Saturday, 3 April 2010

A Look @: Tower Hamlets and Newham

Tower Hamlets and Newham are Respect territory with the minor party holding a number of council seats in both boroughs. They also won a Parliamentary seat in 2005 and sit in second place in two of the other three. In the 2006 Tower Hamlets elections Respect and the Conservatives made gains at the expense of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but Labour just held control with 26 of the 51 seats. Since then there have been defections galore with the initial flow from Respect to Labour. Recently, councillors have been deserting Labour and it seems the council could do with the forthcoming election just to hit the reset button! Newham is a lot less volatile. Labour hold 54 of the 60 seats with Respect and the Christian Peoples Alliance sharing the rest.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Bethnal Green & Bow

George Galloway




LAB Gain

Poplar & Limehouse

Jim Fitzpatrick





LAB Hold

West Ham

Lyn Brown




LAB Hold

East Ham

Stephen Timms




LAB Hold



Bethnal Green & Bow provided one of the shocks of the last election when George Galloway defeated Labour MP Oona King, who had voted for the war in Iraq. After a bitter campaign Respect came out on top by just 823 votes. This year, however, Galloway is contesting the neighbouring Poplar & Limehouse seat leaving this open for Labour to regain. Respect have selected the leader of their Tower Hamlets group Abjol Miah and he is up against Rushanara Ali for Labour. Given the nature of politics in this area this is likely to be a hard fought contest but given Respect only just won in 2005 with Galloway as the candidate, and the Iraq War motivating voters, I don't think they'll have enough to hold this; Labour Gain.

Poplar & Limehouse is a significantly adjusted version of the old Poplar & Canning Town seat with the alterations leaving the whole constituency within Tower Hamlets. Jim Fitzpatrick is seeking a fourth term as an MP but he has the pleasure of facing George Galloway this time round. Galloway's inclusion has turned this into a three way marginal as the Conservatives are strong in this area too. They have selected Tim Archer, who came second behind Fitzpatrick in 2005. The Labour MP has another problem to deal with as he's been accused of misusing public funds. This really is tough one to call. Fitzpatrick clearly has his problems but Galloway's success at the last election was helped by specific mood at the time. And in many ways it would be a bizarre result if the Conservatives win given the seats demographics. So with no clear front runner I'm going for the safe option, but this a seat to keep an eye on in the coming weeks! Labour Hold.

The two seats in Newham are a lot easier to deal with. The West Ham seat has received the Canning Town part of the old Poplar & Canning Town but this hasn't had much effect on Lyn Brown's majority. Respect are Labour's main opposition in Newham but they are unlikely to overturn the massive majorities here. This was Tony Banks' seat and the former Sports Minister won in 2001 with almost 70% of the vote. Brown doesn't have a lot to worry about; Labour Hold.

Stephen Timms has been MP for East Ham (formerly Newham North East) since 1994 and he is set to cruise to victory again this year. Safe as houses; Labour Hold.


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