Local election results

Left Unity candidates’ results from the local elections, 22 May 2014.


Wigan West
Phyllis Cullen (Labour) 1726
John Atherton (UKIP) 718
Hazel Duffy (Left Unity) 252 – 8.8%
Jean Peet (Conservative) 153

Karen Aldred (Labour) 1494
John Higson (Independent) 1106
Paul Fairhurst (Conservative) 374
Craig Wilson (Left Unity) 129 – 4.2%

Pamela Stewart (Labour) 1152
Stuart Gerrard (Independent) 750
Denise Young (Conservative) 339
Stephen Hall (Left Unity) 85 – 3.7%

Paul Prescott (Labour) 1632
Alan Freeman (UKIP) 692
Jonathan Cartwright (Conservative) 195
Adele Andrews (Left Unity) 85 – 3.3%

James Moodie (Labour) 1397
Ross Wright (UKIP) 851
Raymond Whittingham (Conservative) 133
Janet Phillips (Left Unity) 79 – 3.2%

James Talbot (Labour) 1418
Brian Ellis (Independent) 913
Gerard Houlton (Conservative) 263
Ian Heyes (Left Unity) 78 – 2.9%

Aspull New Springs Whelley
Ron Conway (Labour) 1581
Maureen McCoy (UKIP) 827
Janet Brown (Independent) 547
Jane Surples (Conservative) 393
Stuart Bolton (Left Unity) 88 – 2.6%


Oakleigh (three-seat ward)
Rachel Barker (Labour) 1075
Pamela Bradbury (Labour) 1110
Philip Clayton (Left Unity) 107 – 2.9% (adjusted for multi-member ward)
Richard Cutting (Green) 436
Jon Finlayson (Lib Dem) 239
Gerard Fitzgerald (Lib Dem) 188
Leonie Hodge (Lib Dem) 187
Victor Kaye (UKIP) 498
Daniel Newby (Green) 370
Sachin Rajput (Conservative) 1899
Brian Salinger (Conservative) 1935
Gideon Shapiro (Green) 317
Parmodh Sharma (Labour) 936
Stephen Sowerby (Conservative) 1826


Roger Spackman (Labour) 735
Tom Milburn (Green) 260
Caroline Elsom (Conservative) 244
Jackie Holdstock (UKIP) 185
Patrick Richmond (Lib Dem) 114
David Parks (Left Unity) 39 – 2.5%


Matthew Packer (Labour) 983
Matthew Townsend (Green) 712
Glen Tingle (UKIP) 446
Daniel Elmer (Conservative) 343
Samuel Neal (Lib Dem) 121
Karen Michael (Left Unity) 52 – 2.0%

Marion Maxwell (Labour) 1071
Ann Williams (UKIP) 697
Natasha Allen (Conservative) 418
Judith Ford (Green) 257
Chris Thomas (Lib Dem) 86
Julian Bell (Left Unity) 44 – 1.7%


Tonge with the Haulgh
Nick Peel (Labour) 1399
Derek Fisher (UKIP) 1053
Zoe Kirk-Robinson (Conservative) 486
Dorothee Sayers (BNP) 109
Hafsa Patel (Green) 91
Paul Harasiwka (Lib Dem) 66
Eric Hyland (Left Unity) 14 – 0.4%


26 responses to “Local election results”

  1. Liz Gray says:

    Considering the length of time LU has been going, I think these are excellent results

  2. Bena says:

    Well, even the longest journey has to start with a single step.

  3. Coolfonz says:

    Could we see a report of what Hazel and her team did in Wigan west to do so well? Take all those lessons – and any improvements we can make – and apply them to places we stand next time/by-elections etc.

    Was it that the area was ready to vote for Unity? Was it campaigning style? Media exposure? Leafleting?

  4. If the third of a billion wasted on Labour over 30 years from trade unions had gone to give adverts for Left Unity Party and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, then Labour would be as much history as the Lib Dems in local elections.

    UKIP were everywhere in the left forums / blogs in negative campaigning, that never works and actually helps them win, which they did.

    Labour needs to be shown to be a right wing party and you might start that in the left wing blogs that are Labour supporters, to turn them to the real parties that will end the suffering, death, suicide and hunger in England today.

  5. Filippo says:

    Are these good results ?

    • Wigan is a very deprived working class area where Labour has ruled for over a hundred years (the Makerfield parliamentary constituency, which includes Hindley ward, is Labour’s ‘safest’ parliamentary seat, the area being the only one in the whole of the UK to have been continuously represented by a Labour MP since 1906).

      To get between 8.8% and 2.6% in this Borough on Left Unity’s first outing is a very good result indeed.

  6. I think we can all learn from past campaigns and these ones.

    You have to establish Left Unity at local level getting involved in local campaigns and getting the name of Left Unity known and what we stand for.

    Standing local candidates who have a good track record in their own community and or trade unions helps. Concentrate all the local parties strength in a few wards (or one or two on a first attempt) rather than spread the work too thin. Get the Left Unity region to offer maximum support with campaign days and weekends.

    If you are standing make sure you run a first class campaign and don’t be afraid to be different – don’t expect too much first time around – 2% is a good result on a first try. We must be noticed via our tactics, we have to be seen as non establishment and different and a Socialist party of the people. Do make it fun and exciting so it attracts young Left Unity campaigners.

    One last point – WE have to be THE the major anti UKIP party!! This is very important in future.

    All in all a very good start in Wigan and very reasonable elsewhere – well done everyone.

  7. Len Arthur says:

    I’d like to thank everyone who stood for starting to take our policies and arguments into the public domain. It is not easy to start this process which is inevitably one for the longer term. The result are about what we should expect at this stage and there are some that are encouraging such as that of Hazel Duffy. We need to look closely at our electoral strategy and ensure it works well with our support of local and national direct action. The strategy also needs to include how we relate to comrades to the left of Labour. What is important is that these results in no way invalidate our decision to establish Left Unity – we are developing policies that relate to the experience of the working class, posing real and possible alternatives not just preaching that socialism is good for you.

  8. RobH says:

    Well done to all those that stood. The results are reasonably comparable to other socialist parties who have been established much longer.

    I note that the LU polled their lowest % votes in seats where the Greens were also standing. As the Greens are (relative to the rest of the parties) reasonably left wing, it might make sense to avoid LU candidates standing in seats also being contested by the Greens.

    • Rachel says:

      Kind of shocking that Left Unity thought it was sensible to stand where Greens were standing. Really what is the point of that ? How will that move things on, stand against austerity and the ghastly ukip. TUSC tried it here, got silly results and their best achievement was taking a few votes from a Green candidate which meant he came 3rd, after ukip rather then 2nd. Clever!
      To begin with Left Unity seemed to be about uniting the left, something very very much needed, that would have been useful and could have made a real difference.

      • David Connor says:

        It’s early days for us as a party and I would hope that we are going to be in discussions with all groups on the left regarding campaigning and election strategies. These initial results will encourage healthy debate on the way forward.

        I campaigned in Sunderland for the 5 TUSC candidates, the best result was in the Castle ward with TUSC receiving 5.8% of the vote (No Green candidate stood in this ward).

        The next best return was in St Peter’s ward with TUSC gaining 3.8% (Green candidate standing polling 4.5%) Combined, that would be 8.3%

        A big concern for me is voter apathy and. Average turnout was 31.5% in Sunderland the lowest being 25% St Anne’s ward.

        Interesting! In Sandhill ward where only the 3 main parties stood, there were 70 rejected papers. One thing is for sure, people are fed up with this 2 party state!

        On a positive note! 2 of the TUSC candidates were in their early 20’s and we had 3 first time voters campaigning and leafleting. The youth of today are becoming politically aware through social media and music and as a 55 yr old that gives me great hope for my children and their children’s future.

      • The Greens are not a left vote. The Greens did Austerity in the one council The Greens rule, Brighton, which has a sizeable population of poor. There are anti-fracking activists as members and candidates in Left Unity Party. Greens support green taxes that subsidise private profit making companies for worst polluting nuclear power from uranium mining that forever pollutes and destroys water, the source of life.

        TUSC and Left Unity Party and all the socialist parties could better merge into one party, as SY.RIZ.A did in Greece. Calling themselves something like, the anti hunger party.

        No party offers women back their state pension at 60, lost since 2013, which is food money to a great many of the 530,000 women who have lost the payout and who are either not in work lost benefits or in work on poverty wages and lost benefits. Lost food money, lost winter fuel allowance. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

      • Paul Gerrard says:

        @Rachel – I don’t know where ‘here’ is for you but TUSC will not be deferring to the Greens. The Greens have joined austerity coalitions in Ireland and Germany, and their record of cutting in Brighton led to them being disowned by Caroline Lucas the local MP. In Salford two of the leading Greens jumped ship and stood for UKIP – I kid you not! On the other hand I’m sure that we would discuss with genuine left and anti cuts currents like Left Unity. Paul Gerrard, TUSC agent in Salford

  9. Philip Foxe says:

    I once stood for Socialist Alliance in Haringey and got the highest % of the comrades standing. It was entirely to do with the demographic so I know that the results of LU candidates are no reflection on their hard work and dedication. I salute you all. You are the trailblazers and a great example and inspiration to us all.

  10. David Melvin says:

    Congratulations to all Left Unity candidates in local elections. However I think we need to be mindful where other left candidates are standing. In the North West a policy decision was made support the Greens for the European elections. Although I would have preferred a European Left party candidate to vote for, the Greens are the next best . Locally I supported the Green candidate who I know to be a good socialist. The Green vote increased from 276 to 697 and 23.6% of the vote. It would have been nonsense for a LU candidate to stand in such a seat. Left Unity should be what it’s name suggests and support left unity on a nonsectarian basis – everyone to the left of Labour.

  11. Robo says:

    Of course an understanding has got to be made with other left/socialist groups in elections, so votes aren’t split. However, I wouldn’t put the Greens in that category! They are liberals, who accept capitalism and austerity. When in positions of influence or power (e.g. Bristol, Brighton) they have acted like the main austerity parties and capitulated and cut so they could climb the greasy pole. That is not acceptable. Don’t be fooled by their rhetoric.

    • tony walker says:

      i disagree Robo if you look at these results the Greens didnt stand in any of the Wigan seats but in most of the rest they are an established party and took most of the left wing vote. Their policies nowadays are anti-capitalist and its no good the leadership and the membership ignoring them. Many of their policies are similiar to ours and failure to understand will mean we will make no headway. YOu dont have to be a former member to understand this either. THere are several possibilities here of coming up with some form of working relationship or understanding where they are likely to win and vice versa but maybe its early days. i would say we should be active in some form of electoral reform campaign seems a no brainer. i am not saying this to criticise people from hard left groups. i am interested in what the overall views of Left Unity members are but you have to take the wider view.

  12. Nick Long says:

    These are a good start for Left Unity comrades. Toby Abse,National Council member standing for us in Lewisham Brockley for People Before Profit gained 677 votes = 14%. TUSC 181 4% and the Greens held their seat with 27%.
    Nick Long

  13. Jimmy Haddow says:



    “Even though most of Thursday’s local council election results have now, at least, been declared, it is still proving harder than expected to collate together all the results for the 560 TUSC candidates. But we have now passed the 50,000 vote mark, with TUSC, at this point, scoring more than 1,000 votes in 16 councils.”

    Congratulations to the Left Unity candidates for their work in the local elections. Please find a ‘press release’ from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on how our candidates did in the local election and the election of Southampton’s ‘rebel councillor’ and TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell has been re-elected to his council seat in Coxford. Again well done!

    • David Melvin says:

      Well done to Keith Morrell on being elected, but the Southampton City website make it clear that he stood for election as an Independent and TUSC was not on the ballot paper. It appears to be a strong personal vote for Keith as a good local councillor; but should TUSC be taking the credit for it?

  14. Stuart King says:

    I think Neil Williams post set out well the conditions for standing or not and we could add a good national media presence/campaign difficult as this is.

    Apart from West Wigan we have to admit the LU results were poor reflecting a lack of a local base and little national presence. Getting 80 or 90 votes just tells you how many conscious socialists there are and reveals the fact that a campaign failed to get beyond this. Hopefully the campaigns were used to find new contacts and get to know the local communities, that would be some compensation for the effort.

    In Lambeth we decided not to stand because we had not yet established real roots in the borough. We were invited to stand with TUSC and turned it down for that reason. Their results, 13 candidates, last in virtually every ward with 1% average, shows what happens when you have no base or long term presence. On the basis of these LU results we should be cautious and professional when it comes to considering General Election candidates.

    There are some good socialists in the Greens and we should try to win them over. We are an anticapitalist party committed to socialism, the Greens aren’t. They want to run capitalism in a “nicer way”, we want to end it. We need to understand the difference otherwise there is no justification for a different party.

  15. Dave Parks says:

    On the issue of “splitting the vote” the situation in places like Exeter is that the Green Party has stood a full slate of candidates in elections for probably 15 years or more. The logic of those saying we should not stand against the Greens is to say Left Unity should NEVER stand in elections here in Exeter. So we are to have an electoral strategy of not fighting elections! We have a distinctive message and we have the right to stand. What we can do is talk with the local Greens. There was no chance in Exeter that the Green Party would stand aside, I did ask them and understandably they said no, but we could choose which ward we targeted and avoid their target wards. Nationally Left Unity endorsed a position of calling on a Euro vote for the Green Party in the Euro election and this was carried on the Wigan Left Unity leaflets. In Exeter we followed the Wigan lead and whilst there was no such national policy relating to the SW we felt it was in the spirit of that national policy to recommend a vote in the SW for the Green Party given there weren’t any candidates remotely on the Left other than the Greens. The local Green party people in Exeter seem far less bothered by Left Unity standing than some people do within our own ranks.

    Left Unity nationally quite rightly insisted that candidates did not stand against other socialist candidates – I had to confirm that before being endorsed as a Left Unity candidate. As it happens I think our campaign in Newtown in Exeter did no harm to the Green Party at all. The main emphasis in our leaflet was against local cuts and the huge rise in use of foodbanks and poverty. The main target was the Tories and the Lib-Dems and in passing we pointed out that Labour are pledged to continue the austerity. So our input had the effect of pulling the agenda leftwards.

    The question of having a base is in some respects a bit chicken and egg. We are new and we are surely about *building* bases. The question is whether we have the people and resources to fight the campaign we are processing to engage in – not whether we can guarantee, say, 10% of the vote before we even start. The electoral process is a long term one especially for a new party – it is a process of getting ourselves known and building support and our profile over years. We start where we are now not where we would like to be. The following is an extract from my comments about the local elections on the Exeter Left Unity Facebook:

    Left Unity has made a good start with these elections with some great results in Wigan. For such a new party to get 8.8% on the first attempt is pretty good going. Of course we would all love to be winning elections at our first attempt but that is not realistic. We can build on what we have achieved this time. See:


    Here in Exeter in Newtown I had always predicted getting around 2-3% of the vote this time round and I got 2.5%. It isn’t a brilliant result but it is as expected. We have delivered over 2000 good local anti-cuts Left Unity leaflet, very many people have heard of us now which they hadn’t before and we have built some contacts and invigorated the branch.

  16. Mick Hall says:

    I find the argument Left Unity should not stand in any seats which Green party candidates and other socialist parties are also contesting as plain daft. Politics is a tough game and Left Unity has to make its presence felt, we will only reach a satisfactory outcome if we enter into negotiations at a latter date with the greens if we have a footprint in the constituencies/wards in question.

    As to other small left groups, it should not be a question of standing down but convincing these comrades the best option is to join with us in building Left Unity, and this will only occur if LU stands its ground and choses where to contest elections carefully. Making compromises before we are even out of the trap is not a way to build a new party.

    Having said that the scattergun approach of TUSC is not the way forward as it stretches resources to thin on the ground making standing in many seats almost pointless, if not a little insulting. Having target seats and wards is how to build a new party and that can only be done successfully where there are militants on the ground before and after polling day. Finally I admire all the comrades who stood and worked for left Unity in the recent elections. Good on you comrades

    SF in Ireland and the Green party here used this method, it takes hard work and patience, something some on the left do not possess, but if the Left Unity party is to prosper there is no quick fix to party building. No masters no gods.

  17. Ariel Haslam says:

    Noticed you’ve forgotten to mention the terrible result in my ward (Tongue with the Haulgh, Bolton) where Left Unity candidate Eric Hyland got just 14 votes (mine included).

    There was very little effort/awareness put into the campaign -I got one leaflet through the door (which did not look very appealing to be honest).

    I even e-mailed David Kemp (the contact for the Bolton branch) offering to help with the campaign (leafletting, advertising, social-media, etc.) and didn’t even get a reply!

    • tomwalker says:

      Hi Ariel –

      We’ve added that result now – it had quite literally been forgotten I’m afraid… That, together with what you’re saying, makes it sound like there were some issues with that particular campaign (though I don’t know what they were). 14 votes is certainly a major outlier from the rest of the results and we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  18. John Tummon says:

    The majority of Left Unity members want to start at the bottom in electoral outcomes and then give it another go and another go after that, but I have never been a supporter of left electoralism; but I just wanted to see if we might break the mould, given Wigan LU’s local resonance, and give it a go here where I live in Marple, Stockport. We haven’t & need to face it. Apart from one ward, we were last everywhere with around a bus full voting for us. UKIP got TEN times our vote in a place – Wigan – we had a better chance than anywhere else!

    We need to build local activities that involve local people and do nothing else for 3 or 4 years before thinking of standing anywhere again. If our 4 national speakers can get LU regularly name -checked in the meantime, then we will start to pick up people from outside the existing left, but that needs hard consistent local work alongside it.

    Forget the General Election – the media decide who is credible and the public then get swamped with the parties they, the media, choose; UKIP had no seats and were nothing until the media started to talk endlessly about them; the BBC even highlighted an increase in Rumanian immigration at 6 pm on voting day, before most employed people vote! In our TV era, for most people, things are only real and of significance if the media highlight them. UKIP therefore became a realistic alternative, we are not, in the media’s eyes, and therefore will not be promoted in the same way, ever. UKIP were seen as having a chance, we were not. It will always be this way for the left unless and until we painfully build up a constituency of support over years of consistent grassroots activity; no shortcuts exist for us like they do for the populist right.

    We simply cannot expect to do election leafleting with any worthwhile outcome unless it is on top of YEARS of local grassroots activity that has already changed the social composition of each branch. Without that, we are just repeating our past mistakes and deluding ourselves over what getting a few dozen votes means compared with what the media spotlight gives the right. Class-consciousness no longer reproduces itself in the social relations of production – instead, as Gramsci taught, the vast bulk of the working class accepts the predominant ideology. That is the elephant in the room.

    The message we were giving out in our leafleting all over the country has been lost in the noise of electioneering and the media’s take on it. This is why I want our activity to focus instead on engaging people with our ideas away from election times. I have long held this view, but, as I’ve said, I wanted to give it one concerted go in Stockport. In Marple South, we gave out over 1000 of each of 3 leaflets – the LU national election broadsheet, our own anti-austerity, ant-UKIP leaflet and Hope Not Hate’s anti-UKIP leaflet, targeted on working class Marple South residents. Both of the LU leaflets called for a vote for the Green Party, further to our agreement with Peter Cranie. The Green Party had not previously stood in Marple South and came in with 254 votes. UKIP’s vote of well over 800 in Marple South was of the same size as in comparable wards and towns, and 4 times the Green vote, so the effect we had on that was, to all intents and purposes, nil. If we turn out to have recruited anyone in Stockport from this exercise, then I will revise my position about the worth of what we have achieved, but so far it seems we haven’t and I have not heard of any new recruits from Wigan, Barnet, Exeter or elsewhere where we stood.

    Just look here at what UKIP voters actually think on social and economic issues (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/16/ukip-divided-left-right-cut-labour-support) and you will see a more developed version of the reason the BNP arose in the early noughties in areas where working class people used to vote Labour but were desperately craving for a voice that seemed or claimed to be listening to them. This is what we tackled in Oldham over several years, by establishing our voice and presence in key communities.

    This is the long haul that I know works and it contrasts with just turning up at election time. We need to knock on doors and talk to people a week after we have posted a leaflet through their door, listening and engaging with them. We need to do this street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, until we know that we have replaced UKIP as the party people look to represent how they feel.

    Then look on the Vote for Policies website and you will see that, once people consider issues instead of personalities, they are close to us, just as the UKIP voters are, at least on socio-economic issues. But election time is a time when media and party propaganda become loud and simplistic, symbolic rather than specific – suited to the de-politicised and volatile electorate. We don’t stand a chance in such an overheated atmosphere.

    And why has UKIP won the EU elections? My view is that it comes down to the political legacy left not just by New Labour, but by Old Labour, too. The Labour Party evolved over the 20th century not only into a social democratic party, but into a nationalist social democratic party, supportive of the British Empire, the nuclear bomb, then of the American alliance, then of the Wars on Terror. It has, throughout its post – First World War history, loyally supported a militaristic monarchy and the symbolism that goes along with that and it is, of course, deeply unionist. Its affiliated trade unions have followed the same nationalism.

    The long-term effect of this on the working class political landscape is that the vast majority of workers are British or English nationalists, whether overtly or covertly so, familiar with and supportive of key symbols of this nationalism and more insular than a lot of Europeans. In combination with a Labour Party which turned its back since the 1980s on the economic and social justice agenda in order to accommodate itself fully to post-Thatcherite neoliberalism, as New Labour, this means that the working class communities where Labour is no longer active feel the loss not just of this economic and social justice agenda (which LU was set up to revive and take forward) but of the nationalist agenda, too. Of the two, the first (our agenda) cannot be taken seriously yet because it has been progressively silenced over decades by free market rhetoric, whereas working class nationalism lives on, connected to a reviving ruling class nationalism, railing at the globalised world of modern capitalism, expressed through everything from Wootton Bassett through to Help for Heroes and the latest round of royal events, the media’s nationalist coverage of Olympics and World Cups and, now, the debate over Scottish independence.

    UKIP, completely (or almost so) uncontaminated by the Nazi past of its membership, has taken over the BNP’s appeal to the people Labour left behind for Blairism, but also in more propitious circumstances. Clegg is right that he stood up to debate nationalism versus internationalism (of a sort) with Farage, won in the eyes of media and political class pundits, but lost in the eyes of all who have an emotional stake in this revived nationalism, including working class nationalism, which never went away.

    This is our problem – we cannot raise socio-economic issues like austerity, wealth inequality etc in a climate in which a potent nationalism is being taken forward in heated electioneering campaigns. We are basically saying to people – “you don’t know it, but this is what you should really be concerned about!”, wishing their nationalism away, pretending it is not there.

    It is – the working class we want to recruit to Left Wing politics is nationalist. Do we confront this nationalism or ignore it and just look for the socio-economic issues where we think there is a vested working class interest? I don’t think so, but linking the two strands and showing the need for progress on global as well as more local equality is the key, but that, I am afraid, is along haul of similar proportions to what the 19th century socialists took on. The notion of socialist growth and progress through incremental vote-gathering at election times ignores the way in which ideology and ideological control operate, diverging in the years between elections and converging during election campaigns which count for nothing if you haven’t got a foot through the door of the mass media. The Greens have taken the incremental electoral route for decades and now have around 8% and their reward for that is to be consistently ignored by the media; even if we were as successful as them, which I cannot see happening, we would still be ignored.

    There are no shortcuts!

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