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. This is the kind of set that the Conservatives would have to win to win a majority but in the context of a hung parliament which appears most likely a small Labour majority of 2000 – 3000 is most likely.

    I agree with the point about foreign owners which reduces the ablity of St Johns Wood and Marylebone to outpoll Westbourne and Harrow Road.

    I don’t expect the Labour majority to rise though because the Lib Dems already were the subject of a Labour squeeze (falling from 19 to 14%) in 2010.

  2. It is also a low swing seat, because of the highly polarised electorate which contains hardly any swing voters.

    Do remember however that Labour won councillors in Maida Vale this year…that does point to them holding the seat relatively comfortably.

  3. Last comment is hors..sorry, contains an inaccuracy. CON won Maida Vale ward in this seat.

    “…MAIDA VALE Ward: May 2014
    Labour Party Candidate 889
    Labour Party Candidate 861
    Labour Party Candidate 1063 Elected
    Conservative Party Candidate 1063 Elected
    Conservative Party Candidate 1222 Elected
    Conservative Party Candidate 902..”

    This ward is the only close ward in City of Westminster.

    THE four wards held by LAB, and by huge margins, are:
    CHURCH ST. 3 cllrs
    HARROW RD. ”
    QUEENs PARK. ”

  4. There’s no inaccuracy. H.Hemmelig says that Labour won councillors in Maida Vale, and they did. He didn’t say they won the ward outright.

  5. Quite apart from the implication that LAB had won this particular ward, he wrote that they had ‘won councillors’ – they won a single councillor. So that is an inaccuracy.

  6. OK. Labour won “a councillor” in Maida Vale this year. Satisfied now? In future I do feel duty bound to point out when you are posting horseshit, which is quite often.

  7. I should also add that Labour would certainly have won most votes in Maida Vale in 1997, 2001 and probably 2005 (not 2010 though). In an election when Labour are ahead nationally they have a good chance of carrying Maida Vale. Bayswater ward has been close in the recent past, as is the ward covering the Churchill estate which Labour also won this time, though it’s in Mark Field’s seat.

  8. HH. Thanks for your apology.

    It might interest some to compare 2010/2014 in respect of this ward in this constituency (MAIDA VALE being the only close ward).
    Labour……………..1170……. .889
    Lib Dem……………..726………288
    Lib Dem……………..806……..DNS
    Prendergst..CON 2085…….1222
    Seligmann UKIP……79……..DNS

    CON lost proportionately more of their share of 2010 than did LAB…
    CON. -44%
    LAB. -26%
    (using Ave votes)

  9. I gather that when Bayswater ward used to be won by Labour it included a council estate NE of Queensway which is now in Lancaster Gate ward. That is part of the reason why it’s become a safer Tory ward these days.

  10. On its present boundaries, Bayswater was nearly won by the Lib Dems IIRC, a few elections ago.

    As a student about 20 years ago, I lived in halls of residence just behind Edgware Road. Passing through the area every now and again, I notice that Paddington and the south of Edgware Road seem to have got seedier and gone a bit downhill. Actually not what you might expect given the wealth and gentrification nearby. I suspect this is another factor in the Tories’ disappointing performance in Westminster North. It will be interesting to see whether Crossrail brings major gentrification to Paddington.

  11. HH -I was born in St Marys. This constituency (WESTMINSTER NORTH) does NOT contain Paddington, as most locals would know it- that is, the area around Sussex Gardens, Star St, etc and south & SW of the station.

    Neither does this seat include the area, what you call “the south of Edgware Rd”. (Although I may be misinterpreting you).
    This seat doesn’t extend any further south of the West way & Marylebone Rd (except to the west- namely, Bayswater ward).

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

    HH….Tosuggest this seat – in any significant way – is getting poorer/going downhill/increasingly LAB – is bullshit. It is not.

    Approximately I put LAB ahead (at LBC Elections 2014) by about 2,000 – 2,200 in the above wards that make up the parliamentary seat . The Maj at GE2015 was 5%, the evidence suggests it will be tighter this time

  12. “Tosuggest this seat – in any significant way – is getting poorer/going downhill/increasingly LAB – is bullshit. It is not.”

    I think you could reasonably say that the Labour areas are getting more strongly Labour. Partly due to a rising ethnic minority population. There certainly is little gentrification in these wards compared with neighbouring Ladbroke Grove / North Kensington. This I think is the key to Labour’s hold over the seat, as many of the Tory areas, St John’s Wood especially, have become increasingly exclusive. Though an increasing number of houses are being bought by foreign citizens who cannot vote here.

    You’re right about the boundaries obviously – my comment was a more general one. I do think southern Edgware Road and Sussex Gardens etc are seedier than they were (and they have always felt a bit like that). I think the pre-1997 boundaries of Westminster North took in the area west of Edgware Road right down to Hyde Park, though the east side (which I lived on) has always been in Cities of London & Westminster.

  13. “I think the pre-1997 boundaries of Westminster North took in the area west of Edgware Road right down to Hyde Park, though the east side (which I lived on) has always been in Cities of London & Westminster”

    Well in the early 80s, the Hyde Park ward was part of a Hyde Park & Lancaster Gate, branch of the Paddington Labour Party, which I was a member of.

    “I gather that when Bayswater ward used to be won by Labour it included a council estate NE of Queensway which is now in Lancaster Gate ward.”

    That’s Hallfield Estate, which comprises 15 blocks of flats, and was referred to when I was there as being strongly Labour supporting. I did AEI French classes in the primary school on that estate, when ILEA used to provide such classes. Does Westminster Council provide such classes now??

    I lived in London Hostel Association (LHA) accommodation then, which was full of civil servants (which included BT staff back then) who had moved to London to get a decent job, when recruitment to such jobs used to be conducted nationally, rather than locally, as it now tends to be.

  14. “I think the pre-1997 boundaries of Westminster North took in the area west of Edgware Road right down to Hyde Park, though the east side (which I lived on) has always been in Cities of London & Westminster.”

    Hyde Park Ward (which does not include Hyde Park – but is North of Hyde Park) was the only Paddington ward not to be included in Westminster North in 1983.

    Hyde Park Ward has never been in Westminster North, and Lancaster Gate and Bayswater Wards were removed during the Regents Park & Kensington North years (1997 to 2010) and were returned in 2010.

    Other than some minor ward boundary changes the 1983 to 1997 and Post 2010 Westminster North’s are very similar.

  15. Ian thanks. I could have looked it up but, for the first time, contributed while in bed last night! Normally I’m downstairs with the computer on the table, & I would have looked it up in the Master Atlas.

  16. Yes, Labour only won a single councillor in Maida Vale, but that’s the first time since Shirley Porter’s policies took all three seats in 1990, so quite a decisive change I feel.

    According to David Boothroyd’s website, 2010 already saw a swing away from the Tories and towards Labour in Maida Vale:
    There wasn’t much council campaigning then, as people were obviously focussed on winning the GE.

    It is odd that there are more Tory-held seats in Westminster North than Labour ones, and yet Labour have persistently held onto it. Partly for reasons described above (foreign owners who can’t vote), partly perhaps because the Labour wards carry a stronger vote, and also because I think Karen Buck has a good personal vote.

  17. I had thought that Labour won in wards like Little Venice and Maida Vale in recent general elections but Labour actually win here by pilling up large votes in the 4 wards that they hold on Westminster City Council.

    When you look at a coloured ward map of Westminster North the 6 geographically larger Tory wards really do totally dominate the 4 compact Labour wards.

    The Electoral Calculus ward by ward estimates for Westminster North in 2010 put Labour 1000 ahead in Church Street, 1500 ahead in Westbourne and Harrow Road and 2000 ahead in Queens Park.

    By contrast, the Tories are only 200 ahead in Maida Vale and 500 ahead in Little Venice and Bayswater.

  18. Karen Buck would be very happy to be only 500 behind in Bayswater. The ward is drawn much less to the favour of Labour than before 2002. Having said that, the reverse is true of Lancaster Gate which gained the most Labour area of Bayswater in those boundary changes.

  19. Deprivation in Westminster, which explains some of the seat’s politics:

  20. I notice that on 2010 boundaries, the result would have been similarly close in 2005:


    47.75% boundary change

    2005 notional: Lab maj 2,120 (6.59%) – Turnout 32,156 (50.81%)

    Lab 12,823 (39.88%); C 10,703 (33.28%); LD 6,322 (19.66%); Green 1,523 (4.74%); Others 409 (1.27%); UKIP 376 (1.17%)

    That’s only six votes less than Labour’s 2010 majority of 2,126. Can anyone here tell me what the notional result in 1997 might have been? Buck had a majority of 14,657 which nowadays seems wishful thinking for Labour in this area. The predecessor seat, Regent’s Park and Kensington North, gave Buck a majority of 6,131 in 2005 without those boundary changes. I imagine the larger majority in 1997 was partly helped by the inclusion of North Kensington, which seems heavily tilted towards Labour, and is now lost in the safe Tory Kensington seat.

  21. The traditionally Labour areas in North Kensington have gentrified a lot since 1997 and consequently they are not so strong for Labour as they were – this is not the case in Westminster, where the Labour wards have if anything got better for Labour.

  22. Interesting, but the wards from Kensington included in this 1997 seat were:
    From the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Avondale; Colville; Golborne; Kelfield; St Charles.

    Avondale, St Charles and Kelfield now form Notting Barns, which safely elects three Labour councillors. Colville and Golborne also have full slates of Labour councillors. Colville looks more marginal but Golborne fairly safe for Labour.

    The 1998 Local Elections seemed to have similar results

  23. I think if you compare 1998 and 2010 local elections you will probably find Labour doing a fair bit worse in North Kensington. In north Westminster they held up very well.

  24. I suppose to be fair to you I wasn’t looking at 2010, where the main difference appears to be in Notting Barns, which was a bit more competitive for the opposition, but now seems to have reverted to type and become safely Labour again. The Lib Dems also had two councillors in Colville which Labour took back this year.

  25. Back to your original point – I think it’s also highly likely some of the paler blue Tory areas in WN voted Labour in 97 – certainly Maida Vale, perhaps Little Venice too – this will partly explain the size of Labour’s majority.

  26. Yes, I’d agree with that. Buck is ‘soft left’ which probably helps her around here.

    The 1997 boundaries didn’t include Bayswater or Lancaster Gate, as far as I can tell. They were presumably in Cities of London and Westminster.

  27. Yes. Even in that seat (which I voted in in 1997), Labour did extremely well.

  28. Looks like the LDs finally have a candidate in place here. Kirsty Allan, whose job title is Senior Executive Officer to Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone MP. She also stood unsuccessfully for Woodside Ward at the Haringey Council local elections last May.

    From the ground here my feeling is that the Lib Dem vote in this seat will collapse and the Greens will replace them as the third party. Anyone care to predict exactly? There is some small WWC UKIP appeal too.

    The Tories are throwing a lot at this seat (it’s a very well-funded CA I believe) but I can’t see them taking it. Apparently Joanne Cash spoke like The Queen, well, Lindsey Hall sounds like Princess Diana!

  29. [email protected] constituency is likely to disappear in 2020. The abandoned review saw it being carved up between Kensington (gaining more or less the old Paddington North), The Cities of London & Westminster (gaining more or less the old Paddington South) and Holborn & St Pancras’s successor Camden & Regents Park (gaining more or less the old St Marylebone).

  30. Without Joanne Cash any chance of this being a shock Tory Gain?

  31. Labour have held this seat. Thought the Mansion Tax would finish Labour off hete but Buck’s personal vote might have saved their bacon.

  32. Definitely a case of Buck’s personal vote saving her bacon here. The next Labour leader best not propose a mansion tax.

  33. ”The next Labour leader best not propose a mansion tax.”

    Yes, I agree. As Fiona MacTaggart said in an interview with Andrew Neil and Andrew Marr on the BBC’s GE programme, Labour need to reach out to aspirational voters. Andrew Marr then responded by saying MacTaggart had hit the nail on the head and that she’s a ‘smart cookie’. Even Kate Hoey said, that Labour needed to reach out to the electorate beyond their heartlands just like Blair did. You know it’s been a bad GE for Labour when Hoey praises Blair!

    However, I’m so glad Buck retained her seat as she seems like a genuinely lovely person.

  34. MacTaggart is a South East MP so has the awareness about what the party’s priorities need to be. She’ll know that being surrounded by a sea of blue. Slough is one of only two really secure Labour seats in the SE (Oxford East being the other one).

    I don’t know if Labour should back to New Labour as it has already been done, but the result on Thursday looked an awful lot like 1992. Sky News said that some sources felt it was undoing a generation of progress the party made. Kinnock could at least rely on Scottish seats. With those now gone, Labour has to focus on England and Wales.

  35. Delighted to see Karen get back in. A nerve-wracking night at the count, and given that the last time the Conservatives got the (predecessor) seat was the last time they got a majority, in hindsight it could easily have gone that way. At 2:45am we didn’t know they were heading for a majority though (Christian posted at 2:08am, but I definitely remember it being later than that!). Despite Michael Portillo’s claim that candidates always know the result beforehand because they can see the piles of votes, Karen says she had no idea what the result would be when she was on the stage. 0.2% swing to the Tories, down from 0.6% last time – so is that about 80 voters changing their minds? And as with last time, both Labour and the Tories increased their share of the vote, and everyone else lost their deposits, so it really is a two-way marginal here. Incidentally, the Lib Dem candidate didn’t even turn up, although as Lynne Featherstone’s assistant I assume she was busy in Hornsey and Wood Green.

  36. Harrow Road ward by-election 23rd July due to resignation of Cllr. Nilavra Mukerji

    Augustus, Wilford Conservative Party 334 22.10%
    Roca, Tim Labour Party 1139 ELECTED 75.38%
    Stephenson, Robert UK Independence Party (UKIP) 38 2.52%

    Turnout: 19.44%!

    So the ward retains three Labour councillors. There was a 6.3% swing towards Labour.

  37. The original draft proposals at the last boundary review (2010) combined Brent with The City of London and The City of Westminster and created a really odd “Regent’s Park & Brent South” cross border constituency.

    The only logic to this was bringing together Queen’s Park (that has wards in Westminster and Brent).

  38. Mayoral result (excluding postal):

    Khan 10962 47.0%
    Goldsmith 8198 35.2%

  39. 2020

    Shaun Bailey (Con) 14898
    *Karen Buck (New Lab) 10123
    George Galloway (Lab) 8324
    Lib Dem 3433
    Green 1645
    UKIP 1187

    Con Maj 4775

    Con Gain from New Lab
    (based on the scenario that the Labour Party split as they did in 1981 with most of the parliamentary party becoming the New Labour Party).

  40. Not going to happen

  41. Dalek
    Hate to ruin the fun Dalek but don’t make this a series posting on multiple seats. You cant just find a seat with a Right leaning Labour MP and a reasonable local and renowned left winger and then make a fairly arbitrary prediction. Even if there is a Lab split I can guarantee the left wing Lab parties candidate for Westminster North would not in a million years be George Galloway, I doubt he’d be selected for any seat nationwide actually.

  42. Dalek’s been having wet dreams about Shaun Bailey for yonks. First he was going to be Tory MP for Kensington, then succeed Boris as Mayor of London. I’m not sure how many times Bailey has to flop before Dalek realises he’s a dud.

  43. Dalek’s example is illustrative of the massive undesirability of splitting (which may be unavoidable if Corbyn wins another leadership election, or even if he loses) under FPTP. In reality I imagine the Corbynite faction may struggle badly in seats where they have no incumbent (by 2020 they would long since have been dislodged as the official opposition). But in even semi-marginal seats like Westminster North a party taking 5-10% off the mainstream Labour vote could lose them the seat.

  44. 2020
    McGuiness (LD) 10,841
    Buck (Lab) 10,785
    Bailey (Con) 10,690
    Galloway (Lab) 2,032
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 1,993
    Ike (Green) 1,385

    Majority 56

  45. I do wonder why one of our leading Conservative posters on this site never posts a Conservative win when he posts as gloy.

    I think we should be told…..

  46. Gloy: wow, that momentum is absolutely stupendous…

  47. Westminster North have nominated Owen Smith for leader. They nominated Corbyn last year. Too early to draw many conclusions at all, but would stand up the idea that London has swung most heavily away from Corbyn. Post-Brexit disappointment?

  48. Westminster North CLP nominated Yvette Cooper last year, not Jeremy Corbyn. In both cases the CLP was in agreement with Karen Buck MP.

    That said, it is a relatively left-leaning CLP which the other month nominated five out of the six Grassroots Alliance candidates for the NEC (the sixth might have got a nomination but for a specific problem with local reputation).

  49. I didn’t analyse all the ward results here but I think Labour topped the result in Maida Vale. I’m not sure where else they could go anyway in Westminster except maybe Little Venice. Who knows what will happen with leadership and boundary changes but this seat could easily be lost were Corbyn to stay on.

  50. As has been said on here many times before the problem for the Conservatives in this seat is that it is sharply divided between wealthy areas where they are already dominant and much less salubrious inner city territory with a large BME population that Labour dominate. There is not much in between. If there isn’t any swing in the inner city areas (as there hasn’t really been in recent GEs), and the nicer bits are already very Tory, it may be hard to gain even in a landslide election.

    I would imagine it will also be a prime candidate for being split up in the boundary review.

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