Poplar & Limehouse

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12962 (25.4%)
Labour: 29886 (58.5%)
Lib Dem: 2149 (4.2%)
Green: 2463 (4.8%)
UKIP: 3128 (6.1%)
TUSC: 367 (0.7%)
Others: 89 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 16924 (33.2%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Tower Hamlets council area.

Main population centres: Poplar, Wapping, Isle of Dogs.

Profile: An east London seat covering the Isle-of-Dogs and the Canary Wharf development. To the north it covers Bromley-by-Bow and Mile End, once home to the Jewish community, now dominated by Bangladeshi Muslims. To the west it stretches up to the boundaries of the City of London, and includes the Tower of London. It contains incredible extremes, from extreme deprivation in the north of the seat to the gleaming skyscrapers and dockside developments of Canary Wharf in the south (although even in the areas surrounding Canary Wharf there are still working class areas). Wards like Bromley-by-Bow are over 70% social housing, mostly Bangladeshi Muslims with around half the population in social classes DE and one in five residents born in Bangladesh. In contrast in Millwall and Wapping there are large proportions of owner-occupiers or private renters, white young professionals looking to move near to Canary Wharf..

Politics: Until 2004 this was a rock solid Labour area, held by the party since 1922. Since then the politics have been more colourful - the rapid gentrification around the docklands and Canary Wharf means the south of the seat has been more Conservative, while in the largely Bangladeshi northern part of the seat Labour came under threat from first Respect and then the followers of the Independent mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman, later ejected for electoral fraud. For a while the political runctions and the splitting of the Labour vote put this seat on the Conservative target list, but with the collapse of Respect and the disgrace of Rahman, this seat once again looks like a Labour banker. The seat contains a number of slices of political history - it was the site of the Wapping Dispute in the 1980s, the Gang of Four made their declaration launching the SDP at David Owen`s Limehouse house in 1981 and in 1993 was the location of the BNP`s first local election victory, when Derek Beackon was briefly elected as a councillor in Millwall.

Current MP
JIM FITZPATRICK (Labour) Born 1952, Glasgow. Educated at Holyrood Secondary. Former firefighter. First elected as MP for Poplar and Canning Town in 1997. PPS to Alan Milburn 1999-2001. Government whip 2001-2005, Junior minister in the DPM`s department 2005-2006, under-secretary of state for transport 2007-2009, Minister of State for farming 2009-2010.
Past Results
Con: 12649 (27%)
Lab: 18679 (40%)
LDem: 5209 (11%)
Resp: 8160 (17%)
Oth: 2003 (4%)
MAJ: 6030 (13%)
Con: 8499 (22%)
Lab: 15628 (40%)
LDem: 5420 (14%)
GRN: 955 (2%)
Oth: 8508 (22%)
MAJ: 7120 (18%)
Con: 6758 (20%)
Lab: 20862 (61%)
LDem: 3795 (11%)
BNP: 1743 (5%)
Oth: 950 (3%)
MAJ: 14104 (41%)
Con: 5892 (15%)
Lab: 24807 (63%)
LDem: 4072 (10%)
Oth: 3406 (9%)
MAJ: 18915 (48%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Poplar & Canning Town

2015 Candidates
CHRIS WILFORD (Conservative) Educated at Kings College London. Policy advisor. Contested Tower Hamlets mayoral election 2014.
JIM FITZPATRICK (Labour) See above.
ELAINE BAGSHAWE (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Nottingham High School for Girls and Birmingham University. Business Change Manager.
NICHOLAS MCQUEEN (UKIP) Businessman and florist.
RENE MAGENZI (Red Flag Anti Corruption)
Comments - 113 Responses on “Poplar & Limehouse”
  1. Presumably it will be all about differential turnout of real/phantom voters.

  2. London Lib Dems @LondonLibDems · 2m2 minutes ago

    Congratulations to Elaine Bagshaw who has been selected as PPC for Poplar & Limehouse http://fb.me/4pPLePDeO

  3. Court hears evidence of massive fraud in Tower Hamlets mayoral election


  4. Does anyone think this seat will become a marginal Tory / Labour seat in 30 years time because of the luxury apartments being constructed around Canary Wharf?

  5. ‘Tower Hamlets First’ have not nominated in this seat or in Bethnal Green & Bow.

  6. Based on today’s court decision, anyone’s guess how the votes might stack up here this time around…

  7. Boringly easy Labour hold

    The mayoral re-run will be much more unpredictable

  8. “‘Tower Hamlets First’ have not nominated in this seat or in Bethnal Green & Bow.”

    Good, from what I have heard about them they sound as nasty as the BNP.

  9. It seems incredible that people were discussing the possibility of a Conservative gain here because of gentrification.

  10. I’m surprised the vile TH First didn’t put up candidates here or in the other seat. Especially Bow & Bethnal Green given the seemingly spiteful response to Rushanara Ali by some of their supporters.

  11. Mayoral Re-run:

    Labour 32,754
    Ind Khan 26,384
    Con 5,940
    LibDem. 2,152
    Anti-corruption 1,768
    UKIP 1,669
    Others 913

    Turnout: 37.73%

  12. Labour Cllr Andrew Cregan has defected to the LibDems here.

    A curious move, although defections occur almost monthly in Tower Hamlets.

    There is no LD Group here.

  13. Jim Fitzpatrick who was said to be thinking of retirement has confirmed he will stand in June.

  14. Former Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman has been struck off the Roll of Solicitors and been ordered to pay Costs of £86,400.

    He failed in his last minute attempt to adjourn the proceedings again, pending his challenge to a judicial review of the outcome of an election court, which found him to be dishonest.

  15. I’m surprised he wasn’t struck for the whole bullying and intimidation

  16. Sadly, striking off medics & lawyers seems almost impossible.

    Indeed I recently covered two who: performed a vasectomy on the wrong man (yes really & it was irreversible) and was convicted of three offences respectively. Neither were struck off !

  17. Jim Fitzpatrick has said he is not far from voting for May’s deal, warning that it’s a choice between May’s Deal and No deal.
    Unlike most other Labour Mp’s who might vote for the deal this seat is strongly remain – I will be surprised to see him stand in 2022 as he wont retain that much support from either Corbynites or Corbynsceptics.

  18. I don’t know how popular an MP he is. I don’t think he ever does hustings at election time or anything like that

  19. Just from a personal perspective, he’ll be 70 at the next election, and he’s gone from being a junior minister under Blair to an opposition backbencher with little chance of serving in government again. I know MPs do it out of love for their constituents etc, but you do wonder what the appetite of people like this to keep going for another five years is.

  20. Jim Fitzpatrick has said he is most likely voting for May’s deal as a result of worker’s rights pledges (which have been criticized by Lisa Nandy who is openly considering if to vote for the deal.) I suspect he will be retiring or deslected next election as this CLP and the electorate as a a whole is very much a remainer stronghold.

  21. He voted with the Govt last time.

    Yes and no – I think like the rest of London it was v divided. I expect the old Millwall ward on the Isle of Dogs voted Leave heavily but yes most will have voted heavily Remain (as opposed to being 70% Remain across the seat).

    Interesting docu on BBC2 re the Hackney Hassidic Jewish community moving to Canvey Island of all places!

  22. “the electorate as a whole is very much a remainer stronghold.”

    I recall there being quite a big Leave vote in parts of inner East London though it was probably slightly further east in Newham (part of which used to be in Fitzpatrick’s constituency before 2010). IMO this isn’t the kind of seat where the MP supporting May’s deal will be a major problem.

    “Interesting docu on BBC2 re the Hackney Hassidic Jewish community moving to Canvey Island of all places!”

    I lived in North Hackney in 97-98 and have been a regular visitor ever since. The last couple of years, a mass of orthodox Jews in Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill seems to have become a mass of burkhas. It’s a very noticeable transformation. The orthodox jews and local muslim community used to get along fine but this is evidence that the muslims locally are becoming much more outwardly devout and perhaps this has created more tension.

  23. Tower hamlets and Newham diverged quite a lot in the referendum. Tower Hamlets was 67.5%-32.5% with this seat about 65%-35%. The Big inner London leave vote was solely in Newham where they may have been majority BAME wards voting leave. Hard to explain way – wards in Birmingham and Bradford with similar demographics to Newham were strong for remain (ward figures were released for Both cities).

    From what the Orthodox Jews moving to Canvey Island publicly say it’s cost of Stamford Hill rather than tension as to why they moved.

  24. Moving to Canvey?! Bless them.

  25. I suppose Canvey is the part of Essex most like East London in the 1930’s. (Through as I have family that I don’t like that live there I dont have a great impression of the place.)

  26. Nowhere that resembles East London in the 1930s is going to be a great place. There’s a big UKIP-BNP presence there if I recall, to some extent cloaked within “Canvey Island Independents”.

  27. And a general sense of racism – one of the reasons i dislike the relative there is horrendous racist comments i’ve heard her saying.

  28. Yes, racism (both unknowing and overt) was present in Canvey in the docu.

    As were flags of St George and UKIP placards in front gardens (like the for sale signs the LDs used to have in by-elections).

    But there was a nice segment showing a local publican/hotelier giving a tour of the sights to the Orthodox children and mentioning the history (of German WWII planes being shot down and still present there) to their parents.

  29. Jim Fitzpatrick has told labour party members here he is voting for the deal tommrow.
    With apparantly 25 Brexiters, plus the Dup and Tory remainers May needs quite a few more Labour Mp’s to join him voting aye.

  30. Didn’t he last time?

    Abstainers could make the difference, as Labour MPs voting with the Govt have only ranged from 2 to 21 on various votes over the past month (although 3 Inds were Lab), but a further 18-27 have abstained on some votes too.

  31. Just checked – he didn’t but did vote for the Brady Amendment in Jan, as did 7 or 8 Lab MPs including:

    Austin, Barron, Godsiff, Hoey, Mann.

    A Merseyside Lab MP just told my colleague that they are abstaining. I didn’t take the call so not sure if illness or due to the seat having voted Leave. But it does seem to be the case that a number will abstain, as it’s now close.

  32. In the end the only abstentions were Denis Skinner, Ronnie Campbell, Kelvin Hopkins and John Mcnally (who is on compassionate leave.)
    Rosie Cooper voted for the deal – was she the Merseyside Mp? Not technically Merseyside but is close and is a scouser. None of the official Merseyside Labour Mp’s are known for being favorable territory for May to try.

  33. A petition has been launched to abolish the directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.

    It looks like here, Newham and Liverpool will all abolish the position next year.

  34. Good

  35. Depends what side Labour take here – in Newham they are mayor but not so sure here now there have seen off Rahman.

  36. You can have a Labour mayor and actively oppose mayors

  37. I can’t think of a mayor aside from the Mayor of London who has achieved anything useful. It sadly speaks to our hopelessly centralised country that the whole idea has been a mega flop.

  38. I think the problem was the opposite with Stoke, Liverpool etc – too much power and £ – were placed in the hands of just one man.

    Indeed in Liverpool he took the role of group leader, deputy finance, city mayor and abolished scrutiny committee as well, whilst no longer being a City Cllr.

  39. Well ofc they’d replace the group leader given the group leader of the majority party becomes leader of the Council, a position which the mayor now holds. I think in Leicester they’ve kept the ceremonial mayor position but its now chief baliff or something. Quite concerning that scrutiny has gone.

  40. Fitzpatrick is retiring at next GE

  41. The selection battle here will be chaotic to say the least.

  42. Katy Clark, Corbyn’s chief political advisor and the former MP for North Ayshire & Arran, has been selected as the Labour PPC.

  43. A nice guaranteed job for life (or as close as you can get in British politics at present). I.suppose if the gentrification.continues it could become a Tory target again, but I doubt it.

  44. Well so was North Ayrshire & Arran…

  45. ‘I.suppose if the gentrification.continues it could become a Tory target again, but I doubt it.’

    The Isle of Dogs with all it’s dockers mansions is very well-to-do nowadays with the sort of demographic that you would think would vote Tory – but they have gone backwards in this seat since 2010, whereas Labour has boomed

  46. “The sort of people you think would vote Tory.”

    You’re talking about rich people, right? You do realise that wealth has never been more weakly correlated with voting intention in the entire history of British democracy?

  47. ‘You’re talking about rich people, right?’

    Not really

    I mean city types who work at the heart of corporate capitalism

    Whilst London’s middle classes have never been less Conservative since the 2nd world war than they are today, that doesn’t apply to the financiers and traders who live round here, many of whom are actually from humble backgrounds and who tend to be very Conservative

    Afterall it’s only people on those sorts of salaries who can afford to live round here

  48. “Afterall it’s only people on those sorts of salaries who can afford to live round here”

    Take a look at the seat description at the top of the page. 43% of the electorate lives in social housing, and 32% rent privately. Though some of these will be high end banker flats, some will be housing benefit cases. Home ownership here is only 22%. Anyone who thinks that will ever provide the basis for the Tories to win here is bonkers. I’ve spent a fair amount of time round here and, away from Canary Wharf, you see far more burkas than bankers.

    “Well so was North Ayrshire & Arran…”

    North Ayrshire was a solid Tory seat for decades up to 1987, and only marginally Labour until 1997. Only those caught up in the Blair/Brown hubris of the late 90s could ever have expected it to be a Labour seat for life. Boundary changes in 2005 were very kind to Labour and the SNP, bringing in industrial wards to the south, if this area is removed in the future it will be a prime Tory target.

    “A nice guaranteed job for life (or as close as you can get in British politics at present). I.suppose if the gentrification.continues it could become a Tory target again, but I doubt it.”

    It’s daft to say that any MP has a job for life these days. Even in rock solid seats there are boundary changes and deselections to contend with. This area has a history of factional challenges to Labour, with George Galloway’s victory in 2005 and the malign influence of Tower Hamlets First. A white woman selected here is bound to be dogged with attempts to replace her with a muslim candidate. Note that this was a constant thorn in Labour’s side locally as far back as the 1990s when another left wing white woman represented the seat (Mildred Gordon).

  49. Labour selection have not taken place yet here.

  50. HH is right on the wider seat.

    Tim: the ward the Tories won on the Isle of Dogs was in fact the same ward (Millwall) that the BNP had won a decade earlier ie they gained the WWC vote there. [There’d clearly always been an anti-Labour council vote – hence how the LDs won and were accused of racism even before the BNP victory]

    Whilst Tories poll 20% in these young professional PDs and wards, they’ve yet to gain any of them outside London. From memory the closest they came was within 150 votes in Manc city centre ward a decade ago.

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