The independent Boundary Commission for England has published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary boundaries. This work is undertaken regularly to take into account population shifts. In addition, new rules set by Parliament will mean a reduction from 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom to 600 and, with two island constituency exceptions, each constituency having 74,769 voters (ie everyone aged 18 or over at the time of the election) give or take no more than 5% (ie to create constituencies varying in size no more than between 71,031 and 78,507 electors). At present the range is far greater than that.
In order to achieve this, the Boundary Commission have initially proposed that as the Tamworth constituency has too small an electorate, it take Whittington and Streethay away from Lichfield and transfer them to Tamworth. And as this would make Lichfield too small, their further initial proposal is that the Haywoods and Hixon be transferred from the Stafford constituency into Lichfield. In the Commission’s recommendations 5 years ago, they suggested that Hammerwich be transferred to Tamworth.
Michael Fabricant says: “I welcome the principle of these changes. It is wrong that areas like Scotland and London are over-represented in Parliament. Each MP should represent roughly the same number of people. I also agree with the aim to reduce the number of MPs from 650 down to 600.
“However, I do not agree with the Boundary Commission’s plans to put Streethay and Whittington into the Tamworth constituency. For all intents and purposes Streethay is a part of Lichfield and for a corner to be sliced off, including the railway station, and be put in Tamworth is a nonsense. I also believe that Whittington looks towards Lichfield and not Tamworth and I for one enjoy the connection between the barracks, the historic home of the Staffordshire Regiment, and Lichfield. And I have forged strong working relations with Whittington over various issues including the fight against HS2 and support of the St Giles Hospice.
“These are initial proposals only and the Boundary Commission for England are inviting responses up to 5th December this year. People may either complete the webform at www.bce2018.org.uk – which is preferred – or write to Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ or in person at hearings that will be held in Stafford on the 14th and 15th November. The Commission emphasise that whichever way representations are made will carry equal weight.
“I do not want to lose Streethay and Whittington and if voters feel the same way about remaining in the Lichfield constituency, I urge them to contact the Boundary Commission by the 5th December.”
The Commission state: “We cannot recommend constituencies that have electorates that contain more than 78,507 or fewer than 71,031 electors.”