Barking

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7019 (16.3%)
Labour: 24826 (57.7%)
Lib Dem: 562 (1.3%)
Green: 879 (2%)
UKIP: 9554 (22.2%)
TUSC: 183 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 15272 (35.5%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Barking and Dagenham council area.

Main population centres:

Profile: This was a traditional white-working class seat, centered upon the Becontree council estate - the largest social housing estate in Europe. Over the last decade though there has been a transformation of the demographics, with the white population going into sharp decline and ethnic minority residents booming. The south of the constituency is earmarked for major redevelopment and will see large scale housing development as part of the Thames Riverside development over coming years.

Politics: Barking is a safe Labour seat, held by the party since its creation in 1945. In recent decades it became a target for the BNP, who won 12 seats on the local council in 2006. The party`s then leader, Nick Griffin, contested the seat in 2010 but a concerted effort by the Labour party kept the BNP in third place and wiped them off the local council. The collapse of the BNP meant they did not even contest the seat in 2015, through UKIP performed strongly to take second place.


Current MP
MARGARET HODGE (Labour) Born 1944, Egypt. Educated at Oxford High School and LSE. Former market researcher. Islington councillor 1973-1994, Leader of Islington council 1982-1992. First elected as MP for Barking in 1994 by-election. Minister for Universities 2001-2003, Minister for children 2003-2005, Minister for culture 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. In 2006 was criticised for giving the BNP publicity after saying that a majority of white working class voters in her constituency would consider voting BNP. Took a year off from ministerial duties in 2008-2009 to care for her terminally ill husband Sir Henry Hodge, the High Court Judge and former Chair of Liberty. Awarded the MBE in 1978.
Past Results
2010
Con: 8073 (18%)
Lab: 24628 (54%)
LDem: 3719 (8%)
BNP: 6620 (15%)
Oth: 2303 (5%)
MAJ: 16555 (37%)
2005*
Con: 4943 (17%)
Lab: 13826 (48%)
LDem: 3211 (11%)
BNP: 4916 (17%)
Oth: 2010 (7%)
MAJ: 8883 (31%)
2001
Con: 5768 (23%)
Lab: 15302 (61%)
LDem: 2450 (10%)
BNP: 1606 (6%)
MAJ: 9534 (38%)
1997
Con: 5802 (18%)
Lab: 21698 (66%)
LDem: 3128 (9%)
Oth: 1053 (3%)
MAJ: 15896 (48%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MINA RAHMAN (Conservative) Social housing manager.
MARGARET HODGE (Labour) See above.
PETER WILCOCK (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Magdalen College School and Warwick University. Uttlesford councillor 1995-2013. Contested Saffron Walden 2010.
ROGER GRAVETT (UKIP) School site manager.
TONY FORD RABLEN (Green) Vicar.
JOSEPH MAMBULIYA (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 145 Responses on “Barking”
  1. This constituency has experienced the most rapid demographic change with the White British share falling from over 80% to 46% in the 10 years to 2011. Expect it to continue to fall.

    The constituency is turning more religious. Both Christian and Muslim numbers are rising rapidly.

    Certain Labour hold. Respect may take second.

  2. The proportion of white british who voted BNP in 2010 must have been scarily high, about 1 in 3.

  3. Joe – that would assume all groups of the population turned out at the same rate as each other. Some of the non-white British population may not be eligible to vote, and it’ll almost certainly be younger and hence less likely to turn out. In addition, you have to factor in that the white British population is more likely to be on the electoral register.

    Which is not to say that the BNP didn’t score highly amongst the white British population, but one in five is probably closer to the mark.

  4. Maybe voting BNP in 2006 was a parting shot from some white British people prior to moving out of the area.

  5. Labour have well and truly transformed this seat in the space of a decade. Barking really is unrecognisable these days. Labour have always won this seat and will continue to do so very easily.

  6. Frankly I’m not so sure things would have been any different if other parties had been in power over the last 10/15 years. That isn’t a partisan point: it’s just that what happens in London isn’t usually something that can be controlled.

  7. “Labour have well and truly transformed this seat in the space of a decade”

    While there are many immigrants here, there are also many British ethnic voters moving from inner London and taking advantage of the lowest house prices in London.
    E.g. Bangladeshi Britons from Tower Hamlets.

    I agree with Andy JS.
    Rapid, unsustainable economic growth driven by house prices was also going to attract more immigrants. Spain, Sweden, Norway and Italy have all become diverse at a faster rate than Britain.

  8. “While there are many immigrants here, there are also many British ethnic voters moving from inner London and taking advantage of the lowest house prices in London.”

    That doesn’t seem very likely if the white British population has fallen in total from 80% to 46%. At the same time the white British population of parts of Inner London has increased through gentrification. The kind of white working class who moved out of the old East End to Barking did so a generation or more ago and are now moving further afield

  9. Pete You misunderstood my comment.

    I meant that some of the Asian or Black people moving to Barking moved there from inner London. Not all of them came from abroad.

    Obviously young people struggle to buy house in London. Barking is much more affordable.

  10. I do not think it would have happened so fast Andy. Personally I believe other gerrymandering factors were at play here. Rumours were rife about council houses being offered to African immigrants….naturally the BNP jumped on the issue which explains their meteoric rise between 2002-2006. Whether there’s any truth in it, I don’t know. But I did find it rather surprising when all these new residents were all moving into the borough from one Inner London borough. Many also originated from one African country.

    Barking would be one of the last places that any Black or White young Briton would buy a house. They’d move much further afield now. Young British Asians are more likely to buy here due to its close proximity to places like East Ham and Ilford however.

  11. “Personally I believe other gerrymandering factors were at play here.”
    Why gerrymander a very safe Labour seat?

    “Rumours were rife about council houses being offered to African immigrants….naturally the BNP jumped on the issue which explains their meteoric rise between 2002-2006. Whether there’s any truth in it, I don’t know.”
    The BNP probably started these rumours. After all it’s suit their interests.

    “But I did find it rather surprising when all these new residents were all moving into the borough from one Inner London borough. Many also originated from one African country.”
    Barking and Dagenham Country of birth – Africa and Europe Courtesy of ONS:

    Nigeria 12k
    Ghana 4k
    Somalia 2k
    Congo 1k
    Zimbabwe 1k

    Lithuania 6k
    Poland 2k
    Romania 2k
    Portugal 1k
    Slovakia 1k

    Barking is a magnet for immigrants from poor countries and people who cannot afford a house anywhere else in London

  12. Council houses being offered to African immigrants over native residents would have been a scandal. If there was anything there, I suspect it would have come out by now. Plenty of people had all the motive in the world to investigate.

    African immigrants moving to ex-council properties, on the other hand, would not be a surprise given the housing stock.

  13. “Pete You misunderstood my comment.”

    Naturally when you referred to ‘British ethnic voters’ I assumed you were ralking about people who are ethnically British. If you had meant to refer to people of non-British ethnicity who were however born in Britain you should have said so

  14. Considering Barking has always been cheaper than most parts of London I wonder why all these people didn’t move to Barking en masse before 2001. The transformation of Barking and Dagenham happened over 3-4 years and I cannot help that it was deliberate.

    Another rumour that was being banded around was that Labour were unhappy about how white British the borough was at the time and so thought it should take its fair share of ethnic minorities.

    If there was no Labour ‘plot’ then it’s just a huge coincidence that Barking (and Dagenham) has gone the way it has.

  15. LBernard – the most plausible non-tin-foil-hatted explanation I’ve it was the downgrading of Ford at Dagenham provoked many mature workers who had bought their houses through right-to-buy to take their redundancy payments, sell their houses off at great profit and move off into Essex to retire. Hence the rate of change in Barking is a result of a particularly high turnover of housing due to the downgrading of the Ford works (and it course it only needs to be a trigger, such things have a momentum of their own – lots of people moving out into Essex prompts other people to think of doing the same, if lots of people from a community move to an area then it attracts other people from the same community)

  16. “Considering Barking has always been cheaper than most parts of London I wonder why all these people didn’t move to Barking en masse before 2001. The transformation of Barking and Dagenham happened over 3-4 years”

    House prices have fallen relative to the rest of London.

    The transformation been going on for at least 15 years.

    “Another rumour that was being banded around was that Labour were unhappy about how white British the borough was at the time and so thought it should take its fair share of ethnic minorities”

    Unfortunately these rumours are what you would expect in an area where 1 in 4 White British voters turned to the BNP. The BNP would have made this up to promote their cause.

    I really hope these people stay in Barking and get to know their new neighbours. Otherwise more of them will take their prejudices with them. There is already evidence this has happened – the BNP performed well in the local/county elections 2008 and 2009 across South Essex.

  17. Glen is right – there would be no point plotting to engineer a borough or constituency for electoral gain if it’s already safe for your party. If I were such a plotter, I’d target more politically marginal areas which are either under threat or which I’d like to gain.

  18. As others have said the explanation is probably very simple: London is an incredibly expensive city and Barking & Dagenham is one of the few areas where affordable housing is still available.

  19. “I really hope these people stay in Barking and get to know their new neighbours”

    The drop in White British figures shows that they are not staying to get to know their new neighbours. They are moving out in droves.

    Anthony may have a point about Ford, but living locally I didn’t really know anyone who worked for Ford in 2000-1 who still lived in Barking or Dagenham. Most Ford workers were long gone living in East London by then but as he says some of the older Ford worker residents may have left to retire in Essex. Anthony is also correct in saying moving patterns are contagious with all groups of people Black, White or Asian.

  20. I imagine Hodge will stand down in 2015. It will be interesting to see who replaces her.

  21. Long-standing owner occupiers most of whom are White Britsh may move out but those who are in social housing are less likely to do so. And perhaps a higher proportion of these voted BNP.

  22. Margaret Thatcher is the root cause of the rapid change in demographics here.

    Without the massive number of right to buy purchases in Barking & Dagenham in the 1980s, most of the local housing would have remained in council hands and would have turned over much slower.

    It’s pretty obvious that very many of those who bought their houses in the 1980s here cashed in during the property boom of the 2000s, with their houses being bought often by buy-to-let landlords and rented to black and Asian families.

    What makes B&D especially in demand from immigrants and the low-paid is that most of its properties are houses with gardens at a cheap price/rent….it may be a shitty area but many people prefer that to living with kids in a flat in a nicer place.

    The Ford explanation makes some sense as well.

    Lastly nobody has mentioned that B&D is the house reposession capital of the UK. Many of the buy to let landlords have got hold of the properties very cheaply from auctioned reposessions in recent years.

  23. “‘White flight’ or more mixed neighbourhoods? Perhaps both!”:

    http://www.social-statistics.org/?p=966

  24. L Bernard – I would expect an AWS to be imposed here. One of the frontrunners could be Mandy Richards who stood in Havering & Redbridge in last years GLA elections.

  25. ” I would expect an AWS to be imposed here. One of the frontrunners could be Mandy Richards who stood in Havering & Redbridge in last years GLA elections.”

    Cllr Josephine Channer (Thames ward) may have a go too. She tried for Lewisham East and recent Leicester South by-election (where she got 0 votes!)

  26. Mandy Richards ran for Ethnic Minorities officer at the Greater London Labour Party conference recently. I voted against her.

  27. Is it being assumed Margaret Hodge will stand down before the next election?

  28. I wouldn’t be at all sure she will. She is playing a major role on the Public Accounts Committee and like her or loathe her she has lost little if any of her vigour. It’s no more than 50-50 that she does retire.

  29. I second that. She is doing a very good job on the Public Accts Committee. I was just going on her age but that doesn’t necessarily mean she will stand down.

    A quick question. What does an Ethnic Minorities Officer do? That sounds like a non job to me.

  30. Despite large and increasing numbers of minorities the Essex suburbs are represented exclusively by white MPs.

    The nearest minority MPs are Diane Abbott in Hackney South and Priti Patel (who I find scary) in Witham.

    Mandy Richards would make a welcome change in my opinion.

  31. Actually I was wrong LBernard – she didn’t run for Ethnic Minorities Officer. There is a single place on the London Labour Party board (for some reasons the terms board & Director are used in this region) reserved for ethnic minorities and it was for that that she ran.

  32. Everytime I saw London Regional Board results, the position was described using the term Officer.

  33. Well then I was clearly a bit confused. Or I am now.

  34. Barnaby, they may call it officer but it’s basically a place on the regional board.

  35. Result of the Longbridge ward by-election held last night :
    Labour 1,555
    UKIP 466
    Conservative 284
    Liberal Democrat 78
    BNP 37
    LAB HELD

  36. I think Margaret Hodge is doing an awesome job as PAC Chair and exposing how our money is being wasted and lost but does any of the exposing lead to positive changes? I know Starbucks contributed some more money in tax but is that going to happen every year going forward or what? Same goes for PFI deals, which was exposed at the beginning of her tenure – will that come to an end now?

    Secondly I thought the PAC Chair is from the opposition party so if Labour win the next election or are part of a coalition – would she to have to ceded in he same way that Edward Leigh has done so. Although the Public Administration Chair (currently Bernard Jenkin) would become available as that is a government party member so she may go for that? I’m guessing she would make a late decision about stepping down once she’s assessed how likely Labour are to win.

    @Barnaby Marder – how come you voted against Mandy Richards? Isn’t she firmly on the left of the party?

  37. No, she was the less left-wing candidate. People are however making more left-wing noises in today’s Labour Party than under Blair.

  38. I’d love Margaret Hodge to be the Labour London mayoral candidate in 2016. She’ll be 72 in that year though but I’d still vote for her. She certainly has the energy to do the job!

  39. Personally I hope Ken stands again!

  40. Ken WILL NOT STAND IN 2016.
    As for Barking, I think if Margaret Hodge goes, the race could be between Mandy Richards or Josie Channer.

  41. I still suspect that Hodge will stay for one more term. However, of course I could be proved wrong. Bob is obviously correct that Ken Livingstone will not stand – he’s made it perfectly clear that his electoral career is over. I think it’s most unlikely that Margaret Hodge would be the next Labour candidate.

  42. After Deptford, Mandy Richards is already going for Hornsey. At this rate, she will go after 3-4 other seats before Barking becomes available.
    She needs to pay attention…there’s a tipping point when serial appliers become a “laughing matter” and are not fairly judged by activists anymore..

  43. @Andrea but how many people/members would actually be aware of her applying to various seats? I mean she hasn’t yet been shortlisted for any and she may have various seats that she has associations with. She did pretty well in the GLAs which may or may not be totally down to her but if she was a terrible candidate, perhaps it would’ve shown?

  44. @Andrea – Disagree with that. Ed Miliband knows we need to boost BAME representation and Richards has been trying to get into Parliament since 2009. Hunt was a serial applier, as have many MPs been before them. She has only gone for three seats – Lewisham East, Lewisham Deptford (where she was not shortlisted so it does not really count) and Hornsey and Wood Green. I suspect that if Diane Abbott is the Labour candidate for the Mayoral election in 2016, which is a possibility, then Richards would be the favourite to be the candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

  45. @kokopops/bob

    You’re right that ordinary members won’t notice it. I said activists…but on reflection it’s probably more limited.

    I guess serial appliers can suffer from implicit “I am the local candidate, I just want to represent you because I care. I wouldn’t stand anywhere else. Unlike others who just want to become MPs” campaigns by certain type of opponents

    It’s an intriguing topic. As it’s probably useful for aspiring candidates to gain experience in terms of selection contests dynamics by applying to other seats. However, I am not particularly taken by people who seem to apply “everywhere” in sequence.

    Maybe it’s just me. But that’s why I said “she needs to pay attention”…in the case of Mandy Richards, she isn’t at the tipping point yet.
    However, after 3 selection contests (assuming she doesn’t get Hornsey), she should have gained enough experience on how they work. So I believe she should save herself for seats where she has a real shot (unlike the 2 Lewisham seats where she didn’t come close to win) now.

    But then we come another problem: you are either lucky to live in a seat where the sitting MP stands down or you start to work well in advance a patch with a likely retirement (and in many cases the candidates closer to the “powers that be” are alerted in advance of these likely retirements…)

  46. As much as I like Diane Abbott, I highly doubt that she will be the Labour candidate for Mayor, let alone run for the nomination.

  47. @Andrea she seems to be endorsed by Unison for HWG though – I note that 2010’s candidate for HWG Karen Jennings, a nurse, was also someone significant in Unison too – is that significant? I mean would some CLPs have more influence from certain unions in selection, for example. I’m guessing with HWG, it would prob be a mixture of union members (WG bit) and perhaps liberal chatteratis from the Hornsey/Crouch End bit – I don’t if that is true.

  48. there fair number of ex london people on the gateford estate of worksop in bassetlaw.

  49. The LDs polled less than 10% in 4 English constituencies:

    Barking: 8.20%
    Dagenham & Raingham: 8.60%
    Hayes & Harlington: 8.74%
    Castle Point: 9.40%

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At91c3wX1Wu5dGtQck5wOU5mN1lQSjIydkZRQTNWbFE#gid=0

  50. Barking Labour Cllr Robert Douglas defects to UKIP, citing immigration and that Labour does not represent working class people.

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