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Attached is an alternative proposal for Hampshire/Berkshire/Surrey.
The Commission has proposed two cross-county constituencies involving all three Counties; but this is unnecessary and causes unnecessary disruption to existing arrangements and needlessly breaks local ties.
The alternative requires only a single cross-county constituency allowing Surrey to be reviewed independently.
The alternative scheme proposes all constituencies within the mandatory minimum/maximum electorate range.
With regard to the criteria in Rule 5, the alternative scheme improves on the Commission’s draft proposals in all regards as follows:
Local government boundaries – the alternative proposes no constituency incorporating wards from more than three local authorities (same as the Commission proposals) but has only one cross-county constituency (rather than two proposed by the Commission). The alternative requires no split wards (although one could be proposed in Surrey to avoid dividing the town of Horley). The alternative also proposes three ‘orphan’ wards (again the same as the Commission’s proposals across these three Counties).
Boundaries of existing constituencies – the alternative scheme is a significant improvement. After allocating all split wards to the constituency where the largest number of electors currently falls, the alternative scheme proposes 15 unchanged constituencies (compared to just 9 under the Commission’s proposals); and other than Mole Valley constituency, which is divided to enable the creation of an additional constituency wholly within Surrey, this alternative scheme enables all existing constituencies to remain wholly or largely unchanged – this compares with the Commission’s scheme which requires wholesale re-arrangement of existing constituencies in and around Reading; Eastleigh/Fareham/central Hants and across much of Surrey.
Local Ties – the Commission’s proposals divide the town of Reading between three rather than two constituencies; divide the town of Reigate between constituencies; divide the town of Yateley between constituencies; and break apart the existing constituencies of Eastleigh; Fareham and SW Surrey each of which currently comprise wards from a single local authority. Each of these downsides is rectified in the alternative scheme, with the only similar compromise in the alternative scheme being the division of the town of Horley (although as noted this could be avoided with a single split ward).
It is not clear why the Commission has proposed two cross-county constituencies when by so doing it has also increased the amount of change from existing constituencies and increased the number of local ties broken by dividing towns between constituencies.
Compared with the Commission’s draft proposals, the alternative scheme improves the position against all the Rule 5 criteria in each of the three Counties individually, as well as across the three Counties taken together as a sub-region.
Type of respondent
Member of the public