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”
  1. There has been a huge demographic change going on here and in many other London seats. However it is not just the simplistic “white flight” narrative popular in some quarters. There has been a significant increase in population (Labour will benefit when the next boundary change happens). No doubt that London has become more more ethnically mixed but it has also become a younger city especially in the suburbs as it is increasingly difficult to afford to live in the more central areas. These demographics typically reject both the tories and UKIP. Hence the Labour success in Enfield, Harrow, Redbridge, Ealing and Croyden and elsewhere all of which were mainly tory 20 to 30 years ago.

  2. How far is the swing going to go in London?

    Another cracking poll for Labour. Ilford North and Southgate also firmly in their sights based on this polling.

  3. If you glance at the statistics above you’ll see that it’s a third non-white.

  4. This poll is particularly surprising given the results of the Survation poll on the Jewish vote last week. I still think the Tories will hold.

  5. I think Labour’s choice of candidate here (lovely, middle class Jewish girl who attended a private school and graduated from Cambridge) has helped them as Freer is not Jewish.

  6. “This poll is particularly surprising given the results of the Survation poll on the Jewish vote last week.”

    Hertsmere probably has a greater proportion of Jewish voters now than Finchley.

  7. This is a polarising constituency, with the Jewish community more concentrated in the west around Golders Green and Garden Suburb. This area has become increasingly solid for the Tories.

    The east of the seat around Finchley proper isn’t particularly Jewish these days and is seeing a lot of demographic spillover from Haringey.

  8. Finchley Church End ward does still have a lot of Jewish residents, mostly very prosperous. However, the other Finchley wards have far less, especially E Finchley & Woodhouse.

  9. Given that Ilford North’s demographics are seemingly trending Labour’s way, would be intrigued to see what an Ashcroft poll would look like there, especially given the CVI in F&GG.

    Even though this poll is certainly no guarantee of any victory in a few weeks, quite surprised by the findings. Thought Labour would’ve been out of the running, as were shown in some of the other constituency polls in this bundle.

  10. @Barnaby The 2011 census recorded almost 5,000 Jews in Finchley Church End (not far behind Hendon, Golders Green, Garden Suburb and Edgware), and I think it’s quite a generalisation to say that they are “mostly very prosperous”. And even among those who are prosperous (to varying degrees), I know plenty who will be voting Labour. (That may in part reflect a religious divide – most of those I know are members of New North London Synagogue – I suspect it would be a different picture at Finchley United.)

  11. There is a very big Iranian community and an ever-growing Eastern European one too. Who will they vote for is not clear to me, although I suspect it will be labour. Finchley’s demographic has been changing considerably in the last 5 years.

  12. Just to say the Ashcroft Poll was conducted during the Jewish sabbath and also a high holy day so the Jewish vote would not been counted and apparently 72% of the Jewish electorate are going to vote Conservative. So it looks like a Conservative hold albeit with a reduced majority.

  13. @Winters

    Yes, two of the five days of the fieldwork period coincided with days on which religiously observant Jews would not have answered the phone but (i) the other three days didn’t (although, admittedly, a disproportionate number of Jews may have been away on holiday for the Passover festival); (ii) a lot of Jews are not religiously observant to that extent.

    The poll conducted by Survation on behalf of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper suggested 69% support for the Conservatives amongst the Jewish community (after excluding undecideds). However, I do have my doubts about their sampling methodology (I queried this with them, and they haven’t responded). It also shows surprisingly little movement compared to respondents’ (recalled) votes in 2010.

  14. Jewish voters in Bury S have shown a considerable willingness to vote for Ivan Lewis in Bury S since 1997. l still think that Sarah Sackman’s ethnicity makes this seat harder for the Tories to hold, although l accept they are still slight favourites to do so.

  15. @GT

    Don’t most of the Eastern Europeans tend to retain citizenship in their own countries (as they can work here legally anyway) and therefore wouldn’t be eligible to vote?

  16. Many are naturalising now.

  17. Ironically because of the perceived risk of us leaving the EU.

    A few years ago, before the “referendum pledge” and the rise of UKIP, most EU migrants wouldn’t have bothered becoming British citizens….for one thing, the cost is astronomical (about £5000 from start to finish, and rising).

  18. Predicting this to be recount territory, not more than a couple of hundred votes in it either way. If pushed I would say LAB by 100 but it could just as easily be the other way.

  19. Conservative Hold. 2,000 maj

  20. This seat and Hendon were excellent results for the Tories, they behaved like nearly all the other marginals in England outside London where the Tories not only hung on but improvrd their vote.
    On the other hand, I notice that in most of the safe conservative seats in Outer London the Tory vote fell and Labour increased,

  21. SBJME19- Well that was certainly the case in Chipping Barnet, and Chingford & Woodford Green. However, the Conservative vote share increased in Croydon South and there was a Labour to Conservative swing in Ruislip, Northwood, and Pinner where the sizeable Hindu population is perhaps starting to vote Conservative in large numbers.

  22. PS- Bromley & Chiselhurst result was rather ropey for the Conservatives- a 2005 level majority in the 2015 general election doesn’t bode well.

  23. London in general behaved very differently from the rest of England and Wales, the same thing happened in Merseyside as well.

  24. Tory..and the rest. The other results in Bromley and Bexley, Havering.

  25. Indeed, though unlike in Liverpool there was quite a bit of light and shade. That gentrifying block of inner London which we often talk about (running from Hampstead Garden suburb down to Tooting) behaved much more like England and Wales generally.

  26. Yes that’s right in those places you mention the Tories and Labour were both up quite a bit at the same time, but it was not a widespread phenomenon in the Capital I don’t think looking at all the results.

  27. SBJME19- well you’re right though Labour also did rather poorly in Old Bexley & Sidcup, Bexleyheath, and the two Havering seats, which is why I would distinguish them from Chingford & WG and Chipping Barnet.

  28. The Results- no, you’re quite right. That area of London aside, Labour did very well indeed.

  29. Thanks a lot. It was almost as if London had made its mind up a long time before the rest of England and Wales, in that some of the swings to Labour really were quite pronounced and clearly also in a great many cases due to heavy demographic change over the last five years- but these impressive swings were ones they should have been getting everywhere apart from Scotland if the polls were to have been believed, which were obviously proved horribly wrong by the last minute turnaround.

  30. Peter Kellner of YouGov doesn’t believe there was a last minute swing.

  31. So all the polls simply severely underestimated the Conservatives?

  32. He isn’t sure yet, need to wait for the result of the various inquiries into what happened. But the final YouGov poll on election day showed pretty much the same basic figures as it had during the entire campaign.

  33. In the event of a Corbyn leadership of the Labour party (as seems likely) I expect there will be large swings to the Conservatives in Finchley and Golders Green and in North West London as a whole. Corbyn’s foreign policy positions and anti-business rhetoric will highly likely be very unpopular with the Jewish community here and in Hendon as well as the Hindu community in the two Harrow seats.

  34. Corbyn is not regarded as “ANTI-business” by any one that I know or know of.

    I consider that he’s capable of rebutting this nonsense.

    & the Labour voting/left leaning Jewish people of F&GG are intelligent enough to respect his position on Israel\Palestine which is an eminently reasonable one.

  35. I’m not sure that I buy that. If Milliband was called anti-business then surely the press (rightly or wrongly) will paint him in a worse light?

  36. Deepthroat it is not just his views on Israel-Palestine (which would still harm him with the Jewish electorate but to a much lesser extent), it is his unsavoury connections with Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA and other such groups and people which will do irreparable damage to Corbyn. You are deluding yourself if you think the media will not quickly define him by these connections, and while they will of course exaggerate it is undoubtedly true that Corbyn is/has associated himself with some very unpleasant out of the mainstream organisations and individuals. The only reason the media is being quiet at the moment is they are hoping the Labour membership will shoot their party in the head by electing Corbyn. He is also pretty awful at defending himself from such charges and comes across as angry and defensive (see the Cathy Newman interview) which will almost certainly compound his problems.

    If Corbyn isn’t anti-business or anti-‘aspiration’ then the Tories aren’t anti-welfare. Dislike of the entire capitalist system is one of Corbyn’s core beliefs. I imagine under a Corbyn leadership Labour will be advocating policies a long the lines of: large scale nationalisations of industry, hikes in corporation tax, income tax rises probably to at least 60% on the higher rate and maybe the higher rate too, mansion tax, wealth tax etc. The idea that the public won’t think Corbyn’s Labour is anti-business and anti-‘aspiration’ after these kind of policy announcements is simply incorrect. The electorate thought that Miliband was both these things and he was far, far more moderate than Corbyn.

    Thus I fully expect a Corbyn leadership will accelerate the long term trend to the Tories amongst prosperous, aspirational Jewish and Hindu voters with whom Miliband woefully underperformed.

  37. “Corbyn is not regarded as “ANTI-business” by any one that I know or know of”.

    For heaven’s sake, he’s talked about nationalising companies without compensation:

    If expropriation of private property isn’t anti business then I’d like to know what is.

  38. I agree with PEPPER & KIERAN that the Mudoch press and tabloids will exagerrate, over emphasise, rake over long gone events, and fib about his aims, hopes and policies for the future.*

    His great challenge will be rebut these skillfully – however when 5 millions read the right wing newspapers, this is a massive ask of him.

    He can’t win in 2020! Can he? I think whatever Burnham does, he won’t do much better than Corbyn – and Labour might get more seats in 2020 under Miliband Secundus or Starmer or Jarvis – but then we’ll be back to Tory lite Labour and the WC people, TUs, & yes, middle class lefties and pinot grigio radicals will once again reject and abandon Labour

    However, When he wins in September, he will have achieved the unlikliest and unexpected victory in a major UK election since Attlee defeated Churchill – so who knows?

    If he can bring back some of the less rabid capitalists & Blairite apologists within the party back on board and if he gets events working in his favour – he CAN win in 2020.

    * Rather than business…..I think his most difficult dichotomy is in the area of immigration.

  39. Corbyn is quite capable of rendering himself unelectable to the vast majority of the country without any help at all from “the Murdoch press and tabloids”. Incidentally the latter had nothing to do with the story I linked to, and furthermore I am not aware of anyone claiming that it represents an inaccurate statement of the views of Corbyn and his supporters.

    If Labour are to regain relevance any time soon they have to stop clinging to this comfort blanket that their unpopularity is due primarily to the nasty old Tory press rather than their own inadequacies. The truth is Labour have only themselves to blame for the fact that they did not earn the right to be trusted on the issues of economic competence, immigration and welfare. Electing Corbyn pushes back even further into the future the time when Labour will be able to neutralise those issues.

  40. If the Corbynistas win the Labour leadership election, this seat will be a shoo-in for the Conservatives/

  41. Finchley and Golders Green is a very polarised seat. The 2015 Conservative votes share of 50% is as good as Margaret Thatcher got on different boundaries.

    Labour is well entrenched in East Finchley and reliably wins in Woodhouse and West Finchley. The typical electors in these areas are overspill from Haringey and Camden and many will not be offended by Corbyn. In Golders Green and the neighbouring wards, the Jewish community are not likely to take kindly to Corbyn and has views on the Middle East. However, much of this electorate abandoned Labour many years ago.

    Finchley will be a hard fought ground for some years, but will never have massive majorities for the Conservatives.

    The risk Labour face with Corbyn is not in London, but that they will be unelectable outside the biggest cities and will fail to make any traction in Scotland. Will he really win back Derbyshire or north Kent?

  42. “Deepthroat it is not just his views on Israel-Palestine (which would still harm him with the Jewish electorate but to a much lesser extent), it is his unsavoury connections with Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA and other such groups and people which will do irreparable damage to Corbyn.”

    Why haven’t any of the rival candidates raised these past connections/comments in the campaign? IMO that would serve as a bigger and more direct hit on his campaign compared to the typical attacks.

    Putting aside those horrible Stop the War Coalition types, I really cannot believe even the bandwagon jumping hipsters or some Old Labour types who like his economic policies could support some of those foreign policy positions. I reckon most opposed the Iraq war, but they’ll surely draw a bloody big line when it comes to Islamist or Irish republican terrorists.

    I mean those same people wouldn’t ever back someone like George Galloway. OK Jeremy Corbyn isn’t as bad as that, but still…

  43. “Will he really win back Derbyshire or north Kent?”

    Milliband came close to seeing Labour down to three seats in Derbyshire, which would have been their worst performance post WW2. One of the remaining three would have been Chesterfield’s Toby Perkins. As a leader of Liz Kendall’s seemingly ill fated campaign he clearly knows a lurch towards Corbynism is not what Labour in Derbyshire needs.

    I know bits of both the areas mentioned well. Labour has to neutralise immigration and welfare as issues if it is to become competitive in marginals in either locality again. It was Labour’s stance on the latter issue that led my sister to vote Tory in Derbyshire having never previously voted for anyone in well over a decade of being eligible.

  44. In Kent, Corbyn Labour might win Canterbury wiith its seemingly endlessly increasing student vote. However, elsewhere it would simply make left-right splits worse and entrench Conservative majorities, for example in Dover where even in 2015 Charles Elpicke made, to my mind sensible, comments at the count concerning how unhelpful Labour supporters were to their candidate.

    I find it difficult to take in how gratuitously spiteful a considerable number of grassroots Labour members show themselves to be.They are far from being people with whom one would be glad to have a cup (or mug) of tea.

  45. “Labour has to neutralise immigration and welfare as issues if it is to become competitive in marginals in either locality again.”

    Yes but (on immigration) isn’t the same true of David Cameron? Despite all the tough rhetoric, net and gross immigration remains extremely high and is on some measures even higher than when Labour left office. I think there’s a real risk that by 2020 the public will view the Tory and Labour rhetoric on the issue as equally misleading and meaningless, thus neutralising the issue for Labour. Thus, everything rests on the economy, and if the Tories preside over a fuck up on that score they’ll be out, even if Labour is led by a loony.

  46. Amazing to think that Mike Freer’s vote share in May was only 0.2% lower than Mrs Thatcher got in 1983, on ostensibly more favourable boundaries at a time when the Tories generally were much stronger in London than they are now.

  47. The 92 notional was Con 53 Lab 32 so I wouldn’t say it was a particularly bad result for Labour as they only appeared to have a chance neater the end although still a great Tory result.

    Hendon and to a lesser extent Harrow East were more surprising IMO.

  48. I wasn’t so surprised because the Tories did well in this constituency in the 2014 council election (making up for some bad losses in Chipping Barnet), and I knew that Labour were doing very badly with the Jewish vote. But LAB did flood this seat with activists, had a strong candidate and Ashcroft’s poll had them ahead. A New Statesman journalist I know also wrote a piece basically saying LAB were going to win, or at least get close:

  49. I found a copy of the Draft Recommendations for North London ahead of the 1997 General Election and Finchley & Golders Green was originally going to be named Finchley. Golders Green seems to have been added in to respect the significant part of Hendon South annexed.

    In Waltham Forest/ Redbridge there was only going to be one cross border constituency (not two). Chingford was going to extend Southwards into Walthamstow and Walthamstow would in turn absorb parts of Leyton with the new “Leyton & Wanstead” taking in four wards (not two) from Redbridge. All of Woodford would have been merged with Ilford North to become “Ilford North & Woodford”. All in all a more logical arrangement.

    Tower Hamlets and Newham were going to be twinned but instead of “Poplar & Canning Town” there was to be a “Docklands & Stepney”. The major alteration however was East Ham and West Ham that were originally to be divided as Newham Central and Newham North. In this case the final recommendations were an improvement.

    I also have the draft recommendations for twinning Greenwich and Bexley that had a “Thamesmead” constituency that excluded Erith Ward and different alignments of the other two core Greenwich constituencies “Greenwich” instead of “Greenwich & Woolwich” that extended South instead of East and “Woolwich & Eltham” that respected the pre-1965 Woolwich Borough.

    Before Bromley was twinned with Lewisham the draft proposal was to make the entire borough three constituencies (not three and a part) with “Beckenham” retaining Penge and “Orpington” instead being called “Orpington & Ravensbourne”.

  50. The Chief Exec of Barnet Council has resigned after the Polling Day fiasco across the borough.

    If only all Officers and Ministers took responsibility for disasters on their watch.

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