2018 Constituency Boundary final recommendations
Table of Contents
The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) published its final report on 10 September 2018.
The recommendations, as they affect us, are the same as in the earlier draft proposals.
Compton and Shawford, Otterbourne, Hursley, Twyford and Colden Common are all proposed to move to Test Valley.
The full report notes the representations made locally but does not accept them.
Specifically, Volume 1 of the final report, states in paragraph 714 on page 138 that
There were also objections to the inclusion of the Compton and Otterbourne ward, and the Colden Common and Twyford ward in the proposed Test Valley constituency, with counterproposals suggesting either splitting the Compton and Otterbourne ward (to keep the polling district containing Compton and Shawford parish with Winchester), or substituting for both wards the two wards of Sparsholt, and Wonston and Micheldever.
But it goes on to say (paragraph 718 on page 139) that
While recognising the community links between Winchester and areas to its south and west, we noted that the counter-proposals suggested in this area would result in cutting other community ties, and therefore kept the initial proposals for the boundaries unchanged in this area.
If Parliament agrees the boundary changes, the new constituencies will take effect at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.
What’s the background?
The Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended in 2011) required the four Boundary Commissions for the UK to carry out a review of constituencies and to submit final reports to Government in September 2018. Parliament specified that the 2018 Review must reduce the number of constituencies, and therefore MPs, in the UK, to 600.
This 2018 Review had started out as the 2013 Review. It was postponed for five years because there was not enough support for it in Parliament during the Coalition government.
Parliament had legislated that constituencies must all be within 5% of an ‘electoral quota’ figure. The quota is the average electorate for a parliamentary constituency. It excludes the special cases of the Isle of Wight and two Scottish island constituencies.
This firm 5% allowable variation had made it difficult for the BCE reviews to respect community boundaries in all areas.
Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report March 2015
The cross-party Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report “What next on the redrawing of parliamentary constituency boundaries?“, published in March 2015, had written (para 40, page 22):
We recommend that the allowable variance for the electorate of each constituency from the UK electoral quota be increased to +/- 10%. This would better enable the Commissions to come forward with more satisfactory proposals for new parliamentary constituencies, whilst still ensuring a greater degree of equality than exists at present in terms of the number of electors in each constituency. This change would require primary legislation.
That report also noted (para 46 page 24) that
We welcome the statement from the Boundary Commission for England that it will be more open to the possibility of splitting wards in the future. This should serve to minimise any unnecessary disruption resulting from the boundary review process, and allow for greater account to be taken of substantive community boundaries.
Unfortunately for us, after the 2015 election, the then government did not act on the recommendation to increase the constituency size variance to 10%. This limited BCE’s ability to respect community boundaries.
We had pointed out in our submission that they could have moved Compton & Shawford alone back into Winchester constituency without any knock-on effects.
But although BCE had said that they would be more open to splitting wards, they chose not to exercise that option for us.
Related posts on this website:
- New Parliamentary Constituency boundary proposals – chance to comment
- Chair’s letter to Boundary Commission
- Parliamentary Constituency boundary proposal comments published
- Constituency boundary changes – this affects us
- CS PC submission to BCE Boundary Review