Very amusing internet reaction to my musings last night on the proposed new parliamentary boundaries. www.politicalhack.co.uk seems to think I said Gisela Stuart was facing imminent downfall. I said no such thing. I said she was facing a dilemma (that was in fact the title of the post). It was Jack Dromey who I said faced an imminent downfall (I believe “oblivion” was the word I actually used!)
In fact, it appears that the Labour Party rules suggest an MP must go with the majority of their constituency and, if that is the case, there isn’t a dilemma for Ms Stuart after all. Instead, she faces a situation where Birmingham Edgbaston becomes a rock solid Labour seat – and she is not allowed to apply for it! Instead Gisela Stuart will have to go for the newly created Harborne seat, which is clearly far more marginal than the new Edgbaston will be.
The figures I quoted for Harborne, were based on local Council elections. I, of all people, am only too well aware that local Council majorities do not always translate into Parliamentary majorities, and that many people choose to vote for one party locally and another nationally. Indeed , at the last General Election, there was at least one house in Bartly Green sporting 2 conflicting POSTERS – Bruce Lines (Conservative) and Gisela Stuart (Labour).
Nationally the new Harborne seat looks better for Labour than locally. But it clearly IS still a marginal – while the new Edgbaston seat is not. Ms Stuart must surely have hoped the boundary review would give her a safer seat, and – looking at what surrounds her current constituency – I had thought they definitely would. But instead she is faced with fighting a marginal seat once again.
Meanwhile the new Edgbaston seat is surely a candidate for a change of name. Grouping together Edgbaston and Selly Oak, wouldn’t the more sensible name for this new constituency be “University”?
Finally, it appears Political Hack didn’t initially understand why the new Erdington was looking distinctly Conservative. It is of course because, as well as gaining Sutton New Hall, it gains Castle Bromwich (another safe Tory ward).
Meanwhile I repeat what I said last night. There’s been ample opportunity for any Birmingham MP to join Sion Simon and Sir Albert Bore in saying they’d like to stand as Mayor of Birmingham (if the city votes to have an elected mayor). None of them has. But if one does now, it will look very much as if they are motivated not by any genuine long held desire to serve the people of Birmingham as their Mayor, but by the fact they think they might not have a winnable seat to fight at the next General Election. Hardly a good basis for a campaign to try and secure the candidature!
Sion Simon must be rather pleased with himself for standing down from Parliament and announcing his interest in serving as Mayor – BEFORE his Erdington seat became notional Tory!
UPDATE: I see Political Hack has corrected his error by drawing a line through the inaccurate sentence.