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Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali criticises Tower Hamlets constituencies shake up

PUBLISHED: 10:35 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:55 13 September 2018

Bethnal Green and Bow Labour MP Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse. Pic: KOIS MIAH/MIKE BROOKE

Bethnal Green and Bow Labour MP Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse. Pic: KOIS MIAH/MIKE BROOKE

Archant

A shake up of the borough’s constituencies is not in the best interest of communities, MP Rushanara Ali has claimed.

How the Stepney and Bow constituency would look. Pic: ONSHow the Stepney and Bow constituency would look. Pic: ONS

The Boundary Commission – which groups voters into areas for national elections – revealed its final plans to divide the borough into three voter areas on Monday.

They would see Tower Hamlets split into seats named Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, Stepney and Bow, and Poplar and Canning Town.

How the Shoreditch and Bethnal Green constituency would look. Pic: ONSHow the Shoreditch and Bethnal Green constituency would look. Pic: ONS

The first combines Spitalfields and Banglatown, St Peter’s, Weavers, and Bethnal Green with six areas in neighbouring borough Hackney including Dalston and Haggerston creating a constituency of 75,449 voters.

Stepney and Bow would be 77,554 voters strong while Poplar and Canning Town would see five areas in Newham joining Canary Wharf, Island Gardens and Limehouse to form a constituency of 78,073.

How the Poplar and Canning Town constituency would look. Pic: ONSHow the Poplar and Canning Town constituency would look. Pic: ONS

Under the existing arrangement Labour MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali represent the Poplar and Limehouse and the Bethnal Green and Bow constituencies respectively.

Ms Ali said: “The final plan demonstrates an unprecedented power grab by the Conservatives to arbitrarily reduce the number of MPs.

“The suggested changes are not in the best interest of our communities. With the workload of MPs set to rise after Brexit, local people will suffer if these go ahead.

“Labour will continue to oppose these unnecessary and ill-thought out proposals,” she added.

Critics have also alleged that had the changes been in place at the last general election the Conservatives would have won a majority of seats in Parliament.

Commission secretary Sam Hartley said: “The recommendations we’ve published mark the end of a thorough process.

“We’ve heard many impassioned views about how best to reflect communities while ensuring constituencies are much more equally represented.”

The government now decides when or if the plans will go to the Houses of Parliament for politicians to decide if the new groupings will be used at the next general election.

The former Conservative prime minister David Cameron ordered the review in 2011 to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and create roughly equal constituencies.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP declined to comment.

The Conservative Party was approached for comment.

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