No change in number of Suffolk constituencies

THE number of constituencies in Suffolk is unlikely to change despite the coalition’s determination to reduce the number of MPs across the country, it has emerged.

Suffolk currently has seven MPs – but the new government has unveiled plans to cut numbers in the House of Commons from 650 to 600.

This would involve a redrawing of boundaries across the country – but MPs in Suffolk have been told the changes are not expected to be major in this county.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said he and his colleagues had been told there could be boundary changes but the number of MPs would not change.

He said: “The population of Suffolk has increased and continues to increase so in fact on the current calculations we would be entitled to an eighth MP.

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“The size of constituencies is going up to an average of about 75,000 and Suffolk will still be up on that with the existing number of MPs.”

He said there were expected to be some changes – the current Bury St Edmunds seat is the largest seat in the county and some of its parishes and towns, particularly the Needham Market and Stowmarket area, could be re-allocated.

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And South Suffolk is the smallest seat. It could be expanded to include some other voters.

Dr Poulter expected his seat to continue to be a mixture of rural and urban areas around north Ipswich, but thought it could be expanded to include another ward in the borough, possibly Rushmere.

“But none of us are expecting major changes in this part of the world,” he said.

The changes have proved controversial nationally because the Labour Party feels they will reduce the number of its MPs in its urban strongholds in the midlands and north of England.

In the general election the Conservatives got 36% of the vote compared with Labour’s 29% of the vote.

In the House of Commons they both got a higher proportion of the seats – the Conservatives have 47% while Labour has 39%.

The changes have been introduced in the same bill which paves the way for next year’s referendum on changing the voting system which would introduce the Alternate Vote system which would have benefited the Liberal Democrats in May’s general election.

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