Denham warns over UKIP threat in Labour’s northern heartlands



Former Labour Cabinet minister John Denham has warned of the threat posed by UKIP to Labour in the left’s traditional northern heartlands.

New analysis has shown that UKIP is most likely to win seats in Labour areas where there is a high incidence of English nationalism.

UKIP, which will elect a new leader this afternoon to replace Nigel Farage, currently has one parliamentary seat, Clacton. The MP for the constituency, Douglas Carswell, defected from the Tories in 2014.

Analysis, published by The Times today, shows where Labour could be vulnerable to the anti-EU party despite the fact Britain has voted for Brexit. It shows there are 20 seats that would require a 10 per cent swing for UKIP to take them at the next general election. Some 70 per cent of people in these seats defined themselves as English in the 2011 census in comparison to 60 per cent of people on average across England.

UKIP target seats Swing needed Constituents that identify as English Incumbent party
Thurrock 0.98% 64.90% Conservative
South Thanet 2.85% 67.20% Conservative
Hartlepool 3.83% 75.80% Labour
Boston and Skegness 5.00% 69.40% Labour
Heywood and Middleton 5.46% 71.50% Labour
Dagenham and Rainham 5.78% 59.20% Labour
Rochester and Strood 6.79% 67.40% Labour
Mansfield 7.15% 73.30% Conservative
Great Grimsby 7.41% 73.60% Labour
Stoke-on-Trent North 7.61% 71.60% Labour
Rother Valley 7.76% 74.20% Labour
Stoke-on-Trent Central 8.33% 66.30% Conservative
Basildon South and East Thurrock 8.43% 74.40% Conservative
Dudley North 8.91% 71.60% Conservative
Penistone and Stocksbridge 9.55% 73.60% Labour
Bradford South 9.67% 64.80% Conservative
Isle of Wight 9.75% 69.60% Labour
Ashfield 9.81% 76.20% Conservative
Castle Point 9.83% 77.50% Labour
Great Yarmouth 9.92% 72.50% Labour

The study, which looks at the British Election Study, suggests Englishness is connected to class. One third of people who defined as English also said they were working class in 1997. But, 18 years later, this had climbed to half. By 2015, this had risen to more than half, according to the British Election Study.

In response to these findings, Denham, a former Communities and Local Government Secretary, said Labour has a problem with the “well-educated cosmopolitan set” who dominate the party, The Times said.

“English Identity is concentrated in parts of the country where people felt left behind, not only in terms of institutions but in terms of economic prospects. People are tired of London-dictated Metropolitan centred England,” Denham said.

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