15 Sep 2011

Gloucester Cathedral will be in West Glos!!

As widely reported in the media, the Boundary Commission for England has published its proposals for revised parliamentary constituencies. See:

The Stroud and Cotswold constituencies are unaltered in Stroud District. At 79,126 electors, Stroud is the largest constituency in Gloucestershire, with an average of 77,035 for the six proposed constituencies. As before, the Cotswold constituency contains the Kingswood, Minchinhampton and Wotton-under-Edge wards of Stroud District.

The Boundary Commission report is merely the start of a process of reviewing constituencies, and like all the parties, the Greens will be examining the proposals in more detail as the review proceeds. We don't approve of a reduction in the number of seats overall and are concerned about increasing the ratio of constituents to MPs, as we believe it will lead to weaker democratic representation for voters.

The proposal to put Westgate into West Glos however is creating many comments and much concerns. Click on read more for a comment from local Green Gerald Hartley.

Given that the coalition's legislation required the commission to achieve a higher average number of constituents to reduce the number of MP's, with a mandatory + or - 5%, they were always going to have to compromise on something.  Gloucestershire's electorate total meant that it retained all 6 MP's with boundaries pretty much as per the District boundaries.  Moving "border territory" wards from one District/Borough council area to another to form the parliamentary constituency already happens (e.g. Minchinhampton & Wotton from Stroud to The Cotswolds).

What were the alternatives? Look west from the FoD & you cross a county boundary into Hereford or a national boundary into Wales and what would be the knock-on effect there?  Look northeast to Tewkesbury & you create another problem as they would need wards from Cheltenham and so on.

In the past the West Glos constituency has included wards around the northern fringe of Gloucester.  Is it any more logical to do that than to move Westgate?  If Mr Graham objects to losing Westgate, he will have to suggest the alternative. The problem is in the lack of flexibility in the legislation passed by his government, not the commission's deliberations.

The underlying problem is that the Tories want to reduce the democratic input to the running of society. That's why the County Tories have cut the number of councillors from 63 to 53.  It's all part of their privatisation agenda. Services commissioned from the private sector in secrecy covered up by EU competition & procurement laws only need a tiny number of elected people to tick a few boxes. Alternatively, it could be so that when all the MP's turn up on the same day (not often), they can all sit down!

With regards to the potential impact in Brighton and Hove where we have a Green MP well in the proposals there will be more Green wards under the new boundary proposal for the proposed constituency of Brighton Pavilion and Hove than there are under the existing one. Moreover, the Greens have shown time and time again that there is a strong support base across Brighton and Hove, so we are confident that we'll continue to gain the backing of the electorate in the city - and will be able to work effectively within the new boundaries.

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