Boundaries Commission and the Streatham Constituency
After the general election of 2010 , the coalition government set out an objective to cut the cost of government, and make representation fairer, by reducing the size of Parliament by 50 MPs, and by harmonising constituency sizes between a narrow band of elector numbers. Historically, some inner-city constituencies had less than 50,000 registered voters whilst other constituencies were full to the brim over 80,000. To address these objectives the Boundaries Commission has re-drawn the boundaries into a draft constituency map for consultation.
The criteria the Bounday Commission uses is:
- Number of London constituencies must reduce from 73 to 68
- Constituencies must contain between 71,031 and 78,507 electors
- Proposed constituencies use local government wards
- Retain existing constituencies where possible
- Give due regard to geographic factors
We have looked into how this will affect the proposed Streatham and Mitcham constituency. Firstly, the name change reflects the take up of parts of Norbury and several wards from Merton to be called the Streatham and Mitcham constituency. The wards north of Streatham Place and Christchurch Road in Tulse Hill, Clapham Park and Brixton will go into different constituencies.
The good news is the new proposal keeps all four Streatham wards together in the constituency, as the previous proposal split Streatham amongst three constituencies.
The constituency gains Knights Hill ward to the east, and a Norbury ward from the Croydon North constituency and three wards from the Mitcham and Merton constituency.
There has been strong reaction and criticism from parts east and from Croydon, where bits of existing constituencies are being moved as well as from Meton and Wimbledon where local centres will be divided amongst new constituencies. To be fair, some of the reaction is clearly party political, but some challenge changes to existing localities. Lambeth, as a local authority, will be represented by several MPs as well.
It remains to be seen whether there is strong feeling about the proposal this time, and it will be interesting to see how much (whether?) people actually identify with their local authority. So far the reaction from Streatham this time round is prfoundly muted compared to the same in 2011 and 2012.
Interestingly for those following the Streatham Action transport campaigns, one of the reasons given by the Commission for rejecting an early proposal for a Streatham and Norwood plan was porr transport links between the two areas. One day public servants will realise seemingly unrelated policy results (elections and transport) have profoind effects on each other. Until then you can help them with this and have your say on the boundaries commission website.