Cities of London & Westminster

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19570 (54.1%)
Labour: 9899 (27.4%)
Lib Dem: 2521 (7%)
Green: 1953 (5.4%)
UKIP: 1894 (5.2%)
Others: 348 (1%)
MAJORITY: 9671 (26.7%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. The City of London and part of the Westminster council area.

Main population centres: Mayfair, Marylebone, Pimlico, Belgravia.

Profile: The core of London, covering the most of the major landmarks, parks, shopping areas, financial headquarters and housing the main organs of the state. One can be in no doubt that the United Kingdom is a largely centralised state looking at what falls under this single constituency, in the west is Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen, surrounded by the royal parks. Nearby the government departments on Whitehall itself and now spreading down Victoria Street, also the location of New Scotland Yard. The seat covers Downing Street, official residence of the Prime Minister and the Houses of Parliament itself. Heading north there are the major shopping areas of Knightsbridge, Regent and Oxford Streets, the West End theatreland and Soho, then eastwards there are the Inns of Court, the Royal Courts of Justice, the Old Bailey and then finally the City of London itself, with St Paul`s Cathedral, its skyscrapers, the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange..

Politics: The City of London is the small medieval core of the city, originally bounded by the city walls (although it includes some wards outside the line of the old physical walls). It continues to be governed as a separate local authority, the smallest in the country and the only local authority still to have a business franchise. Despite a weekday population of hundreds of thousands, there are relatively few permanent residents here, mostly concentrated in the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate. The vast bulk of the electorate are in Westminster, covering some of the most insanely expensive (and solidly Conservative) residential real estate in the country in Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. There are dwindling cosmopolitian residential areas in Soho and social housing around Victoria and in Mayfair, but overall this is Conservative territory, with every ward in the constituency returning Conservative councillors since the boundary changes in 2002.


Current MP
MARK FIELD (Conservative) Born 1964. Educated at Reading School and Oxford University. Former Solicitor and director of an employment agency. Kensington and Chelsea councillor 1994-2002. Contested Enfield North 1997. First elected as MP for Cities of London and Westminster in 2001. Opposition Whip 2003-04, Shadow Minister for London 2003-05, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury 2005, Shadow Minister for Culture 2005-06.
Past Results
2010
Con: 19264 (52%)
Lab: 8188 (22%)
LDem: 7574 (21%)
GRN: 778 (2%)
Oth: 1127 (3%)
MAJ: 11076 (30%)
2005*
Con: 17260 (47%)
Lab: 9165 (25%)
LDem: 7306 (20%)
GRN: 1544 (4%)
Oth: 1212 (3%)
MAJ: 8095 (22%)
2001
Con: 15737 (46%)
Lab: 11238 (33%)
LDem: 5218 (15%)
GRN: 1318 (4%)
Oth: 464 (1%)
MAJ: 4499 (13%)
1997
Con: 18981 (47%)
Lab: 14100 (35%)
LDem: 4933 (12%)
Oth: 980 (2%)
MAJ: 4881 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MARK FIELD (Conservative) See above.
NICK SLINGSBY (Labour)
BELINDA BROOKS-GORDON (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Middlesex Polytechnic and Cambridge University. Psychologist. Cambridgshire councillor. Contested West Suffolk 2010, East of England 2014 European election.
ROBERT STEPHENSON (UKIP)
HUGH SMALL (Green) Educated at Durham University. Former management consultant.
ADAM CLIFFORD (Class War)
JILL MCLACHLAN (CPA) Contested Cities of London and Westminster 2005, North West European region 2009.
EDOUARD-HENRI DESFORGES (CISTA)
Links
Comments - 294 Responses on “Cities of London & Westminster”
  1. When’s the selection happening?

  2. Good luck.

  3. Thanks. Not sure yet when the actual selection is, but shortlisting is apparently on December 12.

  4. ‘ No, I was shortlisted for the Richmond Park by-election and was runner-up to Christian Wolmar. ‘

    You would have done a better job than Woolmar – I read one very bizarre anecdote about him.

    And best of luck with your application.

  5. Thanks Richard.

    Christian fought quite a good campaign and I wouldn’t wish to speak ill of him. I think I would have got a few hundred more votes with my strong local profile, but I would still have lost the deposit. It was almost certainly a good selection to lose.

  6. As there are 1,600 members and wolmar got 1,500 i defo think youd have done better

  7. A car crash Brexit would make this seat winnable. It might even be winnable in more normal circumstances. Best of luck to Barnaby though he would be one of the oldest new MPs of recent times were he to win.

  8. Be aware also Barnaby that you expressed support for leaving the EU some years ago on here….that’s hardly going to help you in this seat. Though I think you switched to Remain by the time the referendum happened.

  9. I am several years younger than several of this year’s intake, including Emma Dent Coad, Bill Grant, Bob Seely & Sandy Martin. Even if the parliament runs its full course, I would still be younger than at least 2 of those when they entered parliament. I still have to pay full fares on public transport for a couple of years yet…..
    I did vote Remain in the referendum having started the campaign minded to vote Leave. I am essentially a supporter of Starmer’s & Corbyn’s line on the EU and believe that Labour needs to reserve the right to vote against a final deal if it is clearly contrary to the interests of British people as the party sees it, though complete opposition to Brexit at this stage would in my view be wrong.

  10. I’m with Barnaby on this. While I toed on the party line when it came to campaigning. I was very undecided and wasn’t even that keen to make up my mind on election day. Perhaps a europhile would go down better in Westminster but I think its quite resonable to hold a position of soft eurosceptism

  11. Even if Barnaby were a proper leaver, I doubt it would matter at all, for the following reasons:

    a) If (and it’s a moderately big if) this parliament runs the full five years then we will be out of the EU and probably beyond the transitional period too. Society will, by and large, have moved on – at least I hope we’re not still collectively picking over the same scab in 2022.

    b) His personal view wouldn’t appear on the campaign literature, and as a fairly big figure in the Labour grassroots but a complete unknown beyond that, barely anybody is going to know,

    c) For most remain voters, as indeed for most leavers, the actual structures of the EU did not really drive voting intentions – votes for remain were generally driven by the values of inclusivity, openness and internationalism, that people like Barnaby also believe in and would potential project to voters.

    d) Kate Hoey didn’t seem to suffer too badly for her rather more socially conservative Euroscepticism (tied in with her outspoken views on grammar schools etc) in one of the remain-iest seats in Britain.

  12. If anything, I feel Brexit may hurt whoever the Labour candidates are in these kind of seats, but for completely the opposite reason. These wealthy parts of central London are really the only areas where the prospect of staying in the single market would have swayed people from Tory to Labour in significant numbers. Those voters may be difficult to hang onto next time as the disruptions caused by Brexit unwind.

    (I’m not one of those “centrist dads” who believe all the Tories’ current electoral problems stem from Brexit, but specifically in wealthy inner London it’s probably the biggest factor. Indeed, I suspect the reason the narrative has traction with the MSM pundit class is because they mostly live in this highly unrepresentative area.)

  13. PT – that’s certainly true. Certainly many BBC staff also live in Muswell Hill (another wealthy area full of media types, hence Lynne Featherstone).

    Barnaby – ‘Starmer & Corbyn’s line on the EU’ is and has never been the same thing now or for the past 30 years. But I at least commend Starmer for having got away with proposing an amendment to remain in the customs union & the single market even though it was the direct opposite of both manifesto pledges from just months earlier.

  14. Can anyone tell me if Marylebone High Street ward was in this seat in 1992?

  15. Christian Wolmar is lobbying pretty hard to get Tony Blair to vote for him in the upcoming selection here…

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/01/commons-confidential-tony-blair-pays-his-dues

    It would be most amusing if he ended up casting the decisive vote. Either way, good luck Barnaby!

  16. Barnaby and Wolmar the ongoing rivalry

  17. Good luck Barnaby,

    I am never likely to vote Labour but you always come across as resonable, polite and decent on here and we could do with some more of that in Parliament so I do hope you get selected.

    You would certainly be better than Wolmer and the fact Blair is lobbying him speaks volumes (and is most likely to harm not further his chances in the current climate).

    Good luck

  18. Thanks but I was knocked out ages ago. I had a family bereavement just after I applied, and never really had my heart in it after that. I wasn’t shortlisted. I probably applied for the wrong reasons anyway. I’ve now decided that I won’t apply for a seat where I don’t know a good number of people in the local CLP and that probably means I won’t apply for one in this parliament. That does mean that if I ever make it to Parliament I’d be one of the oldest people ever to do it the first time, although Christian is more than a decade older than me. Your good wishes are appreciated. I think it’s unlikely I would have appealed to Tony Blair for support.

  19. I’m sorry to hear that. Best of luck for the future Barnaby. I’ve experienced my fair share of knock backs and bad timing but you’d make a great candidate and MP

  20. Thank you very much Matt, CotswoldTory & Polltroll for your good wishes, which are greatly appreciated.
    Not quite sure on what you base your kind words that I’d be a great candidate and MP Matt, but I will have to make do with being a great grassroots campaigner for now. I canvassed in a potentially very close in Wandsworth this morning, and will finally join the campaign trail in my own ward in Richmond on Sunday (it’s being worked with some seriousness for the first time since I stood there in 1986).

  21. potentially very close ward* I meant. It wasn’t one of the ones currently split between Labour & the Conservatives.

  22. Hey, if you never become an MP, there’s still plenty of stuff to do outside of parliament. In fact the balance of power in the Labour Party has probably never favoured the membership more strongly over the PLP.

  23. I might be a tad biased as I think we share alot of common ground and if you were elected it would be another MP to further the cause. But I follow you a bit on social media too so while I wouldnt pretend to know you well as contributors have said above from what ive seen you’re reasonable, polite and level headed. We need more of those attributes in straight talking honest politics not less

  24. PREDICTION: WESTMINSTER COUNCIL ELECTIONS
    CON HOLD:

  25. The BBC is to make 4 staff redundant including journalist Sarah Smith, as they are scrapping the Sunday Politics and the Daily Politics.

    The latter is to be re-launched as a shorter 40 minute programme, with “a modern, alternative feel, with more Facebook and Twitter content and contributions.”

    BBC Parliament will also cease to show it’s Diary programme, as well as it’s occasional series featuring Ladies from the Lords.

    A sad day for real politicos (although at least Andrew Neil is to stay to work out his contract).

  26. Sarah Smith is I’m sure a very good and professional journalist, but she should never have made it in front of the camera as a presenter. Totally charisma free and her speech impediment grates massively (not her fault, but a good/ great voice should be a prerequisite for presenting).

    I for one can’t wait to see the back of Andrew Neil. He’s so aggressive that he actually starts making some people feel sorry for politicians…no mean feat.

  27. I didn’t say he was going – just from the daytime PMQs etc in 2 years’ time – from memory This Week recently got renewed for longer than that and he’ll be doing more election coverage now that Dimbleby has finally retired.

  28. I understood what you meant. I meant to say that I can’t wait for the miserable old farts retirement, whenever that may be.

  29. ‘I for one can’t wait to see the back of Andrew Neil. He’s so aggressive that he actually starts making some people feel sorry for politicians’

    I have to totally disagree.

    Andrew Neil is the best thing about the BBC’s political coverage and he seems to have taken over from Paxman and Humphries as the journalist politicians least like being interviewed by

    He is harsh but fair in his questioning although he can struggle to hide his personal contempt for certain interviewees – Katie Hopkins and John Hirst for example

    I think the BBC is making a huge mistake by scrapping one of the things they do best – political coverage – and agree with LO on this one

  30. Largely agree with Tim. I like Andrew Neil though I dislike how he has dumbed down This Week over the years. That dumb girl from Love Island who didn’t know what Brexit was being given 10 mins airtime last week being a new low point.

    “The latter is to be re-launched as a shorter 40 minute programme, with “a modern, alternative feel, with more Facebook and Twitter content and contributions.””

    Makes me shudder to hear that. It will probably be even more dumbed down celebrity crap. Oh to go back to proper political broadcasting like On The Record and Weekend World.

    Re Dimbleby – the BBC should use his retirement to finally put QT out of its misery. It has become unwatchable.

  31. I don’t think This Week has dumbed down particularly, it’s always been like that.

    More likely you’re just getting more miserable with age 😉

  32. Well, I agree that QT is totally unwatchable. The audience seems to consist mainly of ranting, stupid, angry Brexiteers and triggered, ‘woke’ millennial snowflakes. The performance of the politicians is robotic and the non politician guests often add absolutely nothing.

    It seems the done thing to adore Neil, but I totally disagree that he’s effective at interviewing people. Politicians approach his interviews in such a defensive manner that he never gets anythingout of anyone. Different strokes for different folks.

  33. “Well, I agree that QT is totally unwatchable. The audience seems to consist mainly of ranting, stupid, angry Brexiteers and triggered, ‘woke’ millennial snowflakes. The performance of the politicians is robotic and the non politician guests often add absolutely nothing.”

    Unsurprisingly, I agree. A couple more points-

    – No matter where QT is broadcast from, the audience is the same (well characterised by you above). It was broadcast from Kings Lynn the other week, one of the most right wing Brexitty towns in the whole UK, and 80% of the audience sounded like they were from Islington. Very few genuine locals. Clearly much of the audience (and the panel) is bussed in from London each week and the BBC pay the merest of lip service to listening to local provincial concerns. So what’s the point moving it from place to place every week?

    – Probably the worst aspect in recent years has been stuffing the panel with vacuous celebrities who seem to know nothing about politics and have little of interest to say (see also my comment on This Week). Sometimes non-MPs outnumber MPs on the panel now.

    – It has become a thoroughly rude, unpleasant, shouty programme with people just routinely talking over each other and trotting out the same old hackneyed soundbites week after week after week (audience as well as panel). If I hear another audience comment beginning with “as someone who works in the NHS” I will scream. It’s had its day, the viewing figures are unsurprisingly woeful, and it should be axed.

    On YouTube there’s an excellent collection of Question Time episodes from the 70s, 80s and 90s, some I think posted by our friend Andy JS. Watch them and the quality of the debate compared to today is a different world.

  34. “I don’t think This Week has dumbed down particularly, it’s always been like that.

    More likely you’re just getting more miserable with age”

    I probably am getting more miserable with age, and undoubtedly politics has become more depressing in recent years, but I think your first point is at least partly incorrect.

    For 10 years or so, This Week relied on the chemistry between Portillo and Abbott, and since that has gone they’ve had to insert more crappy padding. Aside from Alan Johnson and occasionally Caroline Flint very few of the Labour regulars are any good. I can’t stand Liz Kendall or Jess Phillips.

  35. “It seems the done thing to adore Neil, but I totally disagree that he’s effective at interviewing people. Politicians approach his interviews in such a defensive manner that he never gets anythingout of anyone. Different strokes for different folks.”

    Certainly I don’t adore him, especially when he’s in hard man mode. He gives away too much of his own opinions, sometimes as a monologue. You can’t easily do a Paxman style interview if you sound biased. I think it is necessary though for the BBC to keep one main interviewer who comes from the right wing of the bubble.

    In terms of interview style I’m a fan of Wark and Maitliss and personally can’t stand Mr “on my God aren’t I super intelligent” Evan Davis. But it’s all a matter of personal preference I guess.

  36. Couldn’t agree more on Evan Davies. Makes the rest of them look modest and self effacing.

    And you made a good point re: the King’s Lynn episode of QT. It was utterly bizarre. Still, as a Remainer it made a pleasant change in some respects!

  37. ‘the BBC should use his retirement to finally put QT out of its misery. It has become unwatchable.’

    Again totally agree

    It used to be one of my favourite programs but particularly since Brexit and the almost evenly divided split it has caused, it’s just essentially one side pointing their fingers at the other, saying the same things that were said last week, and the week before that et al

    It’s become very boaring and predictable and as Tristan says, I can’t remember the last time a poltician said something that made an audience member take note, let alone change their mind

    Have to say I quite like Jon Snow as an interviewer as well – one of the nicer higher profile guys in the miedia

  38. The other thing about QT is that its niche as the one opportunity for the ordinary voter to put his opinion to the great and powerful is somewhat obsolete. And, by the way, if you think QT is awful, at least nobody has ever threatened to kill an MP on it, which puts it one step above more modern communication channels.

  39. “The other thing about QT is that its niche as the one opportunity for the ordinary voter to put his opinion to the great and powerful is somewhat obsolete.”

    Very true.

    I had a very good email chat with my MP last week following the Chequers shambles. 100 times more effective than the QT shoutathon.

  40. Back on the actual seat – there’s a worthwhile piece in today’s Guardian about Mayfair’s first ever Labour councillor:

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/17/pancho-lewis-west-end-tory-mayfair-councillor-property-developers-corporate-london

    Seems a decent bloke, though the gloating commenters below seem to have missed a key point he made, that he could only win the ward by being a “small-c conservative”.

    I doubt Labour will draw the correct conclusions from his victory.

  41. It’s also hardly a revolutionary moment. Labour have held West End ward at various times up to & including the 1980s. It may well have narrowly voted Labour in last year’s GE, given Field’s small majority.

  42. “Mayfair’s first ever Labour councillor:”

    I don’t think he is, unless I’m getting the boundaries wrong. It said the first time since 1990. I think Labour won the ward in 1986 and at various times before then.

  43. I agree re QT – except when it went to Stoke!

  44. PT – yes the Guardian used to often do pieces like that.

    I recall the Observer doing one and being amazed that Soho had a Tory Cllr a decade ago.

    It’s rare to see ones that genuinely surprise politicos or include insight and real local facts. The Sunday Times did used to do these around 15 years ago (a recall variously: a feature on the Tory Cllr in Knowsley; the Labour / Orange Order Cllr in Scotland).

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