Sweeping changes to our MPs’ seats

THE MID-Derbyshire parliamentary seat would be expanded under sweeping new changes to boundaries as part of a bid to reduce the number of MPs.

The Boundary Commission has to reduce the total of MPs in England from 533 to 502 in time for a 2015 General Election – the first move in a UK-wide scheme to limit the seats to 600, down from the current 650.

Around 16,900 voters from Alfreton, Swanwick and Wingfield currently in Amber Valley would be transferred to Bolsover, while Mid Derbyshire would expand to include 52,650 voters from Ripley and Heanor. The review is aimed at ensuring that constituencies have roughly the same number of voters.

Belper’s MP Pauline Latham said: “It’s quite frustrating because you get used to your constituency. But it is about balancing the work among MPs by making sure constituency sizes are more equal, and saving the taxpayer money by reducing the number of MPs.”

Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills, whose constituency includes Horsley Woodhouse and Smalley, said: “It’s not a great idea. Alfreton has no links to Bolsover. Amber Valley as a council already has three MPs.

“I was hoping they would leave Amber Valley intact and add on the other bits of Amber Valley that aren’t in the parliamentary seat to make it more cohesive.

“I am elected to represent the current site – but it’s right that we reduce the number of MPs.”

The seats of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chancellor George Osborne, former MP Tony Blair and shadow chancellor Ed Balls are all on the condemned list. Critics say that the exercise is aimed at boosting Conservative chances of winning the next election.

The Government wants to make sure all constituencies have the same number of voters and the current quota is 76,641. Every constituency in England – except two covering the Isle of Wight – must have a number of registered electors within five per cent of this figure.

Last month a 12 week consultation on the changes was launched and it closes on December 5. Secretary Simon James said the BCE is now open to feedback. He added: “People can contribute via our website, they can write in or email us, or come and present their views at a public hearing in one of 36 venues around the country between 11 October and 18 November this year.”

A public hearing is set for The Derby Conference Centre, London Road, Derby, on Thursday October 27 from 10am to 8pm and the next day from 9am to 5pm. The Boundary Commission for Scotland is due to publish its provisional proposals on Thursday October 13.