2015 Result:
Conservative: 20955 (39.1%)
Labour: 22406 (41.8%)
Lib Dem: 1924 (3.6%)
Green: 1366 (2.5%)
UKIP: 6649 (12.4%)
Others: 330 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 1451 (2.7%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

Geography: Yorkshire and the Humber, West Yorkshire. Part of Kirklees council area.

Main population centres: Dewsbury, Thornhill Edge, Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe, Kirkburton.

Profile: Dewsbury is an industrial former textile town in West Yorkshire. The old textile areas have a large Asian populaton, Savile Town is overwhelmingly Muslim and home to the Markazi Mosque, run by Tablighi Jamaat and one of the largest in Europe. The Asian community in Dewsbury has historically been largely Pakistani and Indian and in recent years there been some strife between the existing Pakistani community and the rising Kurdish population. Other areas, like the Chickenley council estate to the east, are largely white and have been fertile ground for the BNP, who secured one of their highest shares of the vote here at the 2005 general election. As well as the town itself the seat also stretches southwards to include more rural and Conservative areas like Denby Dale, Skelmanthorpe and Kirkburton.

Politics: Dewsbury has been a Labour seat since the 1920s with the exception of 1983 when the sitting Labour MP defected to the SDP, splitting the Labour vote and allowing the Conservatives to win, and 2010 when the Conservatives gained the seat, helped by favourable boundary changes and, according to the defeated Labour MP Shahid Malik, the intervention of an independent candidate Khizar Iqbal.

Current MP
PAULA SHERRIFF (Labour) Born Glasgow. Former dermatology care service manager. Wakefield councillor. First elected as MP for Dewsbury in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18898 (35%)
Lab: 17372 (32%)
LDem: 9150 (17%)
BNP: 3265 (6%)
Oth: 5323 (10%)
MAJ: 1526 (3%)
Con: 11192 (29%)
Lab: 15807 (41%)
LDem: 5624 (15%)
BNP: 5066 (13%)
Oth: 906 (2%)
MAJ: 4615 (12%)
Con: 11075 (30%)
Lab: 18524 (51%)
LDem: 4382 (12%)
BNP: 1632 (4%)
Oth: 1038 (3%)
MAJ: 7449 (20%)
Con: 12963 (30%)
Lab: 21286 (49%)
LDem: 4422 (10%)
Oth: 3385 (8%)
MAJ: 8323 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SIMON REEVELL (Conservative) Born 1966, East Yorkshire. Educated at Manchester Polytechnic. Barrister, specialising in criminal law. MP for Dewsbury 2010 to 2015.
PAULA SHERRIFF (Labour) Born Glasgow. Dermatology care service manager. Wakefield councillor.
EDNAN HUSSAIN (Liberal Democrat) Born Dewsbury. Educated at St John Fisher High School. Works at PC World.
MARK THACKRAY (UKIP) Educated at Huddersfield University. Company director.
ADRIAN CRUDEN (Green) Personnel manager. Contested Bury South 1992, Dewsbury 2010.
RICHARD CARTER (Yorkshire First) Born Holmfirth. Former business advisor. Contested Yorkshire and Humber region 2014 European election.
STEVE HAKES (CPA) Educated at University of South Africa. Independent Bible College principal.
Comments - 81 Responses on “Dewsbury”
  1. “Indeed it shows that Asian men ARE disproportionately likely to attack their wives.”

    Well, not to be pedantic, but it shows Asian men are more likely to be CONVICTED of attacking their wives. Big difference.

  2. Warsi is a woodentop

  3. I used to think that but I’ve warmed to her a bit. If she had gone through the normal hard slog of becoming an MP rather than being tempted by Cameron’s PC short cut she could eventually have been an effective and successful minister. By parachuting her into the Lords for no reason other than tokenism he ensured that she’ll always be seen as a lightweight.

  4. Every time she speaks she confirms her stupidity.

  5. You don’t take any prisoners when you give an opinion on someone, do you Runnymede?! 🙂

  6. Not in this case at any rate. Unfortunately, ignorance and stupidity are increasingly on show among our politicians.

    Fascinatingly, Brexit has really smoked this out. Barely a day goes by now without some supposed ‘big beast’ thoroughly embarrassing themselves on this topic by making incredibly ignorant comments.

    The ranting lefty vicar Farron’s risible remarks on the WTO news yesterday are a great example. The idea that people like him plus Lammy, Soubry and Ummuna should have any significant input at all into the Brexit process is simply insane – they have no clue.

  7. Did Warsi support Remain or Leave?

    IIRC she was a pretty hardline right winger when a candidate here in 2005

  8. Whilst Ummuna is mostly veneer, he’s at least a lot more savvy and, I would think, competent than the others you mention. He’s a better communicator at least. Lammy is bonkers, and Soubry is just nasty from what I’ve seen of her.

    Bit harsh to lump Farron with the other two as well, although I agree he’s certainly not particularly heavyweight – probably better at the grassroots stuff, which may be what the Lib Dems need for a couple of years.

  9. “Whilst Ummuna is mostly veneer, he’s at least a lot more savvy and, I would think, competent than the others you mention.”

    Well he showed how savvy he is in his short lived leadership campaign.

    Umunna oozes the fact that he is an employment lawyer, which is 100% what we do not want in Brexit negotiations.

  10. Yes, I don’t really have a lot of time for Chuka tbh, smooth as silk in public, lives like the rich kid he is in private.

    No problem with being rich, it’s the hypocrisy of pretending to care about certain groups of people for political reasons when incidents show otherwise, that gets my goat a bit.

  11. “Barely a day goes by now without some supposed ‘big beast’ thoroughly embarrassing themselves on this topic by making incredibly ignorant comments”

    I agree, Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, David Davis, Priti Patel, Michael Gove or even May herself all fall into that category.

    Though I imagine you had other people in mind…

  12. Beth Prescott, Conservative Party candidate for Dewsbury at the 2017 General Election.

  13. Ah I think she was the youngest Tory PPC and is impressive by all accounts (and WWC).

  14. Lancs,

    Are you sure she is working class? It is not easy to get to Heckmondwike Grammar School if you are working class… You have to compete with heavily coached posh kids from Leeds and many other places…

  15. Yes, judging by her accent, address, that she was a shop assistant (and more importantly she said she was proud to be a working class Tory when she stood in 2015).

  16. Andrew111 – incidentally I find your assumption somewhat offensive.

    From my own knowledge I know many working class children who went to grammar schools. Indeed it is a pure meritocracy in that if they apply and pass, they’re offered a place.

    The only lack appears to be due to the lack of applications from working class wards (probably because of beliefs such as yours, sadly).

  17. Can’t imagine this constituency going Blue. Presumably though the (many) rough estates don’t bother voting. Isn’t this where Kaen Matthews was from?

  18. It went blue in 2010. I cannot see why the national picture will not be reflected in Dewsbury. The Conservative candidate is also local, which might be seen as an asset. We shall see.

  19. Lancs

    As a matter of fact I am a supporter of the Grammar School system, and went to one myself. However Heckmondwike Grammar School is the only one for many miles and cannot be compared with a school in an integrated grammar school system. I am familiar with HGS and know several people whose children go there (including children who get a taxi to and from Leeds every day because that is cheaper than paying the fees at Leeds Grammar School, which they could well afford). The others got in through extensive private coaching (often making financial sacrifices to pay for that). To get in with no coaching you would have to be exceptionally good at exams…

    Despite my support I am also well aware of the extensive data that shows grammar schools, even when in a proper system, do not in reality do much to help the working class as you pretend. However I believe comprehensive schools also fail most working class children so you may as well have a system that offers a chance rather than be condemned by postcode

    HGS does have a policy of favouring children from within the catchment area, but they still have to exceed a threshold in the entrance exam. And the catchment area does not have the best primary schools giving middle class parents used to buying education through housing a bit of a dilemma.

  20. Patrick,

    Dewsbury constituency is very unbalanced. The three Dewsbury wards are a mixture of white working class estates and BME-dominated terraced housing. Those three wards regularly get votes over 65% Labour in local elections.

    Then there is Mirfield which is middle class suburbia with few council houses, and is solidly Tory, Kirkburton which is a set of rural villages more like the Cotswolds than Dewsbury, and Denby Dale which includes former mining villages plus countryside and is more balanced, but normally won by the Tories in local elections.
    By all accounts the previous Tory MP was pretty useless, but I only moved here in 2015, so I would not know…

    Despite selecting such a youthful and apparently working class candidate (who may not appeal much to the older and more rural Tory vote – coming from Dewsbury will only hurt her! No-one where I live would EVER say they live in Dewsbury!) I suspect the Tories will mop up the UKIP vote while Labour loses some Remainers to the Lib Dems, and the Tories will win quite easily.

  21. Paula Sherriff has been one of the standouts of the 2015 intake. I’d say she has a better chance of holding on than many defending similar majorities, but the Tories are clearly favourites to re-gain.

  22. Andrew111 – Myself also. I wasn’t comparing her grammar to an area with an integrated grammar system (such as Wirral or Kent) at all.

    Merely refuting your (false) assertion that it’s not easy for working class kids to get into grammars!

    In fact the only study I am aware of (by Peter Lampl of the Sutton Trust a decade ago) in fact showed that working class kids were more likely to get into the grammar – if they applied. Indeed the top grammar in the Country in some years’ league tables is the Blue Coat School in Liverpool. It is, of course, the only state grammar in that local authority and takes pupils from across all 30 wards in the city including the poorest one in England.

    Contrast that to neighbouring Knowsley where children in the equally deprived wards just 3 miles away have no grammar school to even apply for and of course Knowsley comes bottom in the entire Country in GCSE league tables and does not even offer A levels in any school in the entire borough.

    It’s no wonder teaching unions opposed to grammars never mention either example or authority!

    So no I do not accept your ‘extensive evidence.’ What people tend to mean is that existing grammas tend to exist in wealthy areas (such as Kent and Wirral) and so wealthier parents move there.

    In fact the logic of the argument of those opposed to grammars – that they aren’t helping enough wwc kids – is that we need more grammars to address that failing. No I don’t mean the grammar system reintroduced – I mean a grammar school in each met that doesn’t have one currently eg Knowsley. It would only mean adding 25 grammars and I expect this is what will happen. [Although in the particular case of Knowsley it may already be too late due to depopulation and 25% choosing to send their offspring outside the failing borough.]

    I have yet to hear any teaching union who would be in favour – maybe they’re scared of what the results would show in a decade’s time.

  23. I worked in Dewsbury for a while and the two families who had children at the grammar school were of Asian ethnicity and probably would be described as middle-class.

    I was grammar-school educated myself, but unsure this is the place for a debate as to their pros and cons.

    As for this seat, there were significant local factors resulting in the Tory gain in 2010, but Simon Reevell didn’t make much impact as an MP. Paula Sherriff has done rather better but the way the polls are trending, I’d agree with Andrew111 as a comfortable Conservative gain.

  24. True (more middle class attend due to the location of current 164 grammars, but also due to applications).

    As I said: I was merely refuting Andrew111’s false assertion that it’s not easy for working class kids to get in. The only evidence I am aware of is that they have a higher % of passing – if they apply. It’s just unfortunate that 4 x as many from middle class areas applied to the grammar I mentioned in Merseyside. But it is a fact that of those from wwc wards who did apply, a higher % gained entry by passing. It’s just unfortunate that the anti-grammar mentality in teaching unions has infected some primaries and so they don’t even mention bright kids should apply.

    This was exemplified by Beverley Hughes in Trafford who famously said she wouldn’t send her son to a grammar even if he passed ‘cos of her politics. Whereas Labour MPs usually oppose them but send their kids anyway! I’m only surprised Labour’s policy of abolishing all grammars hasn’t received more coverage. I assume that’s simply due to the polls and there’s no danger of it happening.

  25. It isn’t Labour’s policy to ‘abolish all grammars’, Lancs. What Labour have said is that they oppose the Tories’ proposals to create more of them.

  26. Lab hold.

  27. Based on the 2011 census, Dewsbury has the highest Muslim population of any Tory-held seat, at 18%. Pendle, Hendon, Peterborough, Wycombe, Keighley, Harrow East, Cities of London and Westminster, Bolton North East, Kensington and Hyndburn are the only others with over 10%.

  28. Isn’t Baroness Warsi from here?

  29. Hendon surprises me – I thought it was a big Jewish area.

  30. I believe Baroness Warsi did spend some time growing up in the ultra-Muslim Savile Town area of Dewsbury. It’s something like 98% Muslim there. The Daily Mail did a feature on it which is worth reading.

    Hendon is the second most Jewish seat in the country after Finchley & GG. But the Jewish population as a whole is far lower than it is for Muslims. I don’t think those Barnet seats would be marginal without a favourable demographic for Labour – in London, that means BAME groups, including Muslims.

  31. The increasing BAME population is probably more of a reason why Labour have done so well in London in comparison to elsewhere in the UK

    Young professionals moving away from the tories because of things like Brexit and Dominic Raab probably does the party more harm here too – but I think the main reason is probably because the Tories nowadays don’t even try and convince non-whites that they are on their side – which means you get plenty of small c conservative voters from ethnic minorities whose votes the Tories don’t even seem to want.

    No wonder they don’t get them

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