PROPOSED changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries which could see Warwick and Leamington split should be rethought, says sitting MP Chris White.
The Boundary Commission for England has reviewed the boundaries of all the Parliamentary constituencies in England as the Government seeks to reduce the number of MPs sitting in Parliament by 50 to 600.
The proposed new boundaries in Warwickshire would see the current Warwick and Leamington seat divided. Leamington would join Kenilworth in forming a new Kenilworth and Leamington seat, while Warwick would join with Stratford in a new Warwick and Stratford seat.
Southam, currently part of the Kenilworth and Southam seat held by Jeremy Wright, would join Rugby in forming a new Rugby and Southam seat.
Mr White told The Observer: “The proposed changes to constituencies in South Warwickshire are not, in my opinion, in line with the make-up of our local area and should be reconsidered. To divide the towns of Warwick and Leamington, each being assigned to separate constituencies, does not make sense in terms of the close affiliation of the towns and the corresponding local authority structure.”
Warwick District Council Labour Party group leader Jerry Weber shared Mr White’s concerns.
He said: “The proposal will sever the historic link between Warwick and Leamington, as the towns are divided into separate parliamentary constituencies, with the boundary between the two at the River Avon on Potterton Bridge.
“One of the criteria that the Electoral Commission must look at are that parliamentary boundaries make sense to communities. This proposal makes no sense at all to the reality of the close link between the two towns and the current local authority administration.
“We will be working hard to ensure that this proposal is reversed and that we see a constituency that resonates with our community.”
Kenilworth and Southam MP Mr Wright said the proposals needed carefull consideration.
“The objectives of equalising the size of Parliamentary constituencies and reducing the cost of politics are absolutely the right ones for the Boundary Commission to pursue and doing so was bound to lead to changes, said Mr Wright.
“The changes proposed for our part of Warwickshire are very substantial however and everyone needs time to consider them properly. It is worth remembering that these are initial proposals which can change.
“Whatever the final proposals, I will continue to serve all my constituents equally right up to the next general election in May 2020.”
Current Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi also said it was early days.
He told The Observer: ““These proposed boundary changes have not yet been consulted upon and will subsequently have to pass through Parliament. During both of these processes the proposals could be radically altered or cancelled completely. “However I support the overall efforts of the Boundary Commission’s to equalise the population size of Parliamentary constituencies; a system where the sizes of the electorate regularly varies by more than 30,000 people undermines democracy.
“It would be wrong for me to do anything other than concentrate on my current constituents in the Stratford on Avon constituency, and I hope to continue to serve them for as long as they wish to elect me as their representative.”
The changes will mean each constituency will have an electorate of between 71,030 and 78,500 people.
If approved, the boundaries will change in September 2018.
People can have their say on the proposals on November 10 and 11 from 10am to 8pm at the Pump Rooms, Leamington.
Visit www.bce2018.org.uk for further details.