Bethnal Green & Bow

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8070 (15.2%)
Labour: 32387 (61.2%)
Lib Dem: 2395 (4.5%)
Green: 4906 (9.3%)
UKIP: 3219 (6.1%)
TUSC: 949 (1.8%)
Others: 998 (1.9%)
MAJORITY: 24317 (45.9%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Tower Hamlets council area.

Main population centres: Spitalfields, Banglatown, Whitechapel, Stepney, Bethnal Green, Bow.

Profile: An East End seat dominated by povery, unemployment and racial tension. The area has a long history of immigrant communities, racial conflict and radical politics. Down through the centuries it has been a home to Huguenots, Jews and now the Bangladeshi immigrant community - in the 2011 census a majority of the seat was non-white. The West of the constituency is undergoing gentrification, with rising house prices in Spitalfields and the galleries and artists of Whitechapel becoming increasingly fashionable. Despite this the seat remains one of the most deprived in the country. The constituency covers Spitalfields, Banglatown, Whitechapel, Stepney, Bethnal Green and Bow and includes Brick Lane, renowned for its curry restaurants, the East London Mosque, Victoria Park and the Royal London Hospital.

Politics: Traditionally this was a solid Labour area, the seat and its predecessors had all been reliable Labour seats since the war. This picture was transformed by racial politics and the impact of the Iraq war on Labour`s Muslim support. In 2005 the seat fell to the firebrand former Labour MP George Galloway under the banner of the Respect party. Having said he would stand for only one term Galloway stood (and lost) elsewhere in 2010, allowing the seat to return to the Labour party. At a local level, however, the area remains a shifting battleground between Labour and the supporters of the Independent former mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman.

Current MP
RUSHANARA ALI (Labour) Born 1975, Bangladesh. Educated at Mulberry School for Girls and Oxford University. Former researcher and civil servant. First elected as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2010. She was one of the first three female Muslim MPs, all elected at the 2010 election.
Past Results
Con: 7071 (14%)
Lab: 21784 (43%)
LDem: 10210 (20%)
Resp: 8532 (17%)
Oth: 3131 (6%)
MAJ: 11574 (23%)
Con: 6244 (14%)
Lab: 14978 (34%)
LDem: 4928 (11%)
GRN: 1950 (4%)
Oth: 15907 (36%)
MAJ: 929 (2%)
Con: 9323 (24%)
Lab: 19380 (50%)
LDem: 5946 (15%)
GRN: 1666 (4%)
Oth: 2155 (6%)
MAJ: 10057 (26%)
Con: 9412 (21%)
Lab: 20697 (46%)
LDem: 5361 (12%)
Oth: 8655 (19%)
MAJ: 11285 (25%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MATTHEW SMITH (Conservative) Educated at Oxford University. Solicitor. Contested Cardiff Central 2011 Welsh Assembly election.
RUSHANARA ALI (Labour) See above.
TEENA LASHMORE (Liberal Democrat)
ALISTAIR POLSON (Green) Educated at Glasgow University. Barrister.
M ROWSHAN ALI (Communities United)
JASON PAVLOU (Red Flag Anti Corruption)
ALASDAIR HENDERSON (Whig) Educated at Oxford University. Barrister.
ELLIOT BALL (30-50 coalition) Educated at LSE. Student.
GLYN ROBBINS (TUSC) Educated at Wanstead High School. Housing and regeneration consultant.
Comments - 133 Responses on “Bethnal Green & Bow”
  1. I actually did an essay on this in uni, I think its fair to say their was something of an anti Thatcher unwind in Scotland in 92. The Tories had underperformed in Scotland compared to nationally in 83 and especially 87 which one “could” attribute to Thatcher and with her gone they were able to drift back to what was the then standard. This naturally facilitated the small swing to the Tories in Scotland in 92 which saw them hold Stirling which was one of Labs main targets and regain Aberdeen South, Labs only loss that year.

  2. 83 probably not, 92 perhaps but it would require the old SNP vote in the likes of Angus and Perthshire to desert en masse for the Tories, they need those seats to make up for the fact that I don’t see the Cons winning back more than one seat in Edinburgh these days (in 92 they had 2) and boundaries in some parts like around Ayr are not good at all for the Cons and essentially stonewall them. So they’d need to win seats they didn’t win in 92 to make up for seats that they did win in 92 but now probably cant.

  3. Labour’s policy of increasing income tax went down very badly in the nicer bits of Aberdeen in 92, dominated then as now by lots of well off oil workers. Remember that lots of them would have recently made a tidy sum in overtime off the back of the Gulf War oil price boom, in contrast to the miserable recession almost everywhere else.

  4. @ Rivers10: if the initial proposed boundaries stick in Ayrshire (which is very likely in my opinion) then the Conservatives will have a winnable constituency in Ayr and Carrick.

    The main issue for the Conservatives in Scotland is that the SNP have a solid 45%+ of the vote: were the opposition more split as in 1992 then the Conservatives would have (hypothetically) gained constituencies like Aberdeen South, Angus North & Mearns, Perthshire North and Perthshire South & Kinross-shire, possibly even Aberdeenshire East and Midlothian South etc.

  5. Edinburgh South West is too working class imo. Better chance in Moray.

  6. Comparing the % Conservative vote share to the 2014 referendum Yes vote in the Edinburgh Pentlands and Moray Holyrood constituency:

    Edinburgh Pentlands: 5% Yes lead
    Moray: 3-4% Yes lead

  7. Important to keep in mind that Edinburgh Pentlands is more affluent than Edinburgh South West: having a No vote of around 63% to Edinburgh South West’s 61% No vote.

  8. From my own post on the Vote UK site for the initial proposed boundary changes from the boundary commission:
    “Based on the 2016 Scottish Parliament election the unionist targets are:

    1. Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
    2. Clydesdale and Eskdale
    3. Dumfries and Galloway
    4. Edinburgh South West and Central
    5. Ayr and Carrick
    6. Cunninghame East
    7. Gordon and Deeside
    8. Aberdeen South
    9. Kincardine and Angus East

    Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk and Clydesdale & Eskdale notionally went Conservative in 2016 while Dumfries & Galloway, Edinburgh South West & Central and Ayr & Carrick were within a 1% swing of being won by the Conservatives on the constituency vote (Edinburgh South West & Central was won by the Conservatives on the list vote). Cunninghame East would be their next closest target, requiring a swing of less than 4% to win on the constituency vote.

    1. Edinburgh South West and Central
    2. East Lothian
    3. Cunninghame East

    Notionally Labour won in none of the proposed constituencies in 2016, Edinburgh South West & Central would be their closest result on the constituency side of the vote, requiring a 1% swing to gain.

    1. Orkney and Shetland
    2. Edinburgh West
    3. North East Fife

    The Liberal Democrats polled miles ahead in Orkney and Shetland, increasing their number of votes on 2015. They were well ahead in the Edinburgh Western and North East Fife constituencies in the Scottish Parliament. I’m not certain how the vote went in the proposed Edinburgh West constituency though with tactical voting in mind it must be said that new Edinburgh West constituency is better territory for the Liberal Democrats than the Scottish Parliament seat of Edinburgh Western. The proposed North East Fife constituency went SNP in 2016, covering some more industrial/working class towns to the south-west.”

  9. np.

  10. It’s interesting because what constitutes “good boundaries” for the Conservatives depends on how well they perform.

    If they match their 2016 performance then the existing boundaries are the more favourable boundaries for the party in Scotland (they would be notionally defending four seats from the Holyrood election).

    Under the proposed boundaries they would be defending just two seats relative to the 2016 Holyrood election, and would have a pretty comfortable shot of gaining Dumfries and Galloway with a very slight vote share increase. If they can manage a 1% swing then that would move an additional two constituencies into the blue side (Ayr & Carrick and Edinburgh South West & Central): in saying that both constituencies will be subject to differential conditions (lack of John Scott’s incumbency in Ayr + pro-Labour tactical vote in Edinburgh South West & Central could hurt the party in both constituencies relative to the Holyrood results). Beyond that if they can move into some more substantial gains then the party would be looking at gains in Aberdeen South, Cunninghame East (slightly better version of the existing East Renfrewshire constituency), Gordon & Deeside and then possible Moray & Nairn (equivalent to the existing Moray constituency), Kincardine & Angus East and Perthshire (equivalent to the existing Perth & North Perthshire constituency).

  11. A Conservative gain in Gordon and Deeside would be especially interesting as that area is mostly covered by Alex Salmond’s existing constituency of Gordon.

  12. Gordon is nowhere near as safe as Enfield Southgate was in 1992.

  13. Probably.

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