Boundary review 2018

13 Sep

As part of the government’s drive to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and make parliamentary constituencies more equally sized, the Boundary Commission has published its proposals for London.

At the moment we have two seats in Newham – East Ham and West Ham. Each contains 10 of the 20 wards in the borough. But both seats are very large – in fact West Ham is the largest in London, with more than 80,000 voters. By contrast, the (Tory-held) Kensington seat has only 55,000.

The Boundary Commission’s proposals add about half a seat to Newham, but do so by ripping apart West Ham and dividing it between three new or revised constituencies:

We propose a Forest Gate and Loxford constituency, which includes three wards from the existing East Ham constituency, two wards from the existing Ilford South constituency, and four wards from the existing West Ham constituency. This configuration brings the Newham borough wards of Green Street East and Green Street West together in the same constituency. 

In Newham, we noted that the borough was too large for two constituencies. We propose an East Ham constituency, which retains seven wards from the existing East Ham constituency, and adds two wards from the existing West Ham constituency. We also propose a Bow and Canning Town constituency, which includes four wards from the existing West Ham constituency, two Tower Hamlets borough wards from the existing Poplar and Limehouse constituency, and two wards from the existing Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. 

The exact make-up of the new constituencies, with wards, boroughs and current voters:

Bow and Canning Town

Canning Town North Newham 8,333
Canning Town South Newham 8,543
Stratford and New Town Newham 12,471
West Ham Newham 8,073
Bow East Tower Hamlets 10,427
Bow West Tower Hamlets 7,850
Bromley North Tower Hamlets 5,980
Bromley South Tower Hamlets 6,532
Lansbury Tower Hamlets 9,623
  Total 77,832

East Ham

Beckton Newham 7,335
Boleyn Newham 8,696
Custom House Newham 6,971
East Ham Central Newham 8,867
East Ham North Newham 8,682
East Ham South Newham 8,347
Plaistow South Newham 8,290
Royal Docks Newham 6,081
Wall End Newham 8,418
  Total 71,687

Forest Gate and Loxford

Forest Gate North Newham 8,392
Forest Gate South Newham 8,862
Green Street East Newham 8,875
Green Street West Newham 8,752
Little Ilford Newham 8,873
Manor Park Newham 8,636
Plaistow North Newham 8,215
Clementswood Redbridge 8,051
Loxford Redbridge 8,841
  Total 77,497

You can comment on the proposals at the Commission’s special review website, or at a public hearing. The nearest one to us will be at Romford Town Hall on 31 October and 1 November.

Latest crime stats

22 Aug

The Metropolitan Police have released the latest crime statistics for Newham and they don’t make for happy reading, with a 4% year-on-year increase.

While robberies and residential burglaries are down, violent crime – murder, assault, rape and other sexual assaults – are all up. As is gun crime – up 27%.

Also worrying are the significant increases in hate crime.

  Yr to June 16 Yr to June 15 Diff. % change
Total Crimes 30,266 29,190 1,076 4%
Homicide 6 5 1 20%
Violence Against the Person 9,853 8,580 1,273 15%
Rape 296 278 18 6%
Other Sexual 522 437 85 19%
Robbery (Total) 1,237 1,507 -270 -18%
   Robbery (Person) 1,164 1,417 -253 -18%
   Robbery (Business) 73 90 -17 -19%
Burglary (Total) 2,245 2,178 67 3%
   Burglary Residential 1,366 1,409 -43 -3%
   Burglary Non-Residential 879 769 110 14%
Gun Crime 116 91 25 27%
Motor Vehicle Crime 3,301 3,280 21 1%
Domestic Crime 3,440 3,097 343 11%
Racist & Religious Hate Crime 508 438 70 16%
Homophobic Crime 52 58 -6 -10%
Anti-Semitic Crime 7 3 4 133%
Islamophobic Crime 68 27 41 152%

Although it’s not obvious from these figures, reducing crime is one of the mayor’s ‘priorities’:

In 2015 we funded 40 police officers to help us tackle rogue landlords, crack down on dodgy traders and catch those who fly-tip.

Those officers cost an extra £425,000 a year. And, as important as rogue traders and fly-tipping are, residents might question how effectively that money is being spent.

Really free

17 Aug

Screenshot 2016 08 16 16 08 09

With this year’s Under the Stars coming up at the weekend, a timely Freedom of Information response has revealed the true cost of the mayor’s ‘free’ events for residents.

Over the five years covered that’s a total of £4,314,409.

Imagine what else that money could have been spent on.

Arrogance and stupidity

16 Aug

An excellent article in Tribune arguing that Labour needs to support fair votes.

The penultimate paragraph sums up so much of what frustrates me about the party and its unwillingness to cooperate with other progressive voices (my emphasis added):

In July, a private member’s Bill on PR introduced by Green MP Caroline Lucas was stifled at birth by a just a handful of votes. Labour MPs – under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – were whipped to abstain, and only eight defied the whip and voted in favour. The arrogance of the Labour Party in denying the right of the electorate a fair vote because it sees itself as the only legitimate voice of ‘the left’ is matched only by it’s stupidity in failing to recognise, or at least acknowledge the changed balance of power in British politics, and the fact that without PR, England and Wales face the prospect, with or without a Labour split, of becoming a Tory one-party state.

A prayer for Owen Smith

26 Jul

Another day in the Labour leadership contest, another open letter.

This time it’s backing Owen Smith MP in his fight against Jeremy Corbyn. Eight Newham councillors have signed:

  • Cllr Andrew Baikie
  • Cllr David Christie
  • Cllr Ian Corbett
  • Cllr James Beckles
  • Cllr Jo Corbett
  • Cllr Mas Patel
  • Cllr Patricia Holland
  • Cllr Quintin Peppiatt

In addition, both Newham MPs, Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms, are among those who formally nominated Smith.

UPDATE (19 August 2016)

Councillors Salim Patel, Aleen Alarice and Alan Griffiths have now added their names to the list of signatories

Co-op commotion

21 Jul

West Ham councillor John Gray has blogged about the re-run of the Newham Co-operative Party AGM earlier in the week.

The re-run was “due to ‘irregularities’ at the AGM in January.” I understand that these were far more serious than the ‘voter guidance’ I blogged about at the time and as a consequence the meeting was chaired by officials from party HQ.

Despite the apparent success of the meeting itself, Cllr Gray’s account ends on a sour note:

The evening was marred by the abusive and threatening behavior outside the meeting by one Co-op member towards another, which I will be bringing to the attention of Party officials. Such behaviours are not acceptable in the Co-op Party or any other progressive organisation. 

The perpetrator is not named, but his identity will be easily guessed by anyone who takes an interest in Newham politics. Thin-skinned, short-tempered and given to outbursts of foul-mouthed abuse towards those he thinks are plotting against him? 

Another clue, appropriately enough given the outcome of the meeting: surname rhymes with ‘fails’.

It’s a mans world

18 Jul

Details of the allowances paid to Newham councillors in the last financial year (to 31 March 2016) have been published in the Newham Mag.

As usual, every effort has been made to prevent residents doing anything useful with the information. The online version of the Mag is published in PDF and Word formats; and the Word version – from which the data could easily be cut-and-pasted into a spreadsheet – completely omits the allowances section!

The standalone version, which is a statutory requirement, has not yet been published on the council website, but when it is it will be a PDF.

Nonetheless, a few minutes work reveals that over the past year our elected representatives took a total of £1,241,206 in basic and ‘special responsibility’ allowances, plus an extra £2,456 in travel and telephone allowances.

Of course, these allowances were not evenly distributed. The mayor and his closest friends took the lion’s share. And ranking councillors by the total they received gives a very clear indication of the kind of people Sir Robin favours politically: men.

The top ten earners for 2015/16:

Name Total
R WALES £81,839
L HUDSON £48,577
I CORBETT £45,612
R CRAWFORD £44,982
F HUSSAIN £44,871
K CLARK £44,677
C FURNESS £44,637
A BAIKIE £44,577
U DESAI £44,577
A McALMONT £38,830

Clearly, you don’t just have be a dick to get on in Newham Labour politics, you have to have one too.