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Boundary changes in 2020 could see Southwark get a fourth MP

Southwark could have four MPs if a controversial reform of constituency boundaries is approved by Parliament.

The proposed changes were revealed on Tuesday by the independent Boundary Reform for England office, who were commissioned by the government to redraw the political map.

The government’s plan is reduce the number of MPs in parliament from 650 to 600, and “even out” the number of people living in each block.

Southwark currently includes three parliamentary constituencies: Bermondsey and Old Southwark (represented by MP Neil Coyle), Camberwell and Peckham (MP Harriet Harman), and Dulwich and West Norwood (MP Helen Hayes).

The existing constituency boundaries across south London outlined in blue
The existing constituency boundaries across south London outlined in blue

The new plans will first have to be approved by a vote amongst all the MPs in Parliament before it could take effect in 2020, when the next general election is likely to happen.

The proposals have also been slated by the Labour Party, which would be likely to lose 23 seats if its strongholds are redrawn to cover more Conservative-voting areas. It has been suggested that the Liberal Democrats would lost two, and the Conservatives around fourteen.

Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman told the News she believed the new constituencies would not be representative of people living in Southwark because the electoral register lacks “young and BME people”.

“One of the problems is the electoral register does not represent a lot of young people, and people from BME (black and multi-ethnic) backgrounds. The register [which was reformed re-listed in 2015] id not fair, so the new boundaries aren’t fair,”she said.

The veteran MP added that her constituency (if it adopted the Camberwell and Vauxhall Bridge layout) would still include five out of eight of her original council wards.

“It hasn’t really been chopped up. I would have two areas from Kate Hoey MP and one from Neil Coyle. Five-eighths of my area would be the same.”

Overall the capital would lose five constituencies. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s seat of Islington North would be reshaped for the creation of a Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington seat. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat would be extended north.

If approved, Southwark would be sliced and diced into four constituencies:



Bermondsey and Old Southwark would be expanded into the north of Lambeth, taking in Waterloo and Westminster Bridge, but losing the Newington ward.




Camberwell and Vauxhall Bridge would include Kennington and south Walworth, with a southern border running along Queen’s Road, and with its eastern tip also taking in South Bermondsey Station.




Dulwich and West Norwood would be squeezed so that it no longer includes Brixton or – strangely perhaps – West Norwood Station and land to the west of Knight’s Hill. It would instead take in parts of SE15, including Dog Kennel Hill, Grove Park and Bellenden Road.




Peckham and West Lewisham would be a completely new block made out of the three current constituencies. It would include all of Sydenham, Forest Hill, Brockley, Peckham Rye, Rye Lane, Nunhead and cut through New Cross on its eastern side.





  1. It really is a bit of a shambles. To have all four constituencies being shared with either Lambeth or Lewisham is crazy. It leads to wards feeling cut off from their MP – who will spend far more of their time focusing on the larger portion of the constituency. It also means that MPs need to acquaint themselves with two councils, their plans, their meetings, their controversies.

    The blame for that lies largely with the Boundary Commission, although they did have a very tight set of conditions to work around. What they can’t be blamed for is the disgrace that is basing it off of electoral roll rather than census data backed up with academic research. Firstly, there are multiple reasons why people may not be registered – not least amongst them are being preoccupied with poverty, eviction, working 70+ hours weeks and other class-based issues. But just as importantly, all of our votes count less if our constituency’s population is underestimated.

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