Chingford & Woodford Green

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20999 (47.9%)
Labour: 12613 (28.8%)
Lib Dem: 2400 (5.5%)
Green: 1854 (4.2%)
UKIP: 5644 (12.9%)
TUSC: 241 (0.6%)
Others: 53 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 8386 (19.1%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Waltham Forest council and part of Redbridge council.

Main population centres: Chingford, Woodford Green.

Profile: A north-east London seat straddling the boundary between Waltham Forest and Redbridge. This is white, owner-occupied Tory suburbia on the edge of Epping Forest and alongside the Chingford reservoirs in the Lee Valley. The majority of the seat is made up of Chingford; Woodford is split between Leyton and Wanstead, Ilford North and this seat, with the part west of the Central Line coming under Chingford and Woodford Green.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat represented by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, but perhaps more associated with his predecessor for the Chingford portion of the seat, Norman Tebbit.

Current MP
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH (Conservative) Born 1954, Edinburgh. Educated at HMS Conway and Sandhurst. Former Army officer. Contested Bradford West 1987. First elected as MP for Chingford in 1992. Shadow social security secretary 1997-1999, shadow defence secretary 1999-2001. Leader of the Conservative party 2001-2003. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since 2010. As a new MP Iain Duncan Smith immediately marked himself out as a right-winger and Eurosceptic by joining the Parliamentary rebellion against the Maastricht treaty. This would be one of the things that undermined his own position as leader a decade later. He became party leader in 2003, the first to be elected by the party membership. His leadership was short and troubled. He never had the full support of the Parliamentary party, his public speaking skills were derided and he was te victim of plotting within central office. Eventually he was ousted by a no-confidence vote of the Parliamentary party. On the backbenches he founded the Centre for Social Justice think tank, and returned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions upon the Conservative partys return to office.
Past Results
Con: 22743 (53%)
Lab: 9780 (23%)
LDem: 7242 (17%)
BNP: 1288 (3%)
Oth: 2053 (5%)
MAJ: 12963 (30%)
Con: 20555 (53%)
Lab: 9914 (26%)
LDem: 6832 (18%)
UKIP: 1078 (3%)
Oth: 269 (1%)
MAJ: 10641 (28%)
Con: 17834 (48%)
Lab: 12347 (33%)
LDem: 5739 (16%)
BNP: 1062 (3%)
MAJ: 5487 (15%)
Con: 21109 (47%)
Lab: 15395 (35%)
LDem: 6885 (15%)
Oth: 1059 (2%)
MAJ: 5714 (13%)

2015 Candidates
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH (Conservative) See above.
BILAL MAHMOOD (Labour) Born Woodford. Educated at Nottingham University. Solicitor.
ANNE CROOK (Liberal Democrat) Teacher.
FREDDY VACHHA (UKIP) Businessman and entrepreneur.
Comments - 359 Responses on “Chingford & Woodford Green”
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  1. The Valley ward may be one to keep an eye on in future elections. The white British population declined from 73% to 50% between 2001 and 2011 which ought to make it easier for Labour to win in future.

    2010 result:

    Con: 2060 / 2020 / 1967
    Lab: 1334 / 1309 / 1265
    LD: 703 / 669 / 662

    Average share:
    Con: 50.4%
    Lab: 32.6%
    LD: 17.0%

    2006 result:

    Con: 1710 / 1638 / 1539
    LD: 608 / 540 / 476
    Lab: 546 / 526 / 457

    Average share:
    Con: 60.8%
    LD: 20.2%
    Lab: 19.0%

  2. Labour got a councillor elected here in 1998. It isn;t the nicest of areas and I wouldn;t be too shocked if they won there in 2014. I guess differential turnout usually helps the Tories though and a relative absence of that would have boosted Labour in 2010

  3. Surely Labour would have been quite close to winning Chingford in 1997/2001 on the 1983-92 boundaries.

  4. Probably about 2,000 votes (6%) away on both occassions

  5. That was my guess. A very similar situation to Beckenham in fact.

  6. Valley ward is where the Chingford Hall Estate is located which probably provides Labour with most of their votes. This would explain why they performed fairly well in 2010, residents in the flats came out to vote in the GE and so bothered to vote in the local elections.

    The estate is a complete dive which has got worse as older residents have sold up and moved on while Waltham Forest council have been moving in ‘Walthamstow overspill’. There has also been housing association properties going up around the estate boosting Labour numbers here over the past 15 or so years. Outside of this small enclave and a few roads off the main road which are more like Walthamstow rather than Chingford, the rest of the ward is pretty much middle of the road London/Essex suburbia so I expect that the Tories should hold up here unless Labour have a very good year.

    One good thing for the Tories in Chingford is that many residents, whatever race they are, do not want to see Chingford turn into somewhere like Walthamstow and many in Chingford blame Labour politicians – particularly at a local level – for allowing that town to fall into the urban mess it has now become thanks to Labour neglect.

  7. That’s a very good point.

    Parties tend to hold up very well where they have an enclave of great strength within a larger area of weakness (other examples being Sutton Coldfield vs. Birmingham, or Penge vs. Bromley).

    More generally, the polls consistently show the Tory vote is holding up better in London relative to 2010 than almost any other region. Maybe it’s because race and class polarisation has just made London such an inelastic electorate…also it’s the one place where the Tories are not going to lose many votes to UKIP.

  8. I’m sure this analysis is quite right.
    We did also used to say the same about Solihull.
    That seemed to go a bit wrong.

  9. Church End (one of the two Redbridge wards in the constituency – the other is Monkhams) is a fairly safe LD seat in local elections. Would the Conservatives probably carry it in general elections?

  10. Almost certainly.

    The north of the old Wanstead & Woodford seat is probably safer for the Tories even than Chingford is (as reflected in Chingford & Woodford Green being in relative terms a much safer seat than Tebbit’s Chingford was).

  11. How would the pre-1997 Wanstead and Woodford have voted in 2010? I would imagine that the demographic changes in Redbridge will have taken their toll on the Tory majority compared with the huge one they enjoyed in 1992.

  12. Probably something like Con 45%, Lab 30%

    Majority about 6000

  13. Goodness me that says it all- Tories down 15% on 1992 level, Labour up >10%.

  14. Hemelig is right – in the orginal boundary proposals for reducing the Commons to 600 seats, they recreated the seat – I think on mofre or less the same lines of the old seat, and the notional majority ba\rely exceeded 5,000

    Back in Arbuthnot’s day it was one of the Tories strongest seats

  15. Tim: yes, the proposals broadly recreated the old seat but with two wards added from Ilford South. The change since 1992 is nothing short of astonishing.

  16. Off-topic (partially):

    I’ve modified the London wards spreadsheet to show the 2010 local election results (now without the census results) in terms of the winning party of each seat:

  17. “The change since 1992 is nothing short of astonishing.”

    But by no means unique in half-way-out London seats.

    See Brent North for an even more extreme example in a not dissimilar constituency.

  18. “Goodness me that says it all- Tories down 15% on 1992 level, Labour up >10%.”

    Here’s the more accurate notional 2010 result from Wanstead and Woodford:

    Con 43
    Lab 28
    LD 22

    As others have said, Wanstead & Woodford contained the 2 best wards for the Lib Dems in Redbridge (Church End and Roding).

  19. “See Brent North for an even more extreme example in a not dissimilar constituency.”

    The pre-1997 Beckenham is also similar in some ways-

    2010 notional vs 1992

    Con 41 (-16)
    LD 28 (+11)
    Lab 25 (-1)

  20. In the 1979 general election program Norman Tebbit was described as being one of the ‘Gang of Four’ who made ‘intellectual raids’ into Labour territory.

    Does anyone know what these intellectual raids were and who the other three members of the gang were?

    Nigel Lawson and Cecil Parkinson perhaps?

  21. Of the London constituencies which voted Conservative in 1997 which will be the first to elect a Labour MP?

    And when?

  22. Depends of course on boundaries
    but hopefully none of them.
    This would be at serious risk if the Tories are successful in 2015 and bring back a review that creates Chingford and Edmonton – although I think the Commission is required to start from scratch.

    It looks like the outer areas of Barnet may be trending a bit towards the Tories if not other areas of Barnet.

    I suppose Croydon South could be at some risk although I don’t see it in the medium term.

  23. I know HH has concerns about Croydon South but I would have thought that this constituency might be the most vulnerable its lower middle class suburbia might be vulnerable to the sort of demographic change which has occurred in Ilford.

    I think there might be enough Jewish influence in Chipping Barnet and residual wwc vote in Uxbridge to keep them Conservative.

  24. They do all look like a core but it looks like we may be able to hold Croydon Central for a bit longer so it would be some time before Croydon South is affected, if ever – it’s still a pretty different kind of area to the rest of the Borough. If Croydon South goes then I think we would have to start worrying about Bexley and Romford even.

  25. I’m of course hoping that despite the huge demographic pressures, there are other trends the other way, and we might still be able to nose ahead of Labour on votes.

    I do fear though if seats like Ilford N are lost they might slip down the drain like seats which never are won back

  26. One of the reasons Chingford could be at some risk is because there is no hope of the Tories winning control of the Council.
    Other posters seem to think I exaggerate this point on other threads, but without knowing Streatham in detail, I’m virtually certain the Lambeth council would have finished off pretty much what was left of the Tory vote.

  27. If Labour’s plans to expand the electoral register go ahead it’s seats like these which would probably be affected the most.

  28. why?

  29. It’s a quite fascinating question which Richard poses.

    My hunch is that Croydon South may be fractionally more vulnerable to Labour than Chingford, but there is little in it. Chingford does also have a strong personal vote for IDS which is not a factor in Croydon South.

    Timing depends crucially on who wins in 2015. If Cameron hangs on in 2015 but suffers economic crisis and is wiped out by a Labour landslide in 2020, then seats such as Chingford and Croydon South could get uncomfortably close as early as 2020. If Labour win in 2015 then such seats will be safe until 2025 at least, even if the demographic change continues apace.

  30. ‘I know HH has concerns about Croydon South but I would have thought that this constituency might be the most vulnerable its lower middle class suburbia might be vulnerable to the sort of demographic change which has occurred in Ilford.’

    Unlike seats in the Essex part of london, South Croydon is dominated by A/B professionals and much of it comprises leafy avenues with large, detached and expensive houses.

    Parts of it like Waddon and even bits of Purley and Coulsden have gone down-market a bit, but it would take some significant demographic shifts to change this seat from being a safely Conservative one

  31. If current trends continue at the pace of the past 10 years it will be a Con-Lab marginal seat in 10 or 15 years’ time.

  32. H Hemmelig- that’s amazing to think when one considers that quite a lot of the current Croydon S was in the old Surrey East. It begs the question about what might start happening in seats like Epsom and Ewell and Reigate- there hasn’t been any pro-Labour trend in either of those seats between 1992 and 2010 but do you think we might start seeing one in the next 10 years?

  33. why all the doom and gloom about the tories

  34. I think Chingford and Woodford Green will become vulnerable long before Croydon South does. Looking at the GLA results from last year, they show increasingly diminishing margins for the Conservatives in the Waltham Forest part, and if we remove Chingford Green and Endlebury from the equation(which are very safe), all of the other wards could become vulnerable to Labour in the not too distant future. Some of the southern wards are clearly getting Walthamstow overspill looking at the population make up, and this is shown in the 2011 census figures.

    Apart from Waddon and Croham in Croydon South, the other wards have huge margins, and while majorities have dropped slightly in recent years they’re by and large still ultra-safe. Croydon South is also a far more affluent part of London than Chingford. The make-up of the Croydon South is also far structured toward the higher socio-economic groups than Chingford. While I can see a scenario in Croydon where the Tories end up with 20-25 seats, this will mainly consist of most of the Croydon South wards and Heathfield in Croydon Central.

    Chingford and Woodford Green is an area with much more Labour potential, though with Woodford Green included it does tip the balance to the Tories as the ultra-safe Monkhams ward included. If Waltham Forest does become a two-seat borough (or combined with Edmonton), I can well see this becoming another Brent North and the Tory vote rapidly falling away at general elections, though it may remain stronger at locals (which is what happend at Brent) due to local perceptions of other parts of the borough.

    The very small swing at the last election should give Labour some hope of improving their position here.

  35. These things could happen
    but it may not go that far.
    If the Tories can win more support over the years amongst some of the newcomers, then that would help them.

  36. It would certainly be a very sad position for the Tories that somewhere so symbolic to success such as Chingford would end up in the Labour column.

  37. Is IDS likely to have much of a personal vote?

    Also surely the tories will probably start gaining votes amongst ethnic minorities as they move out to wealthy areas. Though campaigns like the racist van may have already hurt them especially in London.

  38. I wonder if some are being a bit hasty.

    Since 1997 this seat has experience a Lab->Con swing of 9%, more or less bang on average. Could the 2010 poor result not be a result of a unusually good 2005 result (IDS being a bigger name than in 2001?)

    Thats not to say there is not a demographic affect taking place, but 10 years seems a very small time frame indeed.

  39. I have to point out how well the Tories did not very long ago in the Larkswood ward by-election; they actually secured a positive swing from Labour. I wouldn’t start getting too excited about this seat just yet.

  40. I don’t think an increase in the ethnic minority population would be enough for Labour to win here; they would also need a big increase in the number of public sector workers. I don’t know whether that is something which might happen or not.

  41. This seat is clearly not in the marginal seats column for the moment and is still a pretty safe Tory seat. It is more where underlying trends are heading here and results show that Labour’s position has improved. Larkswood last year was a poor result for Labour, though it was on a very low turnout and I understand that local issues including the former Walthamstow dog track which was in the ward played a factor. Future boundary changes could well determine more where this seat ends up in the next 10 years rather than boundary changes.

  42. Joe R ‘Since 1997 this seat has experience a Lab->Con swing of 9%, more or less bang on average. Could the 2010 poor result not be a result of a unusually good 2005 result (IDS being a bigger name than in 2001?)’

    That’s a good point Joe.

  43. I think Uxbridge & South Ruislip is more likely to go Labour in the next 10-15 years than this seat or certainly Croydon South

  44. …..and that isn’t very likely either. At least it has one Labour councillor, one more than in this constituency at the moment……….

  45. They should take a few more next May but may not take any in this constituency and will only take Waddon in Croydon South

  46. Perhaps it will help to compare the 2010 result with the notional figures for 1992:

    Conservative 61.4
    Labour 21.0
    Lib Dem 14.3

    So, the Tories do seem weaker here than in 1992 However, as, Joe R pointed out, the Labour to Conservative swing after 1997 has been in line with the national average. I don’t think you could have said the same about Wanstead and Woodford seat had it continued to exist after 1992- I suspect the pro-Tory swing after 1997 would have been much lower in Wanstead and Woodford.

    I’d be very interested to see how 2015 goes- that will give us more of a clue about what is happening here.

  47. Not so sure, both Valley along with Hale End and Highsms Park could see Labour gains next May. Both well within range especially as the Lib Dem vote will probably collapse in the latter.

  48. ‘If current trends continue at the pace of the past 10 years it will be a Con-Lab marginal seat in 10 or 15 years’ time.’

    I don’t agree with that at all

    South Croydon has simply too many affluent voters in it and too many big expensive houses that they live in for Labour to challenge any time soon

  49. Labour have very little support in this seat other than in Valley ward which contains the Chingford Hall estate. Around the estate has also been a flurry of housing association properties. This is where Labour get their vote from in that ward. Most of the estate and the housing association properties have tenants, many from Walthamstow and Leyton, and an increasing number from various ethnic minorities. The rest of Chingford is far to owner occupied, small business, Essex man types to start voting Labour.

    I have often thought that Larkswood might start showing signs of becoming more Labour inclined but so far I have been proved wrong and the area is still a pleasant part of suburban Essex/North East London unlike Gants Hill/Newbury Park etc.

    Hale End and Highams Park does have a strong Lib Dem vote so I cannot see Labour overtaking both the Tories and the LDs there but bearing in mind that this ward takes in a fair slither of Walthamstow means that it could happen eventually.

    The best thing Chingford has going for it is that it feels far from the rest of East London, it’s quite pricey to live there and it is not on the tube allowing it to remain somewhat of a backwater and certainly not somewhere that newer immigrants to the UK would want to set up home – Walthamstow, Ilford or Barking would be more appealing.

    IDS is very visable in the seat, despite being a minister so I imagine he does have some personal vote here.

    Another interesting fact which helps the Tories here is that many people who have moved to Chingford from more Labour inclined parts of Waltham Forest tend to vote Tory once in Chingford as they do not want the area to go the same way as places like Walthamstow and Leyton which they see as towns that were run down to give Labour an unstoppable advantage electorally. The poor reputation of Waltham Forest Council also damages Labour chances in Chingford and there have been constant calls from Chingford residents for Chingford to be removed from the borough altogether.

  50. a very slanted view of the world as so often.
    I am not sure whether IDS fits the constituency quite as well as Norman Tebbit. His personal result in 2010 was pretty underwhelming. However, LBernard & others are quite right that there is no threat to him or the Conservatives in the area for, I’d say, a long time to come.

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