How to win at boundary changes

BOUNDARY changes, boundary changes, boundary changes… as battles lines are drawn over the lines that have been redrawn, a private toast has been raised to the former leader of the Conservatives in Camden, Martin Morton, this week. Local Tories are casting their minds back to 1983 when they say Mr Morton managed to convince enough people that Hampstead would be better twinned with Highgate – rather than Gospel Oak.

“He played a blinder,” one member tells me. “The constituencies were being redrawn and Hampstead needed more voters in it and had to be expanded. It was either going to be Highgate or Gospel Oak. The party knew that Geoffrey Finsberg wouldn’t win if it was Gospel Oak. In reality Hampstead and Highgate aren’t actually next to each other because there is that little something called Hampstead Heath in between and people from Highgate don’t really cross it go shopping in Hampstead and vice versa. But they won through and the Hampstead and Highgate constituency became a well known parliamentary name – and we kept hold of it until 1992.”

1 Comment on How to win at boundary changes

  1. David Boothroyd // September 16, 2011 at 10:09 am //

    This review reduced the number of seats from three to two, but Hampstead had many more voters than either Holborn and St Pancras South or St Pancras North. The boundary commission basically merged the two St Pancras seats, and they recommended that Highgate ward from St Pancras North go into Hampstead – so Martin Morton was arguing for supporting the Boundary Commission’s initial recommendation, which undoubtedly helped him.

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