As the Labour Party picks over the disaster of election night London offers some small consolation. Labour bucked the national trend in the capital to increase its MPs by 7, taking 45 of the 73 seats. Those gains came largely at the expense of the Liberal Democrats as Labour not the Conservatives became beneficiaries of the Lib Dem collapse.
Labour’s success and the calamity for the Lib Dems is underlined in the voting share. Labour’s share was up by 24%, the Lib Dems share plummeted by 64%. Ukip quadrupled their vote and the Greens doubled theirs from last time. The Conservatives had a modest increase in votes but were down by one seat at the end of the night.
3.5 million people turned out to vote. That’s up by 100,000 on 2010 and is a 65.6% turnout, a little below the national figure. The way votes were cast across the capital gives an insight into the politics of the city, more complex than the simple, first past the post constituency results. If seats were decided by a simple proportion of the share of the vote London MPs would look a lot different
Voting shares within constituencies give an insight into the spread of polical support in the city. The most fervent Labour supporting place is East Ham, where Stephen Timms romped home with 77% of the vote and the largest majority of any London MP. The most Conservative constituency is Richmond Park where 34,404 people voted to re-elect Zac Goldsmith.
Ukip support is strongest in Hornchurch and Upminster, where Lawrence Webb got 13,977 votes and one of the party’s many second places. Ukip also polled strongly in Barking, and Dagenham and Rainham.
Highest turnout in the capital was 77% in Twickenham where the senior Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister, Vince Cable, lost the seat he had held for 18 years. Lowest turnout was 54% in Ilford South.
The spread of voting patterns meant tight battles in many constituencies. None tighter than Croydon Central where Conservative Gavin Barwell squeaked in with a majority of 165.
The capital also showed an enthusiasm for political diversity. 499 candidates put themselves up for election. Voters in Bethnal Green and Bow, Camberwell and Peckham, and Hackney South and Shoreditch had 11 candidates to choose from. In Uxbridge and South Ruislip there was a choice of 13, among them London’s least successful candidate, Independent James Jackson who got just 14 votes.