Posted: 08.06.21 at 14:57 by By Local Democracy Reporter Stephen Sumner
Bath could swell in size while North East Somerset is slashed in half in a major shakeup of constituencies.
Under proposals from the Boundary Commission for England, Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse’s Bath seat would absorb communities north of the city that swung to her party at the last council elections to boost the electorate.
By law every constituency must now contain between 69,724 and 77,062 voters.
In 2018 Bath’s electorate stood at 59,887 and North East Somerset’s was well within that margin at 70,070.
However, the commission has proposed to increase the number of constituencies in the South West from 55 to 58, meaning three more MPs for the region, and redrawing the map in some areas.
The expanded Bath constituency would include the wards of Bathavon North, which the Lib Dems claimed from the Conservatives at the 2019 council elections, and Newbridge, which gained a second Lib Dem councillor.
Mrs Hobhouse was re-elected that year with a 12,000-vote majority, so the extra 10,000 voters in those two wards could make a difference.
The North East Somerset constituency currently held by Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg is being completely redrawn but what remains looks likely to remain a safe Tory seat. The leader of the House of Commons has held the seat since it was created in 2010.
The western part of the constituency would be renamed Keynsham and North East Somerset and swallow the firmly Conservative South Gloucestershire wards of Hanham, Longwell Green, Parkwall & Warmley, and Bitton & Oldland Common.
The Lib Dems’ Bathavon South ward and Labour-leaning former mining communities around Radstock would be severed from their North East Somerset neighbours and become part of a new Frome constituency, spanning as far south as Bruton, and north to Marksbury and Wilmington.
The current Somerton and Frome constituency has been represented by Tory MP David Warburton since 2015.
Predictions for the next election will be difficult as it is a melting pot of Green, Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative council wards.
The overall number of MPs will remain at 650.
The commission is required to make a formal final report to the Speaker of the House of Commons before July 1, 2023, recommending any changes that it believes are appropriate to the distribution, size, shape, name or designation of constituencies in England.
Commission secretary Tim Bowden said: “We consider all feedback received during the consultation process, and it is your local knowledge that helps us to shape constituencies that best reflect your local area.
“It is easy to get involved – view our proposals and have your say through our online consultation portal – www.bcereviews.org.uk”
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