New plan envisages one MP for West Cumbria
Last updated at 11:45, Thursday, 18 October 2012
WEST Cumbrians could be asked to vote for just one MP to cover a new parliamentary constituency at the next general election in three years.
In a Boundary Commission re-think the controversial plan to merge Copeland with Windermere has been scrapped.
Now, a single West Cumbria parliamentary seat combining Copeland with Workington extending from Maryport to Gosforth is proposed in a Boundary Commission re-think.
But it also means that further south up the coast Seascale, Holmrook, Drigg, Bootle and Millom areas would all fall out of Copeland into a new Barrow/Furness constituency.
Sellafield nuclear site which falls within the parish of Gosforth and Beckermet is destined to stay in a West Cumbrian constituency although another major operational part of the Copeland-based nuclear industry – LLWR at Drigg – would find itself in Barrow and Furness.
There will be another round of consultations before any firm proposals are presented to the House of Commons for approval in 12 month’s time.
In the proposed shake-up, Keswick and Cockermouth will form part of a large new Penrith/Solway constituency also embracing Silloth, Aspatria, Dalston and Alston Moor. Carlisle constituency would extend further to the Border including Longtown.
If the proposals are accepted by parliament it will leave West Cumbria with only one MP, having had long Labour representation from Jamie Reed (Copeland) and Sir Tony Cunningham (Workington).
But despite the threat of losing his own seat Jamie Reed told The Whitehaven News: “At least this is something that makes sense, it’s what’s in the best interests of the people of West Cumbria that matters most, rather than who may or may not win or lose the parliamentary seat.”
He added: “These new proposals broadly reflect those made by our community – it’s amazing that before drawing up the original ones the Boundary Commission didn’t even bother to visit our area.
“It would obviously be better for West Cumbria to maintain as much parliamentary representation as possible including the two present parliamentary seats but at least this recommendation ensures we will be represented effectively in parliament should it be accepted by the House of Commons.”
But the MP added: “The Lib Dems say they won’t support the proposals – and if they don’t it will all have been a gigantic waste of time and money – millions of pounds at a time when communities such as ours in Copeland are suffering.”
Copeland Tory Association chairman Stephen Haraldsen said the new proposal for a single West Cumbrian seat was “almost what we suggested”.
He added: “We support the creation of a West Cumbrian seat for many reasons particularly as it’s key to making the rest of the new seats around Cumbria sensible. However I am not confident these will ever be implemented due to Lib Dems breaking their promise to support it which will mean the unfairness in the current boundaries – favouring Labour – will remain.”
First published at 11:09, Thursday, 18 October 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
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