Sunday, 18 September 2011

Boundary changes: a former MP's view

I had to go to Telford Central train station yesterday to pick up some tickets for a colleague and bumped into Chris Gill.

Chris was the Conservative MP for the Ludlow constituency between 1987 and 2001 and is now a UKIP candidate.

Proposed Bridgnorth & Telford South Constituency
One of the things we talked about was the proposed change to the Telford constituency which will see Albrighton, Bridgnorth, Broseley, Much Wenlock and Shifnal become part of a Bridgnorth & Telford South constituency and Oakengates and Trench move into the Wrekin constituency.  Brookside will be part of the Bridgnorth & South Telford constituency.

The new constituency (assuming the boundary changes go ahead as planned) will see David Wright lose his seat if previous elections are anything to go by.  His majority last year dropped to just 981 and none of the five towns that will join the constituency are Labour-voting areas whilst the two areas that are being moved into the Wrekin are.

There were some aspects of the proposed changes that I hadn't considered but which Chris, having been an MP, has.  The main one was the problems the new MP would have dealing with two different local authorities, especially when one is largely a rural local authority (Shropshire Council) and the other a predominantly urban local authority (Telford & Wrekin).  How can an MP properly represent the interests of his or her constituents (as articulated through the councillors) when those interests are conflicting?

When I get hold of a polling district breakdown for last year's election I will have a better idea of how the proposed changes will affect our constituency.

(Thanks to Shropshire Live for pointing me in the direction of the maps)