Putney

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23018 (53.8%)
Labour: 12838 (30%)
Lib Dem: 2717 (6.3%)
Green: 2067 (4.8%)
UKIP: 1989 (4.6%)
Others: 184 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 10180 (23.8%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Putney, Southfields, Roehampton.

Profile: Putney is a residential seat on the south bank of the Thames opposite Fulham. It covers Putney itself, Southfields and Roehampton. Putney is largely affluent leafy, owner occupied suburbia, an area of golf and rowing clubs similar to its neighbour Richmond Park. Southfields is a grid of victorian built terraced housing, now gentrified and popular with commuters. However, there is also a substantial amount of social housing here and a large number of tower blocks in the vast council estate in Roehampton alongside Richmond Park.

Politics: A normally Conservative seat that fell to Labour in 1997. the solid base of Labour support in Roehampton meant it was Labour who garnered the anti-Conservative vote here and held the seat between 1997 and 2005, unlike the rest of south-west London where the Liberal Democrats gained from anti-Conservative feeling in the 1990s. Most general election nights produce a defining result of some sort - in 1992 David Amess`s defence of Basildon symbolised the Conservative victory, in 1997 Michael Portillo`s defeat in Enfield Southgate was a defining moment of history (though the result here in Putney, where David Mellor was barracked by Sir James Goldsmith is also well remembered), in 2001 perhaps Peter Mandleson`s victory speech in Hartlepool gained most attention in a standstill election. In 2005 this was the first Conservative gain and provided in Justine Greening a photogenic symbol of Conservative gains for the media to focus on the next day.


Current MP
JUSTINE GREENING (Conservative) Born 1969, Rotherham. Educated at Oakwood Comprehensive School and Southampton University. Former accountant and former finance manager at Centrica. Contested Ealing Acton and Shepherds Bush 2001. First elected as MP for Putney in 2005. Economic Secretary 2010-2011, Secretary of State for Transport 2011-2012. Secretary of State for International Development since 2012.
Past Results
2010
Con: 21223 (52%)
Lab: 11170 (27%)
LDem: 6907 (17%)
GRN: 591 (1%)
Oth: 894 (2%)
MAJ: 10053 (25%)
2005*
Con: 15497 (42%)
Lab: 13731 (38%)
LDem: 5965 (16%)
GRN: 993 (3%)
Oth: 388 (1%)
MAJ: 1766 (5%)
2001
Con: 13140 (38%)
Lab: 15911 (46%)
LDem: 4671 (14%)
UKIP: 347 (1%)
Oth: 185 (1%)
MAJ: 2771 (8%)
1997
Con: 17108 (39%)
Lab: 20084 (46%)
LDem: 4739 (11%)
Oth: 546 (1%)
MAJ: 2976 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JUSTINE GREENING (Conservative) See above.
SHEILA BOSWELL (Labour) Media and communications consultant. Contested Wandsworth councillor since 2010.
ANDY HALLETT (Liberal Democrat)
TRICIA WARD (UKIP) Educated at Leeds University. Tutor and journalist.
CHRIS POOLE (Green)
GUY DESSOY (Animal Welfare) Educated at Maplesden Noakes Secondary and Open University. Chief Operations Officer.
Links
Comments - 336 Responses on “Putney”
  1. Greening’s 10,000 majority is reduced to 1,000. That is a really big swing.

  2. …..and they were SPOT ON.

    Con hold, but with majority of just 1,500

  3. 10% swing but Greening hangs on

  4. Is Wimbledon going to be close?

  5. Justine Greening remains as Education Secretary.

  6. Right, let’s talk trans rights.

    There doesn’t seem to have been much attention given to this from the BBC, the Guardian etc – I only read about it in the Spectator – so it’s entirely possible that this story will have passed some of you by.

    A week or two ago, the equalities select committee released a report which recommended legislation which would allow people to legally change their (or “zheir”, to use the correct gender-neutral pronoun) gender. They could then have passports, birth certificates and other documents updated to their new identity. It also recommended the addition of trans issues to the PSHE curriculum. Justine Greening, who is the equalities minister as well as education secretary, has given the proposal the thumbs-up, and it’s looking likely the government will look to get legislation moving in the autumn.

    Now, whatever you think of the policy itself (and personally I don’t really care that much either way, though I’d hope they wait until kids are mature enough to talk about the subject) I do have to wonder why the Conservatives are doing this. The politics is not good for them.

    – There would be a very large backbench rebellion. This is a party, half of which voted against gay marriage just four years ago. And the Conservatives cannot afford indiscipline right now.
    – The public are largely still not very accepting of trans people. Even many people who identify as liberal still believe that gender is determined by the nether regions rather than the brain, and see the behaviour of trans people or trans-rights activists as attention-seeking.
    – The people who do care about trans rights tend to use the issue to signal how progressive they are. But these people are invariably also going to signal how progressive they are by not voting for the Tories.
    – Meanwhile, this is going to rile the Conservative base. I’m sure there are going to be a few pearl-clutching Daily Mail headlines about the indoctrination of our children or “cultural Marxism”.

    So it seems that this would damage the Tories both in parliament and beyond it. And considering it’s such a distinctlu un-Conservative idea anyway, you have to wonder why they’re doing it. I think they realise that a lot of people don’t like what they are doing to the country, and are trying to triangulate, but this is precisely the wrong area to do it. The vast majority of people don’t see any problem with the current set-up and have probably never even thought about it. People don’t like the Conservatives because they haven’t had much of a pay rise recently and their schools and hospitals are being squeezed. Alleged oppression of trans people is a long, long way down the list of Conservative misdemeanours.

  7. I find the constant lumping in of trans people with gay people quite odd. They surely face different issues etc even if there is some commonality. In fact I would say that the average trans person faces a great deal more discrimination etc than the average gay person.

    I’m very supportive of allowing people to live as they wish to, but like Polltroll I’m surprised that the Tories are pushing this.

  8. I’m not so surprised. They don’t want to be seen as the nasty party. Theresa May’s own voting record on such matters is rather patchy and I can imagine she really wants to make the Tories more appealing to the LGBT community (trans people certainly face difference challenges but the LGB part can obviously empathise a great deal).

    And of course British conservatives tend not to be of the fanatical, evangelical kind as you find in the US. Thank the lord that we have no Republican Party in the UK.

  9. I’m not so sure that it is that bad for the Tories. I doubt that there would be many voters who would turn away from them on a matter like this and as Cheesus alludes to, they’re trying to detoxify their image on this particular bit of their past. Just today, May gave an interview with PinkNews to say that the Conservatives were wrong on LGBT issues in the past.

    Maybe I’m not cynical enough, but perhaps they are doing this because they know that it will have no effect on the population at large, while benefiting trans people enormously.

    Perhaps the only part of the proposals that might cause a stir in the changes to sex ed. I’m not sure how much of an issue this is still within the party though.

  10. Yet another sterling privatisation success story…

    https://www.ft.com/content/3a85ac1c-7dd9-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928

    As I’m sure you’ve all seen Learndirect, the adult education group set up by Labour in 2000 and privatised by the coalition in 2011 is facing administration after the government has been forced to pull all its contracts after it failed to block an absolutely damming report by Ofsted.

    In a nutshell since privatisation the firm has slashed jobs, ran down the service yet still managed to run up huge debts in large part due to the fact that it paid out 84% of its generated cash in dividends and salaries to senior managers.

    By no means a unique tale yet one that no doubt will be repeated. I find this particularly sad given that my mum did a part time IT course from Learndirect back when I was little after she was made redundant and it was obviously a great asset for her in finding new employment. Yet another public service ran into the ground in the name of profit…

    What’s worse I imagine those responsible (including might I add then Education Sec Michael Gove) will get at most a slap on the wrist but the damage is done, they’ve squeezed what they can get out of it and they can now toss aside the dried husk and move on to their next target.
    Vulture Capitalism indeed

    Anywho rant over

  11. while I enjoy your revolutionary talk maybe not for this forum

  12. Given that failed privatisations might well swing voters, I think it’s entirely relevant to discuss this here. Just as cuts to police budgets, NHS services being wrecked and the like would be relevant.

    Take genito-urinary medicine as another example. This was for years run successfully as part of the NHS. Then the Tories decided to move it to a “public health” remit, under local authority control. They denied that this was a way to slowly shift it out from NHS funding protection. However, what we now see, in the area of SW London which includes this seat, is a plan to risk public health through 30% budget cuts, huge staff cuts, and closing a successful major clinic while not having identified any replacement, all thanks to central govt raiding public health/local authority budgets. This ought to be an issue, ought to have political implications, ought to be discussed. Far more relevant than the merits or otherwise of that Rees-Mogg person.

  13. David
    “Given that failed privatisations might well swing voters, I think it’s entirely relevant to discuss this here”

    While my post was quite ranty and partisan (for which I apologise) I agree with this. I’ve made this point before but generally we witness sea changes in ideology when the “dominant” ideology ceases to be pragmatic and instead becomes dogmatic. That appears to be what we are witnessing now with the current neoliberal model, governments repeatedly pressing ahead with ideas that have palpably failed many times before on the blind faith that “this is what the ideology says will work”

    It was the fate of laissez faire capitalism after WW2, it was the fate of the post war Keynesianism in the late 70’s early 80’s, it now looks to be the coming fate of neoliberalism.

  14. As Prof Colin Talbot of Manchester University explains here: https://colinrtalbot.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/the-myth-of-neoliberalism/ neoliberalism has become a largely meaningless phrase rather than a coherent set of ideas that can be said to have been tested and found wanting.

    “Neoliberalism is a convenient myth invented by opponents of any type of pro-market reform or political position that recognizes markets may – in the right circumstances – be a good thing. Everyone from moderate social democrats to the most lurid free-marketeers gets lumped together under a convenient ‘neoliberal’ label. I suppose it saves the bother of actually thinking, but otherwise it is not helpful”.

    Keynsianism on the other hand is a coherent idea, but has arguably never been properly tested for any sustained period. Politicians tended to be far more keen on the part of the idea that involves increasing public spending in order to mitigate the effects of an economic downturn than they were on the bit that argues for cutting back spending once the economic situation has improved.

  15. If you dont like referring to the current discourse as neoliberalism because its over use then you’re welcome to refer to it as free market capitalism.

    What does pro-market reform mean? If you mean advocating for repealing financial sector regulation, allowing the private sector to bid for the delivery of NHS services, relaxing workers rights, etc. then that is free market thinking.

  16. “What does pro-market reform mean?”.

    Matt, the part of my post that uses that phrase is a direct quote from Prof Talbot. You’d have to read more of his stuff to get an idea of what exactly he means by it.

    But his main point in the post I linked to is that the term “neoliberal” has become a means to attack not just the type of policies you describe in your second para, but any “…political position that recognizes markets may – in the right circumstances – be a good thing” including what is the status quo in many western countries. As such the term has become devoid of meaning.

  17. Which is why i suggested use a different term if you wish but while it may often be misused i will read more of this blokes stuff as if it is used accurately you can’t dismiss it simply because other people don’t

  18. Kieran
    With respect to the professor you quote he is falling into the lazy assumption that the average left wing twitter trolls definition of “neoliberalism” is the broadly accepted definition when nothing could be further from the truth. Few on the left would argue that social democrats are neoliberals, even Blair wasn’t a true neoliberal rather he just didn’t do much to reverse the previous 18 year of neoliberal policy in this country and instead allowed it to anaemically continue. Thus Blair was a neoliberal in the same way MacMillan was a socialist.

    No Neoliberalism is a very clear and distinct ideology its just those that disparage the use of the term seem to acknowledge its negative connotations and/or they actually understand the key components of Neoliberalism and hate the idea that their political idols (Thatcher, Reagan etc) are not the Rayndian free marketers they think they are and are instead wedded to the economic arm of what essentially amounts to a plutocracy. Hence they appear to be engaging in a desperate retrospective re-branding exercise.

    The actual definition of Neoliberalism (as evidenced by the polices implemented by its forbears (primarily Thatcher and Reagan but also others) is as follows…

    A strict adherence to free market capitalist principles, the belief in the efficiency of the private sector and a small state with all that entails (low taxes, minimal to no safety net, negligible to non existent state interference in the economy etc) however it is made distinct from traditional Libertarianism in that it also propagates what a Libertarian might even deem “Crony Capitalism” that is using the apparatus of the state to interfere in the free market and general society to support the interests of the very wealthiest individuals and corporations by for example supressing unions, a neo imperialistic foreign policy, an all powerful surveillance state, legislating in the direct interest of certain businesses or companies, even allowing the very apparatus of said businesses to merge with the apparatus of government and formulate policy directly in its own interests. Hence I can agree that the term Neoliberal is not ideal, a more accurate term would be Corporatism but I think we can all agree that’s terrible branding. Regardless these latter policies would make a genuine Libertarian furious but its commonly accepted policy in todays Britain and America.

    This exact blueprint has been emulated in dozens of countries across the world starting in the late 70’s with Pinochet’s regime in Chile to where we are now, its not some arbitrary catch all term its a specific and distinct ideology and it has been the dominant economic/political model since the 80’s and almost completely unchallenged since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. It also has to be said that its very telling that those that deny this is the case are without fail its biggest advocates.

  19. “A strict adherence to free market capitalist principles, the belief in the efficiency of the private sector and a small state with all that entails (low taxes, minimal to no safety net, negligible to non existent state interference in the economy etc…..these latter policies would make a genuine Libertarian furious but its commonly accepted policy in todays Britain and America.”

    What a daft post. Britain does not have particularly low taxes and has a big safety net, and plenty of state interference in the economy. And if you think America pursues “strict adherence to free market capitalist principles” in anything & anything it does you have clearly not spent much time there. It is one of the most protectionist, nationalistic and militaristic countries in the developed world.

  20. HH
    “Britain does not have particularly low taxes and has a big safety net”
    But since Thatcher came to power taxes (on the wealthiest) have been cut massively and there are plans in the pipeline to cut them further and the safety net too has been shredded in parts since the rise of Thatcher with yet more plans to shred it further.

    “It is one of the most protectionist, nationalistic and militaristic countries in the developed world”
    I never said America was a free market country I said It was Neoliberal. Nationalism is not at all incompatible with Neoliberalism (its actually one of the tools most frequently used to get people to vote for it) I actually alluded to the militaristic tendencies when I said “a neo imperialistic foreign policy” and as for protectionism this plays right into the point I made about “Crony Capitalism” the US government is very keen to protect the interests of its own corporations. Thus all of these points actually reinforce what I said that America is a nation gripped by neoliberalism.

  21. Absolute rot.

    If liberalism means anything at all, it does not include corporatism. We live in a country that has enormous levels of taxation, a huge state and a Tory party that is economically very centrist, and you think that’s “neo” (which is a meaningless prefix) liberal.

    For those who have genuinely unapologetic free market liberal views like myself (who are actually not catered to well by our parties – which are all leftist to a greater or lesser extent from our perspective) it’s an anathema. Imagine how you would feel if I claimed that Tony Blair was a “neo socialist”. I can also assure you that the liberal right is not a large faction in society at large or even in the Conservative Party. The idea that it firms the centrepiece if some conspiracy theory is far fetched.

    I’ve as much in common with nationalism as Pol Pot shares with David Miliband. You might describe both views as one side of the political centre, but in a huge oversimplification. There’s almost no overlap in policy terms.

    The right may seem from your vantage point as unified and one body, but it isn’t at all.

  22. Neo-Socialism isn’t an economic theory. Neo-Marxism is a political theory but I’m sure we can all agree Blair was not a Neo-Marxist. How free a market do you believe in? There always be some degree of regulation unless you read Atlas Shrugged and thought Rapture was a really good idea.

    You describe the government as centrist but then you say all the parties are leftist. Which is it? I’m not sure we do have huge levels of taxarion. We have the lowest corporation tax in the G20 and income tax is almost half the level it was under most of Thatcher’s premireship. I might agree that VAT is too high. Fuel duty has been untouched in recent years, beer duty too.

    I’m not sure what state intervention you are objecting to exactly most welfare reforms have rolled back various benefits like Access to Work. The NHS tenders services out to the private sector; Serco, Arriva (DB), Virgin, Interserve, etc. Most schools have been removed from the local education authority and many recieve sponsorship from Academy chains like the Inspiration Trust.

    There isnt parity though and maybe you feel that the Government should means test the winter fuel allowance like DSA, maybe people should pay for their social care like instead of having it subsidised by general taxation, etc

  23. Joe
    You have drawn some very random conclusions from my posts, half the points you claim I’m making I’m not.

    “If liberalism means anything at all, it does not include corporatism”
    Hence the “Neo” to differentiate it from actual Liberalism and my point that genuine Libertarians would disagree with much of what our current Neoliberal governments do.

    “I can also assure you that the liberal right is not a large faction in society at large or even in the Conservative Party”
    I never said it was, when it comes to social Liberalism, most Neoliberal governments take a very “meh” approach, one can either be a US Democrat style social progressive but economically Neoliberal or a Republican style socially Conservative Neoliberal, either works.

    “I’ve as much in common with nationalism as Pol Pot….one side of the political centre, but in a huge oversimplification”
    I never said they were entwined I said they were not incompatible so I don’t get that last point at all.

    “The right may seem from your vantage point as unified and one body, but it isn’t at all”
    I never said it was, I said a particular right of centre ideology has dominated political thought since the rise of Thatcher and Reagan, there has obviously always been detractors even within their respective parties.

  24. Matt
    Agree with that post but I’d like to draw attention to one point you made in particular…

    “I’m not sure we do have huge levels of taxation. We have the lowest corporation tax in the G20 and income tax is almost half the level it was under most of Thatcher’s premiership. I might agree that VAT is too high. Fuel duty has been untouched in recent years, beer duty too”

    This is key and is a fine piece of evidence that we live in a Neoliberal or essentially a corporatist society. I made the point earlier that taxes ON THE WEALTHY have been slashed since the 80’s but the same cannot be said for everyone else. Lower tax brackets have remained largely the same and regressive taxes like VAT and fuel duty have actually risen. A Genuine low tax free market Libertarian wouldn’t settle for this, a Neoliberal Corporatist would.

  25. “I made the point earlier that taxes ON THE WEALTHY have been slashed since the 80’s but the same cannot be said for everyone else”.

    The rates of income tax paid by the wealthy are indeed lower than they were before the 80s, but the percentage of the total tax take paid by the wealthy is higher.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39641222

  26. Kieran
    “The rates of income tax paid by the wealthy are indeed lower than they were before the 80s, but the percentage of the total tax take paid by the wealthy is higher”

    A point repeatedly made by those on the right but also one that is largely irrelevant. Why do the rich pay the highest proportion of taxes? Cos they have by far the largest proportion of the wealth. In fact the richest 10% in this country control more wealth than the poorest 50% of the country, so yeah they should be paying the largest amount of tax, it would be stupid if they weren’t.

  27. “…, so yeah they should be paying the largest amount of tax, it would be stupid if they weren’t”.

    I agree. That means that the tax system is less “stupid” now than it was back when higher rates raised a smaller proportion of the total amount raised.

  28. There are probably proportionally more people in the top 1% than there were in the 80s. As the disparity between the richest and poorest grows the richest will pay protionally the largest sum total in government revenue.

  29. Kieran
    “I agree. That means that the tax system is less “stupid” now than it was back when higher rates raised a smaller proportion of the total amount raised”

    No it means the top 10% controlled a much smaller % of the wealth back then (the country was more equal) thus the country was able to rely more on the tax base from the working and middle class population. These days though the top 10% have gotten so wealthy that taxing them at a lower rate today makes up a larger % of the tax take than the higher rate did back in the 60s or 70s

  30. Council By election coming up here on Thurs 9nov.
    Labour approx 1600 votes behind.

    GIBBONS, Steve Labour Party 880
    GRIMSHAW Janet Labour Party 953
    LOCKE, Chris Labour Party . 790
    MADDAN, Jim Conservative 2437
    RYDER, Mike Conservative 2466
    TORRINGTON Rose Con. 2579

    Have not Inc UKIP and LD

  31. Electoral Calculus – remember them – are predictingoing (in the Council GE) a win for CON with reduced majority of 900-1000.

  32. Not sure what you mean – you mean in the council elections or general election? And do you mean in terms of share of the vote in the constituency, seats, or what?

  33. Sorry..I didnt make it clear. The Electoral Calculus predictions are two fold. One is for the national GE and also they predict ward results in the next election. So the figure I gave above is their prediction for the Thamesfield ward in the council elections in May2018…that is LAB will lose by 900-1000 in may 2018.

  34. Yeah EC have the results from the last counci election then an adjusted results which is an estimate for the GE then they apply swing. Work backwards and you can work out what the result locally might be

  35. Could be right for May 2018, who knows, but I’m pretty sure the by-election will be a good deal closer than that.

  36. A majority of 900 for a council by election is a very healthy win indeed, considering turn outs are usually around 20%

    I’d expect a Labour gain tbh

  37. You’ve misread.

  38. It will be greeted with much joy and attached much significancel from Labour esp, if they can overturnot the approx 1600 CON majority .

  39. It will be greeted with much joy and attached much significancel from Labour esp, if they can overturnot the approx 1600 CON majority .

  40. Well it’s a far from easy ward to say the least. It includes the mansions on Putney Common, the exclusive riverside flats by Putney Bridge and the mainly exclusive development on the west bank of the River Wandle, not to mention all the other very expensive owner-occupied flats & houses in between, and only a small minority of council-built dwellings. If (as is possible, but nothing like a certainty) Labour were to win, it’s hard to see how the Tories could recover sufficiently to hold on to control of the council in May.

  41. Incidentally I’ve noticed that the council estates in Thamesfield ward are still heavily white, unlike those in many other parts of the borough.

  42. Have the Left / Momentum been targeting that estate?

  43. I have looked at the ward, demographic and tit bits from contacts and I willing to predict a shock win for Sally Warren here with a huge swing. LAB GAIN

  44. Would hardly be a shock, given how local by-elections have been going recently.

  45. The significance of a Lab win here (if indeed they do win, I think it will be very close) is that is helps massively on the path to Lab winning control of Wandsworth council in 2018. Despite all the froth about how Lab are going to easily win control next year I remain very sceptical, its such an uphill task, Lab need to win 12 seats to gain overall control, not only would they need to win all their targets (the last seat in Bedford and Queenstown, the two seats in Earlsfield) and their outside targets (full slates in St Mary’s Park, Shaftesbury or Southfields) they’d have to win a complete shocker too.

    However a council by-election in Thamesfield could be that shock result meaning Lab need just win al its proper targets (a big ask mind) to win control of the borough. Imagine come 2018 Lab win overall control of Wandsworth by one seat, that one seat being this one won in a council by election in Thamesfield, its a very plausible scenario me thinks.

  46. Of course even if Labour do win today, it will be extremely difficult to defend the seat in the main elections, though obviously not impossible. More likely that Labour would gain seats elsewhere, but the Tories recoup the by-election loss, if applicable. Let’s see what happens. Pleased to have played a small part in the campaign but would have liked to have done more. The fact that some very big guns have campaigned here suggests that Labour are at least hopeful.

  47. “Of course even if Labour do win today, it will be extremely difficult to defend the seat in the main elections”

    This is of course true but if they have any hope of winning a shock result in a usually safe Tory ward come 2018 having an incumbent councillor is the best way to pull it off.

  48. In answer to Alex F’s question, “Have the Left / Momentum been targeting that estate?”, the answer is no, not specifically (there’s more than one council estate even in Thamesfield, anyway – there’s one near Putney common near the river and a small one close to the High Street, as well as smaller bits & bobs) – Momentum have been working in the by-election alongside the rest of the Labour Party workers of various persuasions, in all parts of the ward.

  49. I agree with Tim. Ive known cllr win seats the party have never won before yet hold on next year. Sometimes the hard bit is winning in the first place and a by election is a good place to do that

  50. This from Britain Elect”s Andy Teale:
    “…Wandsworth 2018 election is already proving to be one of the most-discussed and most-anticipated elections of next year. Now it shows just how far the Conservatives sunk in the capital in June’s general election that Wandsworth is even discussed as being in play: the party has controlled Wandsworth council continuously since 1978, in the 2006 election they won 51 seats out of a possible 60, and in the 2014 borough elections the Conservatives won 41 seats to 19 for the Labour opposition.

    Wandsworth has long been known as the Conservatives’ “flagship” borough, because over the years the Tory administration has aggressively privatised and outsourced as many local services as it can. The payoff for this policy was that it allowed Wandsworth to set unbelievably low council tax rates, and that has proven to be a serious vote winner over the years. The Tory control from 1978 wasn’t remotely affected by the two Blair landslide elections, in which Labour won all three of the borough’s parliamentary seats (Battersea, Putney and Tooting).

    At Parliamentary level the Conservatives gained Putney in 2005 and Battersea in 2010, and rapid demographic change in recent years – with an influx of urban professionals – had been thought to have made the Battersea seat in particular safe. What happened?
    Well, the first clue is in what I just wrote: urban professionals. To demonstrate this let’s look at Thamesfield ward, which is the core of Putney: Putney High Street, Putney Bridge Road and Lower Richmond Road are the main thoroughfares in the ward, Putney railway station (on the Waterloo-Windsor line) serves the ward and East Putney underground station (on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line) is just outside the boundary. Despite a number of skyscrapers having gone up next to the Thames in recent years, this is an old, attractive suburb which still retains much of its pre-twentieth century housing stock. The ward runs along the south bank of the river either side of Putney Bridge.

    Despite that it would still be a surprise if the Conservatives lost Thamesfield, although the swing in this by-election will be interesting. At the last London borough elections in those long-ago days of 2014 the Conservative slate won with 49% to 18% for Labour and 16% for the Lib Dems. That followed on from a by-election in June 2011 which by all accounts Labour worked hard and performed well in, cutting the Tory majority to 46-31…”

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