In seizing Chipping Barnet for Labour with a respectable majority, Dan Tomlinson -- at the age of 31 -- has broken the Conservative Party's hold on what in the past was one of their safest seats.


Tomlinson is only the second Labour MP to be elected for Barnet. He overturned a record of Conservative victories which had been unbroken for well over 70 years.

His illustrious Labour predecessor was Stephen Taylor who narrowly won the newly created constituency of Barnet for the first time in the 1945 post war Labour landslide.

In his five years as Barnet’s Labour MP, Taylor became an influential policy advisor to the Attlee government on the creation of the National Health Service and the development of general practice.

Taylor – who later went to the House of Lords – was heavily defeated in the 1950 general election.

He had won the seat in 1945 with a majority of 682 but five years later lost to Conservative candidate Reginald Maudling who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and who continued as the town’s MP until 1979. Maudling had a majority of 10,000 which he increased in later elections.

Barnet became a much-prized Tory stronghold: Maudling was followed by two equally-long serving Conservative stalwarts – the late Sir Sydney Chapman (MP from 1979-2005) and latterly by former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers (2005-2024).

Dan Tomlinson -- seen above visiting the Barnet Vale Festival -- has been a policy adviser for anti-poverty charities.

He trained as an economist and after working for the Treasury and the Resolution Foundation, he was appointed a principal policy adviser at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation leading their research and advice on aspects of economic insecurity.

He hopes to use his expertise to work with Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

For four years Tomlinson was a Labour councillor in Tower Hamlets. He was a member of the strategic development committee which dealt with major planning applications.

Tomlinson moved to London a decade ago and he and his wife purchased a house in Whetstone last year after having lived in Friern Barnet for a year and a half. They have a three-month-old baby son.

His first campaign on becoming the prospective Labour candidate was organising a petition last September as part of the nationwide protest over the plan to close railway station ticket offices, including at New Barnet and Oakleigh Park – a proposal later abandoned by the Rail Delivery Group. 

When he spoke last month at an election husting for Chipping Barnet candidates, he said one his priorities if elected would be to help secure the construction of more new homes.

While out campaigning, he had met so many people in their fifties and sixties whose sons and daughters were living with them because they could not afford their own homes.

He assured his future constituents he would work to protect “our beautiful green belt” by favouring brownfield sites of vacant industrial and commercial land, and that he would seek to preserve the suburban nature of the locality.

However, he made it clear he supported Labour’s policy of house building in the “grey belt” – on degraded sites within the green belt such as car parks, former waste tips and scrubland.

Another pre-election commitment was to make sure that Chipping Barnet received its fair share of the 1,300 new police officers that Labour had promised for London.

He had been shocked to discover since becoming the candidate that in almost every street had had visited there were reports of cars being stolen.  If elected, he would try to arrange a local summit on car theft bringing together the police, councillors and residents’ groups.

On being selected Labour’s candidate, he spent his first few months’ meeting residents to get to know the issues that affected the area, especially as there have been changes to the constituency.

The 2024 general election was fought on new Parliamentary boundaries.  The current Chipping Barnet constituency, created in 1974, was re-drawn, losing Friern Barnet and instead taking in Edgwarebury.

As a result of the boundary change, the size of the Chipping Barnet Jewish community is estimated to have increased from seven to ten per cent.

In September last year Tomlinson spent five days in Israel as part of a delegation of Labour MPs and candidates on a visit arranged by Labour Friends of Israel.

As well as visiting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, he spent a day at kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the communities which was attacked on 7 October.  

His selection as candidate in late 2022 was something of a surprise as it was thought the nomination would be go Emma Whysall, currently a High Barnet Labour councillor.

She had stood twice against Theresa Villiers in both the 2017 and 2019 general elections.

Given her success in reducing the Conservative majority to 353 and then 1,212, some in the constituency thought Ms Whysall (seen above, right, with Theresa Villiers) had earned another chance to fight what had become a highly marginal constituency.

Ms Whysall’s standing increased when she was elected to Barnet Council in May 2022, part of what was almost clean sweep of nearby council seats which for the first time gave Labour outright control of Barnet Council.

She made the short list for the pending parliamentary nomination -- and was seen as perhaps a preferred candidate -- but when it came to considering the presentations made on the night, Dan Tomlinson was selected from the final four nominations.