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Parties split over Waterloo’s future parliamentary representation

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have officially backed proposals to add Waterloo and the South Bank to the Bermondsey & Old Southwark constituency, whilst Labour has made counter-proposals which keep Bishop's ward as part of a Vauxhall seat.

Last month the Boundary Commission for England published its draft proposals to redraw constituency boundaries for use at the 2020 general election.

The proposals included adding Bishop's ward (the northernmost Lambeth ward, covering the South Bank and Waterloo) to the Bermondsey & Old Southwark constituency which is otherwise wholly in the borough of Southwark.

Under the plans, some Southwark SE1 residents – including those at Strata SE1 and the Draper Estate – would find themselves in a new Camberwell & Vauxhall Bridge constituency.

This week the Boundary Commission for England held its first public hearing in the London region and the main political parties gave their responses to the proposals.

For Labour, political strategist Greg Cook argued that Waterloo should remain in a Vauxhall parliamentary constituency.

Explaining Labour's counter-proposals, he said: "The remainder of the Vauxhall constituency – without Clapham Town ward – would be retained with the addition of the Southwark ward of Newington.

"We then propose that the only other change to Bermondsey & Old Southwark is the addition of Faraday ward.

"The transfer of that ward brings the electorate in Camberwell & Peckham also within five per cent of the electoral quota."

Baroness Hamwee – a former chair of the London Assembly – addressed the hearing on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.

Her party is supporting the commission's proposals for Bermondsey & Old Southwark, arguing that Waterloo and Bermondsey have much in common.

She said: "The links between the South Bank area and the riverside through Southwark to Tower Bridge and beyond are very strong.

"There's a South Bank identity for the businesses stretching along the riverside, and the residents there are living in a zone 1 area which is really the city centre of London now in a mix of established social housing and new apartments which have often been chiselled out of old commercial buildings.

"This is a sort of south of the river equivalent to the Cities of London and Westminster constituency on the north of the river."

Like Labour, the Lib Dems have proposed that Newington ward be added to a Vauxhall parliamentary constituency, bringing together the whole of Kennington under a single MP.

For the Conservatives, Roger Pratt said that the party accepted the commission's proposals for Bermondsey & Old Southwark without reservation.

Later in the day Nic Durston, chief executive of the South Bank Employers' Group and South Bank BID, addressed the hearing to stress the benefits of stability in the key political and governance relationships for the South Bank.

"For Bishop's ward, Lambeth electors make up less than 10 per cent of the proposed new constituency," said Mr Durston.

"There is a danger that this means that this part of Lambeth is marginal, with the council responsible for aspects of public services ... and education.

"Our concern is that the South Bank must secure the necessary level of resource that it needs in order to remain economically competitive and to deliver what is being asked of it in terms of growth, jobs and economic development.

"This could be seriously threatened if the South Bank and its needs become more peripheral than ever."

• Further public hearings will be held by the Boundary Commission for England and any member of the public may speak; details at

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