The Brexit Election Battleground: London

The Brexit Election Battleground: London

London seems now to have an electoral environment that has become increasingly removed from that of the rest of England. At the last general election, the Labour vote here surged by more than 7%, the largest increase in any region of the country. This enabled Labour to buck the national trend and gain seats at the Conservatives’ expense.

Conversely, this was the worst-performing English region as far as UKIP were concerned. The Lib Dems also suffered badly, losing all but one of the seven seats they were defending.

So too, at the EU referendum last year, was the picture in the capital entirely at odds with most of the rest of the country. Only 40.1% of London voters supported Leave – the lowest of any region of the UK except Scotland. While there are a few well known Brexiteers in seats in the capital, the sheer number of London MPs who were happy to oppose the triggering of Article 50 suggests that many were not worried about rejecting the will of the British people as a whole.

It is now serious battleground territory: no fewer than nine of the Tories’ top 25 target seats in the country are to be found here.

Well-known Brexiteers standing in the region
John Cryer (Lab, Leyton and Wanstead)
Nick De Bois (Con, Enfield North)
Iain Duncan Smith (Con, Chingford and Woodford Green)
Zac Goldsmith (Con, Richmond Park)
Kate Hoey (Lab, Vauxhall)
Boris Johnson (Con, Uxbridge and Ruislip South)
Theresa Villiers (Con, Chipping Barnet)

MPs seeking re-election who voted against triggering Article 50
Heidi Alexander (Lab, Lewisham East)
Rushanara Ali (Lab, Bethnal Green and Bow)
Rosena Allin-Khan (Lab, Tooting)
Tom Brake (Lib Dem, Carshalton and Wallington)
Lyn Brown (Lab, West Ham)
Karen Buck (Lab, Westminster North)
Dawn Butler (Lab, Brent Central)
Ruth Cadbury (Lab, Brentford and Isleworth)
Neil Coyle (Lab, Bermondsey & Old Southwark)
Stella Creasy (Lab, Walthamstow)
Vicky Foxcroft (Lab, Lewisham Deptford)
Mike Gapes (Lab, Ilford South)
Helen Hayes (Lab, Dulwich and West Norwood)
Meg Hillier (Lab, Hackney South & Shoreditch)
Rupa Huq (Lab, Ealing Central and Acton)
David Lammy (Lab, Tottenham)
Sarah Olney (Lib Dem, Richmond Park)
Steve Pound (Lab, Ealing North)
Virendra Sharma (Lab, Ealing Southall)
Tulip Siddiq (Lab, Hampstead and Kilburn)
Andy Slaughter (Lab, Hammersmith)
Stephen Timms (Lab, East Ham)
Catherine West (Lab, Hornsey and Wood Green)


Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 26.1%)
Con: Siobhan Baillie
Lab: Neil Coyle (sitting MP)
LD: Sir Simon Hughes
UKIP: Elizabeth Jones
Green: John Tyson
Ind: James Clarke

Lab: 22,146 (43.07%) – Maj: 4,489 (8.73%)
LD: 17,657 (34.34%)
Con: 6,051 (11.77%)
UKIP: 3,254 (6.33%)
Green: 2,023 (3.93%)
TUSC: 142 (0.28%)
Ind: 72 (0.14%)
AP: 59 (0.11%)
Rep Soc: 20 (0.04%)

One of the more unexpected results in 2015 saw Lib Dem Sir Simon Hughes unceremoniously turfed out of his seat after 32 years’ service in Parliament – a victim of the massive collapse in the Lib Dem vote, which caused a swing to Labour here of nearly 14%. Labour’s Neil Coyle has been both an arch-critic of Jeremy Corbyn and an opponent of triggering Article 50 and it’s hard to predict how he‘ll fare in the re-run against Hughes two years after he unseated him.

Brentford and Isleworth (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 43.3%)
Con: Mary Macleod
Ruth Cadbury (sitting MP)
LD: Joe Bourke
UKIP: No candidate
Green: Diane Scott

Lab: 25,096 (43.76%) – Maj: 465 (0.81%)
C: 24,631 (42.94%)
UKIP: 3,203 (5.58%)
LD: 2,305 (4.02%)
Green: 2,120 (3.70%)

One of the closest results in 2015, where one-term MP Mary Macleod lost by less than 500 votes to Labour’s Ruth Cadbury, one of those who opposed the triggering of Article 50. Macleod’s chances of winning the re-run of the contest are heightened by the lack of a candidate for UKIP, who picked up more than 3,000 votes previously. It’s number two on the Tories’ target list in London.

Carshalton and Wallington (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 56.3%)
Con: Matthew Maxwell Scott
Lab: Emina Ibrahim
LD: Tom Brake (sitting MP)
UKIP: No candidate
Green: Shasha Khan
CPA: Ashley Dickenson
Ind: Nick Mattey

LD: 16,603 (34.87%) – Maj: 1,510 (3.17%)
C: 15,093 (31.70%)
Lab: 7,150 (15.02%)
UKIP: 7,049 (14.80%)
Green: 1,492 (3.13%)
CPA: 177 (0.37%)
NF: 49 (0.10%)

The was the only one of the five Lib Dem seats in the leafy south west London suburbs to survive their 2015 election rout. But Tom Brake held on with barely one third of the vote and at this rematch with Tory candidate Matthew Maxwell Scott, there will be no UKIP candidate on the ballot paper. If the Conservatives manage to secure just a small proportion of the more than 7,000 votes UKIP won last time, they could be enough to put Brake out of a job in a seat where the 56% Leave vote is evidently at odds with the sitting MP’s position on the EU.

Croydon Central (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 50.3%)
Con: Gavin Barwell
Lab: Sarah Jones
LD: Gill Hickson
UKIP: Peter Staveley
Green: Tracey Hague
CPA: John Boadu
Ind: Don Locke

Con: 22,753 (42.98%) – Maj: 165 (0.31%)
Lab: 22,588 (42.67%)
UKIP: 4,810 (9.09%)
Green: 1,454 (2.75%)
LD: 1,152 (2.18%)
TUSC: 127 (0.24%)
UKPDP: 57 (0.11%)

This has been a highly marginal Tory seat for three elections running, held by margins of 75, 2,969 and 165 in 2005, 2010 and 2015 respectively. In an area with an almost 50-50 split at the referendum and a full slate of candidates from all the key parties, it is a clear Tory-Labour battle that Gavin Barwell will have high hopes of winning if Labour’s vote is on the wane. On paper this is Labour’s top target in London, while Barwell is the most vulnerable minister anywhere in the country.

Dagenham and Rainham (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 70.4%)
Con: Julie Marson
Lab: Jon Cruddas (sitting MP)
LD: Jonathan Fryer
UKIP: Peter Harris
Green: Denis Breading
BNP: Paul Sturdy
Concordia: Terence London

Lab: 17,830 (41.42%) – Maj: 4,980 (11.57%)
UKIP: 12,850 (29.85%)
Con: 10,492 (24.37%)
Green: 806 (1.87%)
LD: 717 (1.67%)
BNP: 151 (0.35%)
ND: 133 (0.31%)
Eng Dem: 71 (0.16%)

This is traditionally strong Labour territory on the outskirts of east London, but saw UKIP score one of their top ten highest shares of the vote anywhere in the country in 2015. And then at the 2016 referendum more than 70% of voters backed Leave – all of which makes it about as far removed as possible from being a typical London seat. Jon Cruddas, Labour MP here since 2001, has cause to be grateful that the opposition to him seems so evenly split between UKIP and the Conservatives – because if it were united behind one candidate, he would be in trouble.

Ealing Central and Acton (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 29.2%)
Con: Joy Morrissey
Lab: Rupa Huq (sitting MP)
LD: Jon Ball
UKIP: No candidate
Green: No candidate

Lab: 22,002 (43.23%) – Maj: 274 (0.54%)
Con: 21,728 (42.69%)
LD: 3,106 (6.10%)
UKIP: 1,926 (3.78%)
Green: 1,841 (3.62%)
Ind: 125 (0.25%)
WRP: 73 (0.14%)
Above: 54 (0.11%)
EP: 39 (0.08%)

This is one of those very rare contests that will be fought between just three candidates, with the Green Party actively withdrawing to allow sitting Labour MP Rupa Huq a free run, while UKIP (who were less than 100 ahead of the Greens in 2015) are also sitting this election out. Voters here heavily backed Remain and the sitting MP Rupa Huq voted against triggering Article 50, yet on paper it is the Conservatives’ top target in the capital, with US-born local councillor Joy Morrissey donning the blue rosette.

Eltham (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 51.82%)
Con: Matt Hartley
Lab: Clive Efford (sitting MP)
LD: David Hall-Matthews
UKIP: No candidate
Green: No candidate
BNP: John Clarke

Lab: 18,393 (42.62%) – Maj: 2,693 (6.24%)
Con: 15,700 (36.38%)
UKIP: 6,481 (15.02%)
LD: 1,308 (3.03%)
Green: 1,275 (2.95%)

Eltham marginally voted for Leave last year, in line with the national picture, and as a parliamentary seat the Tories have had it in their sights for the last few elections – but they have not managed to break the 40% barrier in their efforts to oust former cab driver Clive Efford. In the absence of a UKIP candidate, they might now be able to do so.

Enfield North (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 49.2%)
Con: Nick de Bois
Lab: Joan Ryan (sitting MP)
LD: Nicholas Da Costa
UKIP: Deborah Cairns
Green: Bill Linton

Lab: 20,172 (43.72%) – Maj: 1,086 (2.35%)
Con: 19,086 (41.37%)
UKIP: 4,133 (8.96%)
Green: 1,303 (2.82%)
LD: 1,059 (2.30%)
CPA: 207 (0.45%)
TUSC: 177 (0.38%)

This will be the fifth election in a row that Nick de Bois and Joan Ryan have faced each other here in Enfield North: Ryan was successful in 2001, 2005 and 2015, whereas de Bois prevailed in 2010. But in all those contests, the victor has never secured a majority of more than 2,300 votes. Brexiteer de Bois will be presumably seeking to eat into the previous UKIP vote of more than 4,000 votes, which could make all the difference – although I daresay he is frustrated that the party is fighting him nonetheless.

Hampstead and Kilburn (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 23.7%)
Con: Claire-Louise Leyland
Lab: Tulip Siddiq (sitting MP)
LD: Kirsty Allan
UKIP: No candidate
Green: John Mansook
Ind: Hugh Easterbrook
Ind: Rainbow George Weiss

Lab: 23,977 (44.43%) – Maj: 1,138 (2.11%)
Con: 22,839 (42.32%)
LD: 3,039 (5.63%)
Green: 2,387 (4.42%)
UKIP: 1,532 (2.84%)
Ind: 113 (0.21%)
U Party: 77 (0.14%)

Tulip Siddiq resigned from Labour’s frontbench in order to oppose the triggering of Article 50, presumably in part as she thought that the more than 75% of her constituents who voted Remain would want her to do so. As it turned out, she needn’t have quit as other Labour frontbenchers were only given the weakest of slaps on the wrist from the party’s chief whip for having done so – and this election may give us a determination of whether Remain voters were so concerned about seeking to obstruct the referendum result. In 2010, the Tories were only 42 votes away from snatching this seat and the Lib Dems in a competitive third place with more than 30% of the vote; in 2015 the Lib Dems almost lost their deposit with their vote seeming to split almost evenly between the Tories and Labour. Siddiq’s hold on the seat certainly looks precarious as local councillor Claire-Louise Leyland challenges for the Tories this time.

Harrow West (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 45.1%)
Con: Hannah David
Lab: Gareth Thomas (sitting MP)
LD: Christopher Noyce
UKIP: Rathy Alagaratnam
Green: Rowan Langley

Lab: 21,885 (46.96%) – Maj: 2,208 (4.74%)
Con: 19,677 (42.22%)
UKIP: 2,047 (4.39%)
LD: 1,567 (3.36%)
Green: 1,310 (2.81%)
Ind: 117 (0.25%)

Harrow West – albeit on a variety of boundaries – was a safe Tory seat from its creation in 1945 up until the 1997 general election when Gareth Thomas won it for Labour. He has held it ever since, but usually only with a majority in the low thousands. Tory Hannah David would need a swing of 2.5% to win it at her second attempt.

Ilford North (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 53.3%)
Con: Lee Scott
Lab: Wes Streeting (sitting MP)
LD: Richard Clare
UKIP: No candidate
Green: No candidate
Ind: Doris Osen

Lab: 21,463 (43.86%) – Maj: 589 (1.20%)
C: 20,874 (42.66%)
UKIP: 4,355 (8.90%)
LD: 1,130 (2.31%)
Green: 1,023 (2.09%)
Ind: 87 (0.18%)

Wes Streeting – former NUS president, Labour moderate and critic of Jeremy Corbyn – won this seat at the 2015 election by a very narrow margin, defeating Tory Lee Scott, who had held the seat since 2005. Scott is seeking a return and with UKIP’s more than 4,000 votes now up for grabs in the absence of a UKIP candidate, he will be hopeful of securing enough of them to regain the seat.

Kingston and Surbiton (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 40.8%)
Con: James Berry (sitting MP)
Lab: Laurie South
LD: Sir Ed Davey
Green: Chris Walker
UKIP: Graham Matthews
Ind: Michael Basman
Loony: Chinners

Con: 23,249 (39.24%) – Maj: 2,834 (4.78%)
LD: 20,415 (34.45%)
Lab: 8,574 (14.47%)
UKIP: 4,321 (7.29%)
Green: 2,322 (3.92%)
CPA: 198 (0.33%)
TUSC: 174 (0.29%)

Plain old Ed Davey (as he was before being knighted after losing his seat) first won this seat by a wafer-thin majority of 56 at the 1997 general election, but a collapse in the Labour vote helped deliver him a majority of more than 15,000 in 2001, which then dwindled until his defeat at the hands of James Berry in 2015. The Labour vote had edged up to nearly 15% again by 2015 and Sir Ed will be hoping to squeeze it again if he is to have a chance of returning to Parliament. Berry did vote Remain but has since embraced Brexit and this kind of seat will help demonstrate whether or not voters who backed Remain have moved on and accepted the referendum result (although clearly other issues will also inform their votes).

Richmond Park (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 28.7%)
Con: Zac Goldsmith
Lab: Cate Tuitt
LD: Sarah Olney (sitting MP)
UKIP: Peter Jewell
Green: No candidate

Con: 34,404 (58.21%) – Maj: 23,015 (38.94%)
LD: 11,389 (19.27%)
Lab: 7,296 (12.34%)
Green: 3,548 (6.00%)
UKIP: 2,464 (4.17%)

2016 by-election (held on 1st December 2016 after Zac Goldsmith’s resignation)
LD: 20,510 (49.68%) – Maj: 1,872 (4.53%)
Ind (Goldsmith): 18,638 (45.15%)
Lab: 1,515 (3.67%)
Loony: 184 (0.45%)
Ind: 173 (0.42%)
CPA: 164 (0.40%)
Love: 67 (0.16%)
ND: 32 (0.08%)

The seat promises to be a fascinating battle to watch, given recent electoral history here. Zac Goldsmith snatched the seat from the Lib Dems in 2010 and in 2015 achieved – in numerical terms – the highest Tory majority in London. But after the Conservative government announced it was in favour of another runway at Heathrow, the maverick backbencher made good on his promise to resign and cause a by-election on the issue, standing as an independent. However, with the Lib Dems at one with him on opposing Heathrow expansion, they turned the by-election into a re-run of the Brexit referendum, claiming that a Brexiteer like Goldsmith should not represent a seat where more than 70% of voters backed Remain. Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney was successful and with Goldsmith now back in the Tory fold and the party machine behind him again, we will soon discover whether the by-election win was only a temporary boost for the Lib Dems (who are helped at this contest by the withdrawal of the Greens in their favour).

Sutton and Cheam (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 51.3%)
Con: Paul Scully (sitting MP)
Lab: Bonnie Craven
LD: Amna Ahmad
UKIP: No candidate
Green: Claire Jackson-Prior

Con: 20,732 (41.54%) – Maj: 3,921 (7.86%)
LD: 16,811 (33.69%)
Lab: 5,546 (11.11%)
UKIP: 5,341 (10.70%)
Green: 1,051 (2.11%)
NHAP: 345 (0.69%)
TUSC: 79 (0.16%)

Paul Scully ended an 18-year Lib Dem hold on this seat in 2015, securing a majority of nearly 4,000. He has since been a vocal Leave campaigner and UKIP have opted not to challenge him, providing a pool of more than 5,000 votes in which he can fish at this contest. Notably, unlike nearby former Lib Dem seats in Twickenham and Kingston, the former Lib Dem MP here (Paul Burstow) is not seeking a return to the green benches. In an area which also marginally backed Leave, Scully ought to be secure.

Tooting (Estimated Leave vote here at the June 2016 referendum: 25.6%)
Con: Dan Watkins
Lab: Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (sitting MP)
LD: Alexander Glassbrook
UKIP: Ryan Coshall
Green: Esther Obiri-Darko

Lab: 25,263 (47.19%) – Maj 2,842 (5.31%)
Con: 22,421 (41.89%)
Green: 2,201 (4.11%)
LD: 2,107 (3.94%)
UKIP: 1,537 (2.87%)

2016 by-election (held on 16th June 2016 after Sadiq Khan’s resignation)
Lab: 17,894 (55.92%) – Maj: 6,357 (19.87%)
Con: 11,537 (36.05%)
Green: 830 (2.59%)
LD: 820 (2.56%)
UKIP: 507 (1.58%)
CPA: 164 (0.51%)
Loony: 54 (0.17%)
Eng Dem: 50 (0.16%)
Immigrants: 44 (0.14%)
Love: 32 (0.10%)
Ind: 30 (0.09%)
Ind: 23 (0.07%)
GMBE: 9 (0.03%)
Ind: 5 (0.02%)

Tooting has remained stubbornly in the Labour column ever since the seat was created in the early 1970s, although the Tories came close to snatching it in 1983 and 1987, and again in 2010 and 2015. After sitting Labour MP Sadiq became London Mayor and quit Parliament in 2016, the by-election resulted in an increased Labour majority – albeit on a reduced turnout – and new MP Rosena Allin-Khan was one of the Labour MPs opposed to triggering Article 50. The Tory candidate, Dan Watkins fights the seat for third time in three years.

Twickenham (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 33.3%)
Con: Tania Mathias
Lab: Katherine Dunne
LD: Sir Vince Cable
UKIP: No candidate
Green: No candidate

Con: 25,580 (41.26%) – Maj 2,017 (3.25%)
LD: 23,563 (38.00%)
Lab: 7,129 (11.50%)
UKIP: 3,069 (4.95%)
Green: 2,463 (3.97%)
Christian: 174 (0.28%)
Magna Carta: 26 (0.04%)

With the Greens, UKIP and other minor parties not even contesting the seat, Twickenham is a straight three-way fight with only two realistic possible victors: sitting Tory MP Tania Mathias or the Lib Dem Sir Vince Cable, who held it between 1997 and 2015. It is the Lib Dems’ top target in London and Mathias’s fate may come down to whether Sir Vince can squeeze Labour’s vote in his favour: she was a Remain supporter who has (with reservations) embraced Brexit in an area where two thirds voted Remain at the referendum.

Vauxhall (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 22.4%)
Con: Dolly Theis
Lab: Kate Hoey (sitting MP)
LD: George Turner
UKIP: No candidate
Green: Gulnar Hasnain
Pirate: Mark Chapman
Women: Harini Iyengar

Lab: 25,778 (53.77%) – Maj: 12,708 (26.51%)
Con: 13,070 (27.26%)
Green: 3,658 (7.63%)
LD: 3,312 (6.91%)
UKIP: 1,385 (2.89%)
Pirate: 201 (0.42%)
LU: 188 (0.39%)
CSA: 164 (0.34%)
Whig: 103 (0.21%)
SPGB: 82 (0.17%)

I’ve never seen Vauxhall on a list of seats to watch in its nearly 70-year parliamentary history, given that it’s been a pretty safe Labour berth throughout that time. However, the Lib Dems decided to make a point of targeting it as local Labour MP Kate Hoey is one of the few in her party to have campaigned for Brexit and nearly 80% of local voters backed Remain at the referendum – although it should be noted that the Lib Dems actually trailed in fourth place behind the Greens here in 2015, so they start from an extremely low base. UKIP’s withdrawal here was, unusually, explicitly in favour of the Labour candidate and while Hoey may find her majority reduced on this occasion, the Lib Dems’ efforts would probably be more usefully spent seeking to regain nearby Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

Westminster North (Estimated Leave vote at June 2016 referendum: 33.7%)
Con: Lindsey Hall
Lab: Karen Buck
LD: Alex Harding
UKIP: No candidate
Green: Emmanuelle Tandy
ND: Abby Dharamsey

Lab: 18,504 (46.83%) – Maj 1,977 (5.00%)
Con: 16,527 (41.83%)
UKIP: 1,489 (3.77%)
LD: 1,457 (3.69%)
Green: 1,322 (3.35%)
Ch P: 152 (0.38%)
Ind: 63 (0.16%)

Labour’s Karen Buck won the predecessor to this seat – Regent’s Park and Kensington North – in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and held this redrawn seat by a couple of thousand votes in both 2010 and 2015. Without a UKIP candidate this time, their votes could be crucial in deciding whether Tory Lindsey Hall is able to win this at her second attempt.

Estimated Leave votes by constituency have been calculated by Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia