Harrow West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19677 (42.2%)
Labour: 21885 (47%)
Lib Dem: 1567 (3.4%)
Green: 1310 (2.8%)
UKIP: 2047 (4.4%)
Independent: 117 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 2208 (4.7%)

Category: Marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Harrow, Harrow-on-the-Hill.

Profile: This is a suburban seat on the edge of London, a leafy slice of semi-detached Metroland, yet one with a large ethnic minority population - it is one of only twenty-five or so seats were only a minority of the population is white. There is a large Asian population here, mostly Indian and Hindu, though there is a significant Muslim minority. Harrow public school is situated on the southern edge of the seat.

Politics: Harrow West was regarded as a safe Conservative seat up until the 1997 Labour landside, when it was the (theoretically) safest seat to fall to Labour on a huge 17% swing. Since then the growing ethnic minority population and boundary changes in 2010 which removed the Conservative voting area of Pinner have moved it further into the Labour column, to the point where it can be held even in what was a very bad election for the party.


Current MP
GARETH THOMAS (Labour) Born 1967, Harrow. Educated at Hatch End High School and University of Wales. Former teacher. First elected as MP for Harrow West in 2001. Junior international development minister 2003-2008, junior business and enterprise minister 2007-2008, Minister of State for Trade and Investment 2008-2009, Minister of State for International Development 2009-2010. Chairman of the Co-operative Party since 2001.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16968 (37%)
Lab: 20111 (44%)
LDem: 7458 (16%)
UKIP: 954 (2%)
Oth: 625 (1%)
MAJ: 3143 (7%)
2005*
Con: 18270 (38%)
Lab: 20298 (43%)
LDem: 8188 (17%)
UKIP: 576 (1%)
Oth: 427 (1%)
MAJ: 2028 (4%)
2001
Con: 16986 (36%)
Lab: 23142 (50%)
LDem: 5995 (13%)
UKIP: 525 (1%)
MAJ: 6156 (13%)
1997
Con: 20571 (39%)
Lab: 21811 (42%)
LDem: 8127 (15%)
MAJ: 1240 (2%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
HANNAH DAVID (Conservative) Educated at Haberdashers Askes School for Girls and Northwood College. Restaurateur and solicitor. Hertsmere councillor 2004-2013.
GARETH THOMAS (Labour) See above.
CHRIS NOYCE (Liberal Democrat)
MOHAMMED ALI BHATTI (UKIP)
ROWAN LANGLEY (Green) Electronics engineer. Contested Brent South 2005, Harrow West 2010.
KAILASH TRIVEDI (Independent)
Links
Comments - 142 Responses on “Harrow West”
  1. @SURREY POLITICS

    Of those, I think only Hammersmith & Fulham is particularly likely. Even then, the ongoing saga of Charing Cross Hospital could well be a factor. The current Labour administration is very keen to protect the hospital and with an obstructive and ideological health secretary refusing to back down, I think the borough’s voters will be astute enough to vote accordingly.

    Harrow I have my doubts about. Havering will almost certainly elect a number of UKIP councillors so that puts the kibosh on that one for the Tories. Croydon is not getting better for them. Ditto Redbridge. Lib Dems are too entrenched in Sutton to be ousted in 2018. As for the others one you mention, no chance in hell.

    London is one part of the country (arguably the only part) where Labour’s vote has held up. In fact, I don’t think there’s been a single by-election in the capital (local or parliamentary) since the last general election where their vote share has gone down apart from Richmond Park.

  2. @AKMD They’re actually has been some local ones in London where Labour vote has gone down? Two in LB Sutton in Wallington South and Carshalton Central where they came behind the Greens. They got about 6% vote in both, though both are hopeless territory at the best of times so not really significant I guess.

  3. I stand corrected. But they’ve experienced far fewer losses of vote share in London by-elections than anywhere else in the UK so my point still stands.

  4. Con Estimate
    “I don’t see Wandsworth going Labour in 2018”

    I’m inclined to agree, Lab need 12 gains to get a majority in Wandsworth, the absolute best I see them attaining is 8, probably more likely to be 4.

    As for Harrow I can see Lab losing its majority but I struggle to see the Cons gaining overall control in their place. Lab have to lose 3 seats to lose its majority (possible) but the Tories have to gain 6 (tricky).

  5. Wandsworth will certainly stay Tory. Best Labour can hope for is winning Bedford and Queenstown wards outright and holding on to all their other wards. That would give an outcome of Con 36 Lab 24. I think the sole Labour seat in Earlsfield will probably be lost.

  6. No Wandsworth elected Leonie Cooper a Labour Assembly Member last May. Though if what you say is true at least in the Mayoral ballot then then it can’t be true that she got in on Khans coattails

  7. “I’m inclined to agree, Lab need 12 gains to get a majority in Wandsworth, the absolute best I see them attaining is 8, probably more likely to be 4.
    As for Harrow I can see Lab losing its majority but I struggle to see the Cons gaining overall control in their place. Lab have to lose 3 seats to lose its majority (possible) but the Tories have to gain 6 (tricky).”

    The thing that helps Labour in areas like Putney, Wimbledon and Battersea despite the affluence is Remain, lack of Lib Dem prescenece and left leaning private renters (and if Corbyn is not leader in 2018) Labour could feasbly push the Tories very close in Wandsworth and in Merton take Trinity ward and a possible partial gain in Wimbledon Park. Dundonald has totally gone for Labour though, thoroughly gentrified safer Tory ward than Raynes Park these days.

  8. “I’m inclined to agree, Lab need 12 gains to get a majority in Wandsworth, the absolute best I see them attaining is 8, probably more likely to be 4.
    As for Harrow I can see Lab losing its majority but I struggle to see the Cons gaining overall control in their place. Lab have to lose 3 seats to lose its majority (possible) but the Tories have to gain 6 (tricky).”
    The thing that helps Labour in areas like Putney, Wimbledon and Battersea despite the affluence is Remain, lack of Lib Dem prescenece and left leaning private renters (and if Corbyn is not leader in 2018) Labour could feasibly push the Tories very close in Wandsworth and in Merton take Trinity ward and a possible partial gain in Wimbledon Park. Dundonald has totally gone for Labour though, thoroughly gentrified safer Tory ward than Raynes Park these days.

  9. “I’m inclined to agree, Lab need 12 gains to get a majority in Wandsworth, the absolute best I see them attaining is 8, probably more likely to be 4.
    As for Harrow I can see Lab losing its majority but I struggle to see the Cons gaining overall control in their place. Lab have to lose 3 seats to lose its majority (possible) but the Tories have to gain 6 (tricky).”
    The thing that helps Labour in areas like Putney, Wimbledon and Battersea despite the affluence is Remain, lack of Lib Dem prescenece and left leaning private renters (and if Corbyn is not leader in 2018) Labour could feasbly push the Tories very close in Wandsworth and in Merton take Trinity ward and a possible partial gain in Wimbledon Park. Dundonald has totally gone for Labour though, thoroughly gentrified safer Tory ward than Raynes Park these days.

  10. AKMD
    “I think the sole Labour seat in Earlsfield will probably be lost”

    I would disagree, that ward (despite gentrification) actually seems to be drifting Labs way thanks to a rise in minority voters. If their is a Khan effect that see’s Lab take all three seats in Bedford it follows that Lab will perform above average across Tooting which would almost certainly see Lab hold its Earlsfield seat and probably gain a second, a clean sweep is most probably off the table but I wouldn’t rule out a Lab plurality in votes, I believe Khan carried the ward very comfortably in the mayoral race.

  11. Earlsfield has generally been carried by the Conservatives in most elections since 1990 while Bedford has always been carried by Labour in parliamentary elections since then though quite narrowly in the last two general elections (but not in this year’s by-election). So, I think it’s more likely that Labour does better in Bedford than Earlsfield in 2018 IMO.

  12. AKMD
    “So, I think it’s more likely that Labour does better in Bedford than Earlsfield in 2018 IMO”

    Of course they will but I just don’t see one ward swinging to Lab and the other swinging against. I’d be very confident that if nothing else Lab hold its present seat in Earlsfield.

  13. Con Estimate
    “especially if Balham is added to it with Clapham Town and Clapham Common being added to Battersea”

    One step at time, you often say you only factor in boundary changes when they happen, not only have they not been passed yet but the BC haven’t even proposed those boundaries, the initial proposal made Tooting significantly better for Lab by adding Graveney from Merton.

  14. Kilburn probably

  15. “No Wandsworth elected Leonie Cooper a Labour Assembly Member last May. Though if what you say is true at least in the Mayoral ballot then then it can’t be true that she got in on Khans coattails”

    That was the Merton and Wandsworth constituency… Merton has traditionally been much stronger territory for Labour. Do you have any official figures for Wandsworth itself?

  16. “As pointed out on another thread by HHEMMELIG, CORBYN is more likely to not be the leader than to still be there at the next GE- assuming there is no Spring or Summer GE in 2017.”

    That’s precisely why Theresa May ought to seriously consider an election next spring if she wants to be sure of winning a big majority.

  17. I think calling an early election would be a mistake. With Brexit negotiations likely to dominate political discourse next year, holding a general election as well will be too much of a distraction and undermine our negotiating with the EU. Best to concentrate on sorting out the Brexit debacle and then go to the country.

  18. Is it just me or do the Conservatives have a better shot at winning this than other Labour-held London seats with smaller majorities?

  19. Agree! I think Tulip Siddiq in Kilburn will have a surprise hold. By less than 500 votes.

  20. Andy JS was right upthread (Dec 2016).

  21. I would speculate that the Tories are favourites here at this time. I would put it % chance as:
    45% LAB
    55% Con

    There is a council by election today in a Harrow East ward*. It is very close to the Harrow West boundaries and Lab are defending an approximate 220 vote lead. If that falls to the Tories, Gareth Thomas will have cause to be even more nervous!

    * Kenton East.

  22. Election Results for Kenton East By-election held on 20 April 2017
    Conservative: 1585
    Labour: 1328
    Liberal Democrat : 65
    Independent: 54
    Turn out 37%
    Conservative Majority: 257

  23. Hannah David is very likely to be reselected by Conservatives.

  24. I thought the Tories were 55/45% favourites to win last week but after the by-election in the neighbouring seat where the Tory won well with a v big swing, I cannot see Thomas holding onto his seat and would rate CON as 80% likliehood. If Thomas does hold it’ll be – or close to – the performance of the election.

  25. Electoral Calculus prediction: 18/5/17
    LAB 45.2%
    CON 47.3%
    UKIP 1.5%
    LIB 4.0%
    Green 1.8%
    CON GAIN
    Pred Maj 2.1%

  26. Predicted Votes electoral calculus:
    LAB 46.3%
    CON 44.0%
    Pred Maj 2.3%

    The betting here is 3/1 Labour. Is there too much pessimism about Labour?

  27. Unlike some other observers here, I think the Tories will definitely be gaining seats in London. That said, I think Labour will probably hold this.

  28. That they are but that doesn’t change the fact that Labour will hold this too 😛

    There is little movement in London according to the polls and the demographics aren’t exactly that favourable. In a seat like this with a small and harder to harvest UKIP vote (by virtue of them standing again), I foresee great difficulty for the Tories. They’re in the odd position of possibly falling short in easy seats like EC&A and H&K but are very strong in places like Eltham and Enfield North.

  29. If just a quarter of the GE2015 British Asian vote here switch Lab > Con, then Thomas is in trouble. I hope he does but it is very difficult to see him win. The result a ward by election next door to his seat (see above) gave a big swing to the Tories and is a v bad augur for him.

  30. One of the 6 seats where the Guardian are running a series of articles using embedded reporters.

    The most recent article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/29/harrow-west-labour-leaning-focus-group-may-not-be-all-it-seems

    The two trends which seem to be highlighted to date are the sense of a “declining suburb” and the heavy name recognition for Gareth Thomas.

  31. Hard to tell. I still think the most likely seat for Con to gain from Lab in Greater London is Eltham – was pretty confident of that one at the start of the campaign but with the polls tightening it’s now looking less likely.

  32. Lol. Following yougov London poll 50% LAB Gareth Thomas goes from 11/4 to 7/4 with the bookies.

  33. After the exit poll came out, I suspected this would be held by Labour. But I was astounded by the majority. In 2015 Labour performed comparatively better in London than the rest of the country. But Harrow West was a notably poor result and seemed to confirm the belief that Miliband and Labour had lost a hell of a lot support from Hindu voters (though they did well in neighbouring Brent North).

    I always assumed Gareth Thomas had a personal vote which helped him hold in 2010, but then that was put into question after 2015. Either that became apparent again this time or Labour managed to cut through with voters in a big way.

    Most of Labour’s support in Harrow is in the south and centre of the borough so they must’ve gotten the vote out in a big way.

  34. Progress made with some groups of BME voters under Cameron may well be just another thing May sacrificed in trying to win a landslide with the white working class.

    The scale of this result – similar to other Lab held London marginals like Hampstead and Tooting where I thought Con chances were always slim – did come as a surprise though, given Goldsmith’s strong result here in 2016 as well as Hannah David’s previous good showing in 2015.

  35. Labour concentrated resources on this seat and the neighbouring Harrow seat was somewhat starved. But this doesn’t explain THOMASs massive win (2,208 to 13,300 maj).

    I think that it’s almost certain that Thomas has a v big personal vote. He is very local; born there, went to school there and still lives in the constituency.

    The CON candidate refused, a la May, to attend the hustings and this was reported in the local rags and this may have lost her votes but hst her vote share went down by only 2,300.

    He appears to have nicked votes from all the other parties but the main thing seems to be an increase in turnout of nearly 5,000 voters and my guess is many thousands of non voters voted for him.

  36. I do believe Jack has it right that this result can largely be explained by May sacrificing a lot of Cameron’s progress amongst certain minority groups, it was a similar story in other ethnically diverse seats such as neighbouring Brent North or even traditionally safe Tory Wycombe.

  37. Interesting that they didn’t spend as much resources in Harrow East (as mentioned by Alex), yet even there Labour took the Tory majority down to something more marginal…between 1000 – 2000 votes.

    I suppose looking back, Labour was wise to invest in this seat given their polling woes early in the campaign so weren’t willing to take any chances while they were trailing by 20 points in April.

  38. There was some analysis which the BBC quoted suggesting a swing of 3 points to Labour since 2015 among BAME votes which extended the large lead Labour already had by 6 points. To put this into context, the overall UK swing was 2 points, with Labour up 9.5 and the Tories up 5.5.

    What would have made more of a difference is that turnout rose more for BAME voters – it was up by 6% whereas the general increase was 3%.

  39. @ Rivers

    As I’ve mentioned on the Wycombe thread, I don’t think that the 8% swing to Labour there should be attributed mainly to the 25%-ish BAME population. There were large swings in most seats which voted Remain, even in ones where the referendum result was close. To quote a couple around the same 52:48 Remain lead as in Wycombe, Labour achieved a 6% swing in Filton And Bradley Stoke, and 7% in Macclesfield.

    Although the ‘referendum effect’ on GE2017 was quite variable, it was probably the main driver of differential swings. The big surprise was that the point at which the EU vote-effect was neutral seems to have been in seats where leave led by around 10-15 points – as opposed to those which were 50:50.

  40. Can the result in Wycombe be at all personally attributed to Steve Baker in any way?

  41. Anecdotally, there was a clear swing to Labour in the seats where I was working amongst BAME voters. Quite a lot of more affluent Sikhs & Hindus in Brentford & Isleworth switched late on to the Conservatives in 2015, but a lot switched back to Labour this year. The other seat where I did my work was Ealing Central & Acton, but there the non-white vote is overwhelmingly either African-Caribbean, Muslim or indeed both, and these groups were still heavily Labour in 2015. The swing to Rupa Huq however was even bigger there than to Ruth Cadbury and I’m thinking it was particularly heavy among pro-Remain white middle-class voters, many of whom would have been LD up to 2015. As it happens, the LD vote dropped only slightly in that constituency, however. Perhaps the LDs lost most of their 2015 vote to Labour, but gained pro-Remain Tory votes (as they did in Kensington, leading to the Tories losing that seat).

  42. PREDICTION: HARROW COUNCIL ELECTIONS
    LAB HOLD: 36 COUNCILLORS (+3). COUNT TOMORROW

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)