Election overview: Labour stengthens grip in key north London battlegrounds
The general election saw Camden remain firmly in Labour’s hands today, with Tulip Siddiq fighting a difficult seat against the Conservatives’ Simon Marcus in Hampstead and Kilburn and Sir Keir Starmer increasing the party’s majority in Holborn and St Pancras by a stunning 7,000 votes.
Ms Siddiq’s majority, while neither unexpected nor huge, is an obvious improvement on the slimmest of victories secured in 2010 and reflects the leftward trend in the capital.
The looming spectre of Labour’s mansion tax was arguably not enough to convince asset-rich voters to desert the party in sufficient numbers here - nor in Westminster North, where Labour’s Karen Buck held on as expected.
Ms Buck increased her vote share despite pulling in fewer votes than in 2010, beating Conservative rival Lindsey Hall into second place by nearly 2,000 votes.
Only Finchley and Golders Green saw a Tory victory, with Mike Freer pulling in more than half of the votes to secure a second term, leading him to question the veracity of polls such as Lord Ashcroft’s which had put Labour rival Sarah Sackman two points ahead.
Meanwhile, Catherine West turned another piece of the London jigsaw red with a resounding victory in Hornsey and Wood Green. The former Islington Council leader annihilated Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone’s previous 7,000-vote majority, turning it into a thumping 11,000-vote defeat. That was a swing of 16.9 per cent in a result that saw Haringey as a whole increase its Labour following; further east in Tottenham David Lammy strengthened his grip, increasing his majority by 6,500 votes to 23,564, the largest majority in that seat for at least 25 years and despite Mr Lammy having thrown his hat in the ring for selection as Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2016.
In Camden, Labour’s increased majorities reflect the local Labour Party’s major gains in last year’s local elections, in what the Ham&High described at the time as a “blistering” victory that sent the Lib Dems packing, much as what happened last night.
The results in these boroughs reflect those across London and reveal a further polarising of political support in the UK, with Left-leaning nationalist sentiment strengthening its grip in Scotland via the SNP and Labour taking scalps in London, while the rest of Britain broadly headed in the opposite direction.
Meanwhile, Ed Miliband this afternoon returned to his Dartmouth Park home to lick his wounds after announcing his resignation as Labour leader at lunchtime.
Looking ahead, this election will throw the 2016 race for Mayor of London race into sharp relief, as Labour’s victories in the capital now put the electorate even more at odds with the idea of a Tory leader in City Hall.