Boundary review: this is what the latest constituency proposals mean for Burnley
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The Boundary Commission for England has been carrying out a review of the current arrangements, but has now made what it describes as “comprehensive” changes to its initial suggestions for Lancashire in the wake of the objections that several of them attracted.
The organisation’s original proposal would have seen the existing Burnley constituency extend to the south to draw in five wards from the Rossendale borough and incorporate the town of Bacup. However, the proposed Burnley and Bacup seat was not widely supported during previous public consultations.
The revised proposal would retain the Burnley constituency along its current lines, but also include the two Pendle district wards of Brierfield East & Clover Hill and Brierfield West & Reedley. Their inclusion is necessary to ensure the constituency is within the permitted electorate range.
The commission said: “This would be considerably less change to the constituency than the initial proposals and [assistant commissioners] judged there to be continuous urbanism between these wards and the Burnley wards of Lanehead and Queensgate, as observed during their site visit to the area."
Residents, MPs and political parties were first asked for their views on the initial proposals during the summer of 2021 and then got a second opportunity to have their say earlier this year, including at 32 public hearings held across the country - one of which was staged in Preston.
A final period of public consultation has now begun over the revised plans, which attempt to address some of the concerns raised by Lancastrians, while still fulfilling the commission’s remit to ensure a more equal number of potential voters in each constituency.
HAVE YOUR SAY
The public consultation on the commission's latest proposals runs until 5th December. Comments relating to the Lancashire area can be made online at bcereviews.org.uk/node/6487, where constituency maps are also available to assist residents in giving feedback.
Tim Bowden, Secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said:
“Last year we published our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries - our first go at what the map should look like.
“We are delighted with the huge number of comments from members of the public on our initial proposals, many which included valuable evidence about local communities.
“Today’s publication is the culmination of months of analysis and we have revised nearly half of our initial proposals based on what people have told us. We now believe we are close to the best map of constituencies that can be achieved under the rules we are working to.
“However, we still want people to tell us what they think of this latest map before we submit our final recommendations to Parliament next year. This is our final consultation and I encourage you to participate in the 2023 Boundary Review.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
After the consultation closes, the Boundary Commission for England will draw up its final recommendations, which must be presented to the Speaker of the House of Commons by 1st July next year.
Within four months of the last report being laid by the boundary commissions for each of the four nations, the government is required to submit to the Privy Council an order that gives effect to all of their recommendations.
No further changes can be made, unless specifically requested by the relevant commission - and any such request would itself have to be laid before Parliament and published.
The new constituencies take effect at the next General Election after the Privy Council approves the order. Any by-elections held in the meantime have to be conducted on the basis of the existing constituency boundaries.