New draft proposals for Peterborough constituency revealed

Fiona Onasanya
Fiona Onasanya
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New draft proposals to reshape the Peterborough constituency have been revealed.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is once again proposing that Peterborough incorporates the ward of Fletton and Woodston from 2018 which would impact on future general elections.

Currently, the ward is part of the North West Cambridgeshire which has Conservative Shailesh Vara as its MP.

Under the new proposals, which are subject to a third and final consultation, the ward would be in the constituency represented in Parliament by Labour’s Fiona Onasanya.

The BCE’s proposals for Peterborough are the same as the proposals released in September 2016 as part of an earlier draft.

The latest BCE report states: “Our proposed Peterborough constituency generated representations that were mostly in support of our proposals, particularly regarding the inclusion of the Fletton and Woodston ward from the existing North West Cambridgeshire constituency.

“Stewart Jackson, the then Member of Parliament for Peterborough, said in his oral evidence on day one of the public hearing in Norwich (BCE-32301): ‘although I did oppose the inclusion of the Fletton and Woodston ward in the last boundary review in 2011 – the aborted sixth Boundary Commission review – I do nevertheless believe it is the ‘least worst’ option, in that clearly Fletton and Woodston is a city centre, urban ward’.”

The BCE revealed that it had other representations of support for the new proposals, but it rejected a suggestion that Stanground should also become part of the Peterborough constituency, or that Newborough should move into North West Cambridgeshire.

Fletton and Woodston has three Peterborough city councillors.

Two are Conservative - Cllr Andy Coles and Cllr Lucia Serluca - and one is Labour - Cllr Alan Dowson.

Last year, Cllr Mohammed Jamil, who was at the time Labour’s group leader on the council, said incorporating Fletton and Woodston into Peterborough would give his party a boost.

The BCE review follows 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 equal.

An initial 12-week consultation was held in the autumn last year, giving the public the first

chance to view and comment on the plans, followed by a second consultation in the spring of this year.

More than 25,000 public responses were received across the country during these consultations.

From today (Tuesday, October 17) people can go to the BCE’s website, www.bce2018.org.uk, to view the new plans.

All the public comments received during the first two consultations are also published on the website.

People have until December 11 to have their say.

Sam​ ​Hartley,​ ​secretary​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Boundary​ ​Commission​ ​for​ ​England,​ ​said: “We’re​ ​delighted​ ​with​ ​the​ ​huge​ ​number​ ​of​ ​comments​ ​on​ ​our​ ​initial​ ​proposals​ ​that we’ve​ ​received​ ​from​ ​members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​public,​ ​many​ ​of​ ​which​ ​contain​ ​valuable​ ​evidence about​ ​people’s​ ​local​ ​communities.​

“​Based​ ​on​ ​what​ ​people​ ​have​ ​said​ ​to​ ​us​ ​we​ ​have revised​ ​more​ ​than​ ​half​ ​of​ ​our​ ​initial​ ​proposals.​

“​The​ ​new​ ​map​ ​of​ ​the​ ​country​ ​we​ ​publish today​ ​is,​ ​we​ ​think,​ ​close​ ​to​ ​the​ ​best​ ​set​ ​of​ ​Parliamentary​ ​constituencies​ ​we​ ​can achieve,​ ​based​ ​on​ ​the​ ​rules​ ​to​ ​which​ ​we​ ​work​ ​and​ ​the​ ​evidence​ ​given​ ​to​ ​us​ ​by​ ​local citizens.​ ​

“But​ ​we​ ​still​ ​want​ ​people​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​us​ ​what​ ​they​ ​think​ ​of​ ​this​ ​latest​ ​map​ ​before​ ​we make​ ​our​ ​final​ ​recommendations​ ​to​ ​Parliament​ ​next​ ​year.​ It’s​ ​so​ ​important​ ​to​ ​have your​ ​say​ ​in​ ​this​ ​fundamental​ ​democratic​ ​exercise.”

Following this third and final consultation, the Boundary Commissioners will consider all the evidence submitted throughout the process. They will then decide on their final recommendations before submitting them to Parliament in September 2018.

If agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.

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