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GLA Constituency Profiles (8 February 2008)

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GLA Constituency Profiles (8 February 2008)

Posted on 08 February 2008 by admin

Barnet and Camden

Held by: Conservatives

The Barnet and Camden constituency stretches from the very centre of London around Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Holborn all the way out to the rural fringes of Arkley and Chipping Barnet. Most GLA constituencies are large and diverse, but Barnet and Camden is perhaps more so than any. Labour’s core areas in past elections have been the urban wards along the east of Camden, from Highgate down to Covent Garden, while the Conservatives are dominant in the suburbs of Chipping Barnet and Edgware. However, there are Labour votes to be found in Finchley and Hendon, and Conservative ones in Hampstead. The Lib Dems have areas of local strength in West Hampstead in particular, and must be hoping that they can improve their showing after good local elections for them in Camden in 2006.

In the two GLA elections so far, the Conservatives have come out on top here. This is partly because suburban Barnet is so much larger than inner-city Camden and turnout there a bit higher, making up 64% of the constituency’s votes in 2004. It is competitive, however, as Labour had a 40% to 35% lead in the 2005 general election.

The constituency is a closely fought marginal and perhaps the seat Labour would most like to see change hands. Since his election in 2000, Brian Coleman has been an outspoken and controversial incumbent, coming into frequent conflict with Ken Livingstone and also attracting some notice for the size of his taxi expenses claims. Labour’s Nicky Gavron, currently deputy mayor, is giving up a list seat on the assembly to fight the constituency. Both the Labour and the Conservative campaigns are well financed and organised. The contest for Barnet and Camden will be the one to watch when the GLA election results are declared, and is probably second in interest only to the mayoral contest itself.

Results

2004 election
Con – 47,640 – 35.3%
Lab – 36,121 – 26.7%
LD – 23,603 – 17.5%
Green – 11,921 – 8.8%
Ukip – 8,685 – 6.4%
Respect – 5,150 – 3.8%
CPA – 1,914 – 1.4%
Turnout – 38.4%

2000 election
Con – 41,583 – 32.9%
Lab – 41,032 – 32.5%
LD – 22,295 – 17.6%
Green – 14,768 – 11.7%
Ukip – 2,115 – 1.7%
Respect – 3,488 – 2.8%
Other – 1,081 – 0.9%
Turnout – 37.5%

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Bexley and Bromley

Held by: Conservatives

Bexley and Bromley is the safest Conservative seat on the London assembly. It comprises two suburban boroughs in the south-east of the capital, many of whose inhabitants would regard themselves as being in Kent rather than London. The only substantial Labour area is the Thames estuary frontage around Thamesmead and Erith in the north of Bexley. The Liberal Democrats are strongest around Orpington, and there is a non-Tory element at Crystal Palace and Penge, but on the whole this is deeply Conservative suburban territory. In the 2006 council elections the Tories won landslide victories in both boroughs, ending a surprising four years of Labour control in Bexley.

While Ukip did exceptionally well in 2004 when the London and European elections were held at the same time, they can expect their vote to fall back in 2008, and the Lib Dems will hope that their strong showing in the Bromley and Chislehurst byelection in 2006 will boost them into second place. That byelection saw the incumbent Conservative assembly member, Bob Neill, gain another public appointment, as MP, but he decided to serve out his term as an assembly member. James Cleverly, who fought the Lewisham East seat for the Conservatives in 2005, and the Lewisham mayoral election in 2006, is on an easier wicket here. Cleverly made the “a-list” of parliamentary candidates and is well-regarded among his young London Conservative colleagues. He will hope to make a mark early in his term on the assembly.

Results

2004 election
Con – 64,246 – 40.4%
Lab – 24,848 – 15.6%
LD – 29,992 – 18.9%
Green – 8,069 – 5.1%
Ukip – 26,703 – 16.8%
Respect – 1,673 – 1.1%
CPA – 3,397 – 2.1%
Turnout – 41.5%

2000 election
Con – 64,879 – 47.2%
Lab – 30,320 – 22.1%
LD – 29,710 – 21.6%
Green – 11,124 – 8.1%
*Respect – 1,403 – 1%
Turnout – 37.9%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Brent and Harrow

Held by: Conservatives

Brent and Harrow was the only assembly constituency seat that changed hands at the last election in 2004, when the former Conservative leader of Brent council, Robert Blackman, defeated Labour’s Toby Harris. The result was a blow for Labour, as Harris was one of the party’s senior GLA members (and the first person to be declared a member of the authority back in 2000).

It was also somewhat surprising as Labour has all but one parliamentary seat in the area and the one exception, Brent East, was lost to the LibDems in a by-election in 2003.

Even in 2004, Labour led in nearly all of Brent South and Brent East, with a significant outpost around central Harrow. The suburbs of Brent North and the north side of Harrow were all Conservative.

Differential turnout was a strong influence on the result in 2004, with Harrow, despite having a smaller electorate, casting 52% of the votes in the constituency.

In the 2005 general election, Labour had a massive lead in this constituency, outpolling the Conservatives 47% to 29%.

But the local government results in the area in 2006 were bleak for Labour, with a Conservative majority running Harrow and a Conservative-Lib Dem alliance in charge in Brent, leaving Labour candidate Shafi Khan with a lot of work to do to overhaul the Conservatives’ initial advantage.

Results

2004 election
Con – 39,900 - 34.0%
Lab – 35,214 – 30.0%
LD – 20,782 – 17.7%
Green – 6,975 – 5.9%
Ukip – 7,199 – 6.1%
Respect – 4,586 – 3.9%
CPA – 2,734 – 2.3%
Turnout – 38.0%

2000 election
Con – 32,295 – 33.1%
Lab – 36,675 – 37.6%
LD – 17,161 – 17.6%
Green – 8,756 – 9.0%
*Respect – 2,546 – 2.6%
Turnout – 33.2%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

City and East

Held by: Labour

The City and East constituency is another radial slice of London, starting near the centre at Fleet Street but stretching out as far as Chadwell Heath in the north of Dagenham. In parliamentary terms, the City of London is paired with parts of Westminster, but for the GLA its representation is shared with the boroughs to the east. Its immediate neighbour is Tower Hamlets, which combines a heavily Bangladeshi area, the traditional East End and the new developments in Docklands. The borough of Newham, around Stratford, West Ham and East Ham, is working class with a high proportion of ethnic minority residents (both black and Asian) and it is also the centre of the London Olympics development.

Barking and Dagenham, the easternmost borough and as much Essex as London in some respects, is mainly white and working class but parts around Barking are changing as multi-ethnic London ripples outwards.

City and East is not as monolithically Labour as it might superficially appear, as shown by the very low winning share of the vote for John Biggs in 2004. However, Labour’s position is bolstered by the chronic divisions in the opposition forces. There was a four-way pile-up between Conservatives, Lib Dems, Ukip and Respect for second in 2004. The Conservatives polled quite well in Tower Hamlets (coming astonishingly close to being the largest party, running only 35 votes behind Labour) and among the few voters who live in the City. Respect did well in Tower Hamlets and Newham, while Ukip came a close second in Barking & Dagenham and the Lib Dems had some votes everywhere.

Labour will no doubt be hoping that some of the Muslim voters in Tower Hamlets and Newham who defected from the party in 2004 will return this time, and that hope will be encouraged by the split in Respect. It seems likely that the BNP will contest the constituency seat, emboldened by its election successes in Barking and Dagenham in 2006, and probably sweep up a lot of the former Ukip vote.

Labour led with 46% in 2005, with Respect and the Conservatives tied for second on 17%. While a Labour hold is the likeliest outcome in City & East in 2008, it remains a volatile and complicated constituency.

Results

2004 election
Con – 23,749 -18.1%
Lab – 38,085 – 29.1%
LD – 18,255 -13.9%
Green – 8,687 – 6.6%
Ukip – 17,997 – 13.7%
Respect – 19,675 – 15%
CPA – 4,461 – 3.4%
Turnout – 33.4%

2000 election
Con – 19,266 – 19.5%
Lab – 45,387 – 45.9%
LD – 18,300 – 18.5%
Green – 11,939 – 12.1%
*Respect – 3,908 – 4.0%
Turnout – 29.4%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Croydon and Sutton

Held by: Conservatives

Croydon and Sutton is a safe Conservative seat on the London assembly, not so much because it is overwhelmingly Tory but because the party is strong in both suburban boroughs.

Croydon is a battle between Labour and the Conservatives, with Labour dominant in the ethnically diverse wards in the north of the borough and the Tories enjoying popularity in the suburban south around Purley. The Lib Dems hardly figure. But Sutton is a two-party battle between the Lib Dems and Conservatives, with Labour nowhere. The north tends to vote Lib Dem, and the south Conservative.

Because of the near-impossibility of getting Sutton to vote Labour, or north Croydon to vote Lib Dem, the Conservatives win almost by default by having a reasonably strong vote in most areas of the constituency. Even at the 2005 election, they lead the combined seats with 39% to 30% for Labour and 28% for the Lib Dems. Tory chances are enhanced by good results in the 2006 borough elections, winning control of Croydon and narrowing the Lib Dem majority in Sutton.

The incumbent Conservative, Andrew Pelling, is standing down, having been elected MP for Croydon Central in 2005 – although he is also standing down from Westminster. Pelling’s successor, Steve O’Connell, has been deputy leader of Croydon council since 2006.

Results

2004 election
Con – 52,330 – 38.6%
Lab – 25,861 – 19.1%
LD – 28,636 -21.1%
Green – 6,175 – 4.6%
Ukip – 15,203 – 11.2%
Respect – 3,108 – 2.3%
CPA – 4,234 – 3.1%
Turnout – 37.8%

2000 election
Con – 48,421 – 40.6%
Lab – 29,514 – 24.7%
LD – 30,614 – 25.7%
Green – 8,884 – 7.4%
*Respect – 1,823 – 1.5%
Turnout – 35.5%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Ealing and Hillingdon

Held by: Conservatives

The Ealing and Hillingdon constituency covers most of suburban west London, stretching from Acton all the way out to Heathrow, Uxbridge and Northwood. When this assembly constituency was created in 2000, Labour was widely expected to win, but both elections so far have taken place at a relatively poor time for the party, and the Conservative candidate Richard Barnes has prevailed twice by relatively substantial majorities.

In 2004 the Conservatives outpolled Labour across most of the constituency, winning every single ward in two of the parliamentary constituencies (Uxbridge and Ruislip Northwood) that make up Hillingdon, and polling well in Acton. Labour was reduced to its core strongholds in Southall and Hayes, despite the Ealing North seat being won by Labour with a sizeable Westminster majority. The Liberal Democrats are not expected to make up too much ground in the area.

The chances of Labour unseating Richard Barnes in 2008 look remote at best. The borough elections in 2006 saw the Conservatives gaining strongly in both Ealing and Hillingdon. While their win in Hillingdon was expected, their triumph in Ealing was a surprise to most observers. The controversial proposal for a tram along the Uxbridge Road from Shepherd’s Bush to Ealing, a London-wide matter discussed in the Assembly, is thought to have harmed Labour in the borough elections and this factor could linger in 2008.

Results

2004 election
Con – 45,230 – 32.4%
Lab – 34,214 – 24.5%
LD – 23,440 – 16.8%
Green – 9,395 – 6.7%
Ukip – 14,698 – 10.5%
Respect – 4,229 3.0%
CPA – 3,024 – 2.2%
Ind – 5,285 – 3.8%
Turnout – 37.3%

2000 election
Con – 44,850 – 37.4%
Lab – 38,038 – 31.7%
LD – 22,177 – 18.5%
Green – 11,788 – 9.8%
*Respect – 2,977 – 2.5%
Turnout – 33.5%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Enfield and Haringey

Held by: Labour

Enfield and Haringey is the most marginal assembly constituency, with Joanne McCartney having a narrow 1,574 majority for Labour. It is a starkly divided chunk of north London in terms of its voting patterns. There is a Lib Dem redoubt in the western half of Haringey, in the parliamentary seat of Hornsey and Wood Green that they gained in 2005, while Tottenham, in eastern Haringey, is solidly Labour. Enfield is just as divided, with a strongly Labour area in the south-eastern corner at Edmonton and steadily safer Conservative territory as one moves north and west.

Labour were probably saved in 2004 by some good fortune among the minor party nominations. Ukip ate a bit into the Conservative vote, particularly in Enfield, and some who had voted for an independent pro-Livingstone candidate in 2000 returned to Labour. The result was that the swing against Labour was very small and the Tories were disappointed in 2004.

The Conservatives will be hoping that it is third time lucky in 2008. Elections since 2004 have been mixed. While the Conservatives picked up the Enfield Southgate seat on a high swing in 2005 they missed out on Enfield North. Labour led with 46% of the vote to 28% Conservative and 20% Lib Dem, in the constituencies in the two boroughs in 2005. Labour can find more grounds for optimism from the 2006 borough elections in this seat than most others, having fought off a determined Lib Dem challenge in Haringey and seen an unusual pro-Labour swing in Enfield. The Lib Dems have a solid base in western Haringey but not much support elsewhere. It will be an interesting election.

Results

2004 election
Con – 32,381 – 27.9%
Lab – 33,955 – 29.2%
LD – 19,720 – 17%
Green – 10,310 – 8.9%
Ukip – 10,652 – 9.2%
Respect – 6,855 – 5.9%
CPA – 2,365 – 2%
Turnout – 36.1%

2000 election
Con – 31,207 – 29.2%
Lab – 34,509 – 32.2%
LD – 14,319 – 13.4%
Green – 10,761 – 10.1%
*Respect – 3,671 – 3.4%
Other – 12,581 – 11.8%
Turnout – 34.3%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Greenwich and Lewisham

Held by: Labour

Greenwich and Lewisham in south-east London form the basis for what should be a safe Labour assembly constituency, which the party has had no trouble holding even in bad years like 2000 and 2004.

Lewisham has three safe Labour seats, and Greenwich comprises one-and-a-half safe Labour seats, plus a marginal seat in Eltham. Although a loss seems unlikely, Labour needs to watch Greenwich and Lewisham a little more closely in 2008, particularly if the Conservatives manage to reclaim support lost to Ukip in 2004.

Having been a model Labour authority, Lewisham fell to divided control in 2006, electing a Labour Mayor but depriving the party of a majority on the council. The peculiarity of Lewisham is that, even for London, its politics is variegated.

It has the largest Green group on any London borough (six councillors including list assembly member Darren Johnson), enclaves of socialist and Conservative support and a fair scattering of Lib Dems.

Greenwich stayed Labour, but the Conservatives polled well in the Eltham section of the borough and it is a more straightforward two party authority.

Greenwich and Lewisham in 2008 may, like North East in 2004, end up seeing a comfortable Labour win despite the party’s share of the vote falling below 30%, as four other parties will be scrapping to pick up support.

Results

2004 election
Con - 22,168 – 20.4%
Lab – 36,251 – 33.3%
LD – 19,183 – 17.6%
Green – 11,271 – 10.4%
Ukip – 13,454 – 12.4%
Respect – 2,825 – 2.6%
CPA – 3,619 – 3.3%
Turnout – 35.1%

2000 election
Con – 22,401 – 23.6%
Lab – 40,386 – 42.6%
LD – 16,290 – 17.2%
Green – 11,839 – 12.5%
*Respect – 3,981 – 4.2%
Turnout – 32.2%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Havering and Redbridge

Held by: Conservatives

Havering and Redbridge are the two outer eastern boroughs of London, based around Romford, Ilford and Woodford. The postal address for nearly all the area is Essex rather than London, and culturally rather than administratively much of it is white, lower middle-class south Essex rather than east London. This ambivalence towards London is reflected in its election results. Ken Livingstone won only one ward in Havering in the 2004 mayoral election, the smallest haul of any borough in London, with the rest all voting for Steve Norris. Redbridge is rather more mixed, with Ilford South being unusual in its pro-Labour voting patterns and its large ethnic minority population, but it is a minority element in this mainly white and right-of-centre assembly constituency.

The Conservatives have steadily recovered ground here in general and local elections, picking up Romford and Upminster in 2001, and Hornchurch and Ilford North in 2005. Ilford South (with the Wanstead part of the Leyton and Wanstead constituency) is the only area with a Labour MP. The Conservatives also gained Redbridge borough in 2002 and Havering in 2006. The BNP has significant support in parts of each borough, particularly Havering. Havering local politics is also complicated by a strong Residents’ Association. However, Conservative assembly member Roger Evans is overwhelmingly likely to win the election.

Results

2004 election
Con – 44,723 – 34.6%
Lab – 28,017 – 21.7%
LD – 13,646 – 10.5%
Green – 6,009 – 4.6%
Ukip – 18,297 – 14.1%
Respect – 5,185 – 4%
CPA – 2,917 – 2.3%
Res Ass – 6,925 – 5.4%
Other – 2,031 – 1.6%
Ind – 1,597 – 1.2%
Turnout – 39%

2000 election
Con – 40,919 – 37.5%
Lab – 32,650 – 30%
LD – 14,028 – 12.8%
Green – 6,803 – 6.2%
*Respect – 1,744 – 1.6%
Res Ass – 12,831 – 11.8%
Turnout – 33.5%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Lambeth and Southwark

Held by: Labour

Lambeth and Southwark are inner-city south London boroughs, stretching from the South Bank opposite Westminster and the City down through Brixton, Camberwell and Dulwich to the borders of suburbia at Streatham and Norwood. The parliamentary constituencies in the area are perhaps not a very interesting lot, with four out of five safe for Labour and the other, Southwark North and Bermondsey, safe for Simon Hughes and the Lib Dems. Local government politics in the two boroughs, however, has been interesting and explosive. The GLA results have come in something between the two, with Labour having a comfortable margin in 2000 but fighting off a strong Lib Dem challenge in 2004.

Labour should be able to win again – it would be a disaster indeed if this seat were to fall. The Lib Dem challenge here in 2004 was boosted by Hughes’s presence at the top of the ticket as mayoral candidate, a factor which will not be present in 2008. Lib Dem support in 2004 was quite localised, with strongholds in north Southwark and to a lesser extent in Streatham. The results in 2005 suggest a basically strong Labour position, with 48% of the vote to 29% for the Lib Dems and 16% for the Conservatives. Labour will also be encouraged by the 2006 borough elections, in which Lambeth was their only gain in the country in that bleak year for the party and there was also a pro-Labour movement in Southwark. Valerie Shawcross, the former leader of Croydon council, stands again for Labour.

Results

2004 election
Con – 17,379 – 15.2%
Lab – 36,280 – 31.7%
LD – 30,805 – 26.9%
Green – 11,900 – 10.4%
Ukip – 8,776 – 7.7%
Respect – 4,930 – 4.3%
CPA – 3,655 – 3.2%
Ind – 608 – 0.5%
Turnout – 33.4%

2000 election
Con – 19,238 – 19.1%
Lab – 37,985 – 37.6%
LD – 22,492 – 22.3%
Green – 13,242 – 13.1%
*Respect – 6,231 – 6.2%
Others – 1,797 – 1.7%
Turnout – 32%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

Merton and Wandsworth

Held by: Conservatives

Merton and Wandsworth constituency covers a stretch of south-west London. Its innermost corner is at the New Covent Garden market at Nine Elms, and it stretches outwards as far as Putney Heath, Wimbledon Common, Mitcham and Morden.

Its political geography is rather unusual, in that the outer borough of Merton is better for Labour than the inner borough, Wandsworth. In 2004 Labour was ahead in a solid clutch of wards in Mitcham and Morden, and immediately across the border in the south Tooting wards of Wandsworth. The Conservatives led everywhere else, except one ward in Battersea. Merton and Wandsworth also saw a big gap between voting patterns for the assembly and mayor, with Ken Livingstone sweeping all but a few wards, even in Tory strongholds like riverside Putney and suburban Wimbledon.

It appears that voters in Wandsworth in particular, who often split their ticket between Labour for government and the local Conservative council, make distinctions at GLA level as well. In the 2005 general election, despite gaining Putney and Wimbledon and narrowly missing Battersea, the Conservatives still lagged 43-36 behind Labour, although this does not mean much for the 2008 assembly contest.

The Conservatives have won both assembly constituency elections in Merton and Wandsworth and should have little difficulty in adding a third. Their incumbent, Elizabeth Howlett, stands down and is replaced by Richard Tracey, the former MP for Surbiton who lost his seat in 1997.

Results

2004 election

Con – 48,295 – 38.8%
Lab – 31,417 – 25.3%
LD – 17,864 – 14.4%
Green – 10,163 – 8.2%
Ukip – 8,327 – 6.7%
Respect – 4,291 – 3.4%
CPA – 2,782 – 2.2%
Ind – 1,240 – 1%
Turnout – 38.5%

2000 election
Con – 45,308 – 39.5%
Lab – 32,438 – 28.3%
LD – 12,496 – 10.9%
Green – 8,491 – 7.4%
*Respect – 1,450 – 1.3%
Other – 14,432 – 12.6%
Turnout – 36.4%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

North East

Held by: Labour

North East comprises the boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Like many assembly constituencies, it is a radial slice of London stretching from the heart of the metropolis at Clerkenwell all the way to the green spaces of Epping Forest. In North East the inner-city elements predominate, with Chingford being the only real piece of Tory suburbia included. North East, particularly in the central band of the seat from north Islington through Hackney to Walthamstow, is extremely culturally and ethnically diverse.

The two Labour victories in 2000 and 2004 do not mean that North East is an entirely safe and uninteresting seat, even though Labour did lead in the vast majority of areas included in it. The Liberal Democrats are the main electoral competition to Labour in most of North East in parliamentary and local elections, having a firm base in Leyton and Walthamstow within the Waltham Forest borough, and running Islington council. However, in 2004 they were only slightly ahead of the Conservatives. North East is also the strongest constituency for the Green party in first-past-the-post elections, with support highest in north Islington and parts of Hackney. With fairly significant Respect and Ukip votes in 2004, the voting pattern was very fragmented.

The prospects for 2008 suggest that a third Labour victory is the most likely outcome. Labour did reasonably well in the elections for the three borough councils in the area in 2006, and the Lib Dems fell back in their Islington heartland. Without a clearly defined challenger and a very diverse electorate, Labour could prevail again on a rather low share of the vote.

Results

2004 election
Con – 23,264 – 18.1%
Lab – 37,380 – 29.1% ns
LD – 24,042 – 18.7%
Green – 16,739 – 13%
Ukip – 11,459 – 8.9%
Respect – 11,184 – 8.7%
CPA – 3,219 – 2.5%
Comm – 1,378 – 1.1%
Turnout – 33.9%

2000 election
Con – 20,975 – 17.8%
Lab – 42,459 – 36.1%
LD – 24,856 – 21.1%
Green – 18,382 – 15.6%
*Respect – 8,269 – 7%
Others – 2,645 – 2.3%
Turnout – 33%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

South West

Held by: Conservatives

South West comprises the boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston. It is a curious constituency in that it has elected a Conservative assembly member twice but still does not have any Conservative parliamentary constituencies within its borders. It straddles the Thames and also the political divide between the south-western suburbs and west London. In 2004, each of the component boroughs was very close, with Labour 505 votes ahead of the Conservatives in Hounslow, and Lib Dem leads over the Conservatives in Richmond of 226 and in Kingston a comparatively handsome 531 votes.

Labour’s best areas were Heston and Brentford, the Lib Dems polled best in Surbiton and Twickenham, and the Conservatives had some votes everywhere but were ahead in Chiswick, Barnes, west Feltham and north Kingston.

South West remains a Lib Dem target in 2008, although the task of beating the Conservatives in Richmond and Kingston while minimising their deficit in Hounslow, and appealing to Labour tactical voters, looks difficult. In the 2005 general election they were ahead, with 39% of the vote compared to 33% for the Conservatives and 23% for Labour, but this was with the help of personal and tactical votes for two well-established MPs. The 2006 borough elections were a confused picture, with the Lib Dems gaining Richmond from the Conservatives while the Conservatives did relatively well in Kingston and Hounslow. Stephen Knight, the deputy leader of Richmond council, will see if it is third time lucky for the Lib Dems in South West.

Results

2004 election
Con – 48,858 – 33%
Lab – 25,225 – 17%
LD – 44,791 – 30.3%
Green – 9,866 – 6.7%
Ukip – 12,477 – 8.4%
Respect – 3,785 – 2.6%
CPA – 3,008 – 2%
Turnout – 40.3%

2000 election
Con – 48,248 – 35.4%
Lab – 31,065 – 22.8%
LD – 41,189 – 30.2%
Green – 13,426 – 9.9%
*Respect – 2,319 – 1.7%
Turnout – 38.2%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under “Respect”

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

West Central

Held by: Conservatives

The West Central assembly seat comprises the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster. Most of the electorate in the latter two boroughs consists of extremely affluent residents of central London, with wards in Chelsea and Belgravia racking up 70% or higher Conservative shares of the vote. In recent decades Fulham has swung strongly to the Conservatives, and some Fulham wards can rival the more established wealthy areas for monolithic Conservative voting. There is something of a north-south divide in the seat, with the north-west corner of Westminster, North Kensington and Shepherd’s Bush being Labour’s better areas.

While Labour polled the most votes in the 1997 general election in the area, it was always going to be one of the Conservatives’ better bets to elect a constituency member and so it proved in 2000 and 2004 by a considerable margin. The incumbent member, Angie Bray, is stepping down to concentrate on campaigning for the new marginal parliamentary seat of Ealing Central and Acton. Conservatives won the Hammersmith and Fulham constituency in 2005 and the borough council in 2006. Kit Malthouse, a former Westminster councillor, inherits a safe assembly seat.

Results

2004 election
Con – 51,884 – 44.7%
Lab – 21,940 – 18.9%
LD – 17,478 – 15.1%
Green – 10,762 – 9.3%
Ukip – 7,219 – 6.2%
Respect – 4,825 – 4.2%
CPA – 1,993 – 1.7%
Turnout – 35.3%

2000 election
Con – 47,117 – 44.2%
Lab – 28,838 – 27.1%
LD – 14,071 – 13.2%
Green – 12,254 – 11.5%
*Respect – 2,720 – 2.6%
Other – 1,600 – 1.5%
Turnout – 34.2%

*London Socialist Alliance vote given under Respect

Source: The House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/48

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