Post by mondialito on Apr 5, 2020 1:06:01 GMT
An inner-city constituency in North West London, Brent Central has many of the hallmarks one may expect of such a constituency. It is one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in the country; a majority of residents are tenants, be they social or private and while there are some pockets of affluence, there is also social deprivation.
As the name implies, Brent Central spans much of the middle of the London Borough of Brent, stretching from the Welsh Harp Reservoir in the north of borough, to the Park Royal Industrial Estate in the south. In between are a number of communities which do vary significantly. There is Neasden, which is dominated by the North Circular Road; Willesden, which in recent years has attracted young professionals seeking affordable rent and quick access to Central London via the Jubilee Line; Harlesden, which has historically been one of the hubs of London’s Black community; Stonebridge, which is possibly best known for the large housing estate it gives its name to and Kensal Green, which is home to an affluent middle-class intelligentsia which has spilled over from nearby Notting Hill. The constituency also includes parts of Wembley and Cricklewood.
As mentioned above, the areas within Brent Central are quite ethnically diverse, with just 38.8% of residents identifying as White in the 2011 census. There is a significant African-Caribbean population as well as Indian and Pakistani communities. It is no coincidence that the one of the largest Hindu temples outside of India, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, was erected in Neasden. There has also been a large Irish community within the boundaries of the constituency while in recent decades there has been migration from Eastern Europe, particularly Poland after EU accession and ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo in the wake of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.
Gentrification and redevelopment have taken place within the constituency much like other similar parts of Greater London. Harlesden and Cricklewood are beginning to attract young professionals, while Wembley has undergone major regeneration, the centre of which is the constituency’s biggest claim to fame – Wembley Stadium, whose luminous arch dominates the local skyline.
Brent Central is a relatively new constituency, formed for the 2010 Election by fusing the northern half of the Brent East constituency with much of the Brent South constituency, a redrawing of boundaries that initially created an intriguing battleground in its first election. Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat who had represented Brent East since a stunning by-election victory in 2003, chose to contest this seat rather than the neighbouring Hampstead and Kilburn seat, also newly created and on paper a better Lib Dem prospect. Her decision put her on collision course with Dawn Butler, a junior Labour minister who succeeded Paul Boateng as MP for Brent South in 2005. Teather’s decision was vindicated, winning the new seat on an 11% swing in an election where Labour was on the defensive nationally and Butler’s parliamentary expenses were a salient issue. Teather stood down at the following election in 2015, when the Lib Dems collapsed just as they did nationally, falling to 3rd behind the Conservatives while Butler was returned with the largest swing recorded in that election outside Scotland. Butler has continued to hold the seat with very large majorities since.