London has been seen as a Remain stronghold. However, I see that there are a decent number of London constituencies which voted to leave (eg: Carshalton and Wallington, Croydon Central, Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Orpington, Romford, Ilford North, Dagenham and Rainham (where 69.9% of voters chose to Leave!)).

These constituencies are far from the centre of town, so is it possible that culturally and economically, they are more similar to Essex/Surrey/other Home Counties as opposed to London as we understand it? Or are there other reasons at play?

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_2016_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum_by_constituency

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    at least some people voted Tory simply because they were utterly fed up with Corbyn, not because they suddenly realised that the EU isn't the god's end they were made out to believe by Labour.
    – jwenting
    Dec 18, 2019 at 4:29
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    @jwenting I don't see what that has to do with the question. Voting Tory != voting Leave.
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 18, 2019 at 11:10
  • London has been seen as a Remain stronghold. Media depictions? Polling? Voting history? Your personal viewpoint? Consider elaborating a bit on the premise of your question. Dec 18, 2019 at 12:35
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    "Decent" meaning "significant"? Dec 18, 2019 at 12:38
  • @F1Krazy in this election, it basically was. Johnson ran on an agenda that was centered around getting Brexit done. Corbyn ran on an agenda to cancel Brexit. Nothing else really mattered during the campaigns.
    – jwenting
    Dec 19, 2019 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


I'm not going to rule out local effects, but a lot of the differences you note can be explained by ordinary demographics.

If you look at the tables for the Ashcroft Exit poll to the 2016 referendum, the vote was strongly correlated with age (young people voted mostly voted remain, the old mostly voted leave), ethnic identity (people who didn't pick 'white' mostly voted to remain) and weakly correlated to social group (people with high status jobs voted remain).

Now if we look at mappings of the census data for the 2011 census for age, ethnic identity and social group in London we see that the constituencies you've named have a greater than average number of old, white non-professionals than other areas of London.

More generally, "London" is really just being used as a short hand for an urban mixture of young professionals and BAME (Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnicity) communities, the same kind of voting pattern was seen in several smaller University towns around England and Wales.

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    The part about University towns is interesting, as a lot of students would be on holiday at the time of the Referendum.
    – Student
    Dec 17, 2019 at 10:10
  • Could you please explain what "BAME" means? I've never heard that acronym before. (I assume it's an acronym)
    – MechMK1
    Dec 17, 2019 at 14:32
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    @ MechMK1 sorry, it's Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, a term frequently used in UK demography for collected non-white ethnic identities (tick boxes for ethnicity in the UK usually have options such as White British, White Irish, White European etc., collected under White and Black African, Black Carribean, Indian, Chinese etc collected along with mixed identities under BAME), I'll edit it it
    – origimbo
    Dec 17, 2019 at 14:41
  • What are "non-professionals"? Unemployed? Students?
    – gerrit
    Dec 17, 2019 at 16:08
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    @gerrit I'm by no means an expert, but I suspect most working plumbers would be classified as "C2 - skilled manual workers". With the exception of medical doctors, 'profession' in the uk has a tendency to mean "office job" and would usually imply a person holding a university degree.
    – origimbo
    Dec 17, 2019 at 16:22

It appears to be the same belt (or "doughnut") effect discussed more generally with respect to other elections in (Greater) London. Basically Greater London is more than the [core] city, which itself is quite Labour and Remain oriented.

Here's the EU referendum results on a London map:

enter image description here

Image from polimapper; alas their [color] scale is a bit coarse.

A better map in terms of color scale, but alas with lower geographical resolution:

enter image description here

The BBC has ward-level data, but alas they don't depict it on a map, however they do offer this analysis for some (Greater) London areas:

Ealing and Hounslow are neighbouring multi-ethnic boroughs in the west of London with large Asian populations, where - in contrast to the national picture - non-white ethnicity was associated with voting Leave, particularly in Ealing. Both boroughs shared a varied internal pattern of prosperous largely white areas voting strongly Remain, poorer largely white areas preferring Leave, and the Asian areas tending to be more evenly split.

Ealing voted 60% Remain, with Southfield ward hitting 76%, but in contrast the Southall wards which are over 90% ethnic minority were close to 50-50.

In Hounslow the richer wards in Chiswick in the east of the area voted heavily Remain (73%), but the poorer largely white wards at the opposite western end in Feltham and Bedfont voted Leave (64-66%). Osterley and Spring Grove was also 63% Leave, the highest Leave vote in any individual ward in the UK with a non-white majority for which we have data.

The south London borough of Bromley narrowly voted Remain. Those parts which did not do so by a significant margin were the Cray Valley wards, largely poor white working class areas; and Biggin Hill and Darwin wards, locations to the south which contain more open countryside and lie outside the built-up commuter belt.

In Croydon in south London, places which voted Leave by substantial amounts were New Addington and Fieldway, neighbouring wards with large council estates.

So the poor & white suburban areas seem to have voted consistently enough for Leave in Greater London as they did nationwide. The Asian voting pattern differed in London than elsewhere though.

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