The UKPollingReport election guide for 2010 has now been archived and all comments will shortly be closed. The new Election Guide for the 2015 election is now online at The old site is archived at the UK Web Archive.

Islington South and Finsbury

2010 Results:
Conservative: 8449 (19.4%)
Labour: 18407 (42.26%)
Liberal Democrat: 14838 (34.07%)
UKIP: 701 (1.61%)
Green: 710 (1.63%)
English Democrat: 301 (0.69%)
Others: 149 (0.34%)
Majority: 3569 (8.19%)

2005 Results:
Labour: 12345 (39.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 11861 (38.3%)
Conservative: 4594 (14.8%)
Other: 2161 (7%)
Majority: 484 (1.6%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 3860 (13.7%)
Labour: 15217 (53.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 7937 (28.1%)
Other: 1192 (4.2%)
Majority: 7280 (25.8%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 4587 (13%)
Labour: 22079 (62.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 7516 (21.3%)
Referendum: 741 (2.1%)
Other: 393 (1.1%)
Majority: 14563 (41.2%)

No Boundary Changes:

Profile: Islington is fashionable and up-market residential area, Tony Blair lived in Barnsbury prior to his elected as Prime Minister and the area was for a time closely associated with New Labour. However there is also a large traditional Labour vote here, with a high proportion of council tenants and a substantial Afro-caribbean community.

portraitCurrent MP: Emily Thornberry(Labour) born 1960, London. Educated at University of Kent. Barrister specialising in human rights. Contested Canterbury in 2001, first elected as MP for Islington South in 2005 (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitAntonia Cox (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Journalist and former investment banker.
portraitEmily Thornberry(Labour) born 1960, London. Educated at University of Kent. Barrister specialising in human rights. Contested Canterbury in 2001, first elected as MP for Islington South in 2005 (more information at They work for you)
portraitBridget Fox (Liberal Democrat) born 1964, Amersham. Educated at Dr Challoners High School and Oxford University. Librarian. Islington councillor between 1998 and 2006 and former deputy leader of the council. Contested Islington South and Finsbury in 2005, East Ham in 2001 and Hampstead and Highgate in 1997.
portraitJames Humphreys (Green) University lecturer and former civil servant.
portraitRose-Marie McDonald (UKIP)
portraitJohn Dodds (English Democrat)
portraitRichard Deboo (Animals Count) Contested East of England 2009 European elections.

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 84213
Male: 48.5%
Female: 51.5%
Under 18: 19.6%
Over 60: 14.8%
Born outside UK: 28.2%
White: 77.4%
Black: 10.1%
Asian: 5.3%
Mixed: 3.5%
Other: 3.6%
Christian: 56.2%
Hindu: 1%
Jewish: 0.9%
Muslim: 7.7%
Full time students: 9%
Graduates 16-74: 38.4%
No Qualifications 16-74: 26.6%
Owner-Occupied: 29.2%
Social Housing: 52.8% (Council: 39.1%, Housing Ass.: 13.7%)
Privately Rented: 15%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 7.2%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at

289 Responses to “Islington South and Finsbury”

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  1. She is the mother of the Cllr who caused the by-election held yesterday

  2. Resign please, Cllr Coupland & see how you do in a by-election.

  3. The boundary commission have proposed a new seat to be named The City of London and Islington South which will also include two Camden wards, Holbon&Covent Garden and King’s Cross.

  4. UKPR notionals for the new seat mentioned above:

    Lab: 20,441
    LD: 15,868
    Con: 10,634

    Lab maj: 9.3%

  5. Emily Thornberry MP was on the Politics Show the other day talking about voter registration.

    She said that in this constituency there was a 60% turnover of voters on the electoral register between the 2005 and 2010 elections.

    Could that figure possibly be right? It sounds mighty high, even for Inner London.

  6. I think it could be right yes.
    I believe Haringey and Hackney are higher (or were in the late 1980s).

  7. That implies that pretty much the whole electorate has changed since 1997, although there will be a small hardcore of long term residents let’s say 10%.

    This certainly puts into perspective how demographic change has completely changed inner London seats in just 20 years.

  8. Interesting result from the split St Mary’s ward last night:
    Lab 1128 (47.2; +14.3)
    LD 641 (26.8; -5.1)
    Green 317 (13.3; +1.4)
    Con 282 (11.8; -8.3)
    BNP 22 (0.9; +0.9)
    Majority 487
    Turnout 23.64%
    Lab hold
    Percentage change is since May 2010.
    So no meltdown of the LD vote; instead it was the Tories who dropped the most. They are by no means negligible in the South of the Borough, and in some of the more upmarket wards in the North, and being beaten by the Greens must hurt a bit. The swing from LD to Lab if repeated boroughwide would clear out most of their still substantial group, but might still allow them to survive at least partially in Highbury East.

  9. Another very good Labour result. Well done.

  10. Yes – a poor Tory result and a very good one for Labour.
    Looks less serious for the Tories than Aldborough though.

  11. In a sense that’s right Joe in that Ilford North is a key seat for the Tories in whatever form it’s likely to take, whereas this isn’t a serious general election battleground for them. It’s also more than possible that some Conservative sympathizers have switched purely tactically to the LDs here in a vain bid to get Labour out, which obviously wouldn’t have been a factor in Aldborough. Tories have been known to win elections in Islington though rarely: I recall them winning a small ward called I think Crescent, at least partially, before the present boundaries came into effect in 2002. Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to where that ward was.

  12. Quadrant (9 July 1992)
    Islington North
    Conservative gain from Labour
    Blackwood, Clive D.CON 925
    Glover, Christina L.LAB 640
    Rorison, Elizabeth J.LD 126
    Ackers, John H.GRE 40

    the byelection was the only time, other than two seats in 1978 and control in 1968 that the Conservatives have held a seat in Islington since the boroughs were formed.

  13. Thanks GT, got the ward name wrong & clearly my recollection was incorrect too.
    I remember Clive Blackwood as the losing candidate to another Clive, Labour’s Efford, in Eltham in the general election of (?IIRC) 2001.

  14. The MP for this seat was on Question Time yesterday. She was absolutely useless. I wish politicians on all sides would stop being so hypocritical all the time. I also found her rude and she avoided every question possible or distorted issues to suit her.

    I disliked the way when discussing the home office rules on bringing family members over to the UK from abroad she mentioned three Somalian women who intially came to the UK as refugees, were given indefinate leave to remain and are in work but would not be allowed to bring children over because of the 18k salary you need in order to be allowed. She spoke of being compassionate about this issue (as did Grant Shapps). It’s a shame her and her colleagues didn’t show compassion to those of us who had our areas transformed beyond recognition with Labour’s policies (or lack of) on such matters.

    She also distorted the issue about problem families, particularly fatherless problem families raised by Peter Hitchins by banging on about her single parent childhood on a council estate making her turn out ok and completely missed the point he was making. She strikes me as a bright individual but on this matter she also had her head in the clouds.

  15. Re L Bernard’s comment above – I too wasn’t very impressed by Emily Thornberry last night.

    I understand her indignation in relation to Hitchen’s comments – if I had grown up in a similar background and someone implicitly criticized my upbringing I would get annoyed – but she was wrong to castigate him on the central point.

    I think that this has been covered before on the site (on the Enfield Southgate thread from memory) but we really do have to get away from the notion that an individual’s support for any given principle/policy/philosophy dictates that they are, by definition, entirely prejudiced against an alternative view.

    I think that families work best when there is a mother and a father. Mother Nature would seem to agree, given that we evolved that way long before we achieved meaningful sentience. I think a stable family unit probably has the best chance of producing well-balanced, confident children.

    That doesn’t mean, in any way, that I’m prejudiced against single parent families – I know quite a few, and their children are fantastically well brought up. It doesn’t mean that I think that a gay or lesbian couple aren’t capable of giving a child a loving, stable upbringing – I think they are.
    It’s just a simple statement that, if one had the choice, I think a mother and a father is the most ideal solution.

    Thornberry’s mistake was, I think, to immediately latch on to Hitchen’s comments because she wanted to have a go at him for being right-wing, and to emphasize her more enlightened (as she would see it) credentials. I think she was itching to have a go and seized the first opportunity she could – and it came across that way.

  16. A Lib Dem MP held off a Lib Dem challenge.

    Self righteous.

  17. ‘The MP for this seat was on Question Time yesterday.’

    I thought the three MPs on the panel last night were outshun by Hitchens and Dyke

    Although not my cup of tea, Faron is quite a good debater although I thought Shapps and Thornberry were distinctly unimpressive and

    Thornberry did go OTT with her criticism of Hitchens – and got away with distorting what he said – which was actually quite a pertinant point

  18. They were such a sensible audience in Stockton on Tees,
    unlike all the gobby outreach officers they pack into the program when it’s in London.

    That man who said Levenson is a very very low priority for the country and for the North East, and why do all the journalists go on about it day after day put it better than I could.
    Particularly apt as he spoke just before this MP was due to speak and she was slightly wrong footed as desperate to go on about precisely that as if it was the number 1 priority.

  19. What? a SENSIBLE Question Time audience?
    Take their names and addresses and see if we can get them back every week.

    I used to try and find patterns as to where the BBC Question Time programme went to see if it would explain some political bias. When they only used to go to the big cities it was easy-what do you expect, they hate Tories up there anyway, I’d say to myself.

    But now that the programme comes from such a diverse range of places its more difficult.

    Perhaps the problem is that the BBC filter the audience to ensure a politically “balanced” group. Maybe they should just allocate places on a first come, first served basis and make no adjustments for party preference of the audience members?

  20. There are Tories in their audiences but they tend to sit silently whilst the gobby outreach officers and public sector self righteous types make lots of noise

  21. That’s probably true Joe. A great deal of Labour voters probably sit there quietly as well while the more left Labour types seem to shout points at any person who has a view different to their own, nomally the Tory MP or right leaning journalist.

    On Peter Hitchins, I liked the fact that he also criticised the current government as much as he did the last government while Emily Thornberry rolled her eyes at every citicism of New Labour.

  22. Emily Thornberry’s performance last night gave me hope that Labour might crash and burn at the next election after all.

    How could she possibly imagine that the public would sympathise with that lame story about the 20 Somalians who she wasn’t able to get into the country to sponge off benefits that we all have to pay for?

    I am a liberal on immigration, but the proposal that family members should only be allowed in if their sponsor can afford to maintain them is to me completely correct.

    I agree with Shaun that the Question Time audiences are becoming an unrepresentative, biased joke. Like the BBC’s election night coverage, the only good thing left about it is David Dimbleby.

  23. Somalians commit a lot of crime in Southall – I know someone who has lived there for many years.

    Of course, many of them do not commit crimes either.

  24. It wasn’t my intention to pick on Somalians for any reason. It was Thornberry who happened to mention that they were Somalians.

    The point is that it is reasonable for us to make the granting of immigration visas contingent on people being able to support themselves – whether they are Somalian, Indian, American or whatever.

  25. “How could she possibly imagine that the public would sympathise with that lame story about the 20 Somalians who she wasn’t able to get into the country to sponge off benefits that we all have to pay for?”

    Shes from Islington. She’s a Human rights lawyer from the chambers of Michael Mansfield.
    ‘She is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group.’
    ‘In the Commons, she spoke to defend the right of lesbian mothers to access IVF treatment’

    How could you possibly imagine she would be even remotely in touch with normal people?

  26. “On Peter Hitchins, I liked the fact that he also criticised the current government as much as he did the last government while Emily Thornberry rolled her eyes at every citicism of New Labour.”

    This is something that I have often noticed in general. I don’t want to give the impression that this is a party political thing-as I am sure there are such people accross the spectrum, but I think this explains why the BBC are allowed to get away with being so biased in the promotion of their own views…

    I’ve noticed that a lot of the rightwingers asked onto programmes generally criticise their own side much more often, whilst leftwingers stick ridgedly to the anti-government line-or rather, anti Conservative line.

    This means that whilst the broadcaster is technically providing a range of people from accross the spectrum, the overall impresson is overwhelmingly hostile to the government or to the Conservatives.

    But of course, there are still good examples of bias-such as Andrew Marr’s weekly newspaper review segment on a Sunday, which is most weeks a love fest of left wing opinion all sitting on the couch together.

  27. She’s probably a republican aswell and miserable about the double defeats of the Mayoral election and Jubilee.

  28. Tory tactical voting could have defeated her at the last election but it didn’t happen.

    Labour majority was 8% over LDs, Con polled 19%, a 5% increase.

  29. ‘ In 2006 she won a campaign award for her contribution to sustainable transport. She is a friend of the Refugee Council, supports Shelter, Amnesty International, Liberty, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth’

    No not Emily Thornberry this time – this one is Bridget Fox. Why the hell would any Conservative vote for that? (a real Conservative anyway, as opposed to a Cameroon)

  30. “She is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group”

    Whilst not in any way intending to breach the comments policy, I must say that Emily Thornberry’s short, squat and fat body does not look like it has done any cycling in 20 years.

    One thing I can never understand is why the public gets so angry about bankers but happily leave the legal profession with their snouts in the trough. I have worked with plenty of bankers and lawyers, and given the choice I would far prefer a banker any day. And human rights lawyers are the lowest of the low.

  31. This MP has emerged as a particularly annoying character – on a par with many Lib Dems and Ed Balls.

    I shouldn’t be complaining really – if they go on with this kind of left wing Islington agenda
    then it’ll probably come to the Tories aid,
    although the swings this May in WWC areas do make me uneasy.

  32. Another guy on the program from Stockton on Tees probably was a Labour voter (of the sensible type)
    but he left Thornbury and the Farron Dykes etc in no doubt he wasn’t supporting their tosh about doing nothing about neighbours from hell on estates.

  33. “although the swings this May in WWC areas do make me uneasy”

    What can you expect with this government’s priorities?

    Cameron has also created a serious potential danger for himself here:

    The key bit is between 26:00 and 26:30.

  34. Shaun – the Stoke audience seemed decent, from memory.

  35. Shaun – although the reason eg Michael Forsyth and Melanie Phillips lask week criticised the Govt on wind farms or the Euro, is that the Govt isnt being Conservative. Surely thats better than having Shirley Williams and Heseltine on?

  36. Census results, white British, 2001 / 2011:

    Barnsbury: 61.7% / 50.9%
    Bunhill: 59.6% / 43.4%
    Caledonian: 55.5% / 45,2%
    Canonbury: 65.0% / 53.4%
    Clerkenwell: 60.4% / 49.3%
    Holloway: 54.8% / 42.5%
    St Mary’s: 62.0% / 54.1%
    St Peter’s: 64.1% / 54.8%

    TOTAL: 60.3% / 48.8%

    White overall, Islington:
    2001: 77.4%
    2011: 69.3%

    There were absolute increases in the white British population in three wards:

    Bunhill: 5,991 to 6,352
    Canonbury: 6,437 to 6,452
    Holloway: 6,148 to 6,374

  37. Any prospects for the tories improving here?

    Is this seat gentrifying at all and getting investment banker expensive?

  38. I’d say so particularly in the Angel and Farringdon area. Boris managed to narrowly win of the central wards here so there is clearly a growing centre-right vote. However, the Lib Dems have eaten into quite a lot of this vote and if that continues, Tories will remain stuck at the sub 20% level. If this can be overcome, they could start winning in the nicest areas. Labour aren’t in danger of losing here though. Not for at least another decade or so.

  39. No thats incorrect. Boris did not carry any of Islington wards. He came closest to winning in St Peters (the ward both he and I live in). I canvassed during the mayoral election and a number of Labour voters said they were going to vote for Boris. This can be seen in fact that Labour won the constituency and list more in St Peters far more comfortably.

    I would say that prospects for Tories aren’t getting better at any great speed. The proof of their success or lack thereof will be seen in local elections in 2014. Its pretty difficult to become truly competitive like the Lib Dems without any local government representation or base. I would also wager that Labour will be the major beneficiary of any collapse in the Lib Dem vote and this seat will go back to being much safer.

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