South Shields MP hits out at changes to her constituency

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck

South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck has added her voice to concerns at the controversial planned shake-up of South Tyneside’s electoral boundaries.

She branded as ‘disappointing’ the latest proposals by the Boundary Commission for England (BCE), which were published this week.

Despite objections, including those of South Tyneside Council, the BCE wants to switch the Simonside and Rekendyke ward into the neighbouring Jarrow constituency.

It also aims to move the Boldon Colliery and Cleadon and Boldon wards - currently in the Jarrow voting district - into South Shields.

Jarrow Labour MP Stephen Hepburn would inherit the Gateshead wards of Felling, High Fell, Pelaw, and Windy Nook and Whitehills.

The commission, which has been tasked with reducing the number of English constituencies from 533 to 501, has opened a third and final public consultation.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “Despite local objection, it is disappointing that the Boundary Commission are pressing ahead with their proposals to remove Simonside and Rekendye from the South Shields constituency.

“To do so ignores historical, geographical and cultural connections. I would urge anyone with concerns to share them with the Boundary Commission.”

This week, Alan Kerr, the deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, and Simonside and Rekendyke councillor, Ed Malcolm, urged the BCE to rethink its plans.

Coun Kerr said he was disappointed the council’s strong previous representation had not been accepted by the commission

And Coun Malcolm implored residents to make their views known to the BCE during the current consultation, which closes on Monday, December 4.

The BCE has been assigned to ensure every constituency has an electorate no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.

Its proposals will see the number of constituencies in the North East reduced from 29 to 25.

Maps of the revised proposals are on display at South Shields and Jarrow town halls until that date.

All previous representations and information about how to respond to the consultation can be viewed at www.bce2018.org.uk