Wimbledon voters may not be so willing to remain True Blue this time around

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

Wimbledon voters are gearing up to have their say on July 4 and the path they choose could turn out to be a useful barometer of the direction of travel for the nation as a whole.

Save for the New Labour period, the Wimbledon constituency has been a solidly Conservative seat throughout the past century. However, sitting MP Stephen Hammond’s announcement that he will be standing down this time around opens the door wide open for a potential swing.

So what is the current mood ahead of the general election?

National politics and a general dissatisfaction with it seems to be a common thread in this part of the capital. One Post Office shop owner said: “Sunak is just full of gimmicks. Starmer is in a different world as well.”

“People have to show their anger and protest and vote. I think there will be a lot of tactical votes around here. It’s the economy for me, everything is getting expensive, especially around here.”

Retired resident Andrew Craig also feels very strongly that change is needed in national politics.

On his way to Cannizaro Park, he said: “I’m absolutely planning to vote, we’ve got the most corrupt, ineffective and listless government. Brexit was a disaster, everything the Conservatives did was a disaster.”

He also stressed the importance of getting young people engaged in politics and went as far as saying that a lack of engagement from them had helped lead the country towards its current state.

Mr Craig added: “Young people have to be engaged, Brexit happened because young people weren’t engaged. There are lots of things wrong with the European Union, but Brexit has been a disaster and has restricted their rights.”

“I feel we as a generation have let the next generation down, very much so. The inter-generational issue is the key issue. People like me can swan around, we should pay a different basis of tax. We should be paying more now because we underpaid in the 70s.

Julia and Mark Stevenson (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

“It’s now in the 80s and you expect the younger generation to foot that bill. It’s totally unfair and none of the parties are addressing that.”

Despite this, the youth of Wimbledon arguably seem much less engaged in the election than their elderly counterparts.

Friends Bella and Bron said that “politics isn’t something they talk about with their friends.” When asked why this was, Bron responded: “I don’t really focus on it, because I’m not going to change anything and I’m not going to change anything.”

Mark and Julia Stevenson recently moved with their family to Wimbledon from Weybridge. They have also recently moved their children to a nearby private school, and feel Labour’s discourse around charging VAT on private school places puts their children’s education at risk.

Mr Stevenson said: “What annoys me is Labour’s assertion that just because you got kids in private school that you’ve got loads of money. We’ve got kids in private school and if they put 20 per cent on top of that, I’m going to have to take them out of private school.

“We’ve scrimped and saved and run two jobs and not had holidays to send them to private school, especially because the schools around us were not that great.”

Defence was another issue close to the Stevenson’s hearts, as both of them are from military families: “The military is being stripped away but we’ve got more challenges now,” Mr Stevenson said.

“It’s not necessarily just about manpower, it’s about fraud and cybercrime. There won’t be more boots on the ground as such. Labour have said they will boost defence when they can afford it, but…. that could be 10 or 20 years.”

When asked about Rishi Sunak’s controversial plans to reintroduce a form of national service, both of them were in general agreement with it: “If it gives you the opportunity to do something voluntary and positive around your local area I think it’s a good thing,” Mr Stevenson said.

Mrs Stevenson added: “Our culture needs to change, we need to be more strict. It feels like we have no consequences for bad behaviour here.”

Even if you were unaware of Wimbledon’s swing status, the area’s status as an electoral battleground would quickly become clear to anyone after seeing the amount of Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative posters and placards in the town.

The outgoing Stephen Hammond was first elected nearly 20 years ago, but his imminent departure has got some thinking it will now be a three horse race for the seat.

Charity shop manager Fiona Sayer said: “Stephen Hammond is generally quite anti-Brexit, and he was popular for that. He was not on the side of Boris Johnson and he tried to take a middle line.

“Round here although there was a lot of Tory voters, a lot of them voted against Brexit. He reflected that.

“It is interesting, we have been getting loads of Lib Dem stuff coming through and I’ve got nothing else and the others feel they’ve not got much of a chance. Things aren’t so bad round here though, because compared to other areas we’re quite well off aren’t we.”

Gillian Bragazzi, who also worked in the shop, said: “The language that is coming out of some of the Conservative MPs is going more and more extreme. I always used to vote Lib Dems, I’ve never voted Conservative and I’m going to vote Labour because it can’t get any worse than it is now.”

Here is the complete list of candidates standing in Wimbledon: Rachel Brooks – Green Party; Ben Cronin – Reform UK; Danielle Dunfield-Prayero – Conservative and Unionist Party; Paul Christopher Kohler – Liberal Democrats; Aaron Malfi – Workers Party of Britain; Eleanor Stringer – Labour Party

Pictured top: Andrew Craig, who said: “I feel we as a generation have let the next generation down.” (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.