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
Con: 24093 (60%)
Lab: 7371 (18%)
LDem: 6473 (16%)
GRN: 671 (2%)
Oth: 1248 (3%)
MAJ: 16722 (42%)

2015 Candidates
GREG HANDS (Conservative) See above.
ALEX SANDERSON (Labour) Educated at Durham University. Operations and Finance Manager.
SIMON BAILEY (Liberal Democrat)
GUY RUBIN (Green) Health researcher. Hammersmith and Fulham councillor 1986-1994 for the Labour party.
Comments - 145 Responses on “Chelsea & Fulham”
  1. I was walking along the King’s Road yesterday (Saturday) and to my surprise, I heard somebody say they are going to vote for Labour in the GE! Maybe there’ll be a shock Labour win here in May! Hahahaha! đŸ˜‰

  2. l have a friend who lives in flood street, chelsea (thatcher’s former street) – both she & her husband will vote labour. but they know very well that it will be a rare phenomenon in that ward (royal hospital, l think).

  3. Wow! Flood Street is very posh! Surprised anyone votes Labour in that street or the surrounding streets!

  4. An uspet Con hold here. 14000 majority over Labour

  5. Conservative Hold. 12,000 maj. Labour 2nd

  6. Chelsea & Fulham has really tumbled down the safest Tory seat league table. Not that that the result here was in any way bad (in fact for London, it was pretty good).

    I strongly suspect that Greg Hands would have carried every ward in the constituency, including the marginal H&F wards of Sands End and Fulham Broadway.

    Looking ahead to 2018, the Tories only need to gain one ward and take back the split councillor in Avonmore & Brook Green to regain control of H&F. They probably start as favourites to do so.

  7. “as of 2013 two of only three Premiership Football grounds that lie in Conservative held seats [were in this seat]”

    Of course Fulham have since left the Premiership but I believe there are still three Premiership grounds in Conservative seats, thanks to Watford and Bournemouth’s promotions this season. Southampton’s stadium is agonisingly close to making a 4th, as is Crystal Palace’s.

  8. isn’t St Mary’s in Itchen, in the Bargate ward? Maybe it’s just outside the constituency boundary.

  9. I used the election maps link on the left hand side of this site; according to those it’s JUST in Soton Test

  10. fair do’s

  11. Is this seat undersized? 16000 seems a low numerical majority for a 40% lead in vote share.

  12. turnout is always low in this area, especially for a wealthy area – perhaps it’s partly because so many second homes, and voters not voting in this seat but choosing to do elsewhere. at least, that’s my theory.

  13. I have always been baffled by the low turnouts in Central London seats, and remember asking people quite widely about it in 2006/7.
    However, I still don’t fully understand the thing about houses and flats owned by foreign people with little connection with the area, or let out to people on business visits etc.
    Surely those people are not on the register anyway, so that would lead to lower electorate, not lower turnout.

  14. I am entering unknown territory in a way that is perhaps not very wise, but could I suggest that the relatively low turnout here may have something to do with the high economic polarization of the area? I recognise that most of the wards in this constituency are populated by the super-rich and the upper-middle classes, but in absence of a significant middle class, they also house a relatively high amount of inner-city deprivation. As Joe James has pointed out, many of the foreign-born individuals who live here (let’s remember that this constituency’s “Other White” population is around 30%, mainly Western Europeans and Americans) are likely not registered to vote, so their presence isn’t to blame for the low turnout here. This circumstance leaves us with an electorate that is chiefly made up by the native born professionals and managers, but also with a very sizable proportion of deprived voters who live in the Council Estates that still exist here. It is probably the case that the latter’s turnout is dismal, particularly if we take into account that this is a safe seat with little competition. Nevertheless, it could well be that my theory is absolutely incorrect, but I am unable to find any other reason to explain this phenomenon.

  15. If I may add something, I meant of course that this is a safe TORY seat, which could explain why deprived voters here, more inclined to Labour, are even less likely to vote than similar voters in other constituencies.

  16. Gren makes very good points.
    These seats tend to be safe – in London Tory seats with Labour blocks –
    but turnout in other ” safe ” seats (even Labour held) are higher.

    At a stab I would guess there are medium stay people who do go on the register but don’t get round to voting.
    Turnout is low in rock solid Tory wards aswell.
    Perhaps they are people who travel more?

    I think one of the answers I uncovered before is the register is more inaccurate because of population turnover.

  17. An interesting discussion about turnout in this constituency although the turn out here in 2015 was nearly 63.4% – not particularly low. It was 60.1% in 2010.

    Its predecessor, Kensington and Chelsea recorded very low turnouts notably 51% in 2001 and 29.7% in the Portillo by election 2 years previously.

    Could the low turnout in affluent seats be explained by the fact that many of the residents are business people or people who holiday a lot and therefore are simply not physically in the country to vote – having not bothered to register for a postal vote?

    BTW: It’s interesting to note that the top 20 lowest turnout seats were labour seats.

  18. High population turnover is the main reason. While there may be numbers of rich second home owners registered in two places who choose to vote where it is more meaningful, they are a very small percentage even in Chelsea and Westminster.

    You should also think that the councils may not make any great effort to keep the registers up to date as it would reduce their representation. There have been a number of obvious attempts in this direction in the past, clearly in sight post facto with wild gyrations in numbers, firstly up, and then down once the redistribution has started.

  19. I assume UKIP managed to just hold their deposit from mainly voters living in the council estates of K&C.

  20. Why would you assume that? There are plenty of dyed in the wool elderly social conservatives who agree with everything UKIP stands for.

  21. Yes my guess is slightly more CON – UKIP switchers than LAB – UKIP switchers in Kensington, Chelsea or Fulham areas, although almost certainly there’s significant WWC people worried by massive demographic changes and loss of power of their govt to limit immigration.

  22. JOHN CHANIN: “You should also think that the councils may not make any great effort to keep the registers up to date as it would reduce their representation.”

    not really sure what you mean here John.. would you mind expanding on this…cheers

  23. Well I keep an eye on electorates because I’m interested in demographic changes.

    Electoral registration does not work the same way everywhere. (I know the system is changing, but this hasn’t come into force yet). Basically people are sent a form each year and invited to fill it in if anything has changed. Very few people bother to fill this form in. The council then does a canvass door to door. This canvass varies tremendously from council to council and from year to year because it costs money. Other things being equal the register just runs on from year to year. As a one time political activist I can tell you it is not uncommon to find people on the register who moved more than 5 years ago. I’ve canvassed a house in London with 25 people on the register exactly zero of whom actually lived there (there were a dozen other people living in the privately rented house.)

    Every so often councils will put extra effort into their canvass and then knock off everyone from the register who they have no trace of. The registered electorate then plunges, and if a general election follows shortly the turnout will show a significant increase relative to elsewhere.

    Councils can of course do no canvass at all, or only canvass homes with no-one registered and knock no-one off the list. Electorate balloons, particularly in London and inner city areas with high population turnover. You can do this deliberately the year before you expect a redistribution to start…..

  24. An excellent post which rings true. And given that councils rely heavily on the door to door canvass, they are always going to be far less successful in central London where the majority of the electorate live in flats, many of which are nigh on impossible to get into. Especially in London where people often don’t answer their doors unless expecting someone.

  25. As a follow up I should note that there is a lot to be said for using census figures to create your constituencies, as they do in the USA. This is consistent across the country, and there is a citizenship question so it is practical.

  26. JC..I assume you’re aware that we have a different form of registration called individual electoral registration (i e r) introduced June 2014. So The days of people staying on the register (who’ve left a property) year after year are now over.

    One of the many things I found out about IER and matters regarding turnout from my local council and the Electoral Commission is the following: if someone does not fill in a form are details from govt computets used to registersomeon? ( council tax, inland revenue, DSSetc). The answer was no. IER is only used actually to confirm that names/NI numbers returned on a canvass form are correct.

    This means, for example a person unemployed and receiving state benefits could refuse to fill out a canvas form and refuse to answer the door to the council canvasser and although contravening the Registration of the Peoples Act could easily remain off the electoral roll.

    It’s interesting that George Osborne and IDS while furious that a few unemployed people get more money than some working people and unhappy that some unemployed people live in state provided accommodation at below “market price level” – do not seem bothered that people receiving state benefit can refuse to be registered to vote in elections & also make themselves available for jury service.

    I wonder why this is the case. Can anyone guess why?

  27. Amazing. London must have been a pretty unpopular place to live if you could rent a nice flat for £10:

    “The first flat I rented was just off the Fulham Road. It was on two floors and had a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room and balcony on which I recollect reading Boswell’s Life of Johnson one sunny summer (the sun seemed to shine more in those days). Close to fashionable Parsons Green, it was probably the best address I’ve ever had.

    And the weekly rent? If you are a member of generation X or Y or Z, or whatever letter is now used to designate today’s financially strapped youth, you should probably sit down before you read the figure … It was £10 a week. Yes, this was 1979. My weekly shop at the little supermarket nearby cost me about a fiver; it was possible to go to Stamford Bridge and buy a ticket on the day; most shops still closed on Sundays. Truly, another world.”

  28. @Deep throat

    Just seen your response. Yes of course re individual registration. But this didn’t apply to the last election – it will only come into effect from 2016.

    Note that the Conservatives have over-ruled the Election Commission and insisted that the constituency redistribution be done at its lowest registration point, at the beginning of 2016. This will lead to a very large bias in favour of the Conservatives, despite the neutral Boundary Commission, since Conservative inclined seats will have much larger numbers of eligible voters than Labour inclined ones.

    This is the worst gerrymandering we have seen in Britain since Labour’s refusal to bring the late 1960s redistribution into force for the 1970 election.

  29. @AndyJS

    It’s not as remarkable or as good a deal as it sounds. I was renting a bedsit for £8 a week – but my take home pay was only £20 a week, so it was the same 40% that people are paying now.

  30. Mortgage rates were also 15% in the late 70s and early 80s. When I was a young child in the late 70s I recall my parents scrimping and saving to pay an extremely modest £3000 mortgage – no treats, no holidays beyond the odd day trip to Skegness. No mobile phones and an unreliable second hand Morris Marina (cars died after 5 years old in those days). It was a world away from the prosperous environment my toddlers enjoy, though my parents had more time with me than I can give my kids. The real difference these days is that my parents generation have become rich beyond their wildest dreams in retirement (4 holidays a year) compared to being much poorer than today’s generation when they were 20-30. People our age will probably go back to earlier patterns of being much poorer in retirement than when we were working.

    IER WAS used in the UK GE 2015.

  32. I think the golden period for buying a house was in the late 70s and early 80s. The population of the country actually dropped in some years in the late 70s, but at the same time plenty of low rise houses with generous gardens were being built which meant you didn’t have to be a millionaire to be able to afford a mortgage for an attractive property.

  33. @deepthroat

    Sorry but you are wrong. While individual registration had come in for new registrations, all the people who were on the list previously remained there, and will do so until the end of this year.

    OK I see what you mean…yes no removals were effected. So the duplicates/emigrants/deceased/ineligibles were left on.

    I didn’t know this until today and partly may explain why the % voter turnout was only 1% higher than the GE2010 turnout. I expected it to be near to 70%.

  35. “I think the golden period for buying a house was in the late 70s and early 80s. The population of the country actually dropped in some years in the late 70s, but at the same time plenty of low rise houses with generous gardens were being built which meant you didn’t have to be a millionaire to be able to afford a mortgage for an attractive property.”

    With respect I think that’s a very rose tinted view. As I said, the sky high level of interest rates and far lower real wages meant that people really struggled to pay what we would view now as tiny mortgages. My parents scrimped and saved to pay the payments on a £3000 mortgage and we had no luxuries; I am paying a £360,000 mortgage with no sweat and a life filled with all the extra expenses/gadgets we take for granted today.

    The latter point is a key factor I think….30/40 years ago people didn’t feel the social need to have all the latest gadgets, a new car, mobile phone, gym memberships, foreign holidays every year. You can’t play a full part in today’s “because I’m worth it” consumerist culture and expect to be able to afford to buy a house as well. That didn’t bother our parents generation and it is one reason why they’ve done so well.

  36. There is discussion on the Newcastle Upon Tyne Central thread about Conservative City Centre seats.

    Of course, there used to be such seats before 1950, when the business vote was abolished.

    However, at present it seems to be thcase that only London has a core of such seats: Cities of London and Westminster, Fulhan and Chelsea, Kensington and possibly Battersea.

    As private houseing becomes increasingly unaffordable and upmarket flats are built n large cities, it is possible that cimilar seats may emerge in other large cities like Birmingham and Manchester; but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Psephologists seem to have been slow to take on board the category of “student” seats, of which there are now about thirty, taking a student seat as one with over 20% of its electorate in further or higher education. These seats have very questionable implications not just for psephologists but because senior university administtrators are increasingly driving high-tech industry, and overconcentrating it in small, incresing privileged area at the entre of (particualarly English) regions.

    Thre are similar questions as to whether over-concentration of upper class housing is distorting the balance of the country economically as well as politically.

    One implication that needs looking at is whether such developments are causing MPs to become unequal. Many Labour shadow ministers are now coming from a clique of North London MPs, and similarly many Tory ministers are coming from London or neighbouring areas such as Surrey. Of course there are exceptions, notably George Osborne.

  37. I think that the Chelsea & Fulham constituency is one of the greatest political monstrosity since Knowsley North & Sefton East. It is a total mess and connects two communities with little in common.

    The boundary commission policy is to make as few changes to current constituencies as possible. In the case of Hammersmith & Fulham and RBKC, both the 1997 core constituencies should of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea have been maintained.

    The Hammersmith & Fulham wards from Ealing Acton 7 Shepherd’s Bush and the RBKC wards from Regent’s Park & Kensington North could have been combined into a Shepherd’s Bush & North Kensington constituency.
    A Shepard’s Bush & Kensington North cross border constituency would have had produced a better electoral equality with the variation between the largest and smallest electorate being reduced from 7224 to 3326.

    2010 Constituencies
    Chelsea & Fulham 62,958
    Hammersmith 70,008
    Kensington 62,784

    Alternative 2010 Constituencies

    Hammersmith & Fulham 67,071
    Shepard’s Bush & Kensington North 63,745
    Kensington & Chelsea 64,934

    Shepard’s Bush & Kensington North would be (H & F; College Park & Old Oak, Wormholt & White City, Shephard’s Bush Green, Askey, Addison and Avondale & Brook Green / RBKC; Goldorne, St Charles’s, Notting Barns and Colville).

  38. Are Chelsea and Fulham really that different anymore? Fulham strikes me as being very upmarket indeed these days.

  39. Dalek

    Even with better equality, all these seats would be approximately 10,000 below the threshold for a 600seat Parliament.

    I wonder if Hammersmith would be added to some of the Chiswick wards, as Hounslow has two oversized seats?

    The decline in electorate in west London must be related to the large number of non-elector households. Mainly European and Americans, who have displaced locals. It is interesting to check the local elections and compare to the GE. In Slough there were nearly 10,000 more voters in the local elections in 2015, probably reflecting Polish and other Europeans who could vote at local, but not national level. In this seat, the French electorate would be significant.

  40. JJB – Re low tournout in Chelsea, I recall Portillo saying a lot were away when he canvassed here. Ski-ing was what he was told, or at their house in the country, although presumably only at weekends or for a week or two.

  41. I wonder how the 1997-2010 Chelsea and Kensington seat would have voted in 2015? I have a feeling the Conservative vote share wouldn’t have been far off 70%.

  42. I think the Conservatives would have held Hammersmith and Fulham by about 9000-10,000 and on over 50% of the vote.

    I’ve done a few rough calculations on Kensington and Chelsea and I reckon the Conservatives would have managed over 70%.

  43. Possibly- it would be very tight with North East Hampshire where the Conservative majority is 55% and where Labour is weaker than in Kensington & Chelsea.

  44. Of course it was the Lib Dems who finished a very distant second in North East Hampshire.

  45. It’s interesting how a Shepard’s Bush & Kensington North cross border constituency would change the political dynamic’s of the politics in the area.

    Two thirds of the Hammersmith & Fulham Borough would have a Tory MP (as per 2005 – 2010) as opposed to one third.

    Kensington & Chelsea would be partly within a safe Labour constituency (as was the case from 1997 to 2010).

  46. Chelsea and Fulham makes perfect sense as a constituency. The King’s Road and Fulham Road run the length of the two areas and they have a lot in common.

    Hammersmith should be paired with Chiswick, which it has a lot in common with.

  47. “The King’s Road and Fulham Road run the length of the two areas and they have a lot in common.”

    They might do now but 30+ years ago there must have been a significant drop in wealth as you travelled west along them.

  48. “They might do now but 30+ years ago there must have been a significant drop in wealth as you travelled west along them.”

    The part of Kings Road on the Fulham side is more upmarket with up market interior designers furniture shops than the run down part of Kings Road directly on Chelsea side with the Worlds End Estate.

    Obviously, it Kings Road then become extremely wealthy the closer you get to Sloane Square.

  49. Depending on how it was drawn a Hammersmith & Chiswick seat may well have been Conservative in 2015.

  50. In all fairness, this constituency really should be named “Fulham & Chelsea” as it includes much more of Hammersmith & Fulham than Kensington & Chelsea.

    It is also clearly more of the successor to the pre-1997 Fulham than the pre-1997 Chelsea.

    I would imagine that the Conservative majority in the pre-1997 Fulham would now exceed 20% or even 25%.

    Fulham had been Labour ever since its creation in 1955 to 1979. Fulham East had been Conservative from 1918 – a 1933 by election and then 1935 to 1945. Fulham West had been Labour since a 1930 by election.

    Although the Conservatives never held Fulham between 1955 to 1979 they did hold the cross border Barons Court constituency that combined much of Hammersmith South with Fulham East from 1959 to 1964, so part of Fulham did have Conservative representation between 1950 and 1979.

    Fulham was a safe Labour constituency as recently as 1966 (Maj 6986 / 20.29%) and Oct 1974 (Maj 5321 12.87%) and has had a clear history of a traditional largely working class area becoming gentrified as traditional families were being priced out.

    It was only the circumstances of the midterm 1986 by election and the Labour landslides of 1997 and 2001 that allowed Labour to resist the gentrification.

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