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Like me, you may have been under the impression that the changed parliamentary arithmetic following this year's General Election had put paid to the plan to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600. 

Well, it turns out that the Boundary Commission for England has been continuing to beaver away at redrawing constituency boundaries with the lower number of seats in mind.  It has considered all the feedback it received after it published its initial proposals last year and made changes.  The revised proposals were published today (and are up for consultation), and like last year's the principle of equal number of voters per constituency takes precedence over the principle of aligning constituency boundaries with local authority boundaries.

The proposed new constituencies

constituency changes smallerProposed new constituencies - click on the map to enlarge. Code: Pink - Finchley & Enfield Southgate; Turquoise - Hornsey & Wood Green; Orange: Edmonton; Blue - Enfield

The new Enfield and Edmonton constituencies would not include any part of a neighbouring borough, but Finchley & Enfield Southgate would include some Barnet wards (West Finchley, East Finchley, Coppetts Wood and part of Brunswick Park, while Bowes ward would become a very minor part of a Haringey constituency, which would be dominated by Muswell Hill, Hornsey and Highgate.

So the Commission is once again proposing constituencies that cut across the boundaries of the London boroughs, and Enfield Southgate is again one of the constituencies where this treatment is proposed.  There have though been some pretty major changes to the proposals for the Southgate constituency - now renamed Finchley and Enfield Southgate rather than Finchley and Southgate, and now incorporating Cockfosters ward in exchange for some parts of Barnet borough.  However, one thing that remains unchanged is that Palmers Green would be chopped up and divided between three different constituencies.

Exactly where Palmers Green starts and finishes is a matter of opinion.  I would say it included the whole of Palmers Green ward, all of Bowes ward, and parts of Southgate Green and Winchmore Hill wards.  The commissioners' proposal would distribute those wards as follows:

Ward New constituency
Palmers Green Edmonton
Bowes Hornsey & Wood Green
Southgate Green Finchley & Enfield Southgate
Winchmore Hill Finchley & Enfield Southgate

None of this means that the changes will definitely go ahead.  Parliament can either approve or reject the proposals as finalised by the non-political boundary commission, but it cannot make changes, since that would open up the possibility of US-style gerrymandering. The parliamentary arithmetic really has changed and there may not be enough support for a reduction in the number of seats among MPs - especially those whose constituencies would be abolished. If this turns out to be the case, the government may prefer to defer the debate until after the next election.

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Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3256 18 Oct 2017 11:54
It would be interesting to see the population figures ward by ward on this map. This would give us an idea of which wards would have most influence on MPs, at least in narrow electoral terms.

The separation of Palmers Green, at least its western section, makes no sense in community terms, and I suspect that the addition of the Finchely/Coppetts Wood wards to the Finchely and Enfield Southgate constituency similarly fails on community grounds.

Is it better or worse than the earlier proposals I wonder given that the basic carve up remains? Are there any other constituencies with such a strange lay out?
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3257 19 Oct 2017 09:30
Guess nobody wants to be lumped in with Edmonton.....

Finsbury Park was a mess for years because it was split between 3 Local Authorities - Islington, Hackney & Haringey. Be sad for PG to now suffer the same fate.