Potential new political battle lines drawn

PUBLISHED: 09:13 15 September 2011

Oliver Heald MP

Oliver Heald MP

Archant

A POSSIBLE new political landscape has been unveiled with both of Crow Country’s constituencies affected by the shake up.

The Boundary Commission revealed on Tuesday that both North East Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire will cease to exist in their current forms – if its proposals are taken on board.

Royston MP Oliver Heald’s North East Hertfordshire patch could be transformed into Letchworth and take in Stotfold, Arlesey and Potton in Bedfordshire.

Mr Heald could also lose a number of villages including Benington, Ardeley and Watton-at-Stone – all in Hertfordshire.

He estimates around 80 per cent of his current constituency will remain, if the proposals are approved.

“I would obviously be sad to lose any part of my current constituency, which is a privilege to represent.

“Otherwise these are initial proposals, and there’s a 12 week consultation period,” said Royston’s representative.

“As a Royston resident I’m glad that the constituency continues to contain Royston.

“Stotfold, Arlesey, and Potton are areas I know very well. They’re places in which a lot of people who work in Letchworth live.

“It’s an area I have known very well for a number of years but we will have to see what the final proposals are.”

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s South Cambridgeshire constituency would retain its current name, but it is proposed that Bassingbourn and the Mordens be included in a new St Neots district.

South Cambridgeshire would gain some of the constituency currently called South East Cambridgeshire.

Les Baker, secretary of the North East Hertfordshire Constituency Labour Party, said: “We are in the process of making a detailed examination of the proposals from the Electoral Commission.

“The proposals are quite radical with the Electoral Commission deciding to cross the boundary between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to create yet again a sprawling constituency.

“As a party we will continue to discuss the proposals and will certainly be playing our part during the consultation period.

“There is obviously the opportunity to suggest changes to the proposals.

“It had been suggested before the proposals were published on Tuesday that Royston could be split from North Hertfordshire entirely, but that has not happened and we’re not going out on a limb.”

Britain would shed 50 MPs under the proposals, which came from an independent review, and are now subject to a 12-week consultation period.

A series of hearings will be held across the country with the nearest ones to Royston in the Gonville Hotel, Cambridge, on November 10-11. The review must be completed by autumn 2013, and any changes will come into effect at the next General Election.

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