Wallasey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9828 (22.7%)
Labour: 26176 (60.4%)
Lib Dem: 1011 (2.3%)
Green: 1288 (3%)
UKIP: 5063 (11.7%)
MAJORITY: 16348 (37.7%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Merseyside. Part of the Wirral council area.

Main population centres: Wallasey, Seacombe, New Brighton, Moreton.

Profile: A compact seat on the north-eastern tip of the Wirral peninsula, facing Bootle across the Mersey. This is a residential area that originally grew up as housing for Liverpool`s more affluent workers and around the seaside resort of New Brighton with its tower, pier and ballroom. Like most British seaside resorts New Brighton saw its popularity collapse after the War (tower, pier and ballroom are now all long gone) and the area has declined from its original affluence to become a struggling residential suburb. Wallasey village itself remains a comparatively wealthy and desirable area, but other parts of the seat like Seacombe and Poulton have high levels of unemployment and deprivation.

Politics: Back when the Conservative party used to be competitive in Merseyside this was a safe Conservative seat. In the 1950s Ernest Marples was returned with huge Tory majorities. By the seventies and eighties Tory dominance has weakened, and Lynda Chalker`s majority was oten reduced to only a few thousand. It fell to Labour`s Angela Eagle in 1992 and since then has become a solid Labour bastion.


Current MP
ANGELA EAGLE (Labour) Born 1961, Bridlington. Educated at Formby High School and Oxford University. First elected as MP for Wallasey in 1992. Opposition whip 1996-1997, Under secretary of state at DETR 1997-1998, social security 1998-2001, Home Office 2001-2002. Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury 2007-2009, Minister of State for Pensions 2009-2010. Shadow Chief Secretary 2010-2011, Shadow Leader of the Commons 2011-2015. Shadow Business Secretary since 2015. She is the first openly lesbian Member of Parliament, coming out in September 1997. Her twin sister Maria is MP for Garston and Halewood.
Past Results
2010
Con: 13071 (31%)
Lab: 21578 (52%)
LDem: 5693 (14%)
UKIP: 1205 (3%)
Oth: 107 (0%)
MAJ: 8507 (20%)
2005*
Con: 10976 (30%)
Lab: 20085 (55%)
LDem: 4770 (13%)
UKIP: 840 (2%)
MAJ: 9109 (25%)
2001
Con: 10442 (28%)
Lab: 22718 (61%)
LDem: 4186 (11%)
MAJ: 12276 (33%)
1997
Con: 11190 (24%)
Lab: 30264 (65%)
LDem: 3899 (8%)
MAJ: 19074 (41%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRIS CLARKSON (Conservative)
ANGELA EAGLE (Labour) See above.
KRIS BROWN (Liberal Democrat)
GEOFF CATON (UKIP)
JULIAN PRATT (Green)
Links
Comments - 188 Responses on “Wallasey”
  1. Yes, just heard that.

    His was via email (he lives in Scotland).

    Police said they’re investigating several ‘phone calls.

  2. I sort of get why people kick off on Twitter. It’s in a conversation format so it feels personal and it’s very quick so easy to send something intemperate in response to something that irks you.

    But it takes a special kind of hate to get to the point of drafting and sending an email, or waiting for someone to answer the phone, surely.

  3. Yeah I heard this too

  4. There was a post from Luke Akehurst in his bid to be on the NEC. He says he would rather go out with his boots on than leave the party.

  5. People predicting a split fundamentally misunderstand how Labour members think. They’re attached just as much to the history and past glories of the Labour movement as they are to ideals of what it can do, and each wing of the party considers it theirs – forgetting at times that they’ve all had an important role.

    Of course, that’s part of the problem which stops it appealing to voters – but that’s a separate question.

  6. @MrNameless

    You are completely right about Labour members and MPs being very attached to the Labour ‘brand’ and history and not wanting a split. But there surely become a point, possibly not for another couple of years, where it becomes inevitable. 80% of incumbent Labour MPs can’t credibly go into the next election on the manifesto of a leader they have no confidence in. And if there are deselections surely some of the MPs effected will want to fight against the Momentum candidate installed in their place.

  7. MrNameless: so what is different between the situation now and in 1981 when the SDP was formed?

  8. I actually do think 1981 was very different. The splitters then were positively enthused by the idea of a new, social democratic party and trying to re-align the political system in a way that I don’t sense even the most moderate Labour MPs are today. They had become disillusioned with the idea that the Labour party, whoever led it, could be a success in the 1980s and beyond and wanted to see it superceded. Today’s moderates can look back on relatively recent history and see Labour in government doing what they see as lots of wonderful things. They just want to get back to a position where that is possible.

    But, as I say, I think a split is nonetheless inevitable if the moderates can’t seize back control in the next year or two. And it could happen the other way (i.e. Corbynistas splitting away) if they do.

  9. Owen Smith would be a better candidate than Angela Eagle (and obviously Corbyn too). I’m actually surprised that the Labour left aren’t swinging behind him as his policies are actually very similar to Corbyn’s on domestic issues just with less of the politically toxic foreign policy stuff on the IRA etc. Corbyn’s re-election also probably guarantees a spit and even if Labour didn’t he would almost certainly crash and burn at the next election as the public has already decided he is a nutcase (-41 approval ratings are sub-Miliband) and nothing he does is going to change that.

  10. I would suspect that some of the machinations are a game of chicken to try to push the other side into splitting and losing the Labour Party tag.

    If the moderates split (assuming this includes the whole Labour mainstream rather than Blairites), then the fight betwee the two parties could be fairly even as in 1981-3.

    If it is the hard left who split, I could easily see them spinning off into TUSC style irrelevance (and further splitting as well).

  11. Rallying around Owen Smith is the obvious thing to do.

    Unfortunately, some of the Blairites are just as purist as the Corbynites in wanting to follow the One True Path.

  12. I think that most MPs, including so-called ‘Blairites’, recognise that getting rid of Corbyn requires a compromise on who the anti-Corbyn candidate should be. There is no suggestion that Liz Kendall or someone else on her wing of the party will enter.

    I imagine the difficulty in agreeing on Smith or Eagle may be that large parts of the Labour party are very keen that they have a female leader, even more so now the Tories have their second female leader. But Smith is probably the more able of the two, and also has the advantage of not being burdened by his 1997-2010 voting record.

  13. Wallesey CLP suspended as a result of abuse allegations.

  14. This is frankly getting ridiculous now.

  15. I would be quite surprised if in 2020 Angela Eagle stands as Labour candidate. She seems the most likely of all to not be selected for a new Wrial seat.

  16. Eagle CLP is basically at war with her. And Corbynites are said to be very strong across much of merseyside through Eagle is top of the enemy list.

  17. BM11
    Merseyside Momentum is utterly dominated by Wirral Momentum, don’t ask me why but they really have their act together over there. I believe the chair and deputy chair of both Merseyside Momentum and Merseyside Momentum Youth are based in Wirral CLP’s.

  18. I wonder if its the more settled nature of the place (liverpool being more student) combined with being a bit more middle class compare to much of Liverpool and Knowsley.

  19. Possibly, when I attended the Merseyside Momentum youth meetings the vast majority of members where as one would expect students from various Liverpool Uni’s while the chair and vice chair were both in their mid to late 20’s. I don’t actually know the cut off point for being eligible for the youth groups (I think its 28) but the vice chair mentioned that her next birthday makes her no longer eligible for the youth groups.so we’d need to elect a new vice chair so yeah maybe more settled and mature in the Wirral and thus better organised.

  20. And also that points to prehpas a more middle class base. Students are of course more middle class than their age group as their whole.

  21. This is the 28th ex council candidate on Merseyside to be convicted in the past decade.

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/former-labour-council-candidate-spared-11742831

    He’s the 14th to be convicted re sexual assaults/grooming of teenage males.

  22. That is an absolutely appalling statistic, which I doubt is exclusive to Merseyside.

    A genuine question to the political academics on here (Jack Sheldon, KieranW, MrNameless etc)-

    Has anyone ever done a serious study into why convictions for sexual offences – especially those relating to paedophilia, child pornography and coercing adolescents into gay sex – appear to be so much higher among politicians than among the general population? It would make fascinating and perhaps sobering reading. It does mostly seem to be low-level councillors and activists that are exposed rather than MPs.

  23. But that doesn’t answer the question as to why those active in politics appear to be so much more involved in illegal sexual deviancy than the general public. It’s possible that conviction rates are much lower for ordinary people but in this day & age I find it hard to believe that that is an adequate explanation.

  24. “Is it a power thing perhaps? Believing that due to being in positions of power they can get away with it?”

    That is hardly a satisfactory explanation for most of the cases, including this one. What power does a failed council candidate have?

  25. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/lie-detector-company-offers-free-11748164

    This old Trot is nothing if not bolshy.

    [Paul Davies is a Militant from the ’80s who BBC Newsnight found footage of from the early ’80s]

  26. HH – a friend of a friend is currently working on such a study. I’ll see if I can get hold of the raw figures sometime.

    I agree with both of you: in that senior MPs at the time (’70s-’80s) clearly felt/knew they could ‘get away with it.’

    The disproportionate number of Cllrs/candidates convicted is puzzling up to a point. Some – such as those who were chair of Social Services – may have had access and those inclined are more likely to seek out jobs which do this. However, as HH points out, most who have been convicted recently weren’t in positions of power (ex-Tory candidate jailed 3 months ago in Lpool for example for sexual assaults on boys under 16).

    Certainly for those OAPs such as him it was historic offences so the Courts are playing ‘catch up’ – and in his case he was a priest back then, so did have power of some sort back in the ’70s.

    Not that there’s ever an excuse, but it is troubling that there continue to be several aged in their 30s and 40s being convicted for offences carried out recently, ie meaning its STILL a problem in local politics. For example, Louise Ellman’s office asst was in his late 20s and jailed for sexually assaulting a 12 year old boy. Despite this, on his release he got a job at the Home Office (!) ’til a journalist blew the whistle. That says a lot for checks carried out and you can see why victims still suspect the ‘Goddard’ Inquiry may not be as thorough as they’d like.

    Max – the new/latest Chair was announced last week. They couldn’t use a senior UK lawyer due to all having links with an ‘accused’ or an org accused. So they plumped for a respected academic.

  27. Aside from his comical views, I always remember Fairburn from reading about the string of affairs he conducted and illegitimate children he fathered

    Quite shocked to see him being linked with all this criminal acivity

  28. Max & Tim – indeed. He went out with – amongst others – Esther Rantzen!

    Prof Jay was the new Chair announced last week:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Jay

    Incidentally I was only referring to those who have been convicted. That doesn’t mean I don’t believer Janner, Fairbairn et al were guilty – it merely makes it easier to collate stats.

    Plus, of course, some such as the Rev Flowers or the ex Member for Bootle were arrested/convicted of other offences (usually drugs), rather than teenage males.

    Even though the latter was arrested in a German gay sex dungeon during the Cold War and had to call (allegedly although its in 2 books) either Peter Morrisson or Leon Brittan to get him released and allowed back to Britain.

  29. Hemmelig,

    I’m quite flattered you consider me an academic rather than a recently-graduated struggling journo – but I just received my university Alumni Card so as I’ve been in the library today I’ve had a look.

    I haven’t found anything to do specifically with politicians, though I’ll continue when I’m back in the library tomorrow. However, my initial guess is this:

    To be involved with national politics is hard. You have to pass numerous hurdles – getting shortlisted, winning a selection, passing the party’s internal vetting processes, getting elected – and as general elections come around every four or five years, most people won’t have more than a few opportunities.

    However, getting elected to a council might not be too difficult – certainly there are more difficult jobs to get. Go along to a few community events, get to know the right people in the branch party, and you’ve got a decent shot at a selection. If you’re in a safe ward, you’re as good as elected.

    The level of scrutiny paid to individual councillors as opposed to MPs is also relatively low – local papers will obviously sniff around, but the bulk of the electorate won’t be paying much attention.

    Being a councillor, or a council candidate, gives you a certain amount of authority and influence, and brings you into contact in many cases with a number of vulnerable people. If you’re already inclined towards committing a sex offence, your elected position and the vulnerable state of those you interact with could give you the self-confidence and opportunity to cross a line that in a more normal job you might not cross.

    As to why they’re exposed rather than MPs – well I think it’s a combination of the generally higher threshold of quality for being an MP, especially due to the vetting process parties use, and the parochialism of local politics. An MP might have enemies locally, but in general they don’t get into the mud with council disputes etc., and they also have an ability to be anonymous in London that a local councillor often won’t have.

    Councillors make enemies, and these rivalries can be especially personal in safe areas because there’s no external threat. So the circle of people who would be willing to look the other way, or grant the benefit of the doubt in a lot of these cases is quite small.

    This is all conjecture though – I’ll keep digging.

  30. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/angela-eagles-staff-feared-safety-12049237

    More proof – as well as the NEC finding – for those on here and elsewhere who dismissed the claims months ago.

  31. I predict Labour will still have at least a 10,000 majority . Apart from the few posh bits of Wallasey, the Tories have a low base here.

  32. Whilst I almost agree with the 10k figure – the latter is demonstrably untrue.

    In fact it was in the least ‘posh bit’ that the Tories’ Ian Lewis spectacularly gained the ward – the Leasowe estate – in a by-election against the national trend 3 or 4 years ago. Though it is true that the Wallasey’ Tories success at gaining wards was at locals rather than GEs.

  33. There are some nice houses around Wallasey Village station. That is part of the Wallasey vote which only voted Labour in 1995. The area around the shopping centre is still a dump.

  34. With the name recognition of Angle Eagle, along with the almost magical ‘Merseyside’ effect preventing swings to the Tories, I can’t see this being anything other than a fairly safe Labour hold.

  35. I just spotted that the Tories won the popular vote on the whole of the Wirral for the first time since 2008.

    This has to be due to Cllr Ian Lewis running the campaign. If he stood in Wirral West they’d win (they won that by almost 20% last week).

    But the Assoc have chosen another outsider who will no doubt lose again next time.

  36. I understand that the council has some very unpopular house-building plans going on at the moment, and the results here were caused mostly by that rather than anything that might be reflected in a general election.

  37. Wrial local elections have a long history of a much better Tory performance vs general election performance.

  38. BM11 – True: although I’d put it the other way around. Wirral Tories (particularly WW) underperform in Generals.

    Only Wallasey Assoc overperformed in locals over the past decade and more, including Ian Lewis himself winning a by-election in Leasowe.

    PT – Not quite. Yes, the Greenbelt was an issue, but Wirral Council (Labour Cllrs & Officers in particular) have been unpopular on several fronts as well as Labour infighting, hence the swings to Cons, Greens, Inds and LDs. But my point was more than the Cons surge was due to Ian Lewis running the Wirral Cons for a change and if he was the PPC they would more likely than not win Wirral West. Indeed the last 3 Tory PPCs have been a draf on the vote and so a hindrance not a help to the oiutcome there.

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