2014 Heywood and Middleton by-election

The Heywood and Middleton by-election was on 9 October 2014 in the Heywood and Middleton constituency following the death of its MP Jim Dobbin on 6 September 2014.[1][2] It was held on the same day as the Clacton by-election. The Labour Party narrowly held the seat following a recount.[3] UK Independence Party (UKIP) came second, and increased its vote by 36 percentage points since the previous general election.

Heywood and Middleton by-election

 2010 9 October 2014 2015 

Heywood and Middleton constituency
  First party Second party
Candidate Liz McInnes John Bickley
Party Labour UKIP
Popular vote 11,633 11,016
Percentage 40.9% 38.7%
Swing 0.8% 36.1%

  Third party Fourth party
Candidate Ian Gartside Anthony Smith
Party Conservative Liberal Democrats
Popular vote 3,496 1,457
Percentage 12.3% 5.1%
Swing 14.9% 17.6%

Map showing the Heywood and Middleton Parliamentary constituency within Greater Manchester.

MP before election

Jim Dobbin

Subsequent MP

Liz McInnes


On 10 September 2014, it was announced that the election would be held on 9 October 2014.[4] The nominations closed at 4pm on Tuesday 16 September.[5] The Clacton by-election was held on the same day.[6]


Labour's decision to call for a by-election before Dobbin's funeral was criticised by Paul Nuttall and Steven Woolfe, UKIP MEPs for North West England, with the former describing it as "shoddy politics". Labour MP for Chesterfield Toby Perkins defended the timing, saying “With the agreement of Jim's family, we have moved the writ today as it is vital that the people of Heywood & Middleton constituency are not left without representation for an extended period”.[7]

UKIP candidate John Bickley distributed a leaflet in which he said "Labour's betrayal is no more apparent than with the young white working-class girls of Rotherham and Rochdale where rather than upset immigrant communities, years of abuse were ignored and complaints swept under the carpet".

Of this the Labour MP for neighbouring Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, said "It's now clear that UKIP will try and turn grooming and the death of Lee Rigby into a political football. They're playing politics with horrendous crimes that shocked Heywood and Middleton at a time when the wounds of these events are still healing in our town."[8]

During an interview on Daily Politics, after the leaflet was called "divisive" by his Labour opponent Liz McInnes, Bickley criticised McInnes for publishing a leaflet with the heading "WAITING TO DIE" after the death of Jim Dobbin, saying it was landing on the doorsteps of the terminally ill.[9]


On 16 September 2014, Rochdale Borough Council published the statement of persons nominated, which confirmed five candidates would contest the by-election.[10]

Labour candidate Liz McInnes is a local councillor on Rossendale Borough Council.[11]

The Liberal Democrats selected Anthony Smith, a local businessman.[12]

The UK Independence Party announced on 11 September that their candidate would be John Bickley, a software businessman who had stood in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election in February, in which he had come second.[13]

The Green Party announced their candidate on 14 September as Middleton resident Abi Jackson, a recent graduate of the University of Huddersfield with a master's degree in Psychology.[14]


Polling organisation/clientSample sizeLabConLDUKIPGreenOthersLead
9 Oct 2014Heywood and Middleton by-election Result28,47240.9%12.3%5.1%38.7%3.1%-2.2% over UKIP
4 OctLord Ashcroft1,00047%16%5%28%4%-19% over UKIP
30 SepSurvation/The Sun55150%13%4%31%3%-19% over UKIP
6 May 2010General Election Results46,12540.1%27.2%22.7%2.6%-7.4%12.9% over Con


Heywood and Middleton by-election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Liz McInnes 11,633 40.9 0.8
UKIP John Bickley 11,016 38.7 36.1
Conservative Iain Gartside 3,496 12.3 14.9
Liberal Democrats Anthony Smith 1,457 5.1 17.6
Green Abi Jackson 870 3.1 New
Majority 617 2.2 10.7
Turnout 28,472 36.0 21.5
Labour hold Swing

Labour retained the seat with a small increase in vote share but a reduced majority. The 36-point increase in UKIP support is one of the largest increases in vote share ever recorded in a by-election. Only in six previous contests in Great Britain has a party enjoyed a larger increase. It is also the highest increase ever recorded for a party that did not win the by-election. Conversely, the fall in the Liberal Democrat vote was the largest recorded for that party in any of the by-elections they have contested since their formation.[15]

Previous result

General election 2010: Heywood and Middleton[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Co-op Jim Dobbin 18,499 40.1 8.2
Conservative Mike Holly 12,528 27.2 5.4
Liberal Democrats Wera Hobhouse 10,474 22.7 2.5
BNP Peter Greenwood 3,239 7.0 2.6
UKIP Victoria Cecil 1,215 2.6 0.7
Independent Chrissy Lee 170 0.4 New
Majority 5,971 12.9 13.6
Turnout 46,125 57.5 3.7
Labour Co-op hold Swing 6.8

See also


  1. Oliver, Joe (8 September 2014). "Ed Miliband leads tributes as Heywood and Middleton MP Jim Dobbin dies aged 73". Mancunian Matters.
  2. McSmith, Andy (8 September 2014). "Andy McSmith's Diary: Nick Clegg's mini-manifesto is bumped off the agenda again - thanks to the royal baby news". The Independent. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  3. "UKIP Asks For Recount In Heywood By-Election". Sky News. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. "Second by-election set to be held on 9 October". BBC News. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  5. "Middleton and Heywood to go to polls in by-election". Rochdale Newsroom. 11 September 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  6. Oliver, Joe (12 September 2014). "By-election battle: Fight for late MP Jim Dobbin's Heywood and Middleton seat begins before he is buried". Mancunian Matters.
  7. "UKIP accuses Labour of 'shoddy politics' over Heywood & Middleton by-election date". ITV News. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  8. Syal, Rajeev (14 September 2014). "UKIP accused of politicising child sex abuse scandal by blaming Labour". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  9. "Labour's dirty campaign". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. "STATEMENT AS TO PERSONS NOMINATED AND NOTICE OF POLL" (PDF). Rochdale Borough Council. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  11. Lancashire councillor Liz McInnes to stand as Labour candidate in Heywood and Middleton by-election Manchester Evening News
  12. "Lib Dems select Anthony Smith for Heywood and Middleton contest". Rochdale Online. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  13. "Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election: Labour wins". BBC News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  14. "Rochdale Green Party Announce Abi Jackson as their candidate for the Heywood & Middleton by-election". Green Party of England and Wales. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  15. Clacton by-election: the UKIP bubble shows no sign of deflating yet | Prof. John Curtice, The Independent
  16. "Election 2010: Heywood and Middleton". BBC News. Retrieved 9 September 2014.