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
Con: 16968 (37%)
Lab: 20111 (44%)
LDem: 7458 (16%)
UKIP: 954 (2%)
Oth: 625 (1%)
MAJ: 3143 (7%)
Con: 18270 (38%)
Lab: 20298 (43%)
LDem: 8188 (17%)
UKIP: 576 (1%)
Oth: 427 (1%)
MAJ: 2028 (4%)
Con: 16986 (36%)
Lab: 23142 (50%)
LDem: 5995 (13%)
UKIP: 525 (1%)
MAJ: 6156 (13%)
Con: 20571 (39%)
Lab: 21811 (42%)
LDem: 8127 (15%)
MAJ: 1240 (2%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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)
ROWAN LANGLEY (Green) Electronics engineer. Contested Brent South 2005, Harrow West 2010.
Comments - 142 Responses on “Harrow West”
  1. Not surprising that CON did well, getting a lot of LD GE2010 voters.

    I say again – Labour has lost huge amounts of ‘aspirational Asian (mostly Hindu) vote in areas like this.

    There are lots of people in the is seat who (secretly) supported Tories clampdown on state benefit claimants.

    The Channel 4 programme “Benefits Street” I think helped the Conservatives an awful lot.

  2. I’m actually surprised at how weakly Labour performed in this seat in May. Maybe the factors deepthroat alludes to came into play, but I always thought the southern and central parts of Harrow (which this seat takes in) was becoming more Labour inclined, compared to the northern parts which make up Harrow East and the three wards that make up Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner.

    Gareth Thomas actually increased his vote share, but that was negated by a larger increase in the Tory vote, resulting in a reduced majority and a small swing away from Labour. Was the Tory campaign really strong here?

    I had my doubts about Labour’s chances in Harrow East prior to the election (I expected a reduced majority for the Conservatives weeks before), but thought this one would would record a majority of 10-12% or so.

  3. “and the three wards that make up Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner.”

    …Obviously aware that the rest of the seat is in Hillingdon borough.

  4. Very generally, but it seems the Tories have done somewhat better in NW London. (apart from Brent).
    There were very large swings in 1997 (and 2001) but since then the Tories have inched their way back and prevented a long term swing to Labour.

    Harrow, Barnet

  5. l spoke to a Labour councillor in this constituency in March. He predicted a narrow Labour hold roughly as happened in the end. He told me that the new electoral registration rules had disproportionately hit the party in the seat, and said it was likely to be a factor in Harrow E too.

  6. BARNABY MARDER “…the new electoral registration rules had disproportionately hit the party…”

    I am intrigued by this but I am not sure what exactly your friend meant. Do you know? We are talking about the IER presumably.

  7. Electoral registration cant be the main issue, tory vote rose substantially.

  8. The main reason is clearly the Tories substantially increasing their vote in the middle class Indian community, a consistent trend also visible in Harrow East, the Barnet seats, and perhaps Croydon too. I’m puzzled why this didn’t help them in Ealing however, Ealing North especially has a very large hindu community.

  9. Could be Stephen Pound’s personal vote in Ealing North. Maybe like Barry Gardiner in Brent North, he’s become quite popular with Hindu voters locally.

  10. Perhaps middle-class Hindus in Ealing are not as prosperous as those in the other boroughs mentioned.

  11. Parts of central Harrow are very grotty, I wouldn’t have thought it was more prosperous than Northolt or Greenford…though I will defer to someone like Barnaby or Robin Hood who knows Ealing better than me.

  12. ‘Parts of central Harrow are very grotty,’

    Indeed they are, but as you get away from the centre and go further West there’s enough detached houses and leafy suburban streets to suggest the Tories ought to be doing a lot better here than they currently are

    I imagine the Tories would have won though in 2010 and 2015 on the old boundaries, which included Pinner

  13. Some wards in central Harrow have been long-term Labour areas, e.g. Marlborough. lt’s wards such as W Harrow & Rayners Lane which are much stronger for Labour than before. The other mainly central Harrow ward, Greenhill, has also been Labour-held for most of the last 2 decades.

  14. Electorate in HARROW WEST:

    2001 73,500
    2005 74,100
    2010 69,100
    2015 69,600

    This odd because Most people would say the adult population in Harrow has increased not decreased.

    Is the drop due to EU citizens not on the parliamentary roll?

    Is Labour handicapped in seats where there is large EU migrant population? (To vote in a GE one has to be a UK citizen, Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Irish Republic citizen).

    Isn’t Labour losing out if the immigrant population are denied a vote? This of course did not occur with Commonwealth immigrants in the 1950s-1970s.

  15. The London borough wards which took effect in 1974 for the old Harrow Central had the same names as the municipal borough wards in the pre-1974 version of the constituency, tho I’m not sure if the parliamentary boundaries there changed as a result of the changes to local government boundaries. (Harrow on the Hill and Greenhill; Kenton; Wealdstone North; Wealdstone South; West Harrow)

  16. History of this constituency:


    Harrow on the Hill and Greenhill; Headstone; Pinner North; Pinner South; Roxeth; West Harrow; Harrow Weald (part)

    1945-1950: Norman Bower, Conservative


    Pinner North; Pinner South; Roxeth; Harrow Weald (part)

    1950-1951: Norman Bower, Conservative
    1951-1955: Albert Braithwaite, Conservative


    Pinner North; Pinner South; Roxeth

    1955-1959: Albert Braithwaite, Conservative (died)
    1960-1983: John Page, Conservative


    Harrow on the Hill; Hatch End; Headstone North; Headstone South; Pinner; Pinner West; Rayners Lane; Ridgeway; Roxbourne; Roxeth

    1983-1987: John Page, Conservative
    1987-1997: Robert Hughes, Conservative
    1997-2010: Gareth Thomas, Labour


    Greenhill; Harrow on the Hill; Headstone North; Headstone South; Marlborough; Rayners Lane; Roxbourne; Roxeth; West Harrow

    2010-present: Gareth Thomas, Labour

  17. This was the most distant target that LAB won in 1997. Good effort from Thomas to hold on since then, especially as the demographic change here hasn’t been of the same nature as elsewhere – it’s more white middle class to Asian middle class, and Indians tend to relatively more likely to vote Tory than other BME groups. There was a good Tory result in May though, and I think (depending on boundary changes) this is one they could win back in future.

  18. “it’s more white middle class to Asian middle class, and Indians tend to relatively more likely to vote Tory than other BME groups. There was a good Tory result in May though, and I think (depending on boundary changes) this is one they could win back in future.”

    Have many of the pro-Conservative Asian voters who once lived in Brent North moved out further into Harrow, resulting in more pro-Labour Asian voters moving into Brent North?

    The post-2010 Harrow West has far more in common with the pre-1983 Harrow Central than the pre-1983 Harrow West. I would imagine that it would include almost all of Harrow Central and only half of Harrow West.

    Harrow East was generally becoming more Tory (having had a Labour MP from 1966 to 1970) while Harrow Central prior to its abolition in 1983 was becoming more Labour, as has the post 2010 Harrow West, despite a slight recovery by the Conservatives in 2015.

  19. It’s a mistake to group all “Asian” voters together. It largely splits along religious lines unfortunately, with Hindus, especially Indian Gujarati ones voting Tory and Muslims (particularly Pakistanis) voting Labour. The older Hindu Labour vote is also dying out (but still exists, as shown by an interesting Guardian documentary before May 2015). I think The Brent north Labour vote is in part explained by lower quality housing – in part, that may mean there are more Asian middle class voters moving out of Brent into Harrow.

  20. And by lower quality housing, a good example is Neasden, where the Hindu Swaminarayan temple is bordered by the St Raphael’s estate.

  21. I don’t believe that this constituency will be going Conservative any time soon.

  22. Well, it depends partly on boundary changes, like every other constituency, and of course on the national picture. The 2013 proposals – adding Hatch End and Northwick Park, removing Marlborough – were favourable.

    Even if the boundary changes were not to go through (I think they will, but for the sake of argument) the last two results suggest this is a viable target. Don’t be fooled by the increased LAB majority in 2010, without boundary changes then it would have been a fairly easy CON gain on a swing bigger than the national average. On most indicators this is a prosperous seat, comparable to relatively nearby seats like Chipping Barnet and Uxbridge that are comfortably Tory, and the fact it is Labour held is probably largely explained by the large Asian populations. If the evidence suggesting Hindus are moving towards the Tories quite rapidly is correct, or even if they are only moving towards the Tories slowly, then there is absolutely no reason why this can’t be a CON gain in future.

  23. This was not a very good result for Labour given that there was a swing away from them in the GLA poll. While the vote in Brent probably held up strongly for them, could it be more proof that Harrow is causing them problems carried over from last year? I hope we get a breakdown of wards.

  24. We should have a borough and ward breakdown – there previously has been. Don’t underestimate the fact that if any group is hostile to the idea a British Pakistani mayor it is probably British Indians…

  25. How different things have become since 2015. Labour performed quite well in the 2014 locals in the wards making up Harrow W. Then suddenly they recorded that awful result in the GE last year. This is a seat the Tories would be wise to target this in 2020.

  26. Hindus and Sikhs do not seem to have increased their support for the Tories in response to Goldsmith’s campaign, indeed its crassness may well have turned many off, as well as alienating muslims. It may well have damaged any chance the Tories had here in 2020 and in the Tooting by-election. The 2018 local elections will be more focused on local issues, it’s still easily possible for the Tories to win a majority in Harrow though not necessarily Harrow West.

  27. Well, when the breakdown is released we’ll see whether the Tories carried Harrow West or not. Possible I guess, given Labour would have had a North Korean lead in Brent.

  28. Judging by overall figures, I think Goldsmith probably led Khan in Harrow West. It is possible that Labour was ahead in the GLA vote though. I think Brent & Harrow GLA constituency majority is the same as 2015 GE Labour lead. However there could have been a further swing to Lab in Brent offsetting a swing to Con in Harrow. We need the breakdown there.

  29. “I think Brent & Harrow GLA constituency majority is the same as 2015 GE Labour lead.”

    Remember the Pinner wards in Harrow are the safest of all for the Tories, and are in neither East nor West constituency.

  30. Yes that’s true. Most likely, the Tory lead in Pinner was bigger than Labour’s lead in the combined Brent wards from H&K, because the Tories do quite well in Brondesbury Park. So the 2015 GE data would understate the Tories slightly compared with the Brent+Harrow GLA seat.

  31. I forgot about them too. And I should have knew about the Kilburn ones

  32. My guess is that Labour were ahead in H&SP, H&K and Hendon, Tories in Chipping Barnet and probably quite a big lead in F&GG where the Jewish issue would have had an impact. The enormous Labour strength around Colindale and Burnt Oak is easily enough to carry Hendon these days if the turnout isn’t so much different from the Edgware and Mill Hill end of the seat.

  33. Yes, probably. Though I wouldn’t be so certain Goldsmith carried the Camden wards of H&K – the Tories only edged these by a few thousand at the GE, and seem to have benefited significantly from ex-LD voters that may not have warmed to the Goldsmith campaign.

    It will be particularly interesting to see how strongly the particularly large Jewish populations in Finchley and GG and Hendon voted for Goldsmith. Not inconceivable they will have voted for him more strongly than Chipping Barnet (at the GE all three Barnet seats had very similar Tory vote shares – just there was a bit more UKIP, Green and LD in Chipping so the majority was majority).

  34. Mayoral result (excluding postal):

    Khan 11039 43.1%
    Goldsmith 10005 39.0%

  35. Clearly this is still a seat that has everything to play for in 2020. The 2015 GE result was clearly no rogue one. IMO Labour should be very concerned about Harrow West.

  36. Both the Headstone South Branch and Roxteth Branch of Labour Party passed censure Motions against Gareth Thomas this week. They also passed motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn. Due to the suspension of all CLP meeting’s the motion is unable to be put to the all members meeting which was planned for next week.

  37. I’d be interested to know the current makeup of the Harrow West CLP. Harrow’s not exactly a hotbed for hipsters like Shoreditch or Brixton.

    Thomas performed poorly in last year’s election though it was probably because Miliband’s plans spooked some voters.

  38. The Lambeth CLP’s all passed motion of confidence against Corbyn i think. So did Hackney North through i am not sure if Hackney south did.

  39. Really BM11? Against Corbyn? I am surprised by that

  40. The Tories must fancy their chances of winning this at the next general election.

  41. Labour won Harrow last May so dead cert gain I think is over doing it a bit

  42. Con Estimate
    “Dead cert Con gain”

    You mean like Goldsmith winning Richmond Park…oh wait…

  43. The Labour vote here has proven to be quite resilient in the past and I suspect demographic changes in the area favours them more so than the Conservatives. Obviously in a poor election for Labour a Conservative gain here shouldn’t be dismissed as the seat is 19th on the Tory target list.

  44. 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.

    It is very forseeable that either he will stand aside or lose another challenge in the next 10 months. In % I would say it’s a 35% chance.

  45. Con council gains most likely to most unlikely

    1. Hammersmith and Fulham
    2. Harrow
    3. Havering (from NOC)
    4. Croydon

    5. Redbridge
    6. Sutton (from Lib Dems)

    Extremely Unlikely

    7. Ealing
    8. Camden
    9. Enfield


    If the Hounslow Community Party or Merton Park Indelendent Residents disband and somehow all their vote goes Tory

    10. Hounslow
    11. Merton – Labour will still have 27 seats these days even if 2018 is a 1968 election

  46. Didn’t Labour gain Wandsworth in May

  47. Corbyn may well stand aside but watching the Daily Politics interview with David Winnick, Polly Toynbee and Toby Young, only Polly believed there would be another challenge and David Winnick told her that she was singularly unhelpful as a member of the SDP as if her contribution wasn’t worth hearing

  48. I’m not talking about the Mayoral election but the Assembly election

  49. I think we’re witnessing the clueless optimist effect here.

    Also it looks to me as though the Tories actually polled ahead in the borough of Wandsworth on both votes anyway?


    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.

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