Guido Fawkes, the political blogger, has leaked the Boundary Commission’s report which was due out tomorrow (the Croydon detail begins on p16).
And as Andrew Pelling wrote here earlier today, although even the Boundary Commission considers Croydon big enough to warrant the representation of four MPs, pressure on the number of MPs for the whole of London means that south of the River Thames, 27 MPs are to be reduced to just 25.
For Croydon, the proposal is that we will have a significant interest in four constituencies, with two wholly within the borough and two overlapping into Sutton.
The end result will be two seats with comfortable Tory majorities, one strongly Labour seat, and another looking likely to be a Labour marginal seat – the losers being the LibDems from neighbouring Sutton. So much for the ConDem coalition partnership.
Pelling predicted major changes to his old seat, Croydon Central. And that is exactly what the Boundary Commission is proposing. What has for the past 20 years been a tightly contested election target for Labour and the Conservatives looks likely to become a safe Tory seat.
The Boundary Commission wants to rename Croydon Central – Gavin Barwell’s seat – as Croydon East, with the addition from the old Croydon South constituency of Selsdon & Ballards ward (ballast to make it safer Tory territory?).
Croydon North is such a large constituency that it is to remain largely unchanged, except it is to lose Broad Green ward.
Where matters could get very interesting is the marriage of convenience that will be known as “Croydon Central and St Helier” that contains four Croydon wards (Broad Green from Croydon North; Fairfield ward from Croydon Central; and Croham and Waddon wards from Croydon South) and five Sutton wards.
Likewise, a shotgun marriage to the south is proposed in the creation of “Purley and Carshalton”, using Coulsdon East, Coulsdon West. Kenley, Purley and Sanderstead wards (from the current Croydon South), and four ward from Sutton.
In both of these crossover constituencies, Croydon voters will far outnumber those bolted on from Sutton: around 43,000 to 37,000 in the new Croydon Central and St Helier constituency; and 50,000 to 29,000 in Purley and Carshalton.
Tom Brake is the current LibDem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, and the Boundary Commission appears to have shattered any chances he has of being re-elected, as his heartland vote is split between what may develop into one Labour marginal and a staunchly Conservative seat.
The concept of having Parliamentary constituencies which do not conform to borough boundaries is not new, though it lacks a degree of elegance in its solutions, and it is sure to create complications for cross-borough MPs. How can they attend Town Hall meetings to represent their constituents if Croydon and Sutton councils meet on the same night, for instance?
- Croydon’s MPs await news of a game of musical seats (insidecroydon.com)
- All together now: with the non-public, non-inquiry panel (insidecroydon.com)
- Martin Luther King, Croydon and putting riot victims first (insidecroydon.com)