|Islington South and Finsbury|
for the House of Commons
|Electorate||70,489 (December 2019)|
|Member of Parliament||Emily Thornberry (Labour)|
|Number of members||One|
|Created from||Islington South West, and Shoreditch and Finsbury|
Islington South and Finsbury is a constituency[n 1] created in 1974 and represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Emily Thornberry of the Labour Party.[n 2] Thornberry served as Shadow Foreign Secretary from 2016 until 2020 and is currently Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales.
1974–1983: The London Borough of Islington wards of Barnsbury, Bunhill, Clerkenwell, Pentonville, St Mary, St Peter, and Thornhill.
1983–2010: As above, save that Pentonville was abolished and Canonbury East, Canonbury West, Hillmarton, Holloway were created or added to the seat.
2010–present: The London Borough of Islington wards of Barnsbury, Bunhill, Caledonian, Canonbury, Clerkenwell, Holloway, St Mary's and St Peter's.
The seat covers the southern part of the London Borough of Islington, including Barnsbury, Canonbury, major parts of Holloway, Kings Cross and the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury, which includes Bunhill, Pentonville and Clerkenwell.
Islington South and Finsbury was created in 1974 from part of the former Islington South West and Shoreditch and Finsbury constituencies. In 1983, its boundaries changed when the Islington Central constituency was abolished and its area split between Islington South and Finsbury and Islington North.
Islington was an early stronghold for the SDP. All three sitting Labour MPs defected to the party together with a majority of the Borough Council.[n 3] However, in spite of their less radical position than the Labour Party, they won only one seat to Labour's 59 in the 1982 Islington Council elections and at the 1983 general election, Labour managed to narrowly retain the seat. The new MP, Chris Smith was the first MP to come out as gay and was aligned with the Labour left, and retained the seat with a slight increase in his majority in 1987. By 1992, the post-merged SDP, the Liberal Democrats, had faded locally, and no longer had the former MP as a candidate, and Smith managed to win a majority exceeding 10,000 votes.
The Liberal Democrat revival in local elections in Islington, which saw them take control of the council in 2000, began to cross over to Parliamentary elections in 2001. In 2002, the Liberal Democrats won every council seat in Islington South and Finsbury, and Smith's subsequent retirement and the resultant loss of incumbency made the constituency vulnerable once again in 2005. However Smith's successor, Emily Thornberry, retained the seat with a narrow majority of 484 votes over the Liberal Democrat challenger, Barnsbury councillor Bridget Fox. — the seat therefore became one of the ten most marginal in Britain. However, in the local council elections a year later, Labour made an almost full recovery locally and won a majority of the seats in Islington South and Finsbury, defeating both Bridget Fox and the-then council leader Steve Hitchins. At the 2010 general election, Thornberry increased her majority over Fox. In 2014 the Liberal Democrats lost all their remaining seats on the council. The 2015 general election result made the seat the 93rd safest of Labour's 232 seats by percentage of majority.
The area is wholly urban but features a few small public green spaces which are family-friendly. The proximity and connectedness to the City of London mean the seat has a relatively high proportion of its electorate who are young workers in the city and contains many complementary-course or white-painted brickwork— very rarely stucco-clad—apartments and townhouses typically with attractive railings frequently lived in by higher earners in the central or flagship operations of the public sector, critics, entertainers and writers. It contains a small minority of residences that are Victorian and early-twentieth century rehousing developments to replace poor housing closer to the city itself and in the East End of London or late-twentieth century (largely former) social housing.
The constituency has been described as:
'A part-grand, part-poor metaphor for New Labour; Tony Blair lived here prior to his election as prime minister. Its dinner tables are routinely maligned as the natural habitat of the hypocritical, well-off, ostensibly liberal "chattering classes".'
The constituency was marginal
'...a seat sometimes seen as the citadel of constitutional reform.'— 2010, The Guardian
|Feb 1974||George Cunningham||Labour|
|Liberal Democrats||Kate Pothalingam||9,569||20.0||+7.9|
|Brexit Party||Paddy Hannam||1,136||2.4||New|
|Monster Raving Loony||Sandys of Bunhill||182||0.4||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Alain Desmier||5,809||12.1||+1.2|
|Liberal Democrats||Terry Stacy||4,829||10.9||−23.2|
|Liberal Democrats||Bridget Fox||14,838||34.1||−4.2|
|English Democrat||John Dodds||301||0.7||New|
|Animal Welfare||Richard Deboo||149||0.3||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Bridget Fox||11,861||38.3||+10.2|
|Monster Raving Loony||Andy "the Hat" Gardner||189||0.6||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Keith Sharp||7,937||28.1||+6.8|
|Socialist Alliance||Janine Booth||817||2.9||New|
|Stuckist Party||Charles Thomson||108||0.4||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Sarah Ludford||7,516||21.3||-2.0|
|Natural Law||Martin Creese||121||0.3||+0.09|
|Liberal Democrats||Christopher Pryce||9,387||23.3||New|
|Justice From British Rail||Rhona Hersey||149||0.37||New|
|Monster Raving Loony||Marie Avino||142||0.35||New|
|Natural Law||Michael Spinks||83||0.21||New|
|Socialist (GB)||Stephen Dowsett||81||0.20||0.0|
|National Front||John Donegan||341||0.92||-2.49|
|Islington and Finsbury Party||J. Murphy||102||0.28||New|
|Socialist (GB)||Clifford Slapper||85||0.23||-0.09|
|National Front||Paul Kavanagh||824||3.41||New|
|New Britain||Dennis Delderfield||136||0.56||New|
|Socialist (GB)||Ralph Critchfield||78||0.32||New|
|Labour win (new seat)|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) pp. 40–41.