Labour MP’s joy at boundary defeat

PLANS to re-draw the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies before the 2015 General Election have been defeated in the House of Commons.

The news has been welcomed by Labour’s Ian Lavery, as his Wansbeck area would have seen major changes as a result of the proposal to cut the number of MPs by 50.

Morpeth, Pegswood and Longhirst, plus large wards in Ashington, Choppington and Guide Post, would have been switched to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The remaining Wansbeck constituency would have been merged with parts of its Blyth Valley neighbour.

In the Commons vote, 334 MPs were in favour of accepting changes to the proposals made by Peers in the House of Lords, as opposed to 292 against, meaning any re-drawing of boundaries will be postponed until at least 2018. For the first time, all Lib Dem MPs voted against their Conservative Coalition colleagues.

Mr Lavery, one of those who voted in favour of putting boundary changes on the back-burner, said: “I think in this case common sense has prevailed.

“I believe that Morpeth and Pegswood should remain part of south east Northumberland and not be part of a constituency based more than 50 miles away in Berwick.

“In many ways, Morpeth, Pegswood and Ashington are dependant upon one another for work, commercial and even leisure opportunities in a much greater way than for instance they would be with Alnwick, Berwick and the coastal communities of Amble or Seahouses.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman voted against, as he was happy with revisions made following a consultation. One of which was keeping Ponteland East together with the other Ponteland wards in his constituency – in the original proposal it was to be transferred to Berwick, which would have been renamed ‘Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth’.