Members of Parliament representing constituencies across the Greater Lincolnshire region have raised serious questions about the controversial proposed boundary changes outlined today.
As reported this morning, Lincolnshire electoral constituencies will see a number of changes under initial proposals outlined by the Boundary Commission for England.
The commission was tasked by Parliament with redrawing the boundaries for general elections, reducing the number of constituencies from 650 to 600.
Below are the reactions of some MPs in Lincolnshire, whose constituencies will be most affected by the changes.
Government ignoring millions of voters
Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn was in particular scathing about the proposals, suggesting that the government was ignoring millions of voters for politically motivated reasons.
Under the plans, Grimsby would be divided into two constituencies, eliminating the Labour seat held since 1945, and potentially creating two seats more favourable for the Conservative Party.
She said: “The boundary review was started by a Prime Minister who has now left the building. There is now no way to hold him to account for his arbitrary figure of 50 constituencies being disbanded.
“He claimed this was about saving money and yet at the same time as numbers of democratically elected members of parliament are reduced, unelected appointees to the House of Lords will increase by 290, costing the taxpayer far more.
“These changes are based on out of date figures which do not include the additional two million people who signed up to the electoral register in order to vote in the European Union referendum.
“It also fails to account for the fact that MPs do not just serve people who are registered to vote, but all people in their constituency.
“The government are deliberately ignoring millions of people in Britain, because they know it will benefit them at the next election.”
Fairer solutions available
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney was more supportive of the proposals, but raised doubts about the areas the Boundary Commission had added to his constituency.
The Conservative MP said: “Whilst I would of course gladly welcome North Hykeham into the Lincoln constituency, and of course then represent those constituents as well as all others I have done since 2010, I believe a fairer solution would be for the ward of Bracebridge Heath & Waddington East to be retained and for Waddington West and the Heighington and Washingborough ward (including the village of Canwick) to be added to the Lincoln parliamentary constituency.
“This is simpler than moving the whole of North Hykeham into Lincoln and moving Bracebridge Heath & Waddington East out to a new seat called Sleaford.”
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin has also welcomed the opportunity of representing a larger constituency, but echoed his Labour colleague Melanie Onn’s fears that the figures used were inaccurate.
He said: “The proposals from the boundary commission added Gunness and Burringham, Burton and Winterton to the current Scunthorpe seat.
“This makes a lot of sense as these communities are part of the area that looks towards Scunthorpe. It also makes geographical sense. I would be very happy to represent a slightly enlarged constituency.
“The figures that are being used to calculate the number of electors in a constituency, however, are not accurate.
“The calculations are based on a snapshot of the electoral register from December 2015 but since then more than two million voters have signed the electoral register.
“I am concerned there are people locally, and nationally, who are being ignored and left out of the calculations.”
Sad to lose part of constituency
Conservative Stephen Phillips, whose Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency would simply be renamed as Sleaford, said he would be sad to lose areas of his constituency.
He said: “I will be sad to lose any part of the existing constituency, as is planned. I will continue to serve all of my constituents for the remainder of this Parliament and, if these changes are made, many of them in the next parliament too, should I be elected again.”
Retain character of constituency
Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman added: “While I will be sorry to lose part of the Halton Holgate ward in the proposed boundary changes, the additions of the Kirkby la Thorpe and South Kyme, and Heckington Rural wards are very much in keeping with the character of the existing Boston and Skegness constituency and I welcome their addition.
“The proposals aren’t yet final, but I look forward to representing residents in these new areas should they go through.”