Battersea

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26730 (52.4%)
Labour: 18792 (36.8%)
Lib Dem: 2241 (4.4%)
Green: 1682 (3.3%)
UKIP: 1586 (3.1%)
MAJORITY: 7938 (15.6%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Wandsworth council area.

Main population centres: Battersea, Balham.

Profile: A London seat in the Conservative flagship borough of Wandsworth. As well as Battersea itself the seat stretches South to include half of Clapham Common and part of Balham. Once a reliable Labour area Battersea underwent gentrification in the 1980s as young professionals split over from Chelsea. As well as affluent areas the seat does still contain some very deprived areas such as the Winstanley Estate. The North of the constituency contains Battersea Park, the power station and New Covent Garden market.

Politics: Demographic change has been moving Battersea towards the Conservatives as it gentrifes. For much of the twentieth century the Battersea North seat which most closely approximates to the current seat was safely Labour (or was even more left wing - it returned a Communist MP for much of the 1920s). It was won extremely narrowly by the Conservatives in 1987, but returned to Labour in their 1997 landslide. By 2005 it was one of Labour`s most marginal seats, since 2010 it has been comfortably Conservative.


Current MP
JANE ELLISON (Conservative) Born 1964, Bradford. Educated at Oxford University. Contested Barnsley East 1996 by-election, Tottenham 2000 by-election. First elected as MP for Battersea in 2010. Public Health Minister since 2013.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23103 (47%)
Lab: 17126 (35%)
LDem: 7176 (15%)
GRN: 559 (1%)
Oth: 828 (2%)
MAJ: 5977 (12%)
2005*
Con: 16406 (40%)
Lab: 16569 (40%)
LDem: 6006 (15%)
GRN: 1735 (4%)
Oth: 333 (1%)
MAJ: 163 (0%)
2001
Con: 13445 (37%)
Lab: 18498 (50%)
LDem: 4450 (12%)
Oth: 411 (1%)
MAJ: 5053 (14%)
1997
Con: 18687 (39%)
Lab: 24047 (51%)
LDem: 3482 (7%)
Oth: 377 (1%)
MAJ: 5360 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JANE ELLISON (Conservative) See above.
WILL MARTINDALE (Labour) Educated at Kings College London. Oxfam policy advisor and former banker.
LUKE TAYLOR (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Imperial College. Transport planner.
CHRIS HOWE (UKIP)
JOE STUART (Green)
Links
Comments - 524 Responses on “Battersea”
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  1. This is a seat that Labour could potentially take but I would make no bets. Jane Ellison is a strong local MP who is on the left of her party. However, if Labour is to get a majority – or be confident of a majority – it has got to win here and start addressing these people’s concerns rather than listening to the nonsense from Merseymike.

  2. Labour taking this seat depends on how many previous Lib Dem voters switch to them.

    However this is one a small handful of seats which probably likes Camerons type of policies. This is a seat with a sizeable chunk of upwardly mobile, middle class, metropolitan ‘wets’…which is the demographic that Cameron is best associated with…

    On that basis Ellison looks OK for the time being.

  3. Aren’t the demographics moving against Labour here long-term? I know H Hemmelig has said that it will be a safe Tory seat within 10 years (if I recall correctly).

  4. Sorry if I have wrongly put words in Hemmelig’s mouth there but I am sure I’ve read it somewhere on here.

  5. Its been said for a while that this seat is gentrifying and moving away from Labour, but its clearly a very slow process.

    Also, I wonder whether the very high rate of private rented housing (likely to contain young professionals) might keep Labour in contention?

    Note, however, that the local MP’s here have not been from the Not Labour wing of the party, but instead Alf Dubs and Martin Linton, both of who are clearly on the centre-left. Martin, for example, is a sterling supporter of Palestinian rights, and a notable enthusiast for green causes

  6. I don’t like the way Bob canvasses for his narrow sectarian view of Labour politics. Put a sock in it & keep to psephology, don’t use this site to attack other Labour Party members & supporters who use it on political grounds. I have attacked you but purely for your (in my view) rather over-optimistic psephological ideas.

  7. I agree, Barnaby

  8. Perhaps even a Labour landslide would see them narrowly miss getting this one, if demographics have moved on since 1997 and 2001. L Bernard, I here what you say but the Council has been Thatcherite since one year before she was in power.

  9. It’s possible, Joe. You probably need to add 1-2% to the swing required on paper.

  10. @Barnaby Marder – Please don’t try and boss me about thank you. This is not your site.
    Battersea is a New Labour seat in a way. Labour cannot win here as a leftwing party, it will have to reach out to aspiration middle-class, upwardly mobile people, people who are trying to pay down the mortgage and pay down the bills. A strong candidate, like Brian Tomlinson who was seen as a possible candidate for Cardiff South and the former candidate for Twickenham, could be a good shot. It is winnable but only winnable if Labour is seen as a party of the centre. Unite activists, Trots from Liverpool who regard popular Labour councillors as rightwingers – they will lose. Simples.

  11. Personally I think people dont see things from a left-ring wing prisms these days and just judge the MP as they are as a person. It wouldn’t matter if Labour selected a left-wing candidate or right-wing candidate, (unless the local press make a big deal of the candidate due to past actions etc).

  12. Hmmm is Bob, Renie Anjeh in disguise?

  13. Who? I am a member of Progress. Battersea is a centre ground seat. I like Unite, I hate Len McCluskey. Battersea is full up of middle-class people, upwardly mobile who will not vote for leftwing politics.

  14. @Bob I don’t where you are from but it is a load of bull to say that Battersea will not vote for left-wingers, Martin Linton was firmly on the left of the party and was elected 3 times in this constituency and garnered a large vote in 2010

  15. He was elected 3 times because of New Labour, not because of the anti-Israel, public-school boy from Surrey named Martin Linton. He was representing a centre-left party.

  16. Bob may on this occasion not be talking complete nonsense. This probably is a seat where Blairite Labour politics might be more electorally successful. In other seats however Labour needs to be seen to be offering something to voters, over & above a slightly more benign version of more of the same, in order to get its natural supporters to the polls.

  17. I must say, I have never thought of Martin Linton as being on the left of the party before. Anti-Israel & pro-Arab views are by no means the exclusive preserve of the political left. I don’t recall him ever rebelling against any of the most controversial policies of Tony Blair, but correct me if I’m wrong.

  18. @Barnaby Marder oh dear my mistake, you are absolutely right, he voted for all the New Labour policies (tuition fees, ID cards, foundation hospitals, Iraq War) – scumbag!

    But my point is, if say a Chuka Ummuna circa 2008 – a Compassite and where he genuinely was on the left of the party was selected – he would have a decent chance in winning the seat as say Luke Akehurst (on the right of the party) and perhaps more so.

    Sure if Labour were emulating the Socialist Workers Party, where the local and national press go berserk in its it’s criticism of the party then sure Battersea is not going to go red.

  19. I think John Prescott had a phrase he referred to Blair and Brown in the early nineties – ‘the beautiful people’ or something like that – more likely to win the yuppie vote?

    On second thoughts, that is cynical view, I think.

  20. I am with Barnaby Marder, because for once he is not being a pessimist irritant. Battersea is a New Labour. Martin Linton was a leftie, but there were people who rebelled on those policies who were not actually on the left. Chuka Ummuna is not a Compassite anymore, he is on the rightwing of the Labour party (although Compass has some good ideas and just are a bunch of nice guys who talk amongst themselves on the Left about how to bring ‘change’). Luke Akehurst is less rightwing than he makes out, his views on good New Labour reforms are something to be desired. As I said, fact remains Battersea is a New Labour seat with thoroughly centrist voters and swing Tory voters, MUST appeal to them, to win.

  21. I’m not a natural pessimist. I used to be grossly over-optimistic. I merely urge caution where I feel it’s due. My general policy, as stated almost ad infinitum on this site, is that it’s simply too early to call the next general election and most of the marginals in the country. There are some seats where it probably is possible to make a judgement even this far out – e.g. Manchester Withington, Norwich South, and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, all of which I am virtually certain are going to be Labour gains – but most predictions of marginals, and of the outcome in Britain as a whole, are pure guesswork at this stage. Over-confidence isn’t helpful to the party of the person who’s being over-confident, quite apart from anything else.

  22. Over-confidence is not helpful. My position is this. We are facing a divided Right and a Lib Dem party in crisis. Of course we will get the most seats, and seats like Hornsey and Wood Green, Brent Central and POSSIBLY even Bermondsey and Old Southwark (according to Electoral Calculus) could be ours. On the Tory side, Croydon Central, Watford classic examples. But that has created aproblem, because of very understandable complacency that we will squeak through with a very small majority and forget about places like Harlow, Battersea, Finchley, Basildon etc where we need to take votes off the Tories. Unless Ed Miliband strengthens his leadership and start making Labour fit for government, we will have a John Major-like government which will end in Wilderness come 2020.

  23. The following have applied to be Labour’s candidate. Selection on 20th July:

    Adebayo Adeniran
    Sheila Boswell
    Fiona Dent
    Abbas Hanif
    Samantha Heath
    Neil Humphrey
    Amran Hussain
    Will Martindale
    Amer Masood
    Sean McKee
    Sohail Munawar
    Kana Naheerathan
    Tushar Singh
    Nik Slingsby
    Chris Summers
    Sundar Thavapalasundaram

    Samantha Heath (GLA list member 2000-2004, and Director of London Sustainability Exchange) and Will Martindale (former Banker, now works for Oxfam) lead the way in nominations.

  24. I think Battersea will get relatively more Tory.

    It now has the largest Conservative majority ever (even larger than the previous 1992 record).

    It was only the 50 + event of the 1945 styled Labour landslide in 1997 and 2001 that returned this seat to Labour.

    If you add together Battersea North and Battersea South together at every election from WW2 you get a clear Labour win at every general election until their merger in 1983 (all of the two pre-1974 Battersea constituencies are in the current constituency).

    Battersea is changing and more and more and the Lavinder Hill Mob from the Ealing Classic would now look out of place here…or the social and economic contrast between Chelsea and Battersea depicted in the opening of Up the Junction would now be far less evident.

    Huge numbers of new houses are now being built in Nine Elms around the Power Station site and I can only see this constituency becoming more Tory.

    This constituency will be going the same way as Fulham. If you add Chelsea and Fulham together in 1966 (very similar boundaries with the exception of Earls Court) the Conservatives would have won by just 1717 and the massive increase in the Conservative lead now comes from Fulham (not Chelsea).

    In years to come this will be one of the most reliable Conservative seats in London, and the only inner London seats that will be safer will be The Cities of London & Westminster and Chelsea & Fulham.

    I think that Labour would have a better chance in regaining Enfield Southgate or Bexleyheath & Crayford (even Wimbledon or Romford) than Battersea.

  25. Depends on the time frame, but the general point is fair enough.

  26. [Snip] not every middle class person is a Tory. Most of them are young, middle-class professionals who’d vote Labour.

  27. Left in the race for Labour nomination: Sheila Boswell, Samantha Heath, Will Martindale, Chris Summers, Sundar Thavapalasundaram.

  28. List of nominations by CLP branches

    Balham & Northcote – Samantha Heath & Will Martindale
    Fairfield – Samantha Heath & Sean McKee (NB: Sean McKee withdrew subsequent to the nomination meeting, but prior to long-listing)
    Latchmere – Sheila Boswell & Sundar Thavapalasundaram
    Queenstown – Samantha Heath & Will Martindale
    Shaftesbury – Sheila Boswell, Chris Summers & Sundar Thavapalasundaram
    St. Mary’s Park – Samantha Heath & Will Martindale

    Affiliated organisations made the following nominations.

    Co-Operative Party: Sheila Boswell
    Communication Workers Union: No nomination yet received
    Unite (Kingston-upon-Thames): Sheila Boswell
    Unite (South Thames): Sheila Boswell
    USDAW: No nomination yet received

  29. i think the bravo murder house must be in this seat

  30. Sheila Boswell – Wandsworth cllr and chair of Wandsworth Labour
    Chris Summers – BBC journalist and Ealing cllr
    Sundar Thavapalasundaram – GP and former army officer

  31. bob will want the local candidate

  32. He will want the BAME candidate.

  33. Well apparently most middle class people in Battersea vote labour so want he wants and reality may be somewhat detached!

  34. Maybe in 1997 and 2001 most voted Labour, but I don’t think they have since

  35. This constituency has a younger, more highly educated profile than is typical which is generally quite good news for Labour. However but looking at the demographics I don’t think the majority of middle class here vote Labour, otherwise the Tories would never win it..

  36. I also think Jane Ellison is a very good fit for this seat – someone like Bill Cash or Julian Brazier would be a poor choice.

  37. I don’t want the BAME candidate, Matt, I want the local candidate who is also the frontrunner.

  38. Battersea has the greatest proportion of 25-44 year olds of any constituency in the country (49.7% versus 27% nationally). A typical voter therefore strikes me as a decently off late-thirtysomething who probably opted for New Labour when they first became entitled to vote but who has since moved somewhat rightwards, perhaps voting Tory reluctantly in 2005, but with more enthusiasm in 2010 because they found Cameron’s liberal Toryism to their taste.

  39. Irrespective of the overall general election result, I don’t see Labour regaining this constituency, despite this constituency backing Labour at every general election since 1945 other than 1987, 1992 and 2010 (considering the notional results before 1983).

    This is one ‘marginal’ constituency in London that I am fairly certain that the Conservatives will hold.

  40. But the constituency was a vastly different place by 1997 when New Labour won it back. If there had n’t been such demographic change, the Tories would never have won it in the first place.

  41. I assume that if the Battersea North and South constituencies still existed, Labour would have carried on winning North and the Tories South.

  42. not sure about that. The Tories these days win Fairfield & St Mary’s Park by quite a lot, and although Battersea N would have racked up a large Labour majority in 1997 & 2001, and a fairly decent one in 2005, it’s quite possible that the Tories would have taken it narrowly in 2010. Even Latchmere doesn’t have quite as large a Labour lead as it used to.

  43. Not sure about that re Battersea North.The fact that most of the Battersea North wards are now Tory held on Wandsworth Council is n’t necessarily a safe guide because during the New Labour period there was obviously ticket-splitting (here and in Putney) between locals and parliamentary. But gentrification and selling council stock was already proceeding apace by 1987. I guess the tenure between Tory and Labour might have been the same as the present-day Battersea.

  44. It is interesting that the Tory leads in a great many of the wards were similar in 2010 (i.e. about 1350-1500 or so). We are not quite at the point where the Tories are leading Labour two votes to one anywhere (apart perhaps from in Northcote) but we can’t be far off if the trends continue.

  45. It depends which version of Battersea North. The pre-74 version more or less corresponds to the wards of Latchmere, Queenstown and St Marys Park. The Tories would have had a decent lead in the latter in 2010 with Queenstown being neck and neck but still a large Labour lead in Latchmere. My estimate is that Labour would narrowly have been ahead on these boundaries. The 1974-83 version of Battersea North however included Shaftesbury so this would clearly have voted Tory in 2010

  46. One can imagine how massive the majorities will be [… really not in the spirit of things JJB – AW]

  47. @ JJB – if you want to post partisan tripe do it elsewhere. Anthony please sort it out! It seems that Tory partisan tripe gets tolerated whilst Labour partisan tripe get hammered.

  48. ‘Anthony please sort it out! It seems that Tory partisan tripe gets tolerated whilst Labour partisan tripe get hammered.’

    I used to think that – although to be fair to Anthony the likes of Shaun Bennett, a very right-wing Tory, have found their posts censored – although to be fair to Shaun he used to make far more insightful and thought-provoking posts than Joe james B

  49. I am most surprised to read that Fairfield ward was in Battersea S. That ward must have swung from Labour to Conservative more than most in Wandsworth, which is really saying something. It makes it more logical to me that Battersea S was held narrowly in both 1970 & 1979 – at that time Fairfield was still clearly a Labour area. Gentrification took rather longer in central Wandsworth than in parts of Battersea or Balham, but has been if anything even more thorough though there are still some small council estates in the ward. Having looked at the 2010 council election results, the very safest Tory ward in the borough now appears to be Wandsworth Common, which is a fraction more Tory even than Northcote, and yet it is still in a Labour seat since the Labour-held wards there are all still pretty safe (though Graveney has a strong LD presence, alone in the borough) – indeed Furzedown suddenly looks quite safe Labour after a generation in which it was split Lab-Con almost permanently.

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