Wandsworth – Advantage Labour. But it’s all still to play for
This flagship Conservative Council has been under Conservative control since 1978 and has, for the last decade, been a champion of regeneration and development in the borough with a great deal being delivered along the northern boundary of the borough abutting the River Thames including at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms area.
Growth in the borough is coupled with a boundary review which will see the number of councillors reduced to 58 from the current 60 councillors but the number of wards increase from 20 to 22.
As the housing growth has been in Battersea and Nine Elms, the need for those areas to have representation with fewer councillors will lead to additional councillors in the north east of the borough at the expense of other parts of the borough.
This same area gaining additional councillors also saw a rise in support for Labour in 2018 with the party taking Queenstown ward, which covered all of the new Nine Elms ward, and parts of the new Battersea Park and Shaftesbury & Queenstown wards.
These changes and swing to Labour across the borough were best demonstrated in the London Mayoral election in 2021 which saw every ward in the borough won by the Labour Party.
To many, this might seem to be the end of the story and an unrecoverable position for the Conservatives. However, one must remember that this council has been in a similar position before, including when unpopular Conservative Governments were in power during the 1980s, and still retained control.
In 1986 for example, the Conservatives retained control with a majority of just one. So, it would be wrong to count the Conservatives out at this stage.
This is demonstrated by a swing back towards the Conservatives since the London Mayoral election – best demonstrated by the Bedford ward by-election in November 2021 where the Conservatives saw an 8.5% increase in vote share and only lost by one vote in a strong Labour ward.
All of the above is setting up a pass to the election count in Wandsworth as the hottest ‘political’ ticket in town.
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