Long-standing MP’s bid to stop Ilford being ‘carved in two’

A veteran Ilford South MP would link Great and Little Ilford under a proposed new parliamentary constituency.

Labour member Mike Gapes was rocked by plans, published in September, to “carve up” the historic Ilford South constituency he has represented for 20 years.

With him at the helm, the Redbridge-born MP’s electoral zone has swollen from 56,000 voters to 86,000, making it one of the five largest in the country.

Speaking to a Boundary Commission hearing in East Ham Town Hall on Friday, he said he accepted there had to be change, before outlining his alternative idea to group Cranbrook, Clementswood, Loxford and Valentines with Clayhall, Wanstead and the Newham borough’s wards of Manor Park and Little Ilford.

Mr Gapes said: “I cannot accept or see any merit in the Boundary Commission proposal to split Ilford town centre into two.

“Today many residents of Little Ilford and Manor Park shop, work or go to school in Ilford.”

Ilford North MP Lee Scott, who also addressed the meeting, said he felt Clayhall ward should stay part of his area. “I firmly believe that Clayhall should remain in Ilford North and that view is reflected when you look at the council’s area committee four, which groups Clayhall with Barkingside and Aldborough,” he told the Recorder.

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“But what I am more concerned about at the moment is stuff that concerns my constituents,” he added.

Making his claim for Clayhall to be part of a revised Ilford South, Mr Gapes said: “There are strong relationships between members of the Jewish and Muslim communities on both sides of Eastern Avenue.

“Many Jewish people living in Clayhall have connections to synagogues in Cranbrook and Valentines and many Muslims attend the mosque in Clayhall.”

The Boundary Commission for England, which has the task of reducing the number of London constituencies from 73 to 68, is consulting the public on their proposals until December 5.

Their plan would scrap Ilford South and divide it among a newly reinstated Wanstead and Woodford, Ilford North, Barking and Dagenham, and East Ham.