Barnet seats key to predicted Labour victory

David Floyd on the general election battles in Chipping Barnet, Finchley and Golders Green, and Hendon

The UK parliament buildings viewed from across the river
The UK parliament buildings viewed from across the river – (Credit – David Floyd)

Barnet will be in the national spotlight as the borough’s three main parliamentary constituencies help to decide the fate of the general election.

Polls predict that the Conservative Party is likely to lose in Chipping Barnet, Finchley and Golders Green, and Hendon as the Labour Party returns to power for the first time in 14 years – with Friern Barnet ward becoming part of a new seat of Hornsey and Friern Barnet, following boundary changes.

Chipping away

Much of the messaging from local candidates in the run up to the election reflects the national picture, with the only previous MP standing for re-election, Chipping Barnet’s Theresa Villiers, stating her credentials as a possible opposition MP. Writing for Barnet Post she tells local voters: “You’ve seen the polls. If Keir Starmer becomes prime minister, your values and priorities will need a voice. You’ll need an MP who will stand up to a Labour government and stand up to Sadiq Khan.”

While the Conservatives have held Chipping Barnet since its creation in 1974, Villiers only had a majority of 1,212 in 2019 despite Labour’s poor performance overall and particular local opposition to then leader Jeremy Corbyn.

She has been campaigning hard on local issues throughout the parliament and has tapped into particular concerns about housing developments and the ULEZ expansion but it seems highly likely that Labour’s Dan Tomlinson will take the seat.

Writing for Barnet Post during the campaign, Tomlinson highlighted the issue of crime saying: “Labour plans to hire 1,300 more officers in London and, as your voice in parliament, I’ll make sure that we get our fair share here in Chipping Barnet. A visible police presence not only deters crime but also reassures the community.”

He added: “My stake in this issue is not just political, it’s deeply personal. As a parent with a young family in Whetstone, I share the same concerns as any resident. The safety of our children and the protection of our property are non-negotiable.”

Straight fight for Finchley

In Finchley and Golders Green, outgoing MP Mike Freer chose not to run for the seat again following death threats and an arson attack on his office. And the surprise decision to hold the election in July has not given his Conservative replacement Alex Deane much time to campaign following his selection in March.

Finchley and Golders Green is theoretically the Conservatives’ safest seat due to Freer’s 6,562 majority in 2019, however this result is highly misleading as a predictor of the upcoming vote due to former Labour MP Luciana Berger’s second place finish for the Liberal Democrats.

Based on national polling and the results of the 2022 Barnet Council election, where the Lib Dems made very little impact, this time around the contest is between Deane and Labour’s Sarah Sackman.

Deane wrote for Barnet Post that he: “couldn’t stand idly by” after Freer’s decision to step down and has called for a “battle of ideas” in contrast to the attacks on Freer, however Sackman seems on course to win by a big margin.

Her campaign has focused on issues including child poverty, crime and cuts to health services. Writing for Barnet Post in June she said: “Sitting on hold at 8am to beg for basic medical attention should not be a fact of life in 2024, but it is.”

Labour jitters in Hendon

While the logical chances of the Conservatives holding the borough’s third marginal seat in Hendon are extraordinarily small, it is the one of the three where, in private at least, local Conservatives are most hopeful and Labour is most jittery.

Incumbent MP Matthew Offord announced his decision to step down over a year ago and his Conservative replacement Ameet Jogia, a Harrow councillor who also works as an adviser to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has run an active local campaign. He has particularly focused on opposition to unpopular local developments including The Broadwalk Centre development in Edgware and writing for Barnet Post about the Hendon Hub said: “I’m concerned that developments like these show that residents are no longer being prioritised.”

Jogia is facing Labour’s David Pinto-Duschinsky, who trailed Offord by 4,230 votes in 2019. Writing for Barnet Post earlier this year, Pinto-Duschinsky said: “This is a great country and we can get our future back. We needn’t live in chaos. There is another way; a better alternative for our constituency and our country.”

While the result in Hendon may be closer than in the borough’s other constituencies, it would be a massive surprise if Labour failed to take the seat.

As the borough prepares to play a key role in determining the future of the nation, a minor twist to the electoral process this year is a new venue for the count, which will take place at the RAF Museum in Colindale. Unless something very dramatic happens over the next week, the battle on the ground has only one likely winner.

Barnet Post has offered all candidates in the borough’s seats the chance to publish statements. Read an overview of the contest and the statements for: Chipping Barnet, Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon, and Hornsey and Friern Barnet.

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