Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Two weeks to save your South Cambridgeshire constituency!

It has been a few months since we emailed you about the ongoing review of constituency boundaries in our region and I thought you might appreciate an update.

Earlier this autumn the Boundary Commission published its proposals for reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 while equalising the size of most constituencies.

While some of the new boundaries the Commission is proposing are sensible, many more needlessly tear the heart out of the communities they serve and will make effective representation in Parliament much more difficult.

We are now in a period of consultation and as a regional party - supported by colleagues in Liberal Democrat Headquarters - we have put in a series of counter-proposals.

These back the Commission where we feel it has got it right and put forward better solutions where we feel it is necessary, using the expertise of our members from across the region.

We know our plans are better because they have been produced by people who live and breathe the communities affected.

However, to stand a chance of persuading the Commission to adopt our counter-proposal, we need your help.

Please, take a look at what the Commission is proposing for your constituency (here). Then download a summary document of our counter-proposal (here) - there are maps and a list of wards included in the file.

If you could then take a minute to add your voice to the consultation via the Commission's website (here), we stand a far better chance of persuading them. There's just two weeks before the deadline on December 5th.

If we are backing the Commission's proposal for your constituency, please explain why they got it right. If we are arguing for different boundaries, please add your voice to ours in explaining why you feel they better serve your community.

The Commission is considering four areas which it would be useful to address: whether their plans split natural communities; whether they needlessly break up existing constituencies; whether they take in wards from too many local authorities; and whether there is a feature of physical geography (i.e. a river, a mountain range) that makes it difficult to cross from one part of the proposed constituency to another.

The consultation is open to everyone and you can be sure the Conservatives and Labour are encouraging their members to take part too. As may be expected, those parties' counter-proposals are not designed to make our lives any easier!

Thanks in advance for your support. Those links again:

The Boundary Commission's draft proposals: Click here
The Liberal Democrat counter-proposal: Click here
The Commission's consultation form (deadline December 5): Click here

Best regards
Julie Smith
Chairwoman, East of England Liberal Democrats