A bluffer’s guide to Boleyn

9 Nov

Boleyn map


Boleyn ward came into existence in 2002, following a major reorganisation of boundaries in Newham, which reduced the number of wards from 24 to 20. The newly created Boleyn ward was made up from bits of the old Bemersyde, Castle, Central, Greatfield and Plaistow wards.

Greatfield ward, from which the southern part of Boleyn comes, was once a stronghold of the Residents & Ratepayers. They held the ward at every election from 1968 to 1982, when the SDP-Liberal Alliance won. Labour took all three seats in 1986, but lost two of them in 1990 to the Conservatives. The ward went back to Labour in 1994 and stayed that way.

The northern part of Boleyn mostly comes from Castle ward, where Sir Robin Wales first cut his teeth in Newham politics. He was elected there, as plain old ‘Robert A Wales’, in 1982. He replaced ‘Margaret D Brown’, who is better known these days as councillor Dianne Walls OBE.

Although Respect came close to causing an upset in 2006 Labour has won Boleyn ward at every election since it came into existence.

At the 2014 elections there were 9,689 voters on the electoral roll in the ward. Turnout was 44% – slightly above the Newham average – and the three Labour candidates cruised home.

Candidate Party Votes
Obaid Khan Labour 2658
Charity Fiberesima Labour 2505
Harvinder Singh Virdee       Labour 2425
Jamal Uddin Conservative 869
Yasir Asif Conservative 823
Yaseen Farmer Conservative 756
Ben Robinson Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition        342
Barbara Chukwurah Christian Peoples Alliance 270
Stephen Williamson Christian Peoples Alliance 259

Population & Demographics*


  • Total: 15,932
  • Male: 53%
  • Female: 47%
  • Average age (mean): 31
  • Median age: 29


  • Total: 4,928
  • Avg HH size: 3
  • One-person HHs: 24%
  • Deprived HHs: 77%
    • Single deprivation: 37%
    • Multiple deprivation: 40%
  • Owner-occupied: 42%
  • Private rent: 31%
  • Social rent: 26%
  • Overcrowded HHs: 33%


  • Christian: 35%
  • Hindu: 10%
  • Muslim: 40%
  • Other: 3%
  • No religion/not stated: 12%


  • White British: 13%
  • Other white: 9%
  • Asian/British Asian: 55%
  • Black/Black British: 16%
  • Mixed/multiple: 4%
  • Arab/other: 4%

Place of birth:

  • Born in UK: 46%
  • Born in EU (ex. UK): 8%
  • Born other countries: 47%

Time in the UK:

  • In the UK less than 5 years: 35%
  • In the UK 5 – 9 years: 20%
  • In the UK 10 years or more: 45%

Economic activity (16-74 yr olds)

  • Economically active: 49%
    • In employment: 32%
    • Self-employed: 7%
    • Looking for work: 9%
  • Economically inactive: 51%
    • Retired: 23%
    • Looking after home/family: 7%
    • Long-term sick/disabled: 14%
    • Other: 5%
    • Students: 3%

* Based on 2011 Census. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

2015 candidates

Labour’s Veronica Oakeshott is a campaigner for Save the Children UK. She has an MA in political campaigning and was the subject of a brief profile in the Newham Recorder in 2011.

Emmanuel Finndoro-Obasi is chairman (sic) of the East Ham Conservative Association. In the 2014 local elections he stood as one of his party’s candidates in Beckton, finishing sixth.

David Mears was UKIP’s candidate for mayor in 2014, when he came third with just over 6% of the vote. Three months later he stood as the party’s candidate in the Beckton by-election and again he came third, this time with 11%.

Diane Ofori is an independent film and TV producer. Her showreel on YouTube includes an election broadcast for the Christian Party.

Green party candidate Frankie-Rose Taylor describes herself in her Twitter bio as a ’22 year old actor, feminist and sunshine child.’ She is a leading member of the BoleynDev100 campaign, which is calling for 100% social housing on the Boleyn Ground site, which will be redeveloped after West Ham United move out next summer.

Sheree Miller is the Liberal Democrats’ candidate. She lives in Plaistow and works as a Customer Experience Manager at the Barbican Centre.

The issues

Housing. Housing. Housing.

Look at the map. The Boleyn Ground stands at the heart of the ward. The 850 ‘luxury homes’ to be built there will have a huge impact on the character of the area. Even the small number of allegedly ‘affordable’ shared ownership homes will be far beyond the reach of local people. Labour will claim it’s pushing hard to get a better deal from Gailiard Homes, the developers, and will cite the last minute ‘offer’ (details unspecified) that led to the strategic planning committee deferring its decision last month.

But their opponents will hammer the council’s dismal record of failing to stand up to greedy developers. And the fact that the only homes Newham is building itself, via its Red Door Ventures business, are for private rent – at market rates ‘starting at’ £1500 a month for a 2-bed flat.

One Response to “A bluffer’s guide to Boleyn”

  1. Birdman November 9, 2015 at 16:36 #

    If Veronica Oakeshott is elected, which is likely, I can only hope that she will have some independence of thought and action. The Councillor she hopes to replace, whilst a very nice person, simply voted the way she was told, never questioned anything she was told and was very limited in ability. All of which made life easy for Wales and his cronies who as a result supported her when there were far better candidates available. It is a mystery to me how she ever got through the selection panel, although I have my suspicions. Whoever is elected needs to challenge, ask for evidence and not see the office of Councillor as a sinecure or a stepping stone to well paid work elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: