Who Will the Boundary Commission Step On in Manchester?

by Jackie_South on November 11, 2011

My third post looking at the proposed constituency boundary changes in the North West, following those on Cumbria and Lancashire, focuses in on Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester appears to have got off quite lightly over all, reducing from its current 27 seats to 26, although this has entailed importing neighbouring areas in to make up the numbers in two seats: from Lancashire to Rochdale North & Rawtenstall and from Cheshire to Hazel Grove & Poynton.  Given that nationally the number is dropping from 650 to 600 – a loss of a thirteenth of seats – this isn’t bad going.

There are some local shockers though: the changes to Ashton-Under-Lyne and Leigh in particular.  Whilst there were three seats that were predominantly from the city of Salford before 2010, it now only clearly predominates in one.  Oldham goes from being named in two seats to only one.  On the other hand, Rochdale goes from two seats to being the predominant part of three. 

Two seats remain unaltered: Bury South and Wigan.  The map below shows the proposals, with the current boundaries in green and proposed ones in black.  If you click on the map and then click on it again on the next page, you should be able to zoom in on the detail. 

Below is a quick look at each proposed constituency, running alphabetically.

Altrincham and Sale

The one safe Conservative seat in Greater Manchester, Altrincham & Sale West, has relatively minor changes in the proposals.  It gains two Sale wards from Wythenshawe & Sale East and loses one to Stretford and Urmston.  This has a minimal impact on the likely outcome.

My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Conservative: 26,036 (47.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 13,994 (25.6%)
  • Labour: 12,990 (23.8%)
  • Other: 1,653 (3.0%)

Ashton-Under-Lyne

Ashton-Under-Lyne is the largest town in the borough of Tameside.  The proposed seat though is more Oldham than Tameside (64%:36%), and somehow manages to exclude Ashton’s town centre, which is moved to the Denton constituency.  In all, 43% comes from the current Oldham West & Royton seat.

The proposed seat is a little less safe for Labour than the current Ashton-Under-Lyne constituency, but still safe enough.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 19,003 (46.3%)
  • Conservative: 10,934 (26.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 6,759 (16.5%)
  • BNP: 2,529 (6.2%)
  • UKIP: 1,455 (3.5%)
  • Other: 375 (0.9%)

Blackley and Broughton

The current seat of this name is comprised of the northern end of the City of Manchester and the north-east corner of the city of Salford.  The proposed changes are relatively minor, gaining two wards from Manchester Central and donating one, Charlestown, to the proposed Middleton constituency.

The seat remains solidly Labour.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 20,979 (52.1%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 7,412 (18.4%)
  • Conservative: 6,668 (16.5%)
  • BNP: 2,948 (7.3%)
  • Other: 2,286 (5.7%)

Bolton North

This proposed constituency is based on the current Bolton North East seat, a Labour marginal.  It loses its two easternmost wards (to Bolton South and Bury North) and gains three from even more marginal Bolton West (Labour majority of 92 votes). 

This makes the proposed seat more marginal over all.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 21,831 (41.5%)
  • Conservative: 20,063 (38.2%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 8,226 (15.6%)
  • UKIP: 2,111 (4.0%)
  • Other: 350 (0.7%)

Bolton South

This is the renamed, safe Labour, constituency of Bolton South East, with the addition of one ward, Breightmet, from Bolton North East.  The electoral impact of this change should be minimal.

My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 21,893 (48.1%)
  • Conservative: 12,021 (26.4%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 6,968 (15.3%)
  • BNP: 2,012 (4.4%)
  • UKIP: 1,823 (4.0%)
  • Other: 809 (1.8%)

Bury North

The current Bury North seat comprises the town of Bury itself together with Ramsbottom to its north.  It was the Conservatives’ sole gain in Greater Manchester in the 2010 election, in part due to the previous MP being the expenses crook David Chaytor.  The Conservative majority is 2,243 (5%).

The proposals add Bradshaw ward from Bolton North East, making the new seat more Conservative but still marginal.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Conservative: 21,396 (41.7%)
  • Labour: 17,762 (34.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 8,490 (16.5%)
  • BNP: 1,825 (3.6%)
  • UKIP: 1,541 (3.0%)
  • Other: 312 (0.6%)

Bury South

Despite the name, this constituency does not include any of the town of Bury itself, taking in the towns of Prestwich (Mark E Smith’s hometown), Radcliffe and Whitefield in the south of the borough of Bury.  The proposals leave the seat unchanged.

The seat is a Labour-held marginal.  The 2010 results were:

  • Labour: 19,508 (40.4%)
  • Conservative: 16,216 (33.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 8,796 (18.2%)
  • BNP: 1,743 (3.6%)
  • UKIP: 1,017 (2.1%)
  • Other: 987 (2.0%)

Cheadle

This seat in the south-east of the borough of Stockport comprises the towns of Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall.  It is a Lib Dem marginal, with a majority of 3,272 (6.2%) over the Conservatives.

The proposals entail gaining Davenport & Cale Green ward from the Stockport constituency and ceding Stepping Hill ward to the Hazel Grove seat.  This will have a minimal impact on the results here.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Liberal Democrat: 23,565 (45.8%)
  • Conservative: 20,194 (39.2%)
  • Labour: 6,175 (12.0%)
  • UKIP: 2,526 (5.9%)
  • BNP: 1,755 (4.1%)
  • Other: 170 (0.4%)

Denton

The current Denton & Reddish seat comprises south west Tameside and the north-westernmost part of the borough of Stockport, the town of Reddish.  It is a safe Labour constituency.

The proposals remove Reddish, and also the town of Dukinfield in the north east of the constituency.  In come one ward from Stockport borough, Bredbury & Woodley (currently in the Lib Dem Hazel Grove seat), and the three wards from the current Ashton-Under-Lyne constituency that cover the town centre and the town of Droylsden.  Other than Bredbury & Woodley ward, this is now the west Tameside seat.

The proposed seat will remain safely Labour.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 19,522 (45.8%)
  • Conservative: 10,210 (24.0%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 8,404 (19.7%)
  • UKIP: 2,526 (5.9%)
  • BNP: 1,755 (4.1%)
  • Other: 170 (0.4%)

Hazel Grove and Poynton

The current Hazel Grove seat, in the south east corner of Greater Manchester covering Hazel Grove, Marple and Romiley, is a Lib Dem seat with a majority over 6,000.

The proposals cede Bredbury & Woodley ward to Denton and gain Stepping Hill from Cheadle.  This leaves the seat over 11,000 voters short, and this remainder has been made up by transferring the town of Poynton over from the Cheshire constituency of Macclesfield. 

Poynton is safely Conservative, turning the proposed constituency into a Lib Dem held marginal.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Liberal Democrat: 22,027 (43.3%)
  • Conservative: 19,814 (39.0%)
  • Labour: 6,618 (13.0%)
  • UKIP: 2,141 (4.2%)
  • Other: 246 (0.5%)

Leigh

Andy Burnham’s current seat of Leigh covers the eastern part of the borough of Wigan, taking in the town of that name and the villages of Tyldesley, Golborne and Lowton.  It is safely Labour.

Burnham has been publicly critical of the proposed changes, which turn the seat into one that takes in roughly equal parts of the boroughs of Salford and Wigan. 

The new seat would lose the western parts of Leigh, including parts of the town centre as well as Golborne and Lowton.  The constituency is now horseshoe-shaped, stretching north east to take in Walkden and Little Hulton and south east to take in Irlam.  Both of these new areas are from the less-safely Labour seat of Worsley & Eccles South.

The resulting seat will still be safely Labour, if slightly less strongly.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 20,987 (45.7%)
  • Conservative: 10,921 (23.8%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 10,043 (21.9%)
  • UKIP: 1,776 (3.9%)
  • BNP: 1,108 (2.4%)
  • Other: 1,057 (2.3%)

Makerfield

Makerfield, in the centre of the borough of Wigan, has been a Labour seat since 1906 and, with a majority of over 12,000, isn’t going to change from that soon.  It is made up of towns of the old Lancashire coalfield.

The proposals cede the town of Hindley to the Westhoughton constituency and gain Golborne and Lowton from Leigh.  This will have little electoral impact.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 21,998 (49.8%)
  • Conservative: 9,825 (22.3%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 5,312 (12.0%)
  • BNP: 2,761 (6.3%)
  • Other: 4,244 (9.6%)

Manchester Central

Despite the name, only 57% of this proposed constituency is in the City of Manchester.  The seat starts on Manchester’s eastern edge at Clayton and Openshaw and then stretches west to the city centre and Hulme before carrying on over the River Irwell to take in central Salford. 

The present Manchester Central would transfer two wards north to Blackley and Broughton, and two south to Manchester Gorton, including Moss Side.

The current Manchester Central seat is safely Labour.  The Salford parts ought to be safe for them too, but the result in the Salford & Eccles seat last year was worse than it would normally be given the voters’ displeasure at Hazel “Rocking the Boat” Blears’ home-flipping.

Using the 2010 result is therefore likely to artifically depress the vote.   However, my projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries shows:

  • Labour: 16,542 (46.8%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 10,007 (28.3%)
  • Conservative: 5,594 (15.8%)
  • BNP: 1,243 (3.5%)
  • Other: 1,956 (5.5%)

Manchester Gorton

81 year-old Gerald Kaufman’s seat of Manchester Gorton currently has a decent, but not over-whelming, majority of 6,703 (17.5%) over the Lib Dems.

The proposals cede two wards, Fallowfield and Whalley Range, southwards to the Manchester Withington constituency and receive two, Ardwick and Moss Side, in turn from Manchester Central. 

Labour leads in both Fallowfield and Whalley Range, but is further ahead in Ardwick and Moss Side.   My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 19,393 (53.0%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 11,339 (31.0%)
  • Conservative: 3,512 (9.6%)
  • Green: 805 (2.2%)
  • Other: 1,516 (4.1%)

Manchester Withington

The Liberal Democrats won Manchester Withington from Labour in 2005 with  a massive 17.3% swing, thanks to its large student population reacting to the Iraq War.  The Lib Dems are probalby helped by this being the most middle-class of the City of Manchester constituencies and held the seat in 2010 with a modest increase in their majority to 1,894.

The seat stretches from Chorlton in the west to Burnage (where the Gallaghersgrew up) in the east.  The Boundary Commission’s proposals transfer Didsbury, in the south of the constituency, to Wythenshawe and bring in both Fallowfield and Whalley Range, to the north, from the Gorton seat.

The impact of this is enough to turn this back into a Labour seat by a similar majority to that currently held by the Lib Dems.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 19,163 (44.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 17,331 (40.3%)
  • Conservative: 4,443 (10.3%)
  • Green: 1,112 (2.6%)
  • Other: 933 (2.2%)

Middleton

Somehow, the borough of Rochdale has ended up with three seats in which it is the largest component in the proposals, compared to its current two.  Those two are the Lab-Lib marginal Rochdale constituency to the east of the borough and the safer Labour Heywood & Middleton to the west, where they lead by almost 6,000 votes.

In the proposals, Heywood & Middleton loses the northernmost four of its ten wards, including part of Heywood.  In come Manchester’s Charlestown ward (currently in Blackley & Broughton) and Oldham’s Chadderton Central and Chadderton North wards (currently in Oldham West & Royton). 

The Tories and Lib Dems do well in the wards ceded, whilst the new wards are all Labour.  The overall impact is therefore to make Middleton a safe Labour seat.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 20,839 (48.6%)
  • Conservative: 10,786 (25.1%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 6,584 (15.3%)
  • BNP: 3,395 (7.9%)
  • UKIP: 1,109 (2.6%)
  • Other: 203 (0.5%)

Oldham and Saddleworth

We looked extensively at the present Oldham East & Saddleworth constituency at the time of the by-election in January.  The proposals are based on that seat, with the addition of Coldhurst and Royton South wards from Oldham West & Royton and the removal of the Lib Dem Crompton and Shaw wards to Rochdale South. 

The Lib Dems make a decent showing in both Coldhurst, which covers the west of Oldham town centre, and Royton South, but Labour leads in both.  This will improve Labour’s majority from the 103 achieved by Phil Woolas in 2010, but leave it marginal on the basis of that election.  My projection of that 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 16,100 (36.6%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 13,330 (30.3%)
  • Conservative: 10,362 (23.6%)
  • BNP: 2,256 (5.1%)
  • UKIP: 1,646 (3.7%)
  • Other: 264 (0.6%)

Rochdale North and Rawtenstall

Despite Rochdale’s role as the birthplace of the Co-operative movement, it has been a Lab-Lib marginal for most of the last forty years: held from 1972 to 1992 by the Liberal’s obese kiddie-fiddler and asbestos producer Cyril Smith, and then subsequently swapping hands frequently between the parties.  Labour won it back last year with an 889 vote majority.

Rochdale gets split in two by the Boundary Commission’s proposals, with 60% of the current seat, including the town centre and the Pennine town of Littleborough, ending up in Rochdale North and Rawtenstall.  Added to this from within the borough of Rochdale is Norden ward, the northernmost ward from Heywood & Middleton.  Norden is a split Tory/ Lib Dem ward.

A further 25,912 voters then come in from the Lancashire borough of Rossendale: its eastern towns of Rawtenstall and Bacup and the large village of Whitworth just north of Rochdale’s borders.  This Darwen & Rossendale territory is fairly typical of that constituency as a whole: a Tory-held marginal over Labour, with the Lib Dems quite a way behind.

The combination of the Lab-Lib Rochdale, Con-Lab Rawtenstall and the Con-Lib Norden ward results in a tight three-way marginal, making this a fascinating seat to watch.  Labour ends up top of the heap, with the Tories’ in second place.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 16,523 (33.3%)
  • Conservative: 14,811 (29.9%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 13,047 (26.3%)
  • BNP: 2,874 (5.8%)
  • UKIP: 1,887 (3.8%)
  • Other: 416 (0.8%)

Rochdale South

This proposal is in effect a new constituency, straddling the boroughs of Rochdale and Oldham and comprising four elements.

As the name suggests, the largest of these parts (30,970 electors) is made from the southern four wards of the current Rochdale constituency, including the south side of Rochdale itself and the town of Milnrow. 

Another 22,883 electors come from the Heywood & Middleton constituency, around the southwest of Rochdale town and north Heywood.  Whilst Heywood & Middleton is a solid Labour seat, these wards together are pretty evenly split between the three main parties.

The third element is from the Lib Dem-Tory inclined wards of Crompton and Shaw from Oldham East & Saddleworth.  The final element is the safe Labour Royton North ward from Oldham West & Royton.

The result is a razor-edge Labour-Lib Democrat marginal, with a 116 vote majority for Labour on the basis of the 2010 election.  There is also a sizable Conservative vote.  My projection of that 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 15,566 (33.1%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 15,450 (32.8%)
  • Conservative: 10,485 (22.3%)
  • BNP: 3,055 (6.5%)
  • UKIP: 1,700 (3.6%)
  • Other: 812 (1.7%)

Stalybridge and Hyde

Stalybridge and Hyde is the east Tameside constituency that reaches into the Pennines and that has been held by the Labour Party since 1945.  It was quite close last year though: the majority over the Tories was 2,744 (6.7%) and its former MP James Purnell may have stood down because he feared losing.

The boundary changes proposed are minor, adding Dukinfield ward from Denton & Reddish.  This makes sense, as part of the town of Dukinfield is already in the seat.  Dukinfield ward is safely Labour, making the proposed constituency a bit healthier for them.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 18,786 (41.3%)
  • Conservative: 14,535 (32.0%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 7,562 (16.6%)
  • BNP: 2,259 (5.0%)
  • UKIP: 1,589 (3.5%)
  • Other: 721 (1.6%)

Stockport

It is a little surprising to recall that Stockport was a Conservative seat until its current MP Ann Coffey won it for Labour 1992.  Even last year, Labour held it with a 6,784 majority(17.3%).

The proposed changes will make it safer still.  Stockport donates Lab-Lib marginal Davenport & Cale Green ward to Cheadle and in turn receives the two Labour-leaning Reddish wards from Denton & Reddish.  This knocks Labour’s lead into the 20%-plus territory.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 20,484 (44.9%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 11,271 (24.7%)
  • Conservative: 10,796 (23.7%)
  • UKIP: 1,252 (2.7%)
  • BNP: 1,201 (2.6%)
  • Other: 575 (1.3%)

Stretford and Urmston

This seat covers the northern, inner-city, part of the borough of Trafford.  Despite the Tory council, this seat is safely Labour (the Conservative victories at a borough-level rely on their safe territory in Altrincham and Sale).  Labour has a majority of just shy of 9,000 and 20% at the moment over the Tories.

The boundary change proposals this time are the addition of Ashton upon Mersey ward from Altrincham & Sale West.  This is a lot more Conservative than any of the current wards in the seat and so will reduce Labour’s majority a little, but not enough to make the constituency marginal. 

My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 23,493 (46.8%)
  • Conservative: 15,325 (30.5%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 8,653 (17.2%)
  • UKIP: 1,629 (3.2%)
  • Green: 916 (1.8%)
  • Other: 178 (0.4%)

Swinton

This proposed seat is now the only constituency predominantly consisting of the borough of Salford.  It covers the middle of the borough, taking in parts of the current Salford & Eccles and Worsley & Eccles South seats on a 57:43% basis.  Both of those seats are reasonably safe Labour constituencies, although Worsley and Boothstown & Ellenbrook wards are Conservative (a number of premiership footballers, including Ryan Giggs, live in Worsley).

Given that Eccles appears in the name of both the current constituency and is the largest town in the proposed constituency, it seems a little churlish for the Boundary Commission to ignore it in the new name – perhaps they had been renewing their car insurance at the time.

Although Worsley & Eccles South is Labour-held, it loses its stronger wards for Labour to the new Leigh constituency.  The remainder is split fairly evenly betwene Conservative and Labour supporters given the former’s strength in Worsley and Boothstown, turning the seat over all into a Labour marginal.   My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 17,243 (38.3%)
  • Conservative: 13,169 (29.2%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 9,522 (21.1%)
  • BNP: 1,624 (3.6%)
  • UKIP: 1,508 (3.3%)
  • Other: 1,957 (4.3%)

Westhoughton

This constituency is based on the current ultra-marginal Bolton West, held by Labour last year with a majority of 92 votes.  Bolton West includes one non-Bolton ward currently: Atherton ward from the borough of Wigan.

Labour will therefore be pleased that the proposed splitting of that seat gives some of the more Conservative territory to Bolton North, effectively stretching that majority out to 2,500.  The new additions from the borough of Wigan are Atherleigh and Leigh West wards from the Leigh constituency and Hindley and Hindley Green wards from the Makerfield seat.  This is all safe Labour turf, although Leigh West controversially includes part of Leigh town centre.

There was a Westhoughton constituency between 1885 and 1983 which Labour held continuously from 1906.  The new seat will also be far more comfortable for Labour than Bolton West.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

  • Labour: 20,839 (45.3%)
  • Conservative: 11,577 (25.2%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 7,346 (16.0%)
  • BNP: 2,084 (4.5%)
  • UKIP: 1,655 (3.6%)
  • Other: 2,511 (5.5%)

Wigan

The current Wigan constituency covers the towns of Wigan and Ince-in-Makerfield, together with the outlying villages of Shevington, Standish and Aspull to their north.  It is safe Labour territory.

The Boundary Commission is proposing no changes to this seat.  The results in 2010 were:

  • Labour: 21,404 (48.5%)
  • Conservative: 10,917 (24.7%)
  • Liberal Democrat: 6,797 (15.4%)
  • UKIP: 2,516 (5.7%)
  • BNP: 2,506 (5.7%)
     
  • Wythenshawe

    The present Wythenshawe & Sale East constituency covers the massive Wythenshawe estate in the southernmost part of the City of Manchester and the more genteel eastern parts of Sale, in the borough of Trafford.  The Wythenshawe part is far larger, giving Labour a decent majority over the Tories (7,575 or 18.6% in 2010).

    The proposed changes shift all but one of the Sale wards to the Altrincham and Sale constituency, and that remainder (Sale Moor ward) is a little more Labour than Conservative. 

    The new additions are the two Didsbury wards from Manchester Withington and are Lib Dem inclined.  This would have put the Liberal Democrats into second place last year, and reduced Labour’s majority over all.  My projection of the 2010 result on the proposed boundaries:

    • Labour: 19,503 (44.5%)
    • Liberal Democrat: 12,760 (29.1%)
    • Conservative: 7,210 (18.7%)
    • UKIP: 1,569 (3.6%)
    • BNP: 1,396 (3.2%)
    • Other: 402 (0.9%)


    SUMMARY

    Only one seat net is lost in Greater Manchester, falling from 27 constituencies to 26, albeit with some additions from Cheshire and Lancashire.  Two seats are effectively abolished - Oldham West & Royton and Worsley & Eccles South - and a new one created – Rochdale South.

    The impact on the parties, based on the 2010 results, is also limited: Labour stay on 22 seats and the Conservatives stay on 2.  The losers are Liberal Democrats, who fall from 3 seats to 2 thanks to the changes in the Manchester Withington seat moving it into the Labour column.

    The seats to watch are Lab-Con marginal Bolton North, Lab-Lib marginal Rochdale South and three-way marginal Riochdale North & Rawtenstall.

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