By-Election Special: Middlesbrough

by Jackie_South on October 29, 2012

The death of Stuart Bell from cancer on 13 October brought the tally of by-elections to be held in this Parliament to thirteen (ten Labour, two Sinn Fein and one Conservative). As the graph below shows, his Middlesbrough constituency was reasonably safely Labour in 2010.

Past results

However, 2010 was actually a historic low-point for Labour in the constituency. This was the only election since the town was consolidated into a single constituency in 1974 that the party received less than half the total votes cast.

Even in Labour’s post-war electoral low-point in 1983, Labour got a 50.7% share of the ballot here and had a majority of almost 10,000 back then.

In recent years, the Liberal Democrats have taken over from the Conservatives to take second place, but are still a long way behind Labour.

There are a number of reasons for this decline in Labour’s vote.

First, the swing from Labour nationally in 2010 would have played a role, but the swing here was larger than the national one despite Labour’s vote holding up elsewhere in the North East.

Secondly, there was a more local impact that would have hit Labour through the 2010 closure of the Teesside Steelworks, one of Peter Mandelson’s biggest episodes of ministerial ineptitude. The impact of that closure was more dramatic in neighbouring Redcar (where the steelworks was located), where Labour lost the previously safe seat to the Liberal Democrats on a massive 21.8% swing.

Finally, Bell’s own record would have had a mixed impact. On the one hand, he had a 27 year history as the MP, during which he would have won loyalty from some constituents through his outspoken intervention in the 1987 Cleveland child abuse scandal in which he spoke out against the paediatricians who diagnosed 121 children they believed had been abused. On the other, it was revealed last year that he had not bothered to hold a constituency surgery since 1997.

The chart below shows the results since 1974.

The constituency

At the heart of Teesside, the constituency takes up the northern two-thirds of the borough of Middlesbrough, with the southern suburbs falling within Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

The constituency includes all the town’s riverfront, including the iconic transporter bridge and Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside stadium. It then stretches south to take in the town centre, Teesside university, Albert Park and the historic Acklam Hall to reach the A174 in the southwest of the seat. To the east, the seat ends further north, excluding the Parkside and Marton neighbourhoods.
Middlesbrough mapThe constituency is made up of fifteen wards, electing thirty-two councillors. In 2011, twenty-four of them are Labour, five independent, two Conservative and one Green.

Kader ward in the south of the constituency is the odd ward out: a fairly safe Conservative ward. Further east, Beckfield ward has two independent councillors, whilst Acklam, Ayresome and Beechwood wards in the south-west are all split between Independents and Labour.

Although there is a Green councillor in the central Park ward, they did not stand in the 2010 election. The other nine wards are wholely represented by Labour.

But that does not mean that Middlesbrough is a one-party state. Since 2002, the city has been run by an independent directly-elected mayor, Ray Mallon. Mallon’s popularity stems from his zero-tolerance policing policies he pursued as the town’s Detective Superintendent, which earned him the nickname ‘Robocop’.

Mallon has attracted controversy, being criticised for not declaring interests and being recorded making sexist and racist remarks, but these issues were not enough to stop him being elected for a third time last year, albeit with a reduced majority.

The map below shows the current spread of councillors in the constituency.

The by-election

This should normally be a safe bet for Labour in the by-election, but that decline in their vote and those 2011 revelations about Bell’s idleness might create problems for them.

That challenge is not likely to come from the Coalition parties, nor is this a constituency where Respect is likely to make much running. It seems unlikely that the Liberal Democrats will be able to retain their second place here in the by-election, despite their success in Redcar.

The threat would most likely be from a viable Independent candidate. One independent has already announced his intention to run: Mark Heslehurst who has campaigned to be reunited with his son who now lives in Cambodia.

But the big beast in the wings is Ray Mallon himself, who has hinted he might stand. If he does, this could result in a major upset.

The by-election has yet to be scheduled, and might not now take place until January. There is no hint yet of who might be the candidates for the three main parties.

The map below shows our calculation of how the fifteen wards would have voted in the 2010 general election. Kader ward would have backed the Conservatives, as it does in local elections. All the others would have backed Stuart Bell, ranging from a 39% lead in the central Clairville ward to a 6% lead in the south-western Acklam ward.

The figures show the estimated lead in each ward, with the second-placed party shown in brackets.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan McTigue November 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

The Middlesbrough resident Mark Heslehurst who recently declared he would be standing as an Independent in Middlesbrough was, up until a few days ago, asking for money (via the Internet) from people in the UK, USA etc telling them it was needed to pay for ads in newspapers which when read by millions, would highlight his problem (his son lives there and Mark wants him here with him) and would “bring Edward home”. 48 hours ago, he announced that the money given to him and deposited in HIS OWN pay-pal account will now be used to finance his election. He now makes the statement that there was no guarantee that the ads would work ! He told the fraud squad in Mbro that he would contact all those who had given and offer them their money back. However, he also placed an annoucement on his prvate F Book page saying – “can you pass the wokd arund and ask people if they want their money back.” Is this what this town needs as an MP?


julie sankey November 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Regards the above comment. Joan McTigue, you have continually attacked Mark Heslehurst in everything that he has tried to do. You have slated him on a facebook group yourself. I dont think, that as an MP yourself, your behaviour is acceptable. Every opportunity you get you have shown to hunt him down. You have sent unwanted private messages to myself, and others, on facebook, because i support Mark. Your messages have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities. Do us a favour, get on with what you are supposed to be doing as an MP and stop using electronic forms of communication to harrass people.


Sue November 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

The comment fro cllr joan mctigue is a disgrace to the people of middlesbrough she has been harrasing mark heslehurst for a long time,she is doing this daily this women will not stop she is being investigated by the police,also has been warned many times by the police to stop.She even copied my email address from mr heslehursts group and was sending me emails.This women has no right to say bad against mark,but she is only because when she went to london mark did not want to here her going on about the late Sr Stuart Bell. This women has even mentioned she wants to arrange a holiday to go to Mr heslehursts ex wifes country. Mr heslehurst has used 90% towards his campaign. This was joan mctigue who stopped mark continuing his walks to london from middlesbrough because of the continues harrasement he is getting from her and her little group she has set up a page and a website against mark also in many comments on her other groups that we got closed down she called not just called mark bad things she called us admins scams,fraud and in for a cut of the money etc etc. Mark did not ask anyone to pass the word around see there is another lie from joan mctigue. This women has brought more shame to the people of middlesbrough again and does not deserve any involvement in the elections at all. Mark is a honest and caring and loving father who has grew up in middlesbrough. The people of middlesbrough need a middlesbrough man and that man is Mark heslehurst.


Joan McTigue July 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Sue – sorry to correct you in public – it must be humiliating for you but you ought to deal in facts. The police did NOT warn me about anything. They ADVISED myself to stop contacting him and advised Mark to stop contacting me, the only questions I asked of Mark – as many others did – was – what was our money spent on – money that we gave him when he told us he needed it to get his son home. Also, why, since he claimed to speak 6 languages and be a qualified English teacher, he did not do any paid work?He forgot to tell us that he himself had abducted his son, brought him to the UK but had been ordered by a High Court judge to return the child to its rightful place – with its Mother. The Mother works full time to provide for the child – the Father goes up and down the country, Europe and the USA asking for money !! No wonder the people of Mbro rejected him as their MP and no wonder the police decided – no case to answer. I harassed nobody. Never did get an answer as to where the money went – perhaps Sue can tell us?


Mark Heslehurst November 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

With regards the comment from Middlesbrough councillor Joan Mctigue above the only factual statement is concerning me running for MP.

1,Cleveland police have officially written me with regards the financial side of my campaign after investigation at the insistence of the above “lady” and have written to her also before the date she made this post that all is correct . Letter available

I am afraid I cannot go into more details with Regards Councillor Mctigue as she is officially under investigation with Cleveland police with regards her relentless harrassment of myself and all associated with me .

Mark Heslehurst.


Susan November 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Mark Heslehurst is a credit to middlesbrough the middlesbrough people need a man like mark to be the next MP he has family and friends in the community of middlesbrough. I got to meet mark myself in my home town and what a wonderful caring loving person he is,this is what is needed in middlesbrough someone who understands all and someone who can bring peace and happiness to the community. Mark is loyel and understanding and will fight for what the middlesbrough people need. Vote for mark heslehurst the new MP for the Boro people.


Joan McTigue July 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Sorry Susan Bishop – but the people of Middlesbrough did nto agree with you and Mark came last out of the 8 candidates.


Greg November 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Are you aware that cllr Joan Mctigue is being investigated by the police for harrasement against mark heslehurst and that the police have looked at this site themselfs and her comment should be romoved from this site asap. Joan mctigue and her little group of friends have been harrassing mark heslehurst for quite awhile.All this is down to joan mctigue we all have had problems with her. I myself was not happy with her sending emails to my wife via email i even seen the comments myself on one of the groups that my wife and other admins got closed down calling them a scam and fraud and in for a cut of the money. Also she stated how much is mark paying them. This cllr is a disgrace to the people of middlesbrough and she should not be in power of being a cllr for her community any longer. Joan mctigue is a sort of women if she doesn’t get what she wants she turns against them ,like she has done with many people in middlesbrough she herself even slanted the late sir stuart bell. But when he sadly passed away she was saying nice things about him. So come on understand where i am coming from about this cllr. Mark is a wonderful guy and believe me he will make a wonderful Mp for the people of boro. I would like the site owner to contact me personally and i will give you the details of the person you can contact at cleveland police on the matter of cllr joan mctigue.


Joan McTigue November 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I am aware that the above posters above, Sue, Greg and Julie do not live in Middlesbrough, have probably never been to Middlebrough and know nothibng about what it needs etc but form part of Mr Heslehurs’t team – Team Reunite. The team is hoping to get him elected as an MP here and we know at such times it brings out the worst in people – as above. I have in my possession an e-mail sent to these people and others by Mr Heslehurst – urging them to come on here and make comments about himself.and myself. Mr Heslehurst lodged a complaint about myself to Cleveland Police months ago because myself and 3 other people (from Birminhgam and Harrogate) were and still are determined to expose this man. I have not been told to stop commenting or digging – only not to communicate with Mr Heslehurst and he was given the same ADVICE, to stop communicating with myself and it has gone no further. This was advice only. As for stopping him walking -as far as I am aware he is still doing just that. It just goes to show how much they know – they refer to me as an MP !!


Andrea November 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm
Joan McTigue November 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

The message from Mr Heslehurst urging people to post comments about myself was made on his facebook page and a screen shot was given to Cleveland Police two days ago. His followers above forget to state that Mr
Mark Heslehurst is being investigated himself for harrassment against myself – that appears to have slipped their mind. If a facebook page has a message to the public stating – message me – then there is no point in Julie Sankey complaining if someone does. “Does not deserve any involvement in elections” – every resident in this country has a right to be involved in elections! “You have continually attacked Mark in everything he has tried to do” – I am NOT aware of anything he has tried to do, other than ask for and take money from people on the understanding it will bring about his child being removed from the safe, comfortable and very nice home his ex-wife has worked hard to provide for the child as a lawyer in Cambodia and bring the child to the UK to live with him. MPs & government ministers in the UK have spent a long time looking into this and Mr Heslehurst ‘s situation was discussed in the House of Lords. He has been told this government cannot help him – it’s a legal matter between himself and his ex-wife to sort out. He can be reunited with his son at any time by buying a ticket to Cambodia & since Mr Heslehurst has not worked for some years now & access has never been a problem why does he not do that since he claims his child is ill and fretting for him. Indeed his ex-wife offfered to bring the child to the UK last year – he turned down this offer. She has offered to bring him here next April to be with his Father – let’s see if he acccepts that offer? No court will remove a child from his Mother in these circumstances. Mr Heslehurst’s ex-wife made the following statement – I told him to stop this nonsense and look for employment as I hope to send Edward to a good boarding school in England when he is older. Reunite – Fact or Fiction is a Facebook set up by someone (not myself as they claim here) and a web site Unanswered Questions Mark Heslehurst (again – NOT set up by myself as they claim) is well worth a read if anyone is interested in the facts.


Sue November 10, 2012 at 6:42 am

What a liar mark has not sent us any emails see there you go again Joan,You are full of lies,i was annoyed myself when you started sending me emails back in august for no reason you copied my email address from the group im admin on,the point is cllr mctigue you called mark fraud,scam, and this was bang out of order you also called us admins of mark’s group the same and u also said we are in for a cut of the money and writing how much is mark paying us. You can not deny you have never called mark a conman as you have on many posts. You was told by the police to have no contact with mark at all,but what you don’t understand Joan Mctigue when police say no contact that also means no writing about mark. And how can you say any of us have not been to middlesbrough as you don’t know. So to be honest Cllr Joan Mctigue you should of taken the advice from the police but oh no cllr mctigue does not listen to anyone.even the law do you understand that is a serious offence and you broke the law by not taking the advice by the police. Cllr mctigue is a person as i will repeat if she doesn’t get her own way she turns against you. Cllr mctigue continues to write against mark also she plans to give out flyers to do with the elections onside about elections other side she has stated to expose mark heslehurst,what has she got to expose him of oh i see a loving caring guy that will fight for the middlesbrough people ibecoming the next MP. Im sure that with elections coming up that Cllr Joan Mctigue has not right to do the flyers herself and that she can get herself is so much trouble in doing this.


Joan McTigue April 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

You really do show such ignorance don’t you? Anyone – I repeat anyone can take part in ANY elections and give out flyers, posters etc about ANY and ALL candidates if they so chose.
What on earth does – “with the elections onside about elections other side” – mean – it’s not even English !!


Susan November 10, 2012 at 7:05 am

It does not matter who set a page up cllr mctigue you are still involved on there also you are involved in the website remember cllr mctigue you wrote our page and our website so there you go once you write against mark anywhere that means you are in involved and you ignored the ADVICE from the police in this matter. You are also using the name clause and many other names on the website you set up against mark. On your page you stated on many posts for mark to come on there,and how many times has others including my husband stated mark will not come on the page to speak with you or any others you have on there he took the ADVICE from the police you have been harrassing mark for a very long time and yet you carry on doing the things you was told to stop doing. I myself have the shots from when you called mark a comman and i promise you cllr mctigue if i have to go in front of a court of law to swear on the holy bble against you 100% i will do that. You have been suspended on many occassions for the problems that you have caused in middlesbrough but with this against mark heslehurst you have gone to far now. You state edward is ok and happy where he is how do you understand that you are not there with him. Mark is above board in what he is doing so my advice would be like any other person give mark a chance in what he is doing and get on with your own life instead of butting your nose into his.


Joan McTigue November 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Susan is the third person in the group of “Light and Love ” set up by Mr Heslehurst who is going to “swear on the holy bible in court” – well I never, and too dam right I am involved. A facebook is for anyone – I repeat anyone to ask questions and make comments – sadly Mr Heslehurst cannot accept that. As a candidate in a general election, I’m afraid he is going to have to get used to that. We know that Edward his son is doing just fine because we have spoken with his Mum and seen all the photos of him on her Facebook. All readers need to do is to loook at the web page advertised above – that reveals all. I cannot believe the ignorance of Susan – she thinks nobody is allowed to give out flyers at an election !! Strange because she has repeated on here, EXACTLY what her hubby Greg stated on the facebook page Fact or Fiction, Reunite Mark. Nice to see man and wife speaking as one !


S Porritt December 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I think that local politicians should stick to politics. Not hate fueled vendettas. It;s disgusting. Middlesbrough Council/Cleveland Police/ Ray Mallon what are you doing about this?


Joan McTigue December 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

The answer to your question is – NOTHING.


Joan McTigue January 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

All councillors have a private life and that private life has NOTHING at all to do with the council nor Ray Mallon. There is no “vendetta” here and no “hate” just one of many people asking questions because they feel they were conned by someone who did not tell the truth and kept the real facts hidden. Are you saying they have no right to expect answers and answers in writing? What happened to freedom of speech?


S Porritt April 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Reading the goading and shameful antics on the website that you contribute to, I am ashamed to think that you wanted to represent the town as its MP. I am sorry but I find your goading antics childish and in poor taste. Shouldnt your time be best spent representing the community who voted you in? It’s Shameful and emabarrassing to yourself and to this town.

I agree with you that councillors do have a privatre life, however like other people in the public eye who serve the public, they are open to scrutiny. For expample is it your own computer that you use to post personal views about others ? do you have a council computer for council buisness? .


Ray_North April 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Guys! Please. I hate to intrude on some personal shit that’s going on here – but, please, we have no idea what any of this is all about – we’d be happy to mediate if it would be of assistance.


Joan McTigue April 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Yes it is my own computer and yes I do have a second council computer. I’m glad you made the comment “open to scrutiny” – that applies to all of us – yes all of us including the man in the street so please don’t complain when I and others do just that. In particular when it comes to someone asking others for money.


Joan McTigue December 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Yes I do hav e my own computer – next question please.


Joan McTigue May 4, 2013 at 8:26 am

Police investigation completed and despite all the protestations from Mr Heslehurst and his followers, there is no case to answer. In other words, I harassed nobody at all – I simply wanted answers to questions which were and have still never been given.


Neil Scott June 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Neil A Scott. Convicted on Falsified forensics Evidence based on blood type that went missing in transit,was Handled by the Arresting. @ClevelandPolice Detective DC 1309. Alastair Crawford. Who NOT Qualified as a Forensics officer at all. Neil Scott has No Blood Type Either according to Police Prosecution Witnesses who stated Crawford Lied at. #Teesside Crown Courts like the G4S officers did on behalf of the Corrupt. detective and NONE of the Middlesbrough uk Councillors,PCC barry coppinger,Mayor Ray Mallon or clevelandpolice or outside forces will Act on it and arrest the detective for this Crime in LAWlessness. you gotta Ask Why won’t anyone in Authority ask for a Full investigation into Neil Scotts Claims of forensics fruads. On. #Teesside


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: