Major changes to Somerset constituencies
The Boundary Commission for England announced proposals for new constituencies across the country this morning. If confirmed, and there is some way to go as yet, it will mean major changes to the shape of Somerset politics.
The biggest changes will see the creation of two new smaller constituencies. Bridgwater is to be separated from West Somerset and Frome from Somerton and Frome. Each would have its own constituency. Each being a left of centre stronghold, both Labour and the Libdems will hope to improve their prospects in the county.
Frome will also acquire Midsomer Norton and Radstock to make the new constituency.
Bridgwater will also take in Burnham on Sea, currently a part of Wells constituency.
Glastonbury and Street are to be carved out of Wells constituency and added to Somerton and Langport. The new constituency to be named Glastonbury and Somerton.
I doubt if Ian Liddell Grainger will mind losing Bridgwater, and gaining a chunk of rural Devon. His new constituency will be called Tiverton and Minehead.
Yeovil and Taunton will remain relatively unchanged. Wells will also remain relatively unchanged although it has been chipped away at the edges. It gains Yatton and loses Street and Glastonbury. It is also proposed for a name change. The new constituency to be called Wells and Mendip Hills.
There now follows an initial consultation on the proposals for an eight-week period, from 8 June to 2 August 2021. to find out more visit http://www.bcereviews.org.uk From here the timetable is as follows:
- Early 2022: Publish responses to initial proposals and conduct six-week ‘secondary consultation’, including between two and five public hearings in each region;
- Late 2022: Publish revised proposals and conduct four-week written consultation;
- June 2023: Submit and publish final report and recommendations.
Leveller comment: the big disappointment in this review is not the changes within Somerset. It is the loss of a system of government which largely followed coterminous boundaries.
Currently the five parliamentary constituencies, district councils and county council all operate to a single set of boundaries.
The new proposals make it all a bit messy. Hatton from North Somerset now with Wells. Midsomer Norton from Bath and North East Somerset now with Frome. A chunk of North Devon lumped in with Minehead and Exmoor.
We are tidying up local government into one or two unitary councils. This proposal will create unnecessary confusion and complication to the way we are governed.