The new and unlikely to be implemented boundary changes – a Southend perspective
October 16, 2012 1 Comment
The Boundary Commission have produced the final version of what the constituencies in England will look like if the equalisation bill becomes law. That this is the remotest of possibilities now that Nick Clegg has ordered his party to vote it down does not stop the Commission’s work, although it could reasonably be argued that their continued pursuance of this is a colossal waste of time and money.
Their findings for the East of England can be found at
It is, therefore, somewhat academic to discuss the proposals. However, a boundary review will have to take place at some point, regardless as to whether we reduce the number of MPs; population growth and movement means that changes are necessary. The next election is now likely to be fought on the same boundaries as were is use in 2010, but I expect a 2020 contest to have some significant changes.
I support the concept of equalisation, but I would hope some sense will prevail in what data is to be used. Since MPs represent everyone, not just those who have a vote, it makes sense to include everyone in the calculations when working out a new constituency map. I would go for census data, which is a more accurate picture of the numbers involved. To use the electoral role only is to take no account of children, those not eligible for the vote, and those who fail to register.
Anyway, as for the revised proposals; Tory whingeing has paid off, certainly as far as Southend is concerned anyway.
Castle Point now has Pitsea South East added. My near three-year Parliamentary campaign made me intimate with this constituency and so I think I can state with some authority that Hadleigh has far more connections with Leigh-on-Sea than New Thundersley does with Pitsea. The boundary between Castle Point and Southend often bisects roads, whereas Castle Point’s western boundary is a combination of dual carriageway and fields. The new suggestion will not bother Rebecca Harris (Dave Blackwell has guaranteed comfortable Tory wins here for the foreseeable future), and will relieve David Amess (who was clearly perturbed with the thought of losing two Leigh wards and gaining a couple of Labour held ones.)
Southend West stays as it is with the addition of Victoria ward. Using the numbers from this May’s local elections this gives the following percentages:
21.6% Liberal Democrat
The usual caveats apply as regards to using local election data for Parliamentary elections, but it still allows for some interesting thoughts. However, we can dream on as these proposals, as expensively produced as they are, are destined for the dustbin.
Southend East and Rochford shows the following result using the new boundaries and this year’s elections:
2.2% Liberal Democrat
Again, highly speculative, but I can imagine slightly worrying for James Duddridge.