The Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport has today blasted the Government’s proposed new constituency boundary changes as “insulting” and “undemocratic” after shock plans reveal the far south west would lose a constituency and historic county boundaries would merge together.
Changes published today by the Boundary Commission state that the 18 constituencies in Cornwall, Devon, Isles of Scilly, Plymouth and Torbay would be reduced by one to 17 as part of efforts to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600. Theresa May has no plans to reduce the numbers of Ministers thus reducing Parliament’s scrutiny role at a key time for the country.
The proposals also include a plan to create a ‘Devonwall’ seat that crosses the Devon and Cornwall boundary. Attempts to keep Cornwall whole have been ignored by the Boundary Commission.
In Plymouth, changes include the transferring of Peverell ward from Plymouth Sutton and Devonport to Plymouth Moor View, while Plymstock Radford and Plymstock Dunstone wards would be transferred to Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.
Responding to the revised boundary proposals, Luke Pollard MP said:
“The changes proposed today are gerrymandered not to help the people of the far south west, but to help a Conservative Government cling on to power. With Brexit happening we need more scrutiny not less. But instead we have a Government that is stuffing House of Lords with expensive unelected peers and getting rid of democratically elected MPs.”
“The Boundary Commission are using an out of date electoral register that ignores thousands of people in Plymouth and the wider region who have resisted to vote since 2015. As well as being undemocratic, these changes insultingly look to merge county boundaries between Devon and Cornwall creating a ‘Devonwall’ seat that Conservative and Labour MPs have fought against. South West MPs have a chance to stand up for our region and keep Cornwall whole by voting against these changes.”
“This is nothing less than a cynical attempt at a bureaucratic, power grab making it easier for the Conservatives to win an election before a single vote is cast. I support equalising the number of people in each constituency but these new boundaries only count registered voters and not people. Research shows young people, people on low income, BAME and disabled people are much more likely to not be registered to vote.”
Due to the large number of Conservative MPs unhappy with the proposals the Government has not announced a date for the vote in the House of Commons. Luke is encouraging people to lobby their MPs to keep Cornwall whole and reject these proposals.