Tulip Siddiq was elected to the House of Commons for the first time last year
Published: 13 September, 2016
By RICHARD OSLEY
CAMDEN MPs today (Tuesday) hit out at plans to change the boundaries of their parliamentary constituencies with Tulip Siddiq claiming the alterations were an “attempt to gerrymander the electoral map”.
The Hampstead and Kilburn MP spoke out after learning that her seat is facing a major facelift with the loss of some Labour controlled areas in Kilburn in exchange for Tory-held wards across the borough border in Hampstead Garden Suburb, potentially making it harder for her to retain her place in the House of Commons next time the country goes to the polls.
The changes were proposed in a report published by the Boundary Commission, which says the constituencies across the country are too uneven in size. Tories said the changes would lead to a fairer election, dismissing the Labour criticism as hysterical.
Ms Siddiq, the Labour MP who holds a majority of 1,138 following her maiden win at last May’s general election, said: “What we are seeing from the Tory Boundary Review is an attempt to gerrymander the electoral map. They say that they want to 'reduce the cost of politics', while at the same time stuffing the House of Lords with their cronies. As London's population grows, we should have more representation for those who need it, not less..”
She will gain the council ward of Highgate, currently split between Labour and the Greens, as Highgate is reconnected with Hampstead. If the changes are approved, Camden, however, could move to having three MPs with a stake in the borough.
Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer is unlikely to face a harder task at future elections but warned today (Tuesday) that thousands of voters would be “disenfranchised”.
Under the changes, Mr Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions who succeeded Frank Dobson as MP in Holborn and St Pancras, would lose Highgate from his territory and all of the wards south of the Euston Road.
He would be shielded, however, by the gain of Labour-dominated wards around Tufnell Park, currently in party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North seat. A new constituency taking in central London areas above the Thames would cover parts of Holborn and Bloomsbury.
Mr Starmer said: “The boundary review will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters – particularly those in already unregistered groups – and it clearly favours one party above others. As MP for Holborn and St Pancras, I am very concerned that the review proposes that Highgate, Bloomsbury and Holborn and Covent Garden wards would no longer be part of my constituency. I have been working hard with residents in all three wards on a host of important issues and would like to continue to represent them. I am also very worried about the unfair changes that appear to be proposed in neighbouring Hampstead and Kilburn.”
He added: “Local communities now have a chance to voice their views about this proposals. I hope the Boundary Commission and the Government listen to local concerns and ensure constituency boundaries are decided fairly.”