Thursday, 13 October 2016

My alternative proposals: Rutland, Leicestershire & Nottinghamshire

Technically, as long as Rutland stays paired with Leicestershire, it should be possible to avoid a cross-county Leicestershire-Nottinghamshire constituency. However, I do not believe this is possible in practice for two reasons:

1. Awkward ward sizes, especially in the east of Nottinghamshire around Newark-on-Trent. Adding the best fit non-Mansfield ward would put the constituency of Mansfield's electorate in excess of the quota limit, for example.

2. Space-there is not enough room in the west of Nottinghamshire, particularly the 'Greater Nottingham' area, to create sensible constituencies with more electors than average but which would still be in quota.

And clearly, the only crossing such a cross-county constituency can be really placed is between Loughborough and the western parts of the Rushcliffe district.

Nevertheless, it is possible to improve substantially on the Boundary Commission's initial proposals, for both Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Many seats do not actually need any real change, and those that do should only receive sensible changes.

The links within the 'Greater Nottingham area' (including the city of Nottingham, the district of Broxtowe, the town of Hucknall, most of the district of Gedling, and to a lesser extent the town of West Bridgford) must be considered carefully, given that Broxtowe is more integrated with Nottingham than the surrounding districts. The tram line's southern terminus is at Toton, in the southwestern corner of that district, and from there it goes through Beeston and into the city of Nottingham, and its northern terminus is at Hucknall. As this line runs northeastwards, the boundaries of Nottingham's constituencies should reflect this.

The Gedling constituency is much more coherent and compact than Sherwood, and therefore it should not be broken up but rather expanded into rural areas it lost to Sherwood in previous boundary changes.

My alternative proposals for Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire constituencies are therefore:

Hinckley has the exact same boundaries as the current Bosworth constituency. Hinckley is by far the largest town in the Hinckley & Bosworth district, comprising over 40% of the district's electorate as of December 2015. Market Bosworth, meanwhile, is not large enough to even have a ward to itself. To reflect the realities of the constituency, the historic Bosworth name should be retired.

Leicester West & Braunstone succeeds Leicester West; although the BCE has also proposed this constituency (an expansion of the existing Leicester West) they have not recognised within the constituency name the fact that Braunstone is not actually part of Leicester.

Mid Leicestershire succeeds Charnwood.

Loughborough & Leake succeeds Loughborough.

West Bridgford succeeds Rushcliffe; see my comments about Hinckley if you wonder why I have proposed a name change.

Nottingham West & Beeston succeeds Nottingham South in practice.

Broxtowe & Hucknall succeeds Broxtowe in practice even the Broxtowe part only contributes around 53% of Broxtowe & Hucknall's electorate; this is in reality a new seat.

Carlton & Arnold succeeds Gedling.

Worksop & Retford succeeds Bassetlaw. Like Bosworth and Rushcliffe, the Bassetlaw name should only be applicable to the local authority, and should no longer be used as a constituency name particularly when it does not cover the entirety of the council area.

Rutland & Melton, Harborough, North West Leicestershire, Leicester East, Leicester South, and Mansfield are unchanged from their 2010 boundaries.

Sherwood is abolished.

Before I move on to the London section of my alternative constituency proposals, I will of course say at this point that no matter how equal you try to make each constituency in terms of electorate or population, first past the post will fundamentally never be capable of delivering fair votes or representation; this review is no exception. Proportional representation, either by list of by Single Transferable Vote, is what is really needed to modernise British elections and bring actual fairness into Parliament.

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