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

    SpelthorneGuru, I am not a loyal anything to anybody LOL but will still be interested to watch on Easter Monday…

  2. It’s already on U – tube
    so you can arrow backwards and forwards over it at your leisure.
    Andy has done an excellent job doing I think all the elections from 1970 onwards now.

    But it is quite good to watch it on a decent screen, unless you link through to your TV or a large screen anyway.

  3. I’m probably going to record it again because the copy I’ve got – (the one that was put on YouTube) – isn’t the best quality.

  4. Here is a general guide to Andy’s YouTube videos for 1983. These don’t include the morning after coverage. Perhaps this might feature on Easter Monday.

    Part 3 – First result from Torbay – Con hold – where Liberals reacted rowdily to their big rise at Labour’s expense
    Part 8 – Tories increase majority in Pendle, the first Con-Lab marginal
    Part 11 – Bryan Magee, SDP defector, pushed into third place in Leyton
    Part 11/12 – Joan Lestor loses Slough. David Owen holds Plymouth Devonport – his Tory opponent was Ann Widdecombe
    Part 13/14 – Shirley Williams loses Crosby
    Part 14 – Roy Jenkins clings on to Glasgow, Hillhead – ousting Neil Carmichael. Jenkins drowned out mostly by SNP supporters while trying to make his acceptance speech. Bill Rodgers beaten into third place at Stockton North – returning officer fluffs the Labour figure. Shirley Williams claims the SDP have had the moral victory in Crosby
    Part 18 – Tony Benn loses Bristol East
    Part 20 – Jim Callaghan interviewed, saying he isn’t surprised by Labour’s defeat – says the party’s defence policy wasn’t acceptable to the country
    Part 20/21 – Norman St. John-Stevas narrowly sees off the Liberal challenge in Chelmsford. Michael Foot holds Blaenau Gwent, concedes defeat – says the result is a tragedy
    Part 23 – Jeremy Hanley holds Richmond & Barnes by 74 votes. His wife didn’t seem to be sure who’d won until the returning officer confirmed it right at the end – you can see the look of relief
    Part 25 – Margaret Thatcher finally gets her result in Finchley, delayed by the large number of candidates

    And there’s more for the other elections since 1970:

  5. Other televised declarations or acceptance speeches included-
    1. Hertsmere (Cecil Parkinson)
    2. East Surrey (Geoffrey Howe)
    3. David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)
    4. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)
    5. David Howells (Guildford)
    6. Charles Irving (Cheltenham)

  6. I remember teachers talking about it at school on friday morning june 10th

  7. ….. with a fair range of views.
    Depending on who they were and who they wanted to win.

    It was very hot weather.

  8. I remember the last time they showed this (in 2008) and it DID include the overnight coverage (including future Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s result).

  9. ”I remember the last time they showed this (in 2008) and it DID include the overnight coverage (including future Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s result).”

    Any chance this will be the case this time around?

    If so, was Alan Beith’s declaration televised perchance? 😉

  10. I did catch some of the Morning after on this program and it was interesting.
    The Michael Fish weather wasn’t quite what I remembered – I’m sure it was very hot on election day but a bit over cast on the Friday.

    I was surprised that the vote in Neil Kinnock’s seat fell 15% – I thought there were quite a number of South Wales seats where Labour’s vote held very well, and would have expected this to be one of them (It increased in Michael Foot’s seat). I felt a bit sorry for Peter Shore in the studio, but he didn’t deny there would have to be changes.

  11. An article by Aditya Chakraborty in the Guardian says that the local Labour Party has selected a local candidate called Karen who is a bus driver. There was no surname given however! Has he got his facts correct?

  12. I think Karen, the local bus driver with a disabled husband, is a joke to show the kind of candidate Labour is unlike to select.

  13. Particularly enjoyed the second day Breakfast coverage.

    Great to see televised declarations from Truro, Islwyn, Inverness and Penrith And The Border to name but a few.

    Was quite surprised there was no mention of Berwick-upon-Tweed, or at least I don’t think there was…

  14. Is it on Iplayer – it said program unavailable when I looked.
    Must try again…

  15. The Labour Party busily made themselves completely un-electable in the 4 years before that election.
    But I suspect this seat had a below average swing.

  16. Labour selection timetable:

    Deadline for applications: April 5th
    NEC shortlisting: April 6th
    Selection meeting: 10th April

  17. Felt a bit sad really watching the Truro declaration.

    Penhaligon dying tragically at such a young age robbed him of not only his future career, but more importantly his life.

    Imagine how different things would have been had he survived- He probably would have ended up leader of the Lib Dems, and stayed on as an MP in 1987 and 1992 at least I would have thought…

    R.I.P. David Penhaligon.

  18. And Matthew Taylor would probably never have become an MP, and it would now probably be Lord Penhaligon of Truro or something like that.

  19. David Penhaligon appears on ITN’s by-election special for the 1985 Brecon and Radnor by-election which is available to watch on the ITN online archive.

  20. Andy I don’t suppose you managed to record the morning after coverage and are planning to post it on YouTube?

  21. I was wondering that myself actually.

    I know it can’t be accessed via iplayer because it says ‘Not Available’ but surely someone out there recorded it yesterday.

    Let’s just hope that next time BBC Parliament show the 1987 election they will have the second day coverage on then as well…

  22. For those who are intrested John Loony appears to have defected to the tory party. In a final act of loonyism he announced the move on april fools day. Now its the 2nd he is still claiming the defection is real

  23. Would have thought John Loony’s wacky views on North Korea would be a big problem for the Tories.

  24. He talks a lot of sense, so if this has lasted beyond april 1st I’m sure he’d be welcome

  25. Some Labour names that could be interested in South Shields:

    – Iain Malcolm as we have all understood.
    – his brother Cllr Ed. He’s allegedly not a particular shining star. Ahead of a past selection, there were rumours he was undertaking public speaking training. He got 0 vote in Middlesbrough selection.
    – Tina Roche. She has confirmed she will apply. Previously shortlisted for Redcar, she is assistant branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside.
    – Sherie Murphy. Previously shortlisted in Redcar too, she represents Boldon Colliery ward on South Tyneside Council.
    – Emma Lewell-Buck. Recently shortlisted for Carlisle, she’s another South Tyneside Cllr (her ward is in Jarrow constituency.
    – Can the runner up in Middlesbrough selection (Progress backed and pushed by David Miliband at the time) be interested in South Shields? He’s from Teesside rather than Tyneside.
    – Lewis Atkinson. He run for the NEC in 2012 outside of the official slates (IIRC he got a decent vote). In the past he stood for local elections in both Sunderland and South Tyneside. He’s from Gateshead CLP.

    And obviously a couple of SpAds, a Cllr Hussain and some Islington Cllrs.

  26. Anyone who lives away from the River Tyne would be advised to not bother applying.

  27. Mark Ferguson at LabourList:

    “South Shields is a chance to do politics differently – why aren’t we taking it?”

  28. IMHO female bus drivers with disabled husbands aren’t common in either the Green or LibDem parties either.

  29. Useless fact: more comments have been made on this thread (79) than the old archived version had in nearly six and a half years (73).

    Regarding JohnLoony, he has definitely joined us. If you check out the OMRLP website they have graciously acknowledged his defection.
    I have encouraged him to set his sights on Croydon South. 😉

  30. That is quite interesting but not too surprising given the interest by-elections stir up, especially with quite a high profile departure.

    Apologies if this has been mentioned upthread, but isn’t the South Shields area the only part of the country never to have had Tory representation since the Great Reform Act? Of course, there is a very affluent ward in the south of the borough (Cleadon and East Boldon), which is culturally, historically and linguistically more part of Wearside than Tyneside, but that lies within the Jarrow constituency.

  31. Council Leader has not applied for Labour nomination.

    Cllr Mark Walsh is now the CLP officers pushed candidate.

  32. “Regarding JohnLoony, he has definitely joined us. If you check out the OMRLP website they have graciously acknowledged his defection.”

    I hope John corrects me if I’m wrong – but I’m sure I’ve read numerous posts by him elsewhere which were very outspoken in their support of the North Korean government and of communist ideology in general.

    Either he’s had a massive change in his views or he is the first communist Tory I’ve ever come across.

  33. John was questioned about his “communist” views on the Vote UK forum back in December, and answered them about 60% of the way down this page:

  34. There are many regimes which have done appalling things in the name of socialism. North Korea even in that baleful list should come quite near the top.

  35. Thanks for that link Swanarcadian.

    To be honest, after reading through that lot I think he fits in best with the loonies.

    It is just not credible that someone can seriously change overnight from Marxist to Conservative at his advanced age and the Tories shouldn’t touch his application with a barge pole (nice guy though he seems to be).

  36. Perhaps he has expressed support for North Korea because he perceives them to be the looniest regime. He certainly wouldn’t be far wrong.

  37. I’m sure we’re taking his Marxist literature a tad too seriously. As a matter of fact John has been highly supportive of the coalition government since its formation and holds his MP Gavin Barwell in high regard.

  38. There’s nothing funny about North Korea. It’s a regime of appalling evil (the one country in “the axis of evil” which George W Bush got spot on).

    Gavin Barwell has become pretty well regarded locally, unlike many colleagues he has defied expectations that he would turn out to be a lazy A-list nonentity. He will have a relentless uphill struggle to hold his seat though.

  39. H Hemmelig: I agree that Barwell’s medium-term prospects are very grim in Croydon Central. But I wonder if his position in 2015 is stronger than the 2010 results imply, given Pellings’ decision to stand? Or has further subsequent demographic change cancelled this out?

  40. Personally I do not think Croydon Central (and llford North) will be easily won by Labour, regardless of the demographic changes. Both MPs have been pretty active locally and certainly Barwell is regularly in the local newspapers – the Croydon and Sutton GLA member Steve O’Connell (who nearly lost this relatively safe Tory seat in 2012) is always in the paper.

  41. Labour have a shortlist of 4 for South Shields, glancing at Twitter – Lewis Atkinson (mentioned by Andrea above) and Paul Williams (a GP in Stockton). The other two shortlisted candidates haven’t revealed themselves yet.

    I do not know South Shields at all, and not sure whether the Teeside/Tyneside difference will play apart etc but with no doctors or nurses in the Labour PLP and reading Dr Paul Williams bio, he seems very very impressive and would better Parliament too.

  42. The other 2 shortlisted are local councillors Mark Walsh and Emma-Lewell Buck.

    So the 4 shortlisted candidates, to be decided on Wednesday:

    Paul Williams
    Lewis Atkinson
    Mark Walsh
    Emma-Lewell Buck

    The local newspaper seem to bigging up Mark Walsh.

  43. Labour shortlist

    Mark Walsh (South Tyneside Cllr. Ward within the constituency)
    Emma Lewell-Buck (South Tyneside Cllr. Ward in Jarrow)
    Lewis Atkinson (from Gateshead CLP. Former local election candidate in South Tyneside and Sunderland. Stood for the NEC in 2012)
    Paul Williams (GP doctor from Stockton)

  44. Back to Croydon Central, I think had Labour had an Open Selection and had Andrew Pelling been selected, I think potentially not only would that have been interesting (Pelling and Barwell do not get on) but I think Pelling would have been favourite.

    However already Inside Croydon (incidentally Pelling contributes to) have mentioned a potential stitch-up to get Harriet Harman’s friend to be selected.

    Could this potentially rile angry men, stirred by Barwell and his Campaign Team?

  45. Incidentally Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party, were one of the CLPs that kicked up a fuss in the 90s when they were “imposed” with an AWS against their will.

  46. “But I wonder if his position in 2015 is stronger than the 2010 results imply, given Pellings’ decision to stand? Or has further subsequent demographic change cancelled this out?”

    Probably yes. Plus Pelling will have taken some Labour votes as well as from the Tories.

    I know the seat quite well and give him a 50-50 chance in 2015. His efforts to scrape a few votes out of the minority communities might save him in the end.

  47. Mark Walsh seems to be the favourite here for Labour, if Twitter is any guide (which indeed it may not be)

  48. yes, Doktortb, Walsh has the backing of all CLP “grandees” (officers, the Malcolms).

  49. Kokopops – this probably won’t be the first “stitch up” – I can see a seat being found for Harman’s SPAD Ayesha Hazarika and maybe for Ed Balls’s SPAD Alex Belardinelli.

  50. Kokopops – the link you provide doesn’t suggest any evidence of a stitch-up, just that the prospect of an AWS had been raised (and indeed the NEC has indeed imposed one on the seat.) As the article itself mentions, there are several plausible candidates besides the one linked to Harman.

    Evidence that AWSs cause large-scale shifts to the Conservatives amongst ‘angry men’ has never been satisfactorily established.

    More broadly, I think there’s a need to distinguish between ‘stitch-ups’, where a shortlist is clearly designed to clear the path for one centrally favoured candidate and selections that are won by centrally favoured candidates because the selectorate considers them to be the best candidate.

    If you’re a SPAD to a leading Shadow Minister, you’re probably knowledgeable, well-connected, have a decent record of activism and able to get things done. All of those contribute towards making them attractive candidates.

    The selection of David Miliband would be a good example of a stitch-up. The selection of Ed Miliband (in which he beat a couple of other candidates who are now also MPs) would be an example of a SPAD winning because he convinced the CLP he was their best bet.

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