The two Labour MPs representing the constituencies within Tower Hamlets will be hoping to retain their relatively safe seats on June 8.
Voters in the borough of Tower Hamlets are split between either Bethnal Green & Bow or Poplar & Limehouse. These electoral constituency boundaries are relatively new (Bethnal Green created in 1997; Poplar in 2010) but the area as a whole has always been a Labour stronghold.
Bethnal Green & Bow has been represented by Rushanara Ali since 2010, when she won 61 per cent of the vote. She will stand again in this election, when she will hoping to achieve similar success.
Poplar & Limehouse representative Jim Fitzpatrick has also been an MP since 2010. As one of only 13 MPs who voted against the snap election, Fitzpatrick is now seeking re-election.
With an estimated population of 295,000, Tower Hamlets is the 14th most populated borough of 33 in London. The borough is ethnically diverse, with a large Bangladeshi population. In fact, the borough is 32 per cent Bangladeshi and 31 per cent white British.
Despite the borough’s inclusion of hotbed financial district Canary Wharf, an estimated 8.8 per cent of Tower Hamlets residents are unemployed, the second highest unemployment rate in London.
In response to the £162 million tax addition that local businesses will pay over the next four years due to the recent hike in business rates, this year’s parliamentary candidates will put emphasis on employment.
The current electorate total for each constituency is 79,581 for Bethnal Green & Bow and 74,919 for Poplar & Limehouse.
2015 Election Recap:
In the 2015 general election, Labour was able to secure a combined 59.9 per cent of the vote in the borough of Tower Hamlets. When compared with the Conservative tally of 20.23 per cent it can be assumed that Labour are not under threat for their seats in the two constituencies.
The Liberal Democrats will be represented in this election by Elaine Bagshaw in Poplar & Limehouse, and Will Dyer in Bethnal Green & Bow.
Expected to be a popular tactical vote, the Lib Dems are expecting more success in this election compared with previous years. However, having fallen behind Labour, Conservatives, Green and UKIP in the last election with only 4.37 per cent of the Tower Hamlets vote in 2015, it is unlikely the party will triumph in either constituency.
The Green Party, which achieved 7.09 per cent of the 2015 vote in the borough, were the third most popular party two years ago. They will be represented in this election by Alistair Polson in Bethnal Green & Bow and Bethan Lant in Poplar & Limehouse.
Polson was able to quadruple the Green vote in his constituency in 2015, with a focus of health service funding, social housing and air quality.
Lant has only been a party member for four years, but has lived in the borough for the past 14. The Green Party are currently crowdfunding in an attempt to finance their campaign in Tower Hamlets for this election.
Tower Hamlets Candidates 2017
Bethnal Green & Bow:
Rushanara Ali – Labour
Will Dyer – Liberal Democrat
Alistair Polson- Green
Poplar & Limehouse:
Jim Fitzpatrick – Labour
Elaine Bagshaw – Liberal Democrat
Bethan Lant- Green