St Helens North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9087 (19.6%)
Labour: 26378 (57%)
Lib Dem: 2046 (4.4%)
Green: 1762 (3.8%)
UKIP: 6983 (15.1%)
MAJORITY: 17291 (37.4%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Merseyside. The northern part of the St Helens council area.

Main population centres: St Helens, Rainford, Billinge, Haydock, Newton-le-Willows.

Profile: St Helens is a white, working class industrial town. The towns coal mines are now now gone, with the final mines closing in the early 1990s, but the glass industry remains in the form of the Pilkington glass factory. As well as the northern part of St Helens itself St Helens North includes the villages of Rainford and Billinge to the north, Haydock - best known for its racecourse - to the west and the railway town of Newton-le-Willows, the place where the former Secretary of State for War William Huskisson was accidentally killed by Stephenson`s Rocket on the day the first railway opened.

Politics: St Helens North contains the most Conservative ward of St Helens, Rainford, but this is easily outweighed by the robust Labour support in the rest of the seat. The area has been staunchly Labour since before the war, normally reliably producing Labour majorities in excess of twenty per cent.


Current MP
CONOR MCGINN (Labour) Born County Armagh. Educated at St Pauls High School. Former political advisor. First elected as MP for St Helens North in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 9940 (22%)
Lab: 23041 (52%)
LDem: 8992 (20%)
UKIP: 2100 (5%)
Oth: 483 (1%)
MAJ: 13101 (29%)
2005*
Con: 7410 (19%)
Lab: 22329 (57%)
LDem: 8367 (21%)
UKIP: 1165 (3%)
MAJ: 13962 (36%)
2001
Con: 7076 (19%)
Lab: 22977 (61%)
LDem: 6609 (18%)
Oth: 939 (2%)
MAJ: 15901 (42%)
1997
Con: 8536 (17%)
Lab: 31953 (65%)
LDem: 6270 (13%)
Oth: 1195 (2%)
MAJ: 23417 (48%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
PAUL RICHARDSON (Conservative)
CONOR MCGINN (Labour) Born County Armagh. Educated at St Pauls High School. Political advisor.
DENISE ASPINALL (Liberal Democrat) Contested Ellesmere Port and Neston 2010.
IAN SMITH (UKIP)
ELIZABETH WARD (Green)
Links
Comments - 41 Responses on “St Helens North”
  1. Does anyone know Barrie Grunewald’s age, here? He looks young for a Council leader on Merseyside. I’d guess 35? Although it’s only relative. 5-10 years ago in Lpool, Sefton and here, a third of Cllrs looked to be 80+!

  2. Billinge & Seneley Green ward by-election result: Labour 936, UKIP 442, Cons 248, Green 94, BNP 73, LibDem 52. This is a ward the Tories came within 30 votes of winning in 2008. The UKIP 24% is their first time standing here.

  3. UKIP are on fire in these gritty northern towns, obviously not in terms of winning but in easily taking second place.

  4. Very true its rather worrying that UKIP seems to have a broad appeal from true Red Working Class Industrial Towns to Little England Tory Villages in the shires. But of course by-election and local election voting habits will hopefully not be replicated in the general election when people realise realistically they will either get a Labour or Tory led government.

    In terms of this constituency I feel that in the general election the Tories have a enough of a core vote in Rainford and Windle to retain second place. Third will be much more interesting though will the obvious collaspe in the Lib Dems at a local level and UKIP may (unfortunately) garner a reasonable number votes throughout the constituency particularly in highly working class wards such as Parr and Blackbrook.

  5. Very true UKIP seems to have a broad appeal from true Red Working Class Industrial Towns to Tory Villages in the shires. But of course by-election and local election voting habits may not be replicated in the general election when people realise realistically they will either get a Labour or Tory led government.

    In terms of this constituency I feel that in the general election the Tories have a enough of a core vote in Rainford and Windle to retain second place. Third will be much more interesting however with the obvious collapse of the Lib Dems at a local level and UKIP may garner a reasonable number votes throughout the constituency particularly in highly working class wards such as Parr and Blackbrook.

  6. Forecast for 2015 here:

    Lab 56
    UKIP 19
    Con 15
    LD 5
    Others 5

  7. …That’s now both St Helens seats about to have new MPs after the GE.

  8. Open shortlist confirmed by NEC

  9. Labour shortlist

    Rosa Battle (Manchester Cllr)
    Andy Bowden (St Helens Cllr, constituency manager for retiring MP since 1997)
    Barrie Grunewald (St Helens Council leader)
    Conor McGinn (SpAd to Coaker)
    Louise Reece-Jones (Wirral Cllr)
    Mark Russell (from The Church Army charity)

    Selection on Feb 8th

  10. Interesting selection for Labour. Conor McGinn gets it over the 2 local Cllrs

  11. Yes – whereas the result of the St Helens S selection couldn’t have been more local.

  12. McGinn won 75 to 54 against Grunewald in the final round

  13. Andrea – any news on Marie in the other seat? Isn’t she due in Court?

  14. From what I hear Conor McGinn put in an awful lot of groundwork and made a hugely impressive speech at the hustings and that swayed it. He’s moved his family to the town months ago but of course there were worries from some locals but most are more than prepared to give him a chance.

    Strongly predict a Labour hold of 55% + and Second I feel will be more close now than I did in 2015 between UKIP and the Tories. A Brown’s prediction looks fairly accurate to me apart from the LD’s perhaps a few points higher as they have a coreish of support in the more affluent parts of Newton Ward.

    The Greens are trying to make ground here with campaign videos, enthusiastic young candidate etc but the idea of them making headway here is just laughable (unlike Bristol West of course). The protest vote is almost exclusively for UKIP here (too working class for Green support).

    Will probably help out when im back for the Easter Holidays but will definately be going to Wirral West a fair bit to hopefully make Merseyside a Tory Free zone.

  15. Certain candidates in this region reflect the disease of our political system, they have never had a ‘proper’ job and have been groomed to say the right things. We should all go back to basics and vote for the local candidate, who reflects our views, regardless of which party they represent.

  16. I am utterly disappointed, with your racist description of St Helens being a white working class town ,please look around and take your racist specs off there are multi race business all over St Helens and surrounding areas

  17. Labour Hold. 15,000 majority.

  18. To be fair, Brian, by today’s standards St. Helens North does seem to have a notably low ethnic minority vote, although what effects if any this has on voting behaviour I don’t know.

    This seat might be a long-term UKIP target if Labour does not do the right things in terms of maintaining a good local presence as well as having an MP who will develop a presence at Wetminster. But for the time being the seat looks as safe for Labour as just about anywhere.

  19. Brian H – perhaps it’s because this seat is over 98% White?

  20. I hear there’s an “interesting” Cllr here.

    The rumours I’ve heard are too numerous to mention; so, I’ll just state what’s been reported in the Liverpool Echo.

    Cllr Seve Gómez-Aspron, 29 (Newton Ward) has been accused of making defamatory comments and nuisance ‘phone calls to his constituents.

    An independent investigation by St Helens MBC found that he had told a constituent of his “C U Next Tuesday” in a public Facebook message, in response to her query.

    He denied knowing this was offensive, but Lab Cllrs found he had been grossly offensive and requested he apologise in writing, which he failed to do.

    They have now found that he breached the Cllrs’ Code of Conduct, but he remains a Cabinet Member.

    He only won by 106 votes in 2012 and is up for re-election in May.

    The Cllr is also being investigated by police for calling his constituents, “n*bs” and for driving without a valid MOT certificate.

    [Not commenting in this Cllr, but there’s certainly a new crop of young publicity-hungry Lab Cllr about in Merseyside. I recall them all being OAPs who didn’t know what the internet was a decade ago. Now there’s a narcissistic element, including 2 other male Cllrs in their 20s who post topless pics of themselves on social media on an almost daily basis and send my colleague press release emails twice daily!]

  21. Conor McGinn MP has said Jeremy Corbyn needs to remember that the rest of the Country is not like Islington.

    He says many on the far Left “sneer” at ordinary voters and the Left is obsessed by issues unconnected to the vast majority of the public.

    His interview is in the Liverpool Echo online.

  22. Mr McGinn should go to Islington a bit. lt has wealthy areas but is full of large council estates and parts of it are very deprived. lt’s not for nothing that Labour holds all but one seat on its council – it’s not all left-wing middle-class intellectuals and it’s silly that someone who works at Westminster, which after all is very close to Islington, hasn’t bothered to find that out yet. Quite apart from him sounding off when he’s supposed to be a whip.

  23. This isn’t a partisan point, but I think you highlight very well that part of the problem that Labour now paints itself as purely the party of the deprived. A large chunk of the Mrs Duffy vote does not appreciate being thought of as deprived, and bundled together with refugees, scroungers etc.

  24. McGinn (and the excellent report by Jon Cruddas, which said similar and was discussed the other day) is completely right about Labour’s problems.

    I agree that ‘Islington’ is often used lazily, however. Though many of the intelligentsia are based there large parts of the borough are pretty grim. In the 2011 census it had the highest population density of any local authority in England and Wales – which tells you that it is far from all Georgian town houses. Camden may be a be a better example of a borough full of middle class lefties, though even there the posh bits are mixed in with some uninviting and densely populated estates.

    The other thing is that whilst Cruddas and others have successfully identified Labour’s problem I’m not sure they really have a solution. Their values simply won’t allow them to be less keen on ‘progressive’ principles on human rights, social justice, equality etc. and genuinely tough on immigration and welfare, which is the direction in which their conclusions point.

  25. Jack Sheldon
    While I agree the solution isn’t easy to implement (or perhaps even possible) the solution itself is actually fairly obvious. You simply can’t out Tory the Tories or out UKIP UKIP, for one it probably wouldn’t work, if immigration is someone’s main gripe they will probably vote UKIP and nothing you say will likely change their mind. Also as history shows us trying to shore up your weak spots by copying your opponents policies broadly just moves the debate onto their turf and runs the risk of highlighting your perceived weaknesses.

    The only real long term solution (albeit a difficult one) is to broadly stick to your principles but using political witchcraft present it in such a way as to mitigate its damage or even better widen its appeal. Welfare spending is a great example of this and one of New Labours truly woeful failings. In the post war period opinion polls routinely showed broad public support for a welfare state and sympathy for benefits claimants, Thatcher though brilliantly managed to turn the public against the welfare “scroungers” and used it as a political tool. New Labour totally failed to detoxify welfare recipients and the notion of “scroungers” is now more ingrained than ever, a particularly terrible legacy considering more people than ever before are claiming some kind of benefits what with the introduction of tax credits etc Sticking with this example Labours only hope is to convince a large enough group of people that this whole concept of welfare “scroungers” is totally overblown and not the real issue. This will be tough, might even be impossible but acting “tough on benefits” is destined to fail in one of several ways. Best case scenario going down that route is that it temporarily detoxifies Labour but only reinforces the notion of benefits as a bad thing and thus makes Labours position weaker long term.

  26. Rivers10 – the fact that you can’t even imagine Labour being tough on immigration for example speaks volumes.

    It was of course tough legislatively on both immigration and terrorists in Northern Ireland for a period, although I realise that’s now over 40 years ago.

    HH is spot on. The fact that so few MPs of all Parties are WWC means they may not even realise what concerns voters in these wards (as we all know these safe wards even in marginal constituencies are often ignored and the constituents’ votes taken for granted until it’s too late).

    McGinn recognises the patrician socialism is patronising. One example is a prominent Merseyside Lab Cllr who spends him time objecting to every betting shop appn, as well as various others (even when no residents object). The letters in and comments on the local paper’s online version show his view is totally at odds with his constituents. Not helped by the fact that he lives 10 miles away from the ward as is often the case with safe wards on councils.

  27. Rivers10 – interestingly the polling evidence doesn’t support you re when the public’s views changed re welfare.

    It has changed but it’s the position now (78% support almost all DWP cuts) v 1995 that has changed.

    During the Thatcher period the public (55%) supported social security benefits and that had been the case since the post WWII settlement. Presumably as many knew people claiming UB, supplementary benefit etc in the early ’80s.

    Presumably it changed as even in the boom years people saw the numbers on disability benefits quadruple and there were a lot more single parents and immigrants and so on in the ’90s compared with the ’70s.

    HH is right again – in fact in WWC/C2 areas support for welfare cuts is higher than the general population (85% compared with 72%). Presumably as they see first hand those falsely claiming Motability cars and so on.

  28. St Helens has voted 58% Leave.

  29. I suspect we’ll see one of these every few days until the leadership contest.

  30. Conor McGinn has resigned as a Labour Whip, along with another Whip. He cited a young family but both were also close to the Opposition Chief Whip who was sacked.

    [I cringed when I heard a supposed political expert twice referring to him as a “Shadow Whip”]

  31. Cllr Barrie Grunewald (St Helens Council Leader, 2nd her for the nomination and tipped for the other seat if Marie Rimmer is convicted) is now out of his induced coma, in the Canary Islands.

  32. What happened to him? Seems to happen a lot in the Canaries due to the prevalence of high-risk sports. One of my ex-colleagues from when I worked in Oslo had a paragliding accident in Tenerife not long ago and nearly died.

  33. A heart attack apparently.

    Only 37, but he is obese (not a criticism just a fact) and was stressed as his Mum had recently died – hence the holiday to get away for a break.

  34. The son of Merseyside’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has been jailed for sexually assaulting a sleeping woman.

    Cllr Sue Murphy (Billinge & Senely Green ward) supported her son from the public gallery as he pleaded not guilty and claimed the victim had consented after he gave her cocaine.

    She was unavailable for comment after the verdict.

  35. Stuff like this is why we need proper Sex Ed in this country.

  36. To be honest I would have thought “don’t rape people” is a sufficiently simple message that it wouldn’t require dedicated syllabus space. But I do agree that sex ed in this country is in dire need of modernisation.

  37. Polltroll
    “To be honest I would have thought “don’t rape people” is a sufficiently simple message that it wouldn’t require dedicated syllabus space”

    You’d hope/think so but I think we all have to admit that we know/knew people who would probably take George Galloway’s line that “its not rape its bad sexual etiquette”

  38. Tom Morrison is the Lib Dem candidate.

  39. A parish Cllr has escaped jail after admitting filming men in cubicles in public toilets at St Helens Council.

    Paul Murphy-Wade was also employed by the Council as an online development officer, as well as being Chair of Governors at a Primary School.

    Cllr Murphy-Wade has also stepped down as vice-chair of the parish council after receiving 140 hours of community service, being fined £420 and being ordered to attend a sex offenders programme.

    His civil partner who is a primary school teacher said he was unaware of his activities.

    * Whilst apparently a friend of Matt Sephton (both from Billinge originally), this was not the Cllr I was alluding to where the NCA investigations are ongoing.

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