London Assembly Elections 2024: Key Races to Watch 

Elections to the London Assembly took place yesterday, a 25-member elected body that is part of the Greater London Authority (GLA), with the role of holding the Mayor of London to account. There are fourteen constituencies elected using the first-past-the-post system, and an additional eleven members elected through a closed-list proportional representation system, allocating seats proportionately to list vote. In the Assembly, all eyes are on the Labour Party’s potential gains, targeting four main constituencies this election, none of which have ever elected a Labour Assembly Member.

Early indications of turnout suggest the mayoral and assembly races will be close, with polls overestimating the Labour lead in the capital, notwithstanding the inevitable benefit to the Conservatives because of the change in voting system to First Past the Post.

The Marginal Seats

West Central

In West Central, encompassing some of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods, from Mayfair to Marylebone and Chelsea to Fulham, Labour are looking for a first-time win after polling just 1.6% less than Conservative Tony Devenish in 2021. Labour’s James Small-Edwards, a Westminster City Councillor and the son of Rugby Union Coach Shaun Edwards and M People singer Heather Small, is vying to secure victory in the affluent Inner-London seat. Despite having never won the seat, the 2022 council elections saw Labour 9.5% ahead across the three boroughs that make up the constituency, winning 45% of the vote compared to the Tories’ 36%.

Havering & Redbridge

Similarly, Outer London’s Havering and Redbridge constituency has never returned a Labour Assembly Member. Historically dominated by the Conservatives, Labour’s Guy Williams is seeking to break this trend and build upon Labour strongholds in Redbridge and establish greater representation in Havering. Despite coming 0.8 percentage points short in 2016 before widening to 9.1% in 2021, demographic shifts and evolving political dynamics offer hope for Labour. Notably, the decline of the Conservatives in Redbridge, coupled with the emergence of Reform UK after the demise of UKIP in a seat where they historically performed well, means the incumbent Conservative assembly member Keith Prince could be at risk. 

Croydon and Sutton

Venturing into South London, Labour has an outside target of suburban Croydon and Sutton, with a victory here being a sign of a complete breakdown of the Conservative vote in both Inner and Outer London. The constituency, historically contested between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, presents an intriguing opportunity for Labour to cause an upset. Sutton, which has been an on-off Liberal Democrat/Conservative seat since the 80s, plays an interesting role in this election. If Liberal Democrat voters in Sutton vote Labour, knowing the Liberal Democrats are not going win the seat, this could be the biggest upset for the Conservative Party assembly group. Despite winning the council from Labour in 2022 and the Conservatives having resisted national decline, the scales could be tipped in Labour’s favour, signalling a shift in the political landscape of South London. 

South West

Finally, the South West constituency, encompassing the diverse landscapes of Labour stronghold Hounslow and Liberal Democrat dominated boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Kingston upon Thames, emerges a hotly contested battleground. As the only three-way marginal seat in the London Assembly, with Conservative Nick Rogers winning 31.9% of the vote in 2021 to the Liberal Democrat 28.2% and Labour’s 26.3%, the seat will be one to watch. The Conservatives will be hoping the ability to mobilise behind one anti-Tory party in the constituency has not yet manifested, which is what aided the party’s victory in 2021, despite coming second in each of the three boroughs. Nonetheless, it is here the Liberal Democrats will seek to make London electoral history by being the first party other than Labour or Conservative to win a London Assembly constituency seat. 

The Assembly List

On the Assembly List, all parties will seek to maximise representation in the city. Labour, if their gains are big, will lose representation on the additional member list (due to the electoral mechanics of the proportional representation system), with the Conservatives picking up their representation here. The Green Party and Liberal Democrats too will seek to grow upon their existing representation. Additionally, the emergence of Reform UK as a replacement to UKIP, should they surpass the 5% threshold to get representation, adds another element of interest to whether or not they will take a seat here.