Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Devonwall back on the agenda in September?

The Boundary Commission for England has set out its timetable for the review of constituency boundaries in the run up to the next general election. The first draft will be published in September this year, with a second draft in October 2017 and the final proposals will be laid before Parliament in September 2018. The general election is due in May 2020.

Total Politics have the whole story here.

The key bit of news is that the commission has indicated that it will be more willing to split wards in order to seek equal constituency sizes. Hopefully this will overcome the quirk of the last set of proposals which saw constituencies made up of disparate parts of different council areas in order to keep individual wards whole.

Assuming the timetable can be stuck to, the new boundaries are likely to be in place for the next general election. It is proposed that there will be a boundary review during every parliament. In some cases, this will mean that voters will find themselves in a new constituency at every election - hardly ideal.

Last time, the Boundary Commission proposed a 'Devonwall' constituency combining parts of North Cornwall with bits of Torridge District after the Conservatives refused to give Cornwall the same protection as the islands of Scotland, Anglesey and the Isle of Wight.

The numbers this time are more finely balanced. In theory, the strict limitations on constituency size should require a cross-border seat once again. Allowing wards splitting will help a bit, but Cornish wards are small enough already that this won't be a huge help. But it is possible that the Boundary Commission will agree to bend the rules fractionally to Keep Cornwall Whole.

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