To kick off our General Election ‘Seat in the Spotlight’ series we thought we’d look at one of the most marginal constituencies in the country. In 2017, the unthinkable happened and Kensington, an area associated with wealth and forever electing Tories, returned a Labour MP for the first time in the seat’s history. And not just any Labour MP, but dyed-in-the-wool blood-red Corbynista Emma Dent Coad. Of all the victories for Labour in 2017, this was the jewel in their crown.
But the victory was by just 20 votes and is bound to be a close run thing again. And this time, a Lib Dem shaped spanner has been thrown into the mix with Sam Gyimah, ex-Tory MP for East Surrey, now running for the yellow team in Kensington. The Lib Dems came a distant third in 2017 but will likely do a lot better this time, due to Kensington’s overwhelming support for ‘Remain’. To add to this, Dent Coad has proven quite a controversial figure since being elected, with attacks on the royal family in a part of the world that prides itself as a “royal borough.”
The deciding question for this seat is: who will the Lib Dems take more votes from? If Gyimah gains more from Conservatives – his former bed fellows – then that will pave the way for Labour to win again. If Gyimah gains more from disenfranchised Labour voters then the Conservatives will be more likely to win.
There is of course a third possibility: Gyimah could take votes from everyone and win outright himself! It will be a very tall order, but depending on how the election campaign goes for the Lib Dems more widely, anything is possible.