Sunday, 9 October 2016

My alternative constituency proposals: Lincolnshire (both parts)

I now move on to the East Midlands section of my series of alternative constituency proposals to those the Boundary Commission has proposed. Lincolnshire is overall the least changed of the East Midlands counties so I will start there. I will also include North Lincolnshire, which is technically in the Yorkshire & The Humber region but should not be, for the purposes of reuniting Lincolnshire.

Because this is a key battleground area between the Conservative and Labour parties, and has been for decades, changes in this region are where alterations of constituencies will start to have a more significant effect.

Due to the quota limits, restoring the pre-1983 constituency of Rutland & Stamford (more on the county of Rutland later in this series) is not possible without violating the 5% deviance limit. Lincolnshire is entitled to almost exactly 7 constituencies under the rules of the 2018 review, and Rutland is entitled to 3/8 of a constituency in terms of electorate numbers. In transport links this is rather problematic for the town of Stamford, whose railway station only goes to the city of Peterborough or to Rutland's county town of Oakham. Therefore, it will be necessary to keep the Grantham & Stamford constituency intact, even though getting from Grantham and Stamford except via Rutland is not that easy.

The Boundary Commission is largely on the right track with its (south) Lincolnshire proposals but tweaks are needed to make them more workable. For example, Boston & Skegness does not need to expand westwards to the villages near the town of Sleaford, and whilst it is correct for the city of Lincoln to incorporate the town of North Hykeham for parliamentary constituency purposes, a slight adjustment is needed.

As regarding North Lincolnshire (the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire that were created upon the abolition of Humberside in 1996, not that Humberside should ever have been created in the first place) the Boundary Commission needs to accept that Humberside is no more and finally reunite the Humber coast part of Lincolnshire. Splitting up Great Grimsby is a bad idea-Grimsby is all one community and should be kept together as much as possible. The 'Grimsby South & Cleethorpes' constituency is on the right track, because Grimsby and Cleethorpes are now as intertwined as Brighton and Hove or Lancaster and Morecambe, which is why I have not recommended recreating the old Louth constituency (which had Cleethorpes in it). It should however be just 'Grimsby & Cleethorpes' with one outer ward left out to be in quota. The parts of the Cleethorpes constituency that are not actually the town of Cleethorpes can then form 'Brigg' and Scunthorpe can absorb the Isle of Axholme as planned. This area should not extend to include any part of Yorkshire, as it has no connection with it other than via the Humber Bridge, which has only been around for 34 years.

My alternative constituency proposals for Lincolnshire look like this:

Brigg & Goole is abolished, and with its abolition the ghost of Humberside can finally be laid to rest.
Grimsby & Cleethorpes succeeds Great Grimsby.
Brigg succeeds Cleethorpes.
Sleaford succeeds Sleaford & North Hykeham.
Lincoln & North Hykeham succeeds Lincoln.
South Holland & The Deepings and Grantham & Stamford are unchanged from their 2010 boundaries.

NB: This post has been updated to include North Lincolnshire as well as (south) Lincolnshire.

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