New constituency proposals keep Mike Gapes’ seat of Ilford South and dismantle Leyton and Wanstead
- Credit: Archant
The seat of Ilford South will be preserved in the latest Boundary Commission proposals, and the area of Wanstead will be moved to Ilford North.
The commission’s second review of UK constituencies was revealed today, in an attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
It is aiming to even up the number of voters in each seat, after David Cameron pledged to “cut the cost of politics” while he was prime minister.
In the original proposals the constituency of Ilford South would 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, and kept Ilford South, after “great opposition to this from respondants” during the consultation.
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Labour MP Mike Gapes, who has represented the constituency for 25 years, said: “I am of course delighted that the mad proposal to split up Ilford South into four separate constituencies linked to four different boroughs has been dropped.
“It never made any sense to split the heart of our borough.”
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The commission said the constituency is seen as the “capital” of Redbridge.
Instead it has got rid of Leyton and Wanstead, moving the Wanstead area to Ilford North.
The rest of the constituency, represented by Labour MP John Cryer, will be subsumed into the new seat of Leyton and Stratford.
The other change is that Bridge ward has moved from Ilford North to Iain Duncan Smith’s seat of Chingford and Woodford.
Mr Duncan Smith made a representation to add Bridge to his constituency to “reunite the community of Woodford”.
These proposals, which have reportedly cost £10million to research, may not be voted through due to prime minister Theresa May’s small majority.
Mr Cameron put forward the legislation when the Conservatives had a majority in the House of Commons, however now Mrs May has to rely on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to pass bills.
Mr Gapes certainly thinks it is unlikely that MPs will vote to reduce their number.
“It is in any case now very unlikely that the plan to cut 50 MPs will go through,” he said.
“The DUP is not in favour and weak and wobbly Theresa May has no majority without them.”
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting added: “I’d be very surprised if these proposals are ever implemented in practice.
It is not clear that a majority exists for these proposals. This whole saga has been an attempt by the Conservative Party to reshape parliamentary boundaries to suit their own party’s interests.”
He said he was sure a compromise could be reached by equalising the constituencies and reducing “the size of the unelected House of Lords”.