Marginal seats with largest Jewish communities all poised to go Labour

In these six tightly contested locations, the Jewish community will be courted intensely for votes


Opinion polls tell us that the result of the looming general election is a foregone conclusion. This is equally true of constituencies with the largest Jewish communities, all of which are predicted to fall to Labour.

While some Conservatives may be clinging to the cliché that a week is a long time in politics, others can source a sliver of hope from the fact that polls are… well, polls. 

At the start of the 2017 general election, then-Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives had a commanding lead of 23 per cent over Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn which would have resulted in a landslide Tory victory.

However, May’s campaign didn’t go as well as she hoped, to put it mildly. 

Despite the polls’ initial hopeful outlook, May ended up losing her slim parliamentary majority and was forced into a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system means some constituencies are considered “safe” seats for a particular party. This means that they have historically won in that seat and, barring something unprecedented, are expected to continue to hold it.

For instance, Labour’s endorsement of Diane Abbott means it is extremely likely that she will be re-elected as the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (where an estimated 12 per cent of voters are Jewish).

Marginal constituencies, by contrast, are seats that frequently change hands, or a particular party think that they have a chance at winning at an election.

These seats are heavily targeted by political parties who direct their supporters and activists to try to persuade voters in these seats to vote for them. 

A few of these marginal seats have a substantial number of Jewish voters whose support the political parties are seeking.

Although there are candidates from other parties running, the seats will likely – at the time of writing – be head-to-head contests between Labour and the Conservatives.


The Conservatives won a majority of over 21,000 in this Home Counties constituency at the last election.

But with opinion polls showing a dire national picture for the Tories and the disruption caused to their campaign by Nigel Farage’s return to frontline politics as leader of Reform UK, Labour activists hope to unseat Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

Dowden told the JC that he is taking nothing for granted and is fighting to win every single vote. Labour’s challenger is 26-year-old Gogglebox star Josh Tapper, who went to school locally at Yavneh College in Borehamwood.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 21,000 | Prediction: Labour win

Finchley and Golders Green 

An estimated 20 per cent of voters in Finchley and Golders Green are Jewish — the largest proportion in the country.

Mike Freer, the Conservative Justice Minister who held the seat for 14 years, is stepping down at this election following death threats and an arson attack on his local office.

Vying to replace him are Labour’s Sarah Sackman (who stood against Freer in 2015), a barrister and member of the Masorti New North London Synagogue.

For the Conservatives, Alex Deane is running.

Deane, whose likes include “tax-cutting, small state, free market and Margaret Thatcher", is David Cameron’s former chief of staff and managing director at public affairs firm FTI Consulting. At the 2019 general election, the Liberal Democrats came second in the seat, a key factor being their candidate: former Labour MP Luciana Berger.

She had resigned from the party in protest at then Labour leader’s Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism.

Berger has since returned to the Labour and backed Sarah Sackman.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 6,500 | Prediction: Labour win

Bury South 

Christian Wakeford was elected as the Conservative MP for Bury South in 2019, the first time it had gone Tory since 1992. Three years later he defected to Labour, citing Boris Johnson’s conduct during Partygate.

Wakeford, who is now trusted by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to enforce parliamentary discipline in his Whips Office, is restanding and fighting out of the red corner for the first time.

In the seat, which contains Prestwich, an estimated 15 per cent of voters are Jewish. Bury South has become a lot more Jewish since the 2019 general election. Changes to constituency boundaries mean Bury South takes in Kersal and Broughton Park, the most Jewish electoral ward in the north of England.

Fighting out of the blue corner and hoping to reclaim the seat for the Conservatives is Arnold Saunders, a local councillor and the former rabbi of Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Synagogue. He also serves as a chaplain of a care home and stood as the party’s candidate for mayor of Salford in 2021.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 400 | Prediction: Labour win


Another Conservative MP stepping down at this election is Matthew Offord, who has held the seat since 2010. Around 15 per cent of the population in Hendon are Jewish, making it the parliamentary constituency with the second largest number of Jewish voters in London.

Labour’s David Pinto-Duschinsky is hoping to turn the seat red. Son of a Holocaust survivor, he contested the seat in the 2019 General Election and served as an adviser to the late Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling.

Hoping to hold back the red wave and succeed Offord is Ameet Jogia MBE, a government special adviser who worked in No 10 Downing Street and was a local councillor in the borough of Harrow.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 3,700 | Prediction: Labour win

Chipping Barnet

 Former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has held Chipping Barnet for the Conservatives for nearly 20 years.

The seat has been held by the Tories since its creation in 1974.

For the past two elections it has been heavily targeted by Labour, which in 2017 came within just 353 votes of taking it for the first time.

Labour’s challenger Dan Tomlinson is an economist who works for anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and served as a councillor in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

He may take encouragement from Labour’s recent advances in the area since the 2019 general election — which included taking control of Barnet council for the first time in the 2022 local elections.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 1,200 | Prediction: Labour win

Harrow East 

Harrow East is a bellwether constituency. Since 1979 it has elected a Member of Parliament belonging to the party that has gone on to form the government.

As well as being one of the top ten most Jewish parliamentary seats in the country, containing Stanmore, Belmont and Kenton, it is also home to a substantial Hindu electorate. Conservative Bob Blackman, who has held the seat for 14 years since defeating former Labour minister Tony McNulty, is standing for re-election.

The veteran Tory has served on the executive committee of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs, is a long-standing member of both Conservative Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of India.

The seat was targeted heavily by Labour in 2019, and the party’s candidate then, Pamela Fitzpatrick, an enthusiastic supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, has said she’s now standing as an independent.

Labour’s hopeful to unseat Blackman is Primesh Patel, a councillor in Harrow between 2014-2022 who currently works in healthcare.

Currently Conservative

Majority: 8,100 | Prediction: Labour win

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