East of the M60‘s look at the borough’s General Election results
- Tameside constituencies remain solid Labour;
- UKIP vote hammered by increased Labour majorities and modest Conservative swing.
At the start of April, any talk of a General Election would have filled many voters with dread. It was expected that Theresa May’s Conservative Party would have a landslide victory. Instead, what happened on the 08 June flew in the face of many predictions. This was scuppered by Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigning in the month up to the election. Not least the crowds and how the agenda switched from Brexit to the state of our public services.
Then came the combined BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll: a hung parliament was predicted after the polling stations closed. Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch were miffed to say the least. So, come the start of Whit Friday, the pollsters were proved right. Of the opinion poll companies, Survation and YouGov had the most accurate results.
For me, there was a sense of elation that the hated Tories could be heading to Jobcentre Plus. Then I found they proposed a supply and confidence appeal with the Democratic Unionist Party (you know, the Northern Irish party that Dr Ian Paisley led at one time). ‘Utopia postponed’ I thought, when I checked my smartphone at Mossley railway station. This was compounded by heavy rain and a deeply uncomfortable Class 142 Pacer unit of the Merseyfailer variety. ‘Still’ I thought ‘life goes on, and the Uppermill Whit Walks would carry on as normal’. Which they did, with the Archbishop of York in attendance.
At this moment in time, the Tories’ supply and confidence deal with the DUP has yet to be agreed. This, shortly after their first divorce meeting with the European Union on the 19 June. So, at this time of writing, we have no government in power, although Ministers and Secretaries of State have been appointed on both the government and opposition benches.
Meanwhile in Tameside, the borough’s electorate – whom more than most have been affected by cuts to public services – voted Labour in great numbers. Angela Rayner’s vote increased by 10.6%; Andrew Gwynne’s by 12.7%. Even with a 9.5% rise in the Conservative vote, Jonathan Reynolds’ majority increased from 6,686 to 8,084 (up 12.2% on 2015).
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Tameside’s General Election results:
- Angela Rayner, Labour Party: 24,005 (60.4%);
- Jack Rankin, Conservative Party: 12,710 (32%);
- Maurice Jackson, United Kingdom Independence Party: 1,878 (4.7%);
- Andy Hunter-Rossall, Green Party: 534 (1.3%);
- Carly Hicks, Liberal Democrats: 646 (1.6%).
Turnout: 58.8%; Majority: 11,295.
- Angela Rayner, Labour Party: 19,366 (49.8%);
- Tracy Sutton, Conservative Party: 8,610 (22.1%);
- Maurice Jackson, United Kingdom Independence Party: 8,468 (21.8%);
- Charlotte Hughes, Green Party: 1,531 (3.9%);
- Carly Hicks, Liberal Democrats: 943 (2.4%).
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Denton and Reddish
- Andrew Gwynne, Labour Party: 25,161 (63.5%);
- Rozila Kana, Conservative Party: 11,084 (28%);
- Josh Seddon, United Kingdom Independence Party: 1,798 (4.5%);
- Gareth Hayes, Green Party: 486 (1.2%);
- Catherine Ankers, Liberal Democrats: 853 (2.2%);
- Farmin Lord Dave First of Haughton, Monster Raving Loony Party: 217 (0.5%).
Turnout: 61.1%; Majority: 14,077.
- Andrew Gwynne*, Labour Party: 19,961 (50.8%);
- Lana Hempsall, Conservative Party: 9,150 (23.7%);
- Andrew Fairfoull, United Kingdom Independence Party: 7,225 (18.7%);
- Nick Koopman, Green Party: 1,466 (3.8%);
- Mark Jewell, Liberal Democrats: 957 (2.5%);
- Victoria Lofas, Independent candidate: 222 (0.6%).
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Stalybridge and Hyde
- Jonathan Reynolds*, Labour Co-op Party: 24,277 (57.2%);
- Tom Dowse, Conservative Party: 16,193 (38.1%);
- Julie Wood, Green Party: 991 (2.3%);
- Paul Ankers, Liberal Democrats: 996 (2.3%).
Turnout: 59.5%; Majority: 8,084.
- Jonathan Reynolds*, Labour Co-op Party: 18,447 (45%);
- Martin Riley, Conservative Party: 11,761 (28.7%);
- Angela McManus, United Kingdom Independence Party: 7,720 (18.8%);
- Jenny Ross, Green Party: 1,850 (4.5%);
- Pete Flynn, Liberal Democrats: 1,256 (3.1%).
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As with the national picture, the UKIP vote was decimated. This thanks to UKIP voters opting for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party or the ‘Strong and Stable®’ UKIP-esque Conservative party policies. In 2015, Paul Nuttall’s former party polled 7,720 in Stalybridge and Hyde. This year, they didn’t field the candidate, hoping to give Tom Dowse a free run.
In Denton and Reddish, this fell from 7,225 in 2015 to 1,798. Ashton-under-Lyne, with the same candidate as the 2015 General Election, fell by a similar amount: 8,468 two years ago compared with 1,878 a week ago.
With the Corbyn effect in full throttle, the Green Party of England and Wales saw a dramatic fall in votes (with the exception of Caroline Lucas’ Brighton Pavilion seat). In percentage terms, nowhere near as great as UKIP’s vote. Julie Wood’s 991 was slightly more than half the 1,850 polled by Jenny Ross. Gareth Hayes polled with 986 fewer votes than Mick Koopman did in 2015 (486 compared with 1,466). In Ashton-under-Lyne, Andy Hunter-Rossall polled 997 fewer votes than Charlotte Hughes did in 2015.
What did we learn about this year’s election? Firstly, and in no small part due to First Past The Post, the two-party system was in rude health. Secondly, with UKIP being a spent force as a single issue party, its voters returned to the Conservatives or Labour parties. Both offering Twenty-Seven Shades of Brexit.
What of future elections? With Theresa May’s approval ratings falling faster than the pumpkin futures market in November, an election sometime this year seems likely. At this moment, Jeremy Corbyn stands a chance of getting into Number 10. In Tameside, there could be higher majorities for the borough’s three MPs but election fatigue could stymie turnouts. Though majorities increased, turnout only rose modestly in our borough.
The next few weeks leading up to the parliamentary recess seem interesting. Both historical and hysterically. Exasperating and exhilarating in equal measure.
Next up on It’s Up The Poll! 2017
There’s half a chance we could be covering another General Election before this year is out. Should that be the case, subsequent features will be entitled It’s Up The Poll Again!.
S.V., 16 June 2017.