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Hampstead's changing face brings new challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:53 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 07 September 2010

A SHAKE-UP at Westminster means the General Election will be contested under new parliamentary boundaries with changes to hundreds of seats across the country. Hampstead and Highgate, currently represented by Labour MP Glenda Jackson, will become Hampstea

A SHAKE-UP at Westminster means the General Election will be contested under new parliamentary boundaries with changes to hundreds of seats across the country.

Hampstead and Highgate, currently represented by Labour MP Glenda Jackson, will become Hampstead and Kilburn.

It will lose the Camden borough council ward of Highgate but gain three wards from the borough of Brent - Kilburn, Queen's Park and Brondesbury Park.

The Highgate ward is split from neighbouring Hampstead Town through the middle of Hampstead Heath, so people living in Parliament Hill and Dartmouth Park will also be changing constituency.

Holborn and St Pancras, currently represented by veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson, will instead incorporate the Highgate ward but not lose any area, making it a larger constituency.

Residents in Highgate were indifferent to the move when asked by the Ham&High but said they were more affected by the area being divided into different councils at a local level.

Michael Hammerson of the Highgate Society, said: "These changes are no use to us, I can't see that it will be an advantage to Highgate to be part of a different constituency.

"For a long time what we have campaigned for is one borough for Hampstead and Highgate. We want Highgate dealt with as one area because we are on the borders of four different local authorities and it is hard to get them to work together. That is more important than where our votes for our MP are counted."

In Westminster the constituency of Regent's Park and Kensington North, currently represented by Labour's Karen Buck, is losing all the wards in the borough of Kensington to become Westminster North.

It will instead include the extra wards of Bayswater and Lancaster Gate that were formerly in the Cities of Westminster and London constituency, represented by Conservative Mark Field, which otherwise stays the same.

The changes were implemented after a review by the Boundary Commission for England. The aim is a similar number of voters in each constituency which means they cannot always be spilt along borough borders.

For example in Camden there is an electorate of 126,803 which gives a entitlement to 1.81 constituencies - meaning it has to be combined partly with another borough.

Overall, the changes will mean four extra constituencies in England. London has lost one seat, Brent East - part of which has become Hampstead and Kilburn and part Brent Central. The Boundary Commission is required to undertake a general review every eight to 12 years to ensure electoral equality. There are around 70,000 voters in each constituency, typically reflecting a population of 90,000.

As well as general reviews like the one completed in 2007, the commission can also carry out interim reviews at any time but they usually lead to only minor changes.


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