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Kensington

2010 Results:
Conservative: 17595 (50.06%)
Labour: 8979 (25.54%)
Liberal Democrat: 6872 (19.55%)
UKIP: 754 (2.15%)
Green: 753 (2.14%)
Others: 197 (0.56%)
Majority: 8616 (24.52%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Conservative: 13958 (44.9%)
Labour: 8857 (28.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 6161 (19.8%)
Other: 2108 (6.8%)
Majority: 5102 (16.4%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 18144 (57.9%)
Labour: 5521 (17.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 5726 (18.3%)
Green: 1342 (4.3%)
UKIP: 395 (1.3%)
Other: 208 (0.7%)
Majority: 12418 (39.6%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 15270 (54.5%)
Labour: 6499 (23.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 4416 (15.8%)
UKIP: 416 (1.5%)
Green: 1158 (4.1%)
Other: 279 (1%)
Majority: 8771 (31.3%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 19887 (53.6%)
Labour: 10368 (28%)
Liberal Democrat: 5668 (15.3%)
Other: 1165 (3.1%)
Majority: 9519 (25.7%)

Boundary changes: Major. The borough of Kensington and Chelsea will no longer be twinned with Westminster when deciding boundaries, so the North Kensington part of the old Regent`s Park and North Kensington seat, including Notting Hill, joins this seat, while Chelsea is hived off to form the new Chelsea and Fulham constituency.

Profile: a residential seat west of central London, recently brought into the congestion charge zone. Kensington is one of the most solidly Conservative parts of the country, the housing is largely expensive gardens squares and Georgian terraces. Kensington High street is an upmarket shopping hub, Kensington Palace is the residence of several members of the Royal Family and Kensington Palace Gardens the site of many embassies and a few private residences for the super-rich. South Kensington is the museum district, home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert and is somewhat more cosmopolitan, housing the halls of residence for Imperial College.

As well as Kensington itself the seat covers Earl`s Court, Brompton, Holland Park and Notting Hill. Earls Court is far more run down and cheaper than it`s richer neighbour and while it it undergoing rapid gentrification and contains its own areas of the super-rich such as the Boltons, there are still cheap areas of run down hotels and bedsits around Earls Court Exhibition Centre, which straddles the boundary between this and Hammersmith.

Notting Hill today is an affluent and trendy area associated politically with David Cameron and the younger Conservative set surrounding him, and more widely with the Notting Hill carnival, led by the area`s vibrant Afro-Carribean community. It is a highly cosmopolitan area, having fallen on hard times in the twentieth century and become associated with dingy flats and houses of multiple occupancy it has undergone rapid gentrification. These days while the old Victorian private houses are sought after and extortionately expensive, there is much social housing and tower blocks and there remains a large ethnic population and areas of social deprivation in North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove. Whereas the Kensington wards are safely Conservative, northern wards like Notting Barns, which includes the tower blocks of Lancaster West Estate, and Colville reliabley return Labour councillors.

Kensington and Chelsea has had a high turnover of high profile MPs. When originally created in 1997 it selected the Chelsea MP Sir Nicholas Scott, who was forced to stand down prior to the election over accusations of alcoholism after being found in a gutter in Bournemouth. The seat was instead fought and won by the former MP and famed diarist Alan Clark, making a return to Parliament having grown bored of retirement. He died two years later and the subsequent by-election returned Michael Portillo, the former Defence Secretary. Portillo spent a year as Shadow Chancellor before unsuccessfully contesting the Conservative leadership and then stepping down from politics. In 2005 the seat was won by another former minister, defeated in 1997, this time the former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Like Michael Portillo he briefly served in the shadow cabinet, stood for the leadership of the party, lost, and returned to the backbenches, though unlike Portillo he shows no signs of retiring from politics.

portraitCurrent MP: Sir Malcolm Rifkind(Conservative) born 1946, Edinburgh. Educated at George Watson`s College and Edinburgh University. Advocate and QC. Contested Edinburgh Central 1970. Elected as MP for Edinburgh Pentlands in February 1974 where he served until his defeat in 1997, during that time serving as a junior minister in the Scottish office 1979-1983, minister of state in the foreign officer 1983-1986, secretary of state for Scotland 1986-1990, secretary of state for transport 1990-1992, secretary of state for defence 1992-1995 and foriegn secretary 1995-1997. After his 1997 defeat he was given a knighthood in John Major`s resignation honours and served as President of the Scottish Conservative party. He stood again in Edinburgh Pentlands in 2001, but in 2005 moved to the safe Conservative seat of Kensington and Chelsea. Following the 2005 he joined the shadow cabinet as shadow work and pensions secretary, intending to contest the party leadership following Michael Howard`s resignation. In the event he recieved little support and dropped out of the race prior to the first round of voting. He stepped down from the shadow cabinet following the leadership election having failed to be appointed shadow foriegn secretary, the only role which he wished to be considered for. Rifkind has indicated he will contest the Kensington seat at the next election, rather than seek nomination for the new Fulham & Chelsea constituency (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitSir Malcolm Rifkind(Conservative) born 1946, Edinburgh. Educated at George Watson`s College and Edinburgh University. Advocate and QC. Contested Edinburgh Central 1970. Elected as MP for Edinburgh Pentlands in February 1974 where he served until his defeat in 1997, during that time serving as a junior minister in the Scottish office 1979-1983, minister of state in the foreign officer 1983-1986, secretary of state for Scotland 1986-1990, secretary of state for transport 1990-1992, secretary of state for defence 1992-1995 and foriegn secretary 1995-1997. After his 1997 defeat he was given a knighthood in John Major`s resignation honours and served as President of the Scottish Conservative party. He stood again in Edinburgh Pentlands in 2001, but in 2005 moved to the safe Conservative seat of Kensington and Chelsea. Following the 2005 he joined the shadow cabinet as shadow work and pensions secretary, intending to contest the party leadership following Michael Howard`s resignation. In the event he recieved little support and dropped out of the race prior to the first round of voting. He stepped down from the shadow cabinet following the leadership election having failed to be appointed shadow foriegn secretary, the only role which he wished to be considered for. Rifkind has indicated he will contest the Kensington seat at the next election, rather than seek nomination for the new Fulham & Chelsea constituency (more information at They work for you)
portraitSam Gurney (Labour) TUC policy officer.
portraitRobin Meltzer (Liberal Democrat) TV producer.
portraitMelan-Zahra Ebrahimi-Fardouee (Green)
portraitCaroline Pearson (UKIP)
portraitEddie Adams (Alliance for Green Socialism)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 116478
Male: 48%
Female: 52%
Under 18: 17.8%
Over 60: 15.4%
Born outside UK: 45.5%
White: 76.2%
Black: 8.2%
Asian: 5.2%
Mixed: 4.4%
Other: 5.9%
Christian: 60.4%
Hindu: 1%
Jewish: 2.2%
Muslim: 9.3%
Full time students: 8.6%
Graduates 16-74: 51.1%
No Qualifications 16-74: 13.5%
Owner-Occupied: 42.1%
Social Housing: 27.8% (Council: 8.5%, Housing Ass.: 19.3%)
Privately Rented: 24.9%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 13.6%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide

419 Responses to “Kensington”

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  1. Personally I find Boris a bit annoying; I don’t know why so many people find him amusing, including a lot of non-Tory voters.

  2. ‘I don’t know why so many people find him amusing’

    I can understand people finding him amusing – but it’s in a George W Bush type way, and people that gaffe-prone rarely makre good leaders

    Having said that he must have something given that he got re-elected in a city where the Tories fortunes have plumeted over the last 15 years

  3. I thought Boris was more amusing when he was an MP, it’s become stale now.

  4. He makes gaffes but he has a very good command of English & has a bit of a gift for similes & florid prose. Probably these days the jokes are more intentional than they were a few years ago. In other words, I think that the comparison with Bush isn’t particularly appropriate.

  5. ‘In other words, I think that the comparison with Bush isn’t particularly appropriate.’

    Bush and Borris are world’s apart – the latter’s vocabulary and intellect show the former for the simple-minded cowboy he is – but they do have ‘likeable baffoonish’ qualities which people do find endearing

    I can’t think of many other big politicians who fall into that category

  6. One of the problems with the recent (and shelved) boundary review in London was to ignore the London Borough Boundaries and simply construct constituencies out of wards.

    This created constituencies that were similar to congressional districts in the USA. Looking at New York for example, you had Manhattan in four different districts, all including bits of other NYC boroughs.

    For example, the Upper West Side was in the same district as Coney Island, and the district looked like some kind of Gerrymander with several necks.

    In some case’s in London it was impossible to create electoral equality by simply twinning two boroughs, but twinning three boroughs could work. Ignoring borough boundaries in whole just creates oddly shaped divisions similar to those in NYC.

  7. There is plenty of precedent for going over borough boundaries. For example, for many years the Manchester Gorton division included territory outside the city boundaries (Denton & Audenshaw, I think). This needn’t necessarily create odd constituencies, though it clearly often does. The refusal to split wards was rather silly & more sensible constituencies could well have been proposed had it been possible to do so.

  8. “For example, for many years the Manchester Gorton division included territory outside the city boundaries (Denton & Audenshaw, I think).”

    That must have been before 1983 because the Denton & Reddish seat was created then.

  9. That’s absolutely right. Nowadays the Gorton seat is entirely within the city boundaries.

  10. I care very little about this whinging about London borough boundaries being some kind of sacrosanct line. We need fewer MPs, we need equal sized constituencies, people will still be in the same council area and have the same local authority services provided, so whether a constituency crosses two or three or more boundaries bothers me not

    All boundaries are fake, let’s not try to make them more than just flicks of an administrator’s pencil

  11. @Doktorb

    Boundaries aren’t fake though. A constituency crossing two or more boundaries, may not make a difference to you personally but will make a massive difference to the life and work of the MP elected to that particular seat.

    In your world, if we get a Crystal Palace constituency, an MP may have to get to know the machinations of 5 different Councils (Croydon, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham all meet at Crystal Palace) which may slow down the work of the MP by having to deal with them all, as opposed to dealing with one or two of them.

  12. ‘Nowadays the Gorton seat is entirely within the city boundaries.’

    It’s utterly ridicolous that as things currently stand there are only 3 seats titled Manchester because seats like Blackley and Wythenshaw contain areas outside the city boundary – it would make people think Manchester is no bigger than places like Leicester and Nottingham, when it is in fact larger than places like Liverpool and Bristol

  13. 2015

    Hanham (C) 20,919
    Butler (Lab) 10,841
    Bitchton (LD) 2,164
    Hamilton (UKIP) 1,335
    West (Green) 1,108
    McGuinness (SF) 56

  14. This Bitchton candidate does seem to get about a bit in your fantasy constituency predictions :)

  15. Census results, white British 2001 / 2011:

    Abingdon: 46.0% / 33.3%
    Brompton: 47.8% / 34.9%
    Campden: 50.7% / 43.1%
    Colville: 49.2% / 40.3%
    Courtfield: 44.3% / 34.4%
    Earls Court: 43.6% / 30.5%
    Golborne: 37.3% / 28.6%
    Holland: 46.4% / 35.1%
    Norland: 62.6% / 49.6%
    Notting Barns: 46.6% / 37.2%
    Pembridge: 53.5% / 43.6%
    Queen’s Gate: 41.1% / 32.5%
    St Charles: 53.0% / 42.6%

    TOTAL: 47.7% / 37.1%

    White overall, Kensington:
    2001: 76.2%
    2011: 67.9%

  16. In some wards you can guess at the political make-up from seeing the demographics.

    You can’t with Kensington.

    In an odd way its rather like some mining constituency in which class and income distinctions are all important.

  17. I think you would be able to guess a lot better by looking at the wards by white overall population. The large white other population is confusing matters.

  18. Looking at these figures it may not be long before the non-British white population outnumbers the British white population.

  19. This isn’t surprising. I have sometimes had the dubious pleasure of working in this borough (the response rate is usually awful), and it’s obvious that there are many white non-British people, in pretty much all the wards (not just the very wealthiest). I remember doing the Crime Survey for England & Wales, in which I interviewed a Russian lady, an Irishman, a very wealthy Belgian, an Israeli (actually in a gay marriage from another country), a German, an Italian lady, a Jewish guy who described himself as “white other”, and only a fairly small minority of white British respondents. Not sure there were any non-whites in the list, but this wasn’t in the more Labour areas in the north.

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