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. 18% Turnout was even lower than last year’s.

  2. Ashton Waterloo by-election, 06.09.18:

    Labour 889
    Green 448
    Conservative 357

    9% swing from Labour to the Greens.

    Even Labour described it as a “difficult” by-election. Their candidate had to be dropped and changed at the last minute, after it was discovered she owed Council Tax.

  3. Moderately big policy announcement which people may have missed: Labour planning to scrap SATs for primary schools:

  4. Quite big news – wasn’t breifed out before it was announced which was one of the reasons it was missed (along with a lot of journalists taking an holiday.)

  5. I don’t have dog in the fight, but it occurs to me that Angela Rayner would be by far the most sensible person for Labour to make their next leader if they’re at all serious about winning elections.

    They need to do two things: heal internal divisions between Corbynites and Corbyn-sceptics (for want of better descriptors); and appeal to working-class northerners. Well, Rayner is one of the few people in the party equally comfortable defending Corbyn and Blair; and she has the sort of backstory voters can connect with.

  6. Have to do all to avoid a split. Need to look very long term There’s a very good chance Johnson will still be PM in three GEs from now.

  7. The Lib Dems will be hoping for Long Bailey as she might allow them a way back with middle class 2019 labour voters.

  8. You Gov says Rayner will become Labour’s deputy with 57% in the first round.

  9. Imagine RLB and Rayner as leader and deputy.


    The Labour party would be like a far-fetched episode of Corrie.

    Rayner as deputy to Starmer, perhaps in a kind of Prescott role, would clearly work much much better.

  10. Angela Rayner is the new depuyt leader of the Labour Party

    Round 1

    Rayner 41.9%
    Burgon 17.3%
    Allin Khan 16.9%
    Murray 13.3%
    Butler 10.9%

    Round 2

    Rayner 46.5%
    Burgon 19.66%
    Allin Khan 19.52%
    Murray 14.32%

    Round 3

    Rayner 52.6%
    Allin Khan 26.1%
    Burgon 21.3%

  11. Burgons poor showing illustrates to extent to which Labour and presumably an awful lot of Corbynites have accepted that they have to get real and have a leaders who are electable and liked and who are willing to soften some of the hardcore policies and rhetoric.

  12. Sir Keir has made a good and brave start by sacking those like Burgon who plainly aren’t up to the job.

    My view of Rayner isn’t high but I suppose she could play a Prescott kind of role.

  13. Rayner is one of the few Labour MPs – and perhaps the most high-profile one – who is held in equally high regard by all the different factions. I couldn’t think of a candidate better suited to the job of stitching the party back together again.

  14. ‘Rayner is one of the few Labour MPs who is held in equally high regard by all the different faction’

    Is she?

    I’ve never really understood the hype surrounding Rayner – much like I didn’t understand that surrounding Theresa May when she got hastily promoted to the front bench not long after getting elected in 1997

    I guess she now has the ideal opportunity to prove whether or not she’s up to it

  15. Labour should support the teachers Unions.

    The big private fee paying, tax payer funded schools are to remain closed till September.

    Yes, state schools should reopen for all children…when we have private schools, like Eton, reopen; MPs are back crowded together on the green benches & when Peers are back crowded together in the House of Lords.

  16. Private schools have shorter school years (in part due to longer school days) and so finish early anyway.

    In my area (Sefton MBC) are to open (not re-open as they never actually closed contrary to bleats by a nearby City Mayor) on June 15th which is a sensible compromise.

    I understand Gove gave them 3 choices and unions aren’t keen on the 1 month of primary education eating into their long Summer break!

    MPs are of course now returning on June 2nd (again they have been in for the past 3 weeks with social distancing).

    Even no-GCSEs Rayner isn’t backing the union formerly known as the NUTters!

  17. As far as I’m aware despite Tom Harris attempt in the Telegraph to convince Starmer to throw the NEU under the bus, the party are supporting the NEUs five targets for reopening. I signed a petition the party have been circulating to suport the NEUs five targets.

    I’m not entirely sure why this is the hill the government have decided to die on. Until now they’ve rode a wave of unity and even weathered the PPE criticism. Now they’re beginning to slip with Starmers favourable ratings out polling Boris, the government’s favourable ratings falling into negative territory and the tories lead over leader falling too.

    The government could have sailed through without a problem but for some reason they’ve decided that certain year groups picked for no obvious reason must go back within weeks only to finish a few weeks later.

  18. They are, but the other unions and now even Labour councils aren’t. 80% are returning in June.

    Nursery, reception, year 1 were chosen for the very obvious reason they are the youngest and so always need childcare and so them being off would have conflicted with parents returning to work.

    Year 6 were chosen as they go to secondary school in September.

  19. But that’s rubbish. I was talking to my sister and her wife who are secondary school teachers and they’ve said there is no benefit for year 6 going back now. They won’t be doing anything now that will support their transition to secondary school

  20. It’s simply a fact. Indeed not having them in next month would have meant a 6 month gap without contact time in primary schools.

    Although you’re right that secondary teachers usually enjoy a jolly in these months of May, June and July. Indeed many secondary teachers have very little to do, as those sitting GCSEs and A Levels are off and only come in to sit exams and even that won’t happen this year.

  21. Don’t be a muppet. My sister works solidly every day up at 6am finishing at 10pm, weekends too. Teachers don’t go on their jollys

  22. In June & July?! Doing what precisely?

    The problem, of course is hypocrisy. If it were a principled stance by Labour or the SNP, they’d say don’t re-open per se. But no: Labour councils have said no to 1st June but yes to 15th June.

    Sturgeon has managed to annoy both sides by opening in mid August, 10 days earlier than normal when some have holidays booked.

  23. she’s up at 6 to get work for 7, she works through her lunch breaks, she runs after school clubs and attends meetings. When she gets home she marks papers until bedtime. This is every day until weekends when she marks home work ready for Monday.

    At the end of every term she is ill because she drives herself into the ground.

    As far as I am aware there are a total of 68 councils that won’t be reopening schools June 1st. Not all of them are Labour councils. I understand East Riding won’t be reopening schools on June 1st and it’s a Tory council

  24. Worth also considering the perspective of parents on this. Many parents – probably millions, will not be sending their children back to school. Will this be recorded as official truancy, I wonder?

    Matt, obviously the way the state treats your sister is wrong. Nobody should be working those hours, and certainly not at that pay grade. Nevertheless, the opening of schools is a separate issue. Ultimately, the science of whether it is safe/how it can be made safe/what that will cost is something beyond my knowledge. I’m no epidemiologist.

    Of course neither are 99.9% of us. In a situation, humans rely on elite cues for information – sources of authority that they can trust both to have the correct understanding, and not to be deceitful. Until a few days ago that would have been the British government. Now, God knows…

  25. Matt Wilson – you missed the point entirely.

    In May, June and July secondary teachers have 40% less contact time ie teaching actual lessons, because GCSE and A level students are at home revising for exams. So the suggestion that she’s somehow doing 14 hour days is patently false, unless you think 3 or 4 x 1 h r gaps in the same qualifies as anything longer than anyone else during an 8 hour shift at work.

    It’s admirable if she volunteers to run clubs, although again the facts are that most breakfast and after school clubs are privately run by firms and not by teachers of the schools they serve. Which is in part why they are not taking place now in hubs.

    So I specifically referring to the jolly they enjoy at this time of year.

    But if you want examples of them going on jollys at taxpayers’ expense I can cite plenty of those too – which is why I always take with a pinch of salt the cries of austerity, given how 4 schools in Lpool decided it was a good idea to go for a Spa Day.

  26. PT – no, parents won’t be fined.

    I actually suggested to Williamson & Gove that City Mayors should be levied with the cumulative fines of all parents, if they literally prevent all schools opening in their authority.

    It won’t be “millions” either who are refusing, given that only 200k are expected to return out of 600k eligible in the first cohort.

    The medical and scientific officers have been clear – as are the numbers – that under 10s are the safest age group. So feel free to keep them off (as I’m all for parental choice), but it will essentially be an irrational decision to do so.

    As I said, 80% of authorities in England will be returning in June.

  27. “As far as I am aware there are a total of 68 councils that won’t be reopening schools June 1st.”

    I imagine most primary schools won’t reopen exactly on the 1st but many will open in dribs and drabs shortly after.

    My kids’ primary school have been in touch to say that they will be opening again from the 8th, but only gradually even for the priority age groups (reception and years 1 and 6). It’s possible years 2-5 won’t go back till September, probable that most secondary schools will not either.

    Personally I have a daughter in Year 1 who will go back on the 8th June and a son in Year 3 who will have to wait, perhaps till September. But we are expecting my daughter’s return only to be for a few hours a day and perhaps on alternate days or weeks (depending how many other kids go back).

    Important to state here also that many schools are academies these days (as is my kids’ primary) which makes it very difficult for councils to stop them reopening.

    “Worth also considering the perspective of parents on this. Many parents – probably millions, will not be sending their children back to school. Will this be recorded as official truancy, I wonder?”

    No they won’t be recorded as truant at the moment, though if it persists after September then we’ll have to see.

    My kids’ primary school sent a questionnaire to parents asking if they wanted to send their kids back in June, and the result was roughly 60% in favour 40% against. This is a middle class professional catchment so it’s probable you would get more opposition in working class areas. But headlines about “90% of parents don’t want kids back at school” are very wide of the mark. Personally I’ll be very glad for the kids to go back, not just for selfish reasons, but it will in my view be good for them, their education and their mental wellbeing. Studies suggest as many as two-thirds of primary school kids are doing little or no homeschooling, strongly concentrated in the more deprived groups; the lockdown is going to result in very troubling inequalities if we don’t start to move out of it soon.

  28. Forgive me a more political comment on this as well.

    IMO the teachers unions have played this very badly.

    They should have taken a leaf out of the NHS workers book and painted themselves as the heroes getting the country back on its feet. Become part of the solution not part of the problem.

    Even if the country goes bankrupt, the doctors and nurses have guaranteed themselves a fat pay rise as we come out of this. I very much doubt that anything will be coming the teachers’ way. They are very poorly served by their union leaders.

  29. You sadly couldn’t be more wrong HH. It was announced last week that the government may be freezing public sector pay for NHS staff again. Imagine having successfully negotiated a three year pay rise after a decade long pay freeze, then to face one of worst pandemics in many a long year and the reward is to be told that pay rise ain’t coming now

  30. The word “may” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in your sentence.

    The government will not be able to persist with pay freezes in the NHS in my view. For a start, the pandemic and its aftermath will likely result in a lot of staff leaving the medical profession (sadly some of those will have left it through death or debilitating illness). Plus tougher immigration rules and a much weaker pound will make relying on imported staff harder. It’s simple supply and demand even without all the hand clapping stuff.

  31. HH – your Yr 3 son should receive a month’s worth of education before the Summer hols. Guess what: the unions don’t want that eating into heir 6 week Summer break!

    Matt – yet people who actually been Labour Education Secs say the unions are wrong. Presumably cos they had to deal with the idiotic ramblings of the union formerly known as the NUTters.

  32. Has former members of the new Labour government are very opinionated on the issue but given they have as much say as i do then it’s not worth paying any attention to

  33. They’ve been asked comment perhaps because the approach of the Labour Party atm seems to be to say not too much. This is likely to continue. Say things calmly and with British understatement.

    Might be a zeitgeisty thing…over in USA there seems to be a growing feeling that with Trump & his non stop manic proclamations, ppl just want some peace and quiet rather than hi energy, manic politics.

    And this Labour approach will be a contrast to what many feel was the shouty and angry Left.

    And with commentators like LANCS OBS continually clumsily weighing, Labour might soon be seen as the reasonable and sensible group.

  34. Though worth remembering it was famously said the arch bishop got to picket line before Kinnock did and given only 3 Labour leaders have lost council seats in opposition in recent history and that during the miners strike suggests Kinnocks approach was not popular. Starmers approach is perhaps better than Miliband who got all mealy mouthed about strikes ending and getting round the table. But he is walking another tight rope and has to be careful he doesn’t upset both sides.

    He’s already got former Labour MPs like Tom Harris saying Starmer needs to throw the NEU under the bus comparing them to Scargill

  35. Matt W – Welsh Labour too?

    All schools to open June 29th for a month. Obviously the unions don’t like the fact it’ll eat into their summer break!

    Kirsty W said the language of the unions was, “inflammatory and unhelpful.”

    Mark Felt – aw diddums. Even the unions admit between 40% and 70% attended on day 1. Sorry that facts annoy you so much.

  36. Rayner or Long Bailey doing “calm” or “understatement” is something we all long for.

    As for the US, unsurprisingly the public both condemn excessive police action & back tough action against arsonists and looters. Only the Left appear not to understand that. Perhaps because in any dispute they always hate the police: because they are the ones arresting their violent activists.

  37. Poll out this evening.. Approval of government handling of coronavirus sinks to lowest level
    41% good job (-4 from week before)
    56% bad job (+5)

    Fieldwrk: May 27 28 & 29

  38. Divisive rubbish from Lancs Observer on this thread part 342. His cheerleaders on this site should be ashamed of themselves.

  39. I’m not sure why saying 40-70% of children returning is some sort of omission. No one was expected zero kids to return. My brother sent his son back. That’s no reflection on whether it was safe or not. Needs must and when push comes to shove he had no choice.

    As for America. There’s no evidence for that. In fact Trump appears to be losing what ground he had made up. Far from the truth it seems to me that people i know across the spectrum and sharing their shock at what happened to George Floyd on a level that’s perhaps comparable to the attacks in France and Belgium. The only people who don’t get it appear to be a small minority of people who seem to think this is an attack on them as white people

  40. The Wigan council decision to push back to 15th June (from 8th June) was on the advice of the regional PHE- nothing directly to do with the Labour council or “Unions” or anything else- simply following the regional science.

    Also this idea that “The Unions” are somehow divorced from their members and that Heads and teachers would love to be heroes being held back by unions is just nonsense. Of course you will have individuals who are louder than others and may have more say in decisions but any half decent school and local authority will be pretty much one voice.

  41. Depends on the union, tbh. It honestly does the trade union movement in this country no good at all that their most visible representative is Len McCluskey.

  42. But then i don’t want to funny but if you don’t want Len vote for someone else to be the general secretary.

  43. I understand that, but equally union leadership elections have an apathy problem. 12% turnout in Unite’s most recent. And the engaged few are naturally more radical than the apathetic majority, allowing the likes of Red Len to win, even if they don’t represent the views of the vast majority of union members.

    There’s also the problem that people unhappy with the union’s leadership, and especially those motivated enough to vote against it, are exactly the same people most likely to leave the union in despair.

  44. But that is only more reason why people get what they deserve. If the majority of the union don’t want Len they should all vote to get rid of him otherwise you let the 12% determine who is your GS for you. It’s just like when people don’t vote in a GE and complain about the result

  45. Imo, if elections consistently achieves turnout levels of just 12%, it has lost credibility. An alternative method of electing needs to found.

  46. Tristan seems unaware that the proper name for a constituency is a division.

    Elections aren’t all about giving the losers seats in the Cabinet – although after the Coalition years, I can see why sadly some appear to believe that.

    The lack of losers’ consent is the main problem.

  47. Shevii – that would be true in theory.

    The only problem with your theory being that the NW Regional PHE is a Labour supporter, as were the previous two.

    Indeed Dr John Ashton (a retired honorary Prof who continues to refer to himself as a Professor) has been a Labour Party activist for 55 years.

    The authorities that chose a date a week or two later did just that. For the sake of it. It’s hardly a scientific-based decision. Either be principled and keep them closed ’til 2021 or admit they’re just posturing for the sake of ‘resisting.’

  48. Matt – the far Left activists just daubed graffiti on the Churchill monument.

    Is it racist if more black people per capita die of Covid? Genuinely interested in your thought processes ad logic.

    As for Red Len, he only just won even on that turnout and there were goings-on hence the legal challenge.

    Because the unions claimed that had parents’ support for their ‘resistance’ so 40% – 70% proves they were lying again.

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