Brent Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9567 (20.3%)
Labour: 29216 (62.1%)
Lib Dem: 3937 (8.4%)
Green: 1912 (4.1%)
UKIP: 1850 (3.9%)
TUSC: 235 (0.5%)
Independent: 145 (0.3%)
Others: 170 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 19649 (41.8%)

Category: Safe Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Willesden, Neasden, Kensal Green, Cricklewood, Harlesden.

Profile: A diverse residential seat that is home to many immigrant communities. There are traditionally strong links to Ireland in Willesden, Harlesden and Stonebridge are largely Afro-carribean, Neasden has a large Asian population and is the site of the immense Hindu temple, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, at the time of its building in 1996 the largest outside India. The seat also contains Wembley Stadium and the huge Park Royal Industrial estate, which employs 35000 people, particularly in food manufacture.

Politics: This was one of only two seats to be fought by two sitting MPs in the 2010 general election (the other being Poplar and Limehouse). In this case Sarah Teather, the MP for the abolished Brent East seat chose to stand against the Labour incumbent of Brent South, Dawn Butler, rather than contest the Hampstead and Kilburn seat which on paper appeared to be a better chance for the Liberal Democrats. In the event Teather`s gamble paid off - she won Brent Central while Labour held Hampstead and Kilburn. Dawn Butler regained the seat in 2015 on a huge swing, Sarah Teather having stood down.


Current MP
DAWN BUTLER (Labour) Born 1969, Forest Gate. Former trade union officer. MP for Brent South 2005-2010. Contested Brent Central 2010.. First elected as MP for Brent Central in 2015. PPS to Jane Kennedy 2005-2006. Government whip 2008-2009. Minister for Young citizens 2009-2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 5067 (11%)
Lab: 18681 (41%)
LDem: 20026 (44%)
GRN: 668 (1%)
Oth: 881 (2%)
MAJ: 1345 (3%)
2005*
Con: 4485 (15%)
Lab: 17501 (59%)
LDem: 6175 (21%)
GRN: 957 (3%)
Oth: 646 (2%)
MAJ: 11326 (38%)
2001
Con: 3604 (13%)
Lab: 20984 (73%)
LDem: 3098 (11%)
Oth: 951 (3%)
MAJ: 17380 (61%)
1997
Con: 5489 (16%)
Lab: 25180 (73%)
LDem: 2670 (8%)
Oth: 662 (2%)
MAJ: 19691 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Brent South

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ALAN MENDOZA (Conservative) Born 1978. Educated at Cambridge University. Director of the Henry Jackson Society. Former Brent council.
DAWN BUTLER (Labour) Born 1969, Forest Gate. Former trade union officer. MP for Brent South 2005-2010. Contested Brent Central 2010.. PPS to Jane Kennedy 2005-2006. Government whip 2008-2009. Minister for Young citizens 2009-2010.
LAUREN KEITH (Liberal Democrat) Educated at St Andrews University. PR manager.
STEPHEN PRIESTLEY (UKIP)
SHAHRAR ALI (Green) Educated at UCL. Academic. Contested Brent East 2005, Brent Central 2010. Elected Deputy leader of the Green party 2014.
KAMRAN MALIK (Communities United) Born 1967, East London. Lawyer. Contested West Ham 2010 as Independent, London region 2014 European elections.
NOEL COONAN (Independent)
JOHN BOYLE (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 774 Responses on “Brent Central”
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  1. Patrick Vernon will be the next MP. Sarah Teather is screwed, which is why it is no wonder she left the government to oppose the welfare cuts that she supported as a minister.

  2. On paper no-one could conclude any differently, but she’s clearly a well-liked person who has shown form on exceeding expectations.

    She may be toast, but shouldn’t be underestimated – she may have one more rabbit to pull out of the hat.

  3. I think Labour will probably win, but it will be harder if Dawn Butler is selected. I saw her in Stanwell incidentally.

  4. I know she will contest the Labour selection…but surely they won’t pick her again, right?

    I thought the central party gave an Open shortlist here to make it harder for her to get selected.

  5. Dawn Butler would get another seat I think. I suspect she’ll go for Harrow East. There is no probably about it, Labour will win in Brent Central without a doubt. Sarah Teather is unpopular locally, there was an organised campaign against her and if the race is between Zaffar Van Katwala and Patrick Vernon – I suspect it would be Patrick Vernon – she will lose because they are both great local candidates in touch with the community and could easily defeat her. The only Lib Dem in London that Labour should fear is Simon Hughes and the polls show he is unlikely to hold onto his seat.

  6. While I agree that Labour really ought to be winning this seat, I don’t think it is a foregone conclusion just yet. Sarah Teather has won three elections in a row where she was facing an uphill battle, and the Lib Dems have put down considerable roots in the borough since 2003. Yes, the Lib Dems in Brent are taking a battering due to the national party’s reputation, but they still have strength in the area and can rely on Conservatives holding their noses to try and keep Labour out (see the 2012 council by-election in Dollis Hill ward and compare it with 2010).

    For me, the election will come down to two factors:

    1) Whether the Lib Dems will repeat the trick of taking enough voters away from Labour in solid-red wards in the south of constituency such as Harlesden and Stonebridge while holding on to support in more Lib Dem territory in the east such as Dollis Hill and Mapesbury that did so well for them in 2010. Whether that happens is down to…

    2) Who Labour select as candidate. If Labour do the unexpected and re-select Dawn Butler, then the Lib Dems can just recycle their 2010 literature and expect to hold on by mere dozens of votes. If (as is most likely) someone new comes in, then what happened in 2010 regarding the old Brent South part of the constituency will almost certainly be undone. All the talk is of Zaffar Van Kalwala and Patrick Vernon atm, and while both have their plus points, I would say that Vernon is most likely to shade the selection.

  7. @Rosa – It is a foregone conclusion. Sarah Teather has NO chance of holding her seat. Lib Dems have zero chance, she is a liability. A former minister in a Tory government who voted for things that would hurt her constituents against her own promises in 2010.

  8. Bob,

    It is not a forgone conclusion. No-one knows who is going to win this seat.

    Also we do not have a Tory government. It is a coalition of two parties with an oppostion who oppose absolutely everything. If we had a real Tory government the country would be in a much better state.

  9. It is a foregone conclusion. I will be prepared to bet you £10,000 that Labour will take the seat at the next election. Sarah Teather is a goner, she’s finisher, she is toast.

  10. Sarah Teather is a former minister and a cheerleader in a Tory-led government. That will be hold against her in Brent Central, and the Labour party has organised so heavily that Mohammed Butt led protests against her by her constituency office.

  11. I do think Sarah Teather will lose – her previous wins were based on her being a holier-than-thou Lib Dem candidate, who voted against ID Cards, the Iraq War and being a liberal-left candidate with concerns for the poor. Being part of the coalition government itself has severely tainted her, she voted against equal marriages too (effectively rebelling against party position there – perhaps one of the few times some of her constituents would have wanted her to go on party-line) so the liberals that comprise the seat may be further put off.

    I really like Dawn Butler and it was a shame she was caught up in the expenses scandal but I think with Patrick Vernon emphasising for obvious reasons the need to make a fresh start, I think the CLP may well heed that advice.

    Incidentally wasn’t Dawn Butler’s main home/2nd home in the West Ham constituency, guessing she may go for Barking if that ever comes available or even Poplar and Limehouse.

  12. Doesn’t Mohammed Butt, leader of the Council also interested in the seat too?

  13. He’d have declared it by now. I think it is going to be clear run between Dawn Butler and Patrick Vernon.

  14. Dawn Butler will probably get a seat. But not before Flo Nosegbe in Lewisham Deptford.

  15. I agree that Teather is very unlikely to hold her seat, especially if there is a different Labour candidate. However, the LD hold in the Dollis Hill ward by-election should be a salutary warning against assumptions by those of us in the Labour Party. I wouldn’t use the word goner until she’s actually gone.

  16. Again, I completely agree with Barnaby.

    Dawn Butler will be fine, she will find a seat elsewhere in London to allow a new candidate here.

  17. Dollis Hill by-election was a dirty tricks campaign and an inactive Labour campaign, with a low turnout which always effects the Labour vote. Anyone who tells you that Sarah Teather is not a goner, is rather simple.

  18. I’ve been called many things in my time but simple is one thing I am definitely not!

  19. You are if you think Sarah Teather can hold onto her seat. you said Manchester Withington was a comfortable Labour gain, Leech has a majority of 1,900 and opposed tuition fees rise and is not a minister of former minister in this government. Now look at Brent Central and look at how the membership in her seat alone (as well as the defection of the local Lib Dem councillor to Labour) will effect her chance of holding to her majority of 1,300. Basic logic.

  20. @BOB

    While I agree with your sentiment, I think it is far too simplistic to say the race is a forgone conclusion with two years to go. Nobody thought Teather could win the Brent East by-election or hold the seat in ’05 and no-one thought she could take what was once one of the safest Labour seats in London.

    The fact is that Lib Dems do have a strong ground game, a candidate who knows how to win unlikely election campaigns and a team that (not unlike Lib Dems elsewhere) are not afraid to use dirty tricks and disinformation to win (allegedly).

    To blithely assume that the election has already been decided would be to create a culture of complacency which would play into Teather’s hands. While Labour will go in to 2015 as favourites, no-one with a realistic view of what is happening on the ground is taking anything for granted after 2010.

  21. Rosa, I fully agree with you.

  22. @Rosa – I get your point, but it does not stack up anymore. Firstly, she won that by-election over the Iraq War in 2003 and the LDs had an upturn in 2005. In 2005 and 2003, they were not facing a disaster or potentially existential crisis.
    No, you mention their ground game but the fact of the matter is their local government base, activist base and membership has fallen dramatically. Now in areas where there is no strong threat and they are facing the Tories, the Lib Dems might do okay but in London their poll lead is LOWER than the national average and in Brent Central, the Lib Dem membership has fallen by over 50%. Protests held against her constituency, defections to Labour from Lib Dems in Brent Central – only a fool could suggest that she could hold onto her 1,300 LIB DEM majority in Brent. Not gonna happen.

  23. Re Zaffar Van Kalwala as a potential contender for Labour nomination

    He just survived by 1 vote in the selection for 2014 candidates in Stonebridge ward. The other 2 incumbents (including former council leader Ann John) have been deselected. 2 more deselections in Harlesden and Kensall Green.

  24. Whilst it does seem rather unlikely that Teather will hold the seat, stranger things have happened.

    If we are purely looking at the logical outcome then we might as well dispense with the process of actually voting altogether.

    Teather may have support locally amongst the silent majority there. She is also bound to campaign hard, and she might also pick up tactical Tory voters who will want to prevent a Labour gain

  25. @Hector – Her support network is crumbling. I will bet my house, that her seat is going to Labour. I will bet my house on it. What to go for it? There is no silent majority in Brent Central – BRENT Central – that would support a former minister in David Cameron’s government, who voted for the trebling of tuition fees, broke so many election promises, voted against gay marriage and widely betrayed the Afro-Carribean community as well as being a Lib Dem. The only reason why she took the seat was really because of Dawn Butler’s dodgy expenses. You are utterly wrong to even suspect that she will hold her seat. Defections to Labour on the council, a 50% reduction in membership in her seat, protests against her – the people of Brent Central are at the end of their Teather.

  26. Anything thinking person would bet on a Tory MP with that majority against the Labour, losing their seat to Labour. Now people seem to think that a party that is heading for an electoral abyss come 2015 will actually hold on. It is ridiculous. Louise Mensch’s majority was bigger than Teather’s.

  27. Andrea – I am quite shocked about Ann John, wonder what has happened there? I had her down as a contender for this seat.

  28. It isn’t an AWS. Men normally get selected in Open shortlists.

  29. I know it isn’t Bob, but why would that put her (or any other female candidate) off applying – Sophy Gardner and Lynette Kelly have been selected from Open lists

  30. I don’t know what exactly happened in Stonebridge, but I do get the sense that Ann John lost a lot of support within Brent Labour over the way in which the Council was run after 2010. The way in which the Labour administration cut frontline services, particularly libraries, without even countenancing alternatives (mutualisation, privatisation, local volunteering) upset and angered a lot of people, not least within Brent Labour and was a driving force behind the toppling of Ann John as leader. It seems as if the bad blood was such that it still existed to this day, explaining her de-selection. A major turn of events, yes, but perhaps not such a huge shock given what has been going on there these past couple of years.

  31. The former Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods who was in charge of the Libraries programme didn’t even reach the shortlist in his ward.

    The former Lead Member for Housing is also among the 4 deselected so far.

  32. I wonder how Sarah Teather now pretending she was never a member of the coalition government is going down on the streets of Brent Central? Surely anyone with half a brain will realise how disingenuous this is and see right through it.

  33. I think you’re a little disingenuous expecting us to believe that Sarah is doing this.

  34. Bob. I would humbly refer you to the comments policy. It is not really appropriate to make strong accusations for which you have no corroborating evidence on a website that isn’t yours.
    Might it be an idea to restrict your comments to seats where you actually have psephological knowledge of rather than ‘national polls means this seat will vote this way and if you don’t agree with me you’re an idiot’ where it’s clear you have real knowledge beyond that for a seat?

  35. I’m trying to do you a favour Bob, but you’re more interested in trolling. It’s also ‘clear’ you know nothing about me, my mood or my motivations.

  36. it suddenly seems to be quieter & better on here

  37. This seat may not be as obvious gain for Labour as the figures suggest.

    A new Labour candidate will not have Dawn Butlers personal vote.

  38. @Dalek

    The ‘personal vote’ the Butler had just the one term to build up and was wiped out in an 11% swing?

    As I have said upthread, a new Labour Candidate would have an easier time against Teather. Any pro-Labour personal vote here would have been for Paul Boateng in the old Brent South which would have certainly unwound by 2010. The Lib Dems were able to attack Butler personally over expenses troubles as well as the Labour Government, making their victory in 2010 unambiguous.

    Labour would be best suited by having a new candidate. Patrick Vernon is the hot favourite.

  39. Rosa is correct. There was clearly no personal vote for Butler, in fact there was a large number of voters who specifically opposed her. This can be clearly seen by comparing the local election results held on the same day with the Teather-Butler contest. In the local elections, the LDs only won 2 wards in the constituency outright, but Labour 5, and Labour fairly clearly won the popular vote in the constituency, having a particularly easy win in Harlesden ward. There is therefore evidence that Labour can reasonably expect to do better with a different candidate. The caveat is in the surprise LD hold in the Dollis Hill ward by-election, but as this was a ward that the LDs won even when Labour was outpolling them in the constituency as a whole, it isn’t necessarily fatal. It is true that a first-time incumbent, which Dawn Butler was in 2010, will often enjoy a useful personal vote, but some MPs don’t get one at all for various reasons; they usually have to had made a good impression, and Butler just didn’t. Another good example is Nick St Aubyn in Guildford in 2001; he was a first-time incumbent in a traditionally very safe Tory seat, yet he lost on a big swing, and his party regained the seat when he was replaced as a candidate.

  40. With Dawn Butler, claiming for a second home (in Stratford) and also having a new bathroom etc fitted and claimed thru expenses, when considering her constituency is not far from Westminister and where many probably commute everyday, did it for her, especially with GE2010 surrounded by an anti-politics moodHowever if those expenses did not come out, I doubt she would have lost the seat. I have family and friends in this constituency and she was liked (by them anyway). Expenses aside,she came across pretty down-to-earth and an ‘everyday person’ which isn’t necessarily an attribute many MPs have. It’s a shame though.

  41. I hope and believe that Sarah Teather will go down to a heavyt defeat here. Even many Lib Dem activists in the constituency will not campaign or even vote for her due to her voting against equal marriage, which makes a mockery of any claims by Teather to be ‘liberal’ in any sense of the word.

    Labour will easily win in this progressive minded constituency and Sarah Teather will disappear into oblivion hopefully.

  42. “Labour will easily win in this progressive minded constituency”

    LOL. Have you ever been to Harlesden or Stonebridge? Progressive minded is not a description I would use. There are I believe more black churches there than anywhere else in London.

    I think it’s more a case of Sarah Teather desperately trying to curry favour with this part of her constituency, where she is naturally quite weak, in contrast to the more socially liberal attitude of the Labour party.

    But none of it will make much difference in 2015 and she will almost certainly lose.

  43. I was remembering yesterday that there were some years ago 2 African Labour councillors, Poline Nyaga & Nkechi Amalu-Johnson, who defected from Labour to sit as Independents (usually voting with the Tories). I think it was Amalu-Johnson who represented Harlesden ward, and she quite seriously made a proposal at Brent Council to rename the ward “Harlesden-upon-Paradise (Nirvana) Ward”. Perhaps not surprisingly this proposal was defeated; it must have been rather embarrassing for the Tories who had assiduously courted them.

  44. There is nothing progressive about Harlesden. It is a depressing and crime ridden part of London. There is no way that many people there would vote Lib Dem anyway. It’s the other side of the seat that she needs to convince.

  45. That’s basically correct. Harlesden isn’t just Labour’s strongest ward in the constituency, it’s the strongest in the whole borough. The other wards are all competitive however.

  46. I would regard North London on the whole to be very socially liberal – even Conservative voters here would lean in that direction (while being centre-right/right economically)

    But as has been pointed out already – Lab already enjoys strong support from ethnic minority voters and the poorer areas here, and if they can get the socially liberal middle class voters to adandon Teather (which shouldn’t be that difficult) this could well be a crushing defeat for the hapless ‘Liberal Democrat’.

  47. I believed the Owenite SDP MPs in Greenwich and Woolwich were going to have a “crushing defeat”…ie coming third…10000 votes or so behind Labour but they almost held on with no party organisation. Had their SDP Liberal alliance not split in the way it did during the 1987 to 1992 parliament….it is likely they would have held on. I still think that Teather will lose but history shows that it may not be a crashing defeat….rather being pipped at the post.

  48. Dalek, it will be a crushing defeat. Labour MP for Brent Central will get a majority of something like 10,000.

  49. That is just what I believed would happen to Rosie Barnes and John Cartwright in 1992, but it was much closer that I could possibly have anticipated, and they had no organisation at all to support them.

    Why would Brent Central in 2015 be so different to Greenwich and Woolwich in 1992?

  50. The only defeat on that scale that I can recall is by election regains, with Glasgow East being the most dramatic turnaround with Labour winning by around 11000 on a small turnout. However, the former SNP MP went on to dramatically take the Holyrood seat the following year.

    I don’t think there has been an historical precident for a sitting Liberal/ Lib Dem MP to lose there seat on such a scale since 1945.

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