Rochdale is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The current MP is Simon Danczuk, who was first elected as a Labour MP in 2010. He currently sits as an independent, following his suspension by the party in December 2015.
1918-1983: The County Borough of Rochdale.
1983-1997: The Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale wards of Balderstone, Brimrod and Deeplish, Castleton, Central and Falinge, Healey, Newbold, Norden and Bamford, Smallbridge and Wardleworth, and Spotland.
1997-2010: The Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale wards of Balderstone, Brimrod and Deeplish, Central and Falinge, Healey, Littleborough, Newbold, Smallbridge and Wardleworth, Spotland, and Wardle.
2010–present: The Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale wards of Balderstone and Kirkholt, Central Rochdale, Healey, Kingsway, Littleborough Lakeside, Milkstone and Deeplish, Milnrow and Newhey, Smallbridge and Firgrove, Spotland and Falinge, and Wardle and West Littleborough.
The constituency is one of two covering the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale. It contains most of the town of Rochdale itself as well as Littleborough, Wardle and some of the surrounding rural area.
For the 2010 general election, the seat gained the villages of Milnrow and Newhey from Oldham East and Saddleworth and lost the areas of Sudden, Marland, and part of Norden to Heywood and Middleton, a 19.16% boundary change. Those changes made the seat a notional Labour victory in the Rallings and Thrasher figures which were used by the Press Association for determining gains, losses and swings. However, other predictions by political commentator Martin Baxter showed the seat maintaining a narrow Lib Dem majority.
Rochdale was one of the constituencies created by the Reform Act of 1832, and has been a Labour/Liberal Democrat marginal for many years, although it was held by the Conservatives for part of the 1950s, until a 1958 by-election.
It was held for two decades by Cyril Smith, first of the Liberal Party and then of the Liberal Democrats. He won a by-election in 1972, taking the seat from Labour, and held it until his retirement in 1992. A native Rochdalian and a former Labour Party member himself, he had a substantial personal vote which helped him retain his seat. It has since emerged that Smith was a serial child abuser.
After his retirement, contests have been tighter. The Liberal Democrats held the seat at first, with Liz Lynne winning at the 1992 general election, only to lose to Labour's Lorna Fitzsimons at the 1997 election. However, they regained the seat at the 2005 election, with Paul Rowen defeating Fitzsimons. In 2010, the town was brought to national attention when then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught on a tape recording describing a local woman, Gillian Duffy, as a "bigot" after having a conversation with her while campaigning (later described as Bigotgate by the UK media), but despite the unfavourable publicity, Labour still managed to narrowly win the seat from the Liberal Democrats, and in 2015 achieved their highest majority in the seat's history, with the Liberal Democrats falling to fourth place.
Note: boundary changes prior to the 2010 election made Rochdale a notionally Labour held seat.endorsed by coalition government