Monday, 12 September 2011

Boundary Commission Review

Tomorrow the boundary commission will unveil its review of parliamentary constituencies which, subject to consultation, will come into force in time for the 2015 general election.

The stated aim of the review is to equalise the size of parliamentary constituencies and in doing so reduce the total number of MP's in Westminster down from 650 to 600.

There will be very few constituencies which go completely untouched in the review but our own constituency of North West Leicestershire will be one of the most affected.

Leaked copies of the proposals show that North West Leicestershire will be split into two.

Ashby De La Zouch will be absorbed into the Bosworth constituency, thus presumably making it even more steadfastly Conservative.

Whilst Coalville and its surrounding villages will go to form a new constituency with the towns of Keyworth and Ruddington which currently form part of Ken Clarke's Rushcliffe seat (the proposed constituency will be called Coalville and Keyworth).

It could be argued that this will potentially make Coalville (and Keyworth - must get used to the new name) a more marginal constituency given that the two towns do not tend to return Conservative councillors wholesale unlike much of the rest of the district.

But, to me at least, this is not the point.

Parliamentary constituencies should be designed on the basis that they reflect an identifiable geographic area. In other words to reflect communities.

Everyone knows that Coalville and Ashby are very different towns politically, economically and socially however they also have a great deal in common (much more than simply sharing a district council).

We have history, heritage, close transport links and not least the fact that for many of us when we go out shopping or for entertainment we might 'pop' into Ashby or 'nip' to Coalville.

What links do we have with Ruddington or Keyworth?

Both towns I am sure are lovely but what do we have in common with what are essentially suburbs of Nottingham?

I am pretty certain that anyone sat in Ruddington right now will be asking the same questions about Coalville.

Has anyone from Coalville ever 'popped' out to Keyworth (or vice versa)? I doubt it but we may well soon be represented by an MP of whatever party who must try to show they have an intimate knowledge of both distinct areas.

Will this really be the best representation voters can expect?

3 comments:

  1. Keyworth and Ruddington are both villages, not towns.
    They are both separated from Nottingham by green belt land.
    Keyworth is well positioned for commuting to Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicester, Newark and Melton Mowbray, while Ruddington is well placed for commuting to Nottingham and Loughborough or West towards Derby, Ashby de la Zouche and random parts of the West Midlands. Neither are "suburbs of Nottingham".

    That all said, I concur that creating a parliamentary constituency that has a gap (called Loughborough) in the middle does feel somewhat strange. Still, Coalville's a nice place, for a suburb of Ashby.

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  2. Anonymous, you have proved my point completely.

    I believed that Ruddington was a small town that was a suburb of Nottingham because I have no reason to know any better.

    I am sure Ruddington and Keyworth are lovely but there is just no connection between Coalville and those villages (see, I stand corrected).

    Similarly I wouldn't expect anyone in Keyworth to realise just how lovely Sence Valley has become over the past few years (or any one of a plethora of other things about Coalville).

    It's not that I don't like Keyworth or Ruddington it's simply that we don't have connections that bind us.

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  3. Lets look to the positive Leon. A great opportunity to forge links, much like Coalville town twinning does with our French friends.
    I admit that I have never heard of Keyworth, but intend to visit it on Google Earth as soon as I have posted this!
    Best wishes Geoff:-)

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