Ilford South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 13455 (25.9%)
Labour: 33232 (64%)
Lib Dem: 1014 (2%)
Green: 1506 (2.9%)
UKIP: 2705 (5.2%)
MAJORITY: 19777 (38.1%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Redbridge Council Area.

Main population centres: Ilford.

Profile: This is a densely packed residential seat without the Essex countryside of Ilford North, it is less affluent, the housing less desirable. In many ways it resembles its neighbour East Ham more than Ilford North. Most notably it now has a very large ethnic population, the second highest non-white population in the country and the second highest proportion of Asian voters. Ilford is perhaps still associated with the suburban Essex part of London, but demographic change has since made this seat part of ethnically diverse east London.

Politics: Ilford South was traditionally a true marginal and a good bellwether seat, since 1951 it has been won by the party that went on to form the government in every election except 1992, when it was narrowly gained by Labour. The massive demographic changes here and the Conservative party`s difficulties in appealing to ethnic minority voters though have transformed it into a safe Labour seat.

Current MP
MIKE GAPES (Labour) Born 1952, Wanstead. Educated at Buckhurst Hill County Hill and Cambridge University. Former Labour party organiser. Contested Ilford North 1983. First elected as MP for Ilford South in 1992. PPS to Paul Murphy and Adam Ingram 1997-1999, PPS to Jeff Rooker 2001-2003.
Past Results
Con: 14014 (27%)
Lab: 25301 (49%)
LDem: 8679 (17%)
GRN: 1319 (3%)
Oth: 1878 (4%)
MAJ: 11287 (22%)
Con: 11628 (27%)
Lab: 20856 (49%)
LDem: 8761 (21%)
UKIP: 685 (2%)
Oth: 763 (2%)
MAJ: 9228 (22%)
Con: 10622 (26%)
Lab: 24619 (60%)
LDem: 4647 (11%)
UKIP: 1407 (3%)
MAJ: 13997 (34%)
Con: 15073 (30%)
Lab: 29273 (59%)
LDem: 3152 (6%)
Oth: 1448 (3%)
MAJ: 14200 (28%)

2015 Candidates
CHRIS CHAPMAN (Conservative)
MIKE GAPES (Labour) See above.
ASHBURN HOLDER (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 157 Responses on “Ilford South”
  1. When an area becomes less Jewish do synagogue close as new ones are created in suburbs and the home counties. Many of the Jewish people who will have moved from Ilford in the past 20 years or so will have been decended from Tower Hamlets.

    It now seems that Ilford is going through the same process that Tower Hamlets went through 70 – 80 years ago with their respective Jewish population moving to the Essex County council area where new synagogues are being established.

  2. yes Peter they do. In areas which had particularly large Jewish populations like this one, it would take a long time for the shuls to close altogether, but there would at least be a reduction in their number. One closed shul near where I live is in Hounslow, which never had a large Jewish community; its remaining congregants now use the synagogue in Staines (itself hardly an area known for its Jewish population).

  3. I know I have said this before but Ilford is a much pooer place without the strong Jewish community that it once had.
    Dalek is right, Ilford is going the way of Tower Hamlets in general.

  4. it hasn’t disappeared yet, and in fact I still have relatives in this constituency.

  5. It is almost non existent in this seat.

    Around Gants Hill you see the last few Jewish shops in the Ilford area.

  6. I think the Labour majority will go just above 1997 here.
    The Tory vote that is left will probably be pretty stable here though.
    I think the LDs will stay around 10%

  7. Any remaining Tories will be few and far between by 2015 – mainly left in Chadwell, Cranbrook and some support in Mayfield. This seat is now firmly, grotty, run down Labour territory.

    Ilford used to be a place to aspire to in the not so distant past. Look at it now.

  8. They still had 14000 in 2010 although the almost lack of any swing indicates there could be another hefty swing to labour in a year where there is any swing to labour atall – if that comes about.

  9. Demographic change must be very fast. I canvassed in cranbrook in 2008 at the tory peak and there did seem to be robust tory support, but we were over 20pc ahead at the time

  10. Is labour going to win all the wards here?

  11. I don’t want to make predictions like that as I hope the Tories can still keep effective control of Redbridge but split representation in Cranbrook is the most realistic goal of any seats.
    I don’t know whether that sole Lib Dem in Valentines is likely to survive – I would guess most likely not

  12. I guess it depends on the middle-class Indian vote, some of whom might still vote Conservative.

  13. There aren’t many middle class Indians left in Ilford South; most will have moved out to nicer places. They may well actually be more of an electoral force in Ilford North now, where their potential willingness to vote Tory may be required to save Lee Scott’s bacon. As LBernard says, Ilford South is now a very grotty area indeed, pretty indistinguishable from Barking & Dagenham in my opinion. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Labour won all the council seats next year. I would be very surprised indeed if Labour didn’t win majority control of Redbridge council.

  14. I think Labour will win all of the wards in Ilford S in 2014 and only Cranbrook will even be at all close.

  15. I’d draw a blank at that one.

  16. Taking the last seat in Valentines might not be as easy as it sounds. The Lib Dem topped the vote in 2010, even when his colleagues failed to get elected. I

  17. Whoops, entered the post in before I could complete it.


    I understand the Lib Dem is a big figure in the local mosque, which means he draws a significant personal vote. The Labour advance in Cranbrook is symbolic of the massive demographic changes that have happened in Ilford South, as I believe Cranbrook used to be a Tory stronghold. Indeed, I believe the Labour gain in 2010 was the first time they’ve ever got a Labour councillor elected in Cranbrook. With decreased turnout of Labour voters in 2014, I’m unsure if they’ll advance further. But under the right circumstances, a Labour sweep of all the council wards in Ilford South is certainly on the table. Just goes to show much the seat has moved from its marginal status a couple of decades ago.

    Incidentally, I hear a rumour (it’s a rumour, so take it at face value) that Gapes is planning his next term as his last.

  18. Mike Gapes seems to be a good MP – perhaps he has extended the Labour lead a few extra points but I conceed there is no way back for the Tories here and it’s now causing us real difficulty staying ahead in Redbridge council – only just managed it even in 2010.

    I think the Tories may just have a chance of 1 seat in Cranbrook on a local election turnout if the 2 main parties are close nationally but it’s only a hope

  19. Labour finally taking control of Redbridge Council would say more about Labour’s advance across Redbridge than its solidification in Ilford South. Labour’s never gained overall control. Indeed, the only time the Conservatives haven’t been in charge was in the 90s, and even then Labour only had minority control.

    Labour have been hampered by some defections of late, but I think they’ll be able to finally do it this time.

  20. Yes it looks like it.
    I think the Tories did temporarily take control for a few months sometime during the 1998-2002 cycle as both parties suffered divisions
    but with the Labour advance in seats along the A12 even in 2010
    it’s looking a little difficult to say the least.

  21. I suppose the Tories holding on in those 2 wards in Leyton and Wanstead is a partial success for them – not sure what’s likely there – it seems we are a little more solid there despite it being a bit more of a liberal middle class area of the kind Labour or the Libs may have threatened us when we were at a very low ebb

  22. Is a 35-40% majority for Labour possible here next time round?

  23. It’s only a guess Joe, but I reckon that the Tories will hold on to Snaresbrook ward, and Wanstead will be split between Lab & Con.

  24. Possibly – i guess several of these wards could have split representation depending on the national polls next May. I don’t think UKIP will be much of an issue in this Borough.
    If it goes very badly for us Labour could have over 40-42 seats or if something turns up for us we may just cling on with about 28 seats – although even that is difficult because it would probably only be achieved by ousting some of the Lib Dems in Woodford who are currently propping us up.

  25. Joe James you are correct the Tories did take minority control of Redbridge Council from memory it was in early 1999 until May 2000. The fall of the minority Labour adminstration was not due to any splits but the Lib Dems flexing their muscles and making it untenable for Labour to continue.the Tories stepped in and ran another minority administration (I was a junior member from memory Vice Chair of Social Services Committee) until May 2000 when the Lib Dems decided at Council to try and mix and match Committee chairs by backing some Labour and some Tory nominations. The Tories pulled out leaving Labour to run a minority administration again.

    The divisions within the Conservative Group surfaced post 2002 after the sad of death of Keith Axon in February 2003.

  26. To clarify LD, you were a Tory councillor on Redbridge? Nice to have you here.

    I also heard the LDs were responsible for undermining the minority Labour administration. From what I’d been told, Labour had an understanding with the Liberal Democrats that they would support them in keeping their minority control alive, but apparently the LDs reigned pretty much immediately after Labour got in power. In the end, as far as I’m aware, the chaotic control just go so bad that Labour threw the towel in, saying they couldn’t govern effectively.

  27. *reneged

  28. Thanks Lawrence – I was shocked to read of the sudden death of Keith Axon.

    Someone mentioned the minority control to me in 2006 – I was suprrised because had been unaware.
    Was Linda Perham leader of the Labour council at first?

    Do you think we have any chance atall of staying the largest party should the two parties be fairly even by next May nationally?


    Yes I was a Tory Councillor in Redbridge first 1990 -94 Chadwell and then Fullwell 1998 -2006. From memory you are correct with regard to the Lib Dems and the Labour administration an extremely fraught time for both Tory and Labour Cllrs who just wanted to get on with things and do the best they could.

    Joe James Linda Perham was never Labour Leader Liz Pearce 1993 – 1999 and Muhammed Javed 1999 – 2002 were Leaders Linda was Mayor 1994/95 and I think she was Chair of the Leisure Servces Committee or whatever it was called at the time until her election to Parliament in 1997.

    Turning to 2014 I think at this stage they have a 20% chance of staying the largest Group on the Council but as we all know a week in politics is a long time. The Euro elections on the same day may skew some of the results especially in the north of the Borough. I am afraid to say the South is a lost cause. The best hope is retaining the two Councillors in Cranbrook. The days of Tory Councillors in Mayfield and Chadwell I think have long gone.

  30. LD, thanks for the info. Always good having an elected official (even former ones) contributing to our discussions here.

    I’m curious to know. Do you recall the last time when your party was winning Valentines ward, if ever?

  31. Van Fleet before my time in Ilford but 1982 was the last time in a normal election although in July 2003 a byelection in the ward following the death of Labour Cllr Gary Scottow led to a Conservative gain by 9 votes!

  32. Thanks for the info! Much appreciated.

  33. Laurence I’m sure you remember Cllr Arnold Kinzley, who represented Cranbrook ward until his death in 1993, and before that Ilford S on the GLC – although I am a Labour Party member of many years’ standing, he was a relative of mine & I knew him very well for all my life until his sad death.

  34. Barnaby I sure do remember Arnold Kinzley I counted him not only as a colleague but a friend who advised and helped me on many occasions as a newcomer to the Council chamber then in my very early thirties.

  35. His wife Ruth remarried not that long afterwards, but it’s been a long while since I’ve seen her. He used to come to my house quite often if he had a fare to Heathrow (as you know he was a taxi driver), and I loved arguing with him – we disagreed about everything, except abolishing the GLC, which he was dead against, but I think we had a strong mutual respect. I remember him asking my bride on our wedding day whether she was a Conservative, and pretending to be disappointed when she said no, she was (still is) a Labour supporter!

  36. From memory his son Mark stood for Council for the Greens. Although I went to Arnolds house in Gaysham Avenue on a number of occasions I never met Mark. Or my memory might be playing tricks.

  37. I’d forgotten he lived in that road! But I remember it now from my parents’ address book.

  38. LAB 27100
    CON 12051
    LD 6184
    UKIP 2808
    GRN 2342

  39. I was wondering if you could be a bit more exact with that prediction

  40. wouldn’t it be amazing if any of his predictions turned out to be 100% accurate……

  41. Ok, those are my projected votes for each party as if the same number of voters will turn out in 2015 as 2010. I used a spreadsheet and percentage changes etc hence the ‘precision’; however, JJB’s predictions are presented often very similarly- I was having a go at making a prediction in his style. Obviously that won’t always work, but for this seat I think my guess is quite reasonable.

  42. WoC, I highly suggest you avoid these numerical predictions for now. 1) You’re new at predictions. Wait to see how your percentage predictions work out come the next general, before moving onto numerical. 2) We’re still way off the general, and especially considering your inexperience, there’s no point trying out for numerical predictions.

  43. Some of my exact predictions are jokes. I haven’t made many for 2015 but I expect a larger majority than that here for Labour, given the underlying trends in the area which saw no net swing in 2010, maybe a fraction to labour.

  44. This seat must be well on its way to becoming one of Labours ultra safe seats.

    The White British demographics from the last census highlight the extent of the ‘white flight’ which has occured in this seat by 2011. I expect the Tories to find returning councillors in Cranbrook particularly difficult in 2014 and can see a Newham like full slate of Labour councillors in this seat thereafter.

    Having said that I do like Mike Gapes as he is a very good constituency MP who does care about the area and is always trying to make Ilford better.

    Chadwell – 37%
    Mayfield – 20%
    Cranbrook – 18%
    Goodmayes – 17%
    Newbury – 16%
    Seven Kings – 16%
    Valentines – 14%
    Loxford – 10%
    Clementswood – 9%

  45. I do sometimes wonder if in the long (30 years) term whether seats like this might swing back somewhat. Demographic change has pretty much happened here rather than happening.

    The post rapid change era of seats like this will be interesting to watch.

  46. ‘This seat must be well on its way to becoming one of Labours ultra safe seats.’

    I agree with your analysis

    This is becoming an ultra safe Labour seat – partly due to changing delographics and partly due to having an effective and hard-working MP

  47. Looking at the 2010 locals, I’m going to go out on a limb here with near three months left, and predict Labour will get a clean sweep of all the wards here in South, which would be a first for the party.

  48. Aside from a grouping of West London seats (Southall, Feltham and Heston and Hayes and Harlington), this constituency must have the largest proportion of Sikhs in any other part of GL. 9.4% isn’t massive, but it’s significant seeing as how London’s Sikh population is rather thin outside of the abovementioned seats.

  49. I agree with Van Fleet. I can’t see either the Cons or the LDs saving any of their remaining seats in this constituency. Whether Labour can take control depends almost entirely on Ilford N, though winning a seat or 2 in Wanstead ward would also be extremely useful for the party.

  50. It’s more likely than not perhaps but I wouldn’t say I can’t see the Tories saving any of their seats. The gap between the top polling Tory and the bottom polling Labour candidate in Cranbrook was quite large and I still think Labour were assisted by general election turnout in much of London in a way which will to some extent mitigate against huge swings in their favour this May. I shouldn’t be surprised to see the Tories hold on to one of the seats there

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