Back of a fag packet analysis of the proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in Bexley

by Steve

View from Erith Pier

There could be some notable changes to who represents Bexley’s residents in Parliament under new proposals from the Boundary Commission. I am no political commentator or analyst, but their Initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in London make for some interesting reading.

The proposals use existing council wards as building blocks for creating new constituencies, with the ultimate aim of reducing the number of MPs. By looking at how those council wards have voted in the past we may get a feel which parties might be successful in each new constituency. This is no exact science, and I’m aware is a method prone to error, but it still might give us a glimpse into the future.

Lesnes Abbey and St Michael’s wards would end up in a new Woolwich constituency under the proposals. I would suggest popping over to The Charlton Champion for a fuller analysis of a rather odd-looking constituency, but one that will probably be fairly solidly Labour.

Old Bexley and Sidcup will stay as is, apart from the addition of Danson Park ward, making Old Bexley and Sidcup even more Tory, something that didn’t seem possible.

But it is the proposed constituency of Erith and Crayford that is the most interesting one. Four wards from the current Erith and Thamesmead constituency are joined by six from the current Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency.

This could be a battleground for existing MPs, Teresa Pearce (Labour, Erith and Thamesmead) and David Evennett (Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford).

Four wards are decidedly Labour-leaning: Belvedere, Erith, North End and Thamesmead East. Six voted Conservative in the last council elections: Barnehurst, Brampton, Christchurch, Colyers, Crayford and Northumberland Heath.

This suggests the Conservatives may have the upper hand in this seat, despite it housing the majority of Labour households in the borough. However, it may not be as straightforward as that, with some wards being pretty close calls at the last council elections, and UKIP making real progress in some areas too. There is the possibility of this new seat becoming a key London marginal, or at least far less “safe” than the constituencies it will be replacing.

If Pearce and Evennett decide to stand we may see quite the political tussle, and if a strong UKIP candidate joins them the whole result would become even less predictable. It is hard to know how potential candidates would appeal to both the most deprived areas of Bexley and some of its most affluent, let alone address post-Brexit concerns in one of the only parts of London that voted for it. It could be a fascinating campaign.