Beckenham (UK Parliament constituency)

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Beckenham is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

Contents

Constituency profile

The northernmost third of the constituency, around Penge and Crystal Palace, can be categorised as being similar in character to neighbouring Lewisham and North Croydon, having an inner-city feel about it and many ethnic minority residents. This part of the constituency votes strongly for the Liberal Democrats, with Labour also competitive.

The remaining two thirds of the constituency consists of leafy Bromley suburbia, also taking in the town of Beckenham itself. This area votes 60-70% for the Conservatives and is the reason why the constituency has been safely Conservative even in disastrous years for the party such as 1997 and 2001.

The addition, from the Bromley and Chislehurst seat, of Bromley Common and Keston ward, as well as that part of Hayes & Coney Hall ward that lay outside the constituency before the boundary review, and the removal of the Penge and Cator, Clockhouse and Crystal Palace wards, were predicted[by whom?] to make Beckenham the safest Conservative seat in the country.

History

Beckenham has never elected anyone other than a Conservative as its MP in modern times. It is a safe Conservative seat because there is a solid core of Conservative voters in the suburban parts of the constituency and the opposition is somewhat divided between Labour and Lib Dem. Unlike neighbouring Orpington constituency, a strong Lib Dem challenge could never succeed by squeezing out Labour votes here because of the presence of so many traditional Labour voters in Penge, which are quite inner-London in character.

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