MP criticises latest Westminster boundaries shake-up

Labour MP claims removal of part of Palmers Green from his seat would ‘break up community’, reports James Cracknell

The new Westminster constituency boundaries proposed for Enfield
The new Westminster constituency boundaries proposed for Enfield

Enfield’s three Westminster constituencies are set to be shaken up in the latest Boundary Commission proposals.

While Enfield North and Edmonton would see only modest changes to their boundaries, Labour MP Bambos Charalambous has said the plans to shift his Enfield Southgate seat to the west and include parts of Barnet borough would “break up our community”.

Previous proposals drawn up in an attempt to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Commons from 650 to 600 would have seen the Enfield Southgate constituency merged with Finchley. The new plans – designed to equalise the size of constituencies rather than reduce their number – would see parts of Palmers Green removed from the seat in the east and parts of Barnet added in the west. It would hence be called ‘Southgate and Barnet East’.

Meanwhile, the Enfield North constituency is now set to include more of Enfield Town and Bush Hill Park, as Edmonton swallows up the parts of Bowes Park and Palmers Green that are currently part of the Enfield Southgate seat.

Reacting to the news, Bambos said: “These new proposals break up our community.

“Residents who currently live in Bowes Park and along Hedge Lane very much feel like they are part of the Palmers Green community.

“The proposals would put them into the new Edmonton constituency instead. I welcome people’s views on these proposals.”

The existing Enfield Southgate seat has been regarded as a marginal ever since the then Conservative defence secretary Michael Portillo was famously ousted by Labour’s Stephen Twigg in 1997. It later switched back to the Tories in 2005, before turning red again in 2017 when Bambos was victorious over David Burrowes.

Analysis of the newly-proposed boundary changes suggest they would make the new Southgate and Barnet East seat a more Conservative-leaning constituency. The existing Chipping Barnet seat, which includes East Barnet, is currently held by Tory MP Theresa Villiers.

There is still a chance for the boundary changes to be modified. The Boundary Commission is now conducting a public consultation that will end on Monday 2nd August.

Tim Bowden, secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said: “We consider all feedback received during the consultation process, and it is your local knowledge that helps us to shape constituencies that best reflect your local area.

“It is easy to get involved, view our proposals and have your say, through our online consultation portal.”

New ward boundaries for the borough will come into effect for the 2022 Enfield Council election and have already been finalised. The new Westminster constituency boundaries are due to be finalised in 2023 ahead of the next general election.

Have your say on the boundary changes: