York Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 13496 (28.3%)
Labour: 20212 (42.4%)
Lib Dem: 3804 (8%)
Green: 4791 (10%)
UKIP: 4795 (10.1%)
TUSC: 288 (0.6%)
Others: 291 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 6716 (14.1%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, North Yorkshire. Part of the York council area.

Main population centres: York.

Profile: As the name suggests this seat covers York city centre, a tourist centre with its historic walls, the Minster, museums and quaint shops. More populus are the surrounding residential areas, including council built developments in Clifton and Tang Hall (much of which is now owner occupied or rented thanks to right to buy). York`s economy was one based upon the railways and confectionary making. The railway industry has now gone, but Nestle remains a significant local employer. The University of York campus lies just outside the constituency boundary in York Outer and there is a significany student population within the seat.

Politics: York Central was created for the 2010 election, though it is a clear successor to the old City of York seat. The two York seats are an unusual case of the Boundary Commission splitting a city into two seats by creating an inner central seat and an outer doughnut, rather than splitting a town east-west or north-south. The old City of York seat was normally a reliable Labour seat, a record broken only by a brief (and extremely narrow) Conservative victory in 1987.

Current MP
RACHAEL MASKELL (Labour) Educated at East Anglia University. Former trade union officer and physiotherapist. First elected as MP for York Central in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 12122 (26%)
Lab: 18573 (40%)
LDem: 11694 (25%)
GRN: 1669 (4%)
Oth: 2425 (5%)
MAJ: 6451 (14%)
Con: 11364 (24%)
Lab: 21836 (47%)
LDem: 10166 (22%)
GRN: 2113 (5%)
Oth: 1118 (2%)
MAJ: 10472 (22%)
Con: 11293 (24%)
Lab: 25072 (52%)
LDem: 8519 (18%)
GRN: 1465 (3%)
Oth: 1631 (3%)
MAJ: 13779 (29%)
Con: 14433 (25%)
Lab: 34956 (60%)
LDem: 6537 (11%)
Oth: 1336 (2%)
MAJ: 20523 (35%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from York, City of

2015 Candidates
ROBERT MCILVEEN (Conservative) Born 1981. Educated at Warwick and Sheffield Universities. Network rail manager.
RACHAEL MASKELL (Labour) Educated at East Anglia University. Trade union officer and physiotherapist.
NICK LOVE (Liberal Democrat) Contested Wentworth and Dearne 2010.
JONATHAN TYLER (Green) Railwayman and transport consultant. Contested Walsall North 1976 by-election, Birmingham Edgbaston 1979.
CHRIS WHITWOOD (Yorkshire First) Teacher.
Comments - 117 Responses on “York Central”
  1. She is not the only candidate who has done from all parties. Would the press have cared about that.
    While I have only visited this city once I suspect Labour will get at least 45% here as the Lib Dem vote here is more Labour than Tory leaning looking at the demographics and what I saw when I did visit.

  2. I’d guess Lab in the 45-50 region.

    On a good day, the Greens could push to overtake the LDs for third place here, though I’d be surprised if they overtook the Tories who seem fairly stable in the mid twenties.

  3. It is sad that the Labour candidate was the last one selected and now the only one with information and picture. All candidates have photos available. And even if you send some to this site manager they are not added. Is this intentional? I thought this is an impartial website.

  4. Had there not been an AWS here I wonder if James Alexander would have been selected?

  5. Labour Hold. 10,000 majority.

  6. The Jewish Telegraph’s political correspondent, Jerry Lewis, is confidently predicting that Hugh Bayley will hold on here:


  7. Bald prediction given Bayle is not standing again!

  8. sorry, some typos..


  9. Odd stuff. There are hardly any Jews in York so not quite sure why this seat has been singled out. It’s safe for Labour anyway.

  10. Yep , safe for Labour-council is more interesting , but it’s obvious that neither of the York seats are changing hands this election.

  11. @Andrea Yes, that was my point 🙂

    @Barnarby It’s been singled out because Hugh Bayley is Jewish.

  12. Labour will be grateful for these constituency boundaries.

    Perhaps there was some issue with the local council as Labour suffered heavy losses there, losing control.

    All the other district councils in North Yorkshire are now Conservative controlled.

  13. l have never heard that Hugh Bayley is Jewish. His Wikipedia entry doesn’t make any mention of a Jewish background & states that his religion is Anglican.

  14. The Lendal Bridge issue may have contributed to the disproportionately bad council results for Labour.

  15. Interesting to note that Labour council in York fell to a Tory/Libdem coalition… with the LibDems enhancing their position over 2011..


  16. Isn’t it time we discussed the psephological effects of the flooding in York?

    This issue is perhaps somewhat different in York from other places where flooding fairly immediately reflects excess rainfall. In York flooding takkes places because several of the rivers taking water from the Yorkshire Dales combine above the City, which cannot cope .

    York has had serious flooding repeatedly over the years, e.g. in 1947 and 1963.. It has affected limited, not very well-off areas of the City and nobody has ever done anything serious about it. The geography of the area is such that flood defences would be difficult and costly to provide, and to be honest the only practical answer (as perhaps in Carlisle) is to compulsorily purchase and demolish substantial parts of the city.

    Much of inner city York consists of “two up two down” Victorain houses whose front doors open directly onto the seat. Bearing in mind that the design life of a house is notionally 60 years, they should have been replaced many years ago in any case.

    Perhaps we should also observe that York has huge housing related charities, relating to Rowntree interests, the scale of which is such that they have largely substituted for Government research into housing. Their opinions are questionable, for instance in concentrating on housing numbers more than housing quality. Given that the country’s housing policy in places like York has catastrophically failed, there are major questions to be asked as to whether we should rely on charitable research at the expense of adequate public funding of research based on sophisticate decision making to ensure that the inevitably limited resources are applied where they can make maximum impact.

    Further, when Cameron visits York specifically in relation to flooding, we might observe that his Permanent Secretary went to school in York. Perhaps we might ask questions about the relationship of the liberal establishment civil service to the liberal establishment charities I mentioned earlier in this post. Is the Civil Serivce adequate at identifiying the country’s needs and organising, under proper political supervision, effective programmes to meet our needs. This post is about housing, but I have recently posted, e.g. on the Barrow thread, about failures to think through needs to replace the current Trident submarines. It seems to me that there is a general problem across government here.

  17. I said on the polling blog thread yesterday that I think psephological effects of flooding are likely to limited or non-existent. After all, the Tories hardly faced a backlash in Somerset (on the contrary, they gained a number of badly hit constituencies). I don’t think people are stupid enough to blame being flooded on a couple of years of cuts which, truth be told, LAB would probably have done themselves – and which might not even have been targeted at the places hit this time. It isn’t as if the Tories tore down existing flood defences or whatever. The fact is that defences are all well and good but when you get very high levels of rain and live in a flood risk zone there isn’t all that much that can be done.

  18. In so far as there is a voting effect of the flooding, and I agree it may well be limited, it may well be Labour who get hurt. After all, the Tories have increased expenditure on flood defences consdierably, if not enough to meet the changes which are taking place.

  19. I could be wrong but I can’t see Labour being hurt by this, more likely that this won’t be a story of much interest by polling day, at least enough to swing voters. It’s difficult though to compare this to flooding in somerset, the Met office has said this is the worst flooding ever on record

  20. Matt. your p[ost is interesting but I find it ambiguous. Do you meant that the met Office think hte flooding in Somerset ws hte worst ever or that the flooding in York is the worst ever?

    Could I perhsps add that I personally find it difficult to compare flooding in the North and the South because the different areas are difficult to compare geographically. The floods in the North seems to consist of deep flooding of riverside aeas where excess water flows down from hillsides. The floods in the South seem to consist of innundateion of fens or similar low ground over wide areas.

    Of course it is possible to gain a comparison in monetary terms when insurance assessors estimate the financial costs of repairing the damage..

  21. It seems to me that the only people who blame politicians for flooding are opposition politicians who cannot resist making a cheap headline. Unfortunately this is one of the reasons that the public at large are turned off politics.

  22. Re: Flooding. An interview on R4 today with an official from Nederlands,where they have had similar problems of floodings approx 10 – 20 years ago of low flooded land. Their long term solution was to move 200,000 (I hope I have remembered the figure correctly, apologies if not) people out of flood plains. With a pop. of 14M that is a significant amount. ( Well OK only 0.14% BUT it represents a lot of money. )

    It will take a lot of political will to address this problem in this country if we go down the route of re-location of low affected areas. It will certainly require cross-party agreement to do this as it will take at least 10 years to put into operation. I fear that with all political parties it will be short-termism that will take priority the closer we get to the next GE.


  23. The Enrinment Agency seems to have made a bad mistake by building flood defences to standars that they will only flood once in a hundred years. This does not take global warming into account. Flood defences do not half fail. They either hold or they fail, and too often they are failing.

    It is quite right that we should follow the example of the Netherlands who are moving people out of flood plains. There should be a ban on housing developments less than twenty-five feet above sea level.

    It must be said that whilst I have a lot of sympathy for people whoses houses have been flooded unforseeably, I am far more doubtful about bailing out financially people whose houses have flooded periodically for many years. Many of the inhabitants of York are in this latter category.

  24. As in, in Yorkshire

  25. @ Frederic Stansfield “The floods in the North seems to consist of deep flooding of riverside aeas where excess water flows down from hillsides. The floods in the South seem to consist of innundateion of fens or similar low ground over wide areas.”

    The flooding of the River Ouse and Foss on Yor most definitley does does meet this description. York, Selby and other villages in the Vale of York, plus Tadcaster are in very low araeas nowhere near any hills. I believe some of the flooding in West Lancashire is in similar areas. All have significant flood defences that have been breached. However, Airedale, Wharfedale and the Calder Valley do fit you description, where a flood plain between hills has flooded badly, although Calder Valley doesn’t have much of a flood plain until it gets past Brighouse.

    A medieval map was posted on the BBC Yorkshire website that I canb’t find a link to, which was interesting because it showed the area flooded by the River Foss as being a lake/lagoon back in medieval times. Perhaps an example of the land reverting to a previous norm?

  26. In terms of unemployment rate – quite a good predictor of voting patterns – this is the Labour seat with the lowest rate, with the 524th highest rate among all constituencies.

    The next lowest rankings in Labour seats are Cambridge (512), Brentford and Isleworth (494), Exeter (488) and Wirral South (464).

    Source: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7592

  27. Comparing Andy’s predicted referendum results with the actual results in Yorkshire gives:

    Doncaster 8.5% more Leave than expected
    Hull 7.3%
    Barnsley 6.9%
    Bradford 5.5%
    Wakefield 5.5%
    N Lincolnshire 5.4%
    NE Lincolnshire 5.1%
    Rotherham 4.0%
    Kirklees 3.4%
    Calderdale 2.0%
    Scarborough 1.3%
    Richmondshire 1.2%
    Selby 1.0%
    Sheffield 0.1%
    Hambleton 0.2% more Remain than expected
    East Riding 0.3%
    Ryedale 0.4%
    Craven 0.7%
    Leeds 0.9%
    Harrogate 4.2%
    York 6.5%

    A clear class divide in voting.

  28. Someone more knowledgeable than me about the Home Counties would need to answer that.

    Its clear that Leave did well in the new towns and working class areas around London but why there were variations in the more upmarket areas I don’t know.

    There’s a Leave group around Hillingdon, Slough and South Bucks. Another on a line Spelthorne, Runnymede, Surrey Health and Rushmoor. And a third from Sutton to Reigate to Tandridge.

    Meanwhile Remain did better near Oxford, Brighton and Reading. And in a ‘stockbroker belt’ from Richmond and Kingston through mid Surrey to Winchester.

  29. Yes, the class and ethnic split in the Ref vote is clear when you look at the ward breakdowns, ie 72% Leave in the council estate ward of Kingstanding, Birmingham and yet almost the polar opposite in a couple of heavily Asian wards.

    It’s a shame not all councils have released ward data.

  30. Incidentally, I see this is yet another urban young student seat where UKIP still just beat the Greens (as Liverpool Wavertree etc).

    Student turnout must be dire – coupled with the fact that a higher proportion of students probably vote UKIP than WWC OAPs who vote Green.

  31. As someone who knows the Uni quite well, the greens are nowhere . Their society is tiny and was before the Corbyn surge. York University is one of the few universities in the country to have a UKIP society (Of which I am chair).Trust me when I say politics in universities is not as simple as “university votes Green/Labout” particularly as before the GE the Tories were the strongest presence on campus and in the city.

  32. It was a bit of a coup for UKIP to outpoll the Greens in this constituency at the general election, albeit by 4 votes.

  33. Oh certainly, but that was because this is one of the areas the Greens put a heavy weight -and the Greens have local representation. The Univerity of York is still not a particularly left wing university.

  34. The Tories were ahead amongst students in a few polls back in 2005 – but they were proposing to abolish Tuition Fees that year.

    I assume Tories do well amongst them in Edinburgh, Buckingham, Bath etc.

  35. There’s a hard core of about 20-25% of students who are Tories, so it’s wrong to generalise. On a lot of courses – particularly sciences and engineering – they’re the plurality if not the majority.

    However, there’s probably only a few seats where a university does the Tories more good than Labour. Loughborough is the only one that springs immediately to mind.

  36. Runnymede is known for some incredible houses around Wentworth and Virginia Water but its biggest towns – Addlestone, Chertsey and Egham – have a fair number of WWC. Runnymede isn’t on the main train line and probably gets far fewer young, affluent Londoners relocating to it than Guildford, Woking and Elmbridge for example. Which may also go along way to explaining Surrey Heath and Spelthorne’s leave votes too.

    In the last county elections Ukip were over 30% in both Addlestone and Chertsey and the overall leave vote was no real surprise.

  37. I know London universities well, having studied at Queen Mary and King’s and now working at UCL, and there is definitely a very strong left-wing bias among people I have talked to and in student politics/activism. However, my perceptions may be skewed by the fact that I have been studying on politics/history courses where I imagine people are more political than in the sciences etc. There is also a fair amount of shy Toryism (probably in the 20-25% range) which only became clear to me after people graduated when several people who I’d always assumed to be quite left-wing ended up working for Tory MPs! Admitting to being Tory supporting is hard in a university environment so people tend to not to do it. I’d include myself in that – working with people who are overwhelmingly Labour supporters, many of them members, they often seem to just assume I am too!

    Having said there is 20-25% support for the Tories, that is among undergrad/Masters students. Among academics/research staff/PhD students you are probably looking at more like 10% or even less.

  38. Possibly Jack, but then there are far fewer PhD students. What I think makes the Tories hard to spot is not that they’re shy exactly, but that their conservatism is mostly economic – universities contain very few hardline traditionalist Tories.

    Given most day to day conversation that turns towards politics does not concern economic policy, but major news issues around immigration etc., a liberal Tory (which most of them are) is not easy to distinguish from most student Labour supporters.

    If you forgot party alignment for a moment and split students along small-l and small-c liberal and conservative lines, you’re looking at maybe 7:1.

  39. @MrNameless

    Yes, that’s a very good point. As a small-l liberal conservative I can happily nod along with people tearing into the Daily Mail, UKIP, opponents of gay marriage etc.

  40. I get the impression Tory students are very heavily concentrated at certain institutions and come mainly from private schools although there will of course be plenty of exceptions. Apart from Oxbridge, they’re plentiful in places like Bristol, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Exeter, Durham.

  41. Mrnamesless, Bath is another where the Tories do well from the University. Lots of universities are very left wing, and Jack Sheldon’s experiences are typical of a London university (all London unis are exceedingly left wing without much exception).
    York is one of those Universities where the Labour party and Greens didn’t really benefit from having them. The Greens have a local presence and that boosted their campaign somewhat, particularly in some of fhe places less likely than normal to vote Green.

  42. Despite its previous radical reputation there is a great deal of Conservative support among the student body at LSE, certainly it should not be bracketed with UCL, Kings etc which are far more left wing.

  43. “(all London unis are exceedingly left wing without much exception).”

    See my post above. I think your view is too prejudicial. There are quite a few exceptions, certainly Imperial is a major one as well as LSE.

  44. I guess to Thorshammer “exceedingly left wing” means people who don’t vote UKIP 🙂

  45. I’d say UCL, King’s, SOAS and Goldsmiths (my alma mater) are the most left wing of the London universities. The most Tory friendly would be Imperial, LSE, Queen Mary and Brunel. Most of the other London ones, especially the former polytechnics, probably have quite left leaning demographics.

  46. I’d agree with that.

    I was a student at LSE during the nadir of Tory fortunes 1995-98 and yet the Tories and Labour were still pretty evenly matched on campus.

  47. I posted this survey of the voting intention of final year students conducted before the last GE a while back:


    It pretty much backs up what people are saying. LSE and Imperial had a plurality of Tory voters, while among those at UCL and Kings Labour were ahead. Loughborough was the most Tory leaning with half of those surveyed saying they would vote that way.

  48. That LSE had a plurality of Tory voters is extremely surprising. I’ve never studied or worked there myself but know people who do and their Political Science department has a very left-wing reputation, as does their Economics department. Between them those two departments cover most of LSE.

    I must say I am sceptical about the figures in the Highflyers survey, but that appears to have been a proper poll so I guess shouldn’t be dismissed. Also worth saying that the Tories appear to do a bit better than might be imagined in that in part because the left is split between Labour and the Greens.

    It may be further evidence for the thesis that university seats vote in the way they do more because of academics/staff than students.

  49. Sheffield’s political culture is really weird. It’s fairly standard to “hate the Tories” but the actual organised Tories on campus rub along fairly well with everyone else. The major rivalries are Labour/Lib Dem (local political rivalry) and Labour/Everyone to their left, which is probably fiercest.

    I suspect the very relaxed attitude towards/from Sheffield Conservative Future is because they know they haven’t got a hope in hell of winning anything, so there’s no point getting het up about it.

  50. That pretty much reflects my experience as a Tory activist in nearby Chesterfield. Labour people were pretty friendly to us (me in particular as I had family connections with Chesterfield Labour Party going way back) as they recognised we were never going to be a threat to them. Labour and the Lib Dems despised each other though; a hatred that’s almost certainly diminished now as the latter have declined hugely in recent years.

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