South Tyneside Council bosses gear up for boundaries battle

Question marks over who will vote where
Question marks over who will vote where
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Councillors are being advised to oppose plans which would see parts of Jarrow and South Shields swap Parliamentary seats.

The Boundary Commission is recommending the changes to the two South Tyneside constituencies as part of a review which aims to reduce the number of MPs in the North East from 29 to 25.

Nationally, the review is advising cutting the number of constituencies in England by 32 to 501.

The commission is proposing that Simonside and Rekendyke, which is currently in Emma Lewell-Buck’s South Shields constituemcy, should be moved into Jarrow along with three council wards in the Washington and Sunderland West constituency.

The commission is also suggesting that two council wards from Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn current constituency - Boldon Colliery and Cleadon and East Boldon - be moved into South Shields.

In a report to be discussed by the full council tomorrow, the authority’s head of legal services Mike Harding is recommending the councillors go back to the Boundary Commission with proposals of their own.

These include requesting Boldon Colliery remains in Jarrow and Simonside and Rekendyke continues to be a part of South Shields.

Mr Harding said: “This alternative configuration would better take into account patterns of strong local ties.”

Part of the review’s aim is to ensure a balanced number of voters in each constituency.

Mr Harding said: “Apart from some very limited exceptions, every constituency in England must have an electorate that is no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.”

He suggested that moving the Brockley Whins ward into South Shields for parliamentary elections would ensure the constituency has the required minimum.

He said: “By responding to the Boundary Commission’s consultation, council may secure alternative parliamentary constituencies that are aligned with and better reflect the interests of South Tyneside residents.”

The commission said it will take two and a half years to review the boundaries with final recommendations being handed in to parliament in September 2018.