Westminster North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16527 (41.8%)
Labour: 18504 (46.8%)
Lib Dem: 1457 (3.7%)
Green: 1322 (3.3%)
UKIP: 1489 (3.8%)
Christian: 152 (0.4%)
Independent: 63 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 1977 (5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Paddington, Bayswater, St Johns Wood, West Kilburn.

Profile: While Westminster is popularly associated with highly expensive residential areas like Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, this seat contains the far more deprived areas from the north of the Borough, as well as some more desirable and deeply Conservative areas that between them make it a key marginal. The seat includes Regent`s Park in the east, which contains London Zoo and the London Central Mosque, the wealthy spacious properties in St John`s Wood near Lord`s cricket ground and in Little Venice, the expensive flats and apartments of Bayswater, with its Arab, Brazilian and Greek communities. At the more deprived end of the scale are the council estates and social housing projects, for as well as the elegant terraces and squares, there are also tower blocks and deprivation, homelessness and sub-standard private rental housing.

Politics: While the Westminster wards that make up Cities of London and Westminster to the south almost all return full slates of Tory coucillors, five of the six wards with Labour councillors on Westminster borough council are found in this seat. It is a classic marginal, with Labour drawing its strength from the council estates and cosmopolitan areas like West Kilburn and Paddington, while the Conservative support comes from expensive areas like Bayswater and St Johns Wood.


Current MP
KAREN BUCK (Labour) Born 1958, Castlederg, County Tyrone. Educated at Chelmsford High School and LSE. Former charity, local government and Labour party officer. Westminster councillor 1990-1997. First elected as MP for Regent`s Park and Kensington North in 1997. Rejected an appointment as a government whip in 2001, but joined the government as a junior transport minister between 2005-2007.
Past Results
2010
Con: 15251 (39%)
Lab: 17377 (44%)
LDem: 5513 (14%)
GRN: 478 (1%)
Oth: 979 (2%)
MAJ: 2126 (5%)
2005*
Con: 12065 (30%)
Lab: 18196 (45%)
LDem: 7569 (19%)
GRN: 1985 (5%)
Oth: 865 (2%)
MAJ: 6131 (15%)
2001
Con: 9981 (27%)
Lab: 20247 (55%)
LDem: 4669 (13%)
GRN: 1268 (3%)
Oth: 887 (2%)
MAJ: 10266 (28%)
1997
Con: 13710 (29%)
Lab: 28367 (60%)
LDem: 4041 (9%)
Oth: 359 (1%)
MAJ: 14657 (31%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Regent`s Park & Kensington North

Demographics
2015 Candidates
LINDSEY HALL (Conservative) Educated at SOAS. Former television presenter and reporter. Westminster councillor since 2007.
KAREN BUCK (Labour) See above.
KIRSTY ALLAN (Liberal Democrat) Parliamentary assistant.
NIGEL SUSSMAN (UKIP) Director of a Bailiffs company.
JENNIFER NADEL (Green) Author and former journalist.
GABRIELA FAJARDO (Christian) Born 1987. Personal assistant. Contested Westminster North 2010.
NICHOLAS WARD (Independent)
Links
Comments - 294 Responses on “Westminster North”
  1. “There was a big WWC right-wing vote in Hoxton for many years but there is little sign of it now”

    Many moved North or East out of the capital and I can’t say I blame them.

  2. “The potential Tory vote will have increased in these seats but most of it will have been siphoned off by tactical voting. The Euros next year will be interesting from that perspective because it’s the one type of election where people don’t usually vote tactically and so the modest increase in the Tory vote in such areas may show up.”

    The GLA elections also have this quality and these have shown a significant Tory vote in parts of Islington and the northern wards of Southwark borough

  3. Psephology in London is made difficult by the huge turnover of residents. In addition, large numbers of residents are now foreign nationals. This may in part explain Barnaby’s observations about gentrification: many city workers are not British (or Irish or Commonwealth) subjects and therefore not voters.

    The presence of foreign nationals also helps explain decining electorates in some parts of London.

    One consseuqnce of this is the need to ensure that voting registers are accurate and that only those entitled to do so vote. There has been some tightening up on this since 2010 but I doubt whether it is enough.

  4. Shall we nominate that post for this month’s The Results Award For Stating The Bleedin Obvious?

  5. Limehouse – CON HOLD
    Shoreditch & Hoxton – CON GAIN
    Islington Angel & Highbury – CON GAIN
    Vauxhall & Waterloo CON HOLD
    Canada Water & Bermondsey – CON HOLD

    I’ve been reading for decades as to how gentrification and city workers are about to turn inner London constituencies Conservative.

    And what’s the end result?

    Fulham turned Conservative in the 1970s but only became safe after 2000.

    Battersea turned Conservative in the 1980s but is perhaps not fully safe yet.

    As to the likes of Hammersmith, Tooting and the East End the Conservatives are often further from winning now than they were in 1992 or in the case of Tooting the 1950s.

    For all the talk of gentrification and city workers what the Conservatives also need to make gains in inner London is some votes from the council estates.

    The decline of the traditional wwc demographic in these areas puts a severe handicap on the Conservatives here which I don’t think is recognised by the media.

    Its not just Bertie Braces the banker the Conservatives need more of if they’re to win but also the return of a few thousand Alf Garnetts and Old Man Steptoes.

    Which is perhaps the most horrifying thing a Cameroon is likely to read.

  6. Completely true. Alf Garnett and Albert Steptoe were much more reliable Tory voters than the millionnaires who have since gentrified their neighbourhoods.

  7. “Shall we nominate that post for this month’s The Results Award For Stating The Bleedin Obvious?”

    Which post were you referring to?

  8. Frederic’s

  9. “Completely true. Alf Garnett and Albert Steptoe were much more reliable Tory voters than the millionnaires who have since gentrified their neighbourhoods.”

    And indeed still are more reliable Conservative voters but they’re being so in Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire or further afield.

    But if you and I can understand this why can’t the Conservative leadership?

  10. Wouldn’t Alf Garnett be voting for UKIP at this stage? Especially with Cameron leading the Conservatives at the moment.

  11. I said were not are

  12. “Wouldn’t Alf Garnett be voting for UKIP at this stage? Especially with Cameron leading the Conservatives at the moment.”

    Traditional loyalty backed up with desire to get rid of Labour would have kept him voting Conservative in 2010.

    In 2015 he would vote UKIP in full disgruntlement.

  13. “As to the likes of Hammersmith, Tooting and the East End the Conservatives are often further from winning now than they were in 1992 or in the case of Tooting the 1950s.”
    That’s a very fair point I was expecting Tooting turn blue in 2010 but it didn’t although Wandsworth as a borough has gentrified Furzedown (which borders Streatham South and Longthornton) has gone more in the direction of Mitcham.

    Most of what I said would in the 2030 discussion was prehaps a little far fetched though not impossible I could see a situation where the Consverative have a decent share of seats in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and maybe overall control of Camden.

    At the other end of scale Metroland wards like Greenford Green, Harrow on the Hill and Cannon Hill will probably end up comfortably Labour voting areas.

    Although a lot of Londons 1930’s surburbia is declining, Areas like Worcester Park, Old Malden, North Cheam, Sutton, Carshalton and Coulsdon have that same type of housing but still remain very nice areas and deserible haven’t declined in the way that, Greenford, Wembley, Morden, Norbury, Catford, Ilford etc have.

  14. LAB HOLD MAJ : 16%
    LAB 48
    CON 32
    LD 10
    UKIP 5
    GRN 4
    OTH 1

  15. I don’t see Labour winning by 16% here…even on a good night.
    I think the Tories underpolled in this seat in 2010 given that it is dominated by the Conservatives in local government. A 16% majority would be touching 7000 and this would exceed the margin that Labour would have won here at any election than perhaps 1997 on the current boundaries.

  16. If you re-create the old Paddington Constituency from the ward breakdowns on Electoral Calculas (omitting Regents Park, Abbey Road and Church Street and adding Hyde Park) Westminster North is now apparently more Labour than Paddington.

    When Westminster North was created in 1983 it was not quite as notionally marginal as Paddington.

    E 52344

    Lab 12787
    Con 11600
    LD 5429
    Oths 1408

    Lab Maj 1187

    Perhaps the Northern part of the old St Marylebone borough has moved more to Labour than the South Eastern part of the old Paddington borough?

  17. Was Church Street Labour-voting when it used to be part of St Marylebone (if indeed it was part of St Marylebone)?

  18. It was indeed part of St Marylebone and voted Labour continuously since 1922, although it had split representation in 1931. It was the only Labour ward in St Marylebone. It was also one of only two wards in the enlarged Westminster to elect Labour councillors in 1968

  19. Would the other have been Harrow Road Pete?

  20. 2015
    Fairly likely
    *Lab 46% +2%
    Con 42% +3%
    LD 8% -6%
    UKIP 2% +1%
    Green 2% +1%

    Lab to C swing 0.5%

    A Con gain is credible though.

  21. The other ward was Queen’s Park

  22. Pete- I dare say that Labour must have done pretty abysmally in the rest St Marylebone because the Tories usually enjoyed majorities exceeding 30%. Do you know how the constituency would have voted after 1983, and specifically in 2010?

  23. I think a small swing to Labour here us more likely.

  24. 5/1 on a Conservative gain here from Shadsy for those who think:

    1) Joanne Cash was a huge voter repellant

    or

    2) There’s going to be an overall swing to the Conservatives in 2015

    or

    3) Demographic change is swinging this constituency to the Conservatives

    or

    4) The London economy will boost the Conservatives locally

    You can also get 5/1 on the Conservatives in tooting but I think Westminster North is the better bet.

  25. I don’t think point 3 is right. There is a slight diminution of Labour’s lead in Church St, but certainly not in the other 3 Labour-held wards which if anything are getting even safer still in some elections. Meanwhile some of the wealthy areas, as H.Hemmelig has mentioned before, are seeing a very large increase in rich non-British nationals who cannot vote in general elections & are reducing the Tories’ capacity to strike back at Labour in the 6 wards they hold. Indeed, seeing that Westminster N voted Conservative in 1992, and Labour by a wide margin in 2010, it’s pretty hard to argue that.

  26. I agree with you about the demographic change but you could argue that the Labour wards are also filling up with non-British residents as well.

    Still some people have great hopes for gentrification to boost the Conservatives in London.

  27. I think in the medium/long term Tooting is a better Tory prospect than Westminster North.

  28. Anyone care to speculate on what the electoral consequences would have been if this had been adopted:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Commission_on_Local_Government_in_Greater_London

  29. Thanks Richard – I never saw that proposal although I did hear that Epsom and Ewell was invited to join London.

    I’m not sure the politics – overwhelmingly Conservative and Labour at the time and not I think much relating to what local authority they were in – would have been widely affected at the time, although later on,if certain areas had acquired a good or bad reputation because of the council or for some other reason to do with that Borough, then there could have been an effect.

  30. I can’t decide whether the inclusion of Caterham, Banstead etc would have made Greater London more Conservative by 2014, or that being in Greater London would have made Caterham and Banstead more like London and therefore less favourable to the Tories. Probably a bit of both to be honest.

    An expansion of the boundaries is perhaps the Tories’ only hope of controlling the majority of Greater London (boroughs and mayoralty/GLA) in the future, but it would be fiercely opposed by residents.

  31. ‘I can’t decide whether the inclusion of Caterham, Banstead etc would have made Greater London more Conservative by 2014, or that being in Greater London would have made Caterham and Banstead more like London and therefore less favourable to the Tories.’

    Certainly the former I would argue

    Caterham is mostly strockbroker belt and is pretty strongly Tory. The only troubles the Tories have ever had was in their nadir year of 93 where they lost their county council seats to the Lib Dems

    Banstead is more middle of the road surburban commuterland – and is very similiar to places like Woodmanstern and Coulsden, which are over the county line

    Again I would have thought it fairly reliably Conservative

    Nearby Whyeleaf (and to a lesser extent Kenley) has the look and feel of a place far more in-tune with Greater London than Surrey, despite it being in the latter

  32. Kenley is split between Surrey & Croydon isn’t it? There certainly is a Kenley ward in the Croydon S constituency.
    I know the Vicar of Whyteleafe. He is certainly well to the left of his parishioners. That probably isn’t unusual.

  33. I think this seat will go down to the wire!!

    The Tories have picked a good candidate this time (however, anyone was better than that awful Cash), but Buck has a personal vote here even amongst some of the middle class residents.

    I remember watching BBC London News a day after the 2010 Election and seeing a very middle class /well-spoken lady congratulating Buck on winning and telling her that she really glad she was re-elected as the MP.

    I think it be won with a majority of about 600 by either Labour or the Tories

  34. A Greater London that extended to the M25 would have made sense.

    I believe a slither of Havering LBC (and part of the Hornchurch & Upminster constituency) is outside the M25.

    Very few electors though!

  35. I don’t agree with Christian. I don’t think it will go down to the wire. The absence of Joanne Cash will restrict the swing to Labour here, but if the country does swing to Labour by, say, 3%, there would still be a very slight swing to Labour here which would leave Labour a reasonable, though still marginal, distance ahead. If the Tories actually did as well as they did in 2010 overall, then that would be a different matter. (A 3% swing to Labour roughly = a 1% national Tory lead in terms of votes.)

  36. I don’t know why Christian thinks it will be close. My prediction would be Labour by about 4,000 votes.

  37. The range is probably Con gain by 750 to Labour majority of 5,000
    and I think a slightly reduced Labour majority as most likely.

  38. I think we do over estimate personal votes and negative personal votes a bit because it’s a nice thing to believe, but perhaps there is some evidence here. Perhaps the lady Christian heard interviewed was actually never going to vote Tory anyway. I do think Buck is clearly a good MP tghough.

  39. Westminster North was very marginal on the 1979 notional result and is now more Labour than the 1974 – 1983 Paddington that would now have a Labour majority of around 1000.

    Labour appear to have consolidated the position in the 7 of the 8 remaining Paddington Wards (Hyde Park Ward – that does not include the park – excluded) and now appear stronger in the 3 wards annexed from St Marylebone (Church Street, Regents Park and Abbey Road).

  40. There are plenty of well-spoken Labour activists and supporters in London.

  41. We’re not so thin on the ground outside London either!

  42. I wish Newcastle labour contained a few more of your type, MrNameless (there are a few – but the majority still resemble the missing link)

  43. Three rules for public speaking:
    1) Keep it simple.
    2) Know what you’re on about.
    3) If you don’t, try to sound like you know what you’re on about.

    I like to think that carries over to campaigning as well, and I’m not one of those left-wing people who feels they have to sound like John Prescott or they’re not authentic.

  44. It’s a shame there’s already a Tory candidate in place. Boris fighting this seat (so he could remain mayor for the rest of his term as well as being an MP, if elected) would have been something to see.

    I wonder how he as a candidate would affect the vote

  45. Some of us are more than well-spoken – I am generally regarded as posh. I don’t sound like Tony Benn though, unless I am impersonating him (which I do quite well).

  46. “I can’t decide whether the inclusion of Caterham, Banstead etc would have made Greater London more Conservative by 2014, or that being in Greater London would have made Caterham and Banstead more like London and therefore less favourable to the Tories.’

    Certainly the former I would argue

    Caterham is mostly strockbroker belt and is pretty strongly Tory. The only troubles the Tories have ever had was in their nadir year of 93 where they lost their county council seats to the Lib Dems

    Banstead is more middle of the road surburban commuterland – and is very similiar to places like Woodmanstern and Coulsden, which are over the county line

    Again I would have thought it fairly reliably Conservative

    Nearby Whyeleaf (and to a lesser extent Kenley) has the look and feel of a place far more in-tune with Greater London than Surrey, despite it being in the latter”

    I agree that Caterham, Banstead would have remained pretty strongly tory with prehaps some LD prescence.

    Epsom and Ewell however is a little more in common with Tolworth/Chessington and Sutton/Carshalton which I believe would have been fairly Labour leaning in 1971 considering they had partial gains wards like Cheam North and Danson Park which are more well off than a lot of the Epsom wards. Without the RA dominance wards like Ruxley and West Ewell would have solid Labour in the 1970s. Court would have been Labour in 1968.

    Like Kingston and Sutton it would probably be Lib Dem now.

  47. Surrey Politics- what is your assessment of the demographic profile of the towns immediately south of Croydon. Have places like Coulsdon, Purley and Sanderstead gone a bit downhill in recent decades? Are they inhabited by different sorts of people from, say, 30 years ago?

  48. Purley – slightly

    Coulsdon not so much its rather more in fitting with the London Borough of Sutton than Croydon.

  49. I’d say the changes in Purley have been more than slight. I’ve driven through Purley every few weeks for 15 or 16 years. Today, 30-40% of the people you see on the street are black or Asian. Ethnic minorities are more likely not to have a car etc, and to be younger, and will not all live there, so Purley’s BME percentage of the electorate is still much lower than this. Nevertheless the change is very visible to those of us who have known the area for 20 odd years. It certainly is not so recognisable as the home of Terry and June now.

    I’d agree with Surrey Politics about Coulsdon and the more southerly bits of Croydon.

  50. The northern half of Croydon is so dominated by ethnic minorities that it’s only a matter of time before a large number of the more successful move into the southern half of the borough, and many have probably already done so.

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