You might have recently spotted in the news and local news a lot of discussion covering the potential changes to constituencies in Cumbria.
These changes have been proposed by the Boundary Commission for England with the aim of changing the electoral boundaries to create more equal voter numbers as a way of reflecting population changes in the UK.
We know it’s easy to get confused by politics and political word games. So, instead of overwhelming you with long words and an endless flow of political terminology, we’re going to carefully break it down so that you can fully understand what’s happening and help others understand too.
In addition to our breakdown, we have included links to word definitions and links to further articles to help you make your own well-informed decision about what is currently happening.
So, With That, What is The Boundary Commission for England and What Are Constituencies?
Let’s start with the official definitions…
The Boundary Commission for England (or the BCE) ‘is required by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to review the parliamentary constituencies in England every 5 years.’ (Gov.uk)
Therefore, in more straightforward terms, the BCE are responsible for carrying out a review of constituencies every 5 years to ensure that they are accurately representing specific geographical areas and their votes in general elections. The whole of England is split up into these constituencies.
So while one constituency might as a majority vote Labour, another might mainly vote for Conservatives. Making constituencies smaller or bigger, could therefore change or alter the majority vote in a constituency.
Still With Us? Then Let’s Get into the Proposed Changes to Cumbria’s Constituencies
On Tuesday, the BCE published a plan to change England’s constituencies, with the aim being to make constituencies more equal in voter numbers.
If approved, these changes will come into action during the next general election in 2023.
The changes are being described as a ‘shake-up’ and will noticeably change the current constituency layout in our county.
Sounds Okay So Far, Right? Well, Here is Where the Concerns Come In…
For Cumbria, the change in constituencies would mean that specific geographical locations would be lumped together that for many, don’t make much sense.
For example, Copeland would be combined with Windermere and Coniston and parts of Lancashire would be pulled into Cumbria’s new constituencies too, which many feel that due to the differences between these areas, would inaccurately represent them.
In addition to this, there is fear that this change in constituencies would unfairly benefit the Conservative party, as majority Labour voting constituencies would be moved into Conservative majority constituencies. This has left many concerned over the future of democracy in Cumbria.
Regardless of who you choose to vote for, your vote should count and not be overwritten by your geographical location.
Why should I care?
When it comes to politics, we should all care. It’s our future, our families and friends’ future, and our lives that are being affected by these changes. We should all have the chance to vote and have our vote count and be accurately represented geographically. That’s why we want to encourage you to speak up and voice your thoughts on this issue and have your say on the changes.
From today onwards, the public has 6 and a half weeks to speak up on how they feel about the proposed changes to the constituencies. To do this, you can find the link to the open consultation on the changes here.
If you can, please share this article to spread the word so that everyone can have their say on the newly proposed changes.
Articles and resources:
We would love to hear your thoughts on these changes, please make sure that you are respectful of differing opinions in the comments!