Leigh has been a Labour held constituency for almost a century, Jo Platt winning the seat in 2017 with a 20% majority over her nearest competitor James Grundy of the Conservative Party.
Despite Labour performing well, garnering a +2.3% increase on Andy Burnham’s 2015 win, the Conservatives won a huge 35% of the vote share– their biggest in the constituency since 1979.
With Leigh being red for as long as any living constituent can remember, you wouldn’t hedge your bets on anything other than a Labour win come December 12.
However, having voted resoundingly pro-leave in the 2016 referendum, Leigh may face a less predictable polling day with six candidates vying to disrupt the Labour whitewash.
James Grundy (Conservative Party)
The long-serving councillor to his hometown ward Lowton East will be running for his second time. In June 2017 Cllr Grundy finished in second place with 16,793 votes, behind Jo Platt who polled 26,347.
“As my highest priority, I’ll vote to get Brexit done and end the gridlock that has been paralysing the country, then we can get on and deal with the issues that local people want to see sorted.”
Amongst his other policies, Grundy would like to green flag a debate on whether Leigh should revert back to having its own council, after it was abolished in 1972.
He has also stressed the importance of protecting the constituency’s green belt land, and wants to build a train station to reconnect Leigh to the UK rail network.
Maureen O’Bern (Independent)
Pro-Brexit Independent Maureen O’Bern says she is disillusioned by the other political parties running in Leigh.
In the run-up to the election she will be out canvassing and conversing with voters, who she says have largely only decided who they aren’t voting for this December, leaving the door wide open for her to perform really well in a region she has lived all her life.
Rooted beneath her stance of getting Brexit done is a strong desire to tackle social issues that are crippling the town, such as homelessness and substance abuse. She also priorities the provision of training programmes for all school leavers, and campaigning for increased Central Government Funds for local NHS services.
Jo Platt (Labour and Co Op)
Jo Platt will be hoping to retain her seat, after becoming Leigh’s first female MP when she was elected in 2017, taking over from the now Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
As well as being the MP for the area for the past two years, she has also held the position of Shadow Cabinet Office Minster since 2018, with responsibility for cyber-security
Despite standing on a pro EU stance, having consistently voted for UK membership to the EU, she recently was one of the Labour rebels who voted in favour of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal at the second reading stage, although she did three days later vote down the motion which would have only have allowed three days for Parliament to scrutinise the bill.
She justified her vote by saying she wished to amend the bill as it passed through parliament rather than knock it down at the early stage.
Her pro-EU stance didn’t affect her vote share in 2017, in fact she received a +2.3 swing from 2015.
Richard Mark Clayton (Liberal Democrats)
Richard Mark Clayton is standing as candidate for the Liberal Democrats.
He has previously stood for election in the Manchester Local Election 2018, as the Liberal Democrats candidate for Clayton and Openshaw.
Leon Adam Peters (UKIP)
Leon Adam Peters will stand as the UKIP candidate for Leigh, having previously stood in the Wigan local election earlier in the year as the UKIP candidate for Leigh South.
It’s his first time standing as the UKIP candidate for the area, following Mark Bradley’s disaster in 2017 election when he received 2,783 votes, a -13.8 swing from Les Leggett’s 8,903 votes in 2015.
With the party losing so many votes in the last election, it will be interesting to see whether The Brexit Party standing for the first time in the area will split the anti-EU vote even further.
James Paul Melly (The Brexit Party)
Brexit Party candidate James Melly was raised in and around Leigh and runs a small family business in which he works with the local councils and Universal Credit to help prevent homelessness.
“Leigh voted to leave the EU and I believe The Brexit Party is the only party that will deliver this.”