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 - 559 Responses on “Cities of London & Westminster”
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  1. Stephanie Flanders on the BBC News website:

    “A first-rate city with a second-rate country attached.” That is how one rather brutal friend of mine describes London.

    He happens to be an American, working in the City. But plenty of people working or staying in London from around the world feel the same way – even if they might put it more politely.

    For a certain kind of “global citizen”, London today feels like the new capital of the world – while, for people living in other parts of the UK, it all too often feels like another planet.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21934564

  2. This is the only constituency in the country where corporations elect MPs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1ROpIKZe-c
    It it is perhaps the only Tory minority majority safe seat in the country. Perhaps it will become a swing seat in the next 20 years

  3. This will be the safest Conservative seat in the country after 2015. I doubt that UKIP will have much of an effect here, as it is quite literally the heartland of the new ‘modern’ Tories.

  4. I doubt it will even be the safest Conservative seat in London in 2015- surely Chelsea and Fulham or Orpington will hold that particular distinction.

  5. This is a curious seat as I believe the Greens may take a few votes from Labour and quite a lot from the Lib Dems but I doubt UKIP will exceed 10% here even at a struggle. My guess (subject to change based on developments in the next 2 years) would be:
    CON 45
    LAB 26
    LD 12
    GRN 10
    UKIP 5
    OTH 2

  6. ‘I doubt it will even be the safest Conservative seat in London in 2015- surely Chelsea and Fulham or Orpington will hold that particular distinction.’

    it’s funny how orpington has gone from a seat the lib dems came within a couple of hundred votes of winning to a tory stronghold

    i would have thought Northwood, Ruislip and Pinner would be the Tories strongest seat in the london conurbation

  7. Yeah, the richest seat in the country, the home of our corporate elite and the banking sector, is a really likely candidate for the Green vote going up from 2% last time to 10% (when the Greens have gone down in the polls nationally compared with 2010 and acquired an even more hard left leadership).

  8. Tim – I think Orpington is a great example of the difference a hard working Lib Dem candidate and concentrating resources on a seat can make – they had Chris Maines slogging away there several elections in a row, and presumably threw lots of resources at it as a target seat and came close to winning.

    Take Maines away (and presumably much of the targetting away) and they did much worse.

  9. H Hemmelig:
    My increase in Green vote will come from the moderate Lib Dem vote share; especially the fair number of liberal businessmen in this seat as the Lib Dems lurch further to the right (more so in economic terms). Maybe 10% is a bit high, but I would have thought 7% isn’t beyond possibility, no?

  10. A few days before the 2005 election I decided to take a train to Orpington to see what was going on.

    The answer was not much — although who did I see hammering a LD poster into the ground in a roundabout in central Orpington? None other than Chris Maines himself, unless I was very much mistaken.

  11. Ah, a hands on candidate.

    In our seat we always hire the chap who puts up the signs for the estate agents to do it

  12. Andy

    Orpington town itself has always been the centre of Lib Dem support in the constituency.

    The much richer outlying suburbs like Farnborough and Petts Wood have traditionally been the Tory strongholds in the seat.

  13. “My increase in Green vote will come from the moderate Lib Dem vote share; especially the fair number of liberal businessmen in this seat as the Lib Dems lurch further to the right (more so in economic terms). Maybe 10% is a bit high, but I would have thought 7% isn’t beyond possibility, no?”

    And what exactly is going to attract any businessman, liberal or otherwise, to the Greens. They hate businessmen.

  14. Actually in a city as big as London where local banks wouldn’t really work, the Greens support bank reorganisation and corporate responsibility so not really a hate campaign on the bankers as you allege.

  15. WoC – why would the Greens do better here than anywhere else though?

    If you think the Greens are going to get 9% nationwide then fair enough, though I think it unlikely (I can see why they might have had a breakthrough with the Lib Dems chained to the Conservatives and a lacklustre Labour party, but if it was going to happen I think it would have shown up in polling and elections already), but if not I can’t imagine why this would be a seat where they would do disproportionately well.

  16. Anthony, I would expect the Greens to hold half of their deposits and poll in the 10% region or more in a fifth of those. What are you expecting?

  17. So is it really all rich bankers here then? I thought most would live in rural upper class Tory stronghold areas.

  18. are you certain you’re not bob

  19. For a start I’m not a right-winger…

  20. “So is it really all rich bankers here then? I thought most would live in rural upper class Tory stronghold areas.”

    Parts of thisconstituency (Mayfair, Marlebone, Knightsbridge and Belgravia) are very well to do while Pimlico, Edgware Road and Soho are much more socially mixed.

    I also understand that the City of London is becoming more mixed as around half the population live in the Barbican. Most of the bankers will live in Hampstead, Richmond, Chiswick or the Home Counties.

  21. Mr Change may have noticed the rather high Green share in Knightsbridge & Belgravia Ward in 2010. However, he should note that that was because only the following candidates stood : 3 Conservatives, and 1 Green! It is the only ward in London where neither Labour nor the Lib Dems stood, and you can understand why.
    Surprised to see Anthony contributing at 7 pm tonight – there’s a by-election in a marginal Tory ward in his borough tonight, thought he’d be knocking up! (Perhaps he did earlier.)
    This certainly won’t be the very safest Tory seat in London in 2015. But utterly safe it will clearly remain.

  22. ‘Tim – I think Orpington is a great example of the difference a hard working Lib Dem candidate and concentrating resources on a seat can make – they had Chris Maines slogging away there several elections in a row, and presumably threw lots of resources at it as a target seat and came close to winning.’

    Absolutely – although of course Orpington does have a history of liberal representation after their famous by-election win

    There was a similar pattern in Surrey South West, where the lib dems briefly threatened until Jeremy Hunt got elected in 2005.

    But the Lib Dems performances at elections do seem highly dependent on the type of canddates they select – more than the other two parties

    They came within 995 votes of winning the old Conwy seat in North Wales -an area of the country where they have never been strong in the post war era – and that was purely down to picking a well-liked local canduidate who built up a personal vote by standing in subsequent elections

    i think that ‘personal’ vote could well help them in many of the seats they will be fighting to hold on in 2015

  23. Thanks for clarifying guys!

  24. Barnaby – you can rock a toddler to sleep while writing comments on a blog. You can’t do it while knocking up 😉

  25. Didn’t know you had been blessed! You should get the toddler knocking up too – always good for a few votes…..

  26. The London Evening Standard recently ran an article on the 2nd of July about Tyburnia which is more or less Hyde Park Ward (that does not include the park itself).

    It is the only former Paddington ward that is not included in Westminster North.

    It described the area becoming one of London’s most sought after areas, and describes Tony Blair as having a large house in Connaught Square.

    It also added that previously buyers were put of by the areas close proximity to Edgware Road.

    Tyburn was a village made famous by Tyburn Tree where many highway men were hung.

  27. Smutty comment @ Peter Crerar

    No doubt some in Soho might have had regard to highwaymen who were hung, but the authorities were concerned to have them hanged.

  28. Not altogether surprisingly, this constituency contains the ward with the highest proportion of those classed as ‘higher managerial, professional and administrative’. The ward in question is the City of London; 35% of its residents aged between 16 and 74 fall under that classification.

  29. Off topic:

    Norwegian election being held today. Latest polls:

    http://politisk.tv2.no/spesial/partibarometeret/

    (I posted in this seat because the embassy is located here).

  30. I believe that Wimbledon is actually the area of the London where most Norwegians live, due to it having a large Norwegian school.

    I barely noticed the 2005 election when I was living there, their election campaigns are quite low key.

    The likely fate of Jens Stoltenberg should worry David Cameron – his party is in leading in the polls and he has done well in terms of managing the economy in difficult times, but he is going to lose because he will be unable to form a governing coalition with other parties.

  31. I think it’s absolutely bizarre, out of character, and reflects very badly on Norway that the party Anders Breivik belonged to is 3rd in the polls and looks set to be part of a right wing coalition government if the polls are to be believed

    Perhaps this his explain his farcically lenient sentence

  32. By the standards of right wing populist parties, FrP is quite moderate, arguably slightly more so than UKIP, and most certainly it does not compare with the BNP, EDL or the French Front National.

    I think it’s fair to say that Breivik left the party many years before his massacre, during which time his opinions became unrecognisably extreme.

    If Hoyre and FrP govern together it will be very interesting to watch….Hoyre arguably being the most pro-European of the main parties in Norway, where the EU is generally opposed most from the left.

  33. ‘Hoyre arguably being the most pro-European of the main parties in Norway, where the EU is generally opposed most from the left.’

    I keep having to remind myself that Norway is not in the EU

    Do Hoyre actually support becomng part of it – a policy I can’t imagine being popular in Norway given the standard of living they enjoy

    Your earlier point about Stoltenberg is interesting, his popularity of course rocketed after Breivik’s murderous and death-penalty-deserving massacre – but you would have thought his management of the economy might have been enough to save him in these austere times

    Food for thought indeed for Cameron

  34. “Do Hoyre actually support becomng part of it ”

    Yes, though the matter is closed for a long time given the Euro crisis.

    The other big difference with the UK is that the centre-right is strongest in Oslo and urban areas, the left and far-right strongest in the countryside .

  35. ‘Perhaps this his explain his farcically lenient sentence’

    No. Norway has a very progressive prison system – they don’t believe in super-long sentences and prison-as-punishment as such. Can’t knock it too much though, as Norway does have one of the world’s lowest re-offending rates.

    In anycase though, though he does have a finite sentence of however many years, he can be kept in prison if he’s still considered a danger to the public, so nobody really expects he’ll be released.

  36. Norwegian election programme live at this address:

    http://www.nrk.no/valg2013

  37. “Norway has a very progressive prison system – they don’t believe in super-long sentences and prison-as-punishment as such. Can’t knock it too much though, as Norway does have one of the world’s lowest re-offending rates.”

    Not for everything.

    I know a CEO of a Norwegian company who went to jail for relatively minor tax fraud. He would certainly have got away with a fine in the UK.

  38. I think it must have something to do with having a relatively small population. If they had 45 million people instead of 4.5 million I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to have such a liberal approach to crime and justice for most offences (apart from things like corruption).

  39. A relatively small population might be a factor, but looking at all countries there is generally a correlation between a progressive judicial and prison system, and lower re-offending rates. More draconian systems, like those in the U.S and here in the U.K tend to have the worst rates. There is, of course, more to it than that – a whole variety of other things factor into levels of crime. But even on the surface, it manifestly makes sense that a prison system that places more emphasis on rehabilitation, than just throwing criminals in for years on end and expecting a change, is going to produce better results.

  40. Norway is a very special case…from a progressive point of view it is a happy coincidence of a small population, huge oil wealth and, until recently, a monoculture of honest, modest social democracy.

    Norway is one of those countries that is most popular with those who have never lived there, and therefore don’t appreciate how stifling it can be. Personally I much preferred my time living in the US.

    Norway’s social democracy is fraying at the edges due to mass immigration of people who do not share their somewhat unusual egalitarian approach to life. That’s the major reason the Freedom Party is polling so well.

  41. Freedom Party? Never heard of them. Sure you’re not thinking of another party?

  42. Looks like the centre-right coalition may win 100 seats out 169. Will depend on whether SV reach the 4% threshold. Currently they’re on 3.94% with half the results declared.

  43. One of my friends who works for Microsoft goes to Norway on business regularly

    He’s very well travelled and said Norway was easily the most expensive country he has ever been to. A pint at the airport cost him thirty pounds

    Politically I understand that Sweden – long considered the closest thing to a social democratic utopia – is going the same way with an increasing number of thed electorate turning their backs on the social democratic administrations that have governed their country for the best part of 60 years

  44. Official government results page:

    http://www.valgresultat.no/bs5.html

  45. “Freedom Party? Never heard of them. Sure you’re not thinking of another party?”

    Sorry I meant Fremskrittpartiet (progress party)…predictive text got the better of me there.

    Tim’s right about the hideous cost of living in Norway, though property in Oslo is a lot cheaper than London, eating out and alcohol are horrendous.

  46. Final result:

    Centre-right coalition: 96 seats
    Centre-left coalition: 72 seats
    Others: 1 seat

  47. Why is this constituency called “The Cities of London & Westminster” when most of Westminster is in Westminster North?

    It was “The Cities of London & Westminster”from 1950 to Feb 1974 because Paddington and St Marylebone were not added till 1965.

    In Feb 1974 it was re-named “The City of London & Westminster South” (despite no boundary changes) to reflect the northern extension to the city.

    1997 saw the old “The Cities of London & Westminster” being re-adopted as it extended to include most of Westminster (and this name would be consistent with Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea where the constituency that covered most of the borough adopted the borough name).

    With the re-creation of Westminster North in 2010 (and the fact that Westminster North covered more of Westminster) surely this constituency should have reverted back to“The City of London & Westminster South”?

  48. Hemmelig is a ‘metals trader’ or something along those lines IIRC

    I can say that my mother was studying at the Courtauld Institute in 1980 when my Grandad died.

    So logically speaking what don’t I already know about political and economic events that happened before I was born that has not been discussed already on the constituency threads…?

    Looking to the 2015 future here (this is a guess based on extrapolation from the GLA results)

    Con 51
    Lab 27
    LD 10
    Others 12

  49. More bizarre mother-mentioning….your real name isn’t Norman Bates is it 🙂

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