2015 Result:
Conservative: 18199 (52.3%)
Labour: 10838 (31.1%)
Lib Dem: 1962 (5.6%)
Green: 1765 (5.1%)
UKIP: 1557 (4.5%)
Others: 507 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 7361 (21.1%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Kensington and Chelsea council area.

Main population centres: Kensington, Earl`s Court, Brompton, Holland Park, Notting Hill.

Profile: A residential seat west of central London. Kensington is one of the most solidly Conservative parts of the country, the housing is largely expensive garden squares and Georgian terraces. Kensington High Street is an upmarket shopping hub, Kensington Palace is the residence of several members of the Royal Family and Kensington Palace Gardens the site of many embassies and a few private residences for the super-rich. South Kensington is the museum district, home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert and is somewhat more cosmopolitan, housing the halls of residence for Imperial College. As well as Kensington itself the seat covers Earls Court, Brompton, Holland Park and Notting Hill. Earls Court is far more run down and cheaper than it`s richer neighbour and while it it undergoing rapid gentrification and contains its own areas of the super-rich, there are still cheap areas of run down hotels and bedsits. Notting Hill today is an affluent and trendy area associated politically with David Cameron and the younger Conservative set surrounding him, and more widely with the Notting Hill carnival, led by the area`s Afro-Carribean community. It is a highly cosmopolitan area, and having fallen on hard times in the twentieth century and become associated with dingy flats and houses of multiple occupancy it has undergone rapid gentrification. These days while the old Victorian private houses are sought after, there is much social housing and there remains a large ethnic population and areas of social deprivation in North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove. Whereas the Kensington wards are safely Conservative, northern wards like Notting Barns and Colville reliably return Labour councillors.

Politics: Kensington and Chelsea has had a high turnover of high profile MPs. When originally created in 1997 it selected the Chelsea MP Sir Nicholas Scott, who was forced to stand down prior to the election over accusations of alcoholism after being found in a gutter in Bournemouth. The seat was instead fought and won by the former MP and famed diarist Alan Clark, making a return to Parliament having grown bored of retirement. He died two years later and the subsequent by-election returned Michael Portillo who spent a year as Shadow Chancellor before unsuccessfully contesting the Conservative leadership and then stepping down from politics. In 2005 the seat was won by another former minister defeated in 1997, this time the former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Like Michael Portillo he briefly served in the shadow cabinet, stood for the leadership of the party, lost, and returned to the backbenches before being forced into retirement after being caught in a newspaper sting.

Current MP
VICTORIA BORWICK (Conservative) Born 1956, London. Kensington and Chelsea councillor. Contested London Assembly list 1999, London Assembly member since 2008. First elected as MP for Kensington in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 17595 (50%)
Lab: 8979 (26%)
LDem: 6872 (20%)
UKIP: 754 (2%)
Oth: 950 (3%)
MAJ: 8616 (25%)
Con: 18144 (58%)
Lab: 5521 (18%)
LDem: 5726 (18%)
GRN: 1342 (4%)
Oth: 603 (2%)
MAJ: 12418 (40%)
Con: 15270 (54%)
Lab: 6499 (23%)
LDem: 4416 (16%)
GRN: 1158 (4%)
Oth: 695 (2%)
MAJ: 8771 (31%)
Con: 19887 (54%)
Lab: 10368 (28%)
LDem: 5668 (15%)
Oth: 1165 (3%)
MAJ: 9519 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Kensington & Chelsea

2015 Candidates
VICTORIA BORWICK (Conservative) Born 1956, London. Kensington and Chelsea councillor. Contested London Assembly list 1999, London Assembly member since 2008.
ROB ABOUHARB (Labour) Born Cardiff. University lecturer.
ROBIN MCGHEE (Liberal Democrat) Born Lambeth. Educated at Oxford University.
TOBY ABSE (Alliance Green Socialism)
ROLAND COURTENAY (New Independent Centralist)
ANDREW KNIGHT (Animal Welfare)
Comments - 864 Responses on “Kensington”
  1. Still quite absurd to think that twenty years ago Kensington & Chelsea was the safest Tory seat in the country. Now, I guess you could call it a semi-marginal. In a repeat of 1997, K&C would probably turn red.

  2. Yes, Kensington and Chelsea had the Tories 2nd highest vote share in 1997 and Chelsea Riverside is the only semi marginal ward in Chelsea.

    Labour will have been a little bit annoyed they didn’t quite take that in May.

  3. Though there was only 200 votes in it

  4. Dalgarno ward by-election 21.03.19:

    Labour 719 52% (- 19% )
    Cons 306 26% (+ 4% )
    LD 146 12% ( + 5% )
    UKIP 68 6% ( + 6% )
    Green 61 5% (+ 5% )

    9% swing Lab to Cons.

    This is one of the most ethnic wards in England.

  5. Constituency poll here is quite eye-catching:

    Con: 36
    LD: 33
    Lab: 27

    I must say I thought Sam Gymiah would take away Tory remainers and help Emma Dent-Coad win the seat. I was clearly wrong about that. I think seat polls like this make it clear that any movement towards Labour is driven by them being the only party that can beat the Tories, and where an alternative is available it can be quite popular. It must be remembered there are relatively few seats like this, though – maybe a dozen scattered across England, tops.

    There have also been polls in Wimbledon and Finchley & GG showing a similar pattern of the Lib Dems climbing over Labour into second place but not yet overtaking the Tories. In all three seats, the voters were also asked straight Con v LD and Con Lab forced choices; and in all three, LD beat Con and Con beat Lab. Also notable is that this is the second Finchley poll of the campaign; the first showed the Lib Dems had a 12-point lead over the Torisa, so quite a turnaround.

  6. The first Finchley poll was commissioned by the Lib Dems and featured a rather leading question, hence the 12 point lead. I do however think that the LDs are in with a good shout in these seats.
    In general, tactical/ pro Remain voting could have an enormous impact on this election (to the extent that the Tories could win the popular vote by 7-8% and still fall short of a majority).

  7. Well i think in seats like this Lib Dems will take away Labour votes and help the Tories win.
    London is still a difficult electiral area in 2019 in a way that the north and midlands are certainly not.

  8. Of course LDs will take plenty of votes from Tories as well – and, although a stretch, is why they COULD* win seats like this in London if they put in the groundwork (and hold their own in the polls until the end of the campaign).

    *I’m not predicting it at the moment – Wimbledon/Battersea/Putney/Vauxhall and others are probably all higher up the pecking order for London LDs.

  9. Which is not to say your prediction will necessarily be incorrect, btw Shaun.

  10. I think Shaun is probably right

    For the Lib Dems to actually win such seats, some of which they were in single figures in 2017, we would have to see historical swings, and whilst the anti Brexit well-paid middle class whites, a big electoral group in such seats, might switch to the Lib Dems with relative ease (most of whom would have voted Labour in 2017) will the ethnic minorities and those whites that live in the few pockets of deprivation that still exist follow suit?

    These London seats will be the most interesting to watch in 12 December, and are the hardest to predict

  11. I think Lab will lose this but not certain – would currently regard as in 3-way marginal territory this time possibly, and I wouldn’t bet which one wins.

  12. Kensington, constituency voting intention:

    CON: 39% (+3)
    LAB: 29% (+2)
    LDEM: 27% (-6)
    GRN: 2% (-)
    BREX: 2% (+2)

    via DeltaPollUK
    04 – 08 Dec
    Chgs. w/ 12 Nov

    Looks like a Tory gain here.

  13. I see Kensington has gone back into the red column as of yesterday’s MRP findings.

    Personally I feel like this is a pretty unique seat where the umpteen constituency polls will be more reliable. MRP only really works if there’s a certain number of similar seats from which a pattern can be identified. So I would treat the following seats with caution:

    Devon East
    Finchley & GG
    Ashfield? (Though it does seem like the Jason Zardozny hype has died down)
    Ynys Mon (only seat in the UK where there are three parties still in genuine contention)

  14. Who knows. Labour are apparently moving resources back to Kensington – smelling a hold is possible.

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