Finchley & Golders Green

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25835 (50.9%)
Labour: 20173 (39.7%)
Lib Dem: 1662 (3.3%)
Green: 1357 (2.7%)
UKIP: 1732 (3.4%)
MAJORITY: 5662 (11.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Barnet council area.

Main population centres: Finchley, Golders Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Childs Hill.

Profile: A well-to-do residential seat with a large Jewish population. It is an affluent area, with little social housing - although there are some high rise council developments in Childs Hill. Golders Green is best known for its large Jewish population, and the seat has the highest proportion of Jewish residents of any seat in the country, with just over 20% of the population describing themselves as Jewish in the 2011 census..

Politics: Politically Finchley is, of course, most associated with Margaret Thatcher who was the MP her for 33 years between 1959 and 1992. Rudi Viz won the seat on its new boundaries in 1997, an unexpected victory, and it remained Labour for 13 years before being regained by the Conservatives in 2010.

Current MP
MIKE FREER (Conservative) Born 1960, Manchester. Educated at Chadderton Grammar School and Stirling University. Former area manager for Barclays Bank. Barnet councillor 1990-94, 2001-10, leader of Barnet council 2006-09. Contested Harrow West 2005. First elected as MP for Finchley & Golders Green in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 21688 (46%)
Lab: 15879 (34%)
LDem: 8036 (17%)
UKIP: 817 (2%)
Oth: 737 (2%)
MAJ: 5809 (12%)
Con: 16746 (39%)
Lab: 17487 (40%)
LDem: 7282 (17%)
GRN: 1136 (3%)
Oth: 563 (1%)
MAJ: 741 (2%)
Con: 16489 (38%)
Lab: 20205 (46%)
LDem: 5266 (12%)
GRN: 1385 (3%)
Oth: 330 (1%)
MAJ: 3716 (9%)
Con: 19991 (40%)
Lab: 23180 (46%)
LDem: 5670 (11%)
Oth: 781 (2%)
MAJ: 3189 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MIKE FREER (Conservative) See above.
SARAH SACKMAN (Labour) Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister.
JONATHAN DAVIES (Liberal Democrat) Contested Finchley and Golders Green 1997.
RICHARD KING (UKIP) Educated at Nottingham University. IT project manager.
ADELE WARD (Green) Educated at Newlands School and Royal Holloway. Publisher and former journalist.
Comments - 443 Responses on “Finchley & Golders Green”
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  1. BBC’s coverage of the 1983 general election is going to be repeated (somewhat early) on BBC Parliament on Easter Monday to mark its 30th anniversary.
    I’m well aware Andy has posted it on YouTube. I wonder if they’ll include the breakfast show plus some Ulster results?

  2. RIP The greatest Prime Minister of the last century 🙁

  3. Such sad news about the death of Mrs T…

    Gone are the days when politicians really cared about their country.

  4. I imagine some on the left will be happy. The one person they couldn’t defeat has now died.

  5. RIP Lady Thatcher, by far the greatest PM since Churchill and the woman who turned Britain around and made us a great nation again.

  6. Former Finchley MP, and Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher has died.

  7. Finchley and Golders’ Green, yet another seat that Labour can win in 2015 if it remains solidly centrist and appeals to aspirant middle-classes. This is a seat with a majority which technically makes it a marginal, but due to demographics and the actual swing required, taking this seat is harder than it seems. I think Joe Goldberg would be a good candidate here, but Labour will have to in effect update New Labour in this seat.

  8. I don’t think that the demographics of this seat have changed all that much since 1997. Finchley Church End & Garden Suburb wards remain solidly Tory, E Finchley has remained safe Labour, the other wards have essentially retained their characteristics – perhaps the Tories have solidified a little in Golders Green ward if anything, but Labour looks a little more solid in W Finchley than was once the case, though it’s still marginal. The changes however are somewhat subtle & this seat is still up for grabs, although the Tories will probably start as favourites when the time comes. The last by-election, in E Finchley ward, will give the Tories some cause for concern – Labour got an astonishingly high share of the vote, only just short of 70% – and there’s still quite a lot of LD vote to squeeze. It is to my mind harder to win than Ilford N, but much easier than Battersea, to compare it with 2 other London seats with somewhat similar gaps between Lab & Con. This area will be very familiar to Ed Miliband of course, and perhaps he will go down relatively well here. I don’t see it as a quintessentially New Labour seat like Battersea or Putney – the Tory voters in the seat are ethnically, professionally & in other ways different, if at times subtly, from those in those 2 seats.

  9. I know a Labour councillor in this seat who is unsure about Ed Miliband’s ability to win here because they people don’t think he is Prime Minister-ial enough. He needs to be seen as a PM in waiting and a strong leader. It is a New Labour seat, it is an affluent area with middle-class aspiration people. I would not rely on the Lib Dem vote here, but I think the by-election in Finchley is encouraging news. Battersea, Ilford North and this seat will be the ones we need to work hard at when it comes to taking seats off the Tories in London.

  10. Miliband’s biggest problem is his voice. He sounds really irritating and it’s hard to take him seriously.

  11. He also looks very peculiar I think

  12. I know 5 million people who think the former MP for this constituency had a really irritating voice but it didnt stop her becoming PM.

  13. Four hours of ITN’s 1983 election night programme starting at about 11:40pm which I’ve just put on YouTube. There are five parts in total:

  14. Thanks Andy – Excellent program – it’s the one I saw at the time – my first ever election night but good to get hold of it.
    The BBC one was professionally done with a very accurate poll on that occasion
    but the ITN one was more packed with activity and better for the atmosphere and reactions.

    It is striking how generous and what a gentleman Michael Foot was – although I knew that.
    Compared to the sour bullying sit in tone of Balls/Campbell/Dreary etc in 2010.

    The Alliance vote wasn’t a vote for Alliance poliices but a protest vote against the stance of Labour from 1980 onwards by Labour voters.

  15. Apparently they did make an effort to count the Finchley seat quickly in 1983 but seem to have failed to do so. It does seem large numbers of candidates slow things down but I’m not sure why – I can understand in a council election because you’ve got all the split votes.

    Mrs Thatcher was a bit annoyed by the delay but she must have been in an almost unique position of a party leader going to a declaration when they definitely have an overall majority.

  16. I assume that the Labour may just have held Margaret Thatchers 1974 – 1997 Finchley Constituency?

    In 1992 it had a Labour majority of 6388, where as Finchley & Golders Green had a notional Conservative 1992 majority of 12474.

    The conservatives would, however, have regained her original pre-1974 constituency.

    The Radio Times Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies in 1974 listed the adjacent Hendon South as being Con/ 86% the same. Its 1970 Con maj of 6189 became 6597 in Feb 1974.

    By contrast, Finchley was Con/ 82% the same and had a Con maj of 11185 in 1970 but then 5978 in Feb 1974, so while there are no detailed notional results it is likely that the constituency may have lost more Conservative areas to Hendon South and Chipping Barnet, while gaining a more mixed part of the old Barnet.

  17. I dont understand. The conservatives comfortably held Finchley in 1992.

  18. This seat has the word Green in the title, so I expect a massive swing to the green party next time round.

  19. Barnet was never one of the faster boroughs to count, particularly in 2010.

  20. I was suggesting that as the pre-1997 Finchley had a majority over 6000 less than than the current Finchley & Golders Green that Labour may just have held it in 2010. The Conservatives would just have won on the pre-1974 boundaries but by a much slimmer margin than the current F & GG

  21. “Barnet was never one of the faster boroughs to count, particularly in 2010.”

    All of the London constituencies took ages to count in 2010 except Wandsworth which were just as fast as they usually are.

    The problem is the excuses given by the other London seats also should have applied to Wandsworth so they don’t carry much weight.

  22. It appears strange that Guildfprd and Torbay are usually quite fast counters but they are actiually fairly compact semi urban seats

  23. Guildford actually includes quite a few villages outside the town so the staff there are clearly efficient. Cheltenham used to be one of the first but actually counted on Friday last time. Of London boroughs Havering used to be quick but not it seems after 1997.

  24. There’s absolutely no correlation between the physical or numerical size of a constituency and how fast it takes to count. Whether or not there are local elections doesn’t make any difference either.

    It must simply be a case of how efficiently things are organised by each returning officer.

  25. Labour shortlist (both are “proud” members of UNITE

    Alon Or-Bach – Israeli-born software engineer, has sat on Labour’s national policy forum
    Sarah Sackman – locally based lawyer

  26. Unite political committee is backing Alon

  27. i wonder how he gets on with all the israel hating labour members

  28. Both candidates seem really good

  29. Good if you are a leftwinger I guess.

  30. @ a wilson bank manager
    alon can sit with john mann if he wins

  31. or Louise Ellman

  32. “I was suggesting that as the pre-1997 Finchley had a majority over 6000 less than than the current Finchley & Golders Green that Labour may just have held it in 2010.”

    My figures disagree with you.

    You are forgetting that the pre-97 Finchley included some Tory bits now in Chipping Barnet (Oakleigh, and also the now marginal Coppetts), which would have gone some way to replacing the Tory votes from the Golders Green / Hendon South part of the seat.

    I reckon the Tories would have held the pre-97 Finchley by about 42% to 38% in 2010, a majority of about 1500.

  33. I don’t think you can really characterise Alon Or-Bach as a left-winger. He seems from what I have seen to occupy the ground between the party leadership & the left.
    This looks like an all-Jewish shortlist! I haven’t come across one of those before, if so.

  34. Talking of trends, Labour may just have won on the 1974-1997 Finchley boundaries in 2010 (as Finchley & Golders Greens notional 1992 Con Maj was in excess of 12000 and Finchley was just over 6000).

    The Conservatives would have won on the pre-1974 boundaries but not by as much as the current F & GG.

  35. Con maj of about 2,500 on the old boundaries

  36. Changes in 1983:

    Con: -1.45%
    Lab: -5.92%
    All: +7.02%
    Oths: +0.36%

  37. Pete calculated a notional when I asked on the old site.

    Thatcher’s vote moved very close to the London average whilst she was Prime Minister
    but the Labour vote did hold up rather better – the Alliance made less impact than the Liberals in 1974 or 1964.

    Perhaps a rather low swing seat most of the time with a solid vote for both parties.

  38. Yes it’s interesting how there were a small number of seats where the Alliance in the 1980s did badly in comparison to the Liberals in the 1970s and a lot of them seemed to be in Greater London for some reason.

    In addition to the Barnet seats, another place where this seemed to be the case was Havering.

    I can’t immediately think of a reason why this might have been so.

  39. Yes, the Liberals did rather well in Romford for example in 1974.
    It hardly seems a Liberal type of place now.
    But given the Liberals true vote in February 1974 was around 24% – they still left about 100 seats uncontested – then it isn’t all that surprising that they would have done better in some areas compared to 1983.

    I think sometimes Liberal votes collapse in areas where they have failed to make a break through, so the places they do well in now may not be the same places they did well several decades ago.

  40. Perhaps Liberal votes in 1974 were rather lacking in social group distinction – it was just a blanket protest vote that hit everyone.

  41. Does anyone know what the Finchley of 1974- pre 1997 would have voted in 1970?

  42. It must be difficult to do those calculations because the wards changed in 1978 unless I’m mistaken.

  43. David Butler must have an idea, because he’s calculated swings in the February 1974 British General Election book he published.

    One could make a guess – I think the Tory majority was about 8,400

  44. Off-topic:

    This is what UKPR used to look like when I first visited the website:

  45. In Finchley there is some suggestion that the Jewish vote went Liberal for some time from the 1950s. People will recall that there was quite a strong Liberal vote there in 1959 and 1964. Finchley East division of MIddlesex county council was won by the Liberals in 1958 – the only seat they won in the county since the war I think.
    Margaret Thatcher was very successful at winning over this vote locally and nationally

  46. I think that’s a reasonable suggestion. I gather that one of the first things Thatcher did as a local MP was to get the local golf club to end its anti-Semitic policy. She was very successful in getting Jewish votes for the most part.

  47. “This is what UKPR used to look like when I first visited the website:”

    I think it looked better then, and certainly the quality of comments and commentators was better also.

  48. Most of the links don’t work of course on the WaybackMachine but clicking on “Broadland” on the recent comments box on that page does happen to work.

  49. Is there any research into how each of the faith groups voted in general successive general elections.

    US statistics note that the Jewish populati on in the US was very Liberal and was 2/3 Democrat and 1/3 Republican. Would this mean that Jewish people were more Liberal or that Jewish people tended to be concentrate in states where the Democrats were strong.

    In the UK, I would imagine that the Jewish community would have bee strongly Labour in the early to mid 20th Century and then become more Conservative in the decades later.

  50. There is no doubt that US Jews, while actually even more uncritical of Israel than their British counterparts, remain heavily predominantly pro-Democrat. This is interestingly illustrated in the Senate, where there are I think at least 10 Senators of Jewish origin, all of whom are Democrats except for the left-wing independent Bernie Sanders (Vermont). It is true however that the senior House Republican Eric Cantor is an Orthodox Jew. Even in GOP landslide years like 1984 there has remained at least some Jewish majority for the Democrats & the proportion is roughly as Peter has stated above. Peter’s last paragraph is also correct although, controlling for social class, British Jews are rather less likely to vote Conservative than the national average.

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