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Leader/Times Column 16th September 2016

This week saw the publication of initial proposals for the changes to parliamentary constituencies, by the independent Boundary Commission for England.  The plans are part of reforms which would reduce the House of Commons from 650 MPs to 600, with every MP representing roughly the same number of voters, and were introduced by the previous Conservative and Lib Dem Coalition Government. 

With the out of date boundaries the UK Parliament we currently have, some Welsh MPs represent as few as 37,739 voters, whilst some English MP have electorates closer to 90,000.  This cannot be right so I support the equalisation of constituency size, with each MP representing roughly 75,000 people. The reduction in the number of MPs will help reduce the cost of politics.

With just 62,891 voters this means that the current Pendle constituency has to change.  During the last Parliament initially it was proposed that the towns and villages across Pendle should be divided up, between Ribble Valley and Burnley.  I alongside local residents fought this proposal and in the end it was proposed that Pendle should be kept together, with just two outlying rural ward from Burnley added in – Briercliffe and Cliviger & Worsthorne.  

Sadly this proposal wasn’t implemented for the 2015 General Election as the Lib Dems voted down the proposals they had previously advocated and voted for, over the unrelated topic of House of Lords reform.  Which brings us to where we are now, with a new set of initial proposals from the independent Boundary Commission, which again propose the splitting up of Pendle.

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