Seat Preview: Ealing Central and Acton

24 May 2017

Ealing Central and Acton

MP: Rupa Huq (Labour)

Majority: 274

Labour-Conservative super-marginal

This seat is the second most marginal in London and in the top ten in the whole country. Narrowly won in 2015 by Dr Rupa Huq over the incumbent Conservative MP, Angie Bray, it will be a difficult one for Labour to retain. Joy Morrissey, a councillor for Ealing, needs only gain 274 votes to beat Huq, a target likely to be made easier by Ukip’s decision not to field a candidate. The party polled nearly 2,000 votes last time.

But Huq has some advantages. Since her election in 2015, she has been working hard to keep voters on side in her ultra-marginal seat: speaking in parliament on a wide variety of local issues such as High Speed 2, and more importantly, the restructuring of health care services in Ealing borough which has left a community of nearly 400,000 without a maternity ward. She is also very visible across the constituency at civil society events and on social media. Ealing Central and Acton also voted heavily to remain in the EU, and Huq has been an unabashed Remain supporter.

While Morrissey is a relative unknown, local Conservative activists have made hay over Huq’s nomination of Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in 2015. Huq’s link with a deeply unpopular leader, together with Ukip’s decision not to contest the seat, may well mean that Ealing turns back to blue on June 8.

Chris Gilson is Managing Editor of the LSE USAPP blog. He tweets @ChrisHJGilson.