New constituency proposals see Leyton and Wanstead partitioned while Mike Gapes’ Ilford South seat remains unaltered
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:45 12 September 2018
The seat of Ilford South is to remain unaltered under the latest Boundary Commission proposals, while the Wanstead area will be subsumed by Ilford North.
The commission today (September 10) published its final recommendations for constituency boundaries in attempt to reduce the House of Commons from 650 to 600 seats across the country – from 73 to 68 in London.
The proposed new constituencies will come into effect in 2022, the scheduled date of the next elections, if approved by parliament.
MP Wes Streeting’s Ilford North constituency would lose Bridge ward to Iain Duncan Smith’s seat of Woodford and Chingford.
MP John Cryer’s Leyton and Wanstead seat would also be dismantled, Wanstead being subsumed by Ilford North and the remaining areas becoming the seat of Leyton and Stratford.
Reacting to the changes, Mr Streeting said: “From my point of view the main change is that we lose Woodford Bridge, which is a shame because I have done a lot of work with residents in Woodford Bridge around tackling crime and building relationships with Woodbridge High School.”
But, on gaining two wards from Leyton and Wanstead constituency, he added: “It’s an area I know very well, which I have campaigned in and socialised in for many many years.”
Mr Streeting raised questions over whether the Conservative MPs would back the changes, which he anticipates will be opposed by all Labour members.
He added: “I think what the Conservatives are doing is gerrymandering parliamentary constituencies to make it easier to win seats because they are unable to get people to vote for their policies.”
Labour MP John Cryer echoed Mr Streeting’s sentiments.
He said: “Cutting the number of MPs by 50 as we prepare to leave the European Union is further proof this Government is clamouring to tighten its grip on power.
“With the workload of MPs set to rise after Brexit, with thousands of pieces of important legislation expected to come through parliament, it would be utterly ludicrous to go ahead with these boundary changes.”
He added: “Labour has repeatedly said that a boundary review is needed ahead of the next general election, but we cannot support the Government’s undemocratic proposals.
“We stand ready to work with all political parties to agree an accelerated timetable for a new review that benefits our democracy, not just the Conservative Party.”
Under the original proposals, the constituency of Ilford South was set to be dismantled, and split into Ilford North, Barking, Leytonstone and Wanstead and a new seat of Forest Gate and Loxford.
However the commission has completely changed this in its second review, and kept Ilford South, after “great opposition to this from respondants” during the consultation.
The commission said the constituency is seen as the “capital” of Redbridge.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said: “I think it’s ridiculous that we are reducing the number of MPs because that means that there is less representation and less ability to hold government to account.”
But Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith spoke in support of the commisison’s proposed changes.
He said: “I fully accept the Boundary Commission’s revised proposals for the parliamentary constituency boundary for Chingford and Woodford Green.
“I am pleased to see the information submitted by all parties has been taken into consideration and is representative of the nature of the constituency.
“The community of Woodford will in the main be re-united into one again within the boundaries of the proposed new constituency, which I welcome.”
Put forward by former prime minister David Cameron, the principle of reducing the size of the Commons in order to “cut the cost of politics” was approved by parliament in the wake of the 2011 expenses scandal.
The review also aims to even out the number of electors in each constituency to between 71,031 and 78,507.
Sam Hartley, secretary to the commission, said: “The recommendations we’ve published today mark the end of a thorough and consultative process to build the new map of constituencies.
“We’ve travelled the country, taken account of over 35,000 public comments, and heard many impassioned views about how best to reflect local communities in our recommendations, while ensuring that constituencies are all much more equally represented.
“We’re confident that the map we propose today is the best match of the legal rules Parliament has set us.
“It’s now up to Parliament to decide whether these boundaries will be used at the next general election.’