General election 2024: what we know so far about Rochdale candidates and constituencies

Date published: 23 May 2024

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday announced that he is calling for a general election on 4 July. Here’s what we know so far about what this means for the Rochdale, and Heywood & Middleton constituencies.

The election, which will see people vote for their MP and government, will see changes in the borders for both local constituencies.

Current Rochdale MP George Galloway of the Workers Party of Britain has today (Thursday 23 May) confirmed that he will be standing. The Conservatives are yet to confirm their candidate and Labour needs to select a new candidate after withdrawing support for Azhar Ali in the run up to the by-election in February.

Heywood & Middleton MP Chris Clarkson has announced he is standing down, and making way for Conservative candidate Laura-Beth Thompson, whilst Labour has put forward councillor Elsie Blundell, who represents Balderstone & Kirkholt. Councillor Blundell was confirmed as the party’s parliamentary candidate following a husting and a vote of local members.

A senior source has told Rochdale Online that councillor Andy Kelly is to stand for the Liberal Democrats, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Former councillor Chris Furlong announced last year that he will be running as an independent candidate for Heywood & Middleton North. Mr Furlong was a Labour councillor for North Middleton ward between 2014 and 2018, but was not re-selected to stand in the May 2018 local election.


General election 2024: local boundary changes

As well as the potential changes to local MPs, the borough of Rochdale is facing some boundary changes and adjustments.

Wards in the Heywood and Middleton constituency are set to be split into two constituencies, due to boundary changes - Heywood & Middleton North, and Blackley & Middleton South.

The changes will mean the renamed constituency will be made up of the three Heywood wards, the West and North Middleton wards, Castleton, Norden, Bamford and Spotland & Falinge ward - meaning Spotland & Falinge will no longer be a part of the Rochdale constituency.

This will see the Crown Oil Arena, home of Rochdale AFC and Rochdale Hornets along with Oulder Hill and Falinge Park secondary schools being moved to the new Heywood & Middleton North constituency.

The changes mean that there would be nine council ward areas in the Rochdale constituency and nine in the new Heywood constituency compared with ten in each of the current constituencies.

Soon-to-be standing down Heywood and Middleton MP Chris Clarkson said: "Being the Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton has been the honour of my life and I was humbled when people put their trust in me in December 2019.

“Following the Boundary Review's recommendation that the current Heywood and Middleton seat be replaced by a new Heywood seat and a new Manchester Blackley seat, I have decided not to seek selection for either.

“Until the next General Election is called, I will continue to work hard for the people I have the privilege of representing.”

How does the general election affect local MPs?

For sitting MPs, the primary concern is re-election. A general election determines whether they retain their seat. Losing an election means the end of their term as an MP, which can affect their political career, income, and influence.

For those not currently holding office, a general election is an opportunity to win a seat and start or advance their political career.

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