Regional board – some rather discriminating notes

There are a number of personnel changes imminent, and in part this is because of the wind-down post General Election.

There are three power-sharing arrangements in local authorities within the East of England – Bedford, Colchester and Southend-on-Sea. These are subject to NEC approval, which (of course) they currently have.

The Parliamentary report was given by Gavin Shuker MP. As the new parliament has only sat for five days this was quite brief. However, discussion did turn to speculation about some important elections that are coming up.

It looks like the EU referendum will come earlier than 2017, with 5th May 2016 being touted as the favourite. This will mean it coincides with local authority elections, and is bound to impact on them. The Police and Crime Commissioner elections could also be in 2016, and this raises the possibility of three sets of elections on the same day. Of course, the Government may yet choose to separate them – but it would certainly be the cheapest option to have them all on one day.

The boundary changes must happen by 2018. The reduction to 602 MPs (as part of the equalisation agenda) would be the simplest change to put into effect, although there is some resistance to culling 48 members from with Conservative ranks. But, whilst anything could happen (including drawing up a whole new set of constituency boundaries), I do wonder whether the most straightforward change will be chosen.

That the reduction to 602 MPs will now have little effect on Labour, whilst undoubtedly meaning some Conservative MPs voting themselves out of a job, does mean that this would be problematic for Mr Cameron. With a majority of only a dozen he may find that he has no alternative but to start a completely fresh review of constituency boundaries. There are important implication s to starting afresh, because if this is done using the electoral roll (as opposed to the census) this will be after IER and consequently on a reduced roll. This is likely to be quite distorting in urban areas where under-registration is most keenly felt.

The general election was discussion, and some statistics were circulated, and I intend to have a closer look at these in another post. However, Labour doubled its presence in the region – we now have four MPs. The Tories have 52 of the 58, and it does look rather a grim blue vista.

Best Labour performances in the East (in terms of vote percentage):

52.2 Luton North
44.2 Luton South
40.2 Bedford
39.3 Norwich South
37.7 Waveney
37.1 Ipswich
36.0 Cambridge
35.6 Peterborough
34.2 Stevenage
33.5 Norwich North
32.6 Thurrock
30.0 Harlow

A hustings timetable has been issued for the leader and deputy leader elections; The East of England hosts the first, in Stevenage on June 20th. These are invitation-only events, although the public will be admitted. It is anticipated that there will be a television event, and undoubtedly cameras will be at some, if not all, of the husti


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