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The 2023 Review of Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries in England – Volume one: Report – London

Newham and Tower Hamlets

Initial proposals

  1. All four constituencies in this sub-region have electorates above the permitted range. The boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets have a combined electorate of a little over 368,000, giving it an entitlement to 5.02 constituencies. We therefore allocated five constituencies to the sub-region, one of which was proposed to be Stratford and Bow, crossing the River Lee, which is also the boundary between the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets. We tried to reflect the existing constituencies as closely as practical in proposing an East Ham constituency including eight wards from the existing constituency. We added Beckton and Royal Docks wards to our proposed West Ham and Beckton constituency. Our proposed Poplar and Limehouse constituency included nine wards from the existing constituency, and our Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency included the Spitalfields and Whitechapel areas.
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Consultation on the initial proposals

  1. Our proposed Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency generated little response during our first two consultation periods. Most of the comments received about Poplar and Limehouse were regarding the name, with suggestions that it should include a reference to Canary Wharf, Docklands, or Isle of Dogs. There was some concern at the inclusion of the Borough of Tower Hamlets ward of St. Katharine’s & Wapping in our Poplar and Limehouse constituency rather than in the Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency, but this proposal also received some support.
  2. Having a constituency which crossed the River Lee in the north of the sub-region was more supported than opposed, with the balance of views being that there are more and varied crossings between the Stratford and Bow areas than could be achieved by a southern crossing, between Blackwall and Canning Town, where the river is wider. Having a constituency formed from parts of two boroughs was opposed here, as it was almost everywhere it was proposed.
  3. Our proposed East Ham constituency was almost unanimously supported, with the transfer of the Borough of Newham ward of Beckton to our proposed West Ham and Beckton constituency at the A13 Newham Way considered to be a logical boundary. There were some suggestions that the West Ham ward should be included in our proposed Stratford and Bow constituency due to its proximity to Stratford, and that we should consider the Borough of Newham’s new ward boundaries, the Order for which was made on 17 May 2021.
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Revised proposals

  1. Having considered the evidence, our Assistant Commissioners felt that the Borough of Tower Hamlets ward of St. Katharine’s & Wapping had a similar riverside nature to its neighbours in our proposed Poplar and Limehouse constituency, and was divided by the A1203 Highway from the rest of the Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency. Making such a change would also require the division of the Stepney area, which they considered would break community ties. They considered that adding any of the suggestions to the Poplar and Limehouse name would either be superfluous, as those areas are part of Poplar or, in the case of Docklands, would encompass an area crossing both the River Lee and the Thames.
  2. While acknowledging that the West Ham ward was felt by some to look towards the Stratford area, our Assistant Commissioners considered that removing it from the wider West Ham community would break ties here, and also across the Forest Gate area, as it would require the Green Street West ward being moved from the Stratford and Bow constituency into the West Ham and Beckton constituency. They felt that, as our proposed East Ham constituency was widely supported, it should remain unchanged for the revised proposals. Our Assistant Commissioners considered that, as there was no suggestion that we would need to split any wards across either borough, it would not be appropriate to consider the new ward boundaries for Newham. We agreed with all their recommendations and therefore proposed retaining our initial proposals for the five constituencies of Bethnal Green and Stepney, East Ham, Poplar and Limehouse, Stratford and Bow, and West Ham and Beckton.
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Consultation on the revised proposals

  1. The only substantive request for Bethnal Green and Stepney was to change the name to Bethnal Green and Shadwell, to reflect that community’s history and amenities. Poplar and Isle of Dogs emerged as the most popular suggested name for that constituency.
  2. Opposition to the cross-borough constituency of Stratford and Bow continued at a low level. We received few responses to our proposals for East Ham, or West Ham and Beckton, with one reiterating West Ham ward’s links with Stratford, and another suggesting that it be renamed Canning Town and Beckton.
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Final recommendations

  1. We consider that including Shadwell rather than Stepney in the name of the Bethnal Green and Stepney constituency runs counter to the fact that Shadwell is smaller than Stepney and that Shadwell also appears to extend into our proposed Poplar and Limehouse constituency. We consider that adding Isle of Dogs instead of Limehouse to the name of Poplar and Limehouse would not necessarily better reflect the configuration of the constituency given that the area and the former Borough of Poplar includes Isle of Dogs in its entirety. We were provided with very little evidence of any more viable alternative to the Stratford and Bow constituency. Our East Ham, and West Ham and Beckton proposals were largely supported.
  2. Our final recommendations in this sub-region are therefore for constituencies of: Bethnal Green and Stepney; East Ham; Poplar and Limehouse; Stratford and Bow; and West Ham and Beckton. These constituencies are composed of the areas listed in Volume two and shown on the maps in Volume three of this report.
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