probably more likely than not that they will do worse than they did in the general election. As for this years local elections, I struggle to see them doing substantially better than they did in 2012. They have made no progress from the general election and are given much less media exposure than they were given in 2012, in fact they appear to have been completely frozen out of the national debate. Their best chance of doing well would be running targeted local campaigns against unpopular Tory/Labour councils but I’m not sure they have the resources now to target more than a few areas.

  35. @Pepperminttea

    Totally agree with your post.

  36. Deepthroat – you honestly believe the governing Party will more than double their % here to beat UKIP? Or the LDs will more than quadruple their deposit-losing share from May?!

    You’re brighter than that.

  37. LANCS – i believe UKIP will drop and I can easily see CON increasing share by 5-6%. if UKIP drop by 5-6% this would put CON AHEAD of UKIP. Also see a revival of LD so I can foresee a result like:

    UKIP have their referendum now and many of the casual GE2015 UKIP voters will revert back to their parties or not vote.

  38. The Tories won’t campaign.

    A LibDem revival in this byelection isn’t credible either. Just as all hands were in Hallam in 2015 (back when the LibDems had money to spend), all hands will be in the notionally-held wards in Local elections; none of which are within the constituency.
    The people citing the utter lack of reward for the hash-tag fightback in Oldham West are on to something; a lesson learned.

    It’s a by-election. People aren’t choosing a government – or a pragmatic/insurance kingmaker. Their idealism (or lack of it) is free to be expressed as no-chance alternatives, or simply non-participation.
    The Greens will sap votes, Yorkshire First are standing too, who knows who else.

    Seems like a Labour shoe-in, heavy majority. With UKIP as the primary receptacle for opposing opinion.
    Largely a repeat of the GE, some Tory -> UKIP movement, and a longer tail of centre-left fragmentation.

  39. Agree that any significant kind of Lib Dem revival here is very unlikely in this by-election. This was never Lib Dem territory and they’ve never got more than 20% of the vote in this seat so anything approaching 15% since the coalition meltdown is bordering on impossible.

    The Lib Dems are probably smart enough to realise (especially given the Oldham West result) that while they want to start getting deceit vote shares nationwide again seats like this will only recover when their brand nationwide recovers. Any targeted campaign will only be effective in areas of traditional Lib Dem strength where the locals are used to flirting with the Lib Dems.

  40. True. Another potential LibDem lost deposit and remember the Tories declined and UKIP rose in every Parliamentary By-election in the last Parliament in Labour-held seats.

  41. Given that the by-election, whatever the official position, will be held in the middle of the European Referendum campaign, what part will Europe play in it? E.g will there be any candidates specifically fighting on the Europe issue?

    What is Gill Furniss’ position on Europe (does she have one?)? And similarly what will the position of the Conservative on Europe be when he or she is selected?

  42. There is little evidence from polling of any EU ref spill-over yet. And if there was one I doubt it would impact on a by-election. People are actually quite good at separating different types of election from one another.

  43. Given that the Westminster government has largely put its legislative business on hold until after the European Referendum, if the local voters see Europe as a separate issue (and I agree with Jack Shelton’s post on this), what else will this by-election be about?

  44. Writ still not even moved here, so it does look like this by-election is happening alongside the local election. Saves money, I guess.

  45. UKIP select a steel trader, Steve Winstone as their candidate for the byelection.

  46. His suppliers and customers won’t be pleased….the steel industry (which I’ve worked in for 18 years) is almost unanimously pro-Remain. Though Tata and the remaining smaller UK steel producers are very happy that the referendum has weakened streling.

  47. Interesting choice. Believe the Tories are still to nominate, but we have our contenders. Now for the writ to be moved…

  48. This by-election has gone very quiet. Perhaps Labour don’t want to call it whilst they can sit on the Westminster sidelines and watch the Conservatives implode.

    What are the betting odds that the Conservatives will hold, or alternatively lose, their deposit? Similarly for the LibDems and Greens?

    I am not sure it is in Labour’s interest to delay this by-election much longer. UKIP are clearly going to come second. If the by-election gets caught up with the Referendum campaigning, UKIP could gather in a lot of votes if the LEAVE bandwagon gets moving nationally.

  49. I see that Steve Winstone got 21.9% of the vote in Sheffield South-East at the General Election.

  50. It is not all right for ethnic minority candidates to be racist, to discriminate on religious grounds or to ignore sexual equality legiclatation.

    And it is not all right for one of the larger parties to discriminate positively in favour of a candidate from a particular ethnic group in order to gain votes. from a racist clique.

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