Ilford is split in two for the purposes of general elections, and in 1992 the split was political as well as geographical. In that election, Labour took South from Neil Thorne, who had been the Tory MP since 1979. However, extensive boundary changes in 1995 meant the Conservatives nominally held the seat again. Nonetheless Labourís Mike Gapes secured a 16% swing in the election and held onto his seat in Parliament.
This half of Ilford contains all of the town centre, and though there are marginally more owner-occupiers here, the standard of housing is poor. Service and light industries are found in the seat, which has more manual workers than North as well as higher unemployment and a much higher ethnic minority population. The seat also has a significant Jewish population.
Twenty-three percent of residents are Asian, and this community has tended to vote Labour rather than Conservative. The town of Ilford is a shopping and commercial centre for much of north east London, but is unassuming and seldom attracts the casual visitor.