Chelsea & Fulham

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25322 (62.9%)
Labour: 9300 (23.1%)
Lib Dem: 2091 (5.2%)
Green: 1474 (3.7%)
UKIP: 2039 (5.1%)
MAJORITY: 16022 (39.8%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Kensington council area and part of Hammersmith and Fulham council area.

Main population centres: Chelsea, Fulham, West Brompton.

Profile: An extremely affluent and upmarket pairing, the fantastically wealthy Chelsea and the now expensively gentrified Fulham. The 2011 showed a high proportions of rented property and one of the highest levels of education - over half of the adult population have degrees. It also has a very diverse population... if not necessarily quite so diverse an electorate - only just over half the population were born in the UK, with large numbers of European and American born residents. The seat includes the Royal Marsden Hospital, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and both the Chelsea and Fulham football grounds - as of 2013 two of only three Premiership Football grounds that lie in Conservative held seats..

Politics: The seat was newly created in 2010 from parts of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham - making an unassailable Tory fortress. Chelsea has always been extremely Conservative - the old Chelsea seat that existed until 1997 was solidly Tory. The old Fulham seat was more interesting, held by Labour in the 1950s and 60s, it became more Conservative as it gentrified, but was still briefly held by Nick Raysnford after a Labour by-election victory in 1986.


Current MP
GREG HANDS (Conservative) Born 1965, New York. Educated at Dr Challoner`s Grammar School and Cambridge University. Former banker. Hammersmith and Fulham councillor 1998-2006. First elected as MP for Hammersmith and Fulham in 2005. PPS to George Osborne 2010-11, government whip 2011-2013, Deputy Chief Whip 2013-2015. Chief Secretary to the Treasury since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 24093 (60%)
Lab: 7371 (18%)
LDem: 6473 (16%)
GRN: 671 (2%)
Oth: 1248 (3%)
MAJ: 16722 (42%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
GREG HANDS (Conservative) See above.
ALEX SANDERSON (Labour) Educated at Durham University. Operations and Finance Manager.
SIMON BAILEY (Liberal Democrat)
ADRIAN NOBLE (UKIP)
GUY RUBIN (Green) Health researcher. Hammersmith and Fulham councillor 1986-1994 for the Labour party.
Links
Comments - 145 Responses on “Chelsea & Fulham”
  1. Labour candidate for GE2017 is Alan De’Ath.

  2. You’re all going to think I’m crackers but based on the reduction of the Tory majority in the June 2017 General Election to nearly half of what it was at the 2015 General Election, I actually think this seat is winnable now for Labour in the next 10/15 years!

  3. I think it’s definitely a possibility- the demographics will only get worse for them in an area such as this bearing in mind it’s in the council area of Kensington and Chelsea. Also it includes Fulham which really ought to favour Labour going forward as it should get better for them over time.

  4. It’s a tricky one. It depends to some extent on what happens to the economy, and the housing market in particular. There are a large number of private renters here and the unaffordability of housing, as with much of London, will be by far the biggest problem in an otherwise overwhelmingly comfortable part of the world. It largely depends on what happens to the housing market between now and 2022 (or whenever the next election happens).

    The other factor that will have hampered the Tories in places like this is of course Brexit. That should cease to be an issue by 2022, and so you might expect some unwind. That’ll damage the Tories overall (most English marginals are fairly Brexit-y) but will probably help them here.

    Overall I think the Tories will be okay so long as the housing market doesn’t get completely out of control. If they lose this seat then we’re heading for a repeat of 1997.

  5. I don’t think your crackers at all Christian, there are no safe Tory seats in London. Only Orpington, Sidcup, Hornchurch, Romford and now Sutton and Cheam are the only seats I think the Tories will be safely home next election. Funny enough Labour could get a landslide victory and still not win Dartford!!!

  6. I don’t think your crackers at all Christian, there are no safe Tory seats in London. On the outskirts only Orpington, Sidcup, Hornchurch, Romford and now Sutton and Cheam are the only seats I think the Tories will be safely home next election. Funny enough Labour could get a landslide victory and still not win Dartford!!!

  7. Suggestions that the Tories are going to lose the likes of Croydon South or Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner are considerably madder even than the thought of them losing Chelsea & Fulham, which at least seems to be a bit more demographically volatile and vulnerable in the medium-to-long term.

    What’s Labour’s ceiling in London? Surely it can’t be much higher than the 55% they got this time around?

  8. Just as people were ludicrously overhyping the Tories a few months ago, they are now getting equally carried away with Labour’s poll leads, which are significant but currently no more than “largest party in hung parliament” territory.

  9. The biggest worry for the Tories must be that if Brexit goes as badly as most people think it will, they will become known as the thick man’s party – much the way the Republicans are in the US

    The Toroes will only be in danger in seats like this if thay happens

  10. Swing required by Labour to gain the seat.

    Chipping Barnet – 0.32%
    Hendon – 1.03%
    Finchley and Golders Green – 1.58%
    Putney – 1.66%
    Harrow West – 1.73
    Chingford and Woodford – 2.60%
    Cities of London and Westminster – 4.07%
    Uxbridge and Ruislip South – 5.39%
    Wimbledon – 5.46%
    Croydon South – 9.31%
    Chelsea and Fulham – 9.72%
    Bexleyheath and Crayford – 10.04%
    Bromley and Chislehurst – 10.28%
    Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner – 13.10%
    Romford – 13.80%
    Beckenham – 14.60%
    Sutton and Cheam – 15.30% (can see the Lib Dems falling further here and Labour becoming the main challengers)
    Hornchurch and Upminister – 15.80%
    Old Bexley and Sidcup – 16.10%
    Orpington – 19.25%

    Apart from a few Tory seats on the fringes of London, I would conclude that the Tories are fairly vulnerable in London.

  11. The Tory majority in Kensington in 2015 was almost the same as what it is now in Chelsea and Fulham, so I agree that it’s possible for Labour to win here if another large swing is repeated.

    I’d guess that it could be reduced to a marginal but I think Labour have an upper limit here that will be short of actually taking it, but I agree that there are really no safe Tory seats in London anymore except some of the outer ones like Northwood/Romford etc.

  12. I’d be very surprised if Labour got into serious contention in Chelsea & Fulham- the Conservatives were above 60% in 2015- a little perspective, please, it’s not too much to ask.

  13. Demographic changes and other factors are against the Tories long-term, including the outer London seats they hold but talk of there being few or no safe seats in the short-term seems a bit extreme.

    To me there are two groups. First those where the Tories are polling at or near to 60% and with 30% majorities: Romford, Orpington, Old Bexley & Sidcup, Beckenham and just about Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner.

    Next there’s a tier of semi-safe seats all with majorities of roughly 20%: Bexleyheath & Crayford, Chelsea & Fulham, Croydon South, Sutton & Cheam and Bromley & Chislehurst.

    Of course, this is nothing now compared to the Labour seats in London with votes shares of over 70% and some over 80%. I knew the Tottenham result was great for David Lammy but a vote share of over 80% and majority of 70% is off the scale even by Tottenham standards. The Tories were managing consistently 30%+ in Thatcher’s elections. Going forwards a double figure percentage will be considered OK.

  14. ‘I’d be very surprised if Labour got into serious contention in Chelsea & Fulham- the Conservatives were above 60% in 2015- a little perspective, please, it’s not too much to ask.’

    I’mm not sure that’s relevant though. There are seats where both the Tories and Labour have had over 60% of the vote in recent history but now lie in the hands of the opposite party. Saying a certain party had a certain share of the vote so the other party can’t possibly win is short-sighted to say the least.

  15. The Tories need a new approach in London.
    Scotland basically rescued them from a very hung Parliament and possible Labour/SNP Government in 2017.

    There needs to be trade arrangements and passporting for the financial sector (being worked on)
    and progress updates on it (bullet points),
    more housing,
    rights for EU Nationals,
    and new ways of campaigning, social media, and
    keeping up with new population.

    I don’t think this seat can be assumed as safe.
    The Tories need to rebuild in stages.

    Richmond Park can be turned into a more secure seat now the Tories have edged over the line. 1 is enough.

  16. The housing market is one of the biggest reasons the Tories are in trouble atm due to a high demand and lack of supply Labour voters are literally spilling out of safe seats into marginals and once Tory safe seats.

  17. I don’t think housing was a great issue in this seat. Voters who are renting there would be pretty wealthy in the first place to afford the area. Like their owner occupier neighbours, they were extremely concerned about hard brexit,which, as the recent survey showed, was the most important issue in this election and was the reason for the large swings to Labour in the wealthy Central London seats.

  18. I do find it odd that Brexit was reportedly the most important issue in the election, because it is an issue on which the two main parties are mostly in agreement.

    I guess the referendum was mostly a vote on identity, and Jeremy Corbyn has, in a sense, played a very clever game of identity politics. Not the self-pitying Tumblr-feminist sort, but an appeal to people’s values, a “whose side are you on?” question that was asked to the population. This contrasts with the largely transactional approach that parties have taken in the past, the “controls on immigration” mugs. It appealed to the same crowd that instinctively voted remain – that’s really why, despite being led by a closet, or not-so-closet Eurosceptic, the Labour Party gained the most traction in pro-EU areas (Scotland excepted). The same sort of impulse for co-operation drove both voting groups.

    In other words, Brexit didn’t really drive the switch directly, it just pushed voters to wail “argh, we must do something”. Unfortunately for them, the only option for “doing something” on the table (at least in 95% of English constituencies) was an ur-Eurosceptic, who’d held his views long before the single currency, the Schengen zone or even the Maastricht treaty. Oh well, any port in a storm. And he’s relatively non-threatening.

  19. For the record, I don’t think the Conservatives will win this seat.

    The three seats where they in danger long term because of demographic change are Chingford and Woodford Green, Chipping Barnet and Wimbledon (forget about the Village parts of the seat, the Morden bits of the seat or south of Kingston Road except the wealthy John Innes Conservation area are becoming more like Mitcham and Morden demographically).

  20. You mean they won’t LOSE the seat presumably. I don’t really agree completely in your analysis of Wimbledon. To me large parts of the constituency such as Trinity & Wimbledon Park wards have a strong affinity with the gentrified areas of neighbouring Wandsworth. It’s only really Cannon Hill, and to a very limited extent West Barnes and some parts of Raynes Park, which to any extent resemble Mitcham & Morden, Abbey has always had some similarity with Colliers Wood next door though.

  21. I see JJB neglects to mention tuition fees.

    Osborne’s robbery of students is going to cripple the Conservatives in areas where there are large numbers of young graduates.

    How about reversing this decision:

    ‘ Graduates in England and Wales who started university on or after September 2012 will see their student loan repayment threshold frozen until April 2021, rather than rising in line with inflation.

    These graduates can earn up to £21,000 before making student loan repayments. Freezing the threshold could make repayments more expensive.

    Nursing students will no longer receive government bursaries. They will have to take out loans instead. ‘

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34919523

    That decision cost the average young graduate about £6,000.

  22. “To me large parts of the constituency such as Trinity & Wimbledon Park wards have a strong affinity with the gentrified areas of neighbouring Wandsworth.” I agree with you there but they are also heavily remain which help Labour (in the case of Trinity at least) only 200 behind in the locals in that ward a real Labour target in 2018. Wimbledon Park proper is affluent however the council estate areas around Pitt Crescent, Poplar Court and Plough Lane to me resemble Tooting more than Putney. The bottom of Merton Park ward (Morden Central) has gone very downhill in the last twenty years, you could say that resembles Newham or Lewisham hence why the street scenes in The Bill was mostly filmed there, despite Merton Park proper being well to do.

  23. Wimbledon is more affluent and gentrified compared to Mitcham and Morden. Nevertheless, I would say that the Tories are still at risk in the constituency despite its gentrification. The diverse, urban, young and educated electorate found in places like Wimbledon are likely to drift away from the Conservatives as the party pursue a hard Brexit and housing becomes more expensive and inaccessible.

  24. sbjme19
    “I don’t think housing was a great issue in this seat. Voters who are renting there would be pretty wealthy in the first place to afford the area”

    I’ve spoken about this before but the issue in this seat is actually when gentrification goes even further and an area becomes hyper expensive so much so that even your typical top rate tax paying professional would struggle to afford to live there. Instead an area becomes the sole preserve of the hyper wealthy most of whom are foreign nationals and cant vote, of those that are British nationals an can vote many of them vote in a different seat and then there are the thousands of empty properties bought up as investments with nobody actually living there. This is collectively known as “the oligarch effect”

    It all has the effect of diluting the potential Tory vote since a street of 50 or so multi million pound townhouses might contain only a couple of actual electors. Essentially the traditionally Tory voting areas of such seats are being gradually depopulated (of electors) due to house price inflation. This is no doubt what contributed to Labs win in Kensington and also what contributed to the Tories poor result in Cities of L and W. I’d hazard a guess that the Tories were saved here because what I’ve just described only really applies to the Chelsea part of this seat, Fulham (while very exclusive these days) will still be populated primarily by well paid banker types who while very affluent are not the mega money elite that live in 15 million pound townhouse in Knightsbridge although who knows which way Fulham is headed.

  25. Surely if this effect continues, then the electorate will drop so much that the boundaries will have to be redrawn anyway. So while Labour might win the wards that make up the current C&F seat in, say, 15 or 20 years, C&F will no longer be a seat. Instead they’ll win the newly-formed Westminster & Chelsea seat or something like that.

  26. Polltroll
    “Surely if this effect continues, then the electorate will drop so much that the boundaries will have to be redrawn anyway”

    Yes and no.
    Yes in that the boundaries will obviously need to be radically altered and this could very much help the Tories but no in that it could equally help Labour.

    We actually see this in the current proposed boundaries. Both the current Kensington and Cities of L and W are significantly undersized. The BC proposed that the entire borough of Kensington and Chelsea be incorporated into one seat which obviously helps the Tories. On the flip side the BC’s proposed Cities of L and W contains two additional very safe Lab wards from Camden and actually makes the seat notionally Labour. So swings and roundabouts.

  27. Well I think we can agree that the original proposals are dead in the water. Instead there will be tinkering in most constituencies rather than butchery. That could possibly cost the Tories a seat somewhere but more likely to be in Westminster. It’s interesting to note that unless you count Putney (which is essentially gracefully suburban in nature for the most part) this seat & Cities of London & Westminster are the only remaining Tory, or indeed non-Labour, seats in inner London and they’re definitely feeling that bit draughtier if there are significant boundary changes. Though as Rivers mentioned there could end up being Tory wards in S Kensington/Earl’s Court/Kensington itself added to this seat, which would almost certainly help the Tories unless it were just Earl’s Court, which would currently be almost neutral.

  28. Polltroll:
    I agree that it does seem strange that brexit helped Labour so much in remain areas and vice versa, particularly in view of the Leader’s rather ambivalent stance. I think a lot of it was a protest vote against the Government in power who were pursuing a hard brexit.

  29. ambivalence on Europe has previously worked out quite well for Labour, Harold Wilson despite supporting EU entry spent his years in opposition whipping his MPs in voting against entry on Heath’s terms and when he regained office he never really campaigned to remain in the referendum he called.

  30. That’s right and yet everywhere voted to remain with one accord including strong Labour areas which were economically depressed.

  31. Matt; “ambivalence on Europe has previously worked out quite well for Labour”

    And yet Labour’s biggest victories in the post-EU era, in 1997 and 2001, came at a time when Labour was at its most ardently Europhilic, when entering the Eurozone was a real possibility.

    Sbjme: When Britain voted in 1975, we had only been in the EEC for three years. This wasn’t enough time for the slow erosion of sovereignty by Brussels/the poisonous drip-drip anti-EU rhetoric of Rupert Murdoch (please delete as appropriate) to have much effect on people’s thoughts on what was generally seen as a vehicle for growth and prosperity.

  32. “ambivalence on Europe has previously worked out quite well for Labour”

    I think this is a very wrong reading of history, as Polltroll alludes to above.

    Wilson’s “ambivalence on Europe” in the 1970s helped him hold things together in the short run but was nothing short of a disaster in the longer term. It was one of the key contributing factors to the rise of the militant left, the formation of the SDP and the 1983 electoral calamity, which kept Labour out of power for two decades.

    In short, Wilson was very good at short term tactics, very bad at long term strategy, a trait most recent prime ministers have unfortunately shared with him….notably Brown and even more so Cameron. Theresa May seems awful at both tactics AND strategy.

  33. On topic, the idea that Labour in its current form can win Chelsea & Fulham on these boundaries is daft. With a real possibility of a Corbynite government it is more likely that a couple of wealthy London seats will flip back to the Tories at the next election. However the long term trend is clear and under a less left-wing more business friendly leadership it could well be a different story.

  34. In short, Wilson was very good at short term tactics, very bad at long term strategy, a trait most recent prime ministers have unfortunately shared with him….notably Brown and even more so Cameron. Theresa May seems awful at both tactics AND strategy

    Cameron was probably the worst at strategy, but May has neither tactics or strategy. She was run entirely by the gruesome twosome, Hill and Timothy.

  35. Im not sure Labours victories in 1997 and 2001 were down to its position on Europe tho. I agree that Wilsons ambivlance kicked the issue into the long grass rather than addressing it.

  36. Well to be honest, Europe has never been a salient issue. It excites politicians, but ordinary peole have more pressing concerns. Even in last year’s referendum, “Europe” was treated largely as a proxy for other issues. And lest I fall foul of the “uneducated leavers, clever remainers” cliche, this happened on both sides. I remember one vox pop of a woman from Kensington saying “Of course I’ll vote remain. I buy Fair Trade.” Not as daft as the woman who voted leave because “there are too many pigeons in Sleaford these days”, but not too far behind.

    The reason the EU has never been properly discussed is that its influence on Britain and the rest of its members is enormous but not very direct – most people don’t really see how it impacts on our everyday lives in the same way that schools, hospitals, housing, welfare, taxation etc clearly do. It was notable how much of the referendum campaign, particularly on the remain side, focused on “what this means for you” rhetoric (which was apparently crashing household incomes, rocketing living costs, and possibly war with Belgium).

    It only became a salient issue because of the utter bloody-mindedness of a group of backbench Tory MPs, chipping away for years to bring about the change they wanted. You don’t have to support the cause itself but their dedication to it is surely something to be admired, and indeed learned from.

  37. “Im not sure Labours victories in 1997 and 2001 were down to its position on Europe tho.”

    Europe was a total non-issue in 1997. The arguments over the single currency which ripped the Tory campaign apart and also drove the Referendum party were largely irrelevant to swing voters.

    By 2001 Labour had been rattled by their poor result in the 1999 Euro elections, and Hague’s “Keep The Pound” campaign forced them to rule out membership of the Euro (though arguably Brown and Balls had already done this anyway).

  38. H.Hemmelig may be right about certain seats in London being more winnable by a less left-wing Labour leader. But it’s abundantly clear from studying comparative election results that any number of other seats would be lost by a Labour leader of a more right-wing stripe through the new Corbyn voters not turning out, or returning to parties such as the Greens or even SNP/Plaid. There isn’t going to be a more right-wing Labour leader elected anyway, in the foreseeable future, unless Jeremy Corbyn falls very seriously ill, or worse.

  39. agree with barnaby on this. corbyn clearly motivated a very large number of younger voters who didn’t vote when offered a more “mainstream” labour candidate, i.e Ed Miliband. The idea that Owen Smith or Liz Kendall could have got 40% of the vote seems somewhat fanciful to me.

  40. I agree, but also feel that some people were motivated to turn out to stop him in a way that they wouldn’t have been for another candidate. The Tories did everything they did to throw away votes and still hit 42%.

  41. That’s probably true. However, I’m pretty sure that such voters would be comfortably outnumbered by those who were motivated to switch to Labour, either from other parties or from not voting, by this completely new type of Labour leadership. There are ways of Labour recapturing the votes of traditional voters who didn’t like Corbyn & I am quite sure that people are working hard on strategies to achieve that. Corbyn will not be happy to lose ex-mining areas for example.

  42. The Tories probably are fairly secure in this seat although once a majority is down to about 20% in a volatile situation you do wonder.

    I didn’t mention student debt in my earlier post as I don’t believe it is as serious as housing.
    It probably does need to be looked at carefully although
    shouldn’t have a sudden ill thought through response and the Tories will never be able to match Labour’s magic money tree.
    I think in 2011-12 I favoured having slightly lower numbers of students and lower fees,
    although not sure putting the clock back on that is quite the right way to go now.

  43. K&C Cons Cllr Matthew Palmer has defected to the Brexit Party.

    Surrey County Cllr Mike Bennnison has also done so.

  44. Chelsea & Fulham, voting intention:

    Con: 48% (-5)
    LD: 25% (+14)
    Lab: 24% (-9)

  45. Split opposition may keep this blue, but potential for LD to shock

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)