Fri, 27 Oct 2017
SWATHES of West Berkshire’s Conservative heartland could become part of the Reading West constituency under radical new proposals.
It means that more than 10,000 of the district’s residents will find themselves voting for a different MP if the proposals from the Boundary Commission for England go ahead.
Aldworth, Basildon, Bradfield, Bucklebury, Frilsham, Hermitage, Standford Dingley, Streatley and parts of Yattendon could be transferred to Reading West, which is currently represented in Parliament by Alok Sharma.
The proposals form part of a plan to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and even out the number of electors per constituency.
Newbury MP Richard Benyon has branded the proposals “ridiculous” and “a dog’s breakfast” and asked people who agreed to respond to the consultation.
The Conservative MP, who was re-elected in June’s snap election with a majority of 24,380, said that community cohesion, instead of majorities, were his concern.
Mr Benyon said he accepted that boundary reviews were needed and had been told by one polling organisation that his majority would still be more than 20,000 should the changes go ahead.
“But that doesn’t make any difference to me whatsoever,” Mr Benyon said.
“I always treat the constituency like the most marginal one in the country because it took me three attempts to change it.
“If I was playing a political game, I would happily cede them to Reading West and my good friend Alok because he would represent them well, but this is not the point.
“This is about people’s sense of place and where they belong and the boundary commission seem to take scant regard to that.”
For more reaction see the Newbury Weekly News, and to respond to the consultation visit https://www.bce2018.org.uk/