MPs welcome rejection of constituencies changes plan

Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell visiting Ward 8 at Wansbeck Hopsital. He is with ward manager Helen Siney.
Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell visiting Ward 8 at Wansbeck Hopsital. He is with ward manager Helen Siney.

THE Wansbeck and Blyth Valley electoral boundaries will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future after plans to re-draw the parliamentary constituencies before the 2015 general election were defeated in the House of Commons.

Under the Conservative-backed plans, Wansbeck would have been one of 650 constituencies facing a radical shake-up with the likes of Morpeth, Pegswood, plus large wards in Ashington, Choppington and Guide Post, switching to the Berwick constituency.

The remaining Wansbeck constituency would have been merged with parts of its Blyth Valley neighbour.

Following the publication of the initial proposals, the Boundary Commission conducted a consultation process and later produced revised proposals which excluded the Ashington Bothal Ward from the merger but still proposed Morpeth, Pegswood, Longhirst, Choppington and Guide Post should be moved into Sir Alan Beith’s Berwick.

In a Commons vote, 334 MPs were in favour of accepting changes to the proposals made by Peers in the House of Lords, as opposed to 292 against, which called for any re-drawing of boundaries to be postponed for at least five years.

Liberal Democrats voted against their coalition colleagues.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said: “I think in this case common sense has prevailed.

I believe that Morpeth and Pegswood should remain part of south east Northumberland and not be part of a constituency based more than 50 miles away in Berwick.

“The problems and issues faced by people living and work in south east Northumberland are very different to those in the rural north of the county.

“While I have nothing but respect for my Parliamentary colleague Sir Alan Beith, I failed to see how he could have better represented the Wansbeck constituents than someone living and working on their doorsteps, whether that be myself or any other democratically elected person.”

MP for Blyth Valley, Ronnie Campbell, added: “I am delighted. When it first was introduced people were very sad to see they were being pushed into Newcastle.

“They are happy and I’m happy that Blyth Valley remains the same, at least for now anyway.”