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Tooting

2010 Results:
Conservative: 19514 (38.52%)
Labour: 22038 (43.51%)
Liberal Democrat: 7509 (14.82%)
UKIP: 624 (1.23%)
Green: 609 (1.2%)
Christian: 171 (0.34%)
Independent: 190 (0.38%)
Majority: 2524 (4.99%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 18208 (42.8%)
Conservative: 13018 (30.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 8256 (19.4%)
Other: 3054 (7.2%)
Majority: 5190 (12.2%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 12533 (30.2%)
Labour: 17914 (43.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 8110 (19.5%)
Green: 1695 (4.1%)
UKIP: 424 (1%)
Other: 892 (2.1%)
Majority: 5381 (12.9%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 9932 (26.4%)
Labour: 20332 (54.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 5583 (14.9%)
Green: 1744 (4.6%)
Majority: 10400 (27.7%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 12505 (27.1%)
Labour: 27516 (59.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 4320 (9.4%)
Referendum: 829 (1.8%)
Other: 935 (2%)
Majority: 15011 (32.6%)

Boundary changes: minor. Gains only a small part of Wandsworth Common ward from Battersea.

Profile: the most Labour inclined of the three seats that make up the Conservative`s “flagship borough” of Wandsworth. While Wandsworth is a solidly Conservative borough, all three seats fell to Labour in 1997. Putney was won by the Tories in 2005, and Battersea and Tooting are now Conservative targets.

The constituency covers Tooting, Earlsfield and part of Balham. A traditionally working class area, Tooting is the more Labour inclined part of the constituency and has a significant ethnic minority community. In both Earlsfield and Balham though attractive Victorian housing and good transport links have seen house prices forced up as middle class professionals move in. Demographic changes mean the seat is one of very few that the Conservatives did not manage to win throughout the 1980s but that is now a viable target, if at the upper-middle end of Conservative ambition.

The seat contains Wandsworth Common and HMP Wandsworth, currently the second largest prison in the UK

portraitCurrent MP: Sadiq Khan(Labour) born 1970, London. Educated at Ernest Bevin School. Solicitor specialising in Human Rights and former Chair of Liberty. Wandsworth councillor between 1994-2006. Managed Ed Miliband’s successful leadership campaign in 2010. Shadow Justice Secretary since 2010 (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitMark Clarke (Conservative) born 1977. Educated at Dulwich College and Durham University. Strategy consultant and former brand manager for Procter & Gamble. National Chairman of Conservative Future.
portraitSadiq Khan(Labour) born 1970, London. Educated at Ernest Bevin School. Solicitor specialising in Human Rights and former Chair of Liberty. Wandsworth councillor between 1994-2006 (more information at They work for you)
portraitNasser Butt (Liberal Democrat)
portraitRoy Vickery (Green) Museum curator.
portraitStrachan McDonald (UKIP)
portraitShereen Paul (Christian Party)
portraitSusan John-Richards (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 93037
Male: 48.1%
Female: 51.9%
Under 18: 18.7%
Over 60: 13.3%
Born outside UK: 27.6%
White: 72.8%
Black: 10.4%
Asian: 11.3%
Mixed: 3.4%
Other: 2.1%
Christian: 58.3%
Hindu: 4.3%
Jewish: 0.7%
Muslim: 6.9%
Full time students: 6.8%
Graduates 16-74: 45.7%
No Qualifications 16-74: 16.7%
Owner-Occupied: 55.3%
Social Housing: 17.4% (Council: 8.5%, Housing Ass.: 8.9%)
Privately Rented: 23.9%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 10.9%

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

377 Responses to “Tooting”

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  1. Re the Conservative vs Labour trends in the wards that make up the Tooting constituency, and why Bedford was more Conservative than Earlsfield and Southfields but is now less Conservative, the reason is that degentrification in the 70s and 80s resulting in an increased Labour vote and gentrification in the late 90s and 00s resulting in an increased Conservative vote are affected by house size.

    In Earlsfield ward and Southfields ward, there are lots of 3/4 bedroom houses (many originally 3 bedroom but with loft conversion to 4 bedroom, or even 5 bedroom). In Earlsfield many would be ex-council houses in the Magdalen estate that are now 90% privately owned. When gentrification happened it started with these 3/4 bedroom houses, relatively few of which had been divided up into flats.

    By contrast, in Bedford ward, the house size is much larger, especially on the Heaver Estate and, the other side of Tooting Bec junction, in Dafforne and Foulser Roads. Many of these houses could be, and were, converted to 3 or 4 flats (the double-fronted houses were perfect for conversion to 4 flats. Once a house is converted to flats AND the flats are sold off separately, it is unlikely to be converted back to a house, increasingly unlikely the higher the number of separate flats. The streets of Bedford ward thus have an odd combination of very well off in £1m+ 4/5/6 bedroom houses and more moderately well off in 1/2 bed flat conversions. Unlike parts of Clapham or Balham where those living in the 1/2 bed flats are relatively well-earning professionals in their mid- or late- 20s or early 30s, Bedford ward’s too “family” and not “young” enough for those professionals.

    I think the existing flat conversions put a natural limit on gentrification in Bedford ward. The ward to watch is Furzedown ward which has smaller, unconverted more moderately priced 3/4 bed housing, and has the attraction of Graveney secondary school with its grammar streams.

    The big question is how visibly ethnic the Tooting Broadway area will stay. Right now when you cross the Tooting Bec junction from Balham High Road to Upper Tooting Road there is a noticeable shift. The Muslin Gatton School (state) and Al-Rishad School (independent) are big attractions for middle class Muslim parents. There’s also a high proportion of Christian Indians (esp Keralans) in the area. In the 2001 census the Tooting ward was 12% Muslim, 9% Hindu and less than 1% Sikh or Buddhist. It was 60% white.

  2. I’ve been looking at many of the London seats which didn’t do as well as expected.
    Westminster North, Tooting, Hammersmith, Hamptead & Kilburn, Eltham, Dulwich, etc.

    Many of these seats had boundary changes which looked minor, but may have been significant enough to have understated the Labour notional majority.

    Could this mean these seats were actually a lot less winnable than previously thought?

  3. With the exception of Dulwich & West Norwood (which was never a serious Tory prospect), I wouldn’t say any of those seats you mention were less winnable than previously thought. It was probably due to strong incumbents and an effective GOTV campaign that helped Labour retain those seats. The Conservatives certainly had enough support to seriously challenge in those places but suffered from poor candidate choices. They are by no means out of contention in the future as those areas for the most part are trending towards them though I think Eltham is possibly less likely to be a future gain than the others.

  4. I wouldn’t include Hamsptead & Kilburn as a seat where the Conservatives did less well than expected – I think they did better than generally expected to coms so close to winning. Its been mentioned before I’m sure, but on the old boundaries of Hampstead & Highgate the Conservatives would have won making it unique as a seat in London which Labour won in 1992 but the Tories would have won in 2010. I do think Tory Anorak may have a point about boundary changes in Eltham and Hammersmith and some of the notional results not refelcting the true level of Labour’s 2005 lead (there is discussion of both these points on their respective threads). I think in Tooting the boundary changes were trivial and this was not an issue while Westminster North was just outright a bad result in a seat they should have won

  5. It’s been said before, but I don’t think we should underestimate the ineptitude of some of the Tory candidates in these seats. This is particularly true of Westminster N (possibly the best Tory prospect of any Labour seat in Britain), but I think certainly in Hammersmith & perhaps Tooting too. In Hammersmith there was a bit of a difference between Anthony’s notional figures & those of Rallings & Thrasher etc., and on one set of figures there appears to have been a swing of only 0.5% to the Tories, which given the increasingly upmarket (in fact, often downright posh) nature of some parts of the seat, gives a good idea of the poor Tory campaign (and good Labour one) there. Pete is quite right about Hampstead & Kilburn; although Glenda Jackson hasn’t exactly sparkled in her electoral performances since she first won in 1992, I think it’s almost certain that had she stood down in 2010 the Tories would have taken the seat (or could the LDs have even done so?). This seat too isn’t a given for a Labour hold next time.

  6. I think the Tory performance in this seat was creditable enough actually – there was a good increase, but Labour managed to get some extra turnout from various ethnic minorities. The southern end of the seat bears more similarities with neighbouring Mitcham where Labour also held up extremely well than to the rest of Wandsworth

  7. “but I don’t think we should underestimate the ineptitude of some of the Tory candidates in these seats”

    Barnaby, surely you’re not suggesting that Cameron’s handpicked ‘A Listers’ were not the future cabinet ministers in waiting as suggested by Tatler magazine?

    Dear me, you’ll be saying next that Louise Mensch is a self-obsessed airhead.

  8. I was a little surprised when I first saw the turnout figure here. It’s not a seat which usually exceeds the national average by more than 3 percentage points.

  9. It was a very good tory result, it just happened to be a good labour one too. With labour already having got out the vote in 2010 and looking backwards this seat is on a fast course to going blue.

  10. “With labour already having got out the vote in 2010 and looking backwards this seat is on a fast course to going blue.”

    I really don’t see why.

    Labour got their vote out and the Conservatives got their vote out as well.

    But the Labour vote was bigger during a year when the Conservatives had a large national lead.

    I wonder if the Conservatives would have done better if they hadn’t made places like Tooting and Hammersmith such high profile target seats.

    Instead they could have used their resources quietly in other constituencies to more effect and Labour wouldn’t have made such a big counter effort.

    Perhaps Hammersmith and Tooting are constituencies in which the Conservatives might lead if turnout was 50% rather than 70%.

  11. It implies that labours hopes for a positive swing next time round are a bit more limited than average as in many seats the core didnt turn out wheras here they did. The seat has swung violently more than average since 1997 and I imagine this seat has quite a strong core for both parties (asians and rich people) rather than being terribly swing prone.

  12. The GLA result in Merton and Wandsworth was good for Tories. Given that includes MM it might suggest they are in good shape to have another go here but with Labour holding on by 2,000 plus it will be hard to shift

  13. The more I think about it the more I think that in 2010 we suffered as we did not have a clear enough set of policies to separate us from Labour. This is in part due to the economic focus of that election which is totally understandable, but I don’t think enough people knew what we stood for during that election.

    Tooting is a seat to watch in 2015 as it does have the potential to go blue, particularly if the government sees a spike in its popularity by then. The area is gentrifying (albeit slower than its neighbours) and Labour will almost certainly concentrate on making sure that their core vote (being the various ethnic minorities) get out and vote.

    I have to say I’m quite confident that Eltham can be won next time around, demographic change does not seem to be occuring that fast there compared to other parts of London. Westminster North should also be a gain.

  14. Barnaby Said:

    It’s been said before, but I don’t think we should underestimate the ineptitude of some of the Tory candidates in these seats. This is particularly true of Westminster N (possibly the best Tory prospect of any Labour seat in Britain), but I think certainly in Hammersmith & perhaps Tooting too. In Hammersmith there was a bit of a difference between Anthony’s notional figures & those of Rallings & Thrasher etc., and on one set of figures there appears to have been a swing of only 0.5% to the Tories, which given the increasingly upmarket (in fact, often downright posh) nature of some parts of the seat, gives a good idea of the poor Tory campaign (and good Labour one) there.

    I find it hard to agree with you there, Barnaby.
    I think the effect of the particular candidate is negligible unless they make headline news in some way.

    I would think my family/social circle was more politically aware than average, yet most of them would struggle to name their MP, let alone the name of the opposition candidate. They vote based on national news, and a PPC (unlike a councillor) has very little influence on local issues in any case.

    What exactly is the difference between good and bad candidates?
    The Westminster North, Hammersmith and Tooting PPCs were all first-timers, so perhaps there is a claim for inexperience (hardly ineptitude), but short of delivering blank leaflets or telling people not to vote Tory, I find it hard to imagine how bad they could have been!

  15. ‘The Westminster North, Hammersmith and Tooting PPCs were all first-timers’

    Indeed they were but too many of them came across as dislikeable, gave the impression of being unaware or unconcerned about local issues, and in the case of the PPC for Hammersmith, distinctly uncomfortable outside his specialist area of youth issues

    Maybe demographics have changed in London to make many of the Tory targets of the last election unrealistic, but I think in the case of these three seats, they had poor PPCs who certaibly did play a significant contribution in their party being unable to win

    I think Westminster North, for example, would have certainly gone Tory had it not been for Joana Cash, the Tory candidate

  16. “Maybe demographics have changed in London to make many of the Tory targets of the last election unrealistic”

    Almost certainly. The dangerous cocktail of Labour politics and unlimited immigration means the Tories will become less and less competitive in London unless they start to attract some the ethnic minority vote from the more established ethnic communities in London. That will be a very slow process no matter how liberal we pretend to be….

  17. ‘the Tories will become less and less competitive in London unless they start to attract some the ethnic minority vote from the more established ethnic communities in London. That will be a very slow process no matter how liberal we pretend to be….’

    It will be a long process but Tories don’t need to pretend to be ‘liberal’ to win such votes

    It might be a bit of a generalisation but ethnic minority voters are far more socially conservative than their white British counterparts, but are unlikely to vote Conservative because of a perception that much like the rEpuiblicans in the US it is a white pertson’s party – and who can blame them after hearing racially inflamatory comments like those made by Tory MPs like Ann Winterton, John Townend and Lawrence Robertson

    If the Tories cut that out, in the long-term they might find a bountry of votes coming their way – wothout pretending to be ‘liberal’ unless you define liberal as not being racist

    I’ve always

  18. @LBERNARD

    I agree with you that Tooting is a key London seat
    to watch at the next election. Much will depend on
    whether Labour gets its core support out again
    (quite likely IMO) and also if gentrification continues
    to make things better for the Tories though I haven’t
    seen much evidence of this in the area over the past
    year.

    I am less convinced that Eltham will be a Tory gain.
    The area is becoming more and more like the rest
    of Greenwich and nearby Lewisham. Clive Efford
    also seems to be an effective incumbent so I can’t
    really see it being gained by the Tories next time.
    Westminster North is certainly more plausible but
    as with Tooting, there is a large core vote that
    Labour can rely on and Karen Buck is again
    another well-liked incumbent. All 3 seats are
    certainly worth keeping an eye on though.

  19. Tim – I agree with what you say. The problem is that Cam and Co seem to think that being more liberal will attract such voters. Ethnic minorities are just as concerned about everything else as their white neighbours. This was something Thatcher and Major understood and they done OK with certain communities.

    AKMD – I think half of the Tories failure to gain Eltham was the candidate, he was a bad choice for the area. He’d probably go on to be a very good MP elsewhere but for this part of South East London we needed a Tory equivalent of Clive Efford, an ordinary chappy sort of person. Naturally Eltham is sliding the way all of ‘halfway London’ is sliding but for the next few years I think the Tories still have a good shot. Demograhics are starting to make London politics less interesting which is a shame.

  20. ‘The problem is that Cam and Co seem to think that being more liberal will attract such voters.’

    Do they – I haven’t heard anything remotely liberal coming from Cameron in recent months – he seems to be spending most of his time trying to convince his backbenchers that he is actually a Tory

    Even so, he doesn’t need to turn liberal to win the ethnic minority votes – but when people like Shaun Bennett come on here and say the Tories shouldn’t waste their time trying to gain the ethnic vote (the strategy that arguably lost the hapless Mitt Romney the presidential election last week), it does create an impression of the Tories as the white man’s party where non-whites aren’t welcome

    As you say Thatcher and Major did respectably amongst ethnic minoroity voters

    ‘I think half of the Tories failure to gain Eltham was the candidate, he was a bad choice for the area.’

    The Tory candidate in Eltham in 2010 was David Gold who challenged in Brighton Pavilion in 2001. He seemed like a pleasant enough chap and would probably have made a good MP although Eltham doesn’t really strike me as the sort of place where a middle class gay candidate would go down particularly well

    Surely a right winger in the David Evernett-mould – who represents the neighbouring and even more working class, Erith & Crayford – would have been a better bet for the Tories in that part of the world

  21. “Do they – I haven’t heard anything remotely liberal coming from Cameron in recent months – he seems to be spending most of his time trying to convince his backbenchers that he is actually a Tory”

    Well if he has he’s not been very successful at it.

    Meanwhile the idiot Osborne has been writing in today’s Times about the wonders of social liberalism as an election winning strategy being proven by the US elections.

    Although to my mind the demographic which is both pro tax cuts for millionaires and socially liberal doesn’t exist outside of Notting Hill.

    And certainly doesn’t include either wwc voters in northern marginals or ethnic minorities in urban marginals.

    Incidentally after the disaster of his dogs dinner budget, partly caused by his preference to going poncing around the USA rather than preparing it properly, it might have been thought that Osborne would be concentrating more on preparing his Autumn statement rather than showing his ignorance about electoral strategy.

  22. 2015:

    CON: c. 24, 100
    LAB: c. 21, 900
    LD: c. 4,000
    OTH: c. 2,000

  23. Census results, white British 2001 / 2011:

    Bedford: 64.2% / 57.4%
    Earlsfield: 67.7% / 56.2%
    Furzedown: 55.1% / 41.0%
    Graveney: 51.0% / 37.5%
    Nightingale: 68.0% / 64.1%
    Tooting: 49.1% / 32.4%
    Wandsworth Common: 75.6% / 67.7%

    TOTAL: 61.5% / 50.6%

    White overall, Tooting:
    2001: 72.7%
    2011: 65.9%

  24. Not much evidence of gentrification in the southern wards there.

    This isn’t going Conservative no matter how many resources are thrown at it.

  25. I did think this seat might be vulnerable as Labour’s lead over the Tories on the GLA vote last year was pretty narrow but it seems that Labour’s cite wards are still pretty strong. Perhaps gentrification has gone as far as it can and a Conservative gain will only occur if they win over the Muslim community in the seat? The chances of that seem pretty unlikely for now.

  26. “Not much evidence of gentrification in the southern wards there.

    This isn’t going Conservative no matter how many resources are thrown at it.”

    And yet on general election day the Tories outpolled Labour here in the local election votes (just like in Westminster North).

    It’s hard to know whether the split voting was from liberal professionals in the north or ethnic minorities in the south. And whether it was driven by the popularity of Wandsworth council or a negative vote against Mark Clarke.

    To be fair to Clarke, despite being an A-lister who was dogged by scandals, he did pretty well here in terms of increased vote share.

    A pity he didn’t get rid of Sadiq Khan, who as well as being highly dodgy has an excruciatingly irritating way of speaking.

  27. @ H Hemmelig

    Why is Sadiq Khan “highly dodgy”? I personally like the way he speaks, although must admit that on one particular Question Time, he came across as far too laid back that it got a little annoying after a while

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