The current Sleaford and North Hykeham Parliamentary Constituency looks to be broken up under proposals stemming from a Boundary Commission review published today (Tuesday).
The constituency held by Conservative Stephen Phillips since 2010 has one of the ten largest electorates in the country (86,652 registered voters as of December 2015) and the Boundary Commission for England’s review has outlined a number of changes to even out imbalances within the county.
There would still be seven constituencies in the county, but under the proposals announced this week, all five local government wards in North Hykeham would be added to the, currently, significantly smaller Karl McCartney’s Lincoln City constituency (67,115 voters), along with Waddington West, but Waddington East and Bracebridge Heath would go to a renamed Sleaford seat.
To further balance things up, more controversially due to their close ties with Sleaford, the wards of Heckington Rural and Kirkby La Thorpe and South Kyme would be added to the Boston and Skegness constituency of fellow Conservative Matt Warman (currently 66,250 voters).
Stephen Phillips would not be drawn on the details, but said: “The independent Boundary Commission has now published its proposals for a new Sleaford constituency. I have no say in these, but 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.”
Ross Pepper, Liberal Democrat candidate for Lincoln at the 2015 General Election and the current President of the Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham Liberal Democrats has welcomed the changes.
Mr Pepper said: “The proposals laid out by the boundary commission are the most sensible and logical solution for the expansion of the Lincoln constituency. Residents from the Hykeham and downhill Waddington areas will have more connection to Lincoln than to Sleaford in terms of their everyday life. Decisions that affect Lincoln will also have a knock-on effect to these areas and it is only right all these areas should work together.
“It is also a fact that the current boundary between the Sleaford and North Hykeham and Lincoln constituencies splits a housing estate in two, leaving residents who live next door to each other being represented by different members of Parliament.
“I will be making my support for the outlined proposal to the Boundary Commission in writing and will be supporting the recommendations at the consultation event in November, and thank them for the work they have done on this.”
Today the independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituencies. The publication marks the start of 12 weeks of consultation, during which the Commission needs to hear from the electorate to help shape the proposed new constituency boundaries.
Parliament has decided to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK from 650 to 600, and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is more equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be. The BCE must report to Parliament in 2018 and, if agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2020.
Under the proposals announced today, only 68 of the existing 533 English constituencies remain unchanged.
Sam Hartley, Secretary to the Commission, said: “Today’s proposals mark the first time people get to see what the new map of Parliamentary constituencies might look like. But they are just the Commission’s initial thoughts – during the next 12 weeks we want people to take a look and tell us what they like and don’t like about our proposals. Parliament has set us tight rules about reducing the number of constituencies, and making them of more equal size, and we now need the views of people around the country to help us shape constituencies that best reflect local areas. Use our website to tell us what you think, or come along to one of our public events to give us your views in person.”
Visit the BCE’s website at www.bce2018.org.uk or go along to a public hearing in your area. People can comment on anything from where the proposed new boundary lines are to the names of the constituencies. The consultation closes on December 5, 2016. There will be a further two rounds of consultation in 2017. Following the conclusion of all three consultation periods, the BCE will look at all the evidence received and make final recommendations to Parliament in September 2018.