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
Con: 8073 (18%)
Lab: 24628 (54%)
LDem: 3719 (8%)
BNP: 6620 (15%)
Oth: 2303 (5%)
MAJ: 16555 (37%)
Con: 4943 (17%)
Lab: 13826 (48%)
LDem: 3211 (11%)
BNP: 4916 (17%)
Oth: 2010 (7%)
MAJ: 8883 (31%)
Con: 5768 (23%)
Lab: 15302 (61%)
LDem: 2450 (10%)
BNP: 1606 (6%)
MAJ: 9534 (38%)
Con: 5802 (18%)
Lab: 21698 (66%)
LDem: 3128 (9%)
Oth: 1053 (3%)
MAJ: 15896 (48%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 151 Responses on “Barking”
  1. UKIP aren’t exactly my favourite cup of tea, to say the least, but it’s nice to see abit more opposition on that council. One-party councils always concern me. It doesn’t mean automatically that a council is bad, but not having a proper opposition does impact scrutiny. Back in 2010, Labour got all 51 seats. Now with this latest defection, there are 3 opposition councillors.

    Personally, I find the best group of ruling councillors tend to be those in areas where it isn’t so marginal that they’re forever having to expend energy into endless campaigning, but which is also marginal enough that they know they have to keep performing to their very best to fend off other parties from taking over.

  2. Forecast for 2015

    Lab 58
    Con 17
    UKIP 10
    BNP 8
    LD 3
    Others 4

    Margaret Hodge is an excellent Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

  3. “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.”

    I would agree this is BNP stirring things up to win elections, Mitcham and Morden is a south london example where they spectaculary failed to gain seats at the time when the largest mosque in Britain was built in 2003, The starting campaigning in 1998 whilst at the same time WWC population of St Helier/Ravensbury (a lot of which had ‘No to the Mosque Campaign’ leaflets in their windows) they eventually sold their ex council houses and moved further down the A24 to Ewell and Epsom. In 2006 the BNP came third and turned St Helier ward into a three way marginal between them, cons and Labour. By the time 2010 election came a lot of WWC population had moved away and had sold their houses to ‘By To Let’ people and the area has now demographically changed within 4 years to make these safe Labour wards again. The Daily Mail published an article recently saying that the Mordens White british population had dropped from just under 90% in 1981 to around 34% now.

  4. LAB HOLD MAJ: 42%
    LAB 57
    CON 15
    UKIP 12
    LD 6
    GRN 2
    OTH 8

  5. Cllr Dee Hunt defected from Labour to UKIP here, last month. All 3 Cllrs in her ward have now defected from Labour: one each to Cons, Ind and UKIP!

  6. Labour is very lucky that this seat is trending their way, because if it retained the same level of WWC groups as the past it would’ve been very hard to see this as a safe one for them right now. Other parts of the country where they were strong even in the 80s (at least at local level if they didn’t hold the seats) have drifted away from them.

    Surely the party’s high command needs to address this. Especially if they are doing this whole One Nation thing.

  7. Labour have no need to court WWC groups in the South of England anymore since they’ve newer more reliable voters now in the form of the Third World they enthusiastically brought here after 1997.

  8. Neil: I really can’t see why.

    Parties can’t simply change their principles to suit specific groups

    That demographic may have moved to the right – but that doesn’t automatically mean Labour should do so

  9. LBernard – I spotted on the Tory Party Political Broadcast this week that 60%+ of the people they asked were ethnic. I wonder if this is due to a London-centric media (as they tend to be actors or members), or just an attempt to be modern/PC?

  10. Lancs – A bit of both I imagine

  11. Another Labour Cllr, Tariq Saeed, has defected to UKIP here. I think that makes 5, which is more than the 3 ex Cllrs in Sefton.

  12. Now that the Statement of Persons Nominated has been published for Barking and Dagenham council I will put forward my council election prediction for next month:

    LAB: 41 to 43 seats
    UKIP: 8 to 10 seats

    I am unsure if UKIP will take a seat in Village and Whalebone at present. I would personally go for the Labour 43 seats and UKIP 8 seats prediction though.

  13. Lab 53
    Others 0

  14. That would be impressive, given there are only 51 seats up for grabs.

  15. In the absence of BNP and Conservative candidates I think that UKIP will pick up some seats. I know which wards I think they will win in but I will not post them here.

  16. Labour benefitted enormously from the general election turnout in 2010. I don’t think they’ll win all the seats this time on a much lower turnout.

  17. They will still get a clear majority in Barking, though,Andy JS, partly due to our backward electoral system that permits multi-member wards (multi-member constituencies were abolished for the 1950 general election,for goodness’ sake!) and still does not have proportional representation.

  18. I think that UKIP may get the odd seat but it won’t be many. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe being proved correct.

  19. This seat was 45% non white in 2011 so that percentage will be 50% or slightly more by now.

    Even in the Dagenham wards which the BNP used to hold, the immense demographic change in the past decade will make it pretty impossible for UKIP to gain them. This is also the kind of very working class area where some of the residual BNP support will be very reluctant to go for UKIP on class or racial grounds.

  20. Do we think Griffin will stand here again next year, and if so, could this be one of the few seats in which the BNP still manage to hold a deposit..

  21. He might stand but no way they’ve got a hope of holding their deposit when UKIP are around.

  22. They did manage 17% here in 2005 and 15% last time around. To lose their deposit would constitute losing at least two thirds of their support. Is their situation really that dire?

  23. Their membership in May 2010 was 14,000, as of December 2012 it was under 5,000 and probably even lower now.

  24. Their leading light in these parts Richard Barnbrook (formerly boyfriend of the ineffable “BNP Ballerina”) has fallen out with the party, as have many of their former councillors. Their days here are over. They still managed a strong second place in a second Goresbrook by-election but they have slidden further since.

  25. It’ll be interesting to see if UKIP can beat the Tories in the locals.

  26. I believe Barking will return a fully Labour Council Chamber. Though UKIP may stand a chance of a councillor in either Village or Chadwell Heath. I wonder what the most likely borough to return a full slate of Con councillors would be? Two of the three I believe most likely are currently not Conservative controlled.

  27. You mean in London or in general? In London, certainly none at all.

  28. IIRC the closest they’ve come recently was in either Arun or Adur, winning about 90% of seats.

  29. The Tories won 39 of 40 seats in Fenland and East Northants in 2007. In both cases, Independents won the remaining seat

  30. The BNP could still poll well in Goresbrook, Mayesbrook, Valence etc; they’re not extinct here by any means. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them second in a few wards and third overall in the council elections.

  31. Adur is the only place (other than possibly Havering) where UKIP have a good chance of being the largest party on the council after the election next week. They won’t take control but if their European boost results in a local elections bounce in Adur they should win all wards bar 3. If the Tories do really badly and only retain 1 seat (with the Independents winning Marine ward) I believe that UKIP would be the largest party.

  32. Barnaby, I mean in London, of course but there is of course more chance of England winning the world cup this year that happening. The only borough where it could demographically happen have too much of a Lib Dem presence. If the 2010 elections followed the 2008 mayoral election then Richmond and Sutton would be wholly Conservative and convincingly as well. The next most likely after those two would be Kingston. Half a dozen councils in London have the demographics to be wholly Labour.

  33. Barking & Dagenham is once again an all-Labour council.

  34. Labour won all the seats in Barking & Dagenham with 52.31% of the vote:

    Lab 28,871 (52.31%)
    UKIP 14,847 (26.90%)
    Con 5,742 (10.40%)
    LD 1,942 (3.52%)
    Green 1,293 (2.34%)
    BNP 915 (1.66%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Lab +5.14%
    UKIP +23.48%
    Con -5.71%
    LD -7.57%
    Green +2.09%
    BNP -16.17%

  35. Mina Rahman selected for the Conservatives:

  36. Margret Hodge has pulled out of the race for Labour’s Candidate for London Mayor so unless she is a last minute retirement I suspect she will retire in 2020

  37. I’m surprised the Lib Dems allow that. I know Labour have a rule that if you abandon the seat you’re selected for to try to get another, you’re removed from consideration in both.

  38. I think the Lib Dems, even if they had such a rule, are scraping around for paper candidates and will happily re-deploy anyone they think is good to anywhere they think has votes worth saving.

  39. no-one will really notice her departure from barking where the lib dems will have a virtually non-existent campaign. at least in brent central they will try a bit.

  40. Barking will clearly be one of the LDs worst results in England. They may struggle to get 3%.

  41. There’s a pocket of long term LD weakness in this area, Thurrock, Hornchurch and Basildon will all record appalling LD scores. I reckon that Rochester and South Thanet will be even worse as they are squeezed to oblivion.

  42. Can see the sense of Lauren Keith being moved to a seat she has more connection with, given the inevitable low LD vote in this seat.

  43. I watched ‘The Battle For Barking’ last night. Engrossing viewing, and thought-provoking stuff.


    Some interesting comments here. H Hemmelig’s were most enlightening. Neil – without the demographic change, do you think this would currently be Conservative then?

  44. Andy – if the Lib Dems are ~2.5% in one of their worst seats, and are on course to win 28 seats +/- 5 (I haven’t seen a LD seat projection out of that range in ages), and have a larger number of seats they won’t win but will retain a sizeable rump of votes (personal votes for doomed incumbents, Tory held two-way contests, seats like OWA, Montgomeryshire, Watford if they don’t gain it, seats where even now they retain a local government base but in the good years never converted that into the seat), can they really still be on course for as low a national share as the UKPR average?

    Conversely, could it be that the pollsters are right on national VI, but one or more of the assumptions above is wide of the mark?

  45. People here are too positive about the Lib Dems, especially in seats they don’t currently hold, but are competitive in. I think they’ll end up doing very badly in many of these seats. Then again, there are vast swathes of the country that they have virtually nothing to contend in -much of the North of England, West Central Scotland and so on. For example, it’s not impossible that they lose every deposit in the old Strathclyde, except for East Dunbartonshire.

  46. Labour 15000 over UKIP

  47. Lab – 58
    UKIP – 20
    Con – 16
    LD – 4
    Oth – 2

  48. Suitable place I guess to relay that the BNP have apparently not reregistered as a political party and are now defunct (according to Guido Fawkes)…

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