PROPOSED changes to parliamentary boundaries in Warwick and Leamington have been slammed by MP Matt Western.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has issued final recommendations following a nationwide review to make parliamentary constituencies roughly the same size, and to reduce the number by 50 to 600 – so also reducing the number of MPs.
And while Mr Western has welcomed the recommendation for Warwick and Leamington to remain part of the same constituency, he said moving the village of Radford Semele into a new neighbouring Rugby and Southam constituency made “no sense”.
Mr Western told The Observer: “I’m pleased the Boundary Commission listened to the overwhelming public opinion that Warwick and Leamington should stay together as a unified constituency.
“Warwick and Leamington are, in essence, conjoined towns – we are one community and that community wishes to remain as one. However, it makes no sense to exclude Radford Semele from the proposed constituency on their basis. The village is virtually connected to the south-east of Leamington and is absolutely linked to the towns in terms of schools and community organisation.”
Original proposals had suggested dividing the constituency, with Leamington joining Kenilworth to form a new seat and Warwick joining Stratford.
Kenilworth is again set to form part of a new constituency.
In 2010 the Kenilworth and Southam constituency was created following the break-up of the previous Rugby and Kenilworth constituency.
Now the town is set to form part of a new Coventry South and Kenilworth constituency if the Boundary Commission recommendations are given the green light by MPs.
Commissioners suggested the two areas had “strong links” largely due to the University of Warwick campus, which straddled the boundary.
Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright – who is also Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – said it was too early to say if he would contest the new seat or another seat.
But Mr Wright added if implemented, he hoped residents in Kenilworth would not see any further boundary changes “for the foreseeable future”.
Kenilworth and Southam Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate Richard Dickson said:”I am all for reforming our political system, and changing the boundaries is just one small part of that.”
Mr Dickson added while a proposed Coventry South and Kenilworth constituency made “strategic sense”, moving villages such as Radford Semele, Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath to a new Rugby and Southam constituency was an “insult” to residents.
* The original timetable for MPs to vote on the Boundary Commission recommendations this autumn has been abandoned amid rumours of a Conservative backbench revolt against Prime Minster Theresa May
Chloe Smith, the minister for the constitution, said implementing the recommendations could “take months”.
She would not commit to a vote before Christmas, saying it would take place “in due course”.