Carshalton & Wallington

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15093 (31.7%)
Labour: 7150 (15%)
Lib Dem: 16603 (34.9%)
Green: 1492 (3.1%)
UKIP: 7049 (14.8%)
Others: 226 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 1510 (3.2%)

Category: Marginal Liberal Democrat seat

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

Main population centres: Carshalton, Wallington.

Profile: An affluent residential seat, but less so than some of the other Liberal Democrat strongholds in south-west London - this is more middle-of-the-road suburbia than it is luxury. There are also substantial council estates here, with the Roundshaw development on the old Croydon Airport site and the southern half of the large St Helier estate.

Politics: Once a solid Conservative seat this fell to the Liberal Democrats in 1997. The old core of Labour support has been squeezed by the Con-Lib Dem contest, with the old areas of Labour strength on the council estates now bases of Lib Dem support.

Current MP
TOM BRAKE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1962, Melton Mowbray. Educated at Lycee International, St Germaine and Imperial College London. Former computer software consultant. Hackney councillor 1988-1990, Sutton councillor 1994-1998. Contested Carshalton and Wallington 1992. First elected as MP for Carshalton and Wallington in 1997. Deputy Leader of the House of Commons 2012-2015.
Past Results
Con: 16920 (37%)
Lab: 4015 (9%)
LDem: 22180 (48%)
UKIP: 1348 (3%)
Oth: 1455 (3%)
MAJ: 5260 (11%)
Con: 16289 (38%)
Lab: 7396 (17%)
LDem: 17357 (40%)
UKIP: 1111 (3%)
Oth: 908 (2%)
MAJ: 1068 (2%)
Con: 13742 (34%)
Lab: 7466 (18%)
LDem: 18289 (45%)
GRN: 614 (2%)
Oth: 501 (1%)
MAJ: 4547 (11%)
Con: 16223 (34%)
Lab: 11565 (24%)
LDem: 18490 (38%)
Oth: 856 (2%)
MAJ: 2267 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MATTHEW MAXWELL SCOTT (Conservative) Born 1976, London. Educated at Eton and Edinburgh University. Speechwriter. Wandsworth councillor since 2010.
SIOBHAN TATE (Labour) Art and design teacher.
TOM BRAKE (Liberal Democrat) See above.
WILLIAM MAIN-IAN (UKIP) Born Scotland. Educated at Nairn Academy. Retired police officer.
ROSS HEMINGWAY (Green) Educated at Nottingham University. Communications officer.
RICHARD EDMONDS (National Front) Born 1943, Hounslow. Educated at Southampton University. Contested Deptford O1974 for the National Front, Lewisham East 1983, Bethnal Green and Stepney 1992 for the BNP, Croydon North 2012 by-election for the NF.
Comments - 264 Responses on “Carshalton & Wallington”
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  1. I think the Lib Dems might just about hold on in this seat.

  2. Had anyone noticed this result
    in 1994?

    Wallington South

    3 LD gains from CON
    Bailey, Richard H. LD 1,983
    I Hudson, Brendan LD 1,845
    Theed, Stanley A.G. LD 1,712
    Brisley, Liane S. CON 1,104
    Martin-Clark, David L. CON 1,053
    Pike, Michael V. CON 1,021
    Murray, David N. LAB 392
    McLoughlin, Michael J. LAB 382
    Poge, Clive S. LAB 342
    Riddlestone, Susan E. GRE 171
    Major, John MRL 96
    Major, Norma MRL 72


  3. as it’s the loony party i suppose they were trying to be funny

  4. Yeah, right.
    Gave me something to laugh at in a shockingly horrible result, for which we could still be paying the penalty today.

    Norma must have been annoyed that John did better on the split votes.

  5. As it happens, there’s a Labour councillor who really is called John Major on Hllingdon Council. I think he represents Barnhill Ward & has just about the largest vote & majority of any of the Labour councillors in the borough.

  6. As it happens, there’s a Labour councillor who really is called John Major on Hillingdon Council. I think he represents Barnhill Ward & has just about the largest vote & majority of any of the Labour councillors in the borough.

  7. Perhaps people think he is another john major

  8. he is

  9. Where it says the old bases of labour are now ld, doesn’t that mean that an oldlabour like party could do well in those areas?

  10. Any news on the Conservative selection?

  11. Matthew Maxwell Scott selected last night. Matthew is a Wandsworth councillor who knows Carshalton & Wallington well after supporting the local campaign for Boris & Steve O’Connell in 2012. He’s a hard worker and will be good news for local Conservatives.

  12. MMS may well reduce Brake’s majority next time, but I don’t think he’ll be able to take it.

  13. Lib Dems will hold the Sutton council with at least 40 seats next year,
    and a 5,000+ majority here

  14. I think that’s a bit optimistic from a Lib Dem perspective.

    The Labour vote in the St Helier wards is bound to go up quite considerably. This reflects the changing demographics of the area (black voters being more loyal to Labour) as much as previous left wing tactical voters being upset by the coalition.

    My guess at this stage would be a Lib Dem hold by about 2000. The majority could well be lower than in Sutton & Cheam, where there a far lower natural vote for Labour.

  15. I think the result here in 2010 proved that Brake’s setback in 2005 was slightly artificial- it didn’t mean Ken Andrew was certain to gain the seat, as this is a Lib-Con contest and Brake must have considerable personal support here.

    I think the fact he’s been associated with this consiteuncy somehow, be it candidate or the MP will continue to reflect well on him in 2015, and though Labour are on for a rise here I would have imagined Brake will at the very worst hold this with a majority half of what he got last time.

  16. What I meant to say was that given he has been the candidate or MP here since 1992, and even then he may well have been selected a few years before he first stood Brake.

  17. Think Tom Brake will hold here, although I’m not sure about Paul Burstow in the neighbouring seat. His majority was really cut down in 2010.

  18. Burstow might cling on- the Tories didn’t manage to take it last time and it was widely considered to be a big disappointment for them I think.

  19. I recall this seat being a Tory/Labour marginal in Feb1974 with Labour having a real chance of ousting Robert Carr. In the end Carr held on by over 5,000 – reduced to 3,500 in Oct 74. Nevertheless I am intrigued as to why Labour failed to recover to its 74 levels at the 1997 and 2001 elections. Is there any obvious explanation?

  20. I was going to mention Carshalton in the 1974 elections. Essentially what I think happened was that the Liberals here must have benefitted from the 1983 surge, and due to local government success across Sutton they were able to establish themselves as the main opposition to the Tories here.

  21. In other seats – such as Cambridge,Hastings & Rye and Falmouth & Cambourne – Labour manage to win from third place yet here they failed to get second!

  22. Labour must not have done well locally in Sutton, that’s the only other explanation. Although Brake himself might have actually made the difference between the Lib Dems being in contention in this seat and Labohr progressing.

  23. Labour in 1974 will have held several wards within this constituency. The local activity of the Liberals, which started in Sutton & Cheam in the early 70s, gradually spread to this constituency, and the number of Labour councillors, and voters in general, was thus gradually whittled down. By the 90s, only Wandle Valley & the 2 then St Helier wards had Labour councillors. Then of course the LDs successfully targetted Wandle Valley, then when the 2 St Helier wards were merged, St Helier ward. Sheer local activity established them as the clear challengers, and although Labour resisted a wholesale squeeze in 1997 they were obviously too far back to win. I think it’s local activity in general, and a proven record of competence in running Sutton Council (which has been controlled by the LDs & its predecessors continuously since 1986 now), rather than just Brake’s popularity which has won, and kept, the seat. I suspect Burstow is if anything more liked personally than Brake, but the demography of this seat is less favourable to the Tories than Sutton & Cheam. There has as it happens been only council by-election in Sutton since 2010 (unless I’ve missed something), in Stonecot ward in the Sutton & Cheam constituency. This is an overwhelmingly owner-occupied, white-dominated ward, though not posh. As such it would normally be expected to be fertile ground for the Tories; but despite the Labour vote rising by several percentage points, the LDs held on easily. This, and the generally good reputation of Sutton Council, and to an extent the rather frayed organization of the local Tories, all leads me to suspect that the Tories will in the end fail to take Sutton & Cheam once again in 2015, as well as this constituency, which will thus both be LD holds.

  24. only one* council by-election that should have read.

  25. Thanks for all that Barnaby. I suspected their success here may have had a lot to do with next door Sutton and Cheam. Clearly Labour were never going to win here so there was tactical voting deployed starting in the 80s.

  26. Precisely.

  27. Given that Labour was clearly the main challenger to the Tories here until the early 1980s I am surprised that the LibDems were allowed to establish themselves so firmly – in particular why did Labour not fight back in the late 80s and early 90s whilst recovering elsewhere? Too much focus on Mitcham & Morden perhaps? Whilst I take the point re LD local govt success, this does not always translate into parliamentary elections – eg Liverpool , Newcastle, Manchester – particularly when Labour had so recently been the main anti – Tory alternative.. This leads me to speculate as to whether there is not more hidden tactical voting by Labour voters here than elsewhere – and ,therefore, greater potential for it to unwind if Labour went all out to label The LibDems as crypto- Tories re the coaltion etc..Given that Mitcham & Morden now seems safe for Labour , would there not be some sense in now diverting resources to this seat to fight a 1974 style campaign – even if a short-run consequence was to gift the seat to the Tories?

  28. GRAHAM

    Yes, you have a good point there re Labour fighting this seat again.

    The next election will likely see a large drop in LD support. To that effect it will be interesting to see if the LD voters of 2010 just stay at home or vote for another party. The thing that amuses me is the British Electorate are never grateful, that is even when a party does something good they get turfed out. Maybe the Lib Dem are going to experience this first hand!

  29. How do the Labour supporters on this site feel about the demise of their party in so much of the south? Seats where they used to either compete or at least get a respectable share of the vote (e.g. here or somewhere like Eastleigh where they polled pretty well up to and including 1992) but are now nowhere at all.

    Specifically, are they happy for that to continue so long as the Lib Dems challenge the Conservatives and prevent them from winning seats or would they rather the Labour vote recovered, even if it meant that the Tories retook the seats and they became moderately safe with labour ultimately being the closest challenger again?

  30. Rum & Coke
    ‘The thing that amuses me is the British Electorate are never grateful, that is even when a party does something good they get turfed out. Maybe the Lib Dem are going to experience this first hand!’

    That rather makes the assumption that the LibDems have done ‘something good’. Many of those who previously voted for them will take the view that they have been willing accomplices to an increase in human suffering!

  31. Paul D – as a Labour supporter, I would welcome an increase in the Labour vote in any given seat no matter what the short-term consequences. I am a socialist & do not feel that a vote for the LDs brings a socialist society any closer. A return to the days when there were 2 clear alternative parties would be OK by me. The LD activists tend to have a tribal hatred of Labour, and thus can’t complain if some Labour activists have no time for them in turn. Even if I were a more right-wing Labour supporter, I would still feel the same – if I want a Labour government, why should I feel any sympathy for a party which is going to vote against such a government in a vote of confidence? Hope this answers your question.

  32. It does, thank you Barnaby.

    Presumably you therefore feel that it was a flawed strategy to deploy so much tactical voting in 1997.

    Indeed, with hindsight, it was totally unnecessary for Labour and they’d have still won a massive majority without disappearing from contention in so much of the country.

  33. I don’t think it was 1997 that was the problem. Even with significant amounts of tactical voting, we still cleared 20% just about everywhere – and indeed still won some seats, such as Hastings, where a lot of our base clearly tactically backed the LDs.

    The problem was that the Blair government never really took local government seriously and that when it’s popularity faded in its second term, too little care was taken to keep us viable in towns where we wouldn’t win the parliamentary seat.

    That said, it can’t all be put down to tactical voting or a lack of activity. In seats like Eastleigh, there’s also been a significant amount of demographic change that just makes such areas much less fertile territory for us. Cf. also the reduced rural vote we get in East Anglia now that the agricultural workers unions have faded from memory.

  34. ‘The problem was that the Blair government never really took local government seriously and that when it’s popularity faded in its second term, too little care was taken to keep us viable in towns where we wouldn’t win the parliamentary seat.’

    I always wondered why Labour did so badly in county council elections in the naughties (hate using that word) yet maintained their national poll lead (at least for the first six years)

    Local election results diri g this period were genberally awful – yet Labour managed to comfortably hold onto seats in 2001 and 2005 that they had lost at a local level

    The same was true in the 1980s (just reversed) – where Labour’s encouraging local results never led to a breaktrough on the national stage

  35. I’m not so sure we did do badly in county council elections in the early noughties – we still had an outright majority in Northamptonshire up until 2005, for example, and we were in the administration in many counties.

    But in 2001 and 2005 we tended to do much better than we did in district elections, and we did particularly badly in the latter when we didn’t have the parliamentary seat.

  36. In answer to Graham; this seat is very close to Croydon Central though it doesn’t have a direct border with it. If I were a Labour Party member in this constituency, I’d be very tempted to work in that seat, which is expected to be very close. Probably most Party members would rather see Labour gain Croydon Central by one vote, and get only 10% here, than lose Croydon C by one vote, but get 30% here. If Croydon Central were to continue its very slow pro-Labour demographic path – well, there is at least such a path in some wards in the constituency – and become safe Labour, then work would really get going in earnest in this seat, but I strongly suspect that with Mitcham & Morden, as you say, totally safe, Croydon Central will be targetted rather at the expense of this seat for the time being.

  37. I take the point Edward

    I guess also Labour were starting from a ludicrously high position when first elected in 1997 – having almost swept the board in the 1995 local elections

  38. I do think people are significantly underestimating Labour’s medium and long term potential in this seat.

    The Lib Dem support is based most strongly in the more working class and less affluent parts of the constituency, with a very heavy squeeze on natural Labour supporters in and around the St Helier area. Just a few years ago these voters were overwhelmingly white British, but today they are much less overwhelmingly so. Black and Asian residents will be far less inclined to lend their Labour votes to the Lib Dems (though in the more middle class wards they might be open to voting Tory).

    Over the next 2 elections, Labour’s vote share will increase substantially here for this reason, even if they do no work and focus all resources on Croydon Central. It is quite plausible that this could be a Con-Lab marginal, or even perhaps a Labour seat, by 2025 or 2030.

  39. But HH that hasn’t happened elsewhere in the South where “tactical” voting was said to be artificially depressing the Labour vote to the benefit of the Lib Dems and the voters have never returned to Labour. It may well turn out the way you say but there’s no guarantees that the Labour position will ever improve.

  40. But this seat isn’t electorally in “the south”, it’s in a part of London where the demographic changes are happening extremely fast. This seat borders parts of Croydon and Mitcham which have changed beyond all recognition in the past 20 years and those changes are naturally spreading out into Sutton and South Croydon as well.

    The other three Lib Dem seats in SW London are not on the same demographic trajectory as this one, it is I believe a special case.

  41. the number of Asian voters is growing in Sutton & Cheam (where there are also quite a few Afro-Caribbean voters, especially in Sutton Central ward) and Kingston/Surbiton, but it is still a pretty small minority in both seats. Indeed, Sutton is a bit of an outer London refuge for traditional white Cockneys, with an eel & pie shop in the High Street. Kingston & Surbiton does of course have a large Korean population (as does that part of Richmond Park which takes in New Malden), but that is not a demographic which is particularly good for Labour.

  42. The Conservatives stuck with Ken Andrew for nine years as their candidate, but I suspect that after he fell back again here in 2010, the Association here obviously didn’t think they should give him another go at the seat.

  43. Barnaby

    What you say is certainly correct as regards Sutton proper, but not the north east corner of the borough which borders the A23 from Ikea down through Waddon. It is quite a run down area and in the most part not all that distinguishable from Croydon North. This is basically the greater St Helier area and it certainly isn’t any kind of outpost for white Cockneys. It is becoming very multi racial, not yet to the same extent as neighbouring North Croydon or Mitcham but it is getting there.

  44. This seat is also quite dis-similar to other Lib Dem seats in the commuter belt of South West London, in that it’s considerably less affluent than the likes of Twickenham, Richmond Park (not a lib dem, seat noew obviously) etc

    Whilst all seats have relied on strong local MPs and support from Labour voters, none have to the same extent as they do here, and as Hemelig says much of the Lib Dems is from the estate areas

    Hailing from the Left of the party will do no harm for Tom Brake here – as he found out in 2010 – but I agree that Labour could become competitive in this seat

  45. HH – I meant Sutton as a town, not the borough as a whole. I accept what you say about St Helier.

  46. It looks like there could be a bit of a quandary for the natural Labour voters here- do they carry on backing Brake tactically just so the Tories don’t get in, or will the demographic changes make their vote rise regardless?

  47. “It looks like there could be a bit of a quandary for the natural Labour voters here- do they carry on backing Brake tactically”

    There will be increasing numbers of Labour voters moving into the constituency who are used to voting Labour in (for example) Croydon, Mitcham or Streatham. It is a mistake to assume that the electorate is composed of almost the same people as voted in the last election. It is not, especially in London seats, where there is often a 5-10% turnover on the electoral register every year.

  48. Hemmelig, I did not assume that it was the same Labour voters going into 2015. If anything I actually wonder whether their increasing support demographically will continue to make this Lib Dem held in the future, or if it will allow the Tories to one day take this back because of the possibility of a split vote between the Lib Dems and Labour in years to come.

  49. The Lib Dems will hold it in 2015, but in a longer term horizon either of your two scenarios is possible. First the seat will become more of a 3 way contest and it will eventually become a close marginal between Con and Lab, like Croydon Central which, as Barnaby says, is very close by.

  50. So at the end of the day, longterm the Lib Dems here have got problems

    We’re in agreement Brake should hold here without too many problems in 2015, but after that there’s every indication this seat could eventually revert to its Con-Lab marginal nature in the 1970s.

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