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Tory Councillor claims Labour’s leaked boundary proposals are ‘designed so that Tulip Siddiq can have a job’

PUBLISHED: 19:13 05 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:13 05 October 2016

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq

Supplied by Tulip Siddiq

Radical alternative boundary proposals drawn up by Labour would see Hampstead split down the middle and create two new seats – West Hampstead and Kilburn and Camden Town and Hampstead.

Radical alternative boundary proposals drawn up by Labour would see Hampstead split down the middle and create two new seats – West Hampstead and Kilburn and Camden Town and Hampstead.

The proposals from Labour’s London headquarters are designed to counter the controversial proposals currently being consulted on by the Boundary Commission and were leaked to the Huffington Post.

The counter proposals would save Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s seat of Islington North, but would place some of the party’s other MPs at risk of deselection.

The plans – although very unlikely to come to fruition – could leave Tulip Siddiq, the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, with a safe Labour seat of West Hampstead and Kilburn to contest, but could be bad news for Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer, who might have to fight other Labour MPs to contest the proposed new seat of Camden Town and Hampstead.

Bloomsbury, Kings Cross and Holborn wards from the existing constituency of Holborn and St Pancras would go to Westminster, while Belsize and Hampstead Town wards would come over from Hampstead and Kilburn.

This seat would likely become safely Labour – but could be contested by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry as her Islington South and Finsbury constituency would disappear.

The proposed new seat of West Hampstead and Kilburn would include Frognal, Swiss Cottage, Fortune Green, West Hampstead and the Brent wards of Kilburn, Queen’s Park, Brondesbury, Willesden Green and Kensal Green.

Claire Louise Leyland, leader of the Camden Conservatives and a councillor for Belsize ward, said: “The Boundary Commission has to propose changes that reduce the number of constituencies while ensuring that each has roughly the same number of electors, so that our democratic process will be fairer and more equal.

“We were pleased to see how much they have taken geographic factors and local ties into their account with their proposals. “This makes it even more galling that Labour are putting forward a plan that would shatter the very heart of old Hamspstead, ignoring the natural and long standing links between these neighbourhoods.”

She added: “Belsize doesn’t deserve to be treated like a political football, and we’ll work hard with local people to make sure that Labour doesn’t get to tear our community asunder.”

Hampstead Town Tory councillor Oliver Cooper called the proposals “naked gerrymandering” – the same phrase MP Tulip Siddiq used to describe the Boundary Commission’s official proposals.

Cllr Cooper claimed that Labour was trying to split up communities such as Hampstead “to serve their narrow party-political interests”.

He added: “The Boundary Commission, made up of civil servants, has come up with an apolitical proposal that would have united Hampstead into one single seat, and what they (Labour) have decided to do is split up Hampstead right down the middle at Hampstead village.

“This proposal is deliberately intended to give Tulip Siddiq a job. It’s an attempt to create two safe Labour seats so that Tulip doesn’t have to represent her constituents so she is safe to join the shadow cabinet and support Jeremy Corbyn without caring about what a marginal seat might think.”

Ms Siddiq said of last month’s proposals by the Boundary Commission: “The Tory boundary review is naked gerrymandering. The arbitrary reduction of 50 elected MPs under the guise of ‘reducing the cost of politics’, while the Conservatives pack the House of Lords with donors and political advisors, severely compromises the integrity of our democratic process.”

The counter proposals were due to be discussed at London Labour headquarters this week, before being presented to the Boundary Commission, which will report on its twelve-week consultation early in 2017.

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