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”
  1. But can Labour get even closer next time?

  2. Nowhere near winning. But the boundaries will be different.

  3. On the current boundary’s IDS will be safe in 2020.

    On the proposed boundaries (first published in 2013) then IDS becomes vulnerable, which is ironic given his dogmatic and ideological approach to those on welfare who are currently vulnerable or maybe in the future.

    Believe me IDS is becoming a figure of hate even in Tory supporting families. His purges of the unemployed into total poverty through draconian and unwarranted sanctioning leaving claimants on less than the law says the unemployed need to live on are breathtakingly sharp.

    The more recent announcement about making those with too severe ill health to work do part-time work is disgusting in a civilised society. Not all disabled people have always lived on benefits indeed many have paid their taxes so what is this mans problem with the disabled? What next? Does he think all people should be rounded up and exterminated? Is that his end point? NO IDS is an ideological zealot and work is not always the best thing for disabled people. It may work for some but others it is counter productive. Labour should be making hay out of IDS as what will be next Old Age pensioners perhaps, NHS? Given the government has only got a majority of 12, some of the more ridiculous policies that IDS has just announced might be killed off by rebellious backbenches who can see the Cancer that IDS is fermenting within even Tory supporting families.

    So, to conclude: IDS might be in trouble in a reorganised seat and rightly so for his vindictive policies. But if the seat stays as it is little chance of a spectacular unless their is a sea change political moment.

  4. @FS

    I doubt IDS will stay on in govt past mid-term, and may go before the EU referendum. In fact I was a bit surprised he stayed on in May. As someone who cut his teeth as a Eurospectic backbencher, he could feel duty bound to go back to his routes and wholeheartedly campaign for Brexit (something that won’t be possible in government even if, as I suspect is likely, collective responsibility is suspended). That would give him a couple of years as a backbencher and then the House of Lords would probably beckon.

  5. “I cannot see him getting a more senior Cabinet position now”

    He doesn’t want one. Cameron has repeatedly tried to move IDS, including by promoting him to Defence, and IDS has refused to budge. He has said that DWP is the only job he’s interested in doing.

    “I doubt IDS will stay on in govt past mid-term, and may go before the EU referendum. In fact I was a bit surprised he stayed on in May. As someone who cut his teeth as a Eurospectic backbencher, he could feel duty bound to go back to his routes and wholeheartedly campaign for Brexit”

    That would be my guess too. IDS will stay on long enough to see universal credit rolled out then most likely step down. As you say, the referendum may well impact the timing; IDS will be free to campaign for Brexit and Cameron will be relieved to have one less Outer in the cabinet.

    However Chingford is changed in the boundary review it’s hard to see the seat not getting much better for Labour; even if the proposed Chingford & Edmonton doesn’t go ahead, the seat would most likely take in bits of Walthamstow. It would be an opportune time for IDS to step down and go to the Lords.

  6. The constituency boundary changes officially have to be redone from scratch to be up to date, even if the remit is similar.
    Even so, it is hard to see how it could be redrawn without more Labour voting areas being added.
    Moving easterly into Ilford North (and if there was an increase in the C vote) would be more containable for them, but these are generally areas on an underlying trend regardless of much about the state of the parties.

  7. HH- that’s very interesting. Had no idea Cameron had asked IDS to leave the DWP.

  8. I think in the reshuffle where Gove left education and Hague the foreign office….it was quite widely reported at the time by well informed Cameroon commentators such as Finkelstein and Ganesh.

  9. I missed that, thanks. I was clearly too distracted by the females that had been promoted…McVey, Morgan, Truss (I remember the rather patronising coverage in the Mail).

  10. I’ve never found female Tories attractive….opposites attract I guess.

  11. The “Chingford & Edmonton” seat proposed at the aborted boundary review was an artifact of the Boundary Commission’s difficulties of producing seats in London where the average ward size (c7500) is the same as the permitted tolerance for parliamentary seats.

    East London (that is the area east of the Lea and north of the Thames) was entitled to almost exactly 10.5 seats, which forced the Commission to cross the Lea. They did so in the north because their Poplar & Canning Town seat had been rejected by the public enquiry for the previous review, and they are understandably reluctant to return to a proposal which has been rejected.

    It is likely that this time the seat entitlement for east London will be closer to a whole number. In this case it is very likely that Waltham Forest will be allocated 2 seats on its own, as the electorates will be within quota, and the Commission is required to pay regard to local government boundaries. Therefore IDS will lose his 2 Woodford wards (solidly Conservative and likely to remain so), and gain 3 Walthamstow wards, which are all Labour these days, although there is a small amount of choice here as to which wards. The resulting seat will be marginal.

    We will know more when the “cleansed” electorates following the full implementation of IER are published shortly. While London has been increasing in population, much of this is people who are ineligible to vote. Since most Londoners rent, population is also very mobile, so a lot of people will be lost from the register under IER, some of whom will be real people, and others will be people who have moved elsewhere. It is hard to judge how these factors will play out in terms of registered electorates compared to elsewhere.

  12. The 2010 notional result for the aborted 6th boundary review for Chingford was –

    Con 20623 39.9%
    Lab 17742 34.3%
    LD 9917 19.2%

    Con Maj 2881 (5.6%)

    This was due to the removal of Woodford Green and the addition of North Walthamstow (over 30000 of Stella Creasy’s electors).

    There was a swing of 5.5% from Conservative to Labour in Chingford & Woodford Green, therefore Labour on a higher turnout could be over 3000 votes ahead now in Chingford (& Walthamstow North).

    On the current scenario, Iain Duncan Smith may look for another seat, if the aborted proposals became finally realised.

    However, what about when the NSDP (New Social Democratic Party) is formed after moderate Labour MP’s are deselected on mass?

    Here is what could happen in Chingford & Walthamstow North –

    Iain Duncan Smith (Con) 16009
    Stella Creasy (NSDP) 14987
    Max Knight (Lab) 13544
    John Harper (UKIP) 2039
    Emma Small (Green) 2026
    Liam Withers (LD) 2019

    Con Maj 1002

  13. The idea of a NSDP is absurd. If Labour MPs are deselected (and it’s already a big if), some might run as independents – and actually an independent ticket might suit someone like Creasy quite well as she’s more of a big thinker than a team player.

  14. Whoever the next Labour leader is needs to purge Momentum the way Militant was. They can disperse back to their various far left units if they like. Groups that try to actively impose their will and undermine the broad church nature of any party shouldn’t be there.

  15. I think you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn has already made several veiled criticisms of Momentum’s bullying tactics. Quite apart from being the very antithesis of the new politics, on a practical level his association with them makes it even harder for him to have any authority over his parliamentary colleagues.

    The case isn’t even that cut-and-dried. Some points which muddy the waters:

    Tony Blair arguably tried to undermine the broad church by selecting moderate PPCs. Ever noticed how the parliamentary Labour left is a combination of MPs around since the 80’s (Corbyn, Abbott) and those from the 2015 intake (Clive Lewis, Cat Smith)? There wasn’t a massive outcry at the time though.

    Isn’t “actively trying to impose your will” the very essence of politics? Otherwise it would be just so much bickering.

  16. Making my point more explicitly: people should be purged from the Labour Party if they do not have the party’s best interests at heart. What the party’s best interests are is no longer obvious in the context of a decision by the majority of the party to drag the party into a position where its short-term prospects are dismal and even its long term viability is at risk. Were all of the 60% of members who voted for Corbyn “not acting in the best interests of the party?” If so shouldn’t they all be kicked out?

  17. Ha they could just do what Labour did in Liverpool then or now.

    Back then they expelled them all. Last night they selected Joe Anderson as their City’s Mayoral candidate, by ruling members had to have been members in 2014 in order to vote(!)

  18. So Polltroll, on the one hand you suggest the idea that disaffected/deselected Labour MPs possibly gather together and form a new political party is absurd, then in the next breath you suggest Labour purges them from the party?

    Given the sheer numbers this would involve, do you not think there is the slightest thought that these people might just come together under a common cause umbrella – i.e. a more centrist Labour-lite type movement and form a new party? No doubt the 40% of non-Corbyn Labour members might also decamp, and they may pick up a number of former Lib Dems along the way.

    It has happened before, there’s nothing to suggest it couldn’t happen again.

  19. I think deselections are quite unlikely, except perhaps for people like Danczuk and Kate Hoey. Usually incumbents have significant local backing and if there is a deselection threat they can get the numbers in to see it off (there surely aren’t all that many Corbynistas committed enough to turn up to a meeting to get rid of a hard-working local MP, even one they don’t fully agree with). There were actually very few deselections in the 1980s for this reason. Much more important will be the impact that Momentum have on selections in retirement/marginal seats and the effect that mutterings about heated selection battles/threats of deselection have on perceptions of party unity.

  20. What makes de-selections more likely is the boundary changes.

    Before 1997 Mike Watson (Glasgow Central) was the certain to inherit the new Glasgow Govan Constituency.

    He was challenged for this nomination by Jimmy Dunnachie (Glasgow Pollok) who’s Pollokshields and Shawlands areas would be in the new Glasgow Govan.

    Dunnachie had little chance of securing the nomination but his challenge opened the door for a new candidate in Pollokshield’s Glasgow City Councillor Mohammed Salwar to challenge and win the selection in that seat.

    The same thing could happen ahead of 2020.

    A Labour MP may not be deselected for their current constituency, but if their constituency is greatly affected by boundary changes they might not be re-selected.

  21. And even in case of reselections, boundary changes could increase the chances of individual MPs losing their seat if things turn sour for their party. Deselection will also be most problematic for MPs in urban areas and in Wales.

  22. Wales indeed will be a bunfight unless there are lots of retirements. I doubt the loss of seats in urban areas will be so bad that most MPs won’t be able to find somewhere nearby where there has been a retirement.

  23. We have yet to see what tensions, and therefore power struggle, may arise in the Conservative Party between MPs who wish to stay in the EU and those who wish to leave.,

    Ian Duncan Smith will be 66 in 2020.

    Given that Priti Patel appears to be a clear, and able, potential successor, one wonders how long Duncan Smith will remain as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He has been doing the job for a very long time now by political standards.

  24. ‘… one wonders how long Duncan Smith will remain as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He has been doing the job for a very long time now by political standards’

    Being the geek that I am, I have kept track of such things, just for the interest of historical comparison.
    Currently I count five cabinet ministers with unusually long tenures holding their current portfolios: IDS is one them.

    It seems he exceeds Norman Fowler’s term of office overseeing the welfare / pensions this month (Feb ’16). Of course it was all part of the DHSS back in Lord Fowler’s day.

    On passing this particular milestone, it seems the only people to have held these responsibilities for longer than IDS (at least since the Ministry of Pensions was formed in 1916), will be John Boyd-Carpenter (‘55-‘62) and Walter Womersley (‘39-‘45).

    If IDS is still in post this time next year, he’ll have surpassed both the above. But as Frederic hints, that may be quite a big ‘if’.

  25. It is one of Cameron’s strengths that he tends not to move people for no reason. But by the middle of this parliament I expect IDS to move on and a more conciliatory figure to be given the DWP. One option could be Jeremy Hunt to DWP and Boris, who has to go somewhere, to Health. Though Priti Patel may be eyeing up her current boss’s job.

  26. @John D

    The others, I’m guessing, are:

    Theresa May (who we know is on course to become the longest serving Home Sec for well over a century, and possibly ever if she stays until the latter half of the century).

    Jeremy Hunt (Health ministers generally haven’t lasted long).

    Theresa Villiers (ditto for NI Secretarys).

    George Osborne (though it isn’t so uncommon for Chancellor’s to have a long tenure).

    Justine Greening (though others have previously had long tenures in this post).

    Am I right?

  27. Actually Jack, I thank you for expanding my list to seven!
    I’m obviously not as much of a geek as I thought I was 😉

    I wasn’t actually including Justine Greening, but she is worth a mention.
    She’s catching up with Hilary Benn and Richard Wood. However she’s still some way behind Claire Short, and a long way behind Lynda Chalker.

    It’s the same with George Osborne. He has a good chance of overtaking Nigel Lawson, and if he stays in post to 2018 he can overtake Lloyd George and William Pitt the Younger(!), but I think he’s unlikely to surpass Gordon Brown, Gladstone or Nicholas Vansittart.

    Theresa Villiers is definitely up there. I think only Patrick Mayhew was NI Secretary for longer (just over 5 years).

    By May, Jeremy Hunt would equal the longest-serving Blair/Brow Health Secretary (Alan Milburn), and be about a month off Keith Joseph.
    The only ones who would then have served longer are I think Norman Fowler (at DHSS), Aneurin Bevan, and Neville Chamberlain.
    It’s interesting that there aren’t more long-serving Labour Health Secretaries.

    One less obvious potential veteran of office is Patrick McLoughlin.
    Most Transport Secretaries (or equivalent) since 1919 were only in post for 1-3 years. Alistair Darling and John Prescott were unusual in serving just over 4 years each.
    If McLoughlin stays in post to the end of the year be behind only Ernest Marples and Wilfred Ashley.

    Theresa May is the most talked-about example.
    She exceeded Rab Butler’s length of term a couple of months ago.
    If she hangs on through the summer she’ll overtake James Ede (‘45-‘51), and if she’s still in place this time next year she’ll exceed the combined two terms of Richard Cross (1874-‘80, 1885-‘86).
    However, she’s got some way to go to become the longest-serving Home Secretary. George Grey had a combined 8 ½ years; Henry Addington, 9 ½ years).

  28. From 1888 to 1950 none of the County of London’s constituencies crossed borough boundaries.
    From 1950 some did and from 1955 to 1974 even more did –

    Baron’s Court (wards from Hammersmith and Fulham boroughs).
    Bethnal Green (Bethnal Green Borough with Hackney wards)
    Chelsea (Chelsea Borough with Brompton Ward of Kensington)
    Cities of London & Westminster (City of London and Westminster)
    Holborn & St Pancras South (Holborn borough and wards from St Pancras)
    Shoreditch & Finsbury (Shoreditch and Finsbury boroughs)

    From 1974 to 1997 the City of London & Westminster South was the only cross border constituency in Greater London.

    Between 1997 and 2010 there were 9 –

    Chingford & Woodford Green
    Cities of London & Westminster
    Dulwich & West Norwood
    Ealing Acton & Shepherd’s Bush
    Erith & Thamesmead
    Poplar & Canning Town
    Regent’s Park & Kensington North
    Richmond Park
    Leyton & Wanstead

    Since 2010 there has been 10 –

    Chelsea & Fulham
    Chingford & Woodford Green
    Cities of London & Westminster
    Dagenham & Rainham
    Dulwich & West Norwood
    Hampstead & Kilburn
    Lewisham West & Penge
    Richmond Park
    Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner
    Leyton & Wanstead

    Waltham Forest and Redbridge is the only instance in London’s history where there have been two cross border constituencies between two boroughs (Westminster had two cross border constituencies and no core constituency with different boroughs between 1997 and 2010).

    The way Waltham Forest and Redbridge are divided gives the impression of Waltham Forest having 3 MP’s and Redbridge 2 MP’s but Redbridge has actually a greater entitlement to 3 constituencies.

    It should be –

    Redbridge (plus 2 Waltham Forest wards) = 3 MP’s
    Waltham Forest (minus 2 wards) = 2 MP’s

    Instead of –

    Redbridge (minus 4 wards) = 2 MP’s
    Waltham Forest (plus 4 Redbridge wards) = 3 MP’s

    Currently Ilford South (86,401) had nearly 22,000 more voters than Walthamstow (64,482).

  29. This is a bit of a geeky Westminster story but could have interesting implications –

    Might Cameron have to sack IDS if this escalates any further? There is precedent – when Eric Heffer (as one of Tony Benn’s junior ministers at the Department of Industry) spoke against membership in the Commons during the 1975 referendum Wilson sacked him later that day.

  30. Looks like IDS just resigned over PIP

  31. Gosh. First major resignation on principle for a long time (Cameron lost Baroness Warsi in the last parliament, but that was hardly major). I guess the EU situation might have pushed him this way but clearly he didn’t take well to being effectively blamed in briefing for the PIP decision. Will Priti Patel go with him or step up to take over his role?

  32. Just read his letter. Rather devastating for Osborne. Wonder if the concept of the resignation speech will be revived? If so it will be box office.

  33. I wonder whether this makes it more likely that he’ll retire in 2020 especially with the likely boundary changes?

  34. @MikeinSDevon

    Yes. Though I think he was probably always going to leave the cabinet by mid-way through the parliament – makes it easier to resign if you aren’t going to be around long anyway.

  35. This is all a bit odd – surely the PM and GO could see the danger of upsetting IDS and him resigning?

    CRABB is my tip for new Work & P Secretary.

  36. Crabb would be a good choice. BUT there is no obvious alternative Wales Sec (junior min Alun Cairns isn’t a heavyweight politician, even in Wales), Crabb has a big role in Assembly campaign and the Remain/Leave balance in cabinet would shift further (which may upset some).

    Priti Patel might be expecting the call. But again not unproblematic for No 10 as she won’t help detoxify DWP and is close to IDS, so might carry on his arguments.

    So I’m really not sure who will get it. Ideally should be someone Cameron trusts who isn’t a hardcore Osbore ally. Hard to see who, especially at a time when which side people are on in the EU complicates things.

  37. Almost all Tory Welsh secretaries since the 80s have had an English constituency. So lack of potential Welsh replacements won’t stop Cameron promoting Crabb.

  38. @HH

    True, but is that a good look just before a Welsh Assembly election?

    I agree he may decide promoting Crabb is the best choice and the knock on effects just have to be tolerated.

  39. Matthew Hancock is surely a good bet for IDS’ replacement, perhaps Soubry also.

  40. Hancock is the ultimate Osborne puppet. Would be a bad choice IMO. I really like Soubry but her flaw is that she can’t shut up – would probably say something stupid at some point if given Work and Pensions.

    So I really don’t know who’ll get it. I’d throw Mark Harper into the frame – someone Cameron really trusts, who fits the bill as someone who can defuse the situation, and who was also previously the Minister for Disabled People 2014-15. Obviously that would mean a new Chief Whip would be needed, which may not be ideal. So I’m not predicting he’ll get the job but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  41. Interesting runners and riders piece on Guido – (I hadn’t thought of Robert Halfon, would be an interesting call but does he have experience to handle a crisis?)

  42. Crabb gets it. Alun Cairns Welsh Sec.

  43. I must say this whole situation was rather unexpected. It paints a somewhat conflicted picture of IDS, who was merely doing a job he didn’t want to do but was forced to from on high. This contrasts sharply with the view among many, including one-nation Tories such as myself, that he was a right-wing ideologue who positively relished crippling the welfare state.

    The situation is somewhat politicised by the EU referendum, and also the upcoming boundary review that could see Chingford & Woodford Green merged with parts of Walthamstow. Maybe IDS was had factored in that a restorative spell on the back benches could boost his chances of survival?

  44. Fair enough, he will be 66.

    He’ll probably go and sit on the green benches in 2020, much as William Hague and Michael Howard have.

  45. red benches surely?

  46. ‘It paints a somewhat conflicted picture of IDS, who was merely doing a job he didn’t want to do but was forced to from on high. This contrasts sharply with the view among many, including one-nation Tories such as myself, that he was a right-wing ideologue who positively relished crippling the welfare state.’

    I agree but to be fair to him, IDS had a profound interest in social justice that dates back to his days as leader, and I think he genuinely saw the latest disability cuts combined with tax breaks for corporations and high-earners as indefensible. And fair play to him if he did.

    It’s not often you can take politicians at face value but this is a rare case in point. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he decided to stand down at the next election, which might remove a potential headache for the boundary commission when they carve up his seat

  47. Mayoral result (excluding postal):

    Goldsmith 11145 46.2%
    Khan 8021 33.2%

  48. A bit better for the Conservatives than I was fearing.

  49. I think it was discussed last year after IDS’ majority tumbled, one of the factors was UKIP. In the 2014 locals they polled quite decently in some of the WF wards too from what I recall.

    Looking at ward breakdown, Khan carried Valley and Hale End & Highams Park. He was less than 150 votes behind in Larkswood. On the Redbridge side, he was about 200 votes behind in Church End which takes in a part of Woodford and a bulk of South Woodford. Monkhams was carried comfortably by Goldsmith.

  50. Peppermintea
    The big issue there is the BC isn’t allowed to cross the Thames except where it dips into Richmond (which is kinda stupid) so a Richmond and Chiswick seat would almost certainly not be allowed. I actually quite like the seat but its one of the BC’s unbreakable rules.

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