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. Yes but the boundaries are likely to be worse for the Tories in these seats. I have been thinking and I have a sneaking suspicion of what they are likely to recommend for the area of central London (obviously I could be completely wrong through haha):

    1)Tottenham gains Noel Park.
    2)Hornsey and Wood Green gains the Camden ward of Highgate and is renamed Hornsey and Highgate.
    3)Islington North gains Canonbury.
    4)Islington South and Finsbury gains Holborn and Covent Garden, King’s Cross, and Bloomsbury and is renamed Islington South and Holborn.
    5)Cities of London and Westminster gains Lancaster Gate, Bayswater and Westbourne.
    6)Remainder of Westminster North gains Regent’s Park, St Pancras and Somers Town, Camden Town with Primrose Hill, and Cantelowes. It is renamed Camden Town and Westminster North (or Camden Town and Maida Vale).
    7)Hampstead and Kilburn loses the three Brent wards and gains Gospel Oak, Haverstock, and Kentish Town. It is renamed Hampstead and Kentish Town.

    Thus the successor to Westminster North becomes much more Labour and I think the successor to Hampstead and Kilburn would be a tad more Labour as well. Obviously the trade off is the safe Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras getting the chop and probably also Keir Starmer’s political career assuming the changes get through. The Tories would keep three safe seats too Cities of London and Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham (though H&F could probably be won by Labour in a landslide) as any attempt to cut them down to two is really a partisan gerrymander.

  2. Or they will simply call the Camden-Westminster cross borough seat Regent’s Park (similar to the current Richmond Park).

  3. Peppermint- agreed albeit that I think H&F will soon be unwinnable for Labour.

  4. A totally useless fact: all the MPs that have been elected for constituencies within the City of Westminster since February 1974 are still alive today.

  5. I actually do think including the whole of Queens Park (including the Brent part of Queens Park) and losing Bayswater will make the successor to Westminster North a safe Labour seat that could be held even with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. I also don’t think that Corbyn will harm Labour as much in London. London also has the highest concentration of Remain Tories in the country and some of them may be unhappy by Hard Brexit.

  6. I think SkyBet’s 7/2 on a Labour hold in Westminster North is excellent value.

    The demographic trends for the Conservatives in that constituency are seriously negative.

    For example there is now more social/council housing than owner-occupied and the combined Black and Muslim populations (there is some crossover between these two groups) is higher than the White British population.

    These do not apply in either Hampstead or Tooting constituencies.

    Westminster North is also the type of place where May might be less popular with Conservative voters than Cameron was and it was also 67% Remain.

  7. Did the Conservatives win any constituencies in 2015 where either or both or these applied:

    1) The council / social housing total was higher than the owner-occupied housing total.

    2) The combined Black and Muslim population was higher than the White British population.

  8. One problem for the Conservatives in this seat is that so many of the properties in it’s smarter parts are either occupied by those ineligible to vote in a UK election or are not occupied at all (mere investment chips for the internationally wealthy).

    The same trend may also be starting to reduce their majority in the Kensington constituency.

  9. Indeed.

    Gentrification helped the Conservatives here in the 1983-1992 period as working class Labour voters were replaced by Conservative voting bankers.

    But those Conservative voting bankers are increasingly priced out by non-voting foreign oligarchs and investors.

  10. I’m fairly certain hardly any significant demographic changes have happened in 22 months. So whilst I agree with RICHARD that 7/2 about a Lab hold is too big, I do think the net gain of switchers LAB>LD and the Tory voters more likely to actually vote means that imo it’ll be a CON GAIN by about 1,000 votes.

  11. Two years of demographic change if its still continuing at this rate is worth hundreds of votes:

    Census results, white British 2001 / 2011:

    Abbey Road: 50.8% / 37.4%
    Bayswater: 50.4% / 37.0%
    Church Street: 38.7% / 22.2%
    Harrow Road: 40.0% / 29.1%
    Lancaster Gate: 40.1% / 28.9%
    Little Venice: 51.8% / 37.8%
    Maida Vale: 53.5% / 37.5%
    Queen’s Park: 38.3% / 29.5%
    Regent’s Park: 42.4% / 30.6%
    Westbourne: 39.1% / 26.1%

    Westminster North: 44.4% / 31.3%

    White overall, Westminster North:
    2001: 68.6%
    2011: 56.3%

    Thanks to Andy JS for the data.

  12. IIRC (and I am happy to be corrected if wrong), the boundaries of the current seat are very similar to those of the 1983 -97 seat.

    The Conservative lead nationally in 92 was very close to that in 2010, but in this seat an 8% Conservative majority had been replaced by a 5% Labour majority. Clear evidence of a long term trend.

  13. Richard: “Did the Conservatives win any constituencies in 2015 where either or both or these applied:
    1) The council / social housing total was higher than the owner-occupied housing total.
    2) The combined Black and Muslim population was higher than the White British population.”

    In response to question 2, there is one majority-minority seat held by the Conservatives – Harrow East. It also happens to be the seat with the highest combined Con + Lab vote: 91%.

  14. I thought of Harrow East myself.

    But the combined Black and Muslim population in Harrow East was only 21% compared to a White British population of 27%.

    Most of the non-white population in Harrow East are owner-occupier middle class Hindus, which are far more favourable to the Conservatives than the council / social housed Black and Muslim voters in this constituency.

  15. Of course there isn’t a Conservative seat with a Black* + Muslim population of over 50% …there’s isn’t a constituency with this demographic I think Tottenham is closest with around 35%.

    *meaning of African – Caribbean or African descent.

  16. This seat just featured on Sunday Politics show.

    Karen Buck v Lindsay Hall rematch.
    One candidate fighting a local campaign, the other a national campaign.
    One candidate has been an MP for 20 years, the other is a local Cllr.

    I predict a tight contest.

  17. Paul H-J.

    I agree. this is a fascinating contest… buck is fighting against a strong tide nationally, but it’s a local fight. the demographics are more pro-labour than would be the case in some of those midlands seats they are defending. Interesting. I suspect the tories will win it just.

  18. Lab hold I think.

  19. I’m inclined to think LAB will hold marginal London seats rather than outside of the capital.

  20. And if you only saw St John’s Wood, you’d think the opposite…

    Interesting You Gov poll in the Evening Standard showing a swing of 2% from Labour to Conservative and the Lib Dem vote up 6% from 2015.


    Obviously that would be sufficient for Labour to lose its super marginal in the capital (Ealing Central, Brentford and Isleworth etc), but if true, gives them a fighting chance in highly polarised seats like this.

  21. The London swing will be very varied. Maybe nothing at all in seats like this, Hampstead and Tooting (though the LDs may do better than last time).

  22. I’m assuming that Outer London swings will be broadly similar to the rest of the country and Inner London might stand still or even nudge towards Labour again. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a bounce for the Lib Dems in some safe Tory seats like Chelsea & Fulham, as people with foreign business interests punish the Tories for Brexit.

    The Conservatives are far more likely to take Eltham than they are to take Westminster North, even though the majorities are comparable.

  23. I think this one of the few seats that could be affecting by the hunting bill free vote

    Had that not been announced I would give the Tories a chance in here and Tooting. But that will not go down well here, Ealing Ceentrak or seats like Hampstead and Kilburn and Harrow West it’s not going to affect them too much in rural seats but in London metropolitan seats it may affect do that.

    London may have a different political picture top the rest of the UK.

    The most likely gain in London will be Carshalton and Wallington.

  24. Who actually cares about fox hunting? I can think of no political battle in my lifetime that has had so much debate relative to how important it is as an issue facing the country. I doubt there’s anyone thinking to themselves, “Well, the underfunding of public services I can live with, but I draw the line at fox hunting!”

    It will shift approximately zero votes either way.

  25. ”I think this one of the few seats that could be affecting by the hunting bill free vote”

    I doubt this will flip any votes because most people, while opposing it, don’t really care all that much and the Tories have been going on about fox hunting ever since it as first banned so their position is hardly a surprise to the electorate. Most of the ‘faux outrage’ over this latest row over fox hunting has come from the left and from people who would never vote Tory anyway.

    Plus I believe the Tories promised a free vote on fox hunting in their last manifesto anyway (correct me if I’m wrong).

  26. ‘Most of the ‘faux outrage’ over this latest row over fox hunting has come from the left and from people who would never vote Tory anyway.’

    Usually that is the case and fox hunting used to be an issue that united Left and Right of the Tory Party but there’s a new generation of Tory MPs – from both Left and Right – who are staunchly opposed to fox hunting

    Whilst you could count number of Tories supporting an outright ban when it was first introduced on one hand, that number is likely to be up to 40-50 if the matter us debates in the next Parliament – which is far from certain

    Theresa May’s comments today – putting here in opposition to the vast majority of the public – just show how confident she is of winning

  27. TJ: the point isn’t whether or not people support the measure – but how much they care. Answer – it’ll be way down the list of priorities – probably even below obscure issues like FGM. In fact I care so little I have personally never bothered to decide whether I support it or not.

    There will be plenty Tory voters opposed to fox hunting, perhaps even the majority of them. But for a Tory to be so opposed to fox hunting that he/she would be prepared to vote for a radical socialist instead?

  28. PT – I very much doubt it

    I would say that the views of the likes of Patrick Moore, Roger Gale and David Amess prove that it’s not just the Left who object to its practice

  29. Even if there is a huge Con majority I think it would be difficult to get repeal through. It would be a free vote and many, probably even most, post 2010 intake Cons who didn’t sit through the debates under Blair are against any change. I’m surprised May hadn’t ditched the policy – no seats where it might be a positive can be seriously at risk, and I’m not sure even the old guard of rural MPs care much about this these days.

  30. I suspect she’s keeping groups like the Countryside Alliance onside and in return they’ll canvass etc. during the campaign

  31. *Buck (Lab) 18,537
    Cash (Con) 18,481
    Bitchton (LD) 1,416
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 1,154

    Lab maj 56

  32. The candidates are actually:
    Lindsey Hall (C)
    Karen Buck (Lab)
    Alex Harding (LD)
    Emmanuelle Tandy (Green)
    Abby Dharamsey (IND)

  33. Even Ann Widdecombe is strongly opposed to fox hunting. I suspect those MPs in support are a minority nowadays.

  34. The archetypal low swing seat swung this time. Majority of 11,500 suggests Karen Buck made significant inroads in the nicer parts of the seat.

  35. I think one cannot be certain – that a combination of the following ballooned the Lab vote / depressed the CON vote:

    60s Con voters abstaining
    Their manifesto was more appealing.

    I think the days are over, when a governing party puts in a manifesto a known potential net vote loser are over (e.g dementia tax). The Tories were saying “we’re doing the right thing here!”…those thoughts will be banished in election campaigns from now on imo.

  36. Also:

    >30y.o voting in significantly higher number
    Non voters voting Lab

  37. “Tories should be able to win this, although the BR will be a big factor.
    I’d be surprised if Labour held Westminster North, Hampstead and Kilburn and Harrow West under Corbyn”

    Only 11,513 votes out, where this sear is concerned. Be interesting to do a cumulative total for the three seats mentioned.

  38. Has anybody noticed that Labour are seriously targeting Westminster?

    Labour clearly would have won the majority of votes in Westminster at the general election and would only have been 5000 votes behind in Kensington & Chelsea.

    However, my understanding is the Labour vote in both boroughs is concentrated in a small number of very safe Labour wards. Labour could also win wards like Abbey Road, Regents Park, Maida Vale, Little Venice, Bayswater, Lancaster Gate, Pembridge, Norbrook, Earls Court and even Chelsea Riverside but still fail to win the respective council….even if polling far more votes than the Conservatives overall.

  39. Yes, a lot of people have noticed. I’m kind-of expecting it to fall, to be honest, not least because there are a decent number of EU citizens who can’t vote in general elections, who will be pretty determined to make their vote count here. The Guardian’s recent revelation that the council leader has accepted 500 freebies over the course of his tenure probably won’t help the Tories, either.

    Kensington & Chelsea is more of a wildcard, I guess it depends on how culpable the council is seen to be for the Grenfell disaster. My sense is that, sadly, there is little community between the blue and red parts of the borough, and that there are enough safe blue wards that the Tories will be fine.

    Obviously the other London borough people are getting excited about is Wandsworth. My instinct is that the Tories will cling on, despite the electoral trends in the area, and recent polling showing that Labour are the favourites. My thinking is formed on the basis of a recent by-election where the swing against them was only 5% or so. Their low council taxes still seem pretty popular.

    One more to watch is Hillingdon. With Boris Johnson’s majority having been slashed last June, it could go red on a really good day for Labour…

  40. Unusually Ladbrokes have betting markets on some of this year’s local elections.

    Westminster: Conservative 2-5, Labour 7-4, NOC 25-1

    Kensington & Chelsea: Conservative 1-25, Labour 16-1, NOC 12-1

    Hillingdon: Conservative 8-11, Labour Evens, NOC 20-1

    Wandsworth: Labour 4-7, Conservative 5-4, NOC 16-1

    I think they are all a pretty fair reflection, but perhaps overstating Labour a touch in Wandsworth.

    Queen Mary University had a poll done for the London local elections that was referred to on the main page of this site. It showed Labour well ahead, and well up on four years ago, but I am not so sure is was as good for them as a lot of people made out. I make the swing from Labout to Conservative on those figures no more than 6.5 per cent. They need between 8 and 9 per cent to take Westminster and Wandsworth. On that basis, and taking into account the recent by election in Wandsworth mentioned by Polltroll, I think the 5-4 on the Tories to retain control there might be a bit of value.

    I find the idea of the Tories losing K & C pretty hard to believe. As alluded to above, they have a number of very safe wards in the borough. Even if they only won those where they polled more than 60 per cent four years ago they would still retain control.

    The London councils I expect the Tories to lose are Barnet (where Labour are 1-7), Richmond (Lib Dems 4-7) and Kingston where there are no odds available.

  41. If it’s anything like the General Election Labour may gain a lot if seats in Westminister if not the council itself. Labour won almost every ward in Westminister North apparently.

    Hillingdon is a big unknown for me. In the latest poll for the London elections the swing in outer london is around 4% to Labour but Hillingdon would take a 5% swing.

    Wandsworth is the most likely of the three imo. In the same poll the swing to Labour in inner London is 13% and Wandsworth needs a 10% swing. The by election in Thameside was disappointing for Labour but was in a very safe part of Putney which probably stayed blue in the GE too.

  42. I am sceptical re the projected inner/outer London swings that featured in the publicity surrounding the QMUL poll. Trying to calculate precise percentage swings on the basis of subsamples doesn’t to me seem a particular sensible thing to do

  43. Depends on the size of the subsample. A small regional sample is useless. A large sample whether it’s a breakdown by gender or inner and outer london can be more useful

  44. The tables for the QMUL poll are here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/r3f9udshnu97w0y/QueenMary_LondonResults_Feb18_VI.pdf?dl=0

    The inner London sub-sample was 419 pre weighting, 431 post weighting. Not dreadful, but I think a bit on the small side to be calculating swings.

    It looks as though they’ve basically tried to make one London wide survey do the work of two; one each on inner and outer London. I don’t think that was wise, or necessary.

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