2015 Result:
Conservative: 24328 (49%)
Labour: 20604 (41.5%)
Lib Dem: 1088 (2.2%)
Green: 1015 (2%)
UKIP: 2595 (5.2%)
MAJORITY: 3724 (7.5%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Hendon, Edgware, Mill Hill.

Profile: A north-west London seat in the borough of Barnet. It is an ethnically diverse seat, with around a third of residents describing themselves as non-white and one of the highest Jewish populations of any seat in the UK (largely in Edgware, which is almost half Jewish and is home to twelve synagogues). Equally the seat has economic contrasts, from the wealthy suburbs of Edgware and Mill Hill to council estates in Burnt Oak and Colindale. The seat also contains the Hendon Police College, the main training centre for the Metropolitan Police.

Politics: The seat was held by Labour from 1997 to 2010, but the predecessor seat Hendon North was safely Conservative, represented by the semi-detached Conservative MP Sir John Gorst who along with Hugh Dykes had threatened to defy the whip and bring down the ailing Major government in an attempt to save the A&E department at Edgware hospital. The result in 2010 was one of the closest in the country and the defeated Labour MP Andrew Dismore initially threatened to seek an election petition due to claimed administrative failures at the election, but ultimately declined to do so quoting reasons of cost. In 2015 it was one of Labour`s easiest targets on paper, but one they failed to gain.

Current MP
MATTHEW OFFORD (Conservative) Born 1969, Alton. Educated at Amery Hill School, Alton and Nottingham Trent University. Former BBC political analyst. Contested Barnsley East and Mexborough 2001. First elected as MP for Hendon in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 19635 (42%)
Lab: 19529 (42%)
LDem: 5734 (12%)
UKIP: 958 (2%)
Oth: 518 (1%)
MAJ: 106 (0%)
Con: 15897 (38%)
Lab: 18596 (44%)
LDem: 5831 (14%)
GRN: 754 (2%)
Oth: 761 (2%)
MAJ: 2699 (6%)
Con: 14015 (34%)
Lab: 21432 (52%)
LDem: 4724 (12%)
UKIP: 409 (1%)
Oth: 271 (1%)
MAJ: 7417 (18%)
Con: 18528 (37%)
Lab: 24683 (49%)
LDem: 5427 (11%)
Oth: 420 (1%)
MAJ: 6155 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
MATTHEW OFFORD (Conservative) See above.
ANDREW DISMORE (Labour) Born 1954, Bridlington. Educated at Bridlington Grammar and Warwick University. Solicitor. Westminster councillor 1982-1997. MP for Hendon 1997-2010.
ALASDAIR HILL (Liberal Democrat) Born Moray. Educated at Aberdeen university. Teacher.
RAYMOND SHAMASH (UKIP) Educated at Leeds University. Semi-retired dentist.
BEN SAMUEL (Green) Born 1986. Horiculturalist.
Comments - 335 Responses on “Hendon”
  1. The Tories did extremely well here on the GLA list vote in 2012 – Labour only won it very narrowly.

    The small majority here, I think, makes this seat look an easier gain that it actually is. Quite simply, it is another of those divided seats with large numbers of core voters on both sides. I’d concede that Labour are narrow favourites to win, given that Dismore will be standing again, but no better than that.

  2. In driving through this constituency recently I was surprised how run down parts of it had become.

    I agree, however, that while the constituency continues to move in Labours direction socially and economically, a Labour victory in 2015 is by no means certain.

  3. Which parts do you mean?
    Hendon itself does look a bit run down,
    like some of the wards near the A12 in Ilford North.
    I haven’t been to Edgware for quite a while
    but Mill Hill is quite high status.

  4. The parts you see from the A41 etc. are deceptive…many areas adjacent to trunk roads are often down at heel.

    Hendon ward has some very high-class roads such as Brampton Grove, Wyckham Road and Sherwood Road.

    Plus, as has been said, much of Mill Hill is high-status.

    Edgware is, in general solidly suburban, albeit with an isolated pocket of deprivation (the most deprived SOA in the Borough) around the Stonegrove estate, which is now being redeveloped.

    The opening of Brent Cross Shopping Centre in 1976 also means that most of Barnet LB’s town centres are today predominantly convenience-led.

  5. Of course, it’s important to remember the distinction between those parts of Edgware which are in Barnet (heavily Jewish, owner-occupied & middle-class) & those which are in Harrow (socially mixed, small Jewish population & Labour-inclined).

  6. Actually the real mirror-image ward, geographically and socially in Harrow is actually the Canons ward, which is rather affluent.

    The “Edgware” ward in Harrow is a bit of a misnomer as it actually lies across from Burnt Oak in Barnet and, as Barnaby implies, bears more resemblance to that area.

  7. Do Labour supporters regard this as a more difficult target than Enfield North despite the smaller majority?

  8. Almost certainly yes

  9. This seat had the highest Labour share of the vote for any seat the party didn’t win: 42.11%.

  10. This seat has actually faired much better than many outer London seats. It is still quite smart (minus the Romanians pitching up on the old football ground in Hendon proper), has some extremely expensive housing and is rather leafy. I still expect Labour to win here in 2015 purely down to the size of the majority but if the Tories manage to hold some of the Hindu vote as well as the Jewish vote then it will be very very tight.

  11. Dismore’s selection will make it easier for Labour to get a good share of the Jewish vote. Although he himself isn’t Jewish, he does have relatives who apparently are, and has always been well-respected amongst that community.

  12. I always thought Dismore was Jewish

    Like some of his Labour colleagues, he’s very pro-Israel

  13. The 2012 GLA list vote does not point to this being a walk-over for Labour (sorry to repeat myself)

    Lab 42.3%
    Con 38.7%
    UKIP 4.7%
    Grn 4.6%
    LD 4.3%
    Oth 5.4%

    Only about a 3% majority for Labour, and the Lib Dems will do better than 4.3% in a General Election.

  14. I’m with Tim – I thought Dismore was Jewish as well.

    Being pro Isreal can only be a good thing in this seat and as Barnaby has said, he does have Jewish links, and is well known amongst Hendon Jewish folk.

    This could be a contender for the tightest win in 2015?

  15. I think the Tories will hold on here by about 2,000.

  16. The CONs are down for sure on that GLA vote at present. I can’t see a Tory hold in such an ultra-marginal seat. I am sure there will be a swing from Tory to Labour in 2015.

    Mind you a lot can happen in 2 years. We should know by the start of 2015 I expect.

  17. does matthew offord have any jewish links

  18. HH; I think the LD’s could very easily get votes like 4% in many seats

  19. HH is right – it won’t be anything like a walkover. But I doubt whether Joe is correct either.

  20. Saw your letter in the Guardian btw, BM. Couldn’t agree more.

  21. Off-topic:

    Link to the letter(s) in the Guardian mentioned above:


  22. “The CONs are down for sure on that GLA vote at present.”

    Quite the reverse, in the national polls the Tories are doing better now than they were in May 2012.

    “I am sure there will be a swing from Tory to Labour in 2015.”

    Nationally you’re most likely right, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some local exceptions bucking the trend.

    Personally I think selecting Andrew Dismore crucially helps Labour and gives them maybe a 55-45 chance of winning the seat back.

    Had they selected a new candidate I would have expected a Tory hold, with Joe’s prediction a possible outcome.

  23. Top 12 Labour shares where they were unsuccessful:

    1. Hendon: 42.11%
    2. Brent Central: 41.22%
    3. Manchester Withington: 40.51%
    4. Warwickshire North: 40.07%
    5. Morecambe & Lunesdale: 39.53%
    6. Wolverhampton South West: 38.98%
    7. Sherwood: 38.81%
    8. Waveney: 38.72%
    9. Corby: 38.64%
    10.Stroud: 38.60%
    11.Enfield North: 38.49%
    12.Broxtowe: 38.30%

  24. Van Fleet – thanks very much. Ken Loach irritates the hell out of me these days.

  25. Your point about the repeated failure of alternative left parties is one folks like Loach have no excuse for not appreciating. People have been trying to create alternative parties to the left of Labour since the creation of Labour itself, and not since the Communist Party limped to its irrelevance has that worked. Respect is hardly a success, considering it’s gone nowhere beyond the appeal of one man, and now even that’s going asunder: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/13/george-galloway-bradford-west-mayor-london

    Fact is, when folks like Loach try to create parties, they’re dismissed by most people as products of the detached ‘loony’ left intelligentsia, with no appeal to ‘normal’ people. On the other hand, when working-class figures try to create an alternative party, it ends up being dominated by hard-left union men like Crow and Scargill, again with limited appeal outside their circles of supporters. Trying to combine both groups of people ends up bringing in the worst of both worlds. This Left Unity stuff will go nowhere, just like the thousand other attempts before it, and all it ever ends up doing is dividing up the energy of the left at a critical time.

  26. There is a famous phrase (I don’t know the provanance of it) that it is better to have [insert name here] inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in. I think if I were a supporter of the Labour party I should take the view that in the case of people like Loach and Crow it would be better to have them outside the tent, pissing in the wind

  27. “There is a famous phrase (I don’t know the provanance of it)”

    It comes from Lyndon Johnson

  28. I’m not a natural Labour supporter (although I have voted for them on occasion) but I think Barnaby’s letter was spot on.

  29. I’m tempted to agree with Pete to some extent but I’d still much rather the RMT reaffiliated to the Labour Party, along with the FBU. It’s interesting that despite the fact that Arthur Scargill starting a rival political party the NUM never disaffiliated.

  30. Johnson’s aphorism was rather soundly disproved by the case of Scargill and his Socialist Labour Party: he did “okay” in Newport East in 1997 but his 912 votes against Mandelson in 2001 was embarrassing by any standards,

  31. His candidacies have always been marked by animosity against particular Labour candidates rather than a desire to serve constituents, if I may be permitted to say so. He stood against Alan Howarth because Howarth was disliked within parts of the left, having once been a Thatcherite – as a defector himself, Scargill’s candidacy was rather ironic.

  32. “It’s interesting that despite the fact that Arthur Scargill starting a rival political party the NUM never disaffiliated.”

    It’s not surprising at all to me…my great uncle who was an NUM branch delegate for many years taught me a lot about the union, and pointed me to a lot of excellent reading on the subject.

    The NUM was always about the solidarity of the Labour movement above all else, with personalities always being unimportant compared with the movement.

    Even at the height of his powers, great swathes of the NUM couldn’t stand Arthur Scargill, including many important union officers who later became MPs, such as Kim Howells and Kevin Barron.

    By the end, the union as a whole came to suspect that Scargill’s critics were correct all along, with Scargill’s association with the NUM ending in well-publicised ignominy.

    It is no surprise whatsoever that the vast majority of working and retired miners wanted nothing to do with Scargill’s left wing splinter party.

  33. This was re-selection by the Executive Committee.

    Obviously and open primary for a new candidate attended by 25 people would be an entirely different matter – and is not the case here.

  34. I think the new primaries aren’t a bad idea.

    Getting more people involved in the selection process can only be a good thing.

    Are Labour and the Lib Dems doing this at all?

  35. I very strongly support open primaries

  36. They do seem to be fair ways of selecting candidates.

  37. I like the way they bring other people in – even some from other parties.
    I’m sure we all end up strengthened and re-energised as a result of them, with some more members
    and I hope other people who attend, regardless of what they eventually vote, gain something from engaging with the candidates who might become their MP.

    It’s well worth the risk

  38. You’ve got to make something of it – advertise it and chase up your contacts and friends, and voters you have contacted

  39. Oh absolutely I agree with you.

    It does help more than a little bit if the voters can actually get to know the prospective candidate who may well become their MP so they will know who exactly they are voting for, even if it is a selection for a safe seat.

  40. Open primaries are interesting – my gut says that I’m with JJB and The Results on this one, but I think there are drawbacks.

    To take a different example, when I look at the industry I work in regulations stipulate that at least 1/3 of pension trustee boards should be ‘member nominated’. Our pension scheme (like many) used to send letters out to members asking for candidates who then be elected by the membership.

    The problem was that, whilst democracy in general is of course ‘A Good Thing’, bad candidates were often elected because a) the candidate was very popular in the business and lots of people knew them or b) no ‘popular’ candidate stood but a motivated candidate stood who could get 30 or so close colleagues/people who sat near them/people they had coffee with in the canteen to vote for him/her, which was often enough to swing it.

    The problem was that in general most people voting were not in anyway considering what was involved in being a trustee director of a £2bn scheme, or whether the candidate they were voting for might be good at it..

    As a result, we moved to committee selection. Now, in one sense that is A Bad Thing as it’s undemocratic……but the quality of MND trustees has improved notably. The key thing seemed to be to ensure that the right selection parameters were used, and to ensure that the governance committee members were rotated to ensure a fresh view was taken at each selection panel.

    I’m not saying primaries are a bad idea – I actually like the idea – but only if the electorate are genuinely engaged and have listened carefully to the arguments of the various candidates. If so, there’s a good chance that the decision reached would be at least as good as that reached by a selection committee. And I do note that the turnout in the Totnes primary was higher than expected, and in fairness they seem to have quite an impressive MP as a result.

    But…..in most cases I just wonder how many of the voters who participate in primaries genuinely start with a neutral stance and then vote for the candidate that’s impressed them the most – rather than voting because they know them, or based on how the person looks etc.

    Unfortunately, whilst my gut likes the idea of primaries, if you could ensure that intelligent, neutral people who had not served for too long were on selection committees (and I appreciate that’s a big ‘if’) I suspect the selection committees will generally make better decisions.

  41. Good post Chris. Very interesting.

  42. On the PoliticalBetting website today there was a thread on an Ipsos-MORI finding that only 2% of Conservative voters from 2010 have switched to Labour. The other 98% are either still Conservative supporters or have switched to other parties such as UKIP.

    If that’s true, it could make it difficult for Labour to win seats where the LD vote is already relatively low, such as North Warwickshire, Thurrock and Hendon.

  43. Was anyone else astonished by the finding that only 2% of Conservative voters from 2010 are intending to vote Labour according to Ipsos/MORI?

  44. Yes I was.

  45. The cross-breaks which YouGov provide four times each weeK also show low Con>Lab movement, but not as low as 2%. I suspect that someone is making rather too much of a single cross-break.

    Having said that, YouGov’s figures for Con>Lab are only generally around 4-5% and are balanced by a near-equal Lab> Con churn. I’d certainly expect the Con>Lab swing in the marginals such as those you mention to be lower than might be expected from Unifom National Swing. To some extent, this is a natural consequence of the left of centre vote being more united behind Labour, and therefore reducing the scope for LibDeb>Lab tactical voting.

  46. It means you could have a huge swing from LD to Lab in seats like Sheffield Central and Hull North, but (theoretically) very few seats changing hands.

  47. It seems to me very likely that, whatever the actual result, the number of Con>Lab and also LibDem>Con seats changing hands will be less than would be expected by Uniform National Swing. Nevertheless, teh combination of movement from LibDem to Labour,and UKIP taking proportionately more voters from the Tories than Labour would prbably turn most of the closest Con/Lab marginals to Labour.

    I’d expect the biggest swings to Labour in those seats which have moved from Labour to LibDem in 2005 or 2010.

  48. Cllr Ansuya Soda defected from Labour to the Conservatives here, at last night’s full council meeting in Barnet. She represents West Hendon ward and has been a Cllr for 16 years.

  49. The Tories are very welcome to her. She was the GLA candidate for SW London the election before last, and was easily the least visible candidate in any election in which I have worked, which is a very large number. (I think her surname is spelt Sodha.)

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