Ilford North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 20874 (42.7%)
Labour: 21463 (43.9%)
Lib Dem: 1130 (2.3%)
Green: 1023 (2.1%)
UKIP: 4355 (8.9%)
Independent: 87 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 589 (1.2%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Redbridge, Hainault.

Profile: Very much the Essex part of London, Ilford North is mostly semi-detached, lower middle class suburban housing, popular with London commuters. At its eastern end it runs out into Essex countryside, taking in Fairlop Waters Country park and Hainault Forest. In recent years it has become increasingly ethnically diverse, with a large Asian population as well as significant Black and Jewish communities. Overall just over half the seats population was white in the 2011 census, making it one of the most ethnically diverse seat to return a Conservative MP.

Politics: A key Conservative-Labour marginal, it was held by the Conservatives throughout the 1980s and was won by Labour in 1997, despite having been heavily adjusted in the 1997 boundary changes. It fell to the Conservatives in 2005 and Lee Scott built up a solid Conservative majority in 2010, unusually for a seat with such an ethnically diverse electorate. It fell to Labour in 2015, the most difficult Conservative held target that Labour managed to take.

Current MP
WES STREETING (Labour) Born 1983, Tower Hamlets. Educated at Westminster City school and Cambridge University. Former national President of the NUS. Redbridge councillor since 2010. First elected as MP for Ilford North in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 21506 (46%)
Lab: 16102 (34%)
LDem: 5966 (13%)
BNP: 1545 (3%)
Oth: 1899 (4%)
MAJ: 5404 (11%)
Con: 18781 (44%)
Lab: 17128 (40%)
LDem: 5896 (14%)
UKIP: 902 (2%)
Oth: 293 (1%)
MAJ: 1653 (4%)
Con: 16313 (41%)
Lab: 18428 (46%)
LDem: 4717 (12%)
UKIP: 776 (2%)
MAJ: 2115 (5%)
Con: 19911 (41%)
Lab: 23135 (47%)
LDem: 5049 (10%)
Oth: 750 (2%)
MAJ: 3224 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LEE SCOTT (Conservative) Born 1956. Educated at Clark`s College Ilford. Professional fundraiser. Contested Waverley 2001. MP for Ilford North 2005 to 2015.
WES STREETING (Labour) Born 1983, Tower Hamlets. Educated at Westminster City school and Cambridge University. Former national President of the NUS. Redbridge councillor since 2010.
RICH CLARE (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Chigwell School and Sheffield Hallam University.
PHILIP HYDE (UKIP) Born London. Former banker, now running a horticultural company. Havering councillor since 2014. Contested Romford 2010 as an Independent.
DORIS OSEN (Independent) Retired teacher.
Comments - 495 Responses on “Ilford North”
  1. Thanks HH and that goes a long way to explaining why Ilford North remains a Tory marginal rather than a Labour one.

    Yes, I do remember that the polling in September 1978 was inconclusive, but the alternative prospect was trying to enforce a unpopular statutory pay policy through the winter. While Callaghan cannot perhaps be blamed for not anticipating the magnitude of the coming disaster, surely holding an election when he was less exhausted in October 1978 would have been the wiser course. He might even have won.

    For me, it just goes to show that when there is any doubt about the outcome, politicians almost always cling to power until the last possible moment – Home in 1964, Callaghan in 1979, Major in 1992 and Brown in 2010 being the best examples.

  2. There are good reasons for that. If you’re going to be defeated anyway, why not keep your positions and salaries as long as possible? Those PMS who go early and get it wrong tend to be the most reviled afterwards – see Heath for example.

  3. H Hemmelig is of course absolutely right re the effect of the boundary changes to Ilford North for the 1997 election. They transformed an actual Conservative majority of 20% to a notional majority of about 27%. However, the addition of ‘east’ Woodford has not quite been the boon that the Conservatives hoped for given its own demographic trajectory (the old Wanstead and Woodford division of which it was a part would be a semi-marginal if it existed day) though it’s obviously still better than the old arrangement.

  4. You’re right, though the old Ilford North would certainly be going Labour in 2015 and this seat most likely won’t, so the boundary change has been of critical importance.

  5. @HH
    ‘Callaghan was convinced he would do no better than end up with another minority government and he didn’t want that. He was exhausted.’

    That may be true but does not excuse Callaghan. If he was that exhausted he should have made way for someone else rather than hand power over to the most rightwing Tory leader of the 20th century. I have never forgiven him and consider that he was a poor party leader – as shown again later when he stayed on too long as Opposition leader.

  6. Who would he have handed over to though? Foot would most likely have won the leadership election, as he did in 1980, and gone down to a far more thumping defeat than Callaghan. Healey proved several times he didn’t have the support to win a leadership election.

  7. Had Callaghan departed in late-1979 or early 1980 Healey would almost certainly have won. By November 1980 many right of centre MPs had already decided to leave Labour for what became the SDP. Several voted for Foot to deliberately destabilise the party and given that Foot only prevailed by 10 votes , it only required 6 such votes to have been decisive.
    Callaghan also cocked up badly re- the Confidence Vote on March 28th. Given his failure the previous autumn to call the election at the most hopeful time he should have done everything to win that vote – including dealing with the Ulster Unionists. He could have outmanouevred the Tories by going to the Palace 48 hours before the vote was due to take palace and announced an election for June 7th – five weeks later than the actual date of May 3rd. It would have given him longer to place the Winter of Discontent behind him and also ensured that polling day coincided with the first direct Euro Elections – at a time when Labour was seen as the more eurosceptical party. Once election day had been announced it could not have realistically have been changed – even if he had still been defeated on March 28th. He was a disaster – Harold Wilson would have been much better.

  8. With the higher than average swing in London and the demography of this seat, I still think its not beyond Labour’s grasp

  9. It’s certainly not outside Labour’s grasp, though the Tories maintaining a lead in the local elections last year does indicate they’ll hold on given it will be a close contest nationally. If Miliband was heading for a majority I’d expect him to win here without a doubt.

  10. Graham – do you think Healey could have walked out of the IMF humiliation and straight into the Labour leadership and then won an election as Prime Minister? Renember also what a hate figure he was on the left for all the cuts he had to put through.

  11. I agree with H Hemmelig- the Tories will hold this is in May but the prospects beyond that look bleak for them.

  12. I might also use exactly the same sentence to describe Croydon Central, though IMO Labour have a slightly better chance there than here (perhaps 55-45).

  13. I think the Tories will be very pushed to hold Croydon Central now unless their opinion poll position improves noticeably. Despite the London opinion poll we’ve had this week, I still fully expect Labour to do better than the national average in London & the Tories will need to be at least 2.5% ahead of Labour in terms of national vote share to be the favourites in that seat. Barwell will enjoy a slight incumbency boost, but not a double one since he didn’t defeat an incumbent in the last election. It’s too early to write the Tories off altogether in that seat, but it will be tough for them. In contract, Labour will almost certainly have to be nationally ahead of the Tories to win here in Ilford N and probably by somewhat more than the UKPR average of the last 2 weeks, which is not all that likely IMHO.

  14. H Hemmelig
    Re- IMF.The entire basis of the ‘humiliation’ was subsequently undermined when revision of the relevant Borrowing figures showed that there had actually been no real justification for having to bring in the IMF in the first place! My own comments re-Healey related to 1980 by which time the IMF affair had pretty well been put aside as history and a clear example of the financial markets having got it wrong – or overreacted.
    Had Callaghan resigned prior to the 1979 election I suspect that Healey would have succeeded him.

  15. “Barwell will enjoy a slight incumbency boost, but not a double one since he didn’t defeat an incumbent in the last election.”

    Ehhh……he defeated the Independent Conservative MP who polled over 3000 votes… his true majority is closer to 6000 than 2800.

    The Independent Conservative will have taken far more Tory votes than Labour ones. If it was 2500 Con/ 700 Lab, then Barwells majority is 4600 +……pushing Croydon Central towards the Ealing Central & Acton and Ilford North grouping from the Brentford & Isleworth and Hendon grouping.

  16. i meant a labour incumbent. that situation was different. the notion that pelling took only tory votes was popular for a time, but now in the light of the local election results looks very shaky. the fact is that if the tories are not clearly ahead in ashburton ward they cannot hold the seat & it doesn’t look optimistic from their point of view. apologies for inability to type capitals. keyboard dying.

  17. The red or rather the rainbow flag will fly over Ilford, but only just! Lab gain 100

  18. Con hold majority 2000.

  19. Con hold, majority 600.

  20. Tory’s the closest to my thinking, not for the first time. Maybe a fraction more, but no more than that.

  21. I agree, Tory by 1500

  22. If Ashcroft does another set of constituency polls, this would be a highly intriguing one.

  23. Absolutely! I imagine the local Conservatives are praying that he doesn’t poll this seat.

    Out of interest, am I right in assuming that the demographic figures given on this and the other English pages are based on the 2011 census? If so this seat – and several others in London – may have a higher non white vote than shown above. Given the Conservatives problems in getting support from this part of the electorate, some of the high swings in London we are seeing may be reflecting demographic change.

  24. The Ashcroft poll for Finchley & GG offers some hope to Labour in this seat, which given the general electoral backdrop would normally be seen as a long shot. The population mix is changing quite rapidly across the constituency and this is inevitably in Labour’s favour. However Streeting was perhaps a brave choice as candidate for such an ethnically mixed seat.

  25. OK, I just noticed that Rich Clare is listed as the Lib Dem candidate. When did they select him? That’s a really familiar name in Sheffield student politics. I assume that if he went to school in Chigwell, he must be local enough seeing as how it’s a stone’s throw away from Hainault, Barkingside, etc.

  26. Apparently the Green candidate here is executive director of a large insurance broker. Surprised how he manages to reconcile that with membership of a party that wants to shake more money out of big business to pay for their vision of the country. The membership (and possibly leadership) of other far left parties (TUSC, Left Unity) would scorn anyone who works in business.

  27. I am one of the voters in Ilford North hoping to help get Wes Streeting into Parliament!

    Our current MP, Lee Scott, was one of the few Conservative MPs to sign the tuition fees pledge.

    However, if you can find the photo of Lee Scott actually signing the pledge, you will see that the person standing next to him is none other than Wes Streeting, who happened to be NUS President at the time!

  28. @Neil

    Chigwell is a private school, and so takes pupils from a wide geographical range. You can’t assume he ever lived locally.

  29. I must admit that following the Finchley poll I am sorely tempted to change my mind about this one. I still think Freer will just about squeeze home there but this one strikes me as a better Labour prospect.

  30. As a resident in one of the most marginal wards in the constituency (Roding ward – Tory last time), I can confirm, on an impressionistic level at least, that the demographic changes here even since 2010 have been dramatic.

    The canvassing by Labour here has been on a different level to five years ago; they also have a much better candidate; the Lib Dem vote (previously very strong here) will all go to Labour; and the Tories’ canvassing has been weak to nonexistent.

    Keep an eye on Ilford North come election night . . .

  31. I also am surprised thare has been very little talk about this seat compared to Finchley and Croydon Central. If Labour do as currently predicted by the polls they will be very close here.

  32. The tory campaign has been poor to non existent by contrast the labour campaign has been very well organised with very large numbers of volunteers. No doubt the demographics are moving towards labour especially in the area around Gants Hill. There are still some pockets of support for the tories in Bridge, Fairlop and Fullwell but in general all very positive for labour. Not sure why the tories have been so sure of hanging on, perhaps based on last year’s local election results. My view is they have called this badly wrong and this is highly likely to be a labour gain perhaps even by a reasonable amount.

  33. Lab gain, 200.

  34. it seems only the bookies disagree. l can’t see it as anything other than a very close race either. l can just see the Tories squeaking home – but if they manage it here, they’ll probably lose a very close to Labour somewhere else.

  35. I have this one down as 50-50. Harder for Labour than Croydon Central IMO.

    Fair to say that Labour have a very good local candidate here and it might make the decisive difference in a close race.

  36. I don’t think the result can be predicted by the “level of activity” that seems to be in evidence. The LDs would have won seats like Richmond&Barnes and Oxford West in 1983, 1987 and 1992 by that measure.

  37. @andy js

    It is clear that there is no direct correlation between the amount of activity and the result. No amount of labour campaign activity will win Chelsea & Fulham. However there is evidence from last time that where the labour party fought a well resourced active campaign eg Westminster North, Edgbaston it made a real difference. From reports all over the country there seem to be very few actual tory campaigners out on the doorstep, practical all their deliveries are paid for. Whereas labour in many places and the LDs in a few places have lots of enthusiastic volunteers.

    In tight races this could well make a difference motivating and finding those last few hundred voters necessary to push the party over the line.

  38. I live near Gants Hill and can confirm that until recently we had 3 conservative councillors but as of last year a clean sweep of 3 labour.
    Wes Streeting has been working hard here for several years now – definitely one to watch on election night I think!

  39. As someone who has canvassed for Labour in Ilford North I can confirm that Labour has had an incredibly strong campaign with a huge number of activists, partly because it is the only marginal in the area, but even taking this into account the support has been very strong.

    The result is likely to be close and one to watch on the night.

    If Labour does gain Ilford North there will be an uncanny similarity to Mike Gapes’ gain of Ilford South in 1992, on a 6 per cent swing, the swing Labour need in Ilford North.

  40. The MORI poll just published in the Standard is predicting a 5.5% con – lab swing in London. Theoretically not quite enough here, however given that we know the demographics in the Ilford area have changed significantly in labour’s favour since 2010, it does add to the evidence of a likely labour gain in Ilford North

  41. I think the Conservatives will hold this seat with a majority of 1,000. The Conservative candidate Lee Scott lives in the constituency and was not caught up in the expenses scandal due to his low level of claims. The Labour candidate Wes Streeting is portrayed by his opponents as a ‘career politician’ and until recently represented a ward in another constituency (Chadwell). The Lib Dem vote may also hold up as they have two councillors in Roding. Prediction: Conservative hold, majority 1,000.

  42. Looks like this one could go down to the wire.

  43. I agree that this looks close


    I think you make a good point about demographics. In some London seats such as Battersea, demographics have swung the other way to make up the quid pro quo.

  44. CON hold 750

  45. @HH The Labour candidate Wes Streeting until recently represented a ward in another constituency (Chadwell).

  46. Conservative Hold. 500 maj

  47. The poster count here is:
    Lab 23
    Con 16
    UKIP 1
    LD 1

  48. 8% swing CON to LAB in Ilford South, any news on this seat?

  49. Labour gain here! Very surprising considering the bad night they’re having!

  50. There’s some respite.

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