Brentford & Isleworth

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24631 (42.9%)
Labour: 25096 (43.8%)
Lib Dem: 2305 (4%)
Green: 2120 (3.7%)
UKIP: 3203 (5.6%)
MAJORITY: 465 (0.8%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Profile: A long seat that snakes along the north bank of the Thames, opposite Barnes and Kew Gardens. This is a mixed seat that changes as follows the Thames west, from upmarket and now reliably Conservative Chiswick, a mix of residential and office areas, home of the Fullers Brewery and popular with young urban professionals; past Gunnersbury and the council estates around Brentford Towers into the lower quality housing and more mixed areas of Brentford. There are large green spaces here around Osterley Park House and Syon House and Tory areas like Spring Grove, but moving south-west it becomes better for Labour. Isleworth was once considered a Conservative area but there is a far amount of council housing around the sewage works here and, moving westwards into Hounslow a large asian population.

Politics: This is a key marginal between the Conservatives and Labour. It was represented by the Conservatives between 1974 and 1997, latterly by Nirj Deva, later a Conservative MEP. In 1997 and 2001 Labour secured towering five figure majorities here, but it slumped to only 4411 in 2005 before falling to the Conservatives in 2010. In 2015 it was regained by Labour.

Current MP
RUTH CADBURY (Labour) Former local government officer. Hounslow councillor since 1998. Deputy leader of Hounslow council 2010-2012. First elected as MP for Brentford & Isleworth in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 20022 (37%)
Lab: 18064 (34%)
LDem: 12718 (24%)
UKIP: 863 (2%)
Oth: 2098 (4%)
MAJ: 1958 (4%)
Con: 13918 (30%)
Lab: 18329 (40%)
LDem: 10477 (23%)
GRN: 1652 (4%)
Oth: 1641 (4%)
MAJ: 4411 (10%)
Con: 12957 (29%)
Lab: 23275 (52%)
LDem: 5994 (13%)
GRN: 1324 (3%)
Oth: 964 (2%)
MAJ: 10318 (23%)
Con: 17825 (32%)
Lab: 32249 (57%)
LDem: 4613 (8%)
Oth: 1448 (3%)
MAJ: 14424 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MARY MACLEOD (Conservative) Born 1969. Educated at Glasgow University. Management consultant. Contested Ross, Skye and Inverness West 1997. MP for Brentford and Isleworth 2010 to 2015.
RUTH CADBURY (Labour) Former local government officer. Hounslow councillor since 1998. Deputy leader of Hounslow council 2010-2012.
JOSEPH BOURKE (Liberal Democrat) Chartered accountant. Contested Dagenham and Rainham 2010.
RICHARD HENDRON (UKIP) Barrister and former police officer.
DANIEL GOLDSMITH (Green) IT consultant. Contested Feltham and Heston 2011 by-election.
Comments - 524 Responses on “Brentford & Isleworth”
  1. Yes but those boundary changes were merely implemented to off-set population movements (as with the proposed national boundary revisions).

  2. Presumably the number of seats in north Croydon was reduced, with more created in the south?

  3. Sort of.

    I’m not an expert on the ward boundaries in the south but it is true that a small number of 2-seater wards in the centre and north were merged into 3-seater wards and so the political strength of the north was effectively weakened.

    I assume this must have been so because the total number of seats borough-wide has remained at 70 so presumably the seat numbers must have expanded elsewhere.

    From memory: Upper Norwood (2 seats) and Beulah (2 seats) were merged into a 3-seater Upper Norwood in the north; Rylands (the 2-seater which I famously fought for the SDP in the 1980s) and Woodside (2 seats) merged into an enlarged 3-seater Woodside, also in the north.

    Meanwhile the 3-seater New Addington, which is a 1950s council estate in the east, became a 2-seater.

    In the centre of the borough the 2-seater wards of Ashburton, Spring Park and Monks Orchard were mixed up and spliced into two 3-seater wards, so in that instance no actual change in seat numbers.

  4. “That is all completely correct. Ealing N was I think Labour’s worst performance in the land in 1987.”

    Interesting as Ealing N was really my first experience of London as a child…my mum had a boyfriend who lived in Northolt, and this was around 1987-88. Interesting that there was so much electorally going on in the area at the time. Indeed, I learnt there was a by-election in the very ward (Wood End), with a big swing from Alliance to Con in late 1988.

    I remember the area being very middle-income, middle-aged, dull, but respectable.

    Seems to have changed massively since then. Streetview on the road confirms this.

  5. Actually the Lib Dem vote increased from 35% to 38% in the September 1988 Wood End Ward by-election. However, they lost the seat because the Labour vote fell from 31% to 16% and the Tories rose from 33% to 46%.

    I remember this well as I was at the count.

    Thankfully our excellent candidate Shabira Moledina was elected to Elthorne Ward in the subsequent (1990) council elections, narrowly defeating a member of the hard-right Monday Club in the process.

  6. Thanks. I guess it took place at the height of Ealing Council’s 1980s unpopularity, plus the Conservatives were doing well in London generally at that point.

    Funnily enough I was in the area yesterday and the area of the old Wood End ward, while it seems to have changed a bit, is still noticeably upscale (notably less obvious BTL) than either the ex-Perivale ward areas to the east and the Mandeville area to the west. It is clearer as to why the new Greenford Green ward was good for the Conservatives until this year.

    It is still fascinating to learn that areas you only appreciated architecturally as a small child and appeared as a quiet suburban area had massive local political activity and controversy taking place within them. It was not just the likes of Lambeth and Westminster that were political hotbeds in the 1980s!

    Demographics aside, that seat certainly loves its characters, with Right-wing populist Greenway giving way to Left-wing populist Pound.

  7. It’s only a straw in the wind but I’m reliably informed that Dave Wetzel (former Labour leader of Hounslow Council) has defected to the Greens.

    It’s not been picked up by the local press yet but the significance is that he was the Chair of the GLC’s Transport Committee during Ken Livingstone’s reign, so in many ways he is a figurehead of the municipal socialism which London was very much associated with in the 1980s.

    I’m not sure if he lives in this or in the other Hounslow constituency but he was a Labour candidate in the marginal Hounslow South Ward of Brentford & Isleworth in the 2010 local elections, only narrowly missing out on a seat which would probably have returned him to the top echelons of the council.

    As I said, this is only a straw in the wind. After the 2012 GLA elections I said I thought B&I was very narrowly shaded towards a Tory victory in 2015, but after the 2014 borough council elections (in which Labour performed better than in 2012) I reassessed it as being very narrowly shaded towards Labour.

    This latest news doesn’t change my view that Mary Macleod will probably just fail to claw back victory from the 12% deficit her party had in B&I in 2014, but it does turn the spotlight on a wider issue: namely how the performance of the Greens could affect the outcome in a series of Tory/Labour marginals next year.

    We have all been focussing on the likely affect of UKIP on the Tory/Labour battle and clearly if Nigel Farage manages to force his way into the party leaders’ debates he could help to sustain a significant showing for UKIP, but couldn’t the Greens try and claim to have an equal right to appear in those debates – after all they actually have an MP and are continuing to hold down a small but significant showing in the polls…?

  8. ^^^ Just to confirm – yes Dave Wetzel does live in the constituency (in Brentford, to be precise).

    So he is one person who voted for Ann Keen in 2010 but will not be voting for Ruth Cadbury in 2014.

    Even so, I still expect Ruth to be a marginal beneficiary of the rewind effect of Ann’s expenses claims (though how much difference they actually made continues to be disputed by party workers on the ground).

  9. He used to live in Feltham & Heston & I canvassed with him there not so long ago, in the by-election in that constituency. I had never met him before & if he has indeed defected to the Greens I am unlikely to do so again.

  10. Incidentally Robin I have now been on 2 canvasses in this constituency in the last couple of weeks. They were in the strongest Labour ward but the results revealed very little support at all for the Tories and generally satisfactory figures for Labour. There was a smattering of WWC UKIP support as well.

  11. Interesting Barnaby, thanks. Let’s hope Ruth Cadbury can eek out a victory there in 2015.

    As you know I don’t think we are going to make large numbers of gains from the Tories nationwide though I count B&I as one of our more realistic hopes.

    We certainly cannot rely on UKIP to help us much. Their worst performance in the entire borough was in the Tory stronghold of Chiswick Riverside. In fact all three Chiswick Wards are very socially liberal (even though they are fiscally conservative) and have derisory levels of UKIP support. The town is wealthy, intellectual and very much at ease with itself.

    As a Cameron loyalist who voted for gay marriage and who has visited African countries as part of an aid project, Mary Macleod is just the type of Tory to try and hold this one.

  12. There is a risk this could happen.
    Conservatives can win though. I think at the end of it they will.
    There are going to be an awful lot of LD votes up for grabs here and the Tories can win some of it.
    Not very good ground for UKIP but they should hold their deposit now.

    Lab 45% +11%
    *Con 39% +2%
    LD 8% -16%
    UKIP 5% +3%
    Green 3% +1%

    Swing 5%

  13. I think we are going to see an election where Labour does indeed advance 10-11% in some seats but only 1% in others.
    If the former can be contained mainly in Lab-LD areas like Manchester and Oxford E then the damage to the Tories will be limited but in left leaning marginal that is a challenge.

  14. The Labour vote will not rise by 11% in this constituency.

  15. My prediction was a credible range not saying this necessarily would happen.
    It could be the LD vote will hold a bit better because quite a lot of it went to the Greens in the 2012 elections but I suspect not.

  16. The swing may well be slightly smaller than that, partly for the reasons Robin says. I really don’t think the Tories will increase their share of the vote though. There are seats in Britain where this will happen, but despite their continuing further strengthening in Chiswick (especially in Riverside ward, also in Turnham Green but perhaps less so in Homefields) they are in my view likely to decline quite sharply in the Hounslow wards, including South which they won in 2010 but lost heavily this year, and to a somewhat lesser degree in Isleworth & Osterley/Spring Grove, in terms of share of the vote. There is a residual elderly white middle-class vote in some of the better roads in Hounslow Central & South wards but it is continuing to decline at a rapid rate & the same applies in several other wards. Labour to rise by about 6-7% or so, and the Tories to decline by about 1-2%, for me.

  17. I know I’ve been accused of being pessimistic about my own party’s chances but I’m now coming off the fence for this seat:


    It’s number 28 on Labour’s target list but that doesn’t mean I think Labour will win all of the other 27, in fact I reckon we’ll fall short in quite a few (and may even lose a few of our more vulnerable seats) but there are a number of other local factors which will increase the swing in B&I. Whilst none of them are large in themselves when combined they will make make a significant difference.

    Here are a few of them:-

    EXPENSES RE-WIND: This has been exaggerated by some but will probably mean an automatic swing of 1.5% to the Tory challenger.

    DEMOCRAPHIC CHANGE: Although not all beneficial to Labour it could add a 1% swing to Labour compared with the national situation.

    HEATHROW: The Tories were strongly opposed to expansion in 2010 not they’re not (whereas Labour has shifted somewhat from it’s previous pro-3rd runway stance). Pro-Labour swing: 1%.

    MARY MACLEOD: Her personal vote could add a 0.5% pro-Tory swing, but no more.

  18. Tory challenger – should read “Labour challenger”

  19. Aside from Heathrow, which I can’t see anything like that sort of swing due to a) quite a number in this constituency being pro-3rd runway and b) Mary MacLeod having spoken out frequently against a 3rd runway, I can’t see much wrong with that analysis.

    Where extra swing may come from, alluded to earlier in this thread, will be from the complete collapse of the Lib Dems in this constituency – for example looking at Brentford, where they were competitive locally (and had council representation until 2010) they have dropped right out of the picture.

  20. Yes I agree with that. In 2010 the strongest ward for the Lib Dems in this constituency was Brentford, which is a nominally Labour ward, therefore you would expect Labour to possibly do well out of any Lib Dem collapse.

    In contrast in neighbouring Ealing Central & Acton most of the best areas for the Lib Dems are Tory-leaning.

    Regarding Heathrow, perhaps a 1% swing is too high but it could add a 0.5% pro-Labour swing.

    Here’s a more detailed analysis I recently posted about B&I on a website based in the constituency…


    The last time I checked Ladbrokes were offering odds of something like 7/2 against Tory MP Mary Macleod holding her Brentford & Isleworth seat in the May 2015 General Election.

    My view until recently was that those odds really don’t do justice to Conservative chances in the constituency: I took the attitude that although the contest is probably marginally shaded in favour of Labour challenger Ruth Cadbury it might be worth risking a £200 flutter on Ms Macleod so that any last-minute national surge in Tory support would deliver me a badly-needed mini windfall.

    Right now I’m glad I resisted the temptation – and not just because it might have seemed like an act of disloyalty to my own party.

    In May’s local & European elections Labour were around 12-13% ahead of the Tories in Brentford & Isleworth. That’s a pretty hefty margin to overcome but at the time it seemed reasonable to expect that much of it would be wiped out by the customary ‘swing back’ that tends to occur in favour of any governing party as a general election approaches.

    That much anticipated swing back may yet happen but the problem for Ms Macleod is that six months on a new constituency-wide opinion poll (commissioned, as it happens, by her former benefactor Lord Ashcroft) shows the Labour lead lengthening to 15%.

    This means that she needs an 8% swing back to hold the seat whereas the lessons of historical precedent show that in the last six months of the average post-war Tory parliament the actual swing back is usually only around one half of that figure.

    Of course there is the issue of Mary Macleod’s personal vote. In the case of most newly-incumbent MPs this may not be a lot but it seems reasonable to expect that it could add perhaps 1-2% to her coffers.

    Against this factor it has been suggested that Ruth Cadbury will benefit from the re-wind effect of the alleged profligacy of her predecessor’s expense claims and that Labour is stronger in this seat that the 2010 General Election figures suggest.

    This may be true but we probably shouldn’t over-emphasise it because whilst Ann Keen did lose the seat by a 3.2% margin in 2010 Labour also lost the aggregate vote in the local council elections that were held in the constituency on the same day, albeit by a smaller margin. Even if the ‘Keen factor’ was significant the effect of its removal will already be inherent in the Ashcroft poll data.

    Some say that no party can win this seat if they are committed to the expansion of Heathrow but the reality is a little more complex than that. A ‘no third runway’ pledge would certainly be a vote winner in Turnham Green but it might not go down so well among airport workers living in Hounslow Heath.

    That said, there are probably more ‘swing voters’ in the anti-Heathrow areas of the constituency than there are in those heavily BME neighbourhoods that tend to favour the construction of a third runway. If true this issue may be hurting Mary Macleod because her party’s anti-expansion policy no longer seems to be quite as emphatic as it was in 2010.

    There are also issues of demographic change at work in this seat, though they have not all been favourable to Labour: true, there is a rising Asian vote in the West of the constituency (and this has already transformed the political balance in two wards) but the East has seen an increasing ‘gentrification’ in recent years.

    Chiswick, which by virtue of its high turnout accounts for around one third of Brentford & Isleworth voters, is very middle class and therefore nominally Conservative for fiscal reasons. However, it is also quite ‘intellectual’ and really rather socially liberal.

    This might help to explain why UKIP has made so little impact in the town. (In fact Chiswick Riverside Ward delivered their lowest vote in the borough in this May’s local council elections). Mary Macleod’s support for the Cameron project of gay equality and economic austerity will probably do her little harm in that neck of the woods.

    It is significant that Labour won seats in two of the three Chiswick wards in the 1994 borough council elections whereas this year they failed to win any, despite achieving the same 11% lead across Greater London on both occasions.

    That, however, was compared to a demographically-changing capital that has seen huge shifts in Labour’s favour in just one generation. Whilst gentrification may have given the Tories a temporary boost in Chiswick the underlying trends relating to the ethnic composition of local schools suggest that in time the town will soon become much more electorally competitive.

    As a consequence we are likely to see the constituency shift permanently into the Labour column within fifteen or twenty years from now – but that is still some way off.

    Who wins in the constituency on polling day May 2015 will depend largely upon whether the Tories can claw back the type of 7-point nationwide lead which they enjoyed in the last general election. If they succeed then Mary Macleod may still have a chance of holding this. If not then Cllr Cadbury will be adding the initials ‘MP’ to her name.


  21. Hi Robin that’s not a bad analysis. Current national polling is bound to make Labour supporters nervous, but this seat should be Ruth Cadbury’s to lose. No chance of any complacency though, the Labour team is working very hard & canvassing returns in some areas are particularly good – there was a big concentration on Hounslow Heath ward for a while, which is Labour’s strongest in the constituency, and where the contact rate was relatively low, but some of the returns there have been outstanding even given the very favourable terrain. I’ve been in the constituency this morning enjoying coffee & ice cream (it’s a beautiful, warm, sunny day!) with one of the Labour councillors & it’s cheered me up quite a bit.

  22. Can’t really fault any of that.

    One thing I’d say is that whatever the result next year we probably won’t have seen the last of Mary Macleod – whether she stands here again in 2020 would be up for debated but I expect she’ll pop up somewhere. My personal dealings with her have revealed her to be a very good constituency MP (we’re quite honoured in Hounslow to have two of them currently!), I have little doubt incidentally that Ruth Cadbury would also serve her constituents well.

  23. Yes I quite like Mary Macleod (even though I spent lots of time criticising her on local internet forums and in the local press in the run-up to the 2010 general election). She’s a decent sort though obviously I want Ruth Cadbury to win.

  24. Ruth Cadbury has had plenty of casework during canvasses & has tackled it enthusiastically & assiduously which is a good sign.

  25. Mary Macleod is putting out a substantial volume of glossy material at the moment. If she is to lose she certainly seems to want to go down fighting.

  26. With just over 4 months to go, I’m fairly convinced that Labour is set to gain at least 5 seats from the Conservatives with this one as part of that. About 3 of their Tory targets will be near misses and Enfield Southgate *may* prove to be a bonus win if the swing is big enough but it’ll go down to the wire.

  27. ^5 seats IN LONDON.

  28. It would be hardly surprising that Mary MacLeod is at least putting on a big effort with glossy leaflets. It’s not quite the sort of seat where you’d expect early surrender, what with the Tories’ great strength in the 3 Chiswick wards. There are really only 3 wards where Labour is always unequivocally ahead of the Tories in general elections (Hounslow C, Hounslow Heath, Brentford), despite the derisory Tory vote in Isleworth in local elections; the 4 remaining wards are the battleground, but as things currently stand you’d only fancy the Tories to outpoll Labour in Osterley & Spring Grove, with Labour likely to lead in Isleworth, Syon & Hounslow S.

  29. Neil- I think Labour will win five London seats off the Conservatives:

    1) Hendon
    2) Enfield North
    3) Brentford and Isleworth
    4) Croydon Central
    5) Ealing Central and Acton

    I think Harrow East, Ilford North, and Southgate will be narrow Conservative holds with a somewhat more straightforward Conservative hold in Finchley and Golders Green.

  30. I agree with that completely.

  31. Interesting article which identifies Brentford, Isleworth and some other south west London suburbs as having the largest house price increases in the country during the current government. I must say Morden was a surprise entry in the list. Indicates that formerly moderately priced suburbs with access to a tube service are in now in great demand as people are priced further out of London.

  32. I have Crotdon Central as a hold. Agree with the rest.

  33. “A champion canoeist and former police officer has been named as UKIP’s candidate for Brentford and Isleworth.

    Richard Hendron served with the Metropolitan Police for nine years, rising to the rank of inspector, before becoming a barrister.

    He is the commodore of Richmond Canoe Club and a five-time winner of the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, in which some 600 people compete each year.”

  34. Not one that will send shockwaves through the constituency – UKIP have some traction in Feltham & Heston but there is little appetite in B&I.

  35. Labour Students are holding a campaign day here on Sunday, apparently in the same area of the constituency that the Tories are holding a campaign day in on Saturday. Both sides going for the same ground then.

  36. ruth cadbury has now launched her campaign officially. this morning, l canvassed there with tessa jowell. nice woman actually, and she gave me a useful tip on how to get the best results when cooking haggis (l mentioned to her l was having haggis for lunch). thanks dame tessa if you’re reading this. we did some pretty tory streets in chiswick, but did pick some useful labour votes. haven’t seen the full figures but considering the area it seemed more than useful to me.

  37. don’t know where that ”pli” came from. it was me doing that post.

  38. Ha I was about to ask whether you’d floated or received an honour.

  39. just seen my labour campaign schedule (they keep in touch with me weekly) for this seat. surprised to see there’s a saturday evening canvass. l’ve never been on one of those. anyone else here heard of one before?

  40. I haven’t and I would advise you to not go beyond 18:50 as both The Voice final and Ant and Dec (with Wayne Rooney) start at 19:00.

    Which makes me ponder what might be on TV on 7 May which might keep Labour voters indoors?

    Of course, the days are gone when the PM could visit the DG of the BBC and get a programme rescheduled (Wilson/1970/Steptoe).

  41. l’m not planning to go on that session myself – will do morning, afternoon or both.

  42. Went on an afternoon canvass in a partly council, partly private estate in Hounslow. One party worker had come over from Ireland to this his former constituency to help. It was very interesting & encouraging. Many previously undecided voters coming over to Labour, including at least one former Tory, and no sign of any slippage amongst the previous Labour voters. We called again on all those who hadn’t been contacted since before December, and those who hadn’t been previously contacted at all. It was only a small corner of the constituency, of course, but it was very heartening indeed.

  43. Thumping Lab gain – 6000 maj

  44. CountyDurhamBoy – After this Natalie Bennett-esque interview, I doubt Labour will win now let alone gain a thumping majority!

  45. How many people in this constituency will see that? A couple of hundred, maybe, many of whom wouldn’t have voted for her anyway.

  46. Labour should challenge constituents here on whether they want decisions about England made by the Scots 😉

  47. Mrnameless – I certainly hadn’t seen anything about that interview, and I like to think I keep myself informed about the campaign in my constituency!

    Don’t think it will make any difference to the result here.

  48. This has been well discussed including by locals, and adds to my knowledge of the seat which is why this website can often be good, when you filter through the over partisan posts from a few.

    I also have this down as a gain, and whilst it isn’t my area of London, most people I speak to in London Labour share that view. It won’t be by anything like 6,000 though I’m sure.

    On assumptions of a higher than average Con-Lab swing in London my view is Labour by 2,500 or so. Hope so certainly but I certainly don’t think MacLeod and the Tories will be giving up on this one.

  49. I’ll go in between and guess at a 4K Labour majority to account not just for the London swing but also the choice of a good local candidate (despite dodgy interviews) and some unwind from the expenses scandal which dogged the previous incumbent.

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