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Oldham East and Saddleworth

2010 Results:
Conservative: 11773 (26.44%)
Labour: 14186 (31.86%)
Liberal Democrat: 14083 (31.63%)
BNP: 2546 (5.72%)
UKIP: 1720 (3.86%)
Christian: 212 (0.48%)
Majority: 103 (0.23%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 17209 (42.3%)
Liberal Democrat: 13122 (32.3%)
Conservative: 7367 (18.1%)
Other: 2983 (7.3%)
Majority: 4087 (10%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 7901 (18.2%)
Labour: 17968 (41.4%)
Liberal Democrat: 14378 (33.2%)
BNP: 2109 (4.9%)
UKIP: 873 (2%)
Other: 138 (0.3%)
Majority: 3590 (8.3%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 7304 (16.1%)
Labour: 17537 (38.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 14811 (32.6%)
UKIP: 677 (1.5%)
BNP: 5091 (11.2%)
Majority: 2726 (6%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 10666 (19.7%)
Labour: 22546 (41.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 19157 (35.4%)
Referendum: 1116 (2.1%)
Other: 616 (1.1%)
Majority: 3389 (6.3%)

Boundary changes:

Profile: A consistuency at the eastern side of Greater Manchester, reaching from central Oldham up into the Pennines and Saddleworth Moor. It covers the East of Oldham itself, an area of deprived terraces and racial tensions, the relatively prosperous (and unusually named) town of Shaw and Crompton and the more middle-class villages and hamlets of Saddleworth.

There are racial tensions here – Oldham has a large Muslim population, concentrated in particular areas. In 2001 there were race riots in Oldham and the BNP performed strongly in 2001, getting over 10% of the vote. BNP support has declined, but some of the underlying problems remain – remaining concerns were visible in Phil Woolas’s literature at the 2010 election, which claimed that Woolas was being targetted by Muslim extremists.

Electorally the seat is an ultra-marginal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems are strongly represented in local government and narrowly missed winning the seat in 2010. Following the general election the Liberal Democrat candidate, Elwyn Watkins, submitted a petition for an election court, claiming Labour’s election literature had broken the Respresentation of the People Act.

portraitCurrent MP: Debbie Abrahams (Labour) Born Sheffield. Educated at Salford University. Public health consultant and former health authority chairman. Contested Colne Valley 2010. First elected as MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth at 2011 by-election.

2011 By-election

Phil Woolas’s election as Member of Parliament was overturned by the courts on the 5th November 2010 after he was found to have broken the Representation of the People Act by making false statements about his opponent in election literature. The by-election will be held on the 13th January, in a break with convention the Liberal Democrats moved the writ for the election. This was the first by-election fought following the formation of the coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and their was speculation that the Conservatives deliberately ran a low key campaign to help their coalition partners. In the event Labour won relatively comfortably, with polls suggesting that while the Liberal Democrats had lost a large proportion of their support it was made up for by tactical voting by Conservative supporters.

By-election result
Debbie Abrahams (Labour): 14,718 (42.1%)
Elwyn Watkins (Liberal Democrat): 11,160 (31.9%)
Kashif Ali (Conservative): 4,481 (12.8%)
Paul Nuttall (UKIP): 2,029 (5.8%)
Derek Adams (BNP): 1,560 (4.5%)
Peter Allen (Green): 530 (1.5%)
The Flying Brick (Loony): 145 (0.4%)
Stephen Morris (English Democrat): 144 (0.4%)
Loz Kaye (Pirate): 96 (0.3%)
David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis): 67 (0.2%)

Majority: 3,558 (10.2%)

By-election candidates:
portraitKashif Ali (Conservative) Born Oldham. Educated at Oldham Hulme and Oxford University. Barrister. Contested Oldham East and Saddleworth 2010.
portraitDebbie Abrahams (Labour) Born Sheffield. Educated at Salford University. Public health consultant and former health authority chairman. Contested Colne Valley 2010.
portraitElwyn Watkins (Liberal Democrat) Born Rochdale. Educated at the LSE. Financial analyst. Rochdale councillor 2004-2010. Contested Oldham East and Saddleworth 2010.
portraitPaul Nuttall (UKIP) Born 1976, Liverpool. Former university lecturer. MEP for North West since 2009. Contested Bootle 2005, 2010
portraitPeter Allen (Green) Advice worker. Contested High Peak 2010.
portraitDerek Adams (BNP) Publican, formerly ran a plant hire company. Contested Rochdale 2005, North West 2009 European election, Blackley and Broughton 2010
portraitStephen Morris (English Democrat) Born 1966, Manchester. Educated at Wardley High School and Salford College of Technology. Union branch official at Metrolink public transport. Contested North West region 2009 European elections, Salford and Eccles 2010.
portraitLoz Kaye (Pirate) Composer, musician and teacher.
portraitThe Flying Brick (Official Monster Raving Loony) Real name Nick Delves. Shadow Minister for the Abolition of Gravity. Contested Derbyshire West 1997, 2001, 2005, Crewe and Nantwich by-election 2008, Derbyshire Dales 2010.
portraitDavid Bishop (Church of the Militant Elvis) Painter, decorator and poet – writing under the pen name of Lord Biro. Contested Tatton 1997, Brentwood and Ongar 2001, Erewash 2005, Haltemprice and Howden by-election 2008, Kettering 2010.

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2010 election candidates:
portraitKashif Ali (Conservative) Born Oldham. Educated at Oldham Hulme and Oxford University. Barrister.
portraitPhil Woolas(Labour) Born 1959, Scunthorpe. Educated at Nelson Grammar School and Manchester University. Prior to his election was President of the NYS, head of communications for the GMB and a BBC TV producer. Contested Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election 1995. First elected as MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth 1997. Government whip 2001-2003, Deputy leader of the House of Commons 2003-2005, Minister of State for Local government 2005-2007, Minister for the Environment 2007-2008, Minister of State for Immigration 2008-2010. He contested Oldham East and Saddleworth 2010 election and initally won by 103 votes, but the election was later voided after an election petition by Elwyn Watkins. An election court found Woolas has made false statements of fact about Watkins, and the election was overturned (more information at They work for you)
portraitElwyn Watkins (Liberal Democrat) Born Rochdale. Educated at the LSE. Financial analyst. Rochdale councillor 2004-2010.
portraitDavid Bentley (UKIP) Consultant in the aviation industry. Former Conservative.
portraitAlwyn Stott (BNP)
portraitGulzar Nazir (Christian Party) Born 1968, Pakistan. Nurse

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 97212
Male: 48.2%
Female: 51.8%
Under 18: 25.3%
Over 60: 18.7%
Born outside UK: 6.5%
White: 89.1%
Black: 0.6%
Asian: 9%
Mixed: 1.1%
Other: 0.2%
Christian: 74.6%
Muslim: 8.5%
Full time students: 2.7%
Graduates 16-74: 15.6%
No Qualifications 16-74: 34.6%
Owner-Occupied: 70.3%
Social Housing: 20.5% (Council: 17.3%, Housing Ass.: 3.3%)
Privately Rented: 6.1%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 7.2%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide

826 Responses to “Oldham East and Saddleworth”

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  1. Very interesting – thanks Pete.
    So clear confirmation of a big tactical squeeze on the Tories in January,
    but I have to say the LDs holding not too badly –
    certainly not the collapse they suffered in Manchester Withington for example.
    I’d be interested to see the figures for Cheadle and Hazel Grove aswell.

  2. Cheadle

    Con 12161 35.9%
    LD 11833 35.0%
    Lab 5635 16.7%
    Ind 2690 8.0%
    UKIP 914 2.7%
    Grn 331 1.0%
    BNP 266 0.8%

    Hazel Grove

    LD 10694 39.4%
    Con 8977 33.0%
    Lab 5761 21.2%
    UKIP 1350 5.0%
    Grn 381 1.4%

  3. Thanks – Cheadle is still a hard nut to crack then.

  4. I suspect that Hazel Grove might be the easier Conservative gain because of incumbancy reasons.

    And perhaps also because of a slightly different nature of its suburbia.

  5. “certainly not the collapse they suffered in Manchester Withington for example.”

    Not many urban trendies out at Saddleworth.

    Although the Libdems did badly over the hill in Colne Valley.

    And IIRC in Rochdale too.

    But in Saddleworth the Conservatives have not yet recovered from Cameron’s betrayal.

  6. Yes this was a relatively decent LD performance as the LDs collapsed to third in Rochdale although they were in local disarray there.

  7. Hasn’t the old Littleborough & Saddleworth constituency been somewhat recreated?

    If so it makes Cameron’s betrayal of the Conservatives at the byelection even more unforgivable.

  8. No it hasn’t its been even more broken up. Only the Saddleworth wards and Lees remain in this seat (which becomes Oldham and Saddleworth and takes parts of Oldham West). Crompton and Shaw go to Rochdale South which also includes Milnrow while Littleborough and Wardle are in Rochdale North

  9. Notionals?

  10. I’m working on notionals for the NW Met boroughs as we speak actually, but its obvious that taking away Crompton and Shaw and adding a big chunk of Oldham West makes this very much safer for Labour

  11. I saw Shaw, Crompton and Milnrow and didn’t look any further.

  12. The female MP elected in the by-election last year seems to be very low profile. I have not heard anything of her or seen her since.

  13. Not something I fear we can hope for in the case of Harriet Harperson’s ‘mini me’ elected last week at Feltham and Heston.

    The best Labour MPs are always the quiet ones :-)

  14. You are somewhat offensive at times Shaun and I don’t see why you insist on descending into petty vituperation on this site whose purpose isn’t supposed to be a club for right-wing chaps to share their prejudices. Some of us here don’t share them. Just stick to the site’s aims which you clearly are capable of doing very well when you choose to.
    For the record, I do know Seema, she does have a mind of her own and certainly not that of Harriet Harman. I see her as being somewhat to the Right of Harman and rather more New Labourish in her politics. In general, it is silly to express a wish for an elected politician not to do the job they are elected to do as you appear to imply Shaun.
    I do not appear here to urge people to man barricades or to go on strike, or in general to further the left-wing causes I believe it. I therefore can’t understand why people on the Right seem to think it’s OK to campaign or make nasty, snide remarks. I don’t fulminate against Phil Davies, Peter Bone etc., and would appreciate it if people, while making it clear enough where their sympathies lie, refrain from ill-informed comments about individual politicians of the type we’ve just seen.

  15. I should also add that I tend to get equally irritated when some such as Tim Jones add gratuitous comments about Tory right-wingers of whom they disapprove. What the views of MPs are on a spectrum ranging from John McDonnell to John Hayes doesn’t matter on a polling site, unless they have a clear link to psephology. I hope contributors will try & adhere to this site’s policy, it isn’t fair to expect Anthony to chop things all the time.

  16. Barnaby, I think Peter Bone is probably a fair enough target!

  17. In my personal opinion, yes he is. But there’s a time and, more to the point, a place for having a go at politicians we dislike. And this place isn’t it.
    I have at times been insulting about certain LD politicians whom I abhor (there aren’t that many I don’t – it’s just a question of what degree of abhorral!). I undertake not to be drawn into such comments in the future & hope others will do the same.

  18. We all have our affiliations and it is natural that they permeate some of what we write. Nevertheless, I think that the site works best when we stick as closely as possible to psephology. I like to think of this as a collaborative endeavour. As such, I have always welcomed Barnaby’s contributions, especially on the politics of London, with which I had notpreviously been familiar.

  19. I’m joking of course. Certainly I’m surprised by Barnaby’s somewhat humourless reply. You’re usually so agreeable Barnaby. I suppose having a personal interest in Seema’s case has caused you to lose your sense of humour. If you think what I said was offensive, then I would urge you never to go into politics, as you will be slaughtered!

    You would however have done your case more good had you not then gone on to declare Peter Bone a valid target. One rule for one…

    This place is not a right wing club by any means, but some on here seem to want to turn it into a sterile debate about facts, figures and hypothetical situations that takes no account of MPs personalities.

    And others want to abuse the moderation rules so that comments against the left are struck off whilst comments against rightwingers such as Peter Bone are deemed ‘fair comment’.

  20. In the mid-1990s, before he became an MP, Peter Bone hit the tabloid headlines as a millionnaire who paid his staff something like £1 per hour. This was in the context of the national debate about whether there should be a minimum wage.

    Having first decried the idea, saying it would create mass unemployment, the Tories quickly accepted that the minimum wage should stay, having seen that unemployment did not increase following its introduction in 1997.

    I wonder whether, in these more austere times, there will be serious government or Tory backbench pressure to reduce or eliminate the minimum wage.

  21. H.Hemmelig,

    The only problem with the minimum wage is there are 8 million people of working age on state benifits (Therefore likely to have a lower disposable income than if they were in work at lower than the minimum wage).

    My point being what are these peoples purpose in life? There will be no ladder from low benefits to even minimum wage jobs if they have been out of work any length of time.

    I can understand the public sector, the trade unions and Labour party liking the minimum wage but those who are not employed in the public sector, where they have to compete for work with other countries maybe being put out of work or prevented from getting back into work because of this measure. Maybe one way of getting the long term unemployed back to work is by abolishing entitlement to minimum wage as minimum pay for the first year?

    I will also not tolerate any leftwing people on here saying it is wrong what I am saying because I have more exprience of this issue than I care to talk about. These lefty romantics don’t care that peoples role in life is taken away because of their attachment to the minimum wage. The poor are not assisted by Labour but held back IMO.

  22. I would be very surprised H.Hemmlig. Even if there was any pressure from backbenchers, I doubt the leadership would accomodate it.

    I very much take the view that the minimum wage was a risk when it was introduced but that now it is in place, it is impossible to remove. Unless there were very very clear economic evidence that it was damaging (which there isn’t) then the political fall out of abolishing it would be simply too great for those that did it.

    This is another reason I’m surprised Cameron was so enthusiastic to be seen as the Prime Minister that wants to reduce working peoples rights and conditions at work. Given all we hear about his desire to ‘detoxify’ the party and given his own background from the privileged elite, it seems to me he is playing into Labour’s hands by seeking to hit peoples working conditions. But hey, I suppose he doesn’t mind retoxifying the brand so long as its one of his own pet projects?

    I’m surprised by what has been said for another reason however; given the debate on the Cannock Chase thread in which we are told that what MPs got up to before they were elected is irrelevant (at least it seems in the case of Mr Balls) I’m surprised some of those same people take a different line when it comes to Mr Bone.

  23. I think many people would think EB’s nazi dressing up wasnt acceptable at all. 21 years old is not a child

  24. Anyone who knows me personally would tell you that I am anything but humourless. I am a joketeller & occasional impersonator (I do the Rev Ian Paisley, Tony Blair – well, sort of – ,Harold Wilson, Gerry Adams and, from our pasts, Eddie Waring pretty well), and enjoy little more than a joke at the expense of my own ethnic group, the Jewish people. I just feel that too many insults are thrown around, or needless comments about how allegedly left-wing or right-wing so-and-so is, which add nothing to our analysis of how a particular constituency, London or the country as a whole will actually vote or has voted. I did say Shaun, I thought pretty clearly, that while I personally find, for example, Peter Bone’s politics pretty repulsive, I prefer to use other forums (fora?) to make my views known. I think it’s fair enough for others who, for example, think that Harriet Harman is a dangerous manhater & feminist to refrain from needless insults of her or those who are perceived to be in some way similar to her. I am not a close friend of Seema Malhotra, though I have known her for some years. I belong very firmly to the Left of the Labour Party and have had no reason to believe that Seema shares many of my views. But I don’t see why she should be described as a mini-me of “Harriet Harperson” (which is becoming a very old & tired joke). She is a successful & intelligent person in her own right & deserves the same respect as any elected politician. Far from being humourless, I enjoy a drink & a joke with activists of other parties (I have to say, mainly the Tories, though there are Greens with whom I get on well) and my very best friend is as resolutely opposed to Labour as I am supportive of that party. However, he lives in a very safe Tory seat so he can’t do too much damage!

  25. Well speaking for myself, I don’t particularly care that Ed Balls dressed up as a Nazi. Nobody would suggest he sympathises with Nazism. I just call for consistancy-preferrably that it is ok in certain situations and that people won’t be penalised for it in those situations. Unfortunately at the moment we have a status quo under which it matters for some people but not for others depending on whether anyone can be bothered to take it up as an issue, whether they have an elected office they can resign from and whether it will cause embarrassment to their political party. That is not acceptable.

  26. I hear that a former Tory Cabinet minister from the ’80s has been arrested re a paedophile ring. The late campaigning populist MP, Geoffrey Dickens passed his 5
    page dossier to Leon Brittan in 1986, naming an MP, a Judge, a Royal aide and an MI5 agent.

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