Holborn & St Pancras

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12014 (21.9%)
Labour: 29062 (52.9%)
Lib Dem: 3555 (6.5%)
Green: 7013 (12.8%)
UKIP: 2740 (5%)
Others: 533 (1%)
MAJORITY: 17048 (31%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Camden council area.

Main population centres: Holborn, Camden Town, Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Highgate.

Profile: A long slim inner-city seat, stretching from the fringes of the City of London at Holborn, past the museums and university collages of Bloomsbury to St Pancras and King Cross station, still regarded as a grim red light district despite the regeneration that greeted the new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras. Northwards the seat covers the vibrant trendy areas like Camden Town with its market and music venues, the fashionable victorian terraces of Primrose Hill, the large council estates of Kentish Town and Maitland Park, Gospel Oak and the leafy affluence of Parliament Hill and Highgate. There are extremely high house prices here, but only around a quarter of the population are owner-occupiers, with most of the housing social housing or private rental.

Politics: Traditionally this has been a safe Labour seat and was retained by Labour throughout the 1980s. Almost half the housing is social housing and there is a significant Bangladeshi Muslim population. The more inner-city and southern part of the constituency is solidly Labour. The Greens have some strength in the seat and in 2015 it was contested by their party leader, Natalie Bennett

Current MP
KEIR STARMER (Labour) Born 1962, Southwark. Educated at Reigate Grammar and Leeds University. Former Director of Public Prosecutions. First elected as MP for Holborn & St Pancras in 2015. Appointed KCB in 2014 for services to law and criminal justice.
Past Results
Con: 11134 (20%)
Lab: 25198 (46%)
LDem: 15256 (28%)
GRN: 1480 (3%)
Oth: 1581 (3%)
MAJ: 9942 (18%)
Con: 6482 (19%)
Lab: 14857 (43%)
LDem: 10070 (29%)
GRN: 2798 (8%)
Oth: 152 (0%)
MAJ: 4787 (14%)
Con: 5258 (17%)
Lab: 16770 (54%)
LDem: 5595 (18%)
GRN: 1875 (6%)
Oth: 1631 (5%)
MAJ: 11175 (36%)
Con: 6804 (18%)
Lab: 24707 (65%)
LDem: 4750 (13%)
Oth: 946 (2%)
MAJ: 17903 (47%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
WILL BLAIR (Conservative) Educated at Sherborne School and Oxford University. Associate director of a PR and Communications company.
KEIR STARMER (Labour) Born 1962, Southwark. Educated at Reigate Grammar and Leeds University. Barrister and former Director of Public Prosecutions. Appointed KCB in 2014 for services to law and criminal justice.
JILL FRASER (Liberal Democrat) Born Essex. Works in a chip shop. Camden councillor 2003-2012. Contested Holborn and St Pancras 2005.
MAXINE SPENCER (UKIP) Born Hampstead. Full time carer. Contested Holborn and St Pancras 2010.
NATALIE BENNETT (Green) Born 1966, Australia. Educated at MLC School and Sydney University. Journalist. Contested Holborn and St Pancras 2010. Leader of the Green party since 2012.
DAVID O`SULLIVAN (Socialist Equality)
VANESSA HUDSON (Animal Welfare) Born Sheffield. Educated at Liverpool University. Media producer. Contested London 2014 European election.
Comments - 899 Responses on “Holborn & St Pancras”
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  1. Anyone know if Dobson is standing again?

  2. I was in London last weekend.

    I will make further comments later.

    Barnaby and JJB will perhaps find them of particular interest.

  3. Here’s the result of the Gospel Oak ward by-election last night :
    Lab 1272 (59.9; +20.8)
    Con 419 (19.7; -7.9)
    Green 134 (6.3; -5.4)
    LD 132 (6.2; -15.3)
    TUSC 109 (5.1; +5.1)
    Although a Labour hold was always certain, this result will be pleasing to the Labour Party which has done pretty well in all of the by-elections in Camden since 2010.

  4. It does rather suggest that the LibDems are not managing to hold their votes in areas where Labour are competitive or dominant, and that will affect the Tories most of all

  5. I loved the shelved boundary changes for Holborn & St Pancras, reforming it as Camden Town & Regents Park., and reducing it to a more marginal Labour seat that could fall in 2015.

    Could you imagine Camden Town having a Tory MP?

  6. It wouldn’t have fallen though. Perhaps it could have done in the future. But this area hasn’t seen quite the influx of city-type Conservatives that neighbouring Islington or even Hampstead has.

  7. Holborn is part of London that has moved to Labour.

    The Holborn constituency was held by the Conservatives in 1945, and the Holborn & St Pancras South constituency was won by the Conservatives in 1959 but then moved leftwards in 1970 and 1979.

    What happened to the Tory vote in this area?

    I assume that LCC built lots of council houses and many of the town houses became solicitors offices and university accommodation. Bloomsbury and Russell Square seem to have become settled in by Camden socialist types.

  8. The vast majority of university lecturers would have voted Conservative before the 1960s.

  9. This is evident in the former University constituencies abolished in 1950.
    Scottish Universities was strongly Tory until its abolition. The 1945 – 1950 Labour goverment got rid of them because they regarded them as unfair…but ironically the may have benefitted Labour in the longer term…though they may have gone Lib Dem in 2005.

  10. Peter – don’t forget the old business vote. That would have been a major reason for the Conservative hold of Holborn in 1945 – the same for Glasgow Central. That year, the Tories held Holborn (in the shape of the Beaverbrook heir Max Aitken) by 925 votes, but the business electorate was 2,093. These votes would overwhelmingly have gone to the Conservatives. But it is true that postwar there has been quite a lot of council flats built within what would have been the boundaries of the former Holborn seat.

  11. I think the Lib Dems have done themselves no favours here. If the Greens make a strong local campaign, perhaps centred around hosting the Leader like Caroline Lucas did, then maybe the Lib Dem vote will decrease even more. Maybe, might be being a bit generous here, the Labour vote could be pinched by 5% points or so as a result. Anyway my ‘normal voting day’ vote share would be as follows:
    LAB 49
    LD 15
    CON 14
    GRN 10
    UKIP 9
    OTH 3

  12. A completely nonsense prediction. When’s the last time you visited Camden? Do you seriously think UKIP could get 9% of the vote in such a trendy, multi-ethnic seat as this? They will be very lucky to get 0.9%.

    Greens will be very lucky to stay at their 2010 level of 3%. Their local support in Camden largely goes to Labour in general elections.

    The Tories have a good chance of coming second and of keeping their share above 20%.

  13. I agree with WINDSOFCHANGE here. There are many ethnic minority UKIP members, and not everyone living here is a middle class cannabis-smoking marxist intellectual who plays the digeridoo; so UKIP will get some votes.

    The Greens could take second though with a slick campaign that appeals to the above demographic, i.e. those featured in Private Eye’s ‘Its Grim up North London’.

  14. Hello sock puppet

  15. H Hemmelig, just because I didn’t have a high Tory share doesn’t mean you can attack me 🙂 I believe the liberal views of many constituents will be enough to result in the vote shares I predicted and mean a shift away from the Tories- this is not Islington! While Tory support generally declines, I am certain that a fair amount of people in particular C2/DE voters will switch directly to UKIP.

  16. The Greens will need more than ‘a slick campaign’ from a starting position of 3% and with 1 councillor in Camden.

  17. “While Tory support generally declines, I am certain that a fair amount of people in particular C2/DE voters will switch directly to UKIP.”

    But the Tory voters here aren’t C2/DE. They are rich bankers.

  18. Tory- if the Greens focus on having Natalie Bennett (the Green Leader) as candidate, their vote share will be boosted by around 5%, particularly as it gives the impression of a very competent candidate due to what I call the ‘Caroline Lucas effect’. Plus going from an average 1.6% vote share in London to 3% in the polls now- which I reckon will increase a bit more before 2015-will make up for those last 2% points- or probably surpass it.

    In figures: starting vote share 2.7% with 1.6% generally in London. Polling 3% currently means 5% is a fair starting point. Add on the 5% I explained above and that’s 10%. Plus add in a few more protest votes and left-wingers who feel they have nowhere to go after the Lib Dems’ performance and that could yield another 5%. So I really don’t think 10% is exaggerated at all.

  19. I don’t think its infeasible for the Greens to increase support here – presumably they see some potential or Natalie Bennett wouldn’t be standing here. Obviously second place is extremely unlikely and as HH says UKIP won’t do well here at all, but if the Greens are putting the leader here, some resources and effort will follow, so I’d expect the Greens to at least increase their support.

  20. Oh, actually I misread Pablo’s comment upthread – he only said Bennett had hinted, rather than confirmed.

    Imagine all my comment was in the conditional tense!

  21. They (Green) could still sneak into second Anthony, if the CON and LD shares fall enough.

    HH, there are many ‘rich bankers’ here; but there are a lot of C2DE voters, some of whom could go to UKIP.

  22. H Hemmelig:
    You yourself talk about it being such a ‘multi-ethnic’ area. It is those pockets which don’t tend to be middle or upper class which will give UKIP some support, but as you can see I don’t see them breaking 10%.

  23. Just because someone belongs to an ethnic minority, that doesn’t mean they won’t vote Tory or will always vote Labour- look at Essex.

  24. @111:
    I would agree- I’ve got a feeling that we may have a shock here just like in Brighton Pavilion in the early 2000s, laying the foundations for them to fly to the top like in 2010.

  25. windsofchange:

    The problem with your prediction this time is putting UKIP on 9% which is extremely unlikely in territory of this sort.

  26. Windsofchange – well, obviously it doesn’t always work at an individual level (there are plenty of ethnic minority Tory voters out there), but statistically being a member of an ethnic minority is pretty much the strongest predictor of not voting Tory there is.

  27. Ok then, bear in mind I am trying to learn, I will say the UKIP vote is somewhere below 10%, which is what I was trying to indicate- I have no idea where though haha

  28. Didgeridoo players aren’t Marxist intellectuals. They are rich kids who’ve been to Australia in their gap years & think they’re being rather right-on but are basically rather apolitical. Marxist intellectuals play in gamelan orchestras if they are musical, unless they’re me, in which case they compose, sing in a choir & play the piano. Neo-fascists from Eastern Europe of course play the accordion.

  29. You’re Marxist and support Labour?

  30. The exact quote from the interview:

    Will you try to join her [Caroline Lucas] in Parliament at the next election?

    It’s likely I will be running in Holborn and St Pancras.

    Now she has run there before but if the strategy is for her to actually win a seat I wouldn’t rule out her contesting a somewhere with higher support like Bristol or Norwich.

  31. Frank Dobson will be retiring. There is clearly a large “trendy” element in this seat, as demonstrated by the high Liberal votes over the last 3 elections. I agree, that odd although it might be objectively, Conservative voters might vote Green to keep Labour out. This seat (where I used to live) is about the worst prospect for UKIP in England. It has some social characteristics in common with Brighton, although the ethnic minority vote is higher.

    All in all I reckon this is probably the third best Green prospect after Norwich South and Hove, ahead of Kemptown, Lancaster & Cambridge.

    PS: I recommend you correlate the Green vote with the percentage of people stating they have no religion in the 2011 census.

  32. @JohnChanin
    If that is the case and the Greens come second here, do you think 23% is a reasonable estimate?

  33. Perhaps vote share could be:
    LAB 51
    LD 17
    CON 15
    GRN 14
    OTH 3

  34. I would be surprised if the greens held their deposit, that party isnt exactly on an upwards curve.

  35. I don’t know Joe R, Pavilion was a shock for many throughout the 2000s and especially in 2010.

  36. That aside (admittedly a big deal for a small party) the green party is going backwards elsewhere in most places.

  37. what a relief they’re crazy

  38. The Greens may be going backwards in some places, but that’s mostly due to UKIP nicking the protest votes and Labour picking back up from the last election. In actual fact, we are polling around 2.5% on average whereas at the 2010 GE our average was 1.0%. Plus as was stated somewhere else, the 16-24ish age range has been consistently been polling above 5% for the Greens, with some polls even indicating up to 9%. If we could get this age range and the 25-35 ish age range out voting and convince them it’s not more of the same; then I don’t see why we couldn’t hold our deposits in many more places in 2015. Maybe doing this, especially with taking protest votes from the BNP like in Nuneaton and former LD voters/lefty Labour supporters, we could achieve scores of around 10% or higher maybe even achieving a few 2nd/3rd places or even winning the odd new constituency in 2015.

  39. Anyone know if Dobson is standing again here in 2015? I like him but surely he’ll be thinking of retiring soon?

  40. LAB HOLD MAJ: 30.3%
    LAB 50
    LD 20
    CON 18
    GRN 7
    UKIP 5

  41. In answer to your question upthread, WindsofChange, yes.

  42. Mr Marder, why oh why are you in a right-leaning party? Maybe you should re-consider which camp best matches your ideals at this very moment in time i.e. not Labour! 😉

  43. My forecast for 2015

    Lab 53
    Con 18
    LD 15
    Green 9
    Others 5

    Well I came back from London yesterday and I found the Japanese stuff at the British Museum very interesting.

    I will also say that I have never really deliberately set out to mislead anyone on here as to how and why I think certain future electoral outcomes will happen.

    I also see today’s Sunday Times is trying to draw a link between the ‘Slaves suspect’ and a ‘Marxist group’.

  44. Was that the Shunga (Japanese erotic art) exhibition by any chance? I read about it a couple of months ago.

  45. You will probably be about right with that prediction, A Brown, at least if Frank Dobson stands again (some have said he will retire, but he has not officially confirmed that yet even though he will be 75 years of age come the 2015 general election). Natalie has a reasonably good personal vote as past local elections in Camden show, but sadly for me (a Green who admires her) it will not be enough for her to come close to winning this seat…

  46. The borough of Holborn IMHO should have gone into Westminster rather than Camden.

  47. News item about two explosions in Central London in April 1993- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPfTdW7hFss
    (Note the unusual backdrop on the news report)

  48. Camden local elections:

    9 of 18 wards have the same line-up: 3 Con, 3 Lab, 3 LD, 3 Green.

    UKIP are contesting Bloomsbury, Gospel Oak, Haverstock, Kentish Town, Regent’s Park, West Hampstead.

  49. I think that’s a pretty good list of about the worst places for them!

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