• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Buckingham Palace seat will fall to Labour if polls are correct

King Charles

The British King will wake up in a Labour constituency on July 5 if as the polls suggests the Cities of London and Westminster seat goes red.

“Buckingham Palace, the City and the Houses of Parliament could easily end up in a Labour constituency,” explains Professor Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics. Former Westminster council leader Nickie Aiken won the seat for the Conservatives in 2019 with a majority of 3,953.

The Cities of London and Westminster seat has been held by the Tories since it was created in 1950.

But the flagship Tory town hall was seized by Labour in the May 2022 local election. The new seat of Kensington and Bayswater is likely to be on an “absolute knife edge”, according to Prof Travers, but Labour would be “doing badly” if they do not win it.

If these two seats fall to Sir Keir Starmer’s party, it would leave Chelsea and Fulham as the last Tory constituency in Inner London.

Conservative MP Greg Hands, who is also London minister, was outside Putney Bridge and Parsons Green Tube stations early on Thursday morning campaigning to protect his 11,241 majority.

Prof Travers believes if Labour wins Chelsea and Fulham, as well as seats like Harrow East and Croydon South, it would be on track for a comfortable Commons majority election victory.
“If Greg Hands can’t hold on in Chelsea and Fulham, then there would be no Conservative representation in Inner London,” he added. “It would be the first time ever.”

A string of other seats appear to be easier wins for Labour including Hendon, Chipping Barnet, Chingford and Woodford Green, and Eltham and Chislehurst.

Prof Travers does not believe that protests against Labour’s position on the Gaza conflict will “radically” influence results given that constituencies which may be affected, such as Bethnal Green and Stepney, have very large Labour majorities. Tory seats, which he says look “rock solid”, include Old Bexley and Sidcup, Hornchurch and Upminster, and Romford. Solid, but possibly slightly less, might be Bromley and Biggin Hill, Bexleyheath and Crayford, as well as Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip may be stronger for the Conservatives than may appear, he added, with a large proportion of “aspirational, Leave-leaning” Tories. In 1997, when Tony Blair swept to a landside victory, the Tories won 11 seats in the capital. “They will be doing well to keep 10,” says Prof Travers, given that the city has increasingly turned Labour. Polls have suggested Labour is on course to win at least 64 of the capital’s 75 seats.

There are about a dozen London constituencies where Labour has yet to announce an official candidate.

In Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, Britain’s first black female MP, has been suspended from Labour for over a year. The Leftwinger lost the Whip after suggesting Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives”.

In Islington North, London Assembly member Sem Moema and councillor Praful Nargund have been shortlisted by Labour for the seat held by Jeremy Corbyn for four decades. The ex-Labour leader, who was kicked out of the party by Sir Keir in an anti-semitism row, is strongly tipped to stand as an independent.

The Liberal Democrats will have their sights on gaining three marginal seats, including Wimbledon, Sutton and Cheam, and Carshalton and Wallington.