Kensington

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
2010
Con: 17595 (50%)
Lab: 8979 (26%)
LDem: 6872 (20%)
UKIP: 754 (2%)
Oth: 950 (3%)
MAJ: 8616 (25%)
2005*
Con: 18144 (58%)
Lab: 5521 (18%)
LDem: 5726 (18%)
GRN: 1342 (4%)
Oth: 603 (2%)
MAJ: 12418 (40%)
2001
Con: 15270 (54%)
Lab: 6499 (23%)
LDem: 4416 (16%)
GRN: 1158 (4%)
Oth: 695 (2%)
MAJ: 8771 (31%)
1997
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

Demographics
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.
JACK BOVILL (UKIP)
ROBINA ROSE (Green)
TOBY ABSE (Alliance Green Socialism)
TONY AUGUSTE (CISTA)
ROLAND COURTENAY (New Independent Centralist)
ANDREW KNIGHT (Animal Welfare)
Links
Comments - 864 Responses on “Kensington”
1 2 3 18
  1. Does anyone know if Rifkind will be standing again in 2015?

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stood down. Plenty of contenders to replace him, including Shaun Bailey as well as host of K&C councillors

  3. Just noticed the profile mentions that Colville reliably returns Labour councillors – except 2 of the councillors are Lib Dem!

  4. I reckon that Malcolm Rifkind will stay on. Kensington is always been used for a former Tory grandee who has lost their seat or something to make a comeback – Boris, maybe?

  5. This seat would be closer to Boris and his Islington home and I think he would fit comfortably with its residents too

  6. Presumably Anthony meant Golborne, which still is a reliable Labour ward. Having said that, I fully expect Labour to regain full possession of Colville ward next year.

  7. Labour should regain Colville ward. If Kensington was a seat in 1997, I reckon that it would have been won by Labour up until 2005.

  8. The 2005 notional result was:

    Con 43.9
    Lab 29.6
    LD 20.2

    So I reckon the Tories would have regained Kensington in 2001 rather than 2005. Labour would probably have gained it in 1997, though maybe not by much. IIRC Kensington is not really a high swing area.

  9. On further consideration, I think the Conservatives might actually have held this version of Kensington even in 1997. They would have lost the 1974-1997 version to Labour though.

  10. Labour would have won Kensington narrowly on these boundaries in 1997 and it is too close to call for 2001
    (I have it Conservative by about 250)

  11. So a pretty big swing in 2005 then- if the notionals are to be believed.

  12. The swing in Regents Park & Kensington North was 6.3% in 2005 so its more or less in line with that. My own 2005 notionals have a slightly smaller Tory lead than those mentioned above

  13. There was a big “New Labour” type vote in the posher areas of K&C in 1997, probably assisted by the candidacy of Alan Clark.

    Famously, the True Blue Michael Winner voted Labour here in 1997 and I’m sure there were numerous rich previously staunch Tories who did likewise.

  14. I think that the Tories may just have held the post 2010 Kensington by a few hundred votes and agree it would have remained very marginal in 2001.

    Obviously, Labour would have gained the 1974 – 1997 Kensington by around 3500 (large majority on a small turnout and tiny electorate) in 1997.

    Kensington swung to Labour in 1983 (as did Westminster North) and both seats did not experience the London effect in 1987.

    However, in 2005 and 2010 the area has swung back to the Tories the even the pre-1974 Kensington North may just have been won by the Tories in 2010.

  15. Which ward did Nicholas Freeman represent on RBKC?

    Did is passing in Nov 1989 cause a by election…I assume that it was less than 6 months before a local election so it may not have.

  16. I would have thought that the upper class tweed wearing Alan Clark would have suited K+C very well indeed.

  17. Labour selection: Dr Rob Abouharb.

  18. oh he applied to us in Richmond Park, so clearly he won’t be appearing at our hustings now. I am unhappy that I have to miss our hustings.

  19. Does Rifkind intend to stand again in 2015?

  20. We keep getting questions like that on various threads. Since he hasn’t made an announcement one way or the other, we can’t reasonably be expected to read his mind, or that of other comparable MPs (e.g. Frank Dobson, Sir Peter Tapsell); we’ll just have to wait, however impatient we may be to find out.

  21. “Which ward did Nicholas Freeman represent on RBKC?

    Did is passing in Nov 1989 cause a by election…I assume that it was less than 6 months before a local election so it may not have.”

    Have a look at the London Borough Elections archive and it will surely tell you. I’m assuming there wouldn’t have been a by-election.

    Nicholas Freeman is a controversial figure even 25 years after his premature death (he was only 50, Wikipedia doesn’t give a cause of death). His demolition of the historic Kensington town hall building a few hours before it was due to be listed would probably have gotten him the Shirley Porter treatment if it happened today. He was upset not to have been selected as candidate in the 1988 Kensington by-election and announced his resignation as council leader soon afterwards, and also decided to stand down in the 1990 council elections.

  22. “There was a big “New Labour” type vote in the posher areas of K&C in 1997, probably assisted by the candidacy of Alan Clark.”

    Also…many of the most affluent properties are also owned by overseas people who can’t vote in General Elections, so the electorate is more socially mixed than the housing stock may suggest.

    This is largely the reason why the Conservative majority in Kensington South fell from 25000 in the 1950’s to 14000 in the 1970’s.

  23. Yes that is obviously true, and the same factor is chipping away at the solid Tory vote in Westminster as well.

  24. I happened by chance to meet, yesterday, Judith Blakeman leader of the Labour Group on K&C council. She explained that there will be ward boundary changes this year, as in Hackney & Tower Hamlets. The present Notting Barns ward is to be renamed Notting Dale, but will now take over the Labour elements in the NW of Norland ward which used to form the solid Labour Avondale ward, thus making it even safer. St Charles is in effect split up, with many of the Tory areas going into a new St Helens ward, which should be safe Tory but where Labour has a slight outside, and a (I think) new Dalgarno ward which should be fairly safe Labour. Golborne & Colville wards remain, so Labour instead of winning 2 wards outright & sharing 2 should win 4 outright (assuming the LD vote goes down at least a little bit in Colville, which is very likely indeed), and has an outside shot of a 5th. However, in the south of the borough any remaining chances of the Tories losing in Cremorne are removed as the ward takes in some hugely wealthy Tory areas to the east of its present boundary.

  25. Thanks for the boundary changes information.

  26. Really can’t believe that Rik Mayall has just died, such a young age (56).

    (Posted here as it was the constituency of Alan Clark, the real life Alan B’stard)

  27. Shaun has already posted a tribute under Haltemprice & Howden, Haltemprice of course being B’Stard’s constituency. I never met him, sadly, though Adrian Edmondson was a frequent visitor to my shop.

  28. ‘Posted here as it was the constituency of Alan Clark, the real life Alan B’stard’

    very sad about rik mayall

    surely clark was too pro-animal rights to be compared with B’stard

    a more apt comparison would be patrick nichols, tory mp for teignbridge in devon

    He WAS Alan B’stard

  29. The clue is in the first name!

    I think Mayall himself fingered Clark as the model, though as you say there are bits of his personality that don’t make the stereotype. Patrick Nichols was perhaps a bit obscure.

  30. I think this would be the perfect seat for Boris.

    Anyone know if/when Rifkind decides to stand down or not?

  31. Tim Jones and H. Hemmelig, Tatton’s now infamous former Conservative MP, Neil Hamilton, could also have been an inspiration for Alan B’Stard in my opinion-Mr. Hamilton was strongly conservative, strongly pro-free market (enough to argue against the banning of leaded petrol, amongst other things!), and made quite a few witty but cruel remarks in Parliament, in the same way Alan B’Stard did in The New Statesman. He was also caught in a few awkward situations even before the cash for questions affair, in the same way some New Statesman episodes feature Alan B’Stard getting caught in compromising situations.

  32. It was Michael Portillo in SAS mode

  33. I believe Malcolm Rifkind is on the record as saying that he will be standing again…..possibly to frustrate Boris.

  34. I don’t know about Rifkind’s views on Boris, but I’m glad he appears to be staying. He’s not a high-profile politician now but he generally seems to talk sense and seems to be on the moderate wing of the party, something I would suggest (in a brief partisan moment) that it is important for the Tories to bear in mind if they want to be electable either next year or in 2020.

  35. He’s found a niche for himself as a foreign policy greybeard and chairman of the intelligence & security committee. My guess is that Cameron wants him around for the EU referendum.

  36. EU referendum? when is that going to happen? After Cameron sails back into downing street on a majority!?

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Survation poll states the bleeding obvious that the lib dem collapse and ukip surge mean the tories are 9% down in the most marginal seats…..

    There’s beginning to sound a tragic drum beat of inevitability to all this. When does swingback really get going?

  37. James Peel – I think you’re being too pessimistic.

    With Ed Miliband at the helm of Labour, I think the Tories will win the next Eleciton but not with an overall majority. I’m saying this as a Labour supporter!

    If his brother David was leader, Labour would win in 2015 with a decent majority.

  38. Not this again! Every reason that people don’t warm to Ed Miliband applies at least as much to his brother, nor is there any evidence that David would be better at persuading the electorate – he couldn’t even win the leadership election, which doesn’t say very much for his political talents.

  39. we’ve had this debated endlessly on this site, so we’ll just have to see; one of us will be proved wrong…

    to me it’s pretty obvious that we’re heading for some kind of labour government….it’s all very well going on about EdM’s unfitness to be PM/ his goofiness/his “body awkwardness”/ his lack of leadership etc…

    The real question is on ground level. Which seats are the tories going to hold. If they lose 25 seats to labour, they’re dead in the water and right now it ain’t looking pretty. just look at seats like Nuneaton, Cannock, Halesowen & Rowley Regis…this is reality.

  40. “EU referendum? when is that going to happen? After Cameron sails back into downing street on a majority!?”

    If Cameron can do well enough to stay in Downing Street then yes it will happen, with the Lib Dems extracting some massive price in return.

    I happen to agree that Labour will most likely be in government in some form, but there is perhaps a 30% chance of Cameron remaining PM, most likely in a continued coalition of sorts.

  41. ‘he couldn’t even win the leadership election, which doesn’t say very much for his political talents’

    Personally I think it says much more about the big influence the Trade Unions still have in the Labour Party despite Tony Blair

    David Milliband is far from pefect, but he was the best choice on offer, something which most Labour MPs recognised

  42. He won the MPs section by much less than he was supposed to, because he didn’t put in the work to get them to back him. Similarly, he got destroyed in the union section, whereas if he’d actually made some effort to appeal to them he could at least have prevented them deciding to all coalesce round a single rival candidate.

  43. why anyone thinks the lib dems having lost 15-20 seats would do it all again and have another full blown coalition with the tories is beyond me.

    The fact is the two coalition parties got over 60% of the vote between them last time. I don’t see them getting 50% next time…so to think they ‘ll continue in government together as if nothing happened is fanciful.

  44. “so to think they ‘ll continue in government together as if nothing happened is fanciful.”

    Again I agree, however the probability of that happening is not as low as zero

  45. If the Conservatives were a few seats short of a majority (say 5 to 10) and the Lib Dems held 40 seats, it is possible that the current coalition could continue.

    Many people are generally of the opinion that Lib Dem supporters in former Tory seats are more Tory and Lib Dem supporters in former Labour seats are more Labour. I think that the opposite is mostly the case.

  46. A very shrewd point Dalek. I’m not sure it’s right but I can see what you mean.

    It does certainly appear that Lib Dem voters in places like Rochdale and Oldham are often Tories who think the Tory party isn’t perhaps for them.
    Which means we have been missing a trick.

  47. ‘Similarly, he got destroyed in the union section, whereas if he’d actually made some effort to appeal to them he could at least have prevented them deciding to all coalesce round a single rival candidate.’

    I don’t think that’s right Edward

    David Milliband was the personification of New Labour – a brand that by 2010 most Union leaders actively despised, despite it winning Labour an unprecedented three elections in a row

    Milliband was never going to win the Union vote

    ‘Many people are generally of the opinion that Lib Dem supporters in former Tory seats are more Tory and Lib Dem supporters in former Labour seats are more Labour. I think that the opposite is mostly the case.’

    Thre opposite is almost certainly the case – given that in many (maybe even most) cases the Lib Dems only win such seats by persuading Labour/Tory (depending on the seat) voters to support them

  48. you can tell this is august…these threads are just going round and round and round…nobody seems to have anything new to say or any new intelligence on the ground. i spoke to a tory council candidate (he lost a tory held seat) from last year’s county elections in Warwickshire who seemed to think nuneaton was “a gonner” for the blues…are other people on this site actually speaking to politicians/local activists and people with an actual knowledge of marginals?

    How about Ipswich? haven’t spoken to anyone there for a couple of months…hastings or hove or either of the brighton seats? any intelligence…? these seats will decide whether the tories are the largest party or not next year.

  49. My former flatmate is from Ipswich, and knows a couple of the Labour council candidates from May (he himself votes Tory). He claims it’s a very easy win for Labour from what he knows of the area.

  50. that’s what i heard…the council is totally dominated by Labour…it really has the feel of “a Labour town”…I think it’s a surer labour gain than hastings, though people on this website don’t seem to believe it.

1 2 3 18
Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)