Ashton Under Lyne

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8610 (22.1%)
Labour: 19366 (49.8%)
Lib Dem: 943 (2.4%)
Green: 1531 (3.9%)
UKIP: 8468 (21.8%)
MAJORITY: 10756 (27.6%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester. Part of Tameside council area and part of Oldham.

Main population centres: Ashton under Lyne, Failsworth, Droylsden.

Profile: Ashton is in the borough of Tameside, to the East of Manchester, though the seat also takes in two wards from Oldham council. Ashton itself was dominated by the textile industry and, since its decline, has suffered from high unemployment. The seat also includes Failsworth and Droylsden. The area continues to rely upon manufacturing, though significant retail development is also taking place with the opening of the Ashton Retail Park in 2003 and the redevelopment of the centre of Failsworth based around a new Tesco superstore.

Politics: A safe Labour seat, held continuously by the party since 1931.

Current MP
DAVID HEYES (Labour) Born 1946, Manchester. Educated at Blackley Technical High School and Open University. Former manager for Manchester Citizen`s Advice Bureau. Oldham councillor 1992-2004. First elected as MP for Ashton under Lyne in 2001. Active trade unionist and member of UNISON. Generally a low profile MP, Heyes rebelled against the government over the Iraq war and the 2006 Education Act.
Past Results
Con: 9510 (25%)
Lab: 18604 (48%)
LDem: 5703 (15%)
BNP: 2929 (8%)
Oth: 1686 (4%)
MAJ: 9094 (24%)
Con: 7259 (20%)
Lab: 21211 (57%)
LDem: 5108 (14%)
BNP: 2051 (6%)
Oth: 1338 (4%)
MAJ: 13952 (38%)
Con: 6822 (19%)
Lab: 22340 (62%)
LDem: 4237 (12%)
BNP: 1617 (5%)
Oth: 748 (2%)
MAJ: 15518 (43%)
Con: 8954 (19%)
Lab: 31919 (68%)
LDem: 4603 (10%)
Oth: 458 (1%)
MAJ: 22965 (49%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
TRACY SUTTON (Conservative)
CARLY HICKS (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 189 Responses on “Ashton Under Lyne”
  1. David Heyes is to retire.

  2. 5 women in the running for Labour selection according to MAnchester Evening News:

    Angela Reyner (Unison official from Stockport, previously shortlisted in Manchester Withington)

    Julie Reid (Manchester Gorton Cllr)

    Ann Courtney (Middleton activist, shortlisted in Blackburn)

    Jean Stretton (Oldham Cllr)

    Victoria Desmond (immigration caseworker just graduated from London School of Economics)

  3. Failsworth has to be the least encouraging place name in the world.

    Why aren’t there more comments on this seat? It’s got big UKIP potential next year and with an MP standing down might be vulnerable. All the above nominees sound basically okay except I’d question Victoria Desmond – if she’s only just graduated shouldn’t she actually spend time being an immigration caseworker? Moreover I suspect that career might work against her in a UKIP friendly constituency.

  4. UKIP won one of the Oldham wards within the constituency in May. They scored solid second places in the other 2 Oldham wards and in the Droylsden wards. They did not stand in Ashton wards.

    Jean Stretton’s ward is within the constituency (and she was up this May)

  5. She probably would do best then.

  6. On further search Desmond is doing the immigrati on casework For Brent North MP

  7. Mrnameless

    How about…… Pity Me

    It is in County Durham

  8. If you think Ashton-under-lne is vulnerable to UKIP, then you are very mistaken.
    Whilst their is an element of WWC unhappiness (as seen in the high BNP vote in 2010), Labour tends to continue to poll very well here.
    Given UKIP strength in the Oldham and Droylsden wards, along with potential in the Ashton ward, they might (might) take second place from the Tories. I really see Labour going back over 50% here, and by a decent margin.

  9. I used to live round the corner from Pity Me – used to shop at the Tesco there.

  10. Labour’s share could drop, as unlike similar constituencies the Lib Dems don’t seem to have benefitted all that much from left-leaning voters who couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labour in 2005 or 2010. I expect the Liberal vote to fall significantly, but think that any boost to Labour will be outweighed by those leaving for UKIP.

    Nonetheless, still a comfortable Labour hold IMO.

  11. (that nonetheless was meant to be preceded by a paragraph saying that I think UKIP will come second)

  12. CatholicLeft:

    Is there anywhere you have not lived!

    P.S. Hope you reactivate at the other place – missing you!

  13. I was informed there’s a 6th woman in the running for Labour selection: Catherine Hynes, a Cllr in Trafford

  14. The Labour shortlist is, well, all 6 of them

    Manchester Evening News reports Angela Rayner led the way in terms of nominations followed by Jean Stretton

  15. Angela Rayner wins Labour selection

  16. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 52%
    Con- 20%
    UKIP- 17%
    Lib- 9%
    BNP- 2%

  17. Angela Rayner sounds like a very interesting candidate, I can’t think of any MP past or present who were care workers. She’s from Stockport but it’s very close to Ashton-under-Lyne, Droylsden and Failsworth.

    It’s interesting that the seat has that proportion of Hindus relative to Greater Manchester and Lancashire. I have Hindu friends from Manchester, Bolton and Preston, but never knew there was a presence in Tameside.

  18. In this constituency, which has a long history of Labour right-wing MPs (Bob Sheldon, Hervey Rhodes & Sir William Jowitt were the predecessors of David Heyes in that order going back in time – none of them socialist in their outlook. Jowitt was a top lawyer who became Lord Chancellor & the other 2 were involved in the management/ownership of companies, not in the unions), Angela Rayner is a departure in that she is a recognisable left-winger. The same applies to Richard Burgon in Leeds E which also has never previously had a recognisably left-wing Labour MP.

  19. I have noticed that, after the swing to the Tories in the 1950 general election, Labour increased its majority in this constituency against the national trend in all of the other 3 general elections of the 1950s. I wonder if there are any other instances of this.

  20. The UKIP candidate in the Oldham ward that they won had stood in every local election since 2004. First as green, after leaving Labour, then as an independent, before seeking selection as the Lib Dem candidate who knocked him back. He finally found success with UKIP. He seemed to get about 600 votes whoever he was with and the euro elections being on the same day took him over the line.

    By all accounts my contacts in the area suggest he is well known in the area for being a perpetual nuisance having been ejected from public meetings in the past and so had a bit of a profile. I think UKIP will fall back to 3rd behind the Tories in the Failsworth wards come GE day.

  21. According to a poster on VoteUK forum this is the only seat with an all female candidate lineup at the moment:

    Con: Tracy Sutton
    Lab: Angela Rayner
    LD: Carly Hicks
    UKIP: Angela McManus
    Greens: Charlotte Hughes

  22. Labour Hold. 11,000 majority.

  23. Angela Rayner has announced she has been appointed the new Shadow Secretary for Education ( replacing Pat Glass). She will also continue as shadow minister for women and Equalities which she was appointed to earlier this week.

  24. I couldn’t believe my ears hearing Angela Rayner un-ironically quoting Tony Blair this afternoon. Isn’t he meant to be a neoliberal warmongering traitor?

  25. Carrying on from the discussion on the Norwich South thread about Clive Lewis’s speech and his potential future as party leader I also though Angela Rayner gave an excellent speech and also has definite potential as a future leader of the party.

  26. Angela Rayner gave an interesting pitch.

    She stated that she left school at 16 with no qualifications and is the mother to 5 children.

    Admirable that she made it to be an MP, but the former is a strange boast for a Shadow Education Secretary.

  27. ‘Boast’? I thought she was just trying to make a point re: Sure Start helping her after that? Hardly boasting.

  28. Tristan – I think you misunderstand Lancs’ use of the word ‘boast’ here, I thought it was a common enough phrase using the word which doesn’t necessarily mean they were ‘boasting’, but perhaps it’s an old-fashioned turn of phrase. It just means it was a strange thing to pick out and publicise out of the things she could have chosen. (Not saying I agree, just paraphrasing Lancs).

    Sorry to butt in!

  29. Having an uneducated person as education secretary seems ideal for the Labour Party.

  30. Coming from a coal mining family, most of my ancestors left school at 14/15 with no qualifications. They certainly would never have seen it as something to boast about nor advertise to all & sundry. Though the brightest miners often had access to night classes and day release further education via their union.

    Labour are now so far removed from their working class roots that they seem to have no idea what the protocols around this sort of thing used to be….whenever they use such things to show their supposed working class credentials they just sound phoney.

  31. Indeed. My grandfather came from a similar background and greatly regretted his lack of education (some of which was rectified in his long army career) – he wouldn’t have dreamed of boasting about it.

  32. Rayner might not be boasting about her lack of education, but we have reached such a degree of dystopian fantasy that George Orwell’s “Ignorance is Strength” from 1984 is, for many people, absolutely true.

    To many having an education secretary without any formal education is surely better per se than having some “elitist” toff, like Tristram Hunt, who has a PhD in history from Cambridge.

    The right is also guilty of this kind of idiocy. Mediocrities get promoted to Cabinet within 4 years and then get fired. [Nicky Morgan]. Gove denounces “experts”. There is a real know-nothing mood in the country.

    The less qualified, the less knowledgable, the less informed people are, the more authentic they seem. Not sure where all this craziness leads but it can’t be healthy.

    I remember my father saying that Wilson’s 1964-1970 cabinet was full of highly intelligent dons, writers, thinkers. Even though they got things wrong, there appeared no doubt that politics did attract the best and brightest… Wilson, Foot, Crosland, Crossman, Jenkins were all thinkers, intellectuals and writers of distinction. They would get nowhere now.

  33. Alternatively the best and brightest wouldn’t touch politics with a barge pole – just 70 grand a year, bear the brunt of the online revolution giving rise to keyboard warriors ready to dish out brave abuse from behind a screen.

    No thankyou very much.

  34. Peter

    Gove dissed so-called ‘experts’ on the subject of Brexit (with at least some justification IMO, although I know many other Remainers on here won’t have agreed with him per se).

    That’s not really anything to do with being Education Secretary though. Like him or loathe him, I guess we can all agree on here that Gove an intelligent and innovative thinker even if we don’t like his politics / policies. Seems odd therefore to include him amongst the alleged ‘ignorant over-promoted cabinet members’.

  35. Nothing wrong with denouncing ‘experts’ who, far from being disinterested scholars, are in fact partisans or paid advocates hiding behind an intellectual facade.

    Or people who describe themselves as intellectuals but have poor judgement and align themselves with intellectual fashions that have terrible consequences: communism, eugenics etc.

    So just as we should avoid anti-intellectualism, so worship of ‘intellectuals’ (especially those who self-describe as such, IMO) is a very bad idea too.

  36. guys,

    I agree with gove, but it was just an interesting way to phrase his point. The point he was making as that in a subject like economics or politics there are no “experts”, as there are in technical scientific disciplines.

    I was a brexiteer. I am just being even handed in suggesting that the contempt for knowledge isn’t just on the left.

    I specifically mentioned Nicky Morgan as the “over-promoted” cabinet minister, NOT Michael Gove, who is clearly a bright if slightly unhinged individual.

  37. Jason,

    I think you are right about politics not attracting top talent. but it has never been well-paid, and it’s not as if many on the left were that motivated by hard cash anyway.

  38. No-one would disagree about Nicky Morgan being pretty unimpressive I think.

    But the reason these sorts of people are promoted is because they are yes-men/women, no? That’s not a new problem in politics.

    It was probably a lot worse (in terms of MPs at least, if not ministers) at some points in the 18th and early 19th centuries for example when there were a lot of MPs put in place (often corruptly) purely to support the government or various patrons.

    It’s about power, rather than anti-intellectualism, I think.

  39. And sadly it’s perhaps more likely that women are over-promoted in an effort to get a cabinet that “looks modern”/inclusive/representative or whatever the buzzword of the day is.

  40. ‘Diversity’ is a good excuse to promote yes-men/women. The apparently brainless David Lammy would be another great example.

  41. It’s probably also the reason why the unpleasant and self-obsessed Priti Patel is in charge of a government department whose very existence she is ideologically opposed to.

  42. We can only hope she acts on her sound instincts.

    It sounds like an excellent idea to me, to put someone in charge of a department who is sceptical about it function, rather than someone who will be a cheerleader for the status quo.

  43. Lynda Chalker was the best international aid minister we have ever had, serving as minister for overseas aid between 1989 and 1997. She was a minister of state in the foreign office. She was the most respected, most experienced and widely liked aid minister Britain has had.

    New labour created a new department for international development, whose budget far outstrips that of the foreign office, thus creating a dichotomy between strategic planning (foreign office) and disbursement of funds (DfID)…it’s crazy…none of the secretaries of state in this role have had the impact, or depth of experience or commitment of Chalker, who is still engaged with Africa and issues of international development.

    I sound like an old man, but I am only in my mid-40s! Even I marvel at the total collapse in british governance and political culture of the last 20 years. Cameron with his 33 person cabinets was just as bad as New Labour in this regard.

  44. I’m a similar age Peter and there’s no doubt standards of governance have slid a lot since the 1980s/early 1990s.

    Governments now try to ‘do something’ or ‘be seen to do something’ about everything, but often deliver very little.

    I’m hoping Brexit will help in this regard – suddenly the government needs to devote a very large part of its resources to a very serious issue that they cannot afford to mess up. It’s a bit like WWII in that regard.

  45. yes, but we have more ministers, cabinet and otherwise, more departments, with politicians of lower calibre and even less experience.

    I think brexit is a great opportunity, i just have my doubts about whether our politicians will seize it.

  46. Angela Rayner is an idiot her recent article in the Guardian shows she has not the faintest clue about education. Her approach to education appears to be highly identity politics driven and completely devoid of any understanding of the complex issue of learning. If Rayner were not someone trying to stoke racial tensions or simply an imbecile she would know that ethnically Indian and Chinese students are very successful in the field of education, inner London ethnically diverse schools are performing particularly well and the worst performing demographic in the British education system in white, working class males. It does make me smile though when people like rivers (who I do respect based on his posts on this forum) think she would make a good leader because the Tories don’t even have to try to damage Labour as their membership are doing just fine by themselves lol :-D.

  47. The gawd awful Angela Rayner’s disgusting article (even the Guardian comments page unanimously hated it. It was that bad):

  48. @H.Hemmelig I accept I know much less about industry than you but don’t you think we should be concerned about the environment? Don’t you think that releasing tons of uncontrolled greenhouse gases into the atmosphere isn’t a great idea? The main issue I would like to see tackled though is overpopulation which I think is the biggest threat.., Oh and over meat consumption isn’t great either.

  49. Oops posted on the wrong thread lol

  50. I think Rayner is a very long way away from being leadership material, and realistically would do go down very badly with the majority of the public. However, she does bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to Labour’s front bench, and comes with a very good backstory. I think any leader would want to utilise her some way.

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