‘Wimbledon effectively ripped apart’: MPs vow to fight abolition of seats they’ve held for more than a decade
The furore over boundary changes to MPs seats has hit south west London as two MPs prepare to fight the decision to abolish their constituencies.
Conservative Stephen Hammond and Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh both look set to lose their seats in 2020 if the Boundary Commission’s changes are implemented.
Under the initial plans Mr Hammond’s Wimbledon seat, that he has held since 2005, will be split between the new Wimbledon Common seat and the Putney constituency.
Mitcham and Morden, Ms McDonagh’s seat since 1997, will be split between four neighbouring constituencies, Tooting, Streatham and Mitcham, Merton and Wimbledon, and Sutton and Cheam.
Wimbledon MP and former transport minister Mr Hammond said: “Wimbledon is effectively ripped apart with Wimbledon Park and Village joining the Putney constituency.
“Residents in this part of my constituency look towards Wimbledon town centre for their shopping, leisure and public transport facilities.”
He added that there was little community feeling between Wimbledon and Putney.
His office confirmed that he hoped to amend the Boundary Commission’s proposals before they are implemented to better reflect community cohesion in Wimbledon.
Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh also plans to fight the review saying that it amounted to a ‘complete annihilation of a constituency that has existed in its present state for 50 years’.
Ms McDonagh also questioned whether these plans would see Mitcham and Morden residents fairly represented in Parliament.
Mr Hammond agreed with these reservations, saying: “These proposals will make it harder for Members of Parliament locally to work constructively with the Local Authority, to deliver for residents in the areas that matter most to them and to understand their concerns.”
Elsewhere, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said that the review was being carried out for party political reasons.
He said: “The proposed changes are based on an out-of-date version of the electoral register with nearly two million voters, who registered to vote in the EU referendum, missing from the calculations.”
“These changes are not about strengthening our democracy, rather they are about what is best for the Tory Party.”
However Conservative Battersea MP Jane Ellison also stands to lose out under the proposals.
Mr Umunna’s constituency remains largely intact but there is speculation that the review places him under pressure from the hard-left Momentum group.
The boundaries are being reviewed to ensure that parliamentary constituencies are equally sized.
Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore, said: “As it stands, some constituencies have twice as many electors as other constituencies and that cannot be right.
“We are committed to ensuring fair and equal representation for the voting public across the UK is in place by the next general election.”
The proposed review allocates London 68 constituencies, a reduction of five.
The Boundary Commission is hosting public hearings on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 October at the Main Guildhall, High Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EU.
Featured picture courtesy of Wikicommons, with thanks
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