Islington North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8465 (17.2%)
Labour: 29659 (60.2%)
Lib Dem: 3984 (8.1%)
Green: 5043 (10.2%)
UKIP: 1971 (4%)
Others: 112 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 21194 (43%)

Category: Ultra-safe Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Tufnell Park, Archway, Finsbury Park, Highbury.

Profile: A compact, densely-populated inner-city seat in North London, the smallest in the country by area. While there is some gentrification this this seat covers some of the most deprived, troubled and crime-ridden parts of Islington, inclusing the huge Andover Estate. It includes HMP Holloway and Arsenal`s Emirates Stadium. Islington is a particular young area, and has the highest proportion of unmarried people in the country.

Politics: The constituency has been safely Labour since the 1930s, though the then sitting MP Michael O`Halloran defected to the SDP in 1981 and fought the seat as an independent in 1983, having lost the selection for the SDP nomination.


Current MP
JEREMY CORBYN (Labour) Born 1949, Chippenham. Educated at Adam`s Grammar School and North London Polytechnic. Former trade union organiser. Haringey councillor 1974-1983. First elected as MP for Islington North in 1983. Leader of the Labour Party since 2015. Jeremy Corbyn spent over thirty years on Labour`s backbenches, a stalwart member of the left-wing Campaign Group and Labour`s most rebellious MP. In the 2015 he was the left`s sacrificial candidate for the Labour leadership, reportedly because it was his turn. In the event he was not just competitive in the contest, but won a landslide victory.
Past Results
2010
Con: 6339 (14%)
Lab: 24276 (54%)
LDem: 11875 (27%)
GRN: 1348 (3%)
Oth: 716 (2%)
MAJ: 12401 (28%)
2005
Con: 3740 (12%)
Lab: 16118 (51%)
LDem: 9402 (30%)
GRN: 2234 (7%)
MAJ: 6716 (21%)
2001
Con: 3249 (11%)
Lab: 18699 (62%)
LDem: 5741 (19%)
GRN: 1876 (6%)
Oth: 651 (2%)
MAJ: 12958 (43%)
1997
Con: 4631 (13%)
Lab: 24834 (69%)
LDem: 4879 (14%)
Oth: 1516 (4%)
MAJ: 19955 (56%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ALEX BURGHART (Conservative)
JEREMY CORBYN (Labour) See above.
JULIAN GREGORY (Liberal Democrat)
GREG CLOUGH (UKIP)
CAROLINE RUSSELL (Green) Islington councillor.
BILL MARTIN (Socialist Party GB)
Links
Comments - 3,676 Responses on “Islington North”
  1. I see- well, I’m not in any way snobbish against people being middle class, I just expected an influx of trade unionists, who left Labour some time ago (as well as a group of younger people from a wide range of backgrounds). Having said that, many of those who fit the criteria for ABC1 will very much consider themselves as working class, of course. It would be interesting to break the figures down further for all the parties; I suspect there would be some interesting patterns that come through.

  2. Also, there is of course a danger of confusing the demographics of party members with the demographics of party voters, which are two different things. The last election saw many disenfranchised, lower-working-class “left behind” voters going tory, but you wouldn’t have seen any at the party conference!

    By the same token, Labour’s vote increased among the middle classes; not because of the reasons you suggest, but because they came across as a far more aspirational, outward looking, and a less bitter/angry party than the tories did. The tory vote was also propped up by the poorly educated, who feared Corbyn because they were told to.

    As someone from a very working-class background, it leaves me with very mixed feelings. I’m pretty depressed that many of my former peers now seem to think that voting tory is an act of defiance , and also that they’ve realised that many tory values are indeed close to their own. But I’m also encouraged that the playing field has moved leftwards, with the arguments winning over many who are in a fortunate enough position to be able to digest those argument (for whatever reason). A Green, Socialist future is still possible!

  3. “Labour’s vote increased among the middle classes… because they came across as a far more aspirational, outward looking, and a less bitter/angry party than the Tories did.”

    You make the mistake of thinking that everyone who voted Labour did so for the same reasons you did (if indeed you did, or are you still voting Green?) Yes, a lot of the old rules are being rewritten, but retail politics is still the primary strategy for winning elections. And Jeremy Corbyn played his hand so brilliantly even Tony Blair would have begrudgingly admired it.

    “The Tory vote was also propped up by the poorly educated, who feared Corbyn because they were told to.”

    Well if you really think “the poorly educated” are so stupid they just do whatever they’re told then all Labour needs to do to win the next election in a landslide is to shout louder than anyone else – something that comes naturally to them. Time will tell…

    “Having said that, many of those who fit the criteria for ABC1 will very much consider themselves as working class.”

    I think when these people say “I am working class” they mean “I am on the side of the working classes”. Increasingly we are seeing this with many identity markers – I am sure that similar impulses are behind the rise in transgenderism, which, let’s be honest, has now moved beyond medical diagnoses of gender dysphoria to become, in some cases, a cultural statement (“I am a woman” merely being a stronger way for a man to assert his feminist credentials, or to rescind his male privilege). I know you don’t care for the more self-indulgent extremes of identity politics (I think that’s the one opinion that unites pretty much everyone on this site agrees on) but it does fit into the same narrative.

  4. POLLTROLL – On the “The Tory vote was also propped up by the poorly educated, who feared Corbyn because they were told to.” (should one put quotes whem quoting oneself?), note I say “propped up by” (ie only part of the story). I’d like to see how that group may have voted had Theresa May been consistently painted as a terrorist sympathiser etc etc across a range of media outlets.

    And I’m still a Green! As stated before, I like Corbyn more than I like much of his party (though also as stated before, there are things I’m not keen on in some areas of the Green party, too).

  5. “I’d like to see how that group may have voted had Theresa May been consistently painted as a terrorist sympathiser etc etc across a range of media outlets.”

    You miss the point entirely. Jeremy Corbyn is not a genuine terrorist sympathiser, but he has a history of useful idiocy for various unsavoury regimes, under the dogma that anyone who shares his hatred for the cosy Western establishment must be doing something right. There is enough evidence to create a plausible narrative there.

    Theresa May is a woman of many faults, but that particular failing is not one of them. Smears can work when they are not strictly accurate but there is an element of truth to them, but you can’t just make up total bollocks and expect to win.

  6. EcoW – the problem with that of course is that you are labelling those with out academic qualifications as unintelligent, as well as the fact that they were old enough to remember Corbyn’s actual quotes over the previous 40 years – so didn’t need to be ‘told’ anything.

  7. Polltroll – but I didn’t refer to the EU Ref at all.

    In order to illustrate my point that age is much more of a determinant of propensity to vote (unlike your claim that “the middle classes are much more likely to vote”), as well as K & C having low turnouts, I said the ward with the lowest turnout in the local elections in whole of the EU was very middle class – it’s just that it was full of students. Plus this wasn’t a one off – it had the lowest turnout in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012.

    It is you, I’m afraid who is “just wrong” in believing that Party members are overwhelmingly middle class just because those are the ones you see.

    Indeed by that very link, you have proven my point.

    Yes, the self-selected online polls on ConHome or LabourList and so on are ABC1, as are the SpAds, MPs and London-media and those who attend Party Conf.

    But Party members (and Cllrs) simply are not.

    Indeed it is presumably why:

    (i) a third of Tory Party members said they couldn’t afford to attend Conf (since it’s move under DC from the seaside B&Bs to city centre hotels) and why CCHQ have just approved a scheme so that they can have their fee remitted in future.

    (ii) Whilst I realise Merseyside is unrepresentative, it does represent 5% of Labour members, Cllrs and affiliates and when they were profiled [I won’t bore you with all of the history but essentially NW HQ gave back some autonomy to a Panel which interviewed Cllrs & members as they had gone from 70 to just 12 in Lpool in the 1990-2002 period] and one of it’s findings was that 79% regarded themselves as working class, which in fact was higher than the population as a whole in the city.

    iii) One thing that both the Dave Nellists and Phillip Davies of this world agree upon is that MPs are unrepresentative of their own members and voters and that class has a knock-on effect in that the stances taken are often paternalistic (from afar looking at the figures), because 90% of MPs just don’t have the life experience that their members and voters do. This was illustrated yesterday in the Universal Credit debate. A little known statistic was that 6% of the population have had debt recovery action taken against them on the doorstep. It materialised that only 2 MPs had ever experienced this growing up: one of whom was the Tory MP Justin Tomlinson who revealed how they had struggled as a family after his Dad died at an early age.

  8. The most telling figures I neglected to mention from the ONS – when thinking of the average Tory member being aged 74 were:

    * Just 38% of the over 75s use the internet.

    * 67.4% of women over 75% had never used the internet.

    * 25% of the disabled had never used the internet.

    Indeed by definition by being on here, it is easy for posters to forget that most Tory or Labour members are not like the rest of us. However, the ONS showed that 99.4% of 18-24yo use the internet.

  9. “…the average Tory member being aged 74 were…”

    Another myth debunked – the average Tory member is in their fifties:

    https://fullfact.org/news/how-old-average-conservative-party-member/

  10. It isn’t debunked, the article says itself that it is impossible to calculate. The claim that the average age is 57 came from a YouGov survey which self-evidently will miss out big chunks of immobile and un-IT literate geriatric members.

    From personal experience as a former deputy chairman of a large Conservative association I’d be very surprised if the average age wasn’t 70 or above. In particular the large, hidden armchair membership tends to be at the upper end of the age spectrum.

  11. True, HH. Indeed, the Bow Group, CFI, Reform/COPOV all refer to the average age of a Tory member being 74 (it was 68 a decade ago).

    Perhaps another indicator that Cllrs are more working class than the population as a whole is that the average age at death of a sitting Cllr was 68 (12-14 years below UK life expectancy). Indeed, 3 of today’s by-elections were caused by the deaths of cllrs aged 74, 70 and 66, as Andrew Teale details.

    In short, OAPs are more working class than the population as a whole, so it comes as no surprise to myself if Party members are, given their age profile. [Though I do concede that in part surveys get this wrong if they assume all OAPs are DE in the old category ie living on State pensions, whereas other surveys categorise on previous occupation or level of academic study]

    Frankly I’m surprised if PT is surprised (unless he only associates with those aged 18-45).

    PT appears to be basing everything on internet surveys, which misses the very people HH describes, who happen to be the very same membership.

  12. “Perhaps another indicator that Cllrs are more working class than the population as a whole is that the average age at death of a sitting Cllr was 68 (12-14 years below UK life expectancy). Indeed, 3 of today’s by-elections were caused by the deaths of cllrs aged 74, 70 and 66, as Andrew Teale details.”

    It is also because, even at lower levels, elected politics is full of alcohol, stress and constant unhealthy dinners.

    Your Merseyside ex-MP Peter Kilfoyle, who nearly died of a heart attack, wrote a good article on it not long ago.

  13. “Average age at death of a sitting councillor” is a very strange statistic to cite.

    It can’t be much of an indicator of the overall health of councillors, because the overwhelming majority of councillors do not die while still serving on a council.

  14. James E – I didn’t cite it as that, although clearly other than the one who was run over by his own car and died, it is the most base indicator of their health (all the ones who died in 2016 where the average age stat originated from). But I take your point. I suspect if resignations due to ill health were taken into account the average age may even be lower still.

    HH is right in that one thing they have in common whether working class or middle class is the drinking culture: certainly after every full Council meeting Labour & Tory groups go for a drink (separately) at a pub for a couple of hours in Wirral, Sefton, Bury, etc.

    HH – yes, Peter Kilfoyle is an interesting character. Whilst he’s always been a colour between pink and purple, he’s surprisingly still around and very active. Indeed he completed a lengthy walk a couple of years ago for charity.

    He’s back in the news locally this week, as he appears in LibDem leaflets stating, he has “More reason for concern than I’ve ever known in over 50 years. The city planning dept need to be subject to a government inquiry.” [His hatred of the city mayor is well known]

    Incidentally to check whether the phenomenon also applied to MPs, I see that Terry Fields died at 71, Bob Parry at 67 (both drank in working mens clubs). Although equally wwc MPs Loyden and Wareing survived to the age of 79 and 84 respectively.

  15. Apparently the Conservatives have private polling which suggests they are 12 points behind:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2017/11/are-labour-really-12-points-ahead-polls

  16. Martin Boon of ICM is not impressed.

    “First rule of ‘internal’ polling being spouted as different to ‘public’ polling is not to believe it. Second rule is to ask BPC to force pollster to publish, as now leaked into public domain.
    8:23 am – 19 Nov 2017 “

  17. The Sunday Times’ front page & Sky News are reporting that a senior Labour member has been found dead after the Party began investigating them.

    [I gather it’s an aide rather than an MP]

  18. Jesus christ!

  19. Important findings from a large number of focus groups – which don’t get discussed very often on this site, but are arguably more useful to political strategists and policymakers than polls.

    https://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/opinion/james-frayne-labour-competitive-depsite-jeremy-corbyn

    1) The Blairites seemingly are right about “Labour would be miles ahead under different leadership” – although the article does point out that JC’s retail policies are mostly vote-winners. A case where the policies are more popular than the rhetoric, which I guess must be relatively unusual within British politics. The conclusion seems to be that the sweet spot for Labour would be a Keynesian platform dressed up as continuity Blairism – which is odd because that is what Ed Miliband tried and it blew up in his face.

    2) Don’t get this point, really. It does seem like people being unable to think of reasons to vote Conservative is quite a fundamental brand problem – they barely even have a brand! “Buy our product, we’re not sure what it does, but buy it anyway.”

    3) The economy is doing fine? This is really odd – people nearly always believe the situation is worse than the raw figures would tell you, but this is totally an inversion, as inflation is currently outstripping growth and so real incomes are sliding – plus of course the Tories have pretty much given up on ever running a surplus. (It can happen, you know. Germany is running a surplus right now!)

    4) This is a good point – and actually it seems like the British people (here at least) are thinking quite critically here – balancing a near-unanimous disapproval for what the banks did in 2008 with an acknowledgement that we would nevertheless be poorer without them.

    5) In contradiction with the much-trailed “remain ten points ahead” poll of a week or so ago. I suspect that was a bit of an outlier. (Though I would question whether Brexit has had “appalling” coverage – it’s not like any of the papers that backed it have since admitted it was a terrible idea.)

    6) No surprise. Labour did invent the NHS, after all. On the wider point about “caring”, it does seem the Tories have woken up to this somewhat, judging by their extremely on-message stuff on environmental protections and animal welfare. The cost/reward ratios of those announcements must be pretty good. Unfortunately the NHS is a much more expensive fix.

    7) We are still not big fans of welfare in this country. And I’m going to stick my neck out here – I don’t think you can blame the right-wing press in its entirety. For sure, it encourages some unpleasant views, but people would not read the papers if they were not already somewhat receptive to the message.

    8) I think this was the point I was most intrigued by. We’ve had multiple terrorist attacks this year – and two of them occurred during the general election campaign, so defence and policing policy got plenty of discussion. But again – we’re being rational in our own way. The Manchester attack was savage, and the suffering for the families of the victims immense – but there were only 22 of them. Health & welfare policies do have a bigger effect on our daily lives.

    9) Fair enough. Even if baby boomers had had it easy, it still wouldn’t be their fault for being lucky.

    10) Oh dear, The Canary won’t be too pleased that the hard-right Laura Kuenssberg is getting such a big platform for her propaganda…

  20. Problem with focus groups is almost every pundit; Kieran Pedley, Matt Singh, Ian Warren, etc. were saying the polls were wrong because the focus groups showed huge swathes of Labour voters going Conservatives. As it turns out the polls were wrong but the focus group findings were even less of an accurate picture of what was happening.

    The moderate leader pitch with a radical manifesto has been done before as youve mentioned with little avail. By a leader who focus grouped his whole manifesto.

    The 8 point lead with Survation may be an outlier but does it not worry Tories the only pollster who got the election right has them 8 points behind? It would worry me. The main reason polls are so close is that half the leave vote 80% of which is 10p% committed to vote and 2/3 of the 65+ also 80% of which are 100% committed to voting are voting Tory. The future is not polls or focus groups its MPR.

  21. On 5, I suspect this may be down largely to the BBC’s coverage of Brexit, which is remarkably biased and one-eyed (and I say this as a “Bronthefencer” who until a day or two before the referendum had no idea which way I’d swing) in relentlessly talking it down. I’d identify a definite causal link between points 5 and 10.

    I would disagree with these findings for both 1 and 2, although my feelings on this could be to do with being the Token Tory in a circle of friends who are in the main fully committed Corbynistas. None of them ever struck me as particularly “political” until he got the nod. On point 2, I don’t think focus groups, where people will generally talk rationally, will be the best place to examine brand toxicity.

  22. https://twitter.com/YouGov/status/958275951313522690

    Not a particularly surprising set of results, but very revealing. It’s pretty obvious people now think to themselves “what would Labour do”, and then those things are automatically redistributive, rather than the other way round. Hence only 8% of people scrapping tuition fees would help the rich more than the poor, because poor graduates will have some of their debt written off anyway under the current system. Meanwhile, grammar schools would benefit intelligent working-class kids at the expense of rich idiots – but only 10% of people seem to have cottoned on.

    Now, there are of course progressive arguments in support of scrapping tuition fees (education is a public good, we all benefit from it even if we aren’t students ourselves, so we should all chip in) and abolishing grammar schools (they just replace a divide between rich and poor with a divide between those who pass the 11+ and those who fail) – but that doesn’t mean the original point doesn’t stand, that on the specific questions asked, the public was flat-out wrong.

  23. Corbyn has denied that he knowingly met a Czech spy during the Cold War, after the allegations on the Sun front page.

    Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says it shows he can’t be trusted (but didn’t state specifically whether he thought he knew or was incompetent).

  24. No one with any journalistic credence ought to be quoting a ‘The Sun’ piece. Yet more partisan rubbish!

  25. My favourite comment today questioned whether Corbyn was a 00 agent after all

  26. Alex F – tell that to the Times, Mail, Telegraph today.

    Or indeed Frank Field (who essentially just repeated the Williamson attack line that JC was either stupid or worse)

    I had thought the only weirdy beardy was the former Portsmouth S MP.

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