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 - 648 Responses on “Kensington”
  1. How long beore the election did you place those bets? I’m guessing most of the constituency-level bets came a week or two before polling day?

  2. No idea what Tim J means re sticking around to ‘face the music.’

    I won 11 of my 15 GE bets with Ladbrokes and said throughout that the Tories would poll over 42%, LDs would poll below 10% etc. I realise the Labour turnout surprised me as it did Labour MPs even after 10pm.

    But happy to stick around if only to correct the false narrative that all too often arises on here (as it did after the death of Jo Cox, the EU Referendum result and the 2017 GE!)

    Incidentally, the BBC2 docu drama about the 2016 Cons leadership election certainly harmed Boris’s chances. Although to be fair it made a few Tory MPs in particular appear to be almost constant liars.

    It was at least an open admission by Jake Berry on camera for him to state that he had been planning the Boris team “for the previous 18 months.” After all, he was one of 6 MPs hanging onto to GO’s coattails throughout his time as an MP prior to that.

  3. Interesting to hear a Tory perspective on that show.

    I don’t think Johnson or Leadsom actually came across too badly. Don’t like Leadsom’s politics but I thought the way she acted was understandable.It was Gove and May who came across worse. And Gavin Williamson does seem to be a particularly awful human being.

  4. Gove came across the worst i thought – and whoever his femake aide was meant to be although i didn’t think Johnson, Wallace, Berry and Adams did themselves any favours

    Williamson came across as ultra professional whip. The guy playing him used to be in the increasingly dire Midsomer Murders, although it used to be quite good when he was in it

    And Leadsone just came across as inept –

  5. Lancs
    “No idea what Tim J means re sticking around to ‘face the music.’
    I won 11 of my 15 GE bets with Ladbrokes and said throughout that the Tories would poll over 42%, LDs would poll below 10% etc”

    But to be fair you were (right up until he polls closed) claiming that the polls were mostly wrong and that the Tories would win a huge landslide. I seem to recall at one point you said they would have a minimum 75 seat majority but probably more and that there was no way Lab would poll more than 35%
    In fact without meaning to lay it on thick second only to Plop and one or two others you were probably the most optimistic re the Tories chances, that’s plain undeniable and probably what Tim was referring to.

  6. London Evening Standard:
    “Viewers of BBC Two’s political docu-drama Theresa vs Boris: How May became PM shared their reactions to the show on social media, saying the programme made the Tory party seem ‘self-entitled’, ‘shifty’ and ‘narcissistic’.

    Now secretary of state for foreign affairs, Boris Johnson wasn’t spared a slating on social media either and was described as ‘nasty’ and unprinciple”

  7. ‘Without meaning to lay it on thick’

    Oh come on Rivers. That’s just not true lol 🙂

    “Alex…How long beore the election did you place those bets?”

    Some very early…18th- 20th April for the KENSINGTON and UKIP bets. Most of the London ones immediately after the London poll.

  9. @ Lancs

    “No idea what Tim J means re sticking around to ‘face the music.’

    He probably means this sort of thing

    “Lancs Observer
    James E – ‘to win’ is the bet.
    Er yes, it means an overall majority.
    June 2nd, 2017 at 3:30 pm”

  10. Basically no one came across well in the doco drama.

  11. Plop’s comments were out of order in my view. However, perhaps matters wouldn’t have got out of hand had Anthony moderated these threads properly.

  12. Just caught up on that show. Fairly well done, I thought, though not as good as Coalition was.

    Gavin Williamson was obviously the most fun character. An utter bastard who enjoyed his job far too much.

  13. Coalition was very good

  14. I feel very sorry for the employees of RBKC who are not local councillors or anything to do with housing who left work to be subjected to an abusive angry mob.

  15. I still don’t really know what all this business with Plopwellian Tory entailed?

  16. Dalek- funny set of priorities you have. Rather telling too.

  17. Lancs Observer, yes we know that Emma Dent Coad was on that committee, but it’s only going to be an issue if she failed to stand up for the residents on that committee. Your posts always seem to have a nasty edge to them if I may be permitted to say so.

  18. Was boris aide a lib dem in thick of it

  19. I see some of the nasty allegations against the current MP have been deleted. Some posters here are so nakedly partisan, it’s just silly.

  20. Barnaby

    Thank goodness someone said it. Her being on the committee means nothing at this stage – we don’t know what influence she had or what role she plaid.

  21. I said it! But my comments have also been deleted for some reason!

  22. My comment should be deleted too really, since the comment I was referring to is no longer visible.
    I can’t claim to be non-partisan of course, but I do try to avoid making party political points and stick to the comments policy.

  23. BM…”l am in favour of a socialist transformation of society. The fact that Labour governments have, of course, failed to bring such a transformation about…does not negate the basic aims, constitution and origins of my party. The Labour Party is, by foundation, the party of the organized working class….”

    You wrote that in April 2015. I assume you are delighted with the party’s progress and thus far satisfied with the performance of Mr Corbyn?

  24. Banarby as good as always

  25. [email protected] I am referring to council staff who are not councillors or anything to do with housing. Do you think that is reasonable for staff from the leisure and youth services to be abused exiting their workplace?

  26. Alex, it is no secret that I am a leading pro-Corbyn figure and am now vice-chair of Red Labour, the ballsy socialist Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now also offline group. I played a small but possibly significant role in getting Corbyn on to the ballot paper, and a leading role in campaigning for him to win the leadership election. I have been a Labour Party activist for nearly 40 years now, and my activity was no less when Tony Blair was in charge of my party, but yes I am obviously delighted that socialist politics are now firmly on the agenda, and at present in the ascendancy. I am not a member of Momentum although I am acquainted with most of their leading members, not least Jon Lansman whom I knew at Cambridge.
    Just for your information Alex. and thanks Matt.

  27. Awesome!

  28. Lovely to see you posting here again, Barnaby. What are your thoughts on the election result? I must say that I was very surprised to see my own constituency, Battersea, won by Labour as I had believed that it was now safe for the Conservatives. Delighted to have been proved wrong though. Canterbury and this seat were also surprises as was Portsmouth South which nobody has really commented on for some reason despite it being at least as unexpected as the other seats that I’ve mentioned.

  29. This must be the closest we have got to a genuinely left wing government since the 70s if then. To some like me it’s a horrific prospect, but many like barnaby must be genuinely excited!

  30. Yes Portsmouth S I didn’t see coming, though if you look at the 2015 result you can see Labour had a much stronger 3rd place than most of us realised at the time. There is a large student vote there as in Southampton Test, larger than most people realised. The seat had never been even nearly won by Labour before – even Canterbury had been close in 2001. I got Battersea completely wrong and didn’t campaign there, though other people I know did.

  31. Barnaby – just a quick question. Was there ever a point over the past two years where you had an Owen Jones moment, lost faith in JC and started thinking about a left-wing successor? Or were you solidly behind him all the way?

  32. Polltroll – no. If Jeremy Corbyn had just retired, a left-wing successor wouldn’t have been allowed on the ballot paper by the PLP. It was never a possibility for more than half a moment.
    Please someone help me. Emma Dent Coad has made her maiden speech today. Towards the beginning she said she was the MP for both the Notting Hill Carnival & Harrods. But isn’t Harrods in the Chelsea & Fulham constituency? I was under the impression that it was in the Hans Town ward before the ward boundaries changed in 2014 – or was it in the old Brompton ward which is indeed in her constituency? Thanks in advance.

  33. The Map on Elcotral calculus has Harrods in this seat.

  34. Harrods is in the KENSINGTON seat, just. Actually the constituency of Cities of LONDON &WESTMINSTER is closer as if you cross the Brompton Rd heading north from Harrods, you’ll be in that seat.

  35. Barnaby did you write an article about Corbyn and social media. Your description sounds very familiar to a bloke who wrote about helping to set up the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader page and how it elevated him to a full timer

  36. I think Labour will hold on to this seat with a vastly increased majority when there is another election…

  37. Because of recent events in this seat, I think the Tories will suffer a further fallback here next time-
    Dent Coad (Labour)- 50%
    Conservative- 37%
    Lib Dem- 13%

    I think the Greens will stand back and give Labour a free run here.

  38. Matt I had an article about Red Labour published in the Morning Star recently (though I hasten to add I am not & have never been in the Communist Party). I have had other articles published here & there but that was the most important one. I certainly am not paid to work on the social media for Corbyn or the Party as a whole, but the founder of Red Labour was working full time for the Labour Party during the election campaign and was basically running their social media campaign. Though Red Labour is not a household name yet, we are becoming better known & certainly the leadership know about us very well. Not sure if that answers your question but if not can answer supplementaries, though Anthony might get a little peeved if the site is too greatly taken up with that. There are quite a lot of Corbyn-specific groups, the largest of which is probably JC4PM, but RL is the largest social media group on the left which is not Corbyn-specific with over 110,000 Facebook likes as of yesterday.

  39. Council leader resigns:

    Tough job for whoever takes it on…

  40. Has he just resigned as Leader of the Council or also as a councillor?

  41. Nicholas Paget-Brown stood for Parliament unsuccessfully in Don Valley, South Yorkshire back in 1992, coming second to Labour’s Martin Redmond who won a 13, 534 vote majority.

  42. If he has resigned from the council, I would predict a Tory hold in that ward with great confidence. I think he’s only resigned as leader though. That ward, as Brompton, had 2 by-elections in the 2010-14 council term, for most unfortunate reasons.

  43. He’s another Tory robot.

  44. ”He’s another Tory robot.”

    And of course Labour have no robots… ‘eyeroll’

  45. The Labour robots are kinder, gentler and have a more socially liberal mindset hardwired into them. Do keep up.

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