Redbridge MPs welcome Lib Dem vow to stop constituency shake-up

The proposed removal of the Ilford South constituency, including MP Mike Gapes, may have been stopped after Liberal Democrats vowed to block the controversial boundary changes.

The House of Commons seat, which incorporates Ilford, Seven Kings and other areas, would have been abolished under plans to change constituencies in England.

Last year’s report by the Boundary Commission for England proposed to divide the area between a new Wanstead and Woodford constituency, Ilford North, Barking and Dagenham and East Ham.

Mr Gapes, who has held the seat since 1992, said the plans would “destroy community relationships”.

Speaking after the report was released, he said: “The relationship I have worked to build with the community over 20 years has been cast asunder with the stroke of a pen.”

But on Monday the Labour MP was celebrating confirmation that the Liberal Democrats would vote against the plans.

He said: “It’s good news for Ilford South. It means it still continues to have an MP and the whole proposal was complete nonsense anyway.

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“It’s not just about equalising the population, it’s about having a community group that makes sense.”

The new boundaries would have divided central Ilford and other areas into different constituencies.

Ilford train station would have been in Wanstead and Woodford but the police station would have been in East Ham, for example.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott and Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith also made representations against the plans.

Mr Scott said: “I’m pleased my constituency is staying the same but it’s a disappointment not to reduce the number of MPs.

“I don’t know what happens now but it looks like we will fight the next election in our constituencies.”

The proposals aimed to lower the number of MPs and even out voter numbers.

But Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer said the change was unnecessary.

He added: “The Boundary Commission works to be proportional anyway and there was no need for what the government was trying to do, which was gerrymandering.”

Nick Clegg said the move was in response to the Conservatives dropping House of Lords reforms and “breaking” the coalition agreement.

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