East Ham Conservative Association covers most of the eastern side of the London Borough of Newham, from Manor Park and Little Ilford in the north, East Ham in the centre and Beckton and Royal Docks in the south.
We have some of the highest concentrations of ethnic diversity in all of London with a growing Black/West African, Eastern European and Asian population. Naturally our local party continues to grow and our membership reflects the complexion of the borough.
We are a modern and dynamic Association incorporating a wealth of talents, ages, ethnicity and backgrounds and we seek to promote an inclusive appreciation of our political party and to foster the understanding that our party is for all, regardless of who you are. We also seek to create local policies which deal with the day to day issues of public service delivery and which are support social justice and social responsibility.
The London Borough of Newham became an entity in 1965 with the merging of West Ham and East Ham councils and has been historically a very safe Labour-voting area. Newham was one of 4 London boroughs, out of 33 across the capital, which remained Labour in the 1968 local elections.
In the general elections, the borough was divided between East Ham North and East Ham South from 1950 to 1970, which returned Labour MPs with relatively strong majorities. In 1974 the borough, was divided into Newham North East, Newham North West and Newham South, which were also safe Labour seats. Only Newham South became a marginal seat between 1987 and 1992, when the Conservative Government was at its zenith.
The Newham political scene was rocked in 1978 with the defection of Harold Wilson's former Education Secretary Reg Prentice, the Labour MP for Newham North East, to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party. Mr Prentice had been fighting a long battle against the Labour hard-left, which went on to dominate the party during the 1980s. Mr Prentice moved to another seat in 1979, as Thatcher swept to power and later become a minister before retiring to the House of Lords.
In 1997, the area was redivided again into East Ham, West Ham and Poplar & Canning Town constituencies – the latter containing the Newham areas of Royal Docks, Custom House and Canning Town. At the last General Election in 2005, Labour held onto the East Ham seat by 13,155 votes.
At municipal level, Labour has always maintained an incredibly strong dominance and this has been made more so, by Newham having a directly elected mayor since 2002.
In the local elections, the Conservatives have fared a marginally better with the party gaining 6 seats in 1968, the most it has ever had. The party lost many councillors across the capital in 1971, including all six in Newham. It was not until 22 years later that the borough saw another Conservative elected, with 2 councillors in Greatfield. In the same year, the Conservatives went onto gain the Bemersyde seat in a by-election and in 1992, the Tories increased to four with the defection of one of Labour's East Ham councillors.
However, with the tide turning against John Major's Government in the mid-1990s, masses of Conservative councillors were swept out of the capital. In 1994, the Tories were completely removed from Newham.
The new mayoral system of governance in Newham has not been without problems either. Two Labour councillors defected to Respect in 2005, and another Mike Law, who was a Labour councillor for Royal Docks defected to the Conservatives. Unfortunately, no Conservative councillors were returned to the town hall in the 2006 local elections.