31 October 2011
The Boundary Commission has put forward proposals to abolish the parliamentary constituency of Ilford South, splitting its wards between four other constituencies. This is part of its attempt to reduce the number of MPs in London. It seems strange to do so by breaking up one of the largest existing constituencies! Below is the response of Barbara White, Labour Councillor for Goodmayes Ward. You can also see Mike Gapes MP’s response by clicking here.
Whilst understanding the difficulties of reducing the number of constituencies in London from 73 to 68 the proposed changes would mean the total loss of Ilford South with the stroke of a pen.
Ilford South is a multi cultural area made up of many races and many faiths. We all live in harmony and we should be held up as a model and not divided by four. We share each others festivals and our lives are enriched by this.
I live in Cranbrook and under the proposals Cranbrook would join the new Wanstead and Woodford constituency. People from Cranbrook have little to do with Woodford. We are used to walking round our constituence y and passing synagogues, churches, temples, gurdwaras and mosques. This isn't the case in Woodford. People from Ilford South joke about needing a passport to visit Woodford. There is a tremendous community spirit in Ilford South which should be treasured.
The destruction of the historic Ilford South is appaling and will result in the loss of identity for many. As terrible as it may be I appreciate the fact that some change is inevitable.
If we think of Ilford town centre, the hub of life in Ilford, it appears madness to split the town centre into two separate constituencies.
Because of its diversity there are close community and religious associations between certain wards. The first one that springs to mind is the closeness of the jewish people who live in Cranbrook and Clayhall. Putting these two wards together would make sense. I believe that Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, has already presented his alternative to you. The alternative proposal was given to you by somebody who understands the area and the important links between certain wards. He has been the MP for Ilford South for almost 20 years.
The historical part of Ilford is very important. The constituents of Ilford South have had their own member of parliament for sixty six years. They want an Ilford South MP and surely they are entitled to that. Ilford South is one of the five largest constituencies in the country and to simply dismiss it is callous and brutal.