Monday, December 3, 2012
A two-time mayor of Swaffham has warned that proposals to revise and re-name parliamentary constituencies would leave it as “the forgotten town”.
Swaffham would be one of a trio of market towns to form a new constituency under Boundary Commission plans announced in October, but only Wisbech and Downham Market would appear in the constituency’s name.
The changes to the areas that MPs represent are the result of the government’s plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
The commission originally planned to place the Swaffham in a new constituency called Swaffham and Thetford, but the proposed Wisbech and Downham Market constituency would see Swaffham’s name wiped off the parliamentary map.
Ian Sherwood, one of three Swaffham representatives on Breckland Council, urged the town’s residents to lobby for a different name before a Boundary Commission consultation ends on next Monday.
He said: “What I’m concerned about under the revised proposals is that the new constituency is going to be Swaffham, Wisbech and Downham Market and yet they want to call it Wisbech and Downham Market. To me that is just not on at all.
“If there are three towns, why should one town be sidelined? For me, it should be East Cambridge and West Norfolk, or it could be Fens and West Norfolk so it’s a name that does not give priority or negativity to any of the towns in it.
“They have got the name completely wrong. Swaffham is forever going to feel it is the add on, the bit on the side, the afterthought. Swaffham is always going to be the forgotten town, and I am not going to have that.”
However, Toby James, a politics lecturer at the University of East Anglia, said a dispute between the coalition parties meant it was unlikely any changes would be approved before the 2015 general election.
He said: “The plans to reform the boundaries currently look like a lame duck, at least, for the life of this parliament.
“Now that Conservative MPs have reneged on their coalition agreement to back House of Lords reform, the Liberal Democrats have done the same to the Conservatives on the constituencies. It is difficult to see this situation changing.”
See tinyurl.com/cmbjgjz to respond to the Boundary Commission consultation before the December 10.