Boundary changes could spell the end for Westminster North
Proposals suggest constituency could be split in three but MP Karen Buck stresses the plans are not definite
St John’s Wood twinned with Hampstead, Maida Vale allied with Earl’s Court and Holland Park, and Bayswater coupled with the City of London, could spell the end of Westminster North.
A new study into the government’s plans to redraw the political map suggests Westminster North could be broken up to form part of three different constituencies.
The northern part of the current Westminster North would be swallowed up by a newly created Hampstead constituency, the western side would rejoin much of Kensington – as it did prior to 2010 – to form Kensington and Paddington, and the south would be added to the Cities of London and Westminster.
The proposals, by the Democratic Audit, are based on new rules imposed by the government which will see the number of seats reduced nationally from 650 to 600 and in London from 73 to 68.
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While the latest proposals are just one potential option, Westminster North is certain to face a major shake-up. By the next general election every constituency must contain an electorate within five per cent of 76,641. The seat currently has just 65,936.
The constituency’s current MP Karen Buck says the study is not a definite blueprint for the future, with the Boundary Commission set to unveil the official new map in September.
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“The Democratic Audit is a very fine organisation but all it is doing is modelling the options based on the numbers and rules,” she said.
“Their model would be an enormous change but it’s just one of the options.”
But she said the proposals do highlight the problems with the government’s “rigid numbers” in their new rules.
“If you follow these rules, which are absolutely ridiculous, then local authorities are going to have much weaker parliamentary representation than in the past and that can’t be good for Westminster,” she said.
The Westminster North constituency was newly created for the 2010 election, taking in parts of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Regent’s Park and Kensington North constituencies.
Democratic Audit executive director Stuart Wilks-Heeg said: “There is so much volatility in the London electorate that the changes will be more radical each time the boundaries are looked at – which will now be every five years.”