Letter: ‘It’s time that Peterborough had two MPs’

Former Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson argues that recently proposed boundary changes mean it is time to create a second Peterborough Parliamentary seat...

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 10:30 am
Should voters in the city elect two 'Peterborough' seats?
Should voters in the city elect two 'Peterborough' seats?

The Boundary Commission for England has just published its latest proposals for the Peterborough area.

As a former Member of Parliament for Peterborough, I know how much confusion is caused by half of the city being lumped in with a seat called North West Cambridgeshire.

There is a reason people in the Ortons, Fletton, Hampton and Stanground think they live in Peterborough: They do.

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Yet Parliamentary boundaries say they don’t.

At the last boundary review in 2012, this was set to change.

As a large and growing city, we were going to get two MPs, like almost every other town or city of our size. Unfortunately, the review was abandoned.

Now the Boundary Commission has published new draft proposals but instead of the two MPs we deserve, they propose that Peterborough only gets one. That doesn’t make any sense.

Peterborough has a population of 179,000 in the latest ONS figures.

Bolton has 180,000 and gets three MPs, as does Sunderland with just 175,000. Norwich, Luton, Swindon, Middlesborough, York and Oxford all get two MPs and even seaside resorts like Bournemouth, Poole and Southend on Sea get two MPs, whilst we are left with one.

Names matter.

If you live in Woodston, you’re represented by Peterborough City Council not Cambridgeshire County Council.

In fact, more than 70 per cent of people in the proposed new North West Cambridgeshire seat live in the city area and the rest in Peterborough travel to work areas in Huntingdonshire like Yaxley and Ramsey.

Voters are getting short changed.

They have needs associated with city living but continue to be labelled as living in an affluent rural, ‘county’ seat. And when they need help, they frequently and understandably contact the MP for Peterborough, rather than their own.

Whether you prefer a Peterborough North and South or a Peterborough East and West - on whatever configuration of wards and neighbourhoods - surely, we can agree that Peterborough needs two MPs?

I hope that local people and Telegraph readers will make their voices known and ask the Boundary Commission for the representation that we deserve.

Stewart Jackson

MP for Peterborough 2005-17

The PT would like to know what you think about this issue: Email [email protected]