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 - 522 Responses on “Brentford & Isleworth”
  1. Yes I was out with Barnaby on that same canvass and I endorse his views. Mary M clearly hasn’t given up but Lab is picking up a surprising number of Tory converts as well as Lib Dems. I suspect there is a fair smattering of shy kippers amongst the DKs, though a few people have surprised me by being genuinely undecided and reading the various literature. Contrary to canvassing lore, I’m confident of having made a few conversions on the doorstep and when Ruth is out on canvass (usually) she’s very good at winning over waverers.
    I have yet to see a single Tory board or window banner, despite spending time in leafy Chiswick, other than a few which have belatedly sprouted on Tory HQ.
    Even Tories and commentators think that interview was a bit of a non-event.

  2. there is a huge display for the Tories on the Chiswick Roundabout at one address. There is also a Tory poster on the Boston Manor Road. However, there are considerably more Labour posters up including a very eyecatching display on the Chiswick riverside.
    Apparently there are only 3 Tory posters up in the entire London Borough of Ealing, though there are not that many Labour posters up in Ealing Central & Acton – only seen 4 so far, though there must be more than that. Southall likes displaying posters & apparently there are loads of Labour posters up there, not that that’s all that surprising.

  3. Finally amongst the steady stream of Labour and Conservative literature I got home tonight to find a Lib Dem leaflet – which was presumably produced on a shoestring and is completely littered with grammatical errors.

    I think it’s safe to say that from considering themselves a possibility for turning this seat into a 3-way marginal prior to 2010, the Lib Dems have given up all hope of gaining traction here.

  4. I was very active here on behalf of Ann Keen in 1992 and I rather think that we won that election in terms of posters in B&I (though both Ann and Tory Nirj Neva had masses of them up) however we still lost the election by 4%. Even in Chiswick we competed strongly on posters in 1992.

    Whilst we as a party do tend to be better than the Tories at getting posters up I still reckon that they must be telling us something about the relative strengths of the parties here. On that basis, and bearing in mind what Barnaby and my old sparring partner Guy say, this is bound to be a Labour gain – though by a smaller margin than the posters would portend.

  5. LAB gain 3200 for me

  6. Labour Gain. 2,500 maj

  7. Exit poll has this as Con hold…. seems a bit strange.

  8. Very tense at the count – didn’t go to a recount but the counters had to re-check their bundles for stray votes, which suggested it would be closer than the eventual 400 vote majority.

  9. Expected a better result for Labour, but a relief for Ruth Cadbury.

  10. I lost a small amount of money going for a CON HOLD here- but as with HAMPSTEAD K & EALING CENTRAL & ACTON, it was very close.

  11. Poor reporting….. UKIP candidate name totally wrong!

  12. Kudos to Mary Macleod for making it so close.

    Against a well-organised Labour campaign she nearly turned around her 13% Ashcroft deficit and held Ruth Cadbury to a re-count.

    One of the nicer Tory politicians.

    (P.S.:- the Tory-Labour swing since 2010 is pretty much in line with the London average and it really doesn’t suggest that Ann Keen did at all badly).

  13. Far closer than I expected. Macleod did extremely well and is likely to return in a safer seat.

  14. Will this now become a reasonably safe Labour seat I wonder?

  15. Labour must have been slightly taken aback when the boxes were opened and the sampling showed they weren’t going to get the clear win everyone expected.

  16. That’s true. Perhaps next time with the changing demographics they might win this by a few thousand votes. Mary MacLeod did do extremely well to make it as close as it was though, she got an increase of 5.7%, some of which may have been down to her incumbency.

  17. Please note, the ukip PPC was Richard Hendron and not Craig as specified in the above.

  18. UKIP saved their deposit here with 5.6%. May have cost the Tories the seat.

  19. The Conservatives must have done very well in Chiswick to keep this one competitive.

  20. As mentioned on another seat (Oxford West & Abingdon, I think), the Conservative vote was also more buoyant than expected in some of the Hounslow wards, and it was Brentford (Cadbury’s “home” ward) where the vote was decisive in her favour.

  21. mainly Hounslow Central l think – the Tories apparently were very narrowly outpolled in Hounslow S, though it was pretty nearly a statistical dead heat. The Labour vote was not bad in Chiswick it seems, with Tory majorities in the 3 wards kept to relatively modest proportions. Hounslow Heath was solid enough though Brentford was even better.

  22. Ruth Cadbury has resigned as a Hounslow Councillor.

  23. Brentford doesn’t need inverted commas in being described as Ruth Cadbury’s home ward – she does indeed live there.

  24. I’d be genuinely interested to know whether Labour activists had any idea on election day itself of what was going on or whether they still thought they were going to win seats like this in London by fairly comfortable margins. Because it may help to explain whether there was a last-minute swing or not.

  25. As a local resident, was certainly not expecting such a close result, thought Labour would get a several thousand vote majority. I think some people may have changed their vote if they knew it was going to be so close and that Mary Macleod actually had a hope of hanging on. In the last few years in particular she became a respected and effective constituency MP, the PPS job in the first few years was perhaps good experience but in hindsight not compatible with the task of holding a very marginal seat with an enormous electorate of 85k. I hope she doesn’t give up on politics and finds a new seat in order to continue to contribute to public life.

  26. Evergreen Adam – A caller on LBC from Brentford complained that they had contacted MacLeod on several occasions about anti-social behavior in his council block where he lived and she had very little response. When I heard this call, that’s when I knew Labour this would be a Labour win.

  27. @AndyJS

    There was hubris in some quarters of the Lab camp but I was certainly not quite so confident: I thought we would win but I thought it might be close, but then I thought Lab would have plurality of seats overall, so shows how much I know.
    The encouraging thing was on the evening of May 6th I was running the phone bank and phoning unknowns in Chiswick Turnham Green. Amongst the team we did not find one single opponent but picked up about 30 previously unknown Lab promises (promises, promises). As Barnaby (I think) said, Lab did very well relatively in Chiswick and quite poorly in the West of the constituency.
    As to UKIP hurting the Tories: I suspect they hurt Lab more. There were certainly quite a few originally Lab, recently ICG/Lab waverers in Isleworth who had become either clearly UKIP or UKIP-leaning DKs- or won’t says whom I thought very often were shy kippers.
    By contrast, didn’t come across a single kipper in Chiswick except a young mum outside a school who refused our leaflet and snarled ‘UKIP’

  28. I believed the Tories could win this – by sharing the collapsed LD vote with Labour – that one of the two parties would come out narrowly ahead.

    Hounslow Central is not always a massive Labour stronghold – sometimes the Tories can come quite close – and I think did so this time.
    (Although I was mainly in Hounslow South and Osterley)

  29. The coalition was a bloody good idea by the way.
    It protected our local Government and activist base during a difficult period in office clearing up the total mess Labour made of the economy and the rewards came later where we completely cleaned the LIb Dems out and got the majority.
    I have to say even I was a bit taken back by how Labour totally failed to increase their vote in Middle England marginals when the Tory vote increased, UKIP rose 10 or 12 points, and the Lib Dems tanked.

    But here it was of course different. In London Labour did push up by 7% or so.

  30. Any idea of turnout in the different wards?

  31. @Joe James B

    Doncha think that post might seem a bit partisan? Anyway, I thought overuse of the word ‘totally’ was reserved for Dave Spart.

  32. But with Chiswick becoming even richer by the second, prospects for the Tories are far from dire in future contests, especially if they pick a candidate able to appeal to ethnic minority voters

    ‘The coalition was a bloody good idea by the way.’

    It was a great idea from a Tory point of view – doing just what you said.

    Whilst still enjoying his honeymoon period, I dare say Cameron will come to miss the Lib Dems – he’ll have no one to point the finger at when trying to justify government policies his backbenchers dislike

    One thing that has struck me is the ‘softer’ tone of the new all-Tory government – compared to the last one.

    Maybe they are just trying to sweeten the public up for the welfare massacre that lies ahead, although part of me thinks that with a majority he won on his own terms, we might now see the David Cameron much of the public thought they were going to get in 2010. I can’t help thinking that many in his party won’t like it

  33. If Sajid Javid is the next Tory leader many of the assumptions about the Tories and EM voters may have to be reconsidered, (not that I think he should be chosen for that reason).

  34. By-election in Brentford on July 9th, caused by the resignation of a Councillor due to the small matter of her now being the MP.

    All five main parties are standing, the Lib Dem being Joe Bourke, who was their candidate in the election.

  35. “If Sajid Javid is the next Tory leader many of the assumptions about the Tories and EM voters may have to be reconsidered, (not that I think he should be chosen for that reason).”

    the results in many seats in london and the south east suggest that the EM vote is not as monolithically labour as many suppose.

  36. At least SOME of the EM vote. The Tories must have made good progress with Indian voters to have done so well in Barnet & Harrow, and to have held on in Croydon Central. My assumption is that the black & muslim vote probably still remains the most monolithically Labour.

  37. There have been two conflicting studies so far. One showed a big movement to the Tories amongst EMs, the other showed just a modest move to them with Labour holding steady. But one thing is clear: the days of Labour automatically improving their performance with EM voters when their vote goes up overall are over.

  38. I think it could depend on the wider socio-economic circumstances (as with other demographic sections), particularly around “ghettoised” (if that’s a word!) areas.

    In the Hounslow borough, seeing as this discussion is in this constituency thread, the more “ghettoised” areas of EM concentration would be around the Heston/Cranford areas (albeit still nowhere near on a par with nearby Southall), which in turn are more monolithic. The biggest area of EM concentrations in this constituency would be around Hounslow Central and the far more affluent Osterley & Spring Grove, the latter being more “flaky” in terms of EM Labour support.

  39. The Indian (Hindu/Sikh) vote is wealthier and less ghettoised….plenty of rich Indian families living in big houses around here in Mid Sussex / East Surrey, they are quite likely to be Tory voters, if not quite so monolithically as their white neighbours.

    Another very pertinent issue is the increase in mixed race families….again, the Indian and black communities being more relaxed about intermarriage than muslims potentially affects voting patterns. The childminder who looks after my kids looks as white as me and has a cockney accent that wouldn’t be out of place in Albert Square….I was surprised when I met her father that he was Indian. Her family’s voting preferences will be as Tory as ours. This is very commonplace in the leafy south east today.

  40. Is this seat now trending towards Labour?

  41. l think with respect that that question has been asked at least half a dozen times, and l have answered in great detail at least half a dozen times too, as have some other contributors. This seat is complex and a simple yes/no answer cannot accurately be given to the question.

  42. given the heavy defeat of the tories on hounslow council, this result was very surprising. Mary Macleod was within 500 votes of winning a seat that everyone had written off…shows the extent of the labour disaster in May 2015. I am still digesting the results…this was the most extraordinary result in london in my view. even though I thought labour would take ealing, I thought this one would be a much easier gain for them.

  43. Peter – I always suspected this would be tough for Labour as Chiswick is becoming even more gentified than it already is if that’s even possible. I suspect this seat will go the same way as Battersea in 20/30 years time.

  44. I wonder if the Boundary Commission would consider creating a Hammersmith and Chiswick seat. That hypothetical constituency would probably be Tory in all but disastrous years for the party.

  45. Peter – I think the fact Mary Macleod was very well thought of as an MP and fought the seat very hard (with plenty of big hitters backing her) made the seat perhaps closer than it ought to have been – personally I had Ruth Cadbury to win by around 3,000. In terms of comparing with the council results it should be noted that this half of the council is more Conservative-leaning than the Feltham & Heston council seats which are much more Labour inclined.

    Barnaby has it right in answer to The Results – no, it isn’t necessarily “trending” anywhere as it is a very complex seat of pretty heavy contrasts. Brentford will be a key as to the long-term future of the seat I suspect, given it is still in the process of slowly being transformed with another major redevelopment about to take shape.

  46. With the impending Boundary Commission review Brentford & Isleworth will invariably be paired down. Further housing developments in Brentford and Central Hounslow will increase the size of this seat.

    East will no longer meet West.

    It should be remembered that under the previous review Hounslow Heath was being removed and placed in the then proposed Teddington and Hanworth seat.

    If the three Chiswick Wards were removed and paired with either Ealing or Hammersmith, would the Boundary Commission look to the nearest Richmond Borough Wards, which would be Whitton and/or Heathfield?

    A seat including Brentford and/or Syon, Isleworth, Osterley & Spring Grove, Hounslow Central, Hounslow Heath, Hounslow South, Heathfield and/or Whitton Wards would be one to watch in 2020.

  47. the Tories put a lot of effort into the Brentford ward by-election, but they didn’t get very close – the result is in :
    Lab 1292, Tory 664, Green 209, LD 116, UKIP 113
    LAB HOLD. The new Labour councillor elected is Guy Lambert. Thus by-election was of course caused by the resignation of Ruth Cadbury following her election to Parliament.

  48. Looks like a bit closer than I expected.
    Not the proverbial 56 though.

  49. Both the Labour & Conservative votes were sharply up, partly because there wasn’t a “Community” (i.e. ultra-right local independent) candidate. There was a swing of about 2% from Labour to Conservative in terms of lowest candidates since last year’s elections – last year’s result was slightly skewed by the enormous personal vote of Ruth Cadbury who won the ward by a gigantic landslide in the general election, and wouldn’t have won the constituency otherwise.

  50. Regarding Mary Macleod; she became a Special Advisor to David Mundell (in the Scotland Office) after losing her seat.

    I know local Conservative associations weren’t very keen on selecting SPADS to fight seats in the run up to the last General Election, but I think having been a SPAD at Buckingham Palace does put you in a different class 😉

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