Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Look @: Oldham, Stockport and Tameside

Oldham, Stockport and Tameside are three different council areas. The area is mostly Labour held, with pockets where the Liberal Democrats are strong here and there. Oldham has 30 Labour, 23 Labour and 7 Conservative councillors. Stockport has 36 Liberal Democrat, 14 Labour, 10 Conservative and 3 Independent Ratepayers councillors. The Liberal Democrats are much weaker in Tameside, and they have no councillors there. Tameside has 44 Labour, 10 Conservative and 3 independent councillors.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




David Heyes




LAB Hold


Mark Hunter*




LD Hold

Denton and Reddish

Andrew Gwynne




LAB Hold

Hazel Grove

Andrew Stunell




LD Hold

Oldham East and Saddleworth

Phil Woolas




LD Gain

Oldham West and Royton

Michael Meacher




LAB Hold

Stalybridge and Hyde

Jim Purnell




LAB Hold


Ann Coffey




LAB Hold

*Cheadle MP Liberal Democrat Patsy Calton died shortly after her re-election in 2005. Mark Hunter replaced her at the ensuing by-election.

Ashton-Under-Lyme MP David Heyes has a big majority and a relatively clean record on expenses. He is notable for being an Iraq War rebel. I don't think anyone will argue with me if I say he is certain to be returned to Parliament. Labour hold.

Cheadle was the constituency of Patsy Calton who won it from the Conservatives in 2001 on a 33 vote majority. In 2005 she was too ill with cancer to personally campaign, but still increased her majority to 4,020, she sadly died only five days after being sworn in as a MP again. Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Hunter won the seat in a by-election, the first of this parliament, shortly afterwards. Hunter is currently Nick Clegg's Parliamentary Private Secretary and Lib Dem Transport spokesman. Hunter was ordered to pay back £500 after using the money for party campaigning. Nonetheless Conservative candidate Ben Jefferys, a history and drama teacher, is unlikely to win in my view. In fact if his website is anything to go by I would worry deeply about the state of his campaign! A Lib Dem hold.

Denton and Reddish is Andrew Gwynne's seat, who was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jacqui Smith. Ironically his seat is much safer than that of his former boss! Gwynne was the youngest Labour politician in Britain at his election in 2005, only 30 years old. Gwynne is notable for a private members bill that cracked down on 'vulture funds', which pursue third world countries for debt in Britain's courts. Gwynne's expenses were not unusual and with a 13,000 vote majority he can breathe relatively easy. A Labour hold I think.

Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell holds one of the Lib Dem's safest seats. Stunell's expenses were not particularly wonderful but are hardly devastating either. No sign of second home flipping, duck houses or moats here! Conservative candidate Annesley Abercorn is a researcher for Oliver Letwin, who wrote the Conservative Party manifesto. I highly doubt he will be able to win this seat this time, though I suspect that at such a young age he will be able to find another more winnable seat at the next election. Lib Dem hold.

Phil Woolas is a fairly prominent junior minister as Minister for Immigration. Woolas has been embroiled in many prominent debates as part of his position, including the debates over the Gurkhas. Woolas is also MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth where he has a slender majority over the Liberal Democrats. The Telegraph accused Woolas of claiming for items he was not allowed to claim, including women's clothing! The last local election saw the Lib Dems win every council seat up for election in the constituency and I think Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins has to be the one to watch here. There could be a minor 'Portillo moment' here. Lib Dem gain.

Oldham West and Royton used to be Environment Secretary under Blair, despite apparent hostility from the former Prime Minister and a habit of criticising his own government. Nonetheless he remained in his post for six years before being replaced. In 2007 he attempted to challenge for the leadership after Tony Blair resigned, but had too little support to mount a challenge, he then backed John McDonnell, but McDonnell could not mount a challenge either and Gordon Brown was elected unopposed. Michael Meacher was named as an expenses 'saint' by the Telegraph and can be very confident of victory. Labour hold.

Stalybridge and Hyde is held by Jim Purnell. Purnell was once a rising star in the Labour Party, Work and Pensions Secretary, and Culture, Media and Sport. Purnell quit the cabinet in a blaze of glory after the 2009 European elections, just after the resignation of Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears. Purnell had sent a letter to the newspapers and Brown arguing for his resignation for the good of the Labour Party. Purnell was clearly of the view that his quitting would start a mass exodus and force out Brown. This never happened, effectively ending Purnell's political career. He had already come off fairly badly in the expenses scandal. He has moved onto a prominent position at the left-leaning think tank Demos. Labour PPC Jonathan Reynolds is the Labour candidate here and a local councillor. The Conservative candidate is Rob Adlard. With a high profile candidate, considering the former MP, this may have been a winnable seat for the Conservatives, but they don't really appear to be targeting the seat in any meaningful way. Labour hold.

Stockport is the constituency of Ann Coffey. Coffey is a close ally of Alistair Darling and has worked as his Parliamentary Private Secretary since 1998. Coffey's expenses were not horrendous, and it will be a real shock if the Conservatives win this seat. Labour hold.


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