It always sounded improbable. How could Fortune Green ward disappear off into the clutches of a Barnet-dominated parliamentary constituency, leaving behind its southern neighbours? There was lobbying from all three parties; there was wailing; I heard a rumour that some Liberal Democrats actually gnashed their teeth. The end result: the Boundary Commission’s revised proposals have kyboshed the idea.
The Commission proposed a Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, comprising two Brent wards and eight Camden wards, that would be similar, but not identical, to the existing Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. The Commission did not include the Camden ward of Fortune Green in this constituency, but rather in a Finchley and Golders Green constituency. It also did not include the Camden ward of Belsize, which it proposed should be included in the Camden and Regent’s Park constituency. Both these wards are in the existing Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.
In light of the many representations, such as from Camden Borough Council, that the Commission’s proposals in relation to both Fortune Green and Belsize wards would break existing ties, we have decided that these wards should be in a Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. To satisfy the electorate range, we have decided that two other Camden wards, Gospel Oak and Kentish Town, which the Commission included in its Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, should instead be included in a Camden Town and Regent’s Park constituency. Our proposed Hampstead and Kilburn constituency (which is the same as that proposed by the Conservative Party) comprises wards from two boroughs, as in the Commission’s proposals. Since this constituency would be largely similar to the existing constituency, we have decided that the name should be retained.
In the near term this is all a bit of an irrelevance, but it may not be in the longer term. We all know that the Lib Dems said they wouldn’t back the Conservatives over changes to constituency boundaries as the Tories failed to move forward on an elected House of Lords. In practice, this means that any changes have a Lib Dem’s chance in Tower Hamlets of getting through before the next election. Nevertheless, the revised proposals from the Boundary Commission may carry some weight should the Conservatives win an outright majority next time around (Labour’s already said it would scrap the proposals).
The revised proposal returns Fortune Green to its rightful home as part of Hampstead & Kilburn. There are other changes to the 2011 plans, but the upshot compared to the situation as it stands today is simple: H&K gains Highgate but loses Brondesbury Park. Everything else is as you were. You can view all the revisions across London on this gigantic map.
Existing wards in H&K: Belsize, Fortune Green, Frognal and Fitzjohns, Hampstead Town, Kilburn, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead, Brondesbury Park, Kilburn, Queens Park
Proposed revision: Belsize, Fortune Green, Frognal and Fitzjohns, Hampstead Town, Highgate, Kilburn, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead, Kilburn Park, Queens Park
|Here’s the 2011 proposal from the Boundary Commission|
|Here’s the 2012 revision|
As I say, this will not happen before the next election (at the very earliest), so it’s a bit premature to start predicting the political ramifications of any such changes.