Election 2015

Election results: Why they voted Tory in London

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Media captionConservative voters in London speak to the BBC. Clockwise: Dan Yeadon, Caroline Haynes, Charles Ansdell, Christine Hankin and Albert Karonga

London was supposed to be a bright hope for Labour, but in parts of the capital Ed Miliband's party has failed to make the gains it had been banking on. Patrick Jackson toured some of the capital's marginal seats on Thursday to soak up voter sentiment.

Of the 16 voters who agreed to speak when stopped outside polling stations in London, half had cast their ballots for the Conservatives.

At one station, voter after voter warmly greeted the Conservative rep sitting outside. At another, the street which housed the polling station positively bloomed with blue rosettes as a posse of activists gathered.

My polling day research in the west and north of the capital was hardly scientific - pitching up in marginal constituencies, I asked passersby for the nearest polling station and, once there, pestered all and any poor voter emerging from inside.

I came away with the impression of a Tory party on the march, even if one genial activist for the party admitted it was Labour that had campaigned more vigorously in his area.

Concern about the economy dominated conversation with the Conservative voters.

"I don't think you can do anything if you are broke," said professional musician Christine Hankin, after reluctantly voting for the Tories in a well-heeled part of Ealing Central and Acton.

"Everyone has been giving away things that they can't possibly deliver," she added.

On the much less leafy streets of Harlesden, Brent Central, where a "knife bin" stood yards from one polling station, former artilleryman Albert Karonga was delighted to be voting for the first time and endorsed the Tories as the party of the "working class".

Image caption Clockwise: voters Lee Glover, Rupert Smith, Ahmed Malim, Joseph Iles and Mahtab Aslam

Fellow voter Rupert Smith, a retired bus driver, said he had voted Labour as "the only party which stood up for the poor", while Islamic teacher Ahmed Malim said he had chosen Mr Miliband's party because it helped "poor people" and he was "not a rich man".

IT consultant Mahtab Aslam recalled how he had first come to the UK as a foreign student when Labour was in power, and conditions had been much better.

In Finchley and Golders Green, public sector worker Joseph Iles said he had voted Labour after witnessing the Tories' "savage cuts" in his sector.

At the same polling station, UKIP voter Lee Glover, a long-time Liberal Democrat supporter, said he had turned against the party after they joined the Tories in government. "What have I got to lose?" he asked.

In a Hampstead garden, Charles Ansdell, who works in communications, said he had voted for both the Liberal Democrats and Labour at past elections. However, he now voted Conservative because he believed austerity needed to continue.

As for the Liberal Democrat voters themselves, I found none who would speak to me as the hours ticked down to the close of polls on Thursday.

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