2015 Result:
Conservative: 14186 (35.8%)
Labour: 16750 (42.3%)
Lib Dem: 1368 (3.5%)
Green: 1179 (3%)
UKIP: 6148 (15.5%)
MAJORITY: 2564 (6.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cumbria. The whole of the Copeland council area and part of the Allerdale council area.

Main population centres: Whitehaven, Keswick, Cleator Moor, Egremont, Millom.

Profile: A seat on the remote west coast of Cumbria. The constituency is a mixture of hill farming countryside, impressive Lake District wilderness, including Scafell Pike itself, and somewhat economically depressed former mining or iron working towns. The main town is Whitehaven, historically a coal mining town and commercial port, mining ceased in the 1980s. The Marchon chemical factory also closed in 2005 leaving the nearby Sellafield nuclear power complex as the most important source of local employment. Keswick, to the north of the constituency, was the first place to produce graphite pencils and was for many years the base of Derwent, the manufacturers of fine art pencils. They are now based just outside the constituency in Lillyhall.

Politics: Copeland and its predecessor seat Whitehaven have been represented by the Labour party since 1935, although not always with comfortable majorities.

Current MP
JAMIE REED (Labour) Born 1973, Whitehaven. Educated at Whitehaven school and Manchester University. Former Sellafield press officer. Former Copeland councillor. First elected as MP for Copeland in 2005. PPS to Tony McNulty 2006-2008, PPS to Harriet Harman 2008-2010.
Past Results
Con: 15866 (37%)
Lab: 19699 (46%)
LDem: 4365 (10%)
BNP: 1474 (3%)
Oth: 1383 (3%)
MAJ: 3833 (9%)
Con: 10713 (32%)
Lab: 17033 (50%)
LDem: 3880 (11%)
UKIP: 735 (2%)
Oth: 1396 (4%)
MAJ: 6320 (19%)
Con: 13027 (37%)
Lab: 17991 (52%)
LDem: 3732 (11%)
MAJ: 4964 (14%)
Con: 12081 (29%)
Lab: 24025 (58%)
LDem: 3814 (9%)
Oth: 389 (1%)
MAJ: 11944 (29%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JAMIE REED (Labour) See above.
DANNY GALLAGHER (Liberal Democrat) Former Preston councillor. Contested Wyre and Preston North 2010.
Comments - 1,765 Responses on “Copeland”
  1. The survey I saw was in the Sunday Times and re affordability for first time buyers, so I’d assume data was from either Land Registry records, estate agents and/or the Help to Buy scheme.

    First time buyers presumably don’t go in much for million pound properties in Chelsea.

    Chris R – There’s two distinct and different groups though. Where jobs are based and where people live. Indeed Frank Field referred to this problem of data not being available and up-to-date when the DWP Select Committee was hearing evidence. eg if you look up Lpool Riverside you’d think it had full employment as there are more jobs than adults in that constituency – but of course most doing them do not live there. It’s true that there is ward by ward data from the Census for earnings and so on but it usually takes 3 years for the same to be published by universities or local authorities in reports. The only up-to-date annual figures I’m aware of borough/city-wide are small surveys by trade unions or student unions re the cost of living in different UK cities.

  2. @Lancs Observer

    The age-old debate about the difference between domicile and work location does exist but should not be used as a red herring to ignore the data that is collected, just to be mindful that it doesn’t tell the whole story. In any case, one of the mistakes that is usually made – and which Field made there – is to overestimate the effect of workers crossing administrative boundaries and underestimate the number and effect of those who do not. The fact that making the mistake Field made strengthened Field’s point was, of course, entirely a coincidence.

    Anyway, you can interrogate APS data, through NOMIS, using travel-to-work geographies (which gets around much of these issues). Centre for Cities have just published up-to-date data as part of their annual Cities Outlook series (here:

    I am not sure what you mean by ‘it takes 3 years’ for the data to be published. No, it is there, for public use, once it’s released (2017 data should be available Easter-ish), and people use it, even if you don’t then read the outputs.

    Cost of living data is a different issue. Had you said ‘it’s hard to get cost-of-living data’, then I would have agreed with you. (PS if someone else wants to come in and tell me *I* am wrong and supplies me with a good, robust source of up-to-date cost of living data at city level, I am not going to write a passive-aggressive post about it, I am going to tearfully wring your virtual hand and call you friend)

  3. Chris R – I agree with much of what you say, but your reply to myself above (29.01.18) implied that you had seen ‘borough by borough’ data which is up-to-date.

    I realise Sefton is unusual, but there is simply no such up-to-date income data for that borough. Travel to work areas are useful yes but again it’s simply a fact that ward by ward data is only published on a largescale 2.5 years after a Census.

    Field wasn’t wrong at all – it isn’t a slight anomaly I’m talking about. I was referring to the fact that MOST of the over 90,000 who work in Lpool Riverside seat do not live there. The reason Frank is very aware of this is because a quarter of them are backed up every day driving home to the Mersey Tunnel travelling through his constituency.

    He’s one of the few experts on Universal Credit and indeed the civil servant in reply admitted that up-to-date data is not available. It’s precisely why HMRC are (wrongly) taking £ from student loans a year or more after they were repaid in full and why the self-employed UC claimant is being underpaid by DWP.

  4. Easily missed but significant appointment: Boris Johnson has made Trudy Harrison his PPS.

  5. Historic win here in a by election 2 months before the GE. She now has a 5800, 14%, majority

  6. Will she stand in the proposed Cumbria West?

  7. “Historic win here in a by election 2 months before the GE. She now has a 5800, 14%, majority”

    By the standards of elsewhere (Mansfield having a 15000 majority, Workington and Barrow both easy gains) that seems quite modest, perhaps even a bit disappointing.

    But this is a very polarised, generally low swing seat.

  8. Labour share is still higher here than in Workington but that is because this was Tory in 2017 and therefore no brexit party.
    An Urban seat combining areas of here and Workington would still be a viable target for Labour next time if some progress is to be made while Mansfield is Labour majority only territory.

  9. Loads of very highly educated people working at Sellafield. Highly educated people lean Labour. Makes it somewhat different to most “red wall” seats.

  10. I’d say Trudy Harrison would beat Mark Jenkinson for the safe seat nomination being she has more experience and will probably be a junior minster by 2022.

  11. “Loads of very highly educated people working at Sellafield. Highly educated people lean Labour.”

    More likely doctors & teachers etc choose to live here, in the attractive bits, rather than in the more grim and less rural Barrow or Workington.

    I can’t see voting for Corbyn being a very common pursuit at a nuclear power station.

  12. I’d love to see a breakdown of Labour support among graduates of different subjects. I’d imagine arts graduates would swing much more heavily behind Labour than STEM graduates (at least once you take the doctors out of the latter). Largely tied to differing perceptions of higher education as an intrinsic/public good versus a private investment in future career opportunities.

  13. “I’d imagine arts graduates would swing much more heavily behind Labour than STEM graduates (at least once you take the doctors out of the latter).”

    I think doctors may well lean Tory overall, once you include all the eminent surgeons and private practitioners. Corbynite junior doctors tweeting from A&E do not a whole profession represent. Remember a large number of doctors are self employed and would regard Corbyn’s policy on forcing them to become NHS employees as a bucket of cold sick.

  14. The Ind elected Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie, has defected to the Conservatives.

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