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2015 Oldham West and Royton by-election

The Oldham West and Royton by-election was a UK parliamentary by-election held on 3 December 2015 in the constituency of Oldham West and Royton in Greater Manchester. This was the first by-election of the 56th UK Parliament.

2015 Oldham West and Royton

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Oldham West and Royton constituency
  First party Second party Third party
  Official portrait of Jim McMahon crop 2.jpg No image.svg No image.svg
Candidate Jim McMahon John Bickley James Daly
Party Labour UKIP Conservative
Popular vote 17,209 6,487 2,596
Percentage 62.1% 23.4% 9.4%
Swing Increase7.3% Increase2.8% Decrease9.6%


MP before election

Michael Meacher

Elected MP

Jim McMahon

The by-election was caused by the death of the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Meacher on 21 October 2015;[1] Meacher had been the Labour Party MP for the seat since its creation in 1997 and had represented its predecessor seat of Oldham West since 1970.

A writ for the by-election was moved in Parliament on 2 November 2015, setting polling day as 3 December 2015.[2][3]

Jim McMahon held the seat for Labour with a winning 62% of the vote, an increase of 7.3 percentage points. There was a 40.3% turnout.


UKIP office for the Oldham By-election

Six candidates contested the election; the statement of persons nominated was released by Oldham Council on 9 November 2015.[4]

The Labour Party, which last held the seat, selected its candidate on 5 November 2015[5] from a shortlist of four: Mohammed Azam, National Executive Committee member and former local councillor; Jane East, who contested the seat of Colne Valley unsuccessfully at the 2015 general election; Failsworth East councillor Jim McMahon, leader of Oldham Council; and Chris Williamson, former MP for Derby North.[6][7][8] McMahon won the selection, reportedly with 232 votes against 141 for Azam in the final round, after the elimination of East and Williamson.[9][10]

UK Independence Party (UKIP) came second in the constituency at the 2015 general election[11] and fielded a new candidate, John Bickley, who was runner-up at the by-election held in 2014 in the neighbouring constituency of Heywood and Middleton.[12] Others talked about as potential candidates were Paul Nuttall, the UKIP deputy leader,[13] and Steven Woolfe, both MEPs for North West England.[14]

The Conservative Party came a close third to UKIP at the 2015 general election and selected James Daly, a solicitor and Bury councillor,[15] who contested the Bolton North East constituency in 2015.[16]

The Liberal Democrat candidate was Jane Brophy, who works for the NHS in Greater Manchester and has served as a Trafford councillor for over 15 years; she was LibDem candidate for Altrincham and Sale West at the 2010 and 2015 general elections.[17]

Simeon Hart stood for the Green Party, having contested the constituency for the Greens at the 2015 general election.[18]

Sir Oink A-Lot stood for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.[19]


Oldham West and Royton by-election, 2015[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Jim McMahon 17,209 62.1 +7.3
UKIP John Bickley 6,487 23.4 +2.8
Conservative James Daly 2,596 9.4 -9.6
Liberal Democrat Jane Brophy 1,024 3.7 0.0
Green Simeon Hart 249 0.9 -1.0
Monster Raving Loony Sir Oink A-Lot 141 0.5 N/A
Majority 10,722 38.7 +4.5
Turnout 27,706 40.3 -19.3
Labour hold Swing +2.3


The result was considered by commentators as surprisingly good for Labour, who had been expected to be more closely challenged by UKIP,[21] and was reported as a boost for Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party.[22][23]

On the morning after the by-election, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and some other party sources claimed that there had been voting fraud particularly around ethnic minority voters and around postal votes,[24][25][26] with Farage claiming the vote was "bent" and that in constituencies with large numbers of ethnic minority voters who do not speak English "effectively the electoral process is now dead".[26][27] Paul Nuttall, UKIP's deputy leader, said to journalists: "You've got to ask yourself, is this Britain or is this Harare?"[28] However, others in UKIP downplayed the allegations,[29] with deputy chairman Suzanne Evans saying the party risks sounding like "bad losers".[28] Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, dismissed the complaints as "sour grapes".[27]

Farage stated that he was planning to make a formal complaint about the allegations.[26][22] Deputy leader Paul Nuttall wrote an open letter to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, raising concerns about postal voting processes.[30]

Results at the 2015 general electionEdit

General election 2015: Oldham West and Royton[31][32]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Michael Meacher 23,630 54.8 +9.3
UKIP Francis Arbour 8,892 20.6 +17.4
Conservative Kamran Ghafoor 8,187 19.0 -4.7
Liberal Democrat Garth Harkness 1,589 3.7 -15.4
Green Simeon Hart 839 1.9 N/A
Majority 14,738 34.2
Turnout 43,137 59.6
Labour hold Swing -4.0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Labour MP Michael Meacher dies". BBC News. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  2. ^ Zeffman, Henry (31 October 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn to face Oldham West election test on 3 December". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Oldham West by-election date confirmed". BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Statement of Persons Nominated". Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Selection timetable for Oldham West by-election revealed". LabourList. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Labour announces shortlist for the Oldham West and Royton by-election". Manchester Evening News. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Town Hall chief McMahon in MP contest". Oldham Evening Chonicle. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Oldham West by-election date confirmed". BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Jim McMahon selected in Oldham West". Labour List. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Labour chooses by-election candidate for Oldham West and Royton". BBC News. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Is Ukip a threat in Oldham West?". Progress. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  12. ^ Pickard, Jim (3 November 2015). "UKIP announces John Bickley as Oldham by-election candidate". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  13. ^ "John Healey: Labour frontbencher warns of Ukip threat as Oldham West and Royton prepares for byelection". The Independent. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  14. ^ Payne, Sebastian (22 October 2015). "How UKIP intends to fight and maybe win Oldham West and Royton". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Cllr James Daly". Bury North. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  16. ^ Wallace, Mark (5 November 2015). "Cllr James Daly selected to fight the Oldham West and Royton by-election". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  17. ^ "By-election news – Jane Brophy selected for Oldham West and Royton". Liberal Democrat Voice. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Labour chooses by-election candidate for Oldham West and Royton". BBC News. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  19. ^ Carey, Alex (25 November 2015). "All heated at the hustings". Oldham Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Oldham West and Royton: Parliamentary By-Election Results". Oldham Council. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  21. ^ Ansari, Arif (4 December 2015). "Oldham by-election: 'Nobody anticipated a victory on this scale'". BBC News. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  22. ^ a b Pidd, Helen; Watt, Nicholas (4 December 2015). "Corbyn hails Oldham byelection as sign of Labour's deep-rooted support". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  23. ^ Hodges, Dan (4 December 2015). "Oldham by-election: Nigel Farage will always be a bridesmaid, never a bride". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn hails Oldham West and Royton by-election victory". BBC News. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  25. ^ "UKIP to review by-election 'evidence' amid fraud claims". BBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  26. ^ a b c "UKIP make formal complaint over alleged 'abuses' in Oldham West by-election as Labour claim victory". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  27. ^ a b "Watson: Farage postal vote complaint 'sour grapes'". BBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  28. ^ a b "Oldham by-election: Police could be called in to investigate alleged voting fraud amid Ukip complaints about Labour victory". 4 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  29. ^ Tom Parfitt and Laura Mowat. "UKIP's Nigel Farage claims 'perverse' Labour win in Oldham West was FIXED - Politics - News - Daily Express". Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Our postal voting system is open to abuse". Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  31. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Oldham West & Royton". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.