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 - 246 Responses on “Cities of London & Westminster”
  1. Tory
    I agree but I suppose this is what happens when a party tries to game things in their favour, a normal seat equalisation exercise with a 10% threshold would have almost certainly been passed by now but the partisan advantages for the Tories wouldn’t have been anywhere near as great and as we’ve since learned re Cameron, he was a gambler that always wanted the big prize.

  2. How on earth has Beckenham, with a Conservative majority of 15,000, become a notional Labour seat? That must be barely the same seat at all

  3. The former incarnation of Beckenham pre-2010 included the 3 Bromley wards now in Lewisham W & Penge. 2 of these wards are much stronger for Labour than the Tories & the third, Clock House, must have voted clearly for Labour in the general election. I can only presume that it would lose Bromley Common & Keston back to Bromley where really it belongs. That former incarnation of Beckenham was close to electing Labour in a by-election in late 1997 (admittedly after a pretty tawdry extra-marital dalliance by the resigning Tory MP, who subsequently joined UKIP, and has since died), but the present seat has 6 wards which are all solid Tory. H.Hemmelig would know the area better than anyone here.

  4. Electoral Calculus has the notional Beckenham majority down to 6K based on the proposals. The seat takes back two of the Labour-inclined seats referred to (Penge & Cator and Clock House) and also gains Shirley ward from the Croydon council area (but that ward is Conservative). It loses Hayes & Coney Hall and Bromley Common & Keston.

    It’s interesting to note that going into the 2015 election Beckenham was notionally the safest Conservative seat (allowing for the boundary changes) but it feels like those days are long gone. Still safe I can see evidence of some parts trending quite quickly against the Conservatives. Around where I live, a lot of the low-rise flats which used to typically house single pensioners, when they die off they are often replaced by young families (at least as much as young, often single, professionals which used to be more the case).

  5. Apologies all re Beckenham, I forgot that what the BC proposed this time is a bit different to what they proposed last time. In the last review they also included the very safe Lab ward of Crystal Palace and didn’t include the Tory inclined ward of Shirley, thus a Beckenham seat made up of the following Bromley wards
    West Wickham
    Kelsey and Eden Park
    Shortlands
    Copers Cope
    Clock House
    Penge and Cator
    Crystal Palace

    That seat would have been notionally Labour given the vote in this election.

  6. That’s exactly the same Beckenham boundaries as 1997-2010 except for a small part of Hayes & Coney Hall ward which was also in the seat then.

    The notionals are very dubious if they suggest a seat on these boundaries would have voted Labour. Even in 1997 the Tory majority was 5000 or so. Labour would have been very strongly ahead in Crystal Palace and Penge & Cator, probably quite strongly ahead in Clock House, but the other four wards remain very strongly Conservative with the Lib Dems quite often in second place.

  7. David

    Seems like you live in Copers Cope ward, where I used to live….or perhaps Kelsey.

    20 years ago Beckenham was a very eurosceptic place, but last year I imagine it voted Remain. The demographic shifts have been quite stark.

  8. HH
    “The notionals are very dubious if they suggest a seat on these boundaries would have voted Labour”

    This is true and admittedly there is a lot is guesswork but the notionals suggested the Tories would have had a 14% majority in 2015 on those boundaries which was worked out a while back In one of mine and Pepps endless debates on boundaries which you so hated 😉
    Given the results this time Labs majority was up 17% in Lewisham W and Penge and the Tory majority was down 9% in Beckenham thus the two together would equal a 26% differential and a swing of 13% which is well above the 7% swing needed for Lab to have won the seat on those boundaries.

    Now of course it could be that these shifts predominantly took place in parts of the two seats not contained within the proposed new Beckenham (the Lewisham wards and the Bromley Common area) but I have absolutely no local knowledge (so I defer to you on that) I just presumed that the swing was more or less equal across all areas which it probably wasn’t but with a 6% surplus it doesn’t necessarily need to be for the seat to be notionally Lab.

  9. Another comment to your analysis is that I expect Shirley ward would have been surprisingly close in 2017, though with the Tories still ahead, extrapolating from the Croydon Central result.

  10. People have gone on about how Heathfield ward in Croydon Central is apparently moving demographically towards Labour, but there’s little evidence of that in actual election results & it still seems to vote in a very similar way to Shirley ward. They’re clearly the 2 best Tory wards in that constituency.

  11. H.HEMMELIG – yes, I live in Copers Cope Ward (close to the New Beckenham end, hence my reference to the low-rise flats which are predominant in that part), and moved here very shortly after the 1997 by-election.

    Beckenham constituency as a whole was estimated to have voted Remain by a fair bit (compared to the high Leave vote in Orpington, with Bromley and Chislehurst somewhere in between), and I think the Copers Cope end will have been at the highest end of the Remain vote as well and I get a feeling it’s the part of the Beckenham constituency changing the quickest.

    The only Bromley borough wards with higher Remain votes will be the three in the LW&P constituency (Crystal Palace, Penge & Cator and Clock House).

  12. It wouldn’t surprise me if Shirley(or its successor ward) fell to Labour in the next decade though boundary changes are pending and the new ones are due to be confirmed later this week by the local government boundary commission which may changes things slightly. The existing Heathfield ward would be a much harder nut to crack than Shirley.

  13. If the revised Beckenham seat had been in existence it would have still been in the Tory column though I suspect the majority would be in the region of 2-3,000. Would certainly be a key target if in existence at the next election.

  14. “H.HEMMELIG – yes, I live in Copers Cope Ward (close to the New Beckenham end…)…. I think the Copers Cope end will have been at the highest end of the Remain vote as well and I get a feeling it’s the part of the Beckenham constituency changing the quickest.”

    We lived very close to you, a few mins walk from New Beckenham station up Copers Cope Road. I suppose we are part of this change you are describing…we sold our 3 bed flat to a nice professional Indian couple four years ago, too cheaply in retrospect, I very much doubt their vote will be as reliably Tory as mine was.

    “The only Bromley borough wards with higher Remain votes will be the three in the LW&P constituency (Crystal Palace, Penge & Cator and Clock House).”

    There’s a pretty strong white van man streak in Clock House still, which is why the Tories can still get councillors there in good years. Whereas Copers Cope is more young professionals/commuters. I’d be very surprised if Clock House voted more for Remain than CC.

  15. Is Copers Cope the only ward in London which is a complete sentence?

  16. I could well see Labour picking up seats in wards like Copers Cope if it was a complete rout next year, with wards like Plaistow and Sundridge along with Bromley Town becoming close. Whilist Bromley will remain blue Labour could well have their highest number of seats since 1971 in the borough.

  17. Welsh Harp? (Brent N)

  18. “I could well see Labour picking up seats in wards like Copers Cope if it was a complete rout next year, with wards like Plaistow and Sundridge along with Bromley Town becoming close. Whilist Bromley will remain blue Labour could well have their highest number of seats since 1971 in the borough.”

    I was thinking the same thing. Though I think there are still enough wards in Bromley where Labour simply couldn’t win, I could see the Tories getting a fright 1994-style.

    More generally, next year’s local elections have the potential to be a real wipeout for the Tories in London. There is quite simply the potential for a perfect storm against them-

    Brexit + Poor GE results + Continued demographic change + Grenfell + DUP deal + Govt unpopularity

  19. I’m sure an absolute hammering for the Tories in London would make George Osborne very pleased!

  20. Re the next set of locals in London does anyone think Lab has the opportunity of capturing any additional boroughs?

    Personally I’m sceptical, Barnet is obviously the most likely with Lab just needing to gain two wards to gain control and with the Tories dire performance in Chipping Barnet that looks very possible but the whole anti Semitism issue might still hamper Labour.

    Outside of Barnet though I don’t see anything else as particularly likely. Lab have an outside chance in Hillingdon but it would be a long shot, people have spoke about Wandsworth before but even if Lab had an absolute corker of a night they’d probably still fall short. everywhere else is a non starter.

  21. Given what happened on June 8th, Wandsworth looks extremely vulnerable. 10% swings in all three parliamentary seats!

    The question is whether the wave of enthusiasm Labour generated can motivate people to turn out in a far lower-profile contest. If they do, Wandsworth will turn red.

  22. Another one to keep an eye on is Richmond-upon-Thames – surely the Lib Dems have a chance there, in what will be their leader’s back yard?

  23. K&C is surely losable by the Cons given the Grenfell fiasco.

    Maybe Westminster as well.

    I don’t see the Tories losing Bexley or Bromley.

    Havering is vulnerable to Residents and Richmond and Kingston to Lib Dems.

    Worst case therefore only 2 boroughs controlled by the Tories = worse than 1994 and 1998.

  24. “The question is whether the wave of enthusiasm Labour generated can motivate people to turn out in a far lower-profile contest. If they do, Wandsworth will turn red.”

    A lot of the people who voted Labour last month vote Tory in Wandsworth, Westminster and K&C local elections.

    The question is whether they continue to support their local Tory councils or are persuaded to vote the same way as last month.

  25. K&C I thought about, but I suspect the main effect of Grenfell will to make the red wards redder. It depends how dysfunctional things get – I might change my mind if the national government imposes direct rule over the council but at the moment think the Tories have enough strength in the wealthy areas to hold on.

  26. Putney?

  27. I agree with Polltroll regarding K and C. Admittedly the Tories one councillor in the St Helens ward looks dead and buried and if the ramifications are greater than I expect then Lab might have a chance in the two southern Notting Hill wards. Further south though into Kensington proper and Chelsea and the Tory vote is weighed rather than counted. It would thus require some herculean swings for Lab to win.

  28. “K&C I thought about, but I suspect the main effect of Grenfell will to make the red wards redder.”

    “Further south though into Kensington proper and Chelsea and the Tory vote is weighed rather than counted”

    It’s virtually impossible that Labour could have won Kensington in the GE without carrying a ward or two south of Notting Hill. It’s almost certain they won around Earls Court, I would have thought.

  29. HH – it’s true that there is ticket-splitting in Wandsworth & Westminster, but the gap between local & national elections has been narrowing in recent years. Hence Labour gaining seats in 3 wards last time which hadn’t seen Labour councillors in a long while – and since then Labour has had a thumping win in a by-election in one of those wards, Queenstown. Even if you allow for some pro-Wandsworth Tory bias in local elections, the council is clearly at risk for the Tories. But to take control Labour will need a substantial swing over & above their improved performance in 2014. Hard to tell exactly which the must-win wards are, though I’d say West Hill, Nightingale & St Mary’s Park (as it happens, in 3 different constituencies) are the ones Labour has the best chance in apart from the split ones. Westminster is really hard but just about feasible depending on the national lead (Labour really has to be ahead nationally to win there). Hillingdon is a little bit easier but still quite difficult. I think Barnet is likely despite the factor Rivers10 mentions since such a tiny swing is needed – just winning the split wards is sufficient and Brunswick Park’s Tory seat looks like very low-hanging fruit.

  30. Kingston-upon-Thames could be hung with Labour holding the balance of power…..
    K&C does have a just about winnable ward, Chelsea Riverside, in the south. I don’t see Labour winning a ward in the south of Notting Hill which it doesn’t already have though agree about the Tory seat in St Helens.

  31. I agree with Barnaby…RBK could be hung as per 1998 to 2002 but then Labour had 10 seats (in Cadbury, Norbiton, Tolworth South and Tolworth West). It’s quite hard now for Labour to win more that three seats.

  32. Yes I’d agree with that, though looking at the wards in detail I can’t help thinking it won’t be straightforward for either Cons or Lib Dems to win outright. It’s not an easy science predicting either Kingston or Richmond since there are above-average numbers of split wards in both boroughs. There’s some Labour potential in quite a large number of wards, but actually winning any of them apart from Norbiton is pretty difficult.

  33. “There’s a pretty strong white van man streak in Clock House still, which is why the Tories can still get councillors there in good years. Whereas Copers Cope is more young professionals/commuters. I’d be very surprised if Clock House voted more for Remain than CC.”

    Prepare to be surprised!

    Bromley results are available by ward.
    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2017/newsspec_15869/ward-results.xlsx

    On this basis, the actual result was:

    Clock House: Remain: 60.46%; Leave: 39.54%
    Copers Cope: Remain: 58.27%; Leave: 41.73%

    Perhaps the “White Van Man” streak has since fled and it is now metropolitan professionals?

  34. “Is Copers Cope the only ward in London which is a complete sentence?”

    Next-door Lewisham used to have “Grinling Gibbons”

    Must be a South-East London thing…:-)

  35. Grinling Gibbons isn’t a complete sentence, even if Grinling were a proper word (which it isn’t). Copers Cope is a complete sentence with a noun and a verb rather than a participle – people who can cope do cope. Not a very good sentence though.
    The place name Westward Ho! is however a complete sentence, despite the lack of a true verb.

  36. “There’s some Labour potential in quite a large number of wards, but actually winning any of them apart from Norbiton is pretty difficult.”

    The pre-1982 Canbury was a three way marginal but the boundary changes combined the most Labour bits of the old Canbury Ward with the most Labour bits of the abolished Park Ward creating a natural Labour ward which went Lib Dem. Canbury Gardens and the riverside roads went into Tudor making the ward a hopeless Tory prospect until 1990s gentrification occurred. Canbury is now quite hard for Labour to regain.

    Tolworth & Hook Rise was the successor to Tolworth South but also includes parts of Tolworth West and Chessington North (ie Hook Rise). In other parts of London, this would be a natural Labour ward but Labour might struggle in the perceived close council wide contest between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

    St Marks, Surbiton Hill and Grove all have high numbers of students and if they were to turn out in large numbers in a local election for Corbyn’s Labour policies there is an outside chance Labour could come through the middle if the Con/ LD vote is equally distributed in these wards.

  37. In a local government survey people were asked who their local cllr was and many of my neighbours put Clarence Ward not realising that’s the division not the cllr

  38. Peter Dalek – Labour did win St Marks in the GLA elections apparently, so you never know. But “quite hard” is an understatement for Canbury nowadays. My friend Chris Priest won it with his 2 Labour colleagues in 1998 but it’s gone a long way upmarket since then.

  39. Well, upmarket doesn’t necessarily mean Tory these days…

  40. Before 1978 St Marks Ward had been called St Marks & Seething Wells from 1965 to 1978.

    It was a merger of two wards on Surbiton Borough Council, of which Seething Wells had traditionally been Labour.

    The current Grove Ward was formed from Grove Ward and Town Ward and historically Labour had been strong in Town Ward.

  41. Well, upmarket doesn’t necessarily mean Tory these days… that’s sort of true, but in the Richmond Park constituency there has been a direct correlation between older working-class voters passing away & newer highly-paid professionals moving in, and the decline in Labour’s vote in wards where Labour was competitive in the late 90s – Mortlake & Barnes Common as well as Canbury.

  42. Cllr Murad Gassanly has defected to the Conservatives here.

    He represents the Churchill ward, was elected as Labour but has been sitting as an Ind for the past 9 months.

  43. “Well, upmarket doesn’t necessarily mean Tory these days… that’s sort of true, but in the Richmond Park constituency there has been a direct correlation between older working-class voters passing away & newer highly-paid professionals moving in, and the decline in Labour’s vote in wards where Labour was competitive in the late 90s – Mortlake & Barnes Common as well as Canbury.” I heard that Mortlake used to be quite a rough gritty area like Roehampton was back in the old days and has heavily gentrified since and that Ham used to be more like St Helier.

  44. Mortlake is a bit different from Roehampton because only a minority of it is council-built housing (even less now after some upmarket flats have been built on the riverside) but there are a lot of owner-occupied maisonettes & terraced cottages which would have had predominantly working-class occupants for many years. There still are some deprived pockets in the ward especially some of the flats close to Chiswick Bridge. Ham is much more predominantly council-built and generally even the owner-occupied sections are lot less posh than in Mortlake nowadays, except of course for the ultra-exclusive areas on & immediately abutting the common, and on and just off the Petersham Road.

  45. The Austrian election apparently resulted in:

    Conservative (OVP) 31% (+7%)

    Freedom Party 28% (+7%)

    SPO 25% (+1%)

    Greens 4% (-8%)

    They do seem to like their photogenic rightwingers in Austria, even if this time the Freedom Party accused the Conservative of stealing their policies on immigration.

  46. Later projections show the SPO doing better than expected in Vienna and narrowly holding second place ahead of the FPO.

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