The South Yorkshire Boundary Review — What Impact Will It Have?
So after much anticipation, we finally got the news of the boundary review which will see us lose 50 MPs and have each constituency have roughly the same amount of voters.
The argument over whether this is gerrymandering is for another time, here I just want to concentrate on what this means for South Yorkshire and it’s political landscape, which has just been shaken up already by the shock Liberal Democrat victory in Mosborough, which has caused me to go to search for some sort of edible hat because of a stupid thing I said on Twitter.
Firstly, we should look at what we currently have. There are currently 14 constituencies in South Yorkshire, with 13 of them being held by Labour and one by the Liberal Democrats.
Below are the latest results for each constituency. Apart from Sheffield Hillsborough and Brightside which had a by-election in May, there are from the 2015 General Election.
Barnsley Central — Held by Dan Jarvis (Labour) with majority of 12,435. Nearest candidate was Lee Hunter of UKIP.
Barnsley East — Held by Michael Dugher (Labour) with majority of 12,034. Nearest candidate was Robert Swiffen of UKIP.
Don Valley — Held by Caroline Flint (Labour) with majority of 8,885. Nearest candidate was Carl Jackson of the Conservatives.
Doncaster Central — Held by Rosie Winterton (Labour) with majority of 10,093. Nearest candidate was Chris Hodgson of UKIP.
Doncaster North — Held by Ed Miliband (Labour) with majority of 11,780. Nearest candidate was Kim Parkinson of UKIP.
Penistone and Stocksbridge — Held by Angela Smith (Labour) with majority of 6,723. Nearest candidate was Steven Jackson of the Conservatives.
Rother Valley — Held by Kevin Barron (Labour) with majority of 7,297. Nearest candidate was Allen Cowles of UKIP.
Rotherham — Held by Sarah Champion (Labour) with majority of 8,446. Nearest candidate was Jane Collins of UKIP.
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough — Held by Gill Furness (Labour) with majority of 9,590. Nearest candidate was Steven Winstone of UKIP.
Sheffield Central — Held by Paul Blomfield (Labour) with majority of 17,309. Nearest candidate was Jillian Creasy of the Greens.
Sheffield Hallam — Held by Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam) with majority of 2,353. Nearest candidate was Oliver Coppard by Labour.
Sheffield Heeley — Held by Louise Haigh (Labour) with majority of 12,954. Nearest candidate was Howard Denby of UKIP.
Sheffield South East — Held by Clive Betts (Labour) with majority of 12,311. Nearest candidate was Steven Winstone of UKIP.
Wentworth and Deane — Held by John Healey (Labour) with majority of 13,838. Nearest candidate was Mike Hookem of UKIP.
So as you can see, South Yorkshire isn’t where the roughest of political battles happen. The only thing of interest in last year’s General Election was if Nick Clegg would keep his seat. And in the end, he did with a fairly comfortable number.
So what are the new constituencies? Well here they are, and as well as cutting one, things have changed radically.
Barnsley East and Hemsworth
Sheffield Central and West
Sheffield Hallam and Stocksbridge
Sheffield North and Ecclesfield
Wentworth and Dearne
Firstly, we should say goodbye to Penistone West which will now be part of the West Yorkshire Constituency of Colne Valley, currently held by Jason McCartney of the Conservatives. Penistone West is solidly Labour, but it is small and most likely will not cut into McCartney’s majority there too much.
So now, we are going to go constituency by constituency and see what’s changed and see who could win in 2020. The research director of YouGov @anthonyjwells has done a great Google Docs on this here, so we’re going to use that.
Barnsley Central is still broadly the same, though it has taken Worsbrough from Barnsley East and Dodworth from Penistone and Stocksbridge. Dan Jarvis will most likely be keeping this seat. As you’d might expect with Dodworth and Worsborough having strong Labour turnouts, Dan should have no trouble staying on. UKIP will remain the nearest challenger.
Barnsley East and Hemsworth takes a lot of, no surprise, Hemsworth so now we have parts of West Yorkshire in a South Yorkshire constituency. But as well as Hemsworth and Crofton, Ryhill and Walton from Hemsworth, this constituency will also be gaining Dearne South from Wentworth and Deane. The man most likely to take this seat will be current Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher as his former constituency takes up over 57% of this new one and UKIP in 2nd place are so far away.
Doncaster Central is barely worth mentioning as it’s pretty much the same apart from the addition of Doncaster North’s Stainforth & Barnby Dun. So nothing to worry about for current chief whip of the opposition Rosie Winterton. UKIP are the closest challengers here too.
With Don Valley and Doncaster North gone, replacements are needed and the former has mostly gone to the new Doncaster East constituency. DE will take Finningley, Hatfield, Rossington & Bawtry and Thorne & Moorends from Don Valley, though it will also take Bentley, Norton & Askern and a different part of the Thorne & Moorends ward from Doncaster North. Caroline Flint should be taking this seat with the changes only meaning that UKIP will move to 2nd place, rather than the Conservatives who finished 2nd in Don Valley back in 2015.
The bulk of the Doncaster North seat has now gone to Doncaster West. It will be taking Adwick le Street & Carcroft, Mexborough, Roman Ridge and Sprotborough from there, while also uniting Tickhill & Wadsworth from the Doncaster North and Central constituencies. Also moving are Conisbrough and Edlington & Warmsworth from Don Valley and Dearn North from Wandsworth North. While everyone has had a chuckle at Ed Miliband potentially losing his seat, he’ll most likely move in here as this seat now takes up 53% of his old one. Don’t expect Miliband to lose his seat electorally as well, as UKIP are way off in second.
Rother Valley will take in plenty from the old Rother Valley seat and Sheffield South East. Some of Rother Valley’s wards have moved to Rotherham, we’ll discuss that very soon, but most interesting is Beighton and Mosborough moving over from Sheffield South East. Can’t see current Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron moving out or losing his seat, and while UKIP are 2nd here, it will be interesting to monitor the Liberal Democrats after they won Mosborough.
Above I mentioned some of Rother Valley’s seats moved to Rotherham, and they are Hellaby, Rother Vale and Sitwell. Wickersley from Wentworth and Dearne will also be moving here. This also shouldn’t damage Sarah Champion’s claim to the seat though UKIP will be hoping to close in.
Sheffield Central and West is where things start to get a bit interesting. This is very close to being half and half of Sheffield Central and Hallam, with Broomhill, Central and Walkley coming from the former and Crookes and Ecclesall coming from the latter. While notional results suggests a comfortable win for Paul Blomfield, who’s old constituency takes up the most of this one, the Liberal Democrats will definitely be eyeing up as it takes two wards they are strong in from Hallam and combining them with a few they are good in from Central. The fightback does seem to be real in these sort of places as well, so may be one to watch.
The new Sheffield East constituency is a proper mix of a lot of different wards with it getting Brinsworth and Catcliffe from Rotherham, Burngreave and Shiregreen and Brightside from Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, Richmond from Sheffield Heeley and finally Darnall and Woodhouse. This ward takes almost equal amounts from Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough and Sheffield South East, but Gill Furness from SBH will have a better claim to fighting Sheffield North and Ecclesfield so Clive Betts should be able to keep hold onto this one. UKIP will hope to be close though.
Sheffield Hallam and Stocksbridge is the one which has made people’s ears pick up as it’s certainly an interesting one. It takes Penistone East and Stocksbridge & Upper Don from Penistone and Stocksbridge, Dore and Totley, Fulwood and Stannington from Sheffield Hallam and Beauchief and Greenhill from Sheffield Heeley. Expect Angela Smith from Penistone and Stocksbridge to fight this one for Labour if she can get through the selection process, which will be tough due to her anti-Corbyn comments, but she will be taking on Sheffield Hallam’s current MP Nick Clegg, and the Labour candidate is projected to win. Also don’t count out the Conservatives who have their strongest support in the region from Dore and Totley and Penistone East.
Sheffield North and Ecclesfield is another one which mixes a lot of different constituencies. There’s East Ecclesfield and West Ecclesfield from Penistone and Stocksbridge, Keppel from Rotherham and Firth Park, Hillsborough and Southey from Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough. It will be a safe seat for the aforementioned Gill Furness with UKIP far off in the distance.
At the other end of the city, Sheffield South will have half of Sheffield Heeley with Arbourthorne, Gleadless Valley and Graves Park transferring from there. Manor Castle and Nether Edge will be moving from Sheffield Central and Birley coming from Sheffield South East. Louise Haigh will likely take this seat and keep it comfortably with UKIP coming in 2nd.
Finally there is Wentworth and Dearne which has lost plenty as you can see from the above, but has got other wards to replace them. Hoyland Milton and Rockingham have moved from Barnsley East while Wingfield has come from Rotherham. John Healey should expect to stay on with UKIP being far off in 2nd.
So in broad, how competitive the seats are in South Yorkshire depends on how bad the Labour meltdown gets and if there is a split and also if the Liberal Democrats can get back to form by then, which they have shown glimpses of. There is a chance for Labour to take every South Yorkshire seat which has actually never happened before, which you might not believe considering the jokes about the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire. UKIP and the Conservatives are pretty much in the same place they were before, while the Greens may be frustrated that some of their strongest areas have been split. But even if Nick Clegg is kicked out come 2020, there won’t be much change because of the loss of a constituency.
So yeah, I’ve wasted your time basically!