Last chance to have say on proposed Parliamentary boundary changes

Coun Ed Malcolm
Coun Ed Malcolm

A council boss has warned voters the clock is ticking on a consultation that could see dramatic changes to South Tyneside’s parliamentary boundaries.

Councillor Ed Malcolm has urged them to make their feelings known before the deadline around the planned shake-up expires on Monday.

Under Boundary Commission for England (BCE) plans, South Shields’ Simonside and Rekendyke council ward would switch into the neighbouring Jarrow constituency.

The move would see Labour MP Stephen Hepburn’s Jarrow seat reach almost to South Shields town centre, via the riverside.

He would also inherit the Gateshead wards of Felling, High Fell, Pelaw, and Windy Nook and Whitehills.

In South Tyneside, the Boldon Colliery and Cleadon and Boldon wards - currently in the Jarrow voting district – would move into South Shields.

The proposal is part of a national realignment of voting areas that aims to reduce the number of English constituencies from 533 to 501.

The commission’s remit is for every constituency to have an electorate no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.

Councillor Malcolm, a staunch opponent of the plan to move his Simonside and Rekendyke ward, said residents should act before it is too late.

He said: “Already a number of people have made known their views about the proposals which include removing Simonside and Rekendyke from the South Shields constituency.

“With the consultation closing on Monday, this really is the last opportunity for residents to give their views across on this issue.”

Last month prominent borough businessman Vic Young also hit out at the proposal.

The car dealer said switching voters to other constituencies struck at the heart of democracy, and branded the plan “flawed and deeply unpopular”.

South Shields’ Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck has also voiced her concerns, as has South Tyneside Council.

An initial plan to also include the Sunderland wards of Castle, Redhill, and Washington North in the consultation, was scrapped.

The ongoing third consultation is the final one, according to the commission.

Maps of the revised proposals are on display at both South Shields and Jarrow Town Halls until Monday.

Previous representations and information about how to respond can be found on the interactive Boundary Commission’s consultation website at www.bce2018.org.uk