Camberwell & Peckham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6790 (13.2%)
Labour: 32614 (63.3%)
Lib Dem: 2580 (5%)
Green: 5187 (10.1%)
UKIP: 2413 (4.7%)
NHA: 466 (0.9%)
TUSC: 292 (0.6%)
Others: 1219 (2.4%)
MAJORITY: 25824 (50.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Southwark council area.

Main population centres: Peckham, Camberwell, Nunhead.

Profile: One of the most poverty striken and deprived constituencies in the country. It has the highest proportion of afro-carribean residents of any constituency in the country and the highest proportion of social housing of any seat, with about half the population living in homes rented from the council or a housing association. Only Fools and Horses was never actually filmed in Peckham but it continues to be the public`s perception of Peckham, and its reputation for desparate crime ridden sink estates was, in the past at least, not inaccurate. This is where Damilola Taylor was murdered in 2000 and, while the worst of the concrete estates have been demolished in recent years as part of massive regeneration projects the area continues to suffer from problems of high crime and gang violence.

Politics: This is one of Labour`s safest seats in the South of England and, while there is some gentrification in South Peckham and pockets of Conservative support in the large Georgian houses in places like Camberwell Grove, there is presently no possibility of that dominance being challenged.

Current MP
HARRIET HARMAN (Labour) Born 1950, London, a niece (by marriage) of Lord Longford. Educated at St Paul`s Girls School and York University. Former legal officer for the NCCL. First elected as MP for Peckham in 1982 by-election. Shadow chief secretary 1992-1995, shadow health secretary 1995-1997. Secretary of State for Social Security 1997-1998. Solicitor general 2001-2005, Minister of State for constitutional affairs 2005-2007, Leader of the House of Commons 2007-2010. Shadow development secretary 2010-2011, shadow culture secretary 2011-2015. Deputy Leader of the Labour party 2007-2015. Harriet Harman was acting leader of the Labour party twice, following the resignation of Gordon Brown in 2010 and of Ed Miliband in 2015. She is married to Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington.
Past Results
Con: 6080 (13%)
Lab: 27619 (59%)
LDem: 10432 (22%)
GRN: 1361 (3%)
Oth: 1167 (3%)
MAJ: 17187 (37%)
Con: 2841 (10%)
Lab: 18933 (65%)
LDem: 5450 (19%)
GRN: 1172 (4%)
Oth: 595 (2%)
MAJ: 13483 (47%)
Con: 2740 (11%)
Lab: 17473 (70%)
LDem: 3350 (13%)
GRN: 805 (3%)
Oth: 736 (3%)
MAJ: 14123 (56%)
Con: 3383 (12%)
Lab: 19734 (69%)
LDem: 3198 (11%)
Oth: 1467 (5%)
MAJ: 16351 (57%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
NAOMI NEWSTEAD (Conservative) Born London. Former housing professional. Contested North East London 2012 London Assembly election.
HARRIET HARMAN (Labour) See above.
YAHAYA KIINGI (Liberal Democrat)
DAVID KURTEN (UKIP) Educated at St Andrews University. Chemistry teacher.
AMELIA WOMACK (Green) Born 1985, Newport. Deputy leader of the Green party since 2014.
PREM GOYAL (All People) Educated at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Businessman. Awarded the OBE for services to the economy and charity in 2012.
JOSHUA OGUNLEYE (Workers Revolutionary)
NICK WRACK (Left Unity-TUSC) Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister.
Comments - 125 Responses on “Camberwell & Peckham”
  1. There is no position of interim leader – any leader who assumes the role after a death or resignation officially has all the power of an elected leader.

  2. But doesn’t a Labour Leader – in order to be such – have to be endorsed at a Party Conference?

    Beckett was referred to as acting leader too.

  3. I’m very surprised Labour have done a U turn on this whilst Harman is still in charge, considering that she resigned from the cabinet in 1998 so that she could vote against abolishing the higher rate of child benefit for single parents.

  4. I think you’ll find she was sacked, in the midst of the arguments about Frank Field “thinking the unthinkable”. She may have been offered a lowly job Blair knew she wouldn’t accept so she could claim to have resigned (like Lamont in 1993).

    Her comeback from the dead was remarkable in this unforgiving age, and owes everything to her turning into a women’s issues champion at the time this became one of the biggest vulnerabilities of a resurgent Tory opposition. I dislike her politics but she has been a superb stand-in leader, far better than any of the leadership contenders in fact. If Labour had any sense they would have asked her to stay on for the first half of the parliament while they get back on their feet.

  5. I agree. Her sheer tenacity is impressive if nothing else.

  6. “But doesn’t a Labour Leader – in order to be such – have to be endorsed at a Party Conference?”

    Rule book says: When the party is in opposition and the party leader, for whatever reason, becomes
    permanently unavailable, the deputy leader shall automatically become party leader on a pro-tem basis. The NEC shall decide whether to hold an immediate ballot as provided under E above or to elect a new leader at the next annual session of party conference.

  7. Thanks Andrea.

    She’s now said she’ll be happy to be overruled by the new Leader on benefit cuts. Presumably after complaints from Labour MPs and CLPs.

  8. Given that, perhaps she’s setting up the new leader for the appearance of a clean break at the start of their leadership by changing the policy?

  9. I wonder if Harman was very implicitly endorsing Liz Kendall in her Sunday Politics interview yesterday. On the leadership contest, she said that those who vote should think more about who’d be best for the country and national interests rather than who they like/prefer the most. Kind of reminded me Kendall’s comment in the first hustings when she challenged Burnham’s comment about doing right by the party (she said doing right by the country).

  10. That “best thing for the country” comment annoyed me. The “best thing for the party” comment Burnham made was in response to a question about if he was doing badly three years into the Parliament, what he would do.

    In that case, answering “the best thing for the party” makes perfect sense as it’s a question about party management and the best thing for a party is to have a leader who can win an election.

    Retorting with “the best thing for the country” doesn’t make any sense in context. But she knew it would get pulled out of context and used to big her up.

  11. Mr Nameless – that would make sense if Harmon had said Labour oppose the cuts and then Kendall ‘had a clean break by changing the policy.’

    What’s happened is that Harmon appears to have changed the policy and now 3 of the 4 Leadership candidates will change it back if elected.

    Field’s suggestion – of tabling amendments to support strivers – seems a sensible compromise, but even Harmon opposed that at the PLP, so we’ll have to wait until the Party Conference season to find out.

  12. I’ve been sitting in the fence between supporting Burnham and supporting Kendel so far, but now I’m coming out in support of Kendel. I disagree with her on this one specific issue of the 2 child limit for tax credits, but I do think she’s now clearly the only real Blairite candidate. Burnham’s pledge not to do interviews with the Sun is what swung it for me.

  13. Last minute u-turn by Harman on the Welfare Bill is being reported.

    I assume it was pressure from some backbenchers, perhaps indirectly from SNP mumblings (Mhairi Black’s maiden speech on the welfare state caused the looney left on Facebook and Twitter to have a collective orgasm).

    Seems like whoever becomes leader is in for bloody tough ride as whatever direction they take the party is going to be attacked from the left (though not Corbyn as he’ll side with them) and the right.

  14. Will Labour’s election process stand up?

    In my opinion it has two major obstacles. For an acceptable process, as opposed to an expulsion process, there might not (or might) need to be an appeals procedure, but surely the procedures must meet the criteria of natural justice, which means that reasonable attention must be given to each application. Given the number of applications and Labour’s limited resources, I doubt if this is happening. This is particularly so when officials are handling the whole process. It migh have been possible if the whole procedure had been dlegated to trustworthy constiituency parties (but imagine ensuring that over 600 CLPs are all trustworthy and will act with due diligence!).

    It is doubtful whether a process that depends upon the vagaries of the internet. e.g. whether applicants have been posting on Google or Facebook, would be judged as fair in a legal process.

    The application process must not be sexist or racist. Given the recent history of the Labour Party, I would not be at all surprised if they in practice discriminate against men, although this would have to be demonstrated in court.

    Use of the electoral register is restricted by law. Is it acceptable for a political party to use cnavas returns that depend on the electoral register for its own internal purposes as opposed for the purposes of promotingthe Party and its candidates before and during an election?

    I remember the Labour Conference in 1987, when several members were expelled. Following a court ruling there had to be an adjournment for fifteen minutes whilst the trades union delegations gpt into huddels to “consider the evidence”. Guess what their decisions were! Might there not be needs for something similar in the current situation?

    It is taking ages for party officials to consider applications as it is. What if, as is not unlikely, a court requires them to show that they have considered each application with due diligence? It would take them months if not years.

    Perhaps the most serious problem from a practical point of view is that I believe Labour may not be returning the application fee of three pounds for unsuccessful applicants. If a court ruled that they hsve to return the fee fo r such applicants, even only for those who explicitly request its return, it could cost the Party a fortune and take even more time. The Party will be desperate not to do this and if they are forced to do so might even end up bankrupt. There could be challenges to this procedure in relation to the criminal law as well as the civil law.

    Even if the practice of retaining application fees is legal, it is terrible for the party’s reputation.

    I doubt whether the unsuccessful candidates will challenge the result. There will be heavy pressure on them not to do so, and in any case I doubt whether the result willl be close enough to make doing so worthwhile for them.

    However, amongst the thousands of applicants who are likely to have their applications rejected ithere will be more than a few who will be more than willing to pursue their rights. They won’t all take the line that it is too small a matter for them to worry about.

    The aftermath of the leadership election (and deputy leadership election) may keep the lawyers busy for months and possibly years. It is likely to be a running sore in relation to Labour Party publicity, and particularly for people like Harriet Harman who as Acting Leader may be individually in the firing line.

    Perhaps the bottom line is that many people will ask how a Party that cannot even run an internal e;ection can be fit to form a government.

  15. I’m not going to run through policy debates here, but one basic point on the above is that the UK does not have one of the world’s very highest population densities – although reasonably high, it well below countries including India, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands and Belgium.

  16. I did not mention population on my last post on this thread but I have done so elsewhere.

    Neither Belgium and The Netherlands, which are nearby have populations not dissimilar in density to ours, have anything like the United Kingdom’s empty spaces in, partiicularly, Northern Scotland and in considerable portions of Wales and Northern England. I am pretty sure that if you take England alone the population density will be considerably higher than the Low Countires.

    If refugess from the Near East were happy to settle on West Falkland,, in Sutherland e.g. between Durness and Cape Wrath or on one of the more remote Shetland Islands, e.g. Yell or Fetlar, and IF the world community were prepared to pay for the necessary infrastructure, notably water supply, I would certainly and gladly be prepared to adapt my message about this country being too over-populated to take any immigrants.

    Could I add that from the UNO figures I have just looked up on Wikipedia the world’s worst population in terms of excessive density is undoubtedly in Bangladesh, and given also that country’s flooding problems and poverty the rest of the world should certainly gather round to help them migrate..

  17. It is an absolute disgrace that Cameron has appointed more LibDems to the House of Lords than members of the Labour Party.

    Many Labour voters will not believe that their Party should be participating in the stinking sewer that the House of Lords seems to have become. But in any case, why on earth did Harriet Harman lower her party to the standards of the Tories and the LibDems by making nominations other than retired Cabinet Ministers? The two nominations in question are Stephen Livermore and David Watts. You might just about say that David Watts is a peson of stature as a long-term MP and Chair of the PLP; but Spencer Livermore appears to be no better than the unelected apparatchiks that Cameron and Farron have nominated (of course, he has passed the vetting committee’s attentions).

    I suspect that Corbyn will refuse to nominate any Life Peers, and will rise in many people’s estimation for doing so, particularly given the recent Dissolution List. But why did Harriet Harman make it so much harder for him to do so, I think to the detriment of the Labour Party?

  18. Congratulations to Harriet Harman, who today has become Britain’s longest-serving ever female MP:

  19. Congrats to Harriet Harman. Technically she is only the longest continously serving female MP – Gwyneth Dunwoody and Margaret Beckett have longer but broken service.

  20. Harriet Harman claims that, while she was a student, a lecturer offered to bump up her degree grade in exchange for sex:

    One would like to think that sort of thing wouldn’t happen nowadays – but that’s probably wishful thinking.

  21. Handily, the person she has accused is unable to defend themselves, having died twenty years or so ago.

  22. I love the quote on the BBC website –

    “But Ms Harman told the BBC: “The idea that I would invent it – why would I?”

    Well you made the accusation in your memoir, which you might want to promote?

  23. I am sure it’s a complete coincidence that this allegation has suddenly appeared now.

  24. A little trick first used by Ulrika Jonsson, and utilised by seemingly countless female public figures since.

  25. CLP have passed a motion that they won’t respect the convention if Harriet Harman is made speaker. Looks like the guy in prime position to be their candidate stood in this seat in 2015 for the TUSC before being readmitted to Labour.

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