Monday, 3 May 2010

A Look @: Sheffield & Barnsley

The metropolitan area of South Yorkshire has had one seat removed from its allocation. It will now return 14 MPs to Parliament and currently 13 of those seats are Labour held. It's a fairly safe area for Labour with only a couple of seats under serious threat. This post will focus on the western side of the county and you can find our discussion of Doncaster and Rotherham here.

Labour just control Barnsley Council with 32 of the 63 seats, but the other main parties only hold 7 seats between them. The second largest group on the council is the Barnsley Independent Group. The two Parliamentary seats wholly within the Barnsley Council boundary have undergone boundary alterations but this hasn't affected their safe Labour status. In Sheffield the Liberal Democrats dragged the council out of No Overall Control by gaining 6 seats in the 2008 election. They now hold 45 of the 84 seats with Labour holding 36 and the Greens 3. This should give the Lib Dems confidence in their quest to gain another Parliamentary seat in Sheffield.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Barnsley Central

Eric Illsley




LAB Hold

Barnsley East

Jeff Ennis




LAB Hold

Penistone & Stocksbridge

Angela Smith





LAB Hold

Sheffield Hallam

Nick Clegg




LD Hold

Sheffield Central

Richard Carborn




LD Gain

S'field Brightside & Hillsboro'

David Blunkett




LAB Hold

Sheffield South East

Clive Betts




LAB Hold

Sheffield Heeley

Meg Munn




LAB Hold


Labour have held Barnsley Central since its creation in 1983 and the current MP Eric Illsley has represented this constituency since 1987. His 'phantom' council tax claims may result in a reduced majority but it's unlikely to result in Lib Dem candidate Christopher Wiggins gaining the seat for his party; Labour Hold.

In Barnsley East Jeff Ennis is standing down after 14 years in Parliament. His decision was announced quite late but the seat has been Labour's since its creation in 1983. Their new candidate is Michael Dugher and he shouldn't have a problem; Labour Hold.

The Penistone & Stocksbridge seat is where we start to see the effect of the boundary commission's tinkering in this area. The new constituency contains only six wards, three from the old Barnsley West and Penistone seat and three from the old Sheffield, Hillsborough seat. The notional holder is the current MP for Sheffield Hillsborough Angela Smith. Michael Clapham was the MP for Barnsley West and Penistone but he has decided to stand down instead of seeking a new seat. Smith secured an 11000 vote majority in 2005 but she will be defending this new seat with a notional majority around 2500 votes less. The Liberal Democrats are notionally second and Ian Cutherbertson will be looking to win a seat in Westminster at the third attempt. The Conservatives aren't too far behind either and they've selected former Councillor Spencer Pitfield, who contested Sheffield Hallam in 2005. Smith has no expenses issues but her opponents do have pockets of support within the seat. The two Penistone wards return Conservative Councillors with big majorities and the Liberal Democrats are strong in the three Sheffield Wards. This could end up being quite close but the safe money is on a Labour Hold.

Will Sheffield Hallam provide the country with its next Prime Minister?! Well, that's highly doubtful but this is Nick Clegg's seat and it may be surprising to know that he's only just finishing his first term. The Lib Dems won this from the Tories in 1997 and their leader has a nice majority. He'll win; Lib Dem Hold.

Sheffield Central has taken in a couple of wards from Clegg's Sheffield Hallam. The assumption would be there is a personal vote for Clegg in there but he'd have been a relative unknown when elected 5 years ago. With his current positive polling I'm sure Labour will be worried about holding on to this seat, especially as their incumbent MP has stood down. Richard Carborn has represented this area since 1983, when the constituency was established, but he felt it was time to stand aside for a younger candidate. But recent trends on the Sheffield Council have been towards the Lib Dems and so Labour have a fight on their hands to hold this. The Lib Dems provide 9 of the 15 Councillors from this constituency with Labour way behind on 3. The Lib Dems have also selected a strong candidate in the form of their Council leader Paul Scriven and I fancy him to ride the Clegg wave into Parliament; Lib Dem Gain.

David Blunkett has been in Parliament for 23 years and he'll be defending a massive notional majority in his new Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough seat. He'll with this by a big margin; Labour Hold.

Labour have held Sheffield South East since World War II and Clive Betts has been its MP since 1992. This should be an easy hold but Betts has been under fire for his expenses claim. His second home 'flipping' can't be going down to well on the doorsteps but his Lib Dem challenger Gail Smith has a lot of ground to make up. I expect a reduced majority; Labour Hold.

Meg Munn is another Labour MP whose name has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. She was first elected to Sheffield Heeley in 2001 and her party have held this since 1974. But she's had to answer questions over money paid to her husband to give other Labour MPs tax advice. I can't see this being enough to allow Simon Clement-Jones win this for the Liberal Democrats. Another reduced majority; Labour Hold.


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