Sunday, September 24, 2023

Government Proposals Could Spell End For Mid-Derbyshire MP

Mid-Derbyshire MP, Pauline Latham, has spoken out against Boundary Commission proposals which would see her constituency abolished.

The recommendations, which aim to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, have been laid in Parliament but would need to be passed by votes in the House of Commons and House of Lords to become law.

Mrs Latham said that the proposed Derbyshire boundaries ‘do not make sense’ and making sweeping changes at the same time as Brexit would be “ill-advised”.

She said: “The report is disappointing but not a surprise.

“In principle, I supported the reduction in seats when it was first mooted but now we have the prospect of Brexit and the workload of MPs is going to be much greater once that goes through.

“To reduce the number of MPs at this time would be ill-advised.

“I accept that it was a Conservative Party manifesto commitment to look at constituency boundaries but I am not happy with the recommendations so will have to think hard about whether I vote for them.”

Mrs Latham has been the MP for Mid-Derbyshire since the constituency was created at the 2010 General Election.

She represents the people of Belper, Duffield, Allestree, Oakwood, Spondon, Little Eaton, Breadsall, Ockbrook, Borrowash, Stanley, West Hallam, Morley and Dale Abbey.

The proposed changes mean that Mid-Derbyshire would be divided between Erewash, Amber Valley and the new constituency of Derby East.

Mrs Latham said: “I really don’t think some of the changes make sense. Why would Allestree be in Amber Valley and Belper go back into the Derbyshire Dales?”

“I have found a wonderful spirit among the communities of Mid-Derbyshire where I have a long-standing affinity.

“I am not interested in starting again as an MP in an area I don’t know even it were a safe seat.”

Mrs Latham has a majority of 11,616 in Mid-Derbyshire and increased her percentage of the vote at the 2017 General Election to 58.6% .

On September 10 the Boundary Commission for England published its final recommendations for new constituency boundaries.

The Secretary to the Commission, Sam Hartley, said: “The recommendations we’ve published today mark the end of a thorough and consultative process to build the new map of constituencies.

“We’ve travelled the country, taken account of over 35,000 public comments, and heard many impassioned views about how best to reflect local communities in our recommendations, while ensuring that constituencies are all much more equally represented.

“We’re confident that the map we propose today is the best match of the legal rules Parliament have set us. It’s now up to Parliament to decide whether these boundaries will be used at the next general election.”

Labour have been critical of the changes with Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, calling it a ‘power grab’.

She said: “Cutting the number of MPs by 50 as we prepare to leave the European Union is yet another power grab by this Government.

“With no plans to reduce the number of Ministers it will weaken the role of Parliament, to the advantage of the executive, at the time when Parliament is meant to be taking back control. Theresa May needs to think again.”

A date for the vote on the changes has yet to be set.

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