Mikes Gapes’ Ilford South seat to disappear in boundary review
- Credit: Archant
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes would lose his seat under the latest Boundary Commission proposals, with the constituency being divided into four separate parts.
Two wards in Goodmayes will go into the Barking constituency, three wards will be moved to Wes Streeting’s Ilford North seat and Cranbrook and Valentines will be transferred to Leytonstone and Wanstead.
The area around Ilford Lane will become a new constituency of Forest Gate and Loxford.
Mr Gapes, who has represented Ilford South for 24 years, told the Recorder “the heart of Ilford has been torn apart”.
“The constituency has existed since 1945, it contains the town hall, the police station, the hospital and Valentines Park,” the Labour MP said.
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The Exchange shopping centre, in High Road, will be split into two different seats.
Mr Gapes continued: “I have built up a really close relationship with my constituents and this is being broken by people who have no idea what Ilford is like or the geographical considerations.
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“This is a sad day.”
These plans are the initial proposals by the Boundary Commission, ordered by the previous coalition government, to unify all constituency sizes and reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
The Commission’s report states: “With the redistribution of the existing Ilford South constituency we believe that this is the least disruptive option for the proposals in this area.”
But the Ilford South MP argued the changes were “gerrymandering”.
He said: “It’s supposed to save money, but on the other hand the Tories have just added 230 unelected Lords to the upper chamber.”
Mr Gapes added that the redistribution was based on the electoral register at the end of 2015, and didn’t include people who signed up to vote in the EU referendum.
The 64-year-old veteran would not be able to challenge in any of the new seats under Labour Party rules, as Ilford South has been so thinly divided.
Mr Gapes said he wasn’t making “a decision about his future yet”.
The proposals will now go out for consultation, and eventually Parliament will vote on the final plans in 2018.