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MPs welcome new boundary proposals

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Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon, left, and Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam.
Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon, left, and Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam.

A PROPOSED second redrawing of the county's political battle lines appears to have been welcomed by local MPs.

This week the Boundary Commission for England put forward fresh proposals to alter constituency boundaries across the country, which will see the number of constituencies in the West Midlands fall from 59 to 53.

The changes have been proposed in an attempt to reduce the number of MPs in England from 533 to 501 and equalise the number of voters in each constituency.

The previous proposals — published late last year — drew controversy because they put forward the creation of a Stratford and Warwick constituency, with some parts of the district in a new Evesham and South Warwickshire constituency.

Kenilworth and Leamington were also set to be joined together in a new constituency. But the latest proposals were published this week and are something of a U-turn.

They will see Stratford-on-Avon remain as its own constituency, but taking in Kineton and Wellesbourne, which are currently in Kenilworth and Southam.

Nadhim Zahawi, Stratford’s MP, said: “I am very pleased that the Boundary Commission took on board the strong opposition from with the Stratford-on-Avon constituency to the initial proposals that split the constituency between three others.

“The new proposals are much more suitable and I am delighted that the Stratford-on-Avon constituency will remain the same as it is now with the very welcome additions of Kineton, Wellesbourne East and Wellesbourne West wards along with the totality of Red Horse ward.”

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, who won the constituency for Labour at June’s general election, would see his constituency also remain and expanded to incorporate areas such as Leek Wootton, Stoneleigh and Lapworth.

Mr Western said: “The Boundary Commission proposals recognise the fantastic response from the local public that urged the commission to retain our towns, including Whitnash, within the one constituency. It is testimony to the many who wrote or spoke to the commissioner in making the case for our continued existence as a political entity.

“We are economically, politically and socially bound as one and it is vital that we remain so. These proposals are in response to the last coalition government making the case to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 whilst at the same time increasing the number of Lords in the unelected House of Lords from 778 to 820 in the last two years.

“It utterly defies logic and weakens our democracy to reduce our elected representation by almost 10 per cent whilst increasing our unelected representation.

“It is particularly short-sighted to be considering this during a period when the UK is looking to repatriate its laws from Brussels which is going to prove a titanic task by any measure.

"Some of the proposals are questionable, such as the suggestion to exclude Radford Semele from our constituency despite it being virtually connected to West Leamington, separated merely by the River Leam. It is absolutely linked to the towns.”

But under the proposals Jeremy Wright’s current constituency of Kenilworth and Southam, would completely change, losing much of the area to the north and west of Warwick, including Kenilworth, instead becoming Rugby and Southam.

Such a change could present a selection dilemma for the Tories with Rugby currently held by Conservative MP Mark Pawsey.

Despite the difficulties the changes could pose, Mr Wright, who is the government’s Attorney General, said: “The principle that parliamentary constituencies should be of approximately the same size is the right one. Carrying out a boundary review to implement that principle involves inevitable change and disruption.

“I support the principle and it wouldn’t be right for me to object to proposals which enact it simply because they inconvenience or disadvantage me.

“I have been honoured to represent the constituency of Kenilworth and Southam since 2010 and, if these proposals are implemented, I hope for the sake of my constituents that the situation then remains stable for the foreseeable future.

“There will be further consultation on these proposals before final conclusions are reached and it is far too soon for decisions on which seats I may or may not seek election in.”

To comment on the proposals visit www.bce2018.org.uk before 11th December.

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