2015 Result:
Conservative: 15700 (36.4%)
Labour: 18393 (42.6%)
Lib Dem: 1308 (3%)
Green: 1275 (3%)
UKIP: 6481 (15%)
MAJORITY: 2693 (6.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Greenwich council area.

Main population centres: Eltham, Kidbroke, New Eltham.

Profile: A south-east London seat in the borough of Greenwich. Parts of the seat like New Eltham are largely suburban commuterland with more in common with areas like Bexley. There is also a large amount of open green space here, such as Oxleas Wood, Shooters Hill and Avery Hill park, now a campus for the University of Greenwich. The suburban parts of the constituency though are balanced out by the large proportion of council estates such as Middle Park, Page, Horn Park and Coldharbour.

Politics: Eltham is the more Conservative part of Greenwich - in fact it was a Tory seat from 1975 when Peter Bottomley won a by-election in the then Woolwich West until 1997. Like much of London it has moved towards Labour in the intervening years, to the point that it can still be held by Labour in an election like 2010, one of their worst ever results.

Current MP
CLIVE EFFORD (Labour) Born 1958, London. Educated at Walworth Comprehensive. Former London taxi driver. Greenwich councillor 1986-1998. Contested Eltham 1992. First elected as MP for Eltham in 1997.
Past Results
Con: 15753 (38%)
Lab: 17416 (42%)
LDem: 5299 (13%)
BNP: 1745 (4%)
Oth: 1751 (4%)
MAJ: 1663 (4%)
Con: 12105 (34%)
Lab: 15381 (44%)
LDem: 5669 (16%)
UKIP: 1024 (3%)
Oth: 1126 (3%)
MAJ: 3276 (9%)
Con: 10859 (32%)
Lab: 17855 (53%)
LDem: 4121 (12%)
GRN: 706 (2%)
Oth: 251 (1%)
MAJ: 6996 (21%)
Con: 13528 (31%)
Lab: 23710 (55%)
LDem: 3701 (9%)
Oth: 1075 (2%)
MAJ: 10182 (23%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
SPENCER DRURY (Conservative) Born 1969, Woolwich. Educated at Colfes. Teacher. Greenwich councillor since 2002. Contested Eltham 2005, Greenwich and Woolwich 2010.
CLIVE EFFORD (Labour) See above.
ALEX CUNLIFFE (Liberal Democrat) Contested Erith and Thamesmead 2010.
JAMES PARKER (Green) Policy advisor.
Comments - 130 Responses on “Eltham”
  1. Judging by the exit poll, Labour may be in trouble here.

  2. Exit poll has this as a Labour hold, Tories will get a majority if they win here which they wont.

  3. Efford increased his majority to 2,693. The result was never in doubt, but expected a slightly bigger majority.

  4. ”Efford increased his majority to 2,693. The result was never in doubt, but expected a slightly bigger majority.”

    I know this seat well. Read my post on the other page. Lots of aspirational voters who are staunch Tories in this seat so Labour majority will never be huge despite Efford being an excellent MP.

  5. Here’s the breakdown of results:

    LAB 42.6
    CON 36.4
    UKIP 15.0
    LD 3.0
    GRN 3.0

    A decent little increase for Efford. A reasonably good showing by UKIP. Where in the seat would they have potential?

  6. This was not a good result for Efford. He would have expected north of 5000 but arrogance, complacency and laziness meant he has been all but invisible except the last few weeks. Tired leaflets and invites to coffee mornings are a sign he takes this for granted. As said previously there are plenty of aspirational voters here, they just need an energetic tory to show them the way. Worth also noting that without UKIP this sou;don’t be a Labour seat this time round.

  7. ”This was not a good result for Efford. He would have expected north of 5000 but arrogance, complacency and laziness meant he has been all but invisible except the last few weeks. ”

    View from London – As I’ve said in this thread, I know this seat very well. I don’t agree with your comments about Efford as he’s a very hard-working MP.

    Thanks for mentioning the points I made about aspirational voters earlier in this thread. As I keep on mentioning, this isn’t a typical rundown/urban/gritty south London seat. I have a feeling Labour could lose this in 2020 if Johnson is PM once Cameron stands down.

  8. If you think Johnson has any chance of succeeding Cameron you need your head examined.

    Being a serial adulterer who pressured his mistress into having an abortion doesn’t bother most party members in London but the fusty blue rinses in the countryside are a different matter entirely.

    Plus Johnson needs to rely on MPs to get him into the membership ballot…very difficult as he’s not that popular in the commons.

  9. Of course you said anyone predicting a Tory election win needed their head examined as well, or words to that effect.

  10. OK…fancy a bet on Boris not becoming next Tory leader?

    After my defeated general election bets I’m feeling lucky!

  11. H. Hemmelig – Tory MP’s and in particular Tory members (who in the main adore Johnson) won’t give two hoots about his personal misdemeanours. Johnson is Teflon-coated. Look at all the gaffs he made. Most politicians would have been out of office by now but Johnson surprisingly manages to benefit from his gaffs. Tory MP’s and members want to stay in office at any cost and will choose the most likely person to win in 2020. That person is Johnson.

    Are you honestly suggesting Tory MP’s and or members will choose Osborne or May and risk the chance of not winning the 2020 GE on the basis of Johnson’s personal life most of which the electorate either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about?

  12. Well Runnymede?

    Don’t tell me you actually agree with me but were just trying to be snide….whoever would have thought it

  13. Christian

    The next leader of the Tory party is almost never seen coming and this time will probably be no exception….by 2020 Osborne, May and Johnson could well all be has-beens and the successor will be someone entirely out of left field.

    Johnson’s slim chance disappeared when Cameron won a majority.

  14. LOL

  15. Khan: 8877 (39.10%)
    Goldsmith: 8369 (36.86%)

    (Excluding postals)

    Not a good result for Khan. Labour did well here in the 2014 locals but Clive Efford’s majority didn’t increase that much last year. Added about a thousand extra votes to it.

    It’s been discussed in previous years on here that the seat seems to be getting better for Labour (and the last set of local elections suggested that was the case, though the Tories were harmed by a big UKIP vote). Did the local results from 2 years ago mask certain factors that suggest that Tories could still make a play for this in 2020?

  16. @Neil

    I know this seat very well. It isn’t a typical South London multicultural seat à la Camberwell and Peckham or Old Southwark and Bermondsey. It has more in common with the neighbouring safe Tory seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup than its neighbouring South London constituencies. In the whole, it’s suburban and leafy and even has mansions worth approximately £3 million in one or two streets. The Eltham seat has a high number of white British-born residents in comparison to other ‘inner’ London seats. I was shocked when the Tories didn’t win here in the General Elections of 2010 and 2015! However, Efford’s a very hard-working and popular MP and has a huge personal vote so I think that’s what saved Labour here in those aforementioned elections where the party performed very badly nationally. Without Efford standing here in future General Elections, Labour will be toast! However, the party could still be in trouble here in 2020 because this seat isn’t Corbyn territory.

  17. By London standards Eltham is still relatively white working class in the more downmarket parts, which combined with some solid Tory wards may make it vulnerable if Corbyn is leading Labour. There is also a relatively high UKIP vote to potentially squeeze.

    However, the 2013 boundary changes added Charlton and Woolwich Riverside – both safe Labour wards – and if that was repeated there is virtually no chance of a Tory gain, however badly Labour do at the election.

  18. Yes its an even worse result for Khan if you reallocate the postal votes here (method explained on the Battersea thread). The new results are:

    Goldsmith: 11,260
    Kahn: 10,754

    Goldsmith win by: 506 votes

    Indicating that Goldsmith probably was ahead in the Eltham constituency unless in the very unlikely event that Goldsmith did extremely well with the postal votes in Greenwich and Woolwich and did very poorly here and vice versa for Khan.

  19. I haven’t calculated them all yet (I’m only doing marginals though). But my guess is that when all the postal votes are taken into account all Tory Westminster seats + Carshalton and Wallington + a couple of Labour seats (probably Harrow West, Eltham).

    When you look at the results in depth they are pretty good for the Tory’s at least as far as Westminster constituencies go.

  20. Might you do Dagenham and Rainham, which looks tight without doing the maths?

  21. Well just done Harrow West and its come out as:

    Khan: 14,585
    Goldsmith: 14,436

    Khan win by: 149 votes

    So essentially its more likely than not Khan won it but its close enough that it could have gone to Goldsmith. We can’t ever be totally sure though as we don’t know exactly how the postal votes broke down (I am just estimating based on the same day vote by ward).

  22. @Jack Sheldon.

    Dagenham and Rainham: (Though I would note this is only first preference votes, Kahn did do a bit better if you take into account second preferences).

    Kahn; 9,694
    Goldsmith: 8,981

    Kahn win by: 713 votes

    When you start to unpick it Khan’s performance in a lot of margin/ semi-marginal areas was actually rather poor. If labour performed at this level in London in 2020 they probably wouldn’t take any Tory held seats and may well be at risk of losing one or two themselves.

  23. The first preference result was very similar to 2015 so if some areas were better for Labour than last year some areas obviously had to have been better for the Tories.

  24. It seems as though the Tory campaign was somewhat succesful on suburban White British voters.

  25. The Assembly results here were much better for Labour/worse for Conservatives.

    Not including postal votes

    Conservative – 6406 (27.82%)
    Labour – 8500 (36.92%)

    Conservative – 6520 (28.25%)
    Labour – 9779 (42.37%)

  26. Hmmm so maybe Khan was seen as mediocre by much of Eltham, given that the Assembly scores were significantly better for Labour. Reckon there was any split ticket voting between the mayoral and Assembly contests?

  27. Eltham voted for leave while Greenwich and Woolwich was heavily remain:

    Remain:22,828 (48.2%)
    Leave:24,548 (51.8%)

    Greenwich and Woolwich:
    Remain:32,806 (64.3%)
    Leave:18,187 (35.7%)

    The remaining three wards (Thamesmead Moorings, Abbey Wood and Plumstead) together delivered a margin for remain of 232 votes which given how Bexley voted (and the likely leave margins out of wards like Lesnes Abbey, Northumberland Heath, Erith, Belvedere probably suggests that leave won Erith and Thamesmead too.

    Every ward in Greenwich and Woolwich voted remain.
    In Eltham leave did better in Eltham proper than in the rest of the seat winning Eltham South, Eltham North, Eltham West, Coldharbour and New Eltham (the other three wards went remain). In Erith and Thamesmead, Thamesmead Moorings went for remain whilst Abbey Wood and Plumstead went for leave.

  28. Newham was better if you count it as inner.

  29. Newham council itself now claims it’s outer London again. We(I live there) were in Outer London then there was a campaign by the council to move into inner London but now there are posters declaring Newham having the lowest council tax in outer London. Personally we more inner London than outer London.


    Those figures are derived by summing the ward totals. All those ward counts include an allocation of postal votes that are boroughwide, in some cases this is over 30% of total vote so it only gives an indication.



    You have misread the 2nd preference figures. For example, Sian Berry polled 150,673 votes on 1st prefs – it is therefore impossible for her combined second preferences to be 250,000 over her actual 1st pref vote! The figures quoted are the 2nd prefs of Sadiq and Zac voters for the Greens.

    Actual 2nd prefs for the Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP were as follows:

    Lib Dem

    Khan – 36771 (60.7%)
    Goldsmith – 23704 (39.3%)


    Khan – 71027 (83.1%)
    Goldsmith – 14496 (16.9%)


    Khan – 5969 (19.7%)
    Goldsmith – 24386 (80.3%)

    Total 2nd Prefs

    Khan – 161427 (65.5%)
    Goldsmith – 84859 (34.5%)


  31. Cons did indeed win this but lost with a heavy swing against them in Queenstown ward, Wandsworth, which was also very marginal in 2014.

  32. Eltham North

    Con 1335
    Lab 1279

  33. or 1297 for Lab.

  34. People forget that yes Battersea has gentrified heavily parts of it are still absolute shitholes. Inner/Outer London is a good debate, I would say Merton and Brent are more inner London in character. Croydon you would have to class as outer despite inner characteristics in parts because it borders Surrey. Epsom and Ewell perhaps more outer SW London in character than like East Surrey, it has surprisingly less %white British than Bexley and Havering.

  35. It wasn’t a Labour gain from Con (split ward) the winner was replacing a Labour councillor who had died.

  36. The trend since 2015 has not been great for the Tories in various electoral events in Wandsworth. It was, of course, very pro-Remain which may not help going forward.

  37. Yes very true about those seats, Merton as a borough doesn’t feel like outer London at all. Wimbledon has always had an inner London feel but in a Hampstead way. Mitcham and Morden was more of a Barking and Dagenham of the South in the old days. Nowadays Mitcham resembles Lambeth and Morden resembles the southern parts of Lewisham and Greenwich.

  38. What is it with some people on this site and selective reporting? If your going to quote local by-election results quote all of them held on the night not just the one that makes your party look good (and that applies to people of all political persuasions)

    As it is I’m pleasantly surprised with the Queenstown result and not very surprised with Eltham North. I’ll no doubt once again be accused of being an apologist for this but both are really Tory wards in that the Tories carried them in 2014 but they were sufficiently close that Lab also won councillors (three member wards after all) but its the Lab councillors vacancies that triggered the by-elections thus when it comes down to first pretences alone essentially both are Tory defences rather than Lab defences since they came first amongst the same electorate in 2014.

  39. @Rivers10

    I think you’ll find I quoted both. For completeness there was also a Labour hold (on a reduced vote, mainly due to an indy coming second) in Hitchin Oughton, North Hertfordshire and a Tory hold with 66% of the vote in Southwater, Horsham.

    On Wandsworth I agree Corbyn isn’t likely to be popular there (though you could say that about almost anywhere bar the Brighton Pavilions and Bristol Wests of this world). But moderate Labour seem very active in the borough and have Khan as a high profile figurehead. The proposed boundary changes cut Jane Ellison’s majority in Battersea to about 5,500 – whilst that should be safe enough in the current climate it is just conceivable that Labour could mount a challenge in an election where Brexit was a significant consideration. Remember that on Chris Hanretty’s latest estimates Battersea was the 9th most Remain seat in the country and the most Remain Tory seat in the country (the next most Remain Tory seat was Putney, followed by Wimbledon and Richmond Park).

  40. Can’t follow that last bit and doubt it’s to do with Khan, this is a ward in the north of Battersea constituency, not even adjacent to Tooting.

  41. Xed I meant Rivers’ bit.

  42. Not sure that Khan is that high profile in the whole of the borough. In fact his own former seat is very polarised, hence low swings.
    Worth pointing out that Jane Ellison herself was very pro-remain.

  43. Pro remain Con-Lab ward battles to watch in 2018


    St Mary’s Park


    Wimbledon Park – doubt Labour will pick this one up?
    Merton Park (would be marginal in a Con Lab battle) – demographically edging Labour in the Morden part of seat but the Residents should easily hold it.


    Ashburton – Lab gained for first time in 2014 can they hold?
    Fairfield – Pro remain area and town centre ward
    Croham – A lot said about this ward trending, the well off bits of the ward should still see a Con Hold

  44. Jack
    I wasn’t accusing you of being selective, as you rightly point out you mentioned the other results.

  45. Sbjme19
    Re you not understanding my last bit I’ll try and explain again.
    The two London wards were last contested in 2014 and London rather than electing in cycles like most parts of the UK elect everything in one go thus on election night each (or rather most) wards have three councillors up for election and voters have to elect all three and parties obviously put up full slates to try and win all three in each ward.

    The exact way the votes fall is complicated (a lot of split ticket voting, etc) but for the most part really close wards tend to elect a mix of councillors. That’s what happened in Queenstown and Eltham North.

    This resulted in two Tory councillors and one Labour.

    Eltham North
    This resulted in one Tory and two Labour (weird that Lab won more councillors here than the Tories I know as I said its complicated)

    In both cases the Tories beat Lab though in the popular vote and thus they are both in the traditional sense Tory held wards yet both by elections were caused by vacancies of elected Labour councillors thus resulting in them being deemed a Lab defence in a ward that the Tories actually beat Labour in last time. Thus even if the votes fell exactly as they did in 2014 rather than resulting in a elected Labour councillor as it did in 2014 it would result in an elected Tory councillor. Slightly bizarre but hope that makes sense.

  46. HH – wasn’t Eltham the Con Assoc where they were all gay?

    I thought they’d look more like something out of Suits or Wall Street if any hair gel was used? lol

    Not that British gay politicians tend to live up to the ‘good looking gay’ stereotype (Rev Flowers, Nick Brown, Crispin Blunt, Iain Stewart, Mandy, Cyril Smith etc)

  47. Lib Dems got over 1,000 votes in 2015 so that’s a firm base to build on, with suspendors momentum.

    Sorry for the late post, good increase in the byelection. I was calling out desperately for paper but nobody helped.

  48. Eltham North in 2014

    Con 1975
    Lab 1946
    Lab 1942
    Con 1823
    Lab 1556
    Con 1519 (is this one HH’s acquaintance?)

    Con and Lab first 2 candidates were or or less at the same level. The third candidates for both parties were way behind.

    UKIP fielded only one candidate getting 1221 votes, possibly taking votes from both parties.

    In yesterday’s by-election Labour had again the candidate who polled less than his colleagues in 2014. The Conservatives had a new candidate.
    The result has been:

    Con 1335
    Lab 1297
    (LD 279 UKIP 160 Greens 110)

  49. Lancs

    Former cllr here Nigel Fletcher, to whom I was referring, is indeed very gay, as is a large proportion of the local association so I’m led to believe. Perhaps it does have some impact on the Tory vote as the population here is quite WWC and rough round the edges. The Tories do seem to underperform in Eltham.

  50. ‘Wasn’t Eltham the Con Assoc where they were all gay?’

    If that’s the case it certainly explains the canditature of David Gold in 2010 – a likeable but unremarkable mainstream Tory who had tried but failed in considerably more gay-friendly seats than this one

    Even the parts of the seat that are more suburban – like New Eltham – are quite noticeably wwc and even though its in London with an increasing ethnic minority vote, this is a seat you might have thought the Tories would have fared better and I’d imagine it will be one of their target seats the next time the country goes to the polls

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