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
Con: 23103 (47%)
Lab: 17126 (35%)
LDem: 7176 (15%)
GRN: 559 (1%)
Oth: 828 (2%)
MAJ: 5977 (12%)
Con: 16406 (40%)
Lab: 16569 (40%)
LDem: 6006 (15%)
GRN: 1735 (4%)
Oth: 333 (1%)
MAJ: 163 (0%)
Con: 13445 (37%)
Lab: 18498 (50%)
LDem: 4450 (12%)
Oth: 411 (1%)
MAJ: 5053 (14%)
Con: 18687 (39%)
Lab: 24047 (51%)
LDem: 3482 (7%)
Oth: 377 (1%)
MAJ: 5360 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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.
Comments - 524 Responses on “Battersea”
  1. Boris won London because he was Boris though

  2. @Matt Wilson

    Absolutely. But it shows that the London electorate are still open to voting Tory in certain circumstances. In a national landslide of proportions similar to 1983 I think the Tories would lead by a couple of % in London.

  3. Well we’ll have to see. Who knows what the future holds. We ain’t no mystic megs. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  4. @Matt

    Indeed. This landslide talk is interesting hypothetical stuff but it is just that. Lots is likely to change over the next four years so it is way, way too early to be making predictions.

  5. Agreed.

  6. Jack
    “Wales is also conceivable but would be remarkable – they have not topped the vote in any national election (GE, Welsh Assembly, European) in Wales since 1859”

    Not quite true the Tories topped the poll in Wales in the 2009 European elections though that’s not really saying much since the vote was split six ways, I believe they got something like 24% but that was enough to come first.

  7. For comparison, a naive uniform swing calculation based on the latest poll (Tories 43% Labour 27%) gives the following result:

    There are a few differences – Conservatives bag Scunthorpe, Lib Dems pick up Camrbidge – but the overall result is much the same, with the Conservatives holding twice as many seats as Labour and a three-figure majority.

  8. I suspect that Labour would do better than average in urban constituencies and worse than average in industrial areas because of demographic change and Corbyn’s political views.

    Labour would also do better than average in London and worse than average in Yorkshire due to the personnel change of the leadership and much of the shadow cabinet.

  9. Or alternatively we could all remember that new PMs usually get a significant short-term bounce in the polls, which explains much of the increase in the Tory lead, rather than blaming it all on Corbyn.

  10. -Batersea picks up Thornton making it better for Labour though still notionally Tory
    -Tooting remains unchanged
    -Putney picks up Village and Wimbledon Park
    -Rest of Wimbledon gains Ravensbury, Cricket Green, Lavender Fields, Colliers Wood. Still actually notionally Tory by 1,500 odd (this will probably have to go though as it bisects Mitcham)
    -Sutton and Cheam loses Belmont and gains Lower Mordon and Ravensbury (the were a lot kinder to the LDs than I thought they would). Still notionally Tory although there is now more a Labour vote to squeeze.
    -Carshalton and Wallington gains Belmont. Becomes notionally Tory by several hundred.

  11. So the rumour mill was correct in part total b**locks in others.

  12. On Electoral Calculus figures I make Battersea notionally Tory by about 5,700, despite the addition of Thornton.

  13. Probably the best possible result for the Lib Dems in terms of giving them 2 winnable Sutton seats. I think they’ve a very good chance of holding C&W and a fair chance in Sutton & Cheam

  14. ‘Who lives here now? Clapham’

    I’m assuming that this was on the Battersea side of Clapham.

    If not its even more mad / amusing.

  15. Interesting. Those type of prices are common across inner London, even in much less nice areas than Battersea, however.

  16. Battersea could gain Clapham Town and Clapham Common wards to become a Battersea & Clapham Constituency instead of gaining Thornton. It could easily lose either Fairfield or Balham to Tooting to make that seat entirely made up from Wandsworth LBC. The Mitcham ward that Tooting was suppose to gain could re-join the rest of Mitcham in Streatham & Mitcham.

  17. The Sutton and Cheam pairing with Labour Lower Morden and St Helier is pretty much death for the Lib Dems in this seat. It’s not the kind of Labour vote that the Lib Dems can squeeze, far too BAME. Ever increasing Muslim, Afro Caribbean and East European population, about 25 years ago Morden would have gone well with nowadays it much more resembles Streatham and Tooting. It’s the equilvalent merging Bromley or Beckenham with parts of Lewisham.

  18. “It’s not the kind of Labour vote that the Lib Dems can squeeze, far too BAME.”

    They managed to do so in Bermondsey, Brent Central and Hornsey (note the past tense). That may not be possible now however.

  19. “Those type of prices are common across inner London, even in much less nice areas than Battersea, however.”


    The ‘Men Behaving Badly’ style of living is now an aspiration to London yuppies.

    With the difference that the Martin Clunes character actually owned the flat which nowadays he wouldn’t.

  20. Labour held a by-election very comfortably in the Queenstown ward on Thursday, following the sad death of the sitting councillor, Sally-Ann Ephson. A sign, perhaps, that Battersea won’t be quite the shoo-in for Jane Ellison that some have predicted on here, especially with the addition of the Thornton ward.

    What was surprising, though, was that the local Conservative Association didn’t seem to be putting any effort into the election. I only found out there was an election because I went onto the Wandsworth Borough Council website to look for something else. Normally with a marginal seat, members of other branches would be asked to help out with the campaign.

    The result is here:

    Labour 1551 [53.3%; +14.2%]
    Conservative 987 [33.9%; -5.7%]
    LD Adam Davis 249 [8.6%; +3.3%]
    Green 122 [4.2%; -4.8%]
    [UKIP [0.0%; -7.0%]]
    Majority: 564
    Labour hold
    Percentage chance since 2014
    NB Multi-member ward that elected 2 Conservatives and 1 Labour in 2014

  21. The Tories have held Wandsworth council with big majorities for 30 years and have become arrogant and complacent. Eventually they will probably lose control of the council in a poor election year, allowing themselves to revitalise in opposition and come back a year or two later. A very similar phenomenon happened in Bromley, also a flagship Tory London borough, in 1998.

    The two Tory parliamentary seats will remain safe enough but look for the Tory position on the council here to erode further in 2018 and for them to lose the council some time in the 2020s.

  22. Control was at serious risk in 1986, but they managed to hold on with an increased vote. Their local record helped.
    The turning point really came in 1990 – it has been able to withstand even more difficult threats.

    I thought the 2014 results were slightly disappointing. Labour won a seat in Earlsfield, for example, the first time since 1986.

    I would hope that given the history it wouldn’t lead to us being so complacent to lose control of the council however. Maybe this result will be a wake up.

  23. Was Bromley actually a flagship? I thought it was more ho hum.

    This of course happened in 1998.
    Despite an increased Con vote against 1994, IIRC the Lib Dems and Labour got a few swings their way right where it mattered.

  24. Maybe not. London increasingly has its own political culture, and is arguably the one part of the country that is trending towards Labour at the moment. What the Tories lose in London they will more-than compensate for in the Midlands and the North.

  25. re-earlier comments on Wales. The crossbreaks of last week’s Opinium poll came up with Labour 41% Conservative 24%.

  26. Hemmelig has it spot on. Aging arrogant Tory council group who don’t reflect the borough, live on long past glories and need a shake up. Heading for a small Tory majority in 2018 and a Labour council in 2022…

    That said, the Labour group are pretty crap and increasingly momentum influenced.

    Worth mentioning that in Wandsworth turnout is a big deal. Tories do better with big turnouts.

    Local by elections in general are poor results for us Tories, general elections good.

  27. Are they old? I always thought a lot of these first time Tory PPCs sent up North were all Wandsworth Cllrs aged in their 20s and 30s?

    Maybe it’s no longer the case or another London borough these days?

  28. To answer my own Q, a third look young on the Wandsworth website.

    Westminster seems to be the council where half of the Tory Group are young.

    Although the most striking part on their web pages is that they proudly state that they don’t hold any surgeries!

  29. “Was Bromley actually a flagship? I thought it was more ho hum.”

    Can’t believe a London Tory actually wrote that….the abolition of the GLC was in large part plotted and executed by the Tory leadership in the London Borough of Bromley. Thatcher certainly would not have considered it “ho hum”. The council became arrogant after 1990 and eventually lost power, the same will happen in Wandsworth.

  30. This part of Battersea is well documented in John O’Farrell’s “Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter”.

    I believe that Queenstown was the safe Labour ward that O’Farrell stood in and lost.

  31. The younger ones on here will be unaware of the sheer avalanche of books and TV dramas in the mid/late 90s basically saying “thank God those fucking Tories have finally been kicked out…now we’ve finally found heaven on Earth under New Labour”. John O’Farrell’s book is a good example, the TV saga “Our Friends in the North” and even better and more famous one. Over the past year I’ve often thought both should be updated, both with the disappointment of the New Labour years and the collapse of Labour since the 2008 financial crisis. In retrospect John O’Farrell was being complacent….things have actually got worse for Labour even compared with 1983.

  32. It’s an extremely entertaining read: I think I read it shortly after it was published.

    I used to think everything in it was 100% accurate but there are one or two things I’ve noticed that weren’t actually correct but which he obviously assumed no-one would be enough of an anorak to verify.

    For example, he wrote that during the BBC’s 1983 election programme there were a long line of Tory holds with only “Labour hold Jarrow” sandwiched in between. When watching the 1983 election replay a few years ago I noticed that it didn’t actually happen like that: I can’t remember precisely what happened, but Jarrow wasn’t sandwiched in this way. It flashed up at the same time as some other Labour seats, or something similar. This made me wonder how much of the rest of the book was written with a touch of “artistic licence”.

  33. I keep meaning to watch “Our Friends In The North” although I haven’t got round to it yet. It’s on YouTube I think. Peter Hitchens wrote an interesting column about it recently which piqued my interest:

    “And I recently watched, for the first time ‘Our Friends in the North’, which I ignored when it was first on 1996 because every left-wing person I knew kept telling me how wonderful it was, and as a result I dismissed it as some sort of dramatic prelude to the coming Blairite takeover and the resulting vengeance for the Thatcher Terror which had until recently stalked the land, laying waste to the country with cuts.

    But it is a powerful work, well worth watching. It deals with serious things – the loss of belief on the left”

  34. Interesting – I am certainly not of the left but enjoyed that series a lot. I thought it portrayed the British left in a pretty negative light myself – both in its portrayal of town hall corruption and the Trot infiltration in the late 70s.

  35. “Interesting – I am certainly not of the left but enjoyed that series a lot. I thought it portrayed the British left in a pretty negative light myself – both in its portrayal of town hall corruption and the Trot infiltration in the late 70s.”


    Nevertheless it blamed deindustrialisation and the consequent social problems squarely at Thatcher’s door. In the final episode set in 1995, it is full of hope that the New Labour government will lead to massive rejuvenation of the area it is set in.

    Move forward 20 years and both the deindustrialisation and social problems actually got much worse under Labour. The mid-90s almost looks like a halcyon era by comparison. That’s what I was getting at. An update as to how Labour betrayed its “friends in the North” over the past two decades would be excellent. They won’t do it though.

  36. Interesting these predictions of the Tory demise in one of their safer boroughs. It’s true that Labour won (narrowly) in the mayoral and GLA elections but the GLA candidate was particularly weak and not respected by local Tories and Goldsmith was a so-so candidate who was known to be pro-brexit before the election.
    Obviously Labour would need to win over votes from Tories and I can’t see Corbyn having much of a following locally.

  37. I think the 2018 London election will be tough for the Tories. We all know trends in London aren’t great for the them and now there is the added factor of Brexit and a government that generally seems to be moving further away from the views of many Londoners. At a GE Corbyn may cancel the effect of that out but at council elections he isn’t really on the ballot paper. Wandsworth is probably just about safe (only due to favourable council boundaries that make it very difficult for them to win less than 36/60 seats) but I can see the Cons making little progress or going further backwards across at least inner London.

  38. The only way I can see Tories losing Wandsworth beyond the 24 seats Labour is favoured to win in 2018 is if the Tories bleed votes to the LDs in wards like Southfields and West Hill and somehow let Labour through the middle I suppose.

    Maybe that could happen in 2022 as Hemmelig and Joe suggest.

  39. In 2018 a lot of councils probably won’t change hands however these are ones to watch.

    Lab gain from Con?
    Wandsworth – I would actually say this more likely than the other two despite the wealth in SW London areas like Battersea, Putney and Wimbledon they are a lot of private renters in these seats.

    Con gain from Lab?
    Hammersmith and Fulham

    Con or Residents gain from NOC?


    Con gain from LD?


    LD gain from Con?

    Kingston upon Thames

  40. I would be very surprised if Barnet went Lab in 2018. Not inconceivable given the Tories only held on by a thread in 2014 and will probably lose two seats in Childs Hill to the LDs (longtime allies of Lab in Barnet politics). But in 2015 and 2016 the Tory results were strong in Hendon and Finchley, suggesting the possibility of a few Con gains there. The 2014 gains in Chipping Barnet will also be tough for Lab to hold – they probably exceeded their own expectations in sweeping East Barnet and taking two seats in Brunswick Park.

  41. I don’t think Barnet will go Labour either I am just stating where the battles will be. The LD’s will likely hold Sutton comfortably but will lose a few wards to the Tories if the UKIP vote unwinds to the Conservatives.

    Kingston will be interesting the Lib Dems will throw the kitchen sink at this borough.

  42. From that Peter Hitchens article on Our Friends In The North:

    ‘ But who were these people in the drama? A young man with a father in the Shipyards who went on the Jarrow March, has won a place at Manchester University, and spent the summer on Civil Rights marches in the American South (where almost nobody form Britain could go in 1964, not least because of the severe foreign currency restrictions and the lack of cheap flights or sea passages). How did he do that, when his father is a shipyard worker who went, as a child, on the Jarrow March? How can he and his girlfriend ( a near neighbour) understand the dirty joke in French that they share during what I think is an episode of what we used to call ‘heavy petting’ (Is it just me? Do most people really like watching actors simulating sexual acts on the TV screen, or does everyone find it an embarrassing turn-off, as I do)?

    I suppose it must be assumed that (as this is 1964, when university rare and French, then as now, not widely spoken on the banks of the Tyne, Wear or Tees) both of them went to grammar school. But it still doesn’t explain the American trip.

    Funny how this part of our great social revolution, the grammar schools, isn’t even alluded to, though without it these people would not have been who they were.

    It’s always that which haunts me when I look back at that time, the wide-open door through which the shipyard workers’ sons and daughters could make their way to the very top of everything, and did.

    Now there are neither shipyards nor grammar schools. I’m not sure which loss I feel more keenly. ‘

  43. Hitchens really is a ridiculous prude, isn’t he?

  44. I spotted Peter Hitchens outside a restaurant near Westminster about four years ago. He’d arrive by bicycle and was trying to find somewhere to park it. A bit odd really since I’ve only spent a tiny number of hours of my life in Westminster but I suppose if you walk around that area you’re likely to see a few well-known people.

  45. Jane Ellison has been formally reselected as the Conservative candidate for Battersea. I didn’t realise sitting MPs had to be formally reselected if there is no challenger.

  46. I suspect it’s a formality in most cases. Possibly it’s a rule that some associations have but others don’t, or perhaps it’s a simple check and balance to ensure that an MP who no longer has the support of the association can be got rid of.

  47. Interesting really I received an email via a fellow member saying Vaz was automatically reselected and a similar announcement was made on Facebook about Liz Kendall

  48. Maybe Labour have different rules? It’s so much harder to get rid of a Labour leader so I suppose it would make sense to be equally harder to remove an MP

  49. The Torries had an assocation vote for all Sitting Mp’s to approve or not. Labour had no CLP vote but some mp’s are declaring themselves as having been re- selected.

  50. All Labour selections are being done by the NEC, who have also decided all sitting MPs get auto reselected. An exception wasn’t even made for the technically-not-Labour-MP suspended Simon Danczuk!

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