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MPs and council leader slam new boundary reforms in Brent

PUBLISHED: 13:16 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:36 16 September 2016

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Politicans

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Senior politicians in Brent have slammed the new boundary changes saying it’s a farce, a mish mash, confusing for residents and unfair.

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Proposals for massive changes to parliamentary constituencies have been announced by the Boundary Commission this morning directly affecting Brent North, Brent Central and Kilburn residents.

The proposals will reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 in the country. A total of five will be lost in London.

Tulip Siddiq MP for Hampstead and Kilburn will no longer serve Kilburn, Queens Park and Brondesbury Park. The two former wards will be part of a new ‘Queen’s Park and Regent’s Park’ constituency.

Brent North will be divided into two new constituences: Kenton, which will include four of Brent North wards, and ‘Wembley and Harrow on the Hill’, which will include five of its wards.

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Brent Central will see eight of its nine wards move to a new Willesden constituency, which will include Brondesbury Park.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, said: “My initial thought is that Brent Central stays intact keeping eight of the nine wards. Just the name will change but I’m unhappy with this whole redrawing.

“In 2010 they did it, Brent South disappeared. Now they are redrawing the boundaries again at the time when this government are increasing the number of people in an unelected house of lords, we’ll have no MEPs, there are two million people who are not included in this redrawing. It’s just a complete and utter farce.”

She added: “The government are not doing it by population. If they were doing it by population I would think fair enough. They are just doing it from the people who have registered to vote. This is wrong. Because of the EU vote, and how they extended the deadline, two million more people registered to vote and they are just ignoring them. We live in a democracy, how can that be fair? How can that be right, even by their own rules and standards, they are breaching that.”

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Ms Siddiq said: “The Tory Boundary Review is naked gerrymandering. The arbitrary reduction of 50 elected MPs under the guise of “reducing the cost of politics”, while the Conservatives pack the House of Lords with donors and political advisors, severely compromises the integrity of our democratic process.

“It is expected that the proposals will go through several iterations, however my entire focus is on helping the residents of Hampstead and Kilburn to overcome the many challenges facing our local area.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said it “sounds like a nightmare”. He added: “Because the change will take what’s now from Brent North and Central to create new constituencies, it all sounds like a mish mash. It doesn’t look like they know what they are doing.”

“Renaming them again, it’s hard enough to get people to understand how the council works and how wards work and how they link into constituencies.

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“All those changes will create great confusion at a time when we need security and clarity in our country.

“How will they get that information out to residents? will they take into account what council’s need as well? They’ve come up with all these arrangements and we have had no input into it.”

However Cllr Helen Carr, Brent’s only Liberal Democrat representative, welcomed the changes. She said: “I’m all for cutting the number of MPs and all for reducing the numbers of Lords and councillors. There has to be a major reorganisation. Whoever is not in power will say the system’s designed to keep them out but these proposals do need further analysis.”

Sam Hartley, from the Boundary Commission, said: “Today’s proposals mark the first time people get to see what the new map of Parliamentary constituencies might look like. “But they are just the commission’s initial thoughts – during the next 12 weeks we want people to take a look and tell us what they like and don’t like about our proposals. “Parliament has set us tight rules about reducing the number of constituencies, and making them of more equal size, and we now need the views of people around the country to help us shape constituencies that best reflect local areas.

“Use our website to tell us what you think, or come along to one of our public events to give us your views in person.”

For more information visit bce2018.org.uk.

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