Sunday, 16 October 2016

My alternative constituencies: East London

In my opinion, East London (Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and Newham) has been badly botched by the Boundary Commission's initial proposals, who have failed for a start to look at the proper transport connections within this area (where public transport is very important) or the community ties between different parts of these four boroughs.

If it were not for the fact that a cross-Lea constituency between Edmonton and Chingford was neither practicable nor wanted by residents of either area (for the aborted review last time, the BCE proposed Edmonton & Chingford but withdrew it from their to-be-finalised 2013 plans over strong objections from residents, as well as a lack of usable links between those areas), I would be able to leave the Hackney and Tower Hamlets constituencies alone, and link the 'North Woolwich' area of Newham with Barking. In the absence of a viable cross-Lea constituency, there will have to be changes to every constituency in this area, although these should be on a lesser scale than what the Boundary Commission has proposed.

Hackney North & Stoke Newington should not be abolished, since the two communities are intertwined even though the constituency was created in 1950, 15 years before Stoke Newington (and Shoreditch) were merged with Hackney within Inner London (the old County of London). Nor is there any need to break off wards from Islington North, particularly not into northern Camden; the transport links within Islington generally go southwest or southeast, not directly east or west. Therefore, it should be the current Islington South & Finsbury that expands eastwards, not Islington North. Care should also be taken not to split natural communities within this area (i.e. do not put Plaistow North and Plaistow South into separate constituencies, and reunite Green Street East with Green Street West)

In any case, it is inevitable that one constituency will be abolished and one 'new' constituency will be created. Tower Hamlets is easier to divide up in terms of creating new constituencies as its predecessor boroughs were smaller and because it has more varying ward sizes due to having single-member, two-member, and three-member wards, which is rare in Greater London.

My alternative proposals for constituencies in East London are therefore:

Bethnal Green & Bow is abolished.
Stepney & Isle of Dogs succeeds Poplar & Limehouse.
Hackney South & Bethnal Green succeeds Hackney South & Shoreditch.
Islington South & Shoreditch succeeds Islington South & Finsbury; a Shoreditch & Finsbury constituency did exist from 1950 to 1974 and this is an expanded version of that former constituency.
Bow & Canning Town is a new seat.

Next in this series: North London & Central London.

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