A FORMER Warwick Mayor and Conservative councillor is delighted political parties have put differences aside to keep Warwick and Leamington together.
Coun Moira-Ann Grainger was speaking following the launch of the 1885 Campaign – an online petition set up in the aftermath of controversial proposals to change parliamentary constituency boundaries which could see the Warwick and Leamington seat split in two.
She said: “I am delighted that there is cross party agreement in wanting to keep our two towns aligned as a single parliamentary constituency.
“I would urge residents to support our challenge to the Boundary Commission and register their dismay at the proposals on the Commission’s website. Residents can also attend public hearings which are to be held at the Pump Rooms on November 10 and 11.”
One of the founding members of the 1885 Campaign – which had 192 signatures as The Observer went to press – and local Labour Party activist Ben Wesson also praised the co-operation within the group.
He hit out at the potential changes to the constituency – created in 1885 hence the campaign name – saying the proposals were drawn up to suit a quota, and both towns were together as one economic unit with strong community, historic and cultural ties.
Mr Wesson told The Observer: “It seems to me that the Boundary Commission has failed to take these important factors into consideration when re-drawing our constituency boundaries.
“When areas and communities with such deep-rooted and historic links are divided in this way, it dilutes their collective voice.”
The Boundary Commission for England is currently conducting a review which will see the number of MPs sitting in Parliament reduced 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, would join Rugby in forming a new Rugby and Southam seat.
The changes will mean each constituency will have an electorate of between around 71,000 and 78,500 people.
If approved, the boundaries will change in September 2018.
People can have their say on the proposals at Leamington’s Pump Rooms on November 10 and 11, from 10am to 8pm.
Visit www.bce2018.org.uk for further details, or www.change.org and search Warwick and Leamington to sign the petition.