New parliamentary boundaries will be 'more democratic', says Weston MP

John Penrose (Conservatives. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston MP John Penrose. - Credit: Archant

Political reactions to the suggested new parliamentary boundaries are usually guaranteed to turn anyone into a cynic.

Broadly, people who think it might help them win the next election are in favour, while anyone who thinks it hurts their chances ritually denounces the entire exercise as unfair and wrong. 

What's the truth then? Well, firstly, the review is done by the Boundary Commission, a completely independent and impartial public body.

They don't care whether their proposed changes make a seat easier or harder for any political party to win. Rather, they want the system to be as democratically fair as possible. 

With that in mind, did you know that your vote at the last general election was worth more than somebody who lives in Taunton, but less than somebody else living east of Bristol?

It’s because the current parliamentary boundaries are so outdated that in some places it takes just 40,000 people to elect an MP to Westminster while in others it takes over 90,000. As a result, people in bigger constituencies have votes that count less than those in smaller ones.

That said, this talk of carving up the existing boundaries tugs on the heart strings. Any change will be a bitter pill to swallow, because I've knocked on doors to have conversations with thousands of local people over the years and been involved in campaigns across each and every area of the current constituency; from Weston to Blagdon, covering topics from High Street regeneration to stopping pylons ruining rural views and habitats.

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So any change will be difficult, whatever the final proposals turn out to be. But at least the final result will be fairer, and more democratic as a result. Whatever your politics may be, that’s got to be good news.

Weston MP John Penrose

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