Monday saw no fewer than 35 Conservative Members of Parliament descending on Hampstead and Kilburn to support the campaign of Conservative candidate Chris Philp in the latest of a series of action days in key marginal constituencies which the party is targeting.
Below is a video featuring Chris and many of the MPs who went to the constituency to support his campaign.
A YouGov poll published in yesterday's Evening Standard looked at the likelihood of Conservative gains in London at the general election.
The poll, conducted across the capital during the last week or so of February (Anthony Wells has a note on the methodology), put the Conservatives on 39%, Labour on 35% and the Lib Dems on 17%.
This equates to a swing to the Conservatives from Labour of 5.5% since 2005 and if the seats fell in the order in which they appear on the target list (as compiled by Profs Rallings and Thrasher), those in bold on the lists below would be gained as of today.
However, given that I understand the poll to have been taken across the whole of London rather than just in the battleground seats, I suspect that - as is the case in national polls - the Conservatives are doing even better in the seats that count.
The Wandsworth factor and demographic change go in favour of making Tooting a Tory gain for Mark Clarke and the loss of Labour votes to the BNP looks like going to aid Simon Jones' campaign to oust Jon Cruddas in Dagenham and Rainham; "Mr Expenses", Alan Keen, is more vulnerable than the figures suggest in Feltham and Heston (the current projection shows his wife, Ann, being defeated in neighbouring Brentford and Isleworth); Tory candidate Ed Northover wrote only this week about his efforts to win Leyton and Wanstead from Labour, whilst ConservativeHome has previously noted the energetic campaign being waged by Chris Philp in the redrawn Hampstead and Kilburn seat where he is now in genuine contention.
The Labour seats on the Conservative target list in London (those in bold would be gained based on the results of yesterday's YouGov poll)
NB: Both Enfield North and Finchley & Golders Green are deemed to be notionally Conservative held seats already after boundary changes, which is why they were not included on the below list.
Ealing Central and Acton
Brentford and Isleworth
Poplar and Limehouse
Dagenham and Rainham
Feltham and Heston
Dulwich and West Norwood
Leyton and Wanstead
Holborn and St Pancras
Hampstead and Kilburn
* Currently has a Tory MP, but boundary changes suggest to be notionally Labour-held)
The Lib Dem seats on the Conservative target list in London (those in bold would be gained based on the results of yesterday's YouGov poll)
In the New Year, as the election approaches, I will be looking to intensify coverage of the campaigns being fought by Conservative candidates across the country, so please email me if you are a candidate and doing things which you'd like to share with ConHome readers.
Each week a different PPC provides us with an insight
into life as a candidate and gives us a flavour of their own campaign
and interests. If you are a candidate and are keen to be featured,
please email Jonathan Isaby.
This week’s diary is written by Chris Philp,
who was selected in December 2006
for Hampstead and Kilburn, a newly-drawn seat where he is challenging sitting Labour MP, Glenda Jackson. The Hampstead section of the seat comes from the existing Hampstead & Highgate constituency, with Kilburn being taken from the existing Brent East seat. Chris is a successful entrepreneur who has set up three businesses from scratch. He set up the first company at the age of 23, grew it to £100 million in turnover and floated it on the stock market within four years. He is a Camden councillor, a former chairman of the Bow Group and also has a First in Physics from Oxford.
Monday: Kilburn Dragons’s Den – the Final The Kilburn Dragon’s Den is a scheme I have set up to nurture and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. I started by recruiting a small team of mentors from business backgrounds. Over a period of several weeks, we worked with 16-18 year olds from Kilburn and Harlesden, who come from some of London’s tougher backgrounds, to develop business ideas and business plans with their mentors. The business has to be capable of being started with no more than £1,000.
The teams then pitched their ideas at the final, held at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. I also bought in some actors and actresses to help the teams hone their presentation skills. The panel of Dragons, which I chaired, selected the winning team (pictured). The winning team got £1,000 and they are now starting work to set up their small business, with guidance from me and from their mentor.
The Dragon’s Den programme is designed to encourage and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. It’s also designed to give them the self-confidence and the skills to build tomorrow’s businesses. I was really impressed by the ideas, energy and creativity that the teams showed. The Kilburn Dragon’s Den showed that with the right encouragement, the next generation is capable of achieving great things.
Below is a short YouTube video all about the scheme.