Boundary changes

Wetherby residents could end up in a new parliamentary constituency under proposals for a major shake-up of England’s electoral map.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 10:13 am
Changes could be on the cards for Wetherby's constituency. Picture James Hardisty

The Boundary Commission on Tuesday announced proposed changes to constituencies across the country including Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke’s Elmet and Rothwell which could be scrapped as part of the review which aims to make Parliament fairer by giving each MP a roughly similar number of voters.

Under first proposals, residents could instead come under a new Wetherby and Easingwold constituency, sharing the same MP as those living in areas further south including Aberford and those further north such as Boroughbridge.

The Boundary Commission is tasked with periodically reviewing boundaries on the basis of legislative rules most recently updated by Parliament in 2020.

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It has now put the initial proposals out for public consultation and is expected to conclude with a formal report to government by June 2023.

If the proposed changes go through, some MPs will find themselves with safer seats, while some will be more closely contested and others will disappear altogether.

The Boundary Commission has, however, stressed this is just the start of a long consultation process and that the current proposals are unlikely to be the final picture.

Tim Bowden, secretary at the Boundary Commission, said: “Today’s proposals mark the first time people get to see what the new map of parliamentary constituencies might look like.

But they are just the commission’s initial thoughts.

“Help us draw the line to make the number of electors in each parliamentary constituency more equal.

“Each constituency we recommend is required by law to contain between 69,724 and 77,062 electors, meaning there will be significant change to current boundaries.

“We want to hear the views of the public to ensure that we get the new boundaries for parliamentary constituencies right.”

Other proposed changes would see Headingley in Leeds become its own constituency while Leeds North West - the constituency it currently is part of - would take on Horsforth from the Pudsey constituency.

The Selby constituency boundary could move just over the Leeds City Council ward border, taking in the village of Kippax, while Conservative MP Julian Smith’s Skipton and Ripon constituency would engulf Ripley but lose other villages including Bishop Monkton and Burton Leonard.

Meanwhile, Harrogate and Knaresborough - which has been held by Conservative MP Andrew Jones since 2010 - could also be reduced in size.

Overall, Yorkshire and the Humber will continue to have 54 seats in Parliament, although the 24 seats in Humberside and South Yorkshire would fall to 23 and North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire would have 31 instead of its current 20.

The initial proposals will now be subject to revisions and consultations, with the first set to run for eight weeks before closing on 2 August.

A second consultation with public hearings will then get under way in spring 2022, followed by a final four-week consultation on revised plans in autumn 2022.

In numbers:

The current Elmet and Rothwell constituency has an electorate of 77,287 voters. Under the new proposals, the figure for the new Wetherby and Easingwold would be 74,405.

By law, every constituency the commission proposes must contain between 69,724 and 77,062 parliamentary electors. Currently, some MPs only have 50,000 constituents while others have double that.