SPECIAL REPORT: What Croydon MP boundary changes mean for you
CROYDON will gain an extra MP if boundary change proposals announced on Tuesday get the go-ahead.
But Croydon's gain spells a loss for Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who sees his Carshalton and Wallington seat disappear into two seats crossing the Croydon/Sutton border.
The Boundary Commission, which is putting forward the review, has decided Croydon is too big to have just three MPs.
However, to ensure it sticks to the Government edict of seats having around 76,600 voters, the increase to four can only be done by revising the boundaries with Sutton.
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Under the new proposals Labour MP Malcolm Wicks's Croydon North seat is least affected, losing just the Broad Green ward to a new Croydon Central and St Helier seat, to reduce what was accepted to be an overlarge constituency.
In addition to Broad Green, a Labour stronghold, the new seat comprises Tory safe wards of Croham and Fairfield, the marginal Waddon and five Sutton wards; Beddington North, St Helier, The Wrythe, Wallington North and Wandle Valley, all held by the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 council elections.
The remaining wards in Mr Brake's constituency are moved into a newly-named Purley and Carshalton seat, comprising four rock solid Tory wards from the existing Croydon South constituency – Coulsdon West, Kenley, Purley and Sanderstead – together with Coulsdon East, the only ward in Croydon to have had a Liberal Democrat elected in recent history.
In both the joint borough seats, Croydon voters outnumber those from Sutton.
In Croydon Central and St Helier there are 43,159 Croydon electors compared with 37,299 from Sutton.
In Purley and Carshalton, there are 50,399 voters from Croydon and 29,745 from Sutton.
Under the new arrangements the bulk of Gavin Barwell's existing Croydon Central constituency becomes the new seat of Croydon East.
Mr Barwell loses the Tory ward of Fairfield with its majority of around 1,000 in the 2010 council elections, but gains Selsdon and Ballards where the Conservative majorities were closer to 3,000.
The second seat in Sutton, Lib Dem minister Paul Burstow's Sutton and Cheam constituency, remains largely intact, the only change being the gain of two wards – Lower Morden and St Helier from the neighbouring borough of Merton.
SPECULATION about how the political scene will pan out if the boundary changes go ahead is rife.
The only person keeping quiet this week is Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake (pictured), the man most affected by the changes which see the end of his Carshalton and Wallington seat. All Mr Brake would say was: "The Boundary Commission's proposals have a huge impact on local democracy.
"I will be assessing in detail the implications of their plans before commenting further."
The new Croydon Central and St Helier seat has the potential to become a three-way marginal.
While the new constituency has a share of Tory and Labour strongholds, the Lib Dems have the strength of winning all the seats in the five Sutton wards in 2010 which are now due to become part of the new constituency.
Purley and Carshalton and the new Croydon East are likely to become safe Conservative seats, while Croydon North is likely remain firmly in Labour hands, despite the loss of Broad Green.
Malcolm Wicks, Labour MP for Croydon North, said: "We always knew the constituency was going to be smaller because we were overweight in numbers but I am glad the bulk of the constituency has been left intact."
Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, said: "I am pleased that Croydon is to get an increased representation in Parliament. It has been underrepresented in the past."
He said his aim would be to stand for election in the new Croydon East seat.
In the land of safest Tory seats, existing Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway believes the creation of the new Purley and Carshalton constituency will not alter the political balance significantly.
Mr Ottaway said: "Going in with Sutton would not have been my choice but I recognise it is something we have to live with.
"I think the Purley and Carshalton seat will be a seat the Conservatives can win and we will be doing our best to do just that."
THE Boundary Commission changes announced on Tuesday stem from the Government's desire to see the number of Parliamentary seats reduced from 650 to 600.
They also want to even out the number of constituents in each seat.
Following the publication of the changes there will now be an initial 12-week consultation lasting until December 5.
Representations made in the first round of consultation will be published and followed by a further four-week consultation, which is likely to be in the spring of next year.
It will then be up to the Boundary Commission to decide whether to publish revised proposals.
If the answer is yes, there will be further eight weeks of consultation towards the end of next year.
Final recommendations have to be made to the Government by October 1 2013, when there must be a vote in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The ultimate aim is to have the new boundaries in place in time for the next General Election, which has to take place by 2015.