New constituency ‘would need a better name’ – MP
A Northumberland MP has cautiously welcomed plans to expand her constituency, but called on decision makers to choose a more ‘appropriate’ name.
An independent review has recommended Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s Berwick-upon-Tweed seat be enlarged to take in Morpeth, to the south.
But the Conservative has expressed scepticism about suggestions the new creation be known as ‘Berwick and Morpeth’, arguing it ignores Alnwick.
She said: “I have reviewed the initial proposals and they seem a sensible way of increasing the size of the electorate in what is presently the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency.
“I am not sure about naming the proposed constituency ‘Berwick and Morpeth’ after only two of the three main centres of population, and would suggest either ‘North Northumberland’ or ‘Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth’ might be more appropriate.
“I will be giving my feedback as part of the consultation which is now open until August 2 and would encourage local residents to review the proposals and respond to the consultation themselves as well.”
The suggested changes have been put forward by the Boundary Commission for England, which is attempting to ensure the UK’s 650 constituencies have roughly equal numbers of voters.
This would be set at about 73,000 each, except in a handful of seats given ‘protected’ status in Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Wight.
MPs were given early sight of the proposals yesterday (Monday, June 7) ahead of the report’s official publication early today (Tuesday, June 8), kicking off an eight-week public consultation.
A second round of public consultation, including public hearings on the proposals, is due to start early next year (2022), ahead of a final version of the plan being completed by June 2023.
While the current Berwick constituency would gain some areas, such as Morpeth and Pegwood, it would lose others under the latest plans, including Longhorsley, which is represented by Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council.
Reacting to the review, he said: “I’d like to hear residents' views about the ideas, but actually the constituency in which Longhorsley is put is not as important as ensuring residents are cared for effectively and their voice is heard clearly at County Hall.”