Boundary Commission review could see major changes for Rugby

The proposed Rugby and Southam Constituency.
The proposed Rugby and Southam Constituency.

The final recommendations for an overhaul of parliamentary constituencies has been revealed – with major changes on the cards for Rugby.

The Boundary Commission for England published its final recommendations for the changes on Monday, after a seven-year review process.

The current Rugby Constituency.

The current Rugby Constituency.

The stated aims of the review are to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and to reduce the population disparity between constituencies.

For the Rugby area that means big changes for the town’s constituency.

Currently, the Rugby seat covers the town itself – but not Dunchurch, and the area of Warwickshire up to the edge of Nuneaton.

The proposed Rugby and Southam constituency would see the town included in a seat that stretches far south in Warwickshire, including places like Gaydon and Fenny Compton, as well as places on the outskirts of Leamington Spa.

The Boundary Commission periodically reviews Westminster constituencies, and the latest round was started back in 2011 under the coalition government.

The Government says the review would create a more level playing field for them, arguing the current constituency map favours Labour.

They also say fewer MPs would save money, and having them represent more similar numbers of voters is fairer.

However, these final proposals have met with opposition from all sides of the debate in Westminster.

Some Tory backbenchers are not happy with the changes, which in places create odd-shaped constituencies covering large rural areas with no traditional links.

In places the new constituencies would even cross county boundaries – something that was avoided in the past.

The Electoral Reform Society also pointed out that by reducing the number of MPs, but not the number given paid Government positions, there would be fewer backbenchers to keep an eye on the Government.

To become the basis for the next general election the proposals need to be approved by Parliament. But it seems a potential revolt by around 10 Conservative MPs – enough to wipe out the Government’s majority – has led to officials saying that a vote will take place ‘in due course’.