Brent Council to cut six councillors under proposed boundary shakeup – with fears Kenton Tories could be most at risk
PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:20 28 August 2018
Six Brent councillors could be out of a job under a planned review of ward boundaries – and there are fears the borough’s three opposition councillors could be most at risk.
The boundary commission has said the chamber’s 63 seats should be reduced to 57. At present, the three Tory councillors in Kenton ward represent just 3 per cent of the electorate between them, compared with an average 4.8pc. One ward, Kilburn, contains 7pc of the electorate.
A town hall source confirmed Kenton was one of the two wards thought to be most at risk, with the other being Brondesbury Park – which the Tories lost to Labour in May.
But Cllr Michael Maurice, who represents Kenton, this week insisted: “Nothing’s concrete.”
He told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “We know the number of councillors is dropping – whether that means Kenton will pick up parts of other wards we don’t know.
“If the area does pick up other areas, then it depends whether they are Labour or Conservative areas. It’s all academic at the moment.”
If Kenton were expanded to include some of Barnhill, it could spell misery for the party: in May, Labour won a majority there of 1,500. Preston and Northwick Park wards have majorities of about 600 votes. By contrast, the three winning Tories in Kenton got majorities of 245 to 430. That means any changes to the boundaries could put the party’s seats under threat.
The report, approved by cabinet in July, said Brent’s electorate swelled by 23pc in 2016 because of registrations ahead of the EU referendum. More than 41,500 signed up to vote in the election, with 60pc of the borough voting to remain. Prior to that the numbers in each ward had been more even.
The last time ward boundaries were reviewed was in 1999, when 10 wards were dissolved. The commission would not say whether it favoured reducing the number of wards, or simply reducing the number of seats in some.
A consultation has been launched to find out the public’s views by November 5. The commission will publish a report in January 2019, and locals will have another chance to give their opinion. You can respond at consultation.lgbce.org.uk.
Carolyn Downes, chief executive of Brent Council, said: “The consultation is interactive, allowing for residents to find out how Brent’s population is spread throughout the borough and suggest where the boundaries should be.
“I’d encourage every Brent resident to take part.”