Despite narrowing polling in recent weeks, Rachel Blake won the Cities of London and Westminster constituency for Labour for the first time, beating the former Conservative councillor Tim Barnes.

Whilst this had been predicted due to the national swing and with Labour having won both the council in 2022 and the West Central GLA seats in recent times, the campaign became increasingly acrimonious in the closing weeks.  At hustings with local amenity societies, Tim Barnes sought to position himself as a local resident living in the heart of the constituency and Rachel Blake as an outsider from Tower Hamlets – whilst Rachel Blake had been strongly campaigning on housing issues and her track record, buoyed from the support of the incumbent Labour leadership.

Despite the boundaries being redrawn to include conservative-leaning St John’s Wood for the first time, this was not sufficient to enable the Conservatives to hang on to the seat, which was being vacated by the former Westminster leader Nickie Aiken.  Rachel Blake ultimately prevailed by 2,700 votes.

For the first time, this will see a Labour alignment between the local authority, West Central GLA constituency, the London Mayor, and national government – with the local authority likely to call on more resources and investment in central London, particularly for matters such as policing.

Meanwhile, Rachel Blake’s relationship with the City of London Corporation will be closely watched over the coming months.  These key areas include balancing the alignment of the new national government’s pro-growth agenda and the most avowedly pro-growth borough in the country, with the concerns of her electors and some forthcoming major planning applications.

In the newly created Maida Vale and Queens Park constituency, Camden leader Georgia Gould was successful in winning the seat which spans the border into southern Brent (and replaced much of the former Westminster North constituency) following Karen Buck’s decision to retire, having represented Westminster North (which itself was formerly Regents Park and Kensington North) since 1997.

As had been predicted Georgia won the seat, triumphing by nearly 15,000 votes, and her election to Parliament, along with a number of other Camden Cabinet members, is expected to herald the most significant change in that authority since 2017.  Whilst many of the Westminster wards in the constituency are already Labour strongholds, the breakdown of votes in the marginal Little Venice Ward, in which Labour took a seat in 2022, will be closely scrutinised – firing the starting gun in what is expected to be a highly-contested ward at the 2026 local elections.

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