The independent Boundary Commission for England is carrying out a review of Westminster Constituency boundaries to reflect population change. The Commission’s brief is to ensure that all MPs have broadly similar numbers of voters. In doing this they also consider:
- physical geography, such as major roads and waterways, size, shape and accessibility of a constituency;
- local government boundaries;
- existing constituency boundaries;
- local ties that would be broken by changes to constituencies;
- inconveniences that may flow from changes to constituencies.
Last year, the Commission published its preliminary proposals and carried out a round of public consultation. The proposals have now been revised and republished, together with all the comments received.
A second round of consultation is now taking place. Comments must be made before 4th April
The results of the Review will take effect in the Autumn of 2023.
What is to change?
In the East of England, most constituencies will experience some change, and the total number of constituencies will rise from 58 to 61.
The biggest change will be the creation of four entirely new constituencies. These are (indicating the current MPs affected) :
Haverhill & Halstead across the Suffolk/Essex border. This combines parts of West Suffolk (Matt Hancock) with parts of Braintree (James Cleverley).
North Suffolk reorganises the North of Suffolk. This combines parts of Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), Central Suffolk & North Ipswich (Dan Poulter), Suffolk Coastal (Therese Coffey) and Waveney (Peter Aldous)
Hitchin across the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire border. This adds three wards from Central Bedfordshire (Nadine Dorries) to the current marginal Hitchin constituency (Bim Afolami)
Harpenden & Berkhamstead reorganises SW Hertfordshire (Gagan Mogindra), combinging parts of Hemel Hempstead (Michael Penning), and Chesham & Amersham (Cheryl Gillan),
Eight other constituencies (including those losing areas to the new constituencies) will be renamed.
The full proposals can be found on the Commission’s website.
The Commission’s online interactive map, can be used to identify what changes are proposed in any specific location.
The Electoral Commission is independent, and the review does not aim to change the political balance. Nevertheless, there are bound to be some political impacts.
These changes are most important in the 13 marginal constituencies in the region (with majorities under 10,000). Five of these are not expecting significant boundary changes. The others are:
Have your say
A public consultation on the Commission’s proposals opened on 22 February 2022, and will close on 4th April. A consultation website has been created. There you can see maps of the proposed changes, and all the comments made in the first round.
You can make comments online through that website, or in person on one of the 6 regional consultation days. You can also make alternative proposals using the plan builder on the website.
|2021||Periodic review began|
|Spring 2021||Publication of draft proposals.|
|Summer 2021||First consultation on draft plans|
|Winter 2021-2||Proposals revised in the light of the consultation|
|22 Feb 2022||Revised proposals and all comments received published and second public consultation launched|
|March||17-18 Cambridge public consultation 21-22 Southend public consultation 24-25 Ipswich public consultation|
|4 April 2022||Consultation closes|
|Late 2022||Revised proposals will be published|
|June 2023||The final proposals must be submitted to the Speaker by 1 July 2023. The government cannot amend those proposals.|
|October 2023||By 31 October 2023, the Privy Council must issue an order implementing this (within 4 months). They then take effect immediately.|