Seat Preview: Ilford North

19 May 2017

Ilford North

MP: Wes Streeting, Labour

Majority: 589

Labour-Conservative super-marginal

London was one of the few regions in which Labour made obvious progress in the 2015 general election. They increased both their vote share and number of seats, making seven gains overall, four of which were from the Conservatives. Then, in 2016, London voted for a Labour Mayor after eight years of Boris Johnson, and voted to remain in the European Union.

Clearly, London does not vote like most other regions of England and should not be seen as a sure-fire indicator of how the rest of the country is voting. However, this does not mean that it is immune from the likely swing towards the Conservatives. One of the London constituencies most vulnerable is Ilford North.

Labour took Ilford North in 1997 after decades of Conservative control. This is a story that rings true for many constituencies. However, as Labour’s popularity declined it lost the seat in 2005, only reclaiming it in 2015 - and only just. With a majority of 1.2 per cent, Ilford North is the third closest Labour seat in London, and all the signs point to a very difficult campaign for its MP, Wes Streeting. He will be calling on support from local Labour MPs such as Chuka Umuna, and hoping he can galvanise Remain voters, who are a majority. The Green Party is helping by not fielding a candidate, but its vote share in 2015 (2.1 per cent) was small.

The Conservatives have opted to field Lee Scott, who lost his seat here in 2015. Scott, like Streeting, is a local candidate who has also been a councillor in the surrounding Redbridge Borough. Unlike Streeting, Scott was a Leave supporter and because of this, UKIP will not be fielding a candidate. At 8.9 per cent, the UKIP vote here was below average but still sizeable. A small swing towards Conservatives amongst this group of voters would see the party reclaim the seat.

Unless London bucks trends once again, this is a constituency that is very likely to turn blue. Fellow Leaver and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been campaigning for Streeting in the constituency. Although London will almost certainly remain a Labour city, the Conservatives will see Ilford North as an obvious starting point for the fightback.

Candidates, previous results, Brexit vote breakdown - Democratic Dashboard has all the data you need in every constituency ahead of the June General Election.

Jack Bridgewater is a doctoral researcher in English party politics and identity at the University of Kent. He tweets @JLBridgewater