South Shields

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6021 (16.6%)
Labour: 18589 (51.3%)
Lib Dem: 639 (1.8%)
Green: 1614 (4.5%)
UKIP: 7975 (22%)
Independent: 1427 (3.9%)
MAJORITY: 10614 (29.3%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North East, Tyne and Wear.

Main population centres: South Shields, Whitburn.

Profile: South Shields is on a peninsula between the estuary of the Tyne and the North sea. It originally boomed as a shipbuilding and coal mining town, but both industries declined and disappared, leaving the town with high unemployment that eventually faded as the town instead became an commuter base and a home of light industry and service employment. South Shields has also remained a seaside resort and tourist town. The seat contains several large council developments, including the Whiteleas, Biddick Hall, West Harton estates and Cleadon Park (an area with a grim reputation that has been largely demolished and redeveloped over the last decade). The electorate is mostly white, though there is a small but well-established and integrated Muslim population, concentrated around the city centre and the legacy of a community of Yemeni merchant seamen that grew up here in the early twentieth century. The constituency also includes the coastal village of Whitburn.

Politics: Politically South Shields is an extremely solid Labour seat. It has been held by the Labour party since 1935, normally with extremely solid majorities. Until 2013 it was held by the former Foreign Secretary and one-time favourite for the Labour leadership David Miliband. Miliband retired to the backbenches after losing the leadership to his younger brother and in 2013 announced his intention to resign as an MP and leave British politics to take up a senior charity role in the USA. The subsequent by-election was easily held by Labour with UKIP, who had not previously contested the seat, taking a strong second place.

Current MP
EMMA LEWELL-BUCK (Labour) Born 1978, South Shields. Educated at Northumbria University. Former social worker. South Tyneside councillor from 2004. First elected as MP for South Shields in 2013 by-election.
Past Results
Con: 7886 (22%)
Lab: 18995 (52%)
LDem: 5189 (14%)
BNP: 2382 (7%)
Oth: 2066 (6%)
MAJ: 11109 (30%)
Con: 5207 (17%)
Lab: 18269 (60%)
LDem: 5957 (20%)
Oth: 773 (3%)
MAJ: 12312 (41%)
Con: 5140 (17%)
Lab: 19230 (63%)
LDem: 5127 (17%)
UKIP: 689 (2%)
Oth: 262 (1%)
MAJ: 14090 (46%)
Con: 5681 (15%)
Lab: 27834 (71%)
LDem: 3429 (9%)
Oth: 374 (1%)
MAJ: 22153 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ROBERT OLIVER (Conservative)
EMMA LEWELL-BUCK (Labour) See above.
GITANJALI GORDON (Liberal Democrat)
SHIRLEY FORD (Green) Born London. Educated at North London Collegiate School and Cambridge University. Contested North East region 2009, 2014 European election. Contested South Shields 2010.
Comments - 154 Responses on “South Shields”
  1. The Daily Mirror understands that David Miliband is to announce his resignation as MP tomorrow morning, triggering a by-election.

  2. UKIP didn’t stand in 2010 but they would have a good chance of second-place in the current political climate IMO.

  3. Very sad news, as he still has potential to be an asset to his party.

    But if he’s chosen to take a new path in life, I can only wish him the best of luck with that,

  4. Agree UKIP would probably get 2nd place, although I wouldn’t rule out a challenge from one of the local Independents.

  5. Hello again everyone. Back after a bit of a break away from here.

    Just heard about Milliband’s ‘resignation with immediate effect’- With South Shields of course being a safe Labour seat, I would imagine that any future contender within the party would stand a good chance of getting selected here.

  6. LDs could well lose deposit here. The Cons could get close too if UKIP gain traction.

    Labour 60
    UKIP 15
    Con 9
    LD 6
    IND 5
    BNP 5

  7. 2012 locals in South Shields

    Beacon and Bents: Lab 43.48% Ind Khan 35.6% Con 6.72% Ind 5.71% BNP 4.77% Lib 1.94% Ind 1.79% Lab gain from Ind
    Biddick and All Saints: Lab 67.4% Ind 17.85% BNP 6.01% Con 4.41% Lib 4.29%
    Cleadon Park: Lab 45.89% Ind 44.71% Con 9.4%
    Harton: Lab 59.53% Progressives 26.43% Con 9.96% Lib 4.08% Lab gain from Prog
    Horsley Hill: Lab 53.28% Ind 36.31% Con 7.72% Lib 2.69% Lab gain from Ind
    Simonside and Rekendyke: Lab 64.74% Lib 12.72 BNP 11.43% Con 11.1%
    West Park: Lab 49.66 Progressives 34.35% Con 10.05% Green 5.94 Lab gain from Progr
    Westoe: Lab 47.25 Ind 29.8 Con 12.36 Prog 7.7 Lib 2.89 Lab gain from Ind
    Whitburn and Marsden: Lab 76.19 Con 23.81
    Whiteleas: Lab 56.26 Ind 30.08 BNP 8.81 Ind 5.9 Con 2.95 Lab gain from Ind

  8. Do UKIP have much of base here?

  9. By-elections cost the hard pressed public their money.

    Local authorities are struggling to make sure old people are properly looked after, and that there are school places.

    I find it no coincidence that it these rather careerist characters of the Islington type tendency who do this when they have come up against a disappointment, rather than knuckling down and then going at a General Election.

    I guess UKIP could make an impact in the current situation, although I think Labour shouldn’t have difficulty, and obviously I hope the Tories hold up.

  10. It’s very revealing that these politically correct metropolitan types can’t stick just being a back bench MP in constituencies such as this
    when they’ve had a set back.
    Can’t even finish the Parliamentary session.

    Margaret Thatcher represented a London constituency, but she found it uncomfortable in the Commons after being Prime Minister, but stayed until the General Election.

    Mandleson, Blair, Miliband etc have all caused by-elections, which will fall on local council tax.

  11. By-elections

    1979-1983: 20
    1983-1987: 31 (inc. Northern Ireland mass resignation)
    1987-1992: 24
    1992-1997: 18
    1997-2001: 17
    2001-2005: 6
    2005-2010: 14
    2010-2015: 16

  12. But who will Sunderland football club survive?

    Register of Members’ Interests
    1. Directorships
    Vice-Chairman and non-executive director, Sunderland AFC, from 1 February 2011, 12-15 days a year, £75,000. Address: Sunderland AFC, Stadium of Light, Sunderland SR5 1SU
    Received £25,000 on 23 June 2011. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 13 April 2012)
    Received £25,000 on 23 October 2011. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 13 April 2012)
    Received £25,000 on 23 February 2012. Hours: 4 days. (Registered 29 March 2012)
    Received £25,000 on 23 July 2012. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 3 August 2012)
    Received £25,000. Hours: 2 days. (Registered 25 October 2012)

  13. Good to have The Results back.

    JJB makes a good point. It is expensive to keep having so many by-elections and it does seem that a particular type of politician don’t mind bowing out mid term rather than waiting for a general election. Mrs Mensch also springs to mind.

    The point about Maggie is also a good one, but then she was in politics for the right reasons unlike many politicians today.

    UKIP have the potential to do well here, especially at the expense of the Tories and the BNP.

    Labour will hold this seat and I’m sure they’ll choose a hard working, honest, local working class candidate here….Not.

  14. How long had this resignation been planned?
    Has it been timed to coincide with the council elections?Here would be Labour’s good news: an easy win, UKIP probably in second place – offsetting any potential perceived disappointment in the county council elections.

  15. I do think David Miliband would have been a better leader for the Labour Party – although some on the Vote UK forum seem to be rubbishing this idea – and it’s a promising career cut brutally short.
    Would Ed have resigned Doncaster, North had David won the leadership?

  16. Surely if some of the strong ‘brand’ of Independents in this constituency join forces with UKIP – those that are at least moderately that way inclined – then they can put up a bit more of a fight with Labour than just a distant 2nd place?

    I can’t believe that George Galloway has a monopoly on having the ability to swing big surprises his way with a good campaign.

    The trouble is, people sometimes aim too low, too late – and believe the ‘safe’ predictions of the 95% of commentators saying the same thing (“it’s a nailed on Labour hold” etc) and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  17. If LBernard you mean that Mrs Thatcher went into politics because she had clear convictions, that is a fair point. There are however many people in this country who wish she had never done so.
    To be quite fair to David Miliband, he did stay here as an MP for over a decade, unlike Louise Bagshawe/Mensch.

  18. You can imagine it, particularly when the Islington types represent far flung seats,
    particularly gritty ones.
    After these characters have had a career set back
    and are back benchers
    “Huh! I never came up here just to do this.”

  19. I find it difficult to believe South Shields will have any surprises. The only question mark will be how impressive the Labour victory looks in what will probably be a low turnout election (perhaps challenging the Labour vote share on a bad day).

  20. Like other North East areas, this a “postal votes” seat: 18,422 out of 37,417 votes cast were by post in 2010

  21. I understand what people are saying about the cost of unnessacery by-elections, but I think Milliband has a good reason to stand down if he’s doing it for the greater good of his party. I’m surprised Gordon Brown hasn’t done the same.

    Examples of unnessacery by-elections include Corby 2012, Haltemprice and Howdon 2008, and if you care to go back that far, Leyton 1965.

    Labour should easily get over 50% here, UKIP should be able to finish second here (although I doubt they’ll better the vote share they got in Eastleigh, and it may be another lost deposit for the Lib Dems.

    It’s also worth noting how we’re now openly talking about UKIP being likely to finish second before a single vote has been cast. It just shows how far UKIP have come if failure to get 2nd place here would be seen as a bad result for them.

  22. And on the subject of unnecessary by-elections, it’s also worth noting that in the past parties have gone to extreme lengths to try and avoid by-elections. Bromsgrove 1995 is a good example of that.

  23. @Swanarcadian – I highly doubt Ed Miliband would have resigned if he hadn’t won the leadership election. The difference is that David was expected to win and had always been the more prominent of the two brothers up to that point. Ed could have been happy with a reasonable second place and bided his time.

  24. “If LBernard you mean that Mrs Thatcher went into politics because she had clear convictions, that is a fair point. There are however many people in this country who wish she had never done so.”

    That is what I meant Barnaby. I think it was a generation thing. So many MPs of all colours went into politics with a desire to improve things, gradually and with a touch of common sense about them. Nowadays MPs seem scared to talk and I think there are many who are in politics for the wrong reasons and others who I wouldn’t trust at all.

    “Like other North East areas, this a “postal votes” seat: 18,422 out of 37,417 votes cast were by post in 2010”

    This is exactly why postal voting should be limited to the elderly, disabled and infirm. That’s a staggeringly high number.

  25. I’m by no means a David Miliband fan – I placed him 5th in the leadership election.

    However, I think some of the comments on here are daft. He has been offered a prestigious job heading up a very major NGO. He would have been headhunted for that role and it is one for which his skills are undoubtedly suited.

    The vacancy is now, so he took it.

    It also makes sense in terms of his role in the party, given that he didn’t get the leaders role he had hoped and expected to

    Local parties have a tendency to switch between prestigious London starlet and local worthy. Look at Blair’s successor. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a long-standing local councillor got the nomination here

  26. Another example of the phenomenon Adam highlights above of parties trying to avoid unnecessary by elections would be Lord James Douglas-Hamilton renouncing forgoing inheriting his father’s peerage on the latter’s death in 1994 in order to avoid a by-election in Edinburgh West.

  27. Someone called Darren Hughes at the Electoral Reform Society has asked why there should be a by-election at all in South Shields:

  28. I’m inclined to agree with MerseyMike’s position on this – this sounds like a position that he genuinely cares about and one which would not become available too often. And, for all the cynical attitudes towards politicians, it seems that he is on reasonable terms with his brother and therefore it’s reasonable to assume that he doesn’t want to undermine EM.

    If there was any element of political calculation to it, he might have judged that Labour are extremely likely to be in government after 2015 (either in majority or in coalition). Given this, the very earliest that a potential leadership change would be around 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through that parliament (and even that would only be if Labour were really having a bad time of it). It’s perfectly plausible that a centre-left coalition could be in power for longer, through 2020.

    And of course, unless EM were to resign at some point (which again is plausible) it’s inconceivable that DM would ever have been the one to challenge him. So DM may have felt that any leadership of the Labour party was at least 10 years off.

  29. Sorry first line above should read “this sounds like a position that DM genuinely cares about…..”

  30. JJB – I don’t believe the cost of Parliamentary by-elections does fall upon the local authority (or rather, they pay the costs, but then claim them back from the consolidated fund – so for example, Barnsley council claimed back £131,783 for the costs of running the Barnsley Central by-election; Oldham council £127,740 for the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election.

    I have no doubt that there end up being some costs that cant be claimed back, but generally speaking it’s something that central government funds.

  31. Thanks – but it’s a lot of money to be responsible for causing.

    In fact, it’s disgraceful.

  32. MP’s give up their seats. Its like any other public sector role – when there is a vacancy the public pay. Its daft to suggest that all MP’s will stay in post until the next election particularly since your party introduced a very long 5 year fixed term parliament.

  33. Have to say I agree with Mersey Mike here.

    This is one of the inevitable down sides of a house of commons filled with professional politicians, although as there have been occasional similar resignations on both sides in the past (Matthew Parris springs to mind) it’s daft to make a party political point of it.

    I personally prefer politicians to resign if they’ve had enough rather than sit in place for years unmotivated to work for their constituents.

    It’s a bit different if you are in government with a small majority, as in 1974-79 or 1992-97.

  34. Well I don’t. If you’re not likely to be motivated by being a back bench mp in a gritty northern seat, then don’t stand atall. That sum of money would pay for keeping home helps. It’s a disgrace that the wet pasta salad tendency and , it would appear, others so easily overlook that. I repeat, the Great Lady did her duty as finchley mp after nov 1990, and it must have been more difficult for her than for a miliband or mandleson. We have a moral duty to make sure public cash is properly spent or not spent atall

  35. In the 1950’s and 1960’s by elections were common, even in marginals as MP’s resigned to become judges, senior trade union officials, Lords and top foreign office jobs ect.

    Now, parties seek to avoid having by elections in safe seats.

    Its better to resign as an MP for a new position than take up a new position and leave your constituents without adequate representation until the successive GE.

  36. I’m sure Peter Oborne is right to some extent – the same applies to MPs who simultaneously are directors of numerous companies and use their position as MPs (past or present) to line their pockets. Not just David Miliband.

  37. If the Conservatives lose the next election I don’t think any of us would be particularly surprised to see by-elections taking place in Witney and Tatton within a relatively short space of time.

  38. Such moves, where they to happen, would be very damaging to our democracy. It’s somewhat just as problematic to do the Gordon Brown, sit out of the Commons more often than not , so even remaining as an MP has its problems…!

  39. I agree with Runnymede re Oborne and Andy re Cameron & Osborne.

  40. Meanwhile good news for Sunderland fans – Miliband will remain as a non-executive director.

    Only £100,000 per year – bargain !!

  41. @LBernard

    And what percentage are fraudulent?

  42. Who says any of them were?

  43. Sigh – the [snip] partisanship is getting a bit ridiculous.

  44. Merseymike – I’ve seen worse, but yes, some comments up thread were a bit much. I don’t think we all need to know how much people personally disliked EM. If Peter Oborne tried pasting his article here I’d moderate it, so same goes with people copy and pasting it and agreeing!

  45. And what percentage are fraudulent?

    Wolf – I didn’t say any of them were here….I said that it was a high number…

  46. I would imagine that UKIP could take around 20%, as per other recent by elections in the North.

  47. Dont see UKIP much above 15. It is a pretty urban seat in a large conurbation. Still enough for 2nd.

  48. Labour to win by-election here.

    For all you loyal Conservatives 1983 General Election being shown on BBC Parliament on Monday April 1st.

  49. Parliament could run for 5 years anyway

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