Radical changes to the electoral map in Northumberland, with a reduction from four to three constituencies, could be on the cards under proposals unveiled today.
The independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituencies, which marks the start of 12 weeks of consultation, during which the Commission needs to hear from you.
Following a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to 600 from 650 and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is more equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be.
The BCE must report to Parliament in 2018 and, if agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2020.
The report on the proposals for the North East explains that the BCE has ‘needed to make substantial changes to the existing constituencies’ in Northumberland due to the numbers of electors in the current constituencies:
• The proposed Berwick and Ashington constituency retains 13 wards from the existing constituency. Eight wards would bee added to this constituency, including the town of Ashington, from the existing Wansbeck constituency. This reconfiguration results in a Berwick and Ashington constituency that extends down the North Sea coast to the north bank of the River Wansbeck and includes the Choppington ward to the south.
• The proposed Hexham and Morpeth constituency has retained 15 wards of the existing Hexham constituency and has had five wards, including the town of Morpeth, from the existing Wansbeck constituency transferred to it as well as the divided wards of Longhorsley and Pegswood and four wards from the existing Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency.
• The proposed Blyth Valley constituency has retained 17 wards of the existing constituency and has had five wards from the existing Wansbeck constituency transferred to it, which has enabled the three Bedlington wards to be kept together in a constituency.
For more information and to have your say, visit www.bce2018.org.uk/