The Boundary Commission for England has been busy working on revisions to the boundaries for parliamentary constituencies across the country. Boundaries are changed periodically to ensure that each MP represents a similar number of constituents.
The new South Shropshire constituency will extend as far north as the southern edge of Shrewsbury. But it will no longer include areas of Herefordshire, including Leominster. It will include all the area we think of South Shropshire with a bit of middle of the county.
The proposals are out for consultation until 8 December.
The proposals have come a long way since the initial proposals in 2017, which suggested that Ludlow should be divorced from Bridgnorth and lumped in the same constituency as Leominster. After extensive consultation and a major revision by the Boundary Commission, the boundaries were revised in 2021. A new constituency called Ludlow and Bridgnorth would be created which would extend further north to as far as Dobbies Island. Many of us objected to the name of the constituency as it did not do justice to the many small towns across the area. The Boundary Commission has accepted that argument and changed the name of the new constituency to South Shropshire.
These are good proposals for Shropshire given the constraints the Commission works within. It is consulting with the public and MPs until 8 December.
The new map of proposed constituencies.
The number of constituencies was fixed at 650 in 2020. There had been a plan in 2011 to reduce the number of MPs to 600. That failed during the coalition government after David Cameron blocked reform of the House of Lords and Nick Clegg retaliated by blocking reform of the Commons. Despite this dispute, the primacy of the rule that constituencies should be of a similar size was retained.
Constituencies must have an electorate within 5% of the average number of parliamentary electors for all constituencies (these rules do not apply to some larger islands, such as the Shetlands and the Isle of Wight).
This current review of boundaries began in January 2021 and must be completed by 1 July 2023. The final recommendations of the four national Commissions will be implemented automatically without government intervention.
The allocation of parliamentary seats between each of the nations of the UK is based on the proportion of the UK registered electorate in each country. This review will allocate more seats to England, reflecting its greater population growth:
- England: 543 (+10 seats)
- Scotland: 57 (-2)
- Wales: 32 (-8)
- Northern Ireland: 18 (no change).