The London neighbourhood where over a third of people don't bother voting because 'it's pointless'

A theme of the 2024 General Election trail across London and the UK in general has been voter apathy - the feeling that people are so fed up with politics that they are at a loss for who to vote for. One part of North West London had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the UK at the last election, so MyLondon went to speak to people there to find out whether that's likely to change this time around.

Before the days of COVID and the cost of living crisis, the country's so-called 'Brexit election' saw Boris Johnson's Conservatives win a landslide majority over the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party. Despite a satisfactory voter turnout of 67 per cent, the same enthusiasm for the election was not felt in parts of London for the third election in five years. Brent Central was one such case, with its voter turnout of 59 per cent ranking as the second lowest in the city behind Barking.

While it now sits in a newly formed constituency, many people in the area feel even less keen about casting their vote this time around. "It's pointless, there's nothing to vote for," Harlesden resident Labin Kesia, 42, told MyLondon.

READ MORE: 'He sounds like he's holding in a fart': England fans have their say on General Election

Harlesden is now in the Queen's Park and Maida Vale constituency
Harlesden is now in the Queen's Park and Maida Vale constituency -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

"There's no one there intelligent enough. I believe the people we've been voting for in the last 10 years have let everyone down in the UK. Parliament is like their own business place.

"They're not for the public and not supporting the poor. There's people queuing up for food in 2024. If you look outside the churches around here, they're queueing because they cannot afford food. There's no point in voting at all, until we get the right person."

Labin Kesia, 42, believes it's "pointless" to vote in the General Election on July 4
Labin Kesia, 42, believes it's "pointless" to vote in the General Election on July 4 -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

A review of constituency boundaries in 2023 has led to the Brent Central seat being abolished and re-established into Brent East. Some parts of the former seat now sit within the new constituencies of Brent West and Queen's Park and Maida Vale.

Among people who voted in the 2019 election, many are keen to elect Dawn Butler once more, who's standing in Brent East - although Harlesden will now fall within Queen's Park and Maida Vale. Some, who have serious issues with Labour's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the suspension of Diane Abbott, are willing to vote for the party because of her local reputation.

Mr Henry and Ms Morgan are voting Labour because of their local MP Dawn Butler
Mr Henry and Ms Morgan are voting Labour because of their respect for local MP Dawn Butler -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Mr Henry, who works in New Look Travel on Harlesden High Street but lives in the Brent East constituency, said: "Locally I vote Conservative, but Dawn Butler is a very good MP. It’s good to have Black representation.

"The way the Labour Party is going a Black person can’t identify themselves as Black. If I say you’re white, it might cause a problem. All of it has made me question the Labour Party. Dawn Butler couldn’t give her opinion without being named anti-Semitic.

"But overall we need a Labour government now, regardless of who the leader is. I wish it was someone like Tony Blair in charge of the party, no matter what anyone says he was good.2

Ms Morgan, who also works in New Look Travel, echoed the urgent need for a change in government. "Rishi Sunak doesn't relate to us," she said. "He doesn't relate to the poor people. He's out of touch, and doesn't know what it's like to go without."

She adds "But I don't really know anything about Keir Starmer, he's a mystery man. All I know is that he was a top lawyer. But we're not voting for Keir Starmer, I'm voting because it's Labour and my local MP [Dawn Butler] is Black. She's helped a lot of people here."

Kashaf Malaiki, 24, is undecided who to vote for
Kashaf Malaiki, 24, is undecided who to vote for -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Kashaf Malaiki, 24, who runs a convenience store in Harlesden, said told MyLondon she is unsure about who to vote for on July 4. "We don't have too much footfall here, so I'd like the next Prime Minister to provide more support for local businesses.

"There's a lot of big grocery making more sales and taking our customers. If the government can put on events and encourage things like free parking it might help to increase footfall for local businesses."

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