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. I was very surprised to learn from my compatriots here in South, that UKIP did a leaflet drop in Valentines, soon after Mike Gapes did his blocking attempt on an EU referendum vote in the Commons a few weeks ago.

    Anyone in UKIP who thinks Valentines is worth targeting, obviously hasn’t been canvassing in Valentines. Heck, say the same about South overall.

  2. No offence, but can you repeat that in simple English?

  3. He means that Valentines is one of the Redbridge wards which has the least potential for UKIP. It is a very strongly non-white ward with a large Muslim population. UKIP would obviously have greater potential in certain wards in Ilford N, especially Hainault & Fairlop.

  4. Thanks BM.

  5. Labour will do very well here in May…not because they are brilliantly hardworking in Redbridge but solely because of demographics which has rapidly pushed this seat from a marginal 20 years ago to a super safe, grotty urban seat these days.

    Cranbrook is likely to go Labour IMO unless there is a very low turnout in that ward.

    When Gapes retires I imagine Labour will match the new MP with the bulk of the population.

  6. Depends how much civil war that would cause in the CLP between different ethnic groups jockeying for the candidacy.

    It’s quite possible Labour will avoid this, as in West Ham, by imposing an AWS and selecting a white woman.

  7. What H.H. said. I know some colleagues of mine in a nearby CLP selected an ethnic candidate sometime back, only to find he was apparently in the ‘wrong’ caste and didn’t appeal to his ethnic base. Says as much about how the caste system still persists amongst some, as it does how parties need to be careful in choosing an ethnic minority candidate. But the lesson they drew was that it was better to pick someone – like, the next time over, a white man – who would avoid being drawn into an ethnic squabble.

    Thankfully in my experience, the caste system isn’t as widespread amongst immigrant families as some people think, especially after a generation or two of living here. But quite clearly it’s still there to a significant enough degree.

  8. When large chunks of your core are from varying ethnic minorities you have to worry about such things.

    We also have to remember that all those new Labour voters that Labour imported between 1997-2010 will still have that type of caste mentality even if those who have been here for decades and are thoroughly British have not.

  9. The Tories are also importing significant quantities of new voters – about 500,000 gross and 200,000 net over the past year.

  10. Many of whom, we have to remember, aren’t voters and never will be.

  11. Yes, though the ones which do become voters are more likely to be those from the commonwealth, who are most likely to vote Labour. The Tories should let European, American, Australian etc immigrants vote here, as many would be natural supporters. UKIP would be furious however.

  12. Duh, Australia is commonwealth of course.

  13. Worth highlighting the example of how immigration is actually helping the Conservatives in Canada. Their immigrants are increasingly coming from south-east Asian countries, who carry with them values that align much more with the Conservatives. South-east Asian immigrant voters are seen as a vital bloc of a coalition that the Conservatives hope can keep them in power, and voters which will help push the centre of Canadian politics more to the right.

  14. And that is what pushes me even more towards UKIP HH. The Tories are worse than Labour as they pretend they can change the situation when they know they cannot as they do not want to defy the EU on this matter. At least Labour just flung the doors open and you had to like it or move house pronto.

    I would be more than happy with large numbers of people coming from the US, Canada, Aus, NZ and Northern and Western Europe.

  15. Well, good luck with that. I know a fair few people who’ve gone through long and involved struggles to get the necessary VISAs. Almost all from North America or Australasia.

    It’s fairly clear that what you mean is that you’re fine with immigration provided it’s white, and the ‘right’ sort of white at that. As that would be fairly obviously illegal, you’re instead going to keep having a system that harasses everybody not from the EU equally in the hope they give up.

    Incidentally, the claim that those who arrived 1997-2010 will be disproportionately likely to have a ‘caste’ mentality is nonsense. The only people who will have that mentality will be those from societies that still have castes, which essentially means the sub-continent. Plenty of immigrants of sub-continental origins were arrived prior to 1997 and plenty of 1997-2010 immigrants came from bits of the world without caste systems.

  16. Not at all ECB

    I am more than happy for skilled, hard working people who have something to contribute to the UK to come here no matter what colour they are as I would not want to be denied the right to work in another country solely on the basis of race.

    However in terms of integration it makes sense IMO that a country with such a wide reach as Britain makes Aussie/NZ citizens jump through hoops to settle here yet people from Romania have an automatic right to do so. Immigration should benefit the country and society as a whole not be used as a way for big business to lower wgaes whilst putting a notable minority of the UK population on the dole with no ambition to move up.

    As for the caste system, I would imagine that those Indian immigrants who came here in the 50s-60s and have had their children here are nothing more than British and it is unlikely that their children or grandchildren are going to follow the strict caste system of India compared to someone who came to the UK in 2006 as a young adult. I may be wrong.

  17. I am old enough to remember the early 1980s. 3.5 million unemployed, and very little immigration, in fact we had a substantial net emigration at the time. People talk as if stopping immigration solves unemployment – history strongly suggests otherwise.

  18. That was the argument of the NF at the time, and of course the BNP (and similar organizations) today. UKIP are in danger of starting to make the same arguments. The worst mass unemployment was before WWII, when of course there were hardly any non-white people in this country, and even the BUF didn’t, primarily, seek to blame it on Jews, Huguenots & the Irish; their anti-Semitism was on different grounds.

  19. Completely agree. Having grasped that the earth isn’t flat, you would have thought we would have accepted by now that the economy isn’t some kind of zero sum game. Many immigrants create their own jobs, and jobs for others. Some native unemployed are unable to do the work done by immigrants. ‘Twas ever thus. There is no such thing as a perfect world.

  20. It’s also worth noting that most coastal UKIP strongholds have very limited immigration, because there are very few jobs. Indeed many of them have persistent out-migration due to lack of jobs, or are increasingly becoming dormitory towns for more successful urban centres. The few exceptions (e.g. Boston) are mostly dormitory towns for agricultural workers.

    LBernard – if it’s not about race, why isn’t South Africa on the list? Like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, it’s a former dominion and has clear historical ties to the UK. Why should Finland or Sweden be OK, despite their lack of historical ties to the UK, but not Romania? You’ve basically provided a list of nations that are either overwhelmingly white, or where the minority populations provide a disproportionately small share of emigrants to the UK for socio-economic reasons.

  21. ‘It’s also worth noting that most coastal UKIP strongholds have very limited immigration, because there are very few jobs. Indeed many of them have persistent out-migration due to lack of jobs, or are increasingly becoming dormitory towns for more successful urban centres.’

    You mean the areas with the greatest fear of immigration are the ones where immigration is minimal, and that the people there base their fears on scare stories in the media?

    Who’d have thunk it?!

  22. *often the ones

  23. Coastal UKIP strongholds also naturally have the highest percentages of retirees. Retired people can vote UKIP without having to worry how UKIP policy might wreck their job or business. The Tories need to do some work on the impact of leaving the EU / closing the border on future pensions.

  24. I’d be interested to know what proportion of retirees constitutes the current support for UKIP. I have noticed that the most solid retiree-dominated towns (I’d give Bexhill, Sidmouth & Budleigh Salterton, Worthing & Frinton-on-Sea as examples) at the seaside seem to have stuck pretty resolutely to the Tories & haven’t given UKIP the breakthrough the population’s apparently traditional attitudes might have been thought to have enabled.

  25. Interestingly of their ten best results in 2010 only two were in that type of seat – Christchurch and Devon East, whereas four were in the West Midlands.

  26. The former Tory MP for this seat Neil Thorne, who lost in 1992, actually recontested this seat in 1997, but it made no difference at all, with a swing of 14% to Labour’s Mike Gapes. On a similar theme, next door Ilford North saw Vivian Bendall, who lost in 1997, recontest his seat unsuccessfully in 2001. There were actually quite a few of the defeated 1997 Tories who did this- only two- Bob Spink and Henry Bellingham, were actually able to win their seats back.

  27. David Evenett won Bexleyheath & Crayford back in 2005 having failed to do so in 2001. Elizabeth Peacock contested Batley & Spen again in 2001, as did John Marshall in Finchley & Golders Green.

  28. Bob Dunn in Dartford, who died not long after fighting the seat again in 2001. Also Patrick Ground lost in 1992 and fought again in 97.

  29. Robin Squire, who lost Hornchurch to Labour’s John Cryer in 1997, recontested in 2001, and came within 1500 votes of taking it back, with a 5% increase in his vote share, not even huge by the standards of Havering as a whole that year. Also Tim Devlin in Stockton South, Simon Coombs in Swindon South and Lady Olga Maitland in Sutton and Cheam. There were a few others as well.

  30. Others included Phil Gallie in Ayr, Malcolm Rifkind in Edinburgh Pentlands, Roger Evans in Monmouth and David Congdon in Croydon Central. In all but Congdon’s case, the Conservatives reduced the Labour majorities.

  31. Thorne probably stood because a boundary change notionally made Ilford S Tory again on 1992 figures. As TheResults says, he needn’t have bothered really.

  32. Will be interesting to see how many defeated Labour MPs from 2010 can regain those seats next year. Quite a number of them were reselected.

    Of all of them, I think Paul Clark has no chance at all of Gillingham and Rainham. The Tory majority is too large and I can’t see the party making in gain in Kent itself. Anne Snelgrove in South Swindon is 50-50, but if she does gain it, probably not a by large majority.

    Very much think that Andrew Dismore (Hendon), Joan Ryan (Enfield North) and Dawn Butler (Brent Central) are going to win though.

    Patrick Hall, Bob Blizzard and David Drew should be able to make gains based on their respective personal votes. I don’t know about Sally Keeble’s prospects in Northampton North though.

    Of course Mike O’Brien has the easiest task of all of them in North Warwickshire, as there’s only a microscopic (double digit) majority to overturn.

  33. …Oh not to mention Nick Palmer in Broxtowe.

  34. Probably a good analysis. I tend to think Anne Snelgrove will struggle to retake Swindon S, but it is likely to be very close. Paul Clark has little or no chance. It’s rather surprising that he is running again since he is quite a staunch Blairite & most of Blair’s closest supporters are departing the scene, Blears being the latest to do so. I think Sally Keeble has a very good chance since there is such a large LD vote to squeeze in that constituency. But not an easy gain by any means. The most left-field candidacy by a former Labour MP surely is Kerry Pollard in St Albans – he didn’t stand in 2010 & obviously has no chance of winning whatsoever.

  35. Kerry Pollard had no chance of winning in 1997 either….

  36. Well Peter Lilley clearly didn’t agree. He saw the danger. Of course, at the time the danger could have been from the LDs, but a perusal of the polls would have told him a Labour gain was possible, and that’s why he’s remained in Parliament.

  37. Yeah, but that was 1997…

  38. ‘Well Peter Lilley clearly didn’t agree.’

    Although in Lilley’s case, prior to 97 Harpenden was in his St Albans seat – so it wasn’t a chicken run like David Ames or John Watts, but more like Stephen Dorrell, in that he was lucky enough to have a strongly Tory seat carved out from the more Tory parts of his old Loughborough constituency combined with bits from neigbbouring strong Tory seats

  39. Didn’t Peter Bottomley chicken run from Eltham in South London to a much safer seat in Sussex?

    John Watts’ attempt was unsuccessful though as he failed to win Reading East.

  40. Yes both Peter Bottomley & Sir George Young migrated well away from London. However, while Young’s seat was clearly subject to drastic change which made it all but unwinnable for the Conservatives, Bottomley’s kept its name and remained a notionally Conservative seat, even with the addition of Kidbrooke (which was in Greenwich before then). So Bottomley, along with David Amess, deserted a notionally Conservative seat to get a safer one in a completely different location, whereas Lilley, Dorrell, Peter Luff & Brian Mawhinney all kept at least some constituents in the moves they made. Not many in Luff’s case. James Arbuthnot doesn’t count as a chicken runner as his Wanstead & Woodford seat completely disappeared.

  41. Eltham did not gain Kidbrooke in 1997 although it did subsequently (2010) absorb most of that area. The wards gained were from Woolwich – Plumstead common which was strongly Labour, Shrewsbury which was Tory inclined in local elections (though there would have been tactical support for John Cartwright previously) and Slade which was a LD ward locally and interestingly before the merger had actually been won by the Liberals rather than the SDP. On balance these three wards would have given Labour a slight boost but this would have been offset by the removal of Nightingale ward to Greenwich & Woolwich. This was a small single member ward but overwhelmingly strong for Labour

  42. Eltham figures:

    1992 result:

    Con 18,813 (46.0%)
    Lab 17,147 (41.9%)
    LD 4,804 (11.7%)
    Oth 165 (0.4%)

    Con maj: 1,666 (4.1%)

    1992 notional:

    Con 20,384 (43.9%)
    Lab 18,604 (40.1%)
    LD 7,213 (15.5%)
    Oth 198 (0.4%)

    Con maj: 1,780 (3.8%)

  43. OK, in that case either the boundary changes were not correctly described in the Almanac of British Politics, or my memory is very askew. I don’t remember hearing at the time that Bottomley’s notional majority was actually higher than his real 1992 majority, so this really was a fully-fledged chicken run. One however that he would be most relieved to have done given the subsequent results in Eltham. Thanks for the correction Pete.

  44. 10 days left, and I’m going to stick by my prediction of March that Labour will elect a full slate here.

  45. Does anyone know why Labour changed their candidate in Valentine ward for the local elections at the last moment. The Liberal leaflet suggested it was to try to confuse people that the new “inexperienced” candidate was the same person as the sitting “deserting” councillor who is standing somewhere else. they have almost the same name

  46. I’m not to sure whether this is a game changer here but the Health Secretary has revealed that King Georges Hospital A&E Dept is to remain open until after 2015.

    This issue has been hanging over the heads of Redbridge Conservatives for some time and no doubt has cost the party a small amount of votes in wards like Mayfield and Chadwell, although by now both are super safe for Labour.

    This decision may make things a little easier for Lee Scott next year.

  47. that would depend on how long after 2015 it was! I can still see Scott being run close. The GLA results in Redbridge were pretty scary for the Tories.

  48. I think the Tories were still marginally ahead in Ilford North in 2012 on current boundaries, though would have been behind had the boundary changes come into force. The local elections this year will be very interesting.

  49. No Labour had a majority of 719 votes over the Conservatives in the wards of Ilford N on the GLA list vote, with the party also ahead in the postal vote in the borough (though not necessarily ahead in Ilford N alone – it’s very difficult to calculate)

  50. No Labour had a majority of 719 votes over the Conservatives in the wards of Ilford N on the GLA list vote, with the party also ahead in the postal vote in the borough (though not necessarily ahead in Ilford N alone – it’s very difficult to calculate). The Tories were ahead of Labour only in Bridge, Fairlop & Fullwell, with Labour ahead in Barkingside, Hainault, Roding, Aldborough & Clayhall (the lead in Aldborough was quite large). Even allowing for some recovery in the national Conservative position since then, the task the Tories have in preventing Labour from winning control looks very hard now. They are certainly in trouble if they concede a 300-vote lead to Labour in Barkingside.

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