The majority of students at Imperial (especially those in halls) are concentrated in the four constituencies of Chelsea and Fulham, Kensington, Hammersmith, and Cities of London and Westminster. Felix takes a look at each of them below.
Hammersmith is currently represented by the Labour Party’s Andy Slaughter, the Shadow Justice Minister. Slaughter was previously MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush from 2005-2010 and is running for a second term (his third overall) in the 2015 election.
The latest polling data suggests Labour will take 49% of the vote, with the Conservatives in second with 33%. With a Labour-led council in the Hammersmith and Fulham borough, Hammersmith is a fairly safe seat for Labour.
Slaughter’s main campaigns revolve around the A&E closures in West London, the potential for a third runway at Heathrow, the housing crisis and the demolition of Shepherds Bush market.
The first campaign is particularly relevant for Imperial students, in more ways than one. The proposed demolition of Charing Cross will mean many students nearest hospital becomes (St Mary’s in Paddington) or Chelsea and Westminster, with only the former having a full-blown A&E department.
Any changes to Charing Cross will likely also impact on medical students, many of whom study in the hospital throughout their clinical years.
Chelsea and Fulham
Chelsea and Fulham is currently represented by the Conservative Party’s Greg Hands, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Coalition government. Hands was previously MP for Hammersmith and Fulham from 2005-2010 and is running for a second term (also his third overall) in the 2015 election.
Current polling data suggests Hands will be returned to the government with a 60% share of the vote, with the Labour candidate coming in second with 25% of the vote. Despite including wards from the Labour Hammersmith and Fulham borough, Chelsea and Fulham is a very safe seat for the Conservatives.
Hands’ policies echo those of the Conservative Party in general, as he has endorsed the party’s manifesto. Most of the key pledges aren’t particularly relevant for most students, as they focus on earlier stages of education, pensions, apprenticeships and changes to Inheritance Tax and the higher rate of Income Tax.
Other promises highlighted by Hands include increased spending on the NHS and lifting the cap on university places.
Cities of London and Westminster
Cities of London and Westminster has been represented since 2001 by the Conservative Party’s Mark Field.
Current polling shows Field will likely be returned with 53% of the vote, continuing the constituency’s trend of returning the Conservative candidate in every election since its inception in 1950. Labour are predicted to come second with 24% of the vote.
Field has run campaigns on multiple topics affecting constituents, including funding of hospitals, policing issues, housing problems, as well as those affecting the city at large, not least transport.
Kensington was represented until 2015 by Malcolm Rifkind of the Conservative Party, who is not seeking to retain his seat in the 2015 election.
The candidates standing in Kensington from the major parties are Dr Rodwan Abouharb (Labour), Victoria Borwick (Conservative), Robin McGhee (Liberal Democrats), Jack Bovill (UKIP) and Robina Rose (Green).
Current polls show Victoria Borwick being elected for the Conservatives with 51% of the vote, with Labour on 19% and the Liberal Democrats on 15%.
Felix spoke to each of the candidates for Kensington, asking them why we should vote for them and their party, and their responses are printed below.
Dr Rodwan Abouharb (Labour) told us “residents need an advocate not only locally, but also nationally in parliament making a strong case for government to understand and address the needs of all communities living in Kensington.
When you head off to the polling station on 7 May, your choice is simple. Will you vote for the self-interest of the few, or for the good of the many of One Kensington?”
Victoria Borwick (Conservative) said “I was born in this constituency and spent my life here. Over the past seven years on the Greater London Authority and two years working as Boris’s deputy, I have worked hard to promote innovation and enterprise in this great city. I’m passionate about London and its residents.
If you vote for me, I and a Conservative government would fight to keep the economy on track, continue to create jobs and secure a bright future for young people living in Kensington today.”
Robin McGhee,(Liberal Democrats) said “the Liberal Democrats want to do something about the housing crisis. Housing is the most important issue facing young people in London today. We need urgent action now to ensure our generation doesn’t get left behind.”
Jack Bovill (UKIP) told us that “the only reason to vote for me, the UKIP Candidate in Kensington, is that I care for open access to learning of everyone in this land, particularly where the learning is structured and led by teachers of renown.” before quoting George Orwell.
Robina Rose, Green did not submit a response before Felix went to print.