Monday 10th September 2018

Bambos Charalambous MP warns the Government against gerrymandering

Bambos Charalambous, Labour MP for Enfield Southgate warns the Government against gerrymandering after the Boundary Commission published their latest proposals that disproportionately affect Labour seats and threaten to tear his constituency apart. They will reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, while the un-elected House of Lords continues to grow.

Enfield Southgate constituency will be abolished, and the new Finchley and Southgate constituency will take in four of the current seven wards along with three wards from Barnet. The plans cut out thousands of local voters as they are based on an out-dated electoral register from 2015. The communities around Palmers Green town centre will be torn apart and represented by different MPs, while the constituency boundary will be spread across Enfield and Barnet boroughs.

Bambos Charalambous MP said: “Placing more power in the hands of fewer MPs is an attack on our democracy and an attempt to rig our electoral system. And who is set to lose the most seats? Labour, of course.

“This gerrymandering will spell the end of the iconic seat that I now represent. Tight-knit communities in Enfield Southgate will be torn apart, but the Boundary Commission has completely ignored their views and the views of millions of voters in the UK who have registered since 2015. For the sake of our democracy, the Government should scrap these proposals.”

The Government is due to table a vote on the proposals in Parliament, but while they benefit the Conservatives overall, some senior Tory rebel MPs may cause trouble as they find their seats at risk.

THE BOUNDARY REVIEW

 

The Boundary Commission's proposed boundary review will tear Enfield Southgate apart and shift neighbourhoods into four constituencies. Many constituents will find themselves placed in constituencies with wards in Haringey and Barnet and Members of Parliament would have to juggle two local councils.

 

The review fails to take into account changes in the constituency population and is based on an outdated electoral register which potentially omits thousands of people. This evidence is not good enough and calls into question whether the review's proposals have my constituent's best interests at heart.

 

The proposed new constituencies would create several new problems. The majority of what is now Enfield Southgate would find itself placed into Finchley and Enfield Southgate constituency. This would lead to Friern Barnet, Woodhouse and East Finchley having no train or tube link to any other part of the constituency, creating a nightmare for constituents trying to access the MPs office and for the MP trying to get around his or her constituency. Somebody travelling by train from Bowes Park to Grange Park, would travel just four stops and yet would pass through four constituencies.

 

The vibrant, tight-knit community of Palmers Green would find itself split in two, between Edmonton, and Finchley and Enfield Southgate. The boundary review also risks gerrymandering constituencies to the Conservatives' advantage. It is based on an arbitrary plan to reduce the number of MPs to 600, rather than an evidence-based approach.

 

If the government wants fewer politicians in Westminster they could begin by reforming the vastly oversized House of Lords, rather than the elected House of Commons. These proposals would lead to having fewer and fewer Members of Parliament while the number of unelected Members of the House of Lords continues to increase.