London could hold the balance of power in the upcoming General Election, with the major parties gearing up to target at least 11 of its tightest seats.
Five London constituencies feature in Labour’s top 50 target seats – Hendon, Brent Central, Brentford & Isleworth, Croydon Central and Enfield North.
The Conservatives are looking to take six seats from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, including the seat currently held by the shadow Lord Chancellor, Sadiq Khan.
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In 2010, Labour lost seven seats in the capital. It did, however, manage to gain Bethnal Green and Bow from the Respect Party.
The Conservatives picked up seven constituencies – six from Labour and one from the Liberal Democrats . While the Liberal Democrats lost Richmond Park to the Tories, the party managed to gain Brent Central from Labour.
Aside from the 11 constituencies mapped above, all other London constituencies have a majority of over 3,000 and are safer seats for the party that holds them.
As it stands, the breakdown of London’s 73 constituencies is:
- Labour Party – 38
- Conservative – 28
- Liberal Democrats – 7
Below are London's seats to watch in 2015, where some of the election's most closely-fought contests are likely to happen.
Hampstead and Kilburn
This constituency, straddling the boroughs of Camden and Brent, was created for the 2010 General Election and was the closest three-way marginal seat. Award-winning actress Glenda Jackson MP won with a majority of just 42 – just 0.1 per cent of the vote. While Labour got 32.8 per cent, the Conservatives 32.7 per cent and Lib Dems 31.2 per cent.
Jackson is standing down for the 2015 election, so the party’s candidate is now Tulip Siddiq. The constituency is number one on the Tories’ target list, with the party fielding Simon Marcus to attempt to win the seat.
The Conservative MP Matthew Offord holds this seat by just 106 votes. It is likely to be a close-fought battle with Labour placing the seat as third on their target list.
The constituency has one of Barnet's largest Jewish communities and large Asian and black populations. Andrew Dismore, the Labour candidate hoping to win back the seat, was MP for the Middlesex seat between 1997 and 2010.
Brent Central’s Lib Dem MP, Sarah Teather, is stepping down from the seat for the 2015 election. Ibrahim Taguri will be the new candidate faced with defending the Lib Dem’s 3 per cent majority.
Labour’s candidate is Dawn Butler, former MP for Brent South, who lost to Teather in 2010. The seat is 23rd on Labour’s target list.
Sutton and Cheam
The Coalition partners will be fighting hard to gain Sutton & Cheam with the Liberal Democrats defending a 3.3 per cent lead over the Tories.
Paul Burstow MP is a health minister and has spoken out against government plans to close the A&E and maternity wards at St Helier Hospital. The Conservative candidate, Paul Scully, is running with a campaign to protect local frontline services.
The constituency is also home to several major employers, including Reed Business Publishing and Sainsbury’s. In 2010, Labour only achieved seven per cent of the vote here.
Brentford and Isleworth
This marginal seat is currently held by Conservative Mary Macleod with a 3.6 per cent majority of 1,958 votes. It was taken from Labour in 2010, with the party slipping from majorities of greater than 20 per cent in 1997 and 2001.
The expansion of Heathrow Airport, to the west of the seat, is likely to be a big factor in the way people decide. Both Mary Macleod and Labour’s candidate, Ruth Cadbury, have said they will fight the proposals.
Enfield North is London’s northernmost seat. It has mirrored national trends – swinging from the Tories in 1997 and returning to the party in 2010. Nick de Bois MP is now the incumbent, with a 3.8 per cent majority.
Its MP has lost his campaign to prevent the downgrading of A&E and maternity services at Chase Farm hospital. The seat is 29th on Labour's list of target seats for 2015, concentrating on the party's stronghold in the east of the constituency.
Eltham is a marginal Labour-held seat covering the south of the borough of Greenwich. The constituency is largely surburban, home to many commuters and a large amount of green space. Clive Efford has been its MP since 1997, when Labour won with 54.6 per cent of the vote.
This lead was reduced to 41.5 per cent in 2010, with a four per cent majority over the Conservatives. It is now 25th on the Tories' target list.
Shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan has been Tooting’s MP since 2005. The Conservatives are hoping to assail his five per cent majority with their candidate, local businessman Dan Watkins. The seat is 29th on their target list.
The constituency is split in half – with the Tories performing better in the north and Labour in the south, which includes Tooting itself.