What do final CLP nomination patterns mean for each leadership candidate?

Luke Akehurst


Two weeks ago I did an initial analysis of the patterns in the CLP nominations for Leader.

We now have the final nomination figures: 145 for Jeremy Corbyn (though some sources are saying 147) (38% of those nominating), 110 for Andy Burnham (29%), 109 for Yvette Cooper (29%), 18 for Liz Kendall (5%).

This means that 267 CLPs (41%) did not nominate. As I said last week some deliberately don’t bother – the two large Oxford CLPs (where I live) don’t because they take a view that they have a politically diverse membership and taking a collective position would be divisive. Some very small CLPs are moribund and don’t get their act together to meet and nominate.

During the final two weeks of nominations Corbyn extended his lead considerably (he had 33% of the nominations two weeks ago and only 1 more CLP than Burnham), while Burnham’s share of nominations dropped by 4% following the controversy over the Welfare Bill vote, and Cooper almost caught up with him.

The regional pattern is now rather clearer, with some very stark regional differences:

London:  Corbyn 29, Cooper 14, Kendall 12, Burnham 8.

South East: Cooper 14, Burnham 13, Corbyn 9, Kendall 0.

South West: Corbyn 14, Cooper 9, Burnham 7, Kendall 1.

East: Cooper 13, Corbyn 11, Burnham 3, Kendall 0.

East Midlands: Corbyn 12, Cooper 8, Burnham 4, Kendall 1.

West Midlands: Burnham 11, Corbyn 8, Cooper 7, Kendall 1.

North West: Burnham 24, Cooper 12, Corbyn 11, Kendall 0.

Yorkshire: Corbyn 17, Burnham 6, Cooper 5, Kendall 0.

North East: Burnham 8, Cornbyn 7, Cooper 2, Kendall 1.

Wales: Corbyn 9, Cooper 7, Burnham 4, Kendall 1.

Scotland: Burnham 16, Corbyn 16, Cooper 12, Kendall 1.

Northern Ireland: Single CLP – nomination for Burnham.

N.B. there is a slight discrepancy between these figures and the headline ones as the regional figures only include CLPs formally listed on the national party website at the time of writing.

Burnham is disproportionately strong in the North West, his home region and the second largest by membership, where he polled strongly in 2010, which accounts for 1/5 of his CLPs, but also in the North East, Scotland, South East (especially Kent) and West Midlands. He is particularly weak in London where at least 1/5 of the membership lives, Wales, the East and the East Midlands.

Cooper is strongest in the South East (the third largest region by membership) and East, and running second in another four regions including the two big membership areas of London and the North West. She is weakest in the North East and strangely her home region of Yorkshire.

Corbyn is doing very well in London where he is an MP and has the support of Ken Livingstone’s well-honed machine. He is also the frontrunner in the South West, traditionally a strong area for nominating leftwing NEC candidates, the East Midlands, Scotland, Wales (again a strong area for the left in recent NPF elections) and Yorkshire, a region that has been trending towards the left when it was historically a moderate bastion. His weakest regions relatively speaking are the South East and West Midlands, both of which are the strongest regions for the right in recent NPF elections.

Kendall’s only pocket of support in nomination wins is London, but it is a strong one as she picked up a dozen CLPs there, mainly with very large memberships and plugged in national to Progress’ network.

I then divided the CLPs that have nominated into three crude categories: core seats Labour holds now, marginal seats Labour won in 1997 or subsequently but has now lost, and probably unwinnable seats Labour couldn’t win in 1997 or any subsequent election. This produces the following breakdown:

Burnham: 44% core, 37% marginal, 19% unwinnable.

Cooper: 31% core, 26% marginal, 43% unwinnable.

Corbyn: 42% core, 28% marginal, 30% unwinnable.

Kendall: 72% core, 6% marginal, 22% unwinnable.

There’s definitely still a pattern of Cooper being disproportionately favoured in non-Labour held seats but I am not sure what it means!

Finally I looked at CLP size, using the most recent membership figures published in 2012. As I said two weeks ago, whilst there has been considerable membership growth since then the ratios will broadly be the same, the biggest CLPs are usually the same ones, they just get even bigger when the membership grows, as there are certain demographic groups (Guardian reader middle classes, Asian communities, students) with a high propensity to join Labour. Registered Supporters also appearing to be following the same pattern.  I wanted to test whether any of the campaigns was gaming the nomination system by picking up lots of easy to win nominations from small rural CLPs. I was not able to include Scotland in these figures as since 2012 the party moved from organising on Westminster to Holyrood boundaries, but in any case Scotland has a very low membership.

These are the figures by total 2012 membership of English and Welsh CLPs nominating the candidate:

Corbyn: 40205 (40.0%)

Cooper: 26995 (26.9%)

Burnham: 24994 (24.9%)

Kendall: 8196 (8.2%)

This suggests that the relative strength of Corbyn in the big London CLPs and Burnham’s weakness there means Corbyn’s lead may be stronger than the raw nomination figures suggest, that Cooper is ahead of Burnham as opposed to the tiny 1 CLP lead he has on the raw figures, and that Kendall whilst still in a weak fourth place is doing a bit better and her transfers may have a critical impact on the outcome – they could put Cooper substantially ahead of Burnham and then there would be a tight run-off between Cooper and Corbyn.

Everything will come down to the transfer patterns and here the anecdotal evidence continues to be that Kendall supporters transfer fairly uniformly to Cooper, and Cooper supporters to Burnham, but Corbyn supporters are more split between Cooper and Burnham on their second preferences, and Burnham supporters more split between Cooper and Corbyn. For example from two CLPs where the details are available and Cooper beat Corbyn in the final round:

Hackney South & Shoreditch: Burnham eliminated and 7 of his votes went to Cooper, 4 to Kendall, 2 to Corbyn. Kendall then eliminated and 24 of her votes went to Cooper, 3 did not transfer, none to Corbyn.

Liverpool Riverside: Burnham eliminated and 8 of his votes went to Cooper, 2 to Corbyn and 3 did not transfer. Kendall then eliminated and 14 of her votes went to Cooper, 1 did not transfer, none to Corbyn.

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