Sheffield, Hallam

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7544 (13.7%)
Labour: 19862 (36%)
Lib Dem: 22215 (40.2%)
Green: 1772 (3.2%)
UKIP: 3575 (6.5%)
Independent: 97 (0.2%)
Others: 167 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 2353 (4.3%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

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

Main population centres: Sheffield, High and Low Bradfield, Dungworth, Worrall.

Profile: A largely rural seat covering the south-west corner of Sheffield. This is an affluent and wealthy seat, one of the richest outside of the south-east and one of the best educated in the country. The western part of the seat is within the Peak District and is largely desolate moorland, stretching up into the pennines. Below that are small villages like like High and Low Bradfield, Dungworth, Worrall and Ringinglow. The seat then covers the westernmost fringes of Sheffield itself, some of the richest and most affluent suburbs of the city like Ecclesall and the more Conservative Totley and Dore.

Politics: A wealthy, middle-class and mostly owner-occupied seat this was a safe Conservative seat between the first world war and the 1990s. However it fell to the Liberal Democrats` Richard Allen in the anti-Conservative landslide of 1997 and he successfully passed it onto the future Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in 2005. In 2015 some polls suggested that Clegg could lose his seat to Labour, but ultimately he held on.

Current MP
NICK CLEGG (Liberal Democrat) Born 1967, Buckinghamshire. Educated at Westminster school and Cambridge university. Former speechwriter to Sir Leon Brittan. Contested MEP for the East Midlands region 1999-2004. First elected as MP for Sheffield Hallam in 2005. Europe spokesman 2005-2006, Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary 2006-2007, Leader of the Liberal Democrats 2007-2015. Deputy Prime Minister 2010-2015. Clegg was touted as a possible leadership contender following Charles Kennedy`s resignation, though eventually he backed Sir Menzies Campbell. After Campbell`s own resignation the following year Clegg defeated Chris Huhne to become leader of the Liberal Democrats from December 2007. His performance in the first leaders` debate in the 2010 election produced a huge spike in Liberal Democrat support, which largely faded by the time of the election, but was enough to secure a hung Parliament. Clegg subsequently negotiated a coalition deal with the Conservative party, taking the third party into government for the first time since the second world war.
Past Results
Con: 12040 (24%)
Lab: 8228 (16%)
LDem: 27324 (53%)
UKIP: 1195 (2%)
Oth: 2348 (5%)
MAJ: 15284 (30%)
Con: 12028 (30%)
Lab: 5110 (13%)
LDem: 20710 (51%)
GRN: 1331 (3%)
Oth: 1248 (3%)
MAJ: 8682 (21%)
Con: 11856 (31%)
Lab: 4758 (12%)
LDem: 21203 (55%)
UKIP: 429 (1%)
MAJ: 9347 (24%)
Con: 15074 (33%)
Lab: 6147 (14%)
LDem: 23345 (51%)
Oth: 125 (0%)
MAJ: 8271 (18%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
IAN WALKER (Conservative) Born 1958, Fulwood. Engineer.
OLIVER COPPARD (Labour) Born Sheffield. Educated at High Storrs school.
NICK CLEGG (Liberal Democrat) See above.
JOE JENKINS (UKIP) Educated at Dundee University. Student.
PETER GARBUTT (Green) English language teacher.
STEVE CLEGG (English Democrat)
CARLTON REEVE (Independent) Educated at Bradford university. Digital media consultant and lecturer.
Comments - 2,125 Responses on “Sheffield Hallam”
  1. “in this seat just as in Cheadle, it’s not demographic change which has damaged the Conservatives – it’s a political decision by important sectors of the professional & educated middle classes to switch from them to the LDs.”

    With the greatest respect Barnaby, I think you are wrong.

    What has killed the Tories in Sheffield Hallam has been the long decline of manufacturing, especially the steel industry. Even 10-15 years ago the steel and metals industry in Sheffield was much bigger than it is now. Hallam was the part of Sheffield where all the plant management lived. Today those jobs are mostly gone, and private sector managers who voted Tory have been replaced by public sector managers who vote Lib Dem.

    Only last month I was chatting with a senior manager in one of the last metal refineries in Sheffield/Rotherham….he commutes every day from Harrogate. Most likely he would have lived in Hallam 20 years ago. Its newly acquired public sector middle class image, a kind of Sheffield Islington, is not to the taste of many of the kind of people who used to live there.

  2. I bow to your superior knowledge. Perhaps this is similar to Manchester Withington to some extent then. I’m sure that when that seat was solid Tory, it would have housed many of the sort of people you’re referring to; nowadays the professionals there are heavily public sector or other educational. But I guess this seat has always been wealthier than Manchester Withington & has far fewer natural Labour voters; there certainly are some quite large council estates in Withington too.

  3. Interesting point, Hemmelig.

    We can certainly characterise Sheffield Hallam as an ‘affluent public sector’ constituency these days.

    – Over 43%(!) of employed residents work in the public sector;

    – The constituency is home to the 4th highest proportion of education workers in England and Wales;

    -The constituency is home to the 6th highest proportion of health and social workers in England and Wales.

  4. If you think 43% is a lot check out the figure for Edinburgh South! (from memory 65 or 66)

  5. Well it’s certainly way above the England and Wales average of 28.4%. And it’s higher even than the likes of Leeds NE, Birmingham Edgbaston and Wirral West.

  6. The MP here before Irvine Patnick here, John Osborn, lasted as MP here for 28 yeas before he retired in 1987.

  7. Barnaby

    On the old site you will see that the now deceased Sir Irvine Patnick made a similar post to mine, some years ago now.

  8. “I think that almost all this constituency is middle-class, not just one or two wards.”

    Crookes might very well return more Labour councillors in the not too distant future. They already have one of three seats here.

    Within Dore & Totley ward, pockets of Totley and Bradway are perhaps a bit more lower middle class but the socio-economic differences between them and Dore village aren’t massive like they would be compared to other parts of Sheffield.

  9. If we compare the Conservative share of the vote between 1992 and 1994.

    Broomhill – 42%
    Dore – 65%
    Ecclesall – 60%
    Hallam – 57%
    Nether Edge – 17%

    Broomhill – 24%
    Dore – 36%
    Ecclesall – 34%
    Hallam – 32%
    Nether Edge – 9%

    There was no gradual fall in the Conservative vote as a result of changing demographics. The fall was sudden and across all wards. Barnaby Marder is correct that it was the professional and educated middle classes switching to the Liberal Democrats, because of Black Wednesday and all the other problems of the Major government, combined with a complacent local Conservative Association and an active local Liberal Democrat organisation.

    Certainly there has been a large increase in the public sector in Hallam since 1997 but the Conservative vote had already fallen dramatically in local elections and the Conservatives had lost all, except one, of their councillors before the increase in the public sector.

  10. Thanks David for those figures, they are very interesting and highly insightful. You don’t happen to have the Lib Dem and Labour votes for the wards in those years as well do you by any chance to hand?

  11. The Results –

    Yes, I’ve put Sheffield local election results since 1932 into a Google spreadsheet.

  12. Thanks very much David, really useful.

  13. There was a Hallam ward back then? Where was that and do you know what ward(s) is in it is places?

  14. “There was no gradual fall in the Conservative vote as a result of changing demographics. The fall was sudden and across all wards.”

    Yes but the same thing happened all over the country.

    We are discussing why the Tory vote didn’t recover as it did nationally. Demographics is a big part of the answer. It remains a very professional seat but it is a different type of professional living there now compared with the 1980s.

  15. Neil

    The old Hallam ward is roughly the same as the present Fulwood ward.

    Differences being the old Hallam ward also contained the outer part of the present Crookes ward and the present Fulwood ward also contains the outer part of the old Broomhill ward.

  16. “It remains a very professional seat but it is a different type of professional living there now compared with the 1980s.”

    You might find more of your private sector professionals now living in Bolsover than Hallam.

    Easier access to the motorways being vital and the new housing estates there being preferable to much of the middle suburbia of Hallam some of which now looks tatty.

  17. ‘You might find more of your private sector professionals now living in Bolsover than Hallam.’

    Who are voting UKIP now?

  18. i think we forget that labour is a far more middle class party than it was in the 1980s and that working class turn out in elections has fallen a lot faster than the middle class.

  19. @Myth

    I agree with you and you are putting up a straw man here – read what I said on the Wansbeck thread.

    I have been completely honest about my urban middle class background but that does not mean it is easy to stroll in to meaningful/productive paid employment as some people on the right seem to think.

  20. I am certainly struggling to think of senior ‘working class’ figures in the main parties beyond Patrick McLoughlin, Andy Burnham and Jim Murphy.

  21. That’s incredible work by David Ashforth.

    Does anyone know which old wards made up which old constituencies.

    In particular the mysterious Sheffield Ecclesall.

  22. Thank you Richard.

    If anyone is interested the results since 1996 are mostly from Jonathan Harston’s website or from Sheffield Council.

    1960 – 1995 I’ve scanned and uploaded the results from the Sheffield Star, Sheffield Telegraph, Sheffield Morning Telegraph, Council Yearbook.

    1945-1959 results are from here.

    1932 – 1938 are from the Sheffield Telegraph Yearbooks, which I’ve also uploaded.

    As for which wards where in which constituencies, here is this map from 1885.

    Sheffield Ecclesall “consisted of the Ecclesall Ward except part of the Glossop Road Polling District” from 1885 and “From 1918 to 1949 the Division consisted of the Ecclesall and Sharrow Wards.”

  23. Having seen a poster on the main thread claim odds of just 5/1 for a Labour gain from 3rd here in 2015, I’ve checked and that it is indeed what Ladbrokes are currently offering:

    LD 1/4
    Lab 5/1
    Con 10/1

    5/1 sounds to me astonishingly short odds for a target requiring a 19% swing.


    Clegg’s strategy for 2015 to try and retain 30-45 seats is clearly to shore up the middle class LD vote in LD-Tory marginals while also taking the fight directly to UKIP in places such as Torbay and Yeovil.

  25. The comments for that Telegraph article just trash Clegg. A lot of them are probably supportive of UKIP and Nigel Farage and they go quite hard bashing him.

  26. Thanks to David Ashworth for those links.

    Sharrow is the part of Sheffield between Nether Edge and the city centre.

    Nowadays its council housing but for the Conservatives to do so well there in the past it must have been quite affluent at that time.

  27. ‘Interesting’ comments from Nick Clegg about Boris Johnson.

  28. Apparently this is officially a County constituency rather than a Borough one. I find that a bit surprising.

  29. What about the considerable rural element to the seat, not far from the Peak District?

  30. Does anyone know if the Conservatives have a timetable for selection yet in Hallam? They might have given up trying to this one back, after falling below 30% last time (as well as a general decline over the years), but I’d be interested about who the candidate turns out to be.

  31. EDIT: trying to *win* this one back…

  32. “What about the considerable rural element to the seat, not far from the Peak District?”

    Unless sheep have the vote here – which might explain the popularity of the LibDems – the electorate of the rural part consists of about two pub landlords and six farmers.

    Plus any wives if applicable.

  33. yes – usually whether a seat is a borough or county constituency depends on whether voters live in built-up areas, not if there are fields etc. One exception is London where all seats are borough constituencies, even those with semi-rural areas, or even separate villages which can still be found in Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner (Harefield) & Hayes & Harlington (Longford, Cranford Cross, Harmondsworth & arguably Sipson) for example. Spelthorne is rather urban to be classed as a county constituency but there are still quite a few farms & fields as well as reservoirs, with or without dogs.

  34. Here are the Liberal Democrats’ ten worst results in 1997-
    1. Western Isles (3.1%)
    2. Glasgow Pollok (3.5%)
    3. Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (3.8%)
    4. Glasgow Baillieston (3.8%)
    5. Ynys Mon (3.8%)
    6. Glasgow Shettleston (4.0%)
    7. Kilmarnock and Loudoun (4.0%)
    8. Dundee East (4.1%)
    9. Airdrie and Shotts (4.2%)
    10. Glasgow Springburn (4.3%)

  35. I’d imagine in 2015 we will see similar results in most of these seats or their successor seats.

  36. I think the rural element of Stannington ward (around High and Low Bradfield, for example) might just about justify County Constituency status, but for some reason it was already a County Constituency under the previous boundaries when it didn’t contain those areas. The other wards do contain large areas which aren’t built up but they are largely empty of voters.

    Hillsborough was a County Constituency too but that made more sense as it included the aforementioned rural parts of Stannington as well as similar rural areas of what is now Stocksbridge & Upper Don ward.

  37. Do these idiots think these cards impress people:

    Why can’t they use a photo/painting of their constituency with snowmen, robins, carol singers or such like.

  38. Are you trying for the Frederic Stansfield award for posting the same comment on the largest number of threads Richard? 😉
    I think the Clegg one is a bit more acceptable than the other two as at least it isn’t an actual picture of the family.

  39. I suspect drawing the card has been Clegg’s greatest contribution of the last three years.

    Its what the Liberals dreamed of for 90 years.

  40. From 2008:

    And 2009:

    Clegg clearly has problems.

    But then so do Cameron and Brown.

  41. I agree with a photo of the constituency idea as it will show that even though they are now leader they still think their own area and people in the area that democratically elected them in the first place. That said if it became the rule if a future party leader was MP of Croydon North I am not sure Broad Green would make a good christmas card scene lol.

  42. Richard

    What do you think of Godfrey Bloom’s card – it’s a picture of him playing the bongos next to his wife who is dressed as a slut.

  43. The Cameron and Miliband Christmas cards look like stock photos used for magazine adverts. Not sure how they have any relevance to the festive season.

    Clegg’s cards make a much better effort.

  44. “What do you think of Godfrey Bloom’s card – it’s a picture of him playing the bongos next to his wife who is dressed as a slut.”

    Unlike you I’m not on Godfrey Bloom’s Christmas card list 😉

  45. LOL

    Fortunately I’m not on it either

    I saw it on the internet somewhere

  46. “That said if it became the rule if a future party leader was MP of Croydon North I am not sure Broad Green would make a good christmas card scene lol.”

    There must be some nice old Victorian church in Norwood or Norbury which can be photoed covered in snow with carol singers suitably positioned.

    Why politicians think other people want to see photos of a politican’s family baffles me.

  47. ‘What do you think of Godfrey Bloom’s card – it’s a picture of him playing the bongos next to his wife who is dressed as a slut.’

    I have to say as much as I despise Bloom – a man who seems revels in his own nastiness – I do find that quite funny

  48. Blooms card made me giggle.

    He comes out with stupid things but I can’t help but like him.

  49. This is a university seat, and furthermore a seat whose university has long-standing left-wing connections. So the student vote could swing heavily against the LibDems, particularly given Clegg’s identification with the LibDem broken promise on student loans.

    However, the non-university parts of the seat are amongst the wealthiest in the North, and it is hard to see Labour getting enough student votes to outwiegh this.

    If it were not for the problems that the Conservatives had here in the 1980s, and now the presence of Clegg as a Coalition leader, one would think of this seat as a likely Cpnservative gain at some point in the future.
    That said, it is remarkable how many very wealthy constituencies, for instance in Cheshire and South-West London, are either LibDem or have a very strong LibDem challenge. Actually, if one looks at the original Liberal ideoplgy, back in the nineteenth century, it is perhaps not so surprising.

    In relation to the list of the worst LibDem prospects, one migh comment on the presence of Dundee East on this list, as it will be recollected that the two-member Dundee seat had a Liberal MP until 1922, although he (Winston Churchill) defected after losing his seat.

    Finally, a large majority of this seat by area is indeed moorland, although few of the voters live there.

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