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. Con Estimate
    I confess to being a it confused over your last few posts, you said a while ago that you though the Libs would almost certainly lose Leeds NW and Hallam to Lab next time, that a combination of factors along with the fact that they are the types of seats that Corbyn might not go down terribly in along with the fact they are drifting Labs way anyway probably would put them in the Lab column, quite the change of heart from those last predictions?

  2. As an aside I’ve made this point about Leeds NW multiple times but I’ll make it again, Lab wasn’t really trying very hard there in 2015, from what I’ve heard it was felt that Mulholland’s majority was too big and with Lab coming from third place it would be very difficult to paint themselves as the main challenger and win, not to mention with so many other marginal seats nearby local Lab members were actually leaving he seat and campaigning elsewhere. The fact Lab came as close as they did with little more than a paper candidate shows they massively understated their own strength in the seat and you can be sure they wont make that mistake again.

  3. But on other threads you’ve been telling us how easy it would be for the Lib Dems to be totally wiped out, and that UKIP are in a so-called death spiral and will lose half their vote. The chances of these things happening AND Corbyn going down to an 83 style drubbing are very remote, as it would imply the Tories getting 50% of t national vote share. There are about 200 English and Welsh seats which aren’t going to vote Tory under any conceivable circumstances.

  4. I’d agree with HH there and it highlights the risk of making predictions this early in that you end up constantly changing your mind every few months when presented with new information.

  5. I essentially agree with everything in ConEstimate’s last post. Very well said.

  6. As an aside Con you still haven’t explained why you changed your name?

  7. Unpaid debts?

  8. Rivers
    I was living next to Leeds NW in 2015 and Labour tried pretty hard. Perhaps someone is making excuses?

    Mind you they did have to keep delivering retraction leaflets! That must have slowed them down!

    It is true though that they should have forgotten about Leeds NW and done more sustained work in Pudsey, instead of just assuming the Lib Dem vote would break Labour.

    Btw I voted Labour in Pudsey in 2015. Maintaining my proud record of never voting for a successful candidate in a general election!

  9. Andrew
    I’m only going by what I heard and nobody has refuted it up until this point, might be bull for all I know. Indeed looking back at the Leeds NW CLP Twitter feed at the time of the last GE mentions them mostly campaigning in either Pudsey or Elmet and Rothwell. If nothing else the “get out the vote” operation on the day seemed to be massively smaller than most target seats especially surprising given Labs vote in Leeds NW largely comes from students a notorious low turnout demographic that Lab always focus heavily on in GOTV operations.

    Also in relation to this it would be very interesting if their was information detailing what each party spent in any given seat at the GE. I know such information exists for the 2010 and 2005 election so I see no reason why it wouldn’t for 2015 yet I can’t seem to find it?

  10. Con Estimate
    I’ve been wondering about this but is Morley and Outwood actually trending Tory in the same way the like of Bishop Auckland is? Looking at the local election results it seems if anything the seats going the other way? Perhaps people are reading too much into the Tory win and not seeing it for what it was? An adverse Balls effect, a complacent Lab operation, a very eager and targeted Tory operation and UKIP hitting Lab harder than the Tories.

  11. Local elections are tricky in the Morley part of the seat due to the Independents. In Outwood, both wards were decent for the Tories when they were in opposition (indeed they came very close to taking overall control of Wakefield in the high year of 2008) but have slipped back across the district since 2010. I have a bit of knowledge of Outwood as my parents almost moved there and there are quite a few new build estates. It, and Wakefield in general, is increasingly becoming a dormitory for young professionals who work in Leeds but can`t afford to live there and as such I do think it is trending Tory in the long term. I also remain convinced that the next time the Tories are in opposition nationally they will win overall control of Wakefield council at some point.

  12. Con
    Elmet is a different kettle of fish, the Tory voting rural wards in the North of the seat are as Tory as they’ve ever been but the former mining areas in the South of the seat are not what they once were for Lab meaning the seat has got better for the Tories by default.

    The only noteworthy changes in Morley and Outwood is the rise of UKIP.

    Indeed the Morley wards are hard to analyse given the strength of local independents but I believe the only party to have ever broken through and beaten them was Lab.

  13. Con
    Indeed I’d say Leeds NE/ Elmet is a better comparison than Leeds NE and Morley, I really think its too early to guess which way Morley and Outwood is going. 2015 could have just been an aberration like 2010 was for neighbouring Dewsbury. Elmet on the other hand has definitely got better for the Cons.

    For the record there aren’t really any rural bits in Leeds NE, I mean there is a big rural hinterland in the North but I imagine the electorate is tiny, the only settlement is the small hamlet of Eccup which probably has less than 10 electors. The bulk of the Alwoodley ward is made up of the suburb of Alwoodley itself and the ward does epitomise the Tories problem is such places, their vote has remained stable at around 50% but Lab have went from struggling to hit 20% 10 years ago to consistently breaking 30% these days. I’d say Lab will probably break through and win councillors there in the next decade or so.

  14. Rivers, Morley N (I think) went BNP in 2006 if memory serves

  15. You see it all over. Wirral South tends to be an example of this. Hemel Hempstead highlights this better than most though. It’s probably next to Stevenage the poorest constituency in Herts but unlike most seats in Herts that were marginals has swung so hard against Labour it’s incredible. Even in St Albans and Welwyn & Hatfield Labour are still represented at a council level but Hemel is now staunch Tory on every level.

  16. Paul
    No the Morley independents still won in 06, the BNP did manage second place that year though with 21.4% of the vote.

    The closest its been in Morley N in recent years was 2010 when the Independents won with 33.4% of the vote to second place Labs 22.7%

  17. Matt
    Lab still do have councillors in Hemel Hempstead though admittedly not nearly as many as they once had.

  18. Maybe it was South then, one of the seats definitely had a BNP councillor a decade or so back.

  19. Rivers

    I think Labour realised how pear shaped things were going in Pudsey in the last week and shifted resources there

  20. I don’t think you can describe Hallam as rural in the sense that Witney is rural, but it does contain large areas of empty space and a very large urban wood (Ecclesall Woods) which effectively separates Dore and Totley from Ecclesall. I imagine older Dore people still resent being taken out of Derbyshire as well…

    When I lived there Sheffield was always known as a “City of villages” and I suspect that mindset persists to some extent.

    Leeds NW on the other hand contains Otley, where people think they are in the Yorkshire Dales, not Leeds, and there is still a significant true farm show… A lot of Leeds workers live there now though, and have turned it more Lib Dem (and Labour) over the years…

  21. BTW Morley is another place where I lived briefly and it is a pretty insular place… The Morley independents were always a bit dodgy and the rise of BNP and now UKIP is no surprise at all…

  22. Morley South 2006 – BNP gain from MBI

    I knew they’d won a councillor there at one point

  23. Yep, Hallam is fundamentally suburban. There are rural voters in Bradfield and Ringinglow, but hundreds as opposed to thousands.

  24. ”Lab still do have councillors in Hemel Hempstead though admittedly not nearly as many as they once had.”

    @Rivers well they have two which is pretty pathetic given the deprived nature of parts of Hemel… Of course you can’t expect too much from Labour in a borough that contains Tring, Berkhampsted, a variety of ruralish villages and leafy middle class suburbs like Boxmoor and Leverstock Green but the fact that Labour seems incapable of carrying even the troubled, deprived ward of Adeyfield West nowadays does show how far the party has fallen in this part of the world.

    @Matt Labour are in much better shape in Wewlyn-Hatfield on the council though and are about where you’d expect them to be councillor-wise given how deprived a lot of Hatfield and parts of Wewlyn are (the Hemel Labour party are the ones who should be embarrassed). Of course Labour probably can’t win the parliamentary seat outside of a landslide because most of the wards Labour win are at least somewhat marginal where the Tories can compete. Whereas Labour are completely uncompetitive and get blown out of the water in the rural areas, Wewlyn Village and the posher parts of Wewlyn Garden City.

  25. I just caught up with Ch5’s ‘MPs Behind Closed Doors.’

    Jacob Rees-Mogg came across well and constituents said they were impressed by his empathy during surgeries.

    Naz Shah’s casework was 80% immigration appeals.

    Apart from I spotted that Nick Clegg dyes his hair with the close up footage, there wasn’t much of note. Except he dropped a clanger as he forgot that his constituent’s father had been impaled by a train.

    2 people actually just turned up to give their political views ie they didn’t have a grievance to seek redress for at all. One was a Remainer in Somerset and the guy in Sheffield wanted to legalise cannabis.

  26. Impaled by a train jesus

  27. MPs Behind Closed Doors is the best program I have ever watched on Channel 5. From a pretty small sample admittedly.

  28. The best part was the conspiracy theorist nutter who believed that a virus spread into the HMRC software by the Kremlin had caused him to pay too much tax.

  29. Ah yes, I didn’t mention him as he said he was “a regular” at surgeries.

  30. Polltroll – you should try GPs Behind Closed Doors and the best Ch5 programme: Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!

  31. The BNP councillor was a local candidate who was well known, I can’t vouch for his performance as a cllr one way or the other but the leader of the green group on the council once told me that he found him ok-ish, not the sort of language hat you’d expect…

    The independents are basically Tories in all but name, several of them campaigned pretty hard for Jenkyns in the GE.

    There would ordinarily be potential for UKIP at a local level here but realistically they’re scrapping with the Tories for 3rd.

    Ardsley & Robin Hood could possibly have gone purple in 2014 if the candidate hadn’t been unwell and been able to campaign.

  32. Not much

  33. I don’t see why either Hallam or Leeds NW would have been upset by a Lab-LD coalition in 2010. What would have happened in 2015 would have depended on how well or badly the coalition performed. Outcomes could have ranged from Labour gaining both seats in a kind of reflection of how the Tories destroyed the Lib Dems in 2015, to the Tories gaining them as part of a national landslide.

  34. I can’t off the top of my head think what the equivalent betrayal/compromise (please delete as appropriate) might have been in a Lab/Lib coalition. But there were no doubt people who voted Lib Dem but didn’t trust Labour to recover the economy – I was one of them!

  35. Terrible for the country though. For his many faults, Cameron was far better than a continuity Brown government would have been, limping on at the behest of the Lib Dems and assorted nationalists.

  36. Unless Labour had clearly won most seats the Lib Dems would still have had to go with the Tories or face the wrath of the electorate who would have clearly interpreted the result as Labour being defeated. Clegg understood this well though many in his party refused to listen.

  37. HH
    “Clegg understood this well though many in his party refused to listen”

    That’s not quite true, almost all Lib Dem MP’s where in favour of coalition with the Tories, not saying it was their first choice but when they saw that’s all that was on offer they were happy to go along, only a couple (Kennedy and Teather most notably) refused to endorse it period.

    As for the Lib Dem grassroots and their ex voters I can speak with some experience here since (little known fact about me) at that time I was actually a Lib Dem (horror I know) and while many were a bit peeved with the idea of coalition with the Tories their was cautious optimism on the whole, it only imploded after the calamity that was tuition fees which whether you supported the move or not was plain suicidal on the Libs behalf, Clegg HAD to make that his red line but for whatever reason he didn’t and he paid the price. That was the point their poll ratings collapsed and the point I and countless others left never to return.

  38. As a Tory voter I would have accepted abolishing tuition fees, in exchange for clamping down on people studying media studies as mickey mouse polytechnic. Do you think the Lib Dems would have accepted such a compromise? IMO the current situation is disgraceful.

  39. HH
    You’d have to examine the details and be very careful but honestly I wouldn’t be opposed to that, I think the whole higher education system needs overall, at present its failing as an education system its purpose these days seems to be very finance oriented and if you believe the rumours about privatisation of universities then it all starts to make sense.

    One of many areas that was floundering, the Tories have made massively worse and now its probably too far gone so we need to hit the reset button and re-design the system from the ground up.

  40. CE,
    I am struggling to imagine what sort of demographic change would snatch Hallam away from the Lib Dems!

    Boundary changes and the law of gravity that affects all Lib Dem seats, perhaps. But I would say the middle classes of Sheffield concentrated into Sheffield Hallam back when I still lived there in the late 70’s and 80’s and I doubt there has been a big change since, other than the growth of student housing in parts of the seat..

  41. Well the problem for the Lib Dems is there are very few naturally Lib Dem seats in the way there are many naturally Tory or naturally Labour seats. Lib Dem strength tends to be in most places based on either strong community campaigns or playing different parts of the electorate off against each other (i.e. vote for us as we’re the only party who can beat the Tories etc.) The original Lib Dem strength in Hallam is largely based on them being able to coalesce the anti-Tory opposition in the seat in a disastrous Tory year as the Tories went into terminal demographic decline in the seat. Now Labour is clearly the opposition and wards like Crookes and Crosspool are only becoming more Labour friendly by the year the Lib Dems will have to keep squeezing the Tory vote lower and lower in order to hold beyond the unprecedented squeeze Clegg was able to pull off last year. While I think the Lib Dems will hold next time especially if Labour is still in a state I think it’s only a matter of time before they take Hallam when they are doing well nationally.

  42. Yes Conservative estimate so smart: between 2010-15 around 4,000 Tory voters died in Sheffield Hallam……

  43. I actually see this as one of a handful of seats which seems like it should ‘naturally’ be Lib Dem. Others off the top of my head are Cambridge and Bath (yes, I know they don’t hold them!). It doesn’t seem like a Labour seat at all. Fundamentally, the only good ward for them is Crookes. While they can take Stannington (as they probably did in 2015, but only by around 20 votes) and possibly Ecclesall on the new boundaries, the simple fact is that they will find it extremely difficult to run up a big enough margin in Crookes to overcome both Fulwood and Dore & Totley. I can’t see them going anywhere but backwards as anger at the coalition fades, particularly when Clegg steps down.

  44. On what basis? Your own imagining?

    Obviously there was a tactical element here not unlike other Labour-Lib Dem battlegrounds such as Cambridge, Burnley and Bermondsey & Old Southwark.

  45. Stannington and Crookes are really quite dreadful Conservative territory (as increasingly is much of Ecclesall), and that knowledge probably feeds into tactical considerations in the rest of the seat.

    My impression from those who did sampling is that Labour took around 60% of votes in Crookes last May (vs. about 25% for Clegg), and narrowly also won Stannington and Ecclesall thanks to a heavily suppressed Green GE vote. Fulwood went LD by about 1500, and the rest of the winning margin came from Dore and Totley, where Labour managed second for the first time ever, but against a total Tory collapse in Clegg’s favour.

  46. Notionals done by Pete Whitehead (a contributor on VoteUK) have the following results:

    Labour – 48.2%
    Lib Dem – 30.5%

    Dore & Totley
    Lib Dem – 47.9%
    Labour – 22.8%

    Lib Dem – 38.9%
    Labour – 37.4%

    Lib Dem – 45.1%
    Labour – 32.7%

    Labour – 37.8%
    Lib Dem – 37.7%

    His notionals are very close to mine, and, TBH, I’d trust his more than mine. Certainly I’d trust them far more than sampling.

  47. That all looks very plausible.

  48. Is that the same Pete Whiteheads who contributed on here

  49. I think it’s a bit up in the air and not easy to call at all, but my gut feeling is that people are too bullish on Labour here. It is trending SLIGHTLY their way, but that’s more from the Tories and not the Lib Dems (that factor was coalition anger in a seat with many students). If Clegg stands again and the boundary changes fall through, I’d expect this next time:

    LD 49
    Lab 27
    Con 16
    Green 4
    Ukip 3
    Oth 2

    If he doesn’t stand, I’d expect it to be a tad closer. Either way, the LD local strength in this area stood up throughout the coalition, they’ve had two MPs with a flawless hand-off in 2005, and only once in the past five elections have they been below 50%. Frankly — to paraphrase Mark Twain — the rumors of the Lib Dems demise in Hallam have been greatly exaggerated.

    In 2010? Coalition anger, a good Labour candidate, a Labour leader from South Yorkshire, and major anti-LD sentiment got Labour close. They won’t get that close again for a long time, I should think, barring more exceptional circumstances. Demographics may be changing to favor them, but not by all that much. Tories are going to the Lib Dems, some Lib Dems are going to Labour, but ultimately it’ll just about even out.

  50. Well, whilst I can see Stannington becoming more Labour and Crookes and parts of Ecclesall becoming more student, I can only see Fulwood, Dore and Totley and the outer parts of Ecclesall becoming more Tory, since there is nowhere else for the middle class in Sheffield to go, really.

    Personally I see 2015 as a high water mark for Labour in Hallam if it keeps the existing boundaries (which of course it won’t). They will never again mobilise the student vote as they did in 2015, and bear in mind they only got 16% in 2010, and when the Liberals were in third place they never got more than 34%. I would see the Tories gradually moving back into second place with the Lib Dem vote staying above 40%. If the Lib Dems collapsed here it would be the Tories who would win, not Labour…

    This is a strongly Remain seat with a highly educated workforce, and the weakening of the Labour position on Europe will not help them here… Not a typical suburban seat at all..

    BTW sampling in a place where people know what they are doing is about as accurate as you can get, but often the postal vote cannot be sampled well (and cannot be divided on a ward basis)

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)