Spelthorne move blocked by House of Lords
From Get Surrey:
A PROPOSED redrawing of parliamentary boundaries, which would have seen changes in five of Surrey’s 11 constituencies, has been blocked in the House of Lords.
The government was hoping to push a bill through in time for the next general election in 2015, but members of the Lords voted last week by 300 to 231 for an amendment to veto the changes until after a boundary review in 2018.
The proposals – published for consultation by the Boundary Commission last October – would have seen Guildford constituency losing all its Waverley borough wards (Cranleigh East; Cranleigh West; Blackheath and Wonersh; Shamley Green and Cranleigh North; and Alfold, Cranleigh Rural and Ellens Green) to Mole Valley, which itself would have been renamed as Mid Surrey.
Anne Milton, MP for Guildford, said she approved of “the principle of boundary changes”, but added: “On a personal level, I would be sorry to lose Cranleigh, Ewhurst and the other Waverley wards.
“The specifics of what happens to Guildford are important and what was proposed in the last report was quite dramatic. Cranleigh has been in the constituency since the 1800s.”
Guildford would, however, have gained the Clandon and Horsley, Lovelace and Send wards under the plans.
The Waverley changes were widely opposed in the borough, and Councillor Brian Ellis, chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council, admitted he was “very pleased” with the House of Lords vote.
“If it had gone ahead it would have been a great disappointment. We have a far greater allegiance to Guildford and Waverley than to Dorking [in Mole Valley].
“The needs and aspirations couldn’t be best served by a constituency that is quite remote to the people it represents.”
The other proposals were for Spelthorne to take on Colnbrook with Poyle ward from the current Windsor constituency, and for Charlwood to move from Mole Valley to Reigate.
Reigate MP Crispin Blunt said during the public consultation at the end of last year that taking on Charlwood would “only increase the salience” for him of already important issues relating to nearby Gatwick Airport.
The changes were proposed in order to reduce the number of parliamentary constituencies in England from 533 to 502, with all of them coming within a 5% margin of an electorate of 76,641.