Constituency changes on the way?

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THE political map - as far as our Members of Parliament are concerned - could look very difficult from next week.

Next Tuesday, the Boundary Commission for England is to publish its initial proposals for the redrawing of every Parliamentary constituency in the country.

It will set out proposals for parliamentary seats of between about 72,810 and 80,473 voters. In the North West, this means the number of MPs will fall from 75 to 68. Lancashire is currently represented by 16 MPs, but is only entitled to 14.5 under the new formula, so two MPs are likely to lose their seats.

The redrawing of the UK’s electoral map has come about because of the Coalition Government’s plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600. The Government is making the changes because Britain currently has the largest elected chamber in Western Europe and cutting the size of the House of Commons will save the taxpayer £12m a year.

Because of the new formula for calculating constituency size, the Commission will for the first time have to cross county and council boundaries.

The proposals are controversial as they are likely to see MPs from the same party having to fight each other in selection battles for the nomination in the new constituencies.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I support the reduction in the number of MPs and the other steps the Government is taking to reduce the cost of politics. Currently you have individual MPs representing vastly different numbers of people, so this change clearly makes sense.”

The Pendle constituency was set up around 30 years ago when West Craven was added to it to bring it into line with local government boundaries. In that time, it has been represented by three MPs - Conservative John Lee, Gordon Prentice (Labour) and Mr Stephenson.