A battle for survival between three Birmingham MPs began today after the Boundary Commission confirmed plans to reform the city's parliamentary constituencies.
The 11 Birmingham seats in the Commons are to be reduced to ten because of a falling population. Three MPs will be forced to compete over two constituencies, with the loser having to quit Parliament.
The Sparkbrook & Small Heath constituency will be abolished, and neighbouring constituencies Selly Oak and Hall Green will be radically altered.
Lynne Jones, MP for Selly Oak; Steve McCabe, MP for Hall Green, and Roger Godsiff, MP for Sparkbrook and Small Heath, are expected to fight for the opportunity to represent the two remaining seats.
Local Labour Party members will choose who stays and who goes. But the decision could be taken out of their hands by party managers in London if there is any hint of irregularity.
The Boundary Commission yesterday confirmed it had rejected last-ditch pleas to save Sparkbrook as a parliamentary
constituency. Mr Godsiff had argued Hall Green should be re-named to include the word Sparkbrook, because it will actually contain more of his old constituency than the existing
Hall Green. But the proposal was turned down by the Boundary Commission, along with other objections from the political parties.
Instead, the Commission simply confirmed it was sticking with the proposals it announced in July, when it launched a consultation.
Labour Party rules state that an MP may apply to a constituency where they have a " territorial claim" in the event of boundary changes.
Mr Godsiff is expected to apply to be the party's candidate in Hall Green, which his supporters will argue is the successor to Sparkbrook & Small Heath, despite the name.
Mr McCabe is expected to apply to both Hall Green and Selly Oak, as about half of his current constituents will be covered by the new Selly Oak constituency. Dr Jones is likely to apply for Selly Oak and may also apply to Hall Green.
Whoever wins the right to stand for Labour in Selly Oak could potentially face a fight from the Conservatives in the General Election - if the Tories stage a national revival.
Hall Green is likely to be a safer Labour seat, although it could be targeted by anti-war parties such as Respect.
A Labour Party spokeswoman said: "The existing MPs will be able to apply for any seat which contains a significant portion of their existing constituency."