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
Con: 15251 (39%)
Lab: 17377 (44%)
LDem: 5513 (14%)
GRN: 478 (1%)
Oth: 979 (2%)
MAJ: 2126 (5%)
Con: 12065 (30%)
Lab: 18196 (45%)
LDem: 7569 (19%)
GRN: 1985 (5%)
Oth: 865 (2%)
MAJ: 6131 (15%)
Con: 9981 (27%)
Lab: 20247 (55%)
LDem: 4669 (13%)
GRN: 1268 (3%)
Oth: 887 (2%)
MAJ: 10266 (28%)
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

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)
Comments - 294 Responses on “Westminster North”
  1. I would n’t call Caterham stockbrokery, I’d say Banstead was more upmarket.
    Purley away from the centre actually has more roads of upmarket detached housing than Coulsdon. But I notice that the houses are less expensive than you might expect so perhaps the area is n’t considered so desirable these days.

  2. The key is the fact that the schools in Croydon have a bad image. That seriously drags down the prices of family houses even in the nicer areas, and makes them more within the reach of for upwardly mobile families from North Croydon than is the case eg. in Bromley.

    In the very nicest roads in Croydon borough the vast majority of the kids will be privately educated, again this is less the case in Bromley where the schools have a better reputation.

  3. That’s very interesting, I thought there must be some factor at play.

  4. Bexley funnily enough (with the exception of Thanesmead East) has seen very little demographic change. Is this possibly do with the perception of it being a BNP area and being close to Eltham that the BME population does not want to move in SE London. I saw recently in the Guardiam that Bexley has a higher perctange of White British population than a few Surrey districts including Woking and surprising Epsom and Ewell which is a little bit Chelsea hooligan from Mitcham made money terrority.

  5. It’s not just the schools which are crap in Croydon, it’s the hospitals as well.

    A neighbour of mine in Sussex moved here from South Norwood a few years ago. She gave birth at Mayday hospital in Croydon….she woke up from her C-section to find her new born baby lying on a narrow table next to her, no rails to stop the baby dropping onto the floor, the baby was naked and shivering, no member of staff to be seen. Her son is lucky to be alive. Shocking treatment.

  6. Croydon North and South Merton are pretty much the grimest parts of what of the surrey postal county. Schools were even worse in Merton than Croydon particulary the old Middle Schools.

  7. Hence why a lot of parents in Merton sent their kids into neighbouring Sutton for education.

  8. H Hemmelig- you’re right about Purley. According to the 2011 census, it is now only 60% White British, very different from neighbouring Coulsdon W (70%), Coulsdon E (80%), Kenley (70%) and Sanderstead (76%).

  9. Does Pete (or anyone for that matter) know how the 1979 version of St Marylebone would have voted in 2010? Am I right to suspect that it wouldn’t be as strongly Tory as it was back then?

  10. I think it might actually be slightly more Tory. The aberrant Labour in the constituency – essentially today’s Church Street ward – is slightly less safe Labour than it used to be, though it is still safe by any normal standards. The rest of the constituency is every bit as wealthy as it would have been then. I’m not quite sure that absolutely all of the present Church Street ward would have been in St Marylebone – it may be that a minority of it was in Paddington – but I think at least most of it was. I’m sure Pete or indeed David Boothroyd (on one of his sadly rare visits here) would know.

  11. Labour won a seat in Maida Vale and 3 in Churchill (albeit that is in CLW), for the first time since 1986.

  12. Labour share in Maida Vale up from 33% to 42%. LDs down from 13% to 4%. With Labour remaining this competitive in Maida Vale looks like Karen Buck is in a strong position to retain her seat next year.

  13. Westminster, popular votes (using highest vote):

    Con 20,719 (40.97%)
    Lab 16,947 (33.51%)
    Green 6,845 (13.54%)
    LD 3,200 (6.33%)
    UKIP 1,981 (3.92%)
    Ind 877 (1.73%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Con -1.70%
    Lab +7.23%
    Green +3.00%
    LD -12.87%
    UKIP +3.18%
    Ind +1.28%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 4.47%

  14. 2014 local election results, Westminster North (aggregate of all votes)

    Lab 49.3 (+9.5)
    Con 39.2 (-2.4)
    Grn 5.8
    LD 4.7 (-8.8)
    UKIP 1.0

    A superb result for Labour which points to them holding this seat by at least 4-5000 votes next year.

    When was the last time Labour outpolled the Tories in local elections in Westminster North? I’m guessing it must have been quite a long time ago.

  15. Highest vote method:

    Lab 11,280 (42.8%)
    Con 9,038 (34.3%)
    Green 3,711 (14.1%)
    LD 1,719 (6.5%)
    UKIP 614 (2.3%)

  16. Easy Labour win then, though probably a static result. I think the london results rule out the small possibility of a tory advance in parts of the capital, I’m confident that labour will hold every 2010 seat, with the exception of Soton itchen.

  17. What would you attribute to Labour’s good result in these Westminster N wards? Is it demographics or is the local party well organised?

    At national level Karen Buck really bucked the trend in 2010 though she was in part aided by a Tory candidate who wasn’t embraced by everyone. Buck shouldn’t have much trouble next year. If she has a personal vote, that can also pull her through.

  18. Tories had a good result in Hampstead though, only 1,414 votes behind Labour. That should definitely be their one and only target in the capital.

  19. Neil it’ll be both at least to some extent. But there’s only one marginal ward in the whole constituency, and that wasn’t seen as all that marginal before the 22nd (Maida Vale). I wonder how hard the parties were campaigning.

  20. Neil, I would agree with Barnaby and say it is both those factors. There’s a lot of local activists who even come in from other CLPs in London to help out. Maida Vale was targeted quite strategically by Labour which resulted in the seat gain. Labour have stronghold wards, as do the Tories, but Labour had increased support even in those strong Tory wards this time. A margin of just under 400 in Little Venice, for example. It all adds up. Plus the LDs did disastrously here. As you can see the Greens were more popular!

  21. This must be one of the most consistently weak seats for the LDs or their linear predecessors in the whole country. They’ve never had any success here in all my years involved in politics (I joined the Labour Party in 1977). They (well, the Alliance) used to be even weaker in Putney, but there they have gained a little support in Thamesfield & are a bit higher in some other wards too.

  22. The Lib dems have established a fairly strong vote, rather surprsingly in Bayswater ward in recent years which did not dissipate at the most recent local elections. They were not very close to winning but a creditable second place. The only other ward I can rememebr them ever being remotely competitive was the now defunct Hamilton Terrace where they came a strong second in 1986

  23. Karen is currently a sitting MP since the landslide of 1997. Are there many others left who got in at that GE and have kept their seat from then until now? Hazel Blears is one, but she’s stepping down so won’t be aiming for a fifth term like Karen.

  24. Quite a few. Anne Begg, Dominic Grieve, Margaret Hodge (first GE victory for her anyway) among others. If you’re interested lots of these were first elected in 1997: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MPs_elected_in_the_United_Kingdom_general_election,_1997

  25. Thanks, I did look at that page but it doesn’t tell you who is still sitting without checking them individually. Also, I really meant Labour MPs who’ve got in and stayed, since quite a few of those seats have fallen to others since then.

  26. There are loads – Ben Bradshaw, Gareth Thomas, Steve Pound – the list is a lot longer than you think.

  27. Gisela Stuart is perhaps the most surprising.

  28. Vernon Coaker was first elected in 1997, and he’s still there, despite having a seat (Gedling) that has on the face of it looked vulnerable to the Conservatives at every election he has stood since, but because of changes underway has always held on.

    A few of the other 1997 intake to still be at Westminster include Steve McCabe, John McDonnell, Anne Begg, Jim Murphy on the Labour side, and on the Conservative side there are many more- Philip Hammond, Theresa May, Dominic Grieve, Crispin Blunt, Owen Paterson to name but a few.

  29. Don’t forget Clive Efford in Eltham, first elected 1997 and still there…

  30. Of course if you were a Conservative elected in 1997 you were basically invulnerable as long as you wanted the seat.

  31. I thought this was a strange question as there must be quite a lot.
    Quite a few marginal Labour MPs kept their seats in 2010.

  32. Oh, there’s more. Many more.

    In fact, a huge number of the Lib Dems’ current MPs were first elected in 1997- Norman Baker, Steve Webb, Ed Davey, Paul Burstow, Tom Brake, Vince Cable, Andrew Stunell, Robert Smith, Bob Russell…. The list goes on and on…

  33. There are millions in that category. Not the best choice of question to be blunt.

  34. Hardly any new MPs were elected in 2001 which is one of the reasons.

  35. True, though David Cameron is a very notable exception.

  36. Interesting to note that all but one seat in London that Labour gained in the 1992 election have since been with them. Most of them were Inner London constituencies suggesting it was around that point those parts of the capital were probably trending away from the Conservatives. Others in Outer London like Ilford South and Croydon North West (then North) have been transformed by demographic changes.

  37. contrary to common belief, 38 new tory mps were elected in 2001…there were tons of retirements…

    boris johnson, george osborne, david cameron were all of this cohort…chris grayling, bill wiggin, angela watkinson (remarkably the only woman) and many others…jonathan djanogly, richard bacon, john baron…many more…

  38. Other new Tory MPs elected in 2001 included-
    1. Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
    2. Patrick Mercer (Newark)
    3. Adrian Flook (Taunton)
    4. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)
    5. Hugo Swire (East Devon)
    6. Paul Goodman (Wycombe)
    7. Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid Kent)
    8. Peter Duncan (Galloway and Upper Nithsdale)
    9. Gregory Barker (Bexhill and Battle)
    10. Mark Simmonds (Boston and Skegness)
    11. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater)
    12. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
    13. Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford)
    14. Mark Hoban (Fareham)
    15. Mark Francois (Rayleigh)

  39. good list…apart from mercer, flook and goodman, the others are still there, although barker is stepping down.

    It was the last “all white” intake of new Conservative MPs

  40. I know that only 99 new MPs were elected in 2001. That might sound like a lot but it’s actually very low relatively speaking.

  41. Peter Duncan’s gone.

  42. Notice all the Marks…

  43. Mark was clearly a popular name in (lower) middle class tory households in the mid-sixties…

    Mark Simmonds was born in 1964 ditto Mark Hoban,
    and Mark Field; Mark Francois b. 1965 and Mark Prisk b. 1962

  44. I’m not completely versed on all the MPs so apologies if it was a daft question. I just thought to have kept the seat since 1997 is impressive given Labour’s dips in popularity since then.

  45. electoralforecast.co.uk. % prediction

  46. I don’t see a Labour majority of 15% here in May. That would almost exceed the majority that Labour had here in 1997 and there is not large LD here for Labour to squeeze or pro-Labour demographic change in sufficient areas not to be offset by gentrification in others.

    I think the squeeze on housing benefit will cause many Labour voters to move out.

  47. Labour majority Labour would have had in Westminster North had it existed in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

  48. I tend to agree with that. But it will be a Labour hold. It is very interesting that Labour was able to win in this seat in 2010 with quite a bit to spare yet couldn’t come that close in 1992.

  49. “I think the squeeze on housing benefit will cause many Labour voters to move out.”

    The squeeze has been in place for 2-3 years already and Labour have entrenched their vote here.

    The Labour wards in this seat are heavily dominated by social housing (thanks to the policies of Shirley Porter) so the housing benefit cap will not be a big impact in them. The Tory wards are so expensive there would have been few claimants living in them in the first place.

    The Tories are also suffering here through foreign citizens (who can’t vote) buying up increasing numbers of high end property.

  50. Wards:
    Abbey Road; Bayswater; Church Street; Harrow Road; Lancaster Gate; Little Venice; Maida Vale; Queen’s Park; Regent’s Park; and Westbourne.

    Very approximately I put LAB ahead by about 2,000 – 2,200┬áin the above wards that make up the parliamentary seat.

    However with demographic shifts (see DALEK’S comment on 9/12 at 08:08.), & if the Tory party organises better than Labour, I suspect this could be close with a CON gain not completely out of the question.

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