Michael Meacher has died

Michael Meacher, the MP for Oldham West and Royton, has died. There will soon be a by-election to fill the vacancy.

The Oldham area has always been safe for Labour with small but significant Conservative support. Even the Labour defeat in Election 1983 saw them hold on to the seat. Interestingly the BNP did well here in Election 2001 winning 16.4% of the vote.

In Election 2015 Labour won with 55% of the vote and a majority of 14,500. UKIP moved into second place winning 21% of the vote. The Conservatives fell back slightly and won 19% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party combined were on 6% of the vote. UKIP need a 17% swing to defeat Labour and the Conservatives 18%.

On these figures it looks like Labour will safely hold the seat. However, Oldham West and Royton is next to Heywood and Middleton, a Labour-UKIP marginal. In the Heywood and Middleton by-election of 2014 UKIP were only 617 votes behind Labour meaning this by-election could be a very close run thing.
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