I’m delighted that the independent Boundary Commission has confirmed that Hampstead will have a single, united parliamentary constituency in the next Parliament. The new boundaries, subject to MPs’ approval, have been drawn up after extensive consultation (you can see my responses to that consultation here and here).
As noted before, Hampstead had the most one-sided response to the Boundary Commission of any constituency in the country. Twice as many people responded to the consultation in Hampstead as any other constituency, and 88% of those people backed the Boundary Commission’s proposal. That is as big a democratic mandate as you could hope to have.
Given residents are so one-sided, it somewhat beggars belief that Tulip Siddiq has come out to yet again oppose the proposal, as covered and rebutted in the Camden New Journal this week. This is the third time she’s done so. She did it in 2016, she did it last year, and now she’s done it again. Each time, residents keep making their view clear: they want a single seat to represent Hampstead, not to split Hampstead in two, as Labour proposed.
To cover up the fact that Tulip disagrees with 88% of her constituents, she has parroted procedural excuse after procedural excuse. She’s tried to undermine democracy by trying to discrediting the independent Boundary Commission. And now she claims there’s no mandate to change boundaries at all. Huh?!
Labour constituencies have an average of 5,000 fewer voters than Conservative-held constituencies: giving Labour an in-built and unwarranted 20-seat advantage in the Commons. Boundaries need to change to equalise constituencies and ensure each vote counts the same, and it is grotesquely undemocratic for Labour to oppose doing so.
The reduction to 600 seats was part of the Parliamentary Voting System & Constituencies Act 2011. Since that Act, we’ve had two general elections where no party – including Labour – has proposed to return to 650 seats. It would be undemocratic to do that now just because Tulip opposes equal-sized constituencies.
I am pleased that the Boundary Commission has listened to local residents. But I’m dismayed that our MP resolutely refuses to listen to them. Hopefully, the next election will be fought on these new, fair, impartially-designed boundaries, which have the backing of local residents. And hopefully, Hampstead will get a new MP that actually listens to those residents.