MP: Catherine West, Labour
Labour-Lib Dem semi-marginal
Don’t let anyone hear you use the word Remoaner in Crouch End. Hornsey and Wood Green backed Remain more strongly than anywhere else in the UK, and on 24 June the sense of shock and disappointment was tangible. Few MPs will have greeted the snap election with less enthusiasm than Catherine West, who knows her chances of holding on to this Labour-Lib Dem semi-marginal depend on fighting a hard Brexit. She was one of the 47 Labour MPs to vote against Article 50.
Nonetheless, West is defending what ought to be a comfortable majority of over 11,000 after she ousted Lynne Featherstone during the Lib Dem rout in 2015. This time she needs to defeat Dawn Barnes, who has little political experience. But this is a constituency where despair and/or disillusionment with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership (delete as applicable) is likely to erode the Labour vote, despite West’s opposition to Brexit. Corbyn’s Islington North is just next door, but despite some poverty in the north-east of the seat, much of the constituency is comfortable enough to vote Labour through conscience rather than desperation.
The Greens do relatively well here, picking up 5.4% last time. For all the gentrification of the past three decades – both Labour and the Lib Dems are campaigning heavily on housing issues - the last time Hornsey and Wood Green elected a Conservative MP was in 1987. Since the local party is so enfeebled (its website was last updated in 2016) tactical anti-Tory voting is not a factor. With both the main contenders opposing Brexit, the outcome will be a judgment on Corbyn’s leadership. And if the Conservatives can improve on their 9.3%, it will surely be a sign that Theresa May’s appeal extends beyond Middle England.
Candidates, previous results, Brexit vote breakdown - Democratic Dashboard has all the data you need in every constituency ahead of the June General Election.
Ros Taylor is Managing Editor of Democratic Audit. She tweets @rosamundtaylor