Battersea (UK Parliament constituency)

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Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Battersea in Greater London.
County Greater London
Electorate 73,028 (December 2010)[1]
Current constituency
Created 1983
Member of Parliament Jane Ellison (Conservative)
Number of members One
Created from Battersea North and Battersea South
Number of members One
Type of constituency Borough constituency
Replaced by Battersea North and Battersea South
Created from East Surrey
European Parliament constituency London
The constituency from 2007

Battersea is a constituency[n 1] in the London Borough of Wandsworth[n 2] represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Jane Ellison of the Conservative Party.[n 3]


Less densely populated than late Victorian times and covering the north-eastern third of the London Borough of Wandsworth, Battersea in this context includes central Wandsworth and in the same way as Chelsea on the opposite bank, adjoins the Thames before flowing through central London.

It takes in all of the district of Battersea including its large Battersea Park which has played host in recent years to international circus productions, riverside and London Heliport and stretches eastwards to include Nine Elms and surrounding the Park: Queenstown generally fairly widely known large neighbourhoods of Battersea Town;[n 4] and westwards to include most of Wandsworth town, including the riverside, Town Hall and East Hill.[n 5] Battersea also stretches south between Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common to include Balham Ward, the eastern end of Balham (the west for General Elections is in Tooting).

Constituency profile[edit]

From as early as 1892 the Liberal-Labour (UK) party prominent national politician John Burns represented the area in Parliament and the area was noted for affluent streets alongside Clapham Common[2] counterbalanced by slum clearances in the early and mid twentieth century, accelerated by the Blitz which like Camberwell, Lambeth and Southwark destroyed a moderate number of buildings in the area and led to a marked redistribution of poor to social housing in Outer London and beyond.[3]

Council housing of unaesthetic high-rise flats is concentrated by the South West Main Line some of them prefabricated buildings however a majority of the housing stock is privately owned or rented.[4] While in the early 20th century Battersea was among the most secure Labour safe seat, since the 1970s the constituency has been home to a majority of wealthy or middle-income professionals, and tradespeople, including to a small extent yuppies, and the Conservatives lacking an MP in the area since 1964 gained John Bowis in 1987 who served the area until 1997. A considerable majority returned to Labour for the elections of 1997, 2001 but only a very marginal majority in 2005[n 6] and the Conservative Party's Jane Ellison won the seat in Parliament in 2010 with a majority of 5977 votes. As, like the government, the seat did not fall to a Conservative Party candidate in 2005 (unlike, for example, Putney) but fell to a member of that party in 2010 (unlike, for example, Tooting), Battersea is a national bellwether constituency since 1987.

From 1997 to 2010, the seat was bordered by the constituencies of:

Boundary review[edit]

Following their review of parliamentary representation in South London the Boundary Commission for England has created a modified Battersea constituency from the following electoral wards:

  • Balham, Fairfield, Latchmere, Northcote, Queenstown, St Mary’s Park, Shaftesbury.


Battersea in the Metropolitan Board of Works area, showing "Borough of Battersea" boundaries used from 1885 to 1918 of Battersea itself

The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 provided that the Constituency was to consist of-

  • "No. 2 Ward of Battersea Parish,
  • No. 3 Ward of Battersea Parish, and
  • So much of No. 4 Ward of Battersea Parish as lies to the north of a line drawn along the centre of Battersea Rise, and to the west of a line drawn along the centre of the St. John's Road."[5]

Battersea constituency was originally created in 1885. From 1892 to 1918 the seat was held by trade union leader John Burns who served as a Minister (of the Crown) in the Liberal Cabinets of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Asquith from 1905 until 1914.

The constituency was split in 1918 into Battersea North, which by Battersea Power Station and still particularly in Nine Elms[6] was gradually replacing overcrowded terraces had only four years of a Conservative MP from 1931 and Battersea South which had 38 years of a Conservative MP, the most recent spell ended in 1964. The two constituencies were rejoined in 1983, although some areas of Battersea South became part of the adjoining Tooting constituency. Alf Dubs, who had previously been MP for Battersea South, won the constituency for the Labour Party in 1983 and the Conservative candidate John Bowis won in 1987 and 1992. Martin Linton won it back for the Labour Party in 1997 and held the seat until 2010.


In 2001, the candidate T.E Barber used the candidate description "No fruit out of context party", and advocated the end of, amongst other crimes against food, pineapples on pizza. (David Boothroyd)

In the book "Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter," John O'Farrell describes his experiences of being the secretary of Queenstown Branch of the Battersea Labour party, during which time Labour lost every election in which they participated, and eventually lost the MP, Alf Dubs.

The old Battersea North seat is one of only two seats in London to have had a Communist MP Shapurji Saklatvala represented the area from 1922 to 1929. A wealthy aristocratic Indian he was not only one of the first Communists ever elected to the House of Commons but also only the third from an ethnic-minority background. At first, Saklatvala had local Labour party support but then stood as a Communist in 1924 with local Labour party backing. However, the national party stepped in to ensure in 1929 that an official Labour candidate stood against him. The Battersea Labour Club (a drinking club not directly connected with the political party)had a notice on its notice board up until the 1980s banning Communists from admission to the club.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Parliament Years Member[7] Party
22nd 1885–1886     Octavius Vaughan Morgan Liberal
23rd 1886–1892
24th 1892–1895     John Burns Liberal-Labour
25th 1895–1900
26th 1900–1906
27th 1906–1910
28th 1910
29th 1910–1918
see Battersea North and Battersea South for 1918-1983
48th 1983–1987     Alf Dubs Labour
49th 1987–1992     John Bowis Conservative
50th 1992–1997
51st 1997–2001     Martin Linton Labour
52nd 2001–2005
53rd 2005–2010
54th 2010-     Jane Ellison Conservative


Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2015: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat
Labour Will Martindale
General Election 2010: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Jane Ellison 23,103 47.3 +7.3
Labour Martin Linton 17,126 35.1 -4.1
Liberal Democrat Layla Moran 7,176 14.7 -0.1
Green Guy Evans 559 1.1 -3.1
UKIP Christopher MacDonald 505 1.0 +0.2
Hugh Salmon for Battersea Party Hugh Salmon 168 0.3 +0.3
Independent Tom Fox 155 0.3 +0.3
Majority 5,977 12.2
Turnout 48,792 65.7 +6.5
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +6.5
General Election 2005: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Martin Linton 16,569 40.4 -9.9
Conservative Dominic Schofield 16,406 40.0 +3.5
Liberal Democrat Norsheen Bhatti 6,006 14.6 +2.5
Green Hugo Charlton 1,735 4.2 +4.2
UKIP Terry Jones 333 0.8 +0.8
Majority 163 0.4
Turnout 41,049 59.0 +4.5
Labour hold Swing
General Election 2001: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Martin Linton 18,498 50.3 -0.5
Conservative Lucy Shersby 13,445 36.5 -2.9
Liberal Democrat Siobhan Vitelli 4,450 12.1 +4.7
Independent Thomas Barber 411 1.1 N/A
Majority 5,053 13.7
Turnout 36,804 54.5 -16.3
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Martin Linton 24,047 50.7 +9.5
Conservative John Bowis 18,687 39.4 −11.1
Liberal Democrat Paula Keaveney 3,482 7.4 +0.3
Referendum Party Mark Slater 804 1.7 +1.7
UKIP Ashley Banks 250 0.5 +0.5
Rainbow Dream Ticket Joseph Marshall 127 0.3 +0.3
Majority 5,360 11.31
Turnout 47,397 70.85 −6.1
Labour gain from Conservative Swing +10.20
General Election 1992: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Bowis 26,390 50.5 +6.2
Labour Alf Dubs 21,550 41.2 −1.2
Liberal Democrat Roger O'Brien 3,659 7.0 −4.9
Green Ian Wingrove 584 1.1 −0.1
Natural Law William Stevens 98 0.2 +0.2
Majority 4,840 9.3
Turnout 52,281 76.6 −5.3
Conservative hold Swing +3.7

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Bowis 20,945 44.24 +7.8
Labour Alf Dubs 20,088 42.43 −1.5
Social Democrat David I. Harries 5,634 11.90 −5.6
Green Sally G. Willington 559 1.18 +0.3
Workers Revolutionary Anthony B. Bell 116 0.25 +0.3
Majority 857 1.81
Turnout 47,342 70.68 +4.3
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +4.6
General Election 1983: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alf Dubs 19,248 43.8 −6.4
Conservative Rupert Allason 15,972 36.4 −2.4
Social Democrat M. Harris 7,675 17.5 +9.4
National Front Michael Salt 539 1.2 −1.0
Ecology Sally G. Willington 377 0.9 N/A
Campaign for Black & White Unity T. Jackson 86 0.2 N/A
Communist K. Purie-Harwell 22 0.1 N/A
Majority 3,276 7.5
Turnout 43,919 66.6 −3.1
Labour hold Swing −2.0

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

1979 Prediction for Battersea boundaries[edit]

General Election 1979: Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour 14,909 50.2
Conservative 11,505 38.8
Liberal 2,412 8.1
National Front 667 2.2
Workers Party 104 0.4
Workers Revolutionary 47 0.2
Community Party 30 0.1
Majority 3,404 11.5
Turnout 29,674 69.7
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election December 1910: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 7,836 52.7 1.0
Conservative Major Sir John Lane Harrington 6,544 44.0 -4.3
Socialist Charles Nathaniel Lowe Shaw 477 3.2 N/A
Majority 1,292
Turnout 18,927 78.5
Lib-Lab hold Swing
General Election January 1910: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 8540 51.7 -4.4
Conservative Arthur Shirley Benn 7985 48.3 4.4
Majority 555
Turnout 18,927 87.3
Lib-Lab hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1906: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 7,387 56.1 5.0
Conservative Arthur Shirley Benn 5,787 43.9 -5.0
Majority 1,600
Turnout 15,369 85.7
Lib-Lab hold Swing
General Election 1900: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 5,860 51.1 -0.1
Conservative R.C. Garton 5,606 48.9 0.1
Majority 254
Turnout 14,420 79.5
Lib-Lab hold Swing

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

John Burns
General Election 1895: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 5,010 51.2 -6.9
Conservative Charles Ridley Smith 4,766 48.8 6.9
Majority 244
Turnout 12,880 75.9
Lib-Lab hold Swing
General Election 1892: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Lib-Lab John Burns 5,616 58.1 6.8
Conservative W.M. Chinnery 4,057 41.9 -6.8
Majority 1,559
Turnout 12,381 78.1
Lib-Lab hold Swing

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1886: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Octavius Vaughan Morgan 3,683 51.3
Conservative E.C. Willis 3,497 48.7
Majority 186
Turnout 10,019 71.7
Liberal hold Swing
Battersea by-election, 1886
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Octavius Vaughan Morgan unopposed
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1885: Battersea and Clapham, Battersea
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Octavius Vaughan Morgan 4,259 54.6
Conservative John Edward Cooke 3,547 45.4
Majority 712
Turnout 10,019 77.9
Liberal win (new seat)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ A borough constituency (for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer)
  2. ^ The London Borough of Wandsworth has had a Conservative Party majority of councillors in control since 1978.
  3. ^ As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.
  4. ^ Queenstown Road Battersea is passed through by the South Western Main Line. Nine Elms is expected to be a large scale redevelopment of the Power Station area by the River Thames and to host the United States Embassy.
  5. ^ Specifically: "Fairfield" ward, Wandsworth
  6. ^ In the 2005 election, Linton's majority was reduced resulting in him having the fourth smallest Labour majority in the country.
  1. ^ "Electorate Figures - Boundary Commission for England". 2011 Electorate Figures. Boundary Commission for England. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Booth's 1898-99 Map of Poverty and wealth in London
  3. ^ Bombsight — all recorded WWII bombs in London mapped
  4. ^ 2001 Census - Tenure and Indices of Deprivation 2000 for wards
    Northcote, Battersea (5,608th)
    Balham (4,138th)
    Shaftesbury (3,749th)
    Latchmere (994th) of c. 8500.
  5. ^ Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, Sixth Schedule
  6. ^ Booth Poverty Map For prostitution and other "Lowest class: Vicious and semi-criminal" classification see Cumberland Street written notes: [1] and a small cluster of streets by the railways in Nine Elms
  7. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]