All the hubbub on the possibility of a boundary reviews has been on whether the number of Cornwall Councillors should be reduced or kept at the existing levels, but tucked away on the Boundary Commission’s website and which it seems most people have missed, is fact the Boundary Commission for England and its three other counter parts will be starting a review of parliamentary seats this Spring
The aim of the review – as laid down in legislation – is to reduce the number of MP’s from 650 to 600. Most people though the review was killed off in 2013 when the Lib Dems and Tory’s fell out over the Lords reform. However, reducing the number of MP’s was in the Tory manifesto policy, and the review is enshrined in legislation, which means it still counts unless you repealed it. Which it was not, just suspended.
The reasoning behind the review is firstly to save money. The estimated savings could be as much as £12m. And secondly, the aim is to have parliamentary seats that are roughly equal in electoral size. Currently, there is no equal size for parliamentary seats which results in parliamentary seats having as few electors as 22,000 to over 110,000.
Under the boundary proposals, no parliamentary seat will be smaller no smaller than 72,810 and no larger than 80,473 electors per Parliamentary seat. Though there will be at least four parliamentary seats which will be exempt this requirement due to their geographical nature – like the Isle of Wight.
The boundary review is set to start in spring 2016 and needs to be completed by October 2018. Then after a series of public consultations on the recommendations, the new boundaries will be approved in time for the next General Election in 2020, subject to parliamentary approval.
Using the max/min electors per seat numbers measure, the South West is set to lose at least two seats. This very much brings back the likelihood of a Parliamentary seat that crosses the borders of Cornwall and Devon. How or where this cross-border seat will be set is anyone’s guess at the moment. But one thing is for sure, there will be two sitting Tory MP’s fighting for one seat.
This boundary review will needs to address the proverbial Elephant in the room in that the new seat will again open the Devonwall debate on the historic border between Cornwall and Devon again.