Election 2015: Tory Matthew Offord increases majority in super-marginal Hendon


Matthew Offord secured a hugely significant win for the Conservatives in Hendon, turning his 2010 majority of just 106 to a respectable 3,724.

Despite being widely touted to lose the marginal north-west London seats, Mr Offord increased his share of the vote by over six per cent to 24,328 votes.

His Labour rival Andrew Dismore, who had held the seat for 13 years before the last election, gained 20,604.

The seat, the eighth most marginal in the country, has the largest Jewish electorate in the country after Finchley and Golders Green.

Ahead of the elections, Mr Dismore recognised that Jewish constituents might be put off from backing Labour by Ed Miliband’s criticism of Israel during the Gaza war.

Ukip came in third in the constituency with five per cent (2,595) while Libs Dem received just two per cent of the vote (1,088) – down by 10 per cent on the last election.

The Green Party candidate Ben Samuel, who is Jewish, received 1,015 votes.

After the announcement, Dr Offord said he would tackle housing problems and a lack of school places in the constituency. He also said: “There is still a fear, both in the Jewish and Muslim communities, about radicalisation.”

He added: “Tonight has been a very important night. For me, it has not been about the fight with Labour; it has been about the fight with the SNP. I think we are seeing terrible losses of many different MPs north of the border, and we certainly have a need to work to address some of these concerns.”

Dr Offord and his Labour opponent have long had a fractious relationship.

At the close of his speech, he addressed Mr Dismore. “Andrew, you are not defined by the letters after your name; you are defined as a human being and as a person,” he said.

“I ask you to look upon that and not take this so personally. But I do also warn you, coming next year, we are coming for you on the GLA.”

Ukip candidate Raymond Shamash, who served as a Israeli army dentist in the Six Day War, welcome the result, describing his position as “credible”.

He said: “If it had not been a tight marginal, there would have been more support – but voters wanted to keep Labour out.

“The prospect of a Labour-SNP coalition scared-off Jewish voters.”

He added: “Ukip succeeded in pushing the Conservatives to have an EU referendum.”

Liberal Democrats candidate Alasdair Hill, a teacher, said: ““The fight in Hendon was always going to be a challenge with such a tight marginal between Labour and Conservatives…

“It was a disappointing night nationally and locally with significant loss of support in Hendon.

“Despite the loss in Hendon I remain determined to fight for a fairer Barnet and fight to keep our libraries open for everyone across the whole borough.”

He also called for a review of the First Past the Post system. “We must move towards a fairer voting system to reunite the country.”

Voters tweeted their surprise at the outcome.

Nicola Cane posted:

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