Post by Pete Whitehead on Sept 9, 2019 21:43:19 GMT
Anyone with more local knowledge than me explain why this isn't already a Tory seat or a tight marginal? - the seat had a high leave vote, Efford is a prominent remainer and the Brexit Party won the seat at the Euro elections. I guess the local Conservatives must poorly organised, especially compared to neighbouring Bexley and Bromley since they really should be winning a ward like Eltham North pretty easily since the demographics, especially for London, are almost ideal. I know the seat contains Shooters Hill, Middle Park, etc - but then Bexleyheath and Crayford has areas like East Wickham and Crayford which appear equally challenging on paper.
It has traditionally been a marginal seat.
Labour fought its predecessor Woolwich West first in 1918, coming within about 400 votes of winning it in 1929. Gained in the 1945 landslide, lost again and then re-gained in 1964 , its modern Tory renaissance started with the 1975 by election that saw Peter Bottomley elected. Between 1918 and 1950 the Liberals only stood once , in 1929 when they took almost all their votes from the Conservatives. Like his very distant predecessor William Barefoot Efford is a strong local figure. You could argue that the 6,000 + votes for UKIP in 2015 saved Efford, but if so they all seem to have gone to Efford in 2017!
Labour's traditional strength in Woolwich East probably had some impact on the more middle class part of the borough, and made its campaigning strengh greater than it otherwise might have been.
Indeed Eltham was in the unified Woolwich constituency before 1918 and as such had a Labour MP in the form of Will Crooks as early as 1903