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12 September 2016

Jeremy Corbyn’s seat abolished by boundary changes

The Boundary Commission has abolished the Labour leader's seat.

By Stephen Bush

Jeremy Corbyn’s seat of Islington North is among those abolished by the new boundary review, the Evening Standard reports.

The  boundary review reduces the number of seats down from 650 to 600 in order to make the number of voters in each seat equal, and Corbyn’s seat, the geographically smallest constituency, with high numbers not on the electoral roll, was always considered to be among the potential casaulties.

Under Labour party rules, an MP is considered to have a territorial claim if a new seat contains 40 per cent or more of the old seat. But unfortunately for the Labour leader, none of the new seats will contain as much as 40 per cent of his old seat. 

His current seat will be repackaged among his near neighbours, with Emily Thornberry set to inherit the seat of Islington, which largely comprises the seat of Islington South and Finsbury, which she currently occupies. The remainder of that seat will be formed into a new seat of Stoke Newington and Finsbury Park, which Diane Abbott has a territorial claim on.

But Abbott, Corbyn’s closest ally, currently the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, also has a territorial claim to Hackney Central, the Standard reports, although to take that up she would face a battle for the seat with Meg Hillier, currently the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch. Abbott could plausibly vacate Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, leaving the seat free for Corbyn, though the Labour leader has committed to ensuring the party’s female representation remains at its pre-boundary reform level.

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In practice, finding a new seat for the Labour leader should prove fairly simple, as his popularity among the membership remains undimmed, and a loyalist could be rewarded with a seat in the House of Lords at a later date. A likely destination is Poplar and Limehouse, where the sitting MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, is expected to retire at the next election.