Dulwich & West Norwood

2015 Result:
Conservative: 11650 (22.7%)
Labour: 27772 (54.1%)
Lib Dem: 5055 (9.8%)
Green: 4844 (9.4%)
UKIP: 1606 (3.1%)
TUSC: 248 (0.5%)
Independent: 125 (0.2%)
Others: 62 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 16122 (31.4%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Lambeth council area and part of Southwark council area.

Main population centres: Brixton, Dulwich, West Norwood.

Profile: A diverse inner-city seat, containing both very affluent, very wealthy areas and deprived, racially mixed areas of social housing. Dulwich itself is wealthy and exclusive - Dulwich Village has million pound properties and well preserved 18th and 19th century buildings near Dulwich Park. There are two noted private schools here and following her resignation as Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher famously lived in a gated community here for a time. There are also wealthy areas in the West Norwood part of the seat, such as Thurlow Park. Further north the seat becomes poorer and largely afro-carribean. The parts of Brixton that fall within the seat, including the centre of the community, are dominated by council estates like Angell Town and Loughborough Estate, with their attendent problems of crime, drugs, unemployment and teenage pregnancy.

Politics: A reliable Labour seat - the working class areas are strongly Labour and the more affluent areas are just as much the trendy intelligentsia as suburban conservatives, splitting the non-Labour vote here between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Under the abandoned boundary changes the seat would have been abolished.

Current MP
HELEN HAYES (Labour) Born 1974. Educated at Oxford University. Former chartered town planner. Southwark councillor since 2010. First elected as MP for Dulwich & West Norwood in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 10684 (22%)
Lab: 22461 (47%)
LDem: 13096 (27%)
GRN: 1266 (3%)
Oth: 707 (1%)
MAJ: 9365 (19%)
Con: 9200 (22%)
Lab: 19059 (45%)
LDem: 10252 (24%)
GRN: 2741 (7%)
Oth: 737 (2%)
MAJ: 8807 (21%)
Con: 8689 (23%)
Lab: 20999 (55%)
LDem: 5806 (15%)
GRN: 1914 (5%)
Oth: 839 (2%)
MAJ: 12310 (32%)
Con: 11038 (24%)
Lab: 27807 (61%)
LDem: 4916 (11%)
Oth: 957 (2%)
MAJ: 16769 (37%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
RESHAM KOTECHA (Conservative)
HELEN HAYES (Labour) Born 1974. Educated at Oxford University. Chartered town planner. Southwark councillor since 2010.
JAMES BARBER (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Billericay Comprehensive School and Open University. Manager. Southwark councillor since 2006.
RASHID NIX (Green) Educated at South Bank University. Director and freelance cameraman.
ROBIN LAMBERT (Independent)
Comments - 183 Responses on “Dulwich & West Norwood”
  1. “Strangely perhaps, before the 2014 local elections 3 of the wards in this constituency had at least one Conservative councillor, but only 2 had Lib Dems. One of these though, E Dulwich, had a large LD majority though in the end Labour has been able to share that ward with them”

    I think I read on another thread that the Labour candidates in East Dulwich were paper candidates, and they didn’t actually do much work other than delivering an election address. Even so they gained one seat and were close with the other two. Presumably if the local labour party had worked the ward in the council elections, there would now be no Lib Dem councillors in this constituency.

    I can remember that as far back as 1986, Labour could sometimes split the councillors with the tories in College and Village wards, when Toby Eckersley was the local tory group leader. I can’t remember the tories ever having more than 6 councillors and often less on Southwark Council, who were always in these two wards, even when they held the Dulwich parliamentary seat.

  2. College and Ruskin (the then name of the now Village ward) were not split in 1986 and were not even close. The split ward was the now-defunct Rye ward which is now split between the current wards of Peckham Rye, East Dulwich and College. In 1982 the Conservatives won all 7 seats in these three wards and also won one in Alleyn (the core of the current East Dulwich ward). They were also competitive in the old wards of Bellenden and Lyndhurst (the latter corresponding roughly to the South Camberwell ward)

  3. Pete

    Is that because prior to the most recent local govt boundary changes there were 2, 2 member wards and 1, 3 member ward that covered most of the area which now has 2, 3 member wards?

    I can remember that the number of tory councillors reduced in 2006, as it did in most of London in these first post GLC abolition elections. The tories just hanging on by one seat in Wandsworth and not much more in Westminster if I recall correctly!

  4. Not really because while a sizeable chunk of Rye ward was added to College, the greater part was not

  5. Ian – you may have read that but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was true. It is not uncommon for supporters of opposing political parties – in this case it would be the LDs – to claim that they are working brilliantly hard & that their opponents are not doing anything at all. I was told by a pretty senior figure in the Southwark Labour Party that E Dulwich was being worked properly & I see no reason to disbelieve them bearing in mind the result – which required a large swing since as I say the LDs won the ward by about 1,000 in 2010.

  6. Rashid Nix has been selected by the Greens for this seat. He was a council candidate for Coldharbour Ward and ran a strong campaign doubling the Green vote in the ward to over 20% (2nd to Labour).

  7. John Fraser was Labour MP for Norwood from 1966, when he gained the seat from the Tories, until 1997 when the seat was effectively abolished, and he lost out to Tessa Jowell in the selection for this new seat as it then was. I noticed looking at the 1998 election results this morning that he was unfortunate enough to be narrowly defeated in the local elections the year after, losing in Gipsy Hill to the Tories despite having a personal vote of more than 200. One of the Labour councillors who was elected that year (in Clapham Park ward, which was in the Streatham constituency) was Michael English, previously MP for Nottingham W & regarded for many years as the House of Commons’ most pedantic MP.

  8. I predict that Tessa Jowell will be the next London Mayor –

    Tessa Jowell 51% (37%)
    Shaun Bailey 49% (39%)

  9. Shaun Bailey would be lucky to achieve half that vote. With that line up Jowell would win a landslide.

  10. Quite acrimonious hustings here last night, arguments between Conservative, Labour and Green candidates. The Conservative candidate pledged to protect NHS from TTIP, contrary to party policy, which is good to see. NHS, housing and schools are the main issues of interest in this constituency, it seems.

  11. Labour by 17000. South and east London replaces the central belt and welsh valleys as the heartland of Labour.

  12. Con 2nd

  13. A report on a hustings, showing what politics is like here: http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/2015/04/things-that-we-now-know-following-the-herne-hill-forum-general-election-hustings-that-took-place-on-thursday-evening/

    There is high engagement by the public in this safe Labour seat. I would not be surprised by a result such as: Labour 50%, Cons 20%, LD 15%, Green 12%, but we think there is a real possibility of overtaking LD (we were ahead of them in 6 of the 8 wards in 2014).

  14. I’d be very surprised if Labour weren’t closer to 60%, mostly subtracted from your Lib Dem estimate. That would put the Greens in 3rd place.

  15. Actual result:
    Labour 54.1
    Conservative 22.7
    LD 9.8
    Green 9.4

    My target was 3rd place and 10% and we came close to that.

  16. The new MP here was mentioned in an article by Sophie Jamieson in the Telegraph before the elections about possible future female frontbench ‘stars’. It mentioned both Conservative and Labour candidates at the time, most of whom were elected.

  17. Helen Hayes is expected to announce she is standing down in East Dulwich later.

  18. From the council I assume you mean?

  19. This is to presumably ensure the council by-election is on the same day as the Mayor of London and GLA elections.

    Sensible planning for a change

  20. There was a council by-election here in Gipsy Hill ward last night which Labour won, but only just with the Greens putting in a strong showing (change from 2014):

    LAB 43.4% (-23.6)
    GRN 42.1% (+31.2)
    CON 7.5% (-5.6)
    LD 3.0% (-1.9)
    UKIP 2.6% (-1.6)
    IND 0.9% (n/a)
    TUSC 0.7% (n/a)

  21. No idea how accurate this is but the word I’ve heard is that the Lab candidate was some arch Blairite and a terrible fit for the ward, the Greens apparently ran a very effective campaign highlighting this.

  22. Maxim
    Its actually not all that uncommon for the Greens to spring a huge swing from nowhere. Indeed there are more impressive recent examples.

    In the last locals for example in Cannock in the ward of Hednesford South (a ward that the Greens only stood in for the first time in 2015 managing a measly 6.3%) they came from nowhere jumped to 42.6% and won the ward!!!

  23. In local by-election if you actually put a big effort and enough resources into it, and aren’t in a totally unreceptive area, surprise results are possible. I expect that goes a long way to explaining why the LDs do so well in them.

    I must admit to being slightly perplexed at the result you mention in Hednesford, however! At the GE the Greens were on 1.9% in Cannock Chase…

  24. I don’t know the area very well but from what I gather the ward is your typical WWC patch, elderly population, very few students, not in any way trendy or bohemian. Must be a local issue or a popular candidate?

  25. Re: Gipsy Hill

    The ward is on the edge of the Crystal Palace area & has quite a mixed population. The big issue that helped the Greens was Lambeth Council’s intention to demolish the large Central Hill housing estate, contrary to the resident’s wishes. Elsewhere in DaWN, libraries are another major issue that hurts Labour (but may not be so significant in a GE).

  26. Rashid Nix has been selected again for the Greens – he is now also the Green’s national BME & equalities spokesperson & stood in the London Assembly elections. The hustings was competitive with 3 candidates wanting to stand here, and with joint leader Jonathan Bartley in attendance.

  27. RIP to Tessa Jowell, who died today at the age of 70.

  28. Had Corbyn running for and becoming leader not massively expanded the Labour membership, Jowell would surely have become mayor of London and we would now be faced with the rare prospect of a mayoral by-election.

    I think she would have been a good mayor, probably a better one than Khan, and would have gained more respect across the political divide. She also undoubtedly did great work winning the olympics for London. That said, at risk of speaking ill of the dead, I was always amazed at how she managed to wriggle out of the extremely serious scandal which engulfed her through her (so called ex) husband, in this age when political careers can be ended by mere trivialities. For me it still leaves a bit of a stench. Undoubtedly though she showed great bravery in her final months.

  29. I totally agree re: the scandal. It just goes to show that, even at the very top of politics, how much you are ‘liked’ counts for an awful lot.

    I didn’t think she was any kind of great political talent, but she always came across as personable. That’s no mean feat in such a cut throat, cynical profession.

  30. “I didn’t think she was any kind of great political talent”

    I have to disagree. From Sure Start to the Olympics, even to 24-hour pubs, she left a legacy almost unparalleled in its sheer breadth.

  31. That’s a ludicrous exaggeration. For a middle ranking cabinet figure she certainly achieved more than most. But her accomplishments certainly aren’t “unparallelled in their breadth” when you consider the long lasting impacts made by the likes of Lloyd George, Churchill, Attlee, Heath, Thatcher and Blair across the entirety of national life.

  32. But tbf none of them were middle ranking politicians

  33. I guess I was comparing her to other politicians who reached the same level of being on the cabinet merry-go-round for a while, but never reaching a great office of state.

    Maybe I did overexaggerate a bit…

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