Joseph Watts, Political editor
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The prospect of a scrap amongst East Anglian Tories was averted yesterday after the House of Commons rejected plans to introduce new constituency boundaries before the 2015 election.
The changes would have seen some Conservative MPs vying with party colleagues to be selected in new seats set out under the changes, while others might have seen their potential majorities increased or reduced.
But David Cameron had wanted the changes none the less, because overall it is thought they would have delivered an electoral advantage to his party come the election in 2015.
However, MPs voted by 334 to 292, a majority of 42, to delay a review until 2018.
Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the prime minister’s will in retaliation for backbench Tories sabotaging House of Lords reform last year. But the rebellion was greeted with anger from Conservative backbenchers.
Senior Tory MP Peter Bone said: “We [allowed] a vote on AV in return for the Liberal Democrats supporting us on boundary reviews, that was the deal breaker.
“Our party kept to that deal, they’ve gone back, they are a disgrace.”
The number of MPs in Norfolk would not have changed under the proposals, which the government said aimed to equalise the number of voters in each constituency.
However the creation of a new seat crossing the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire paved the way for potential conflict between two MPs.
The new Wisbech and Downham Market constituency would have taken in part of the South West Norfolk seat currently held by Elizabeth Truss and some of the North East Cambridgeshire seat held by Stephen Barclay - both current constituencies would have disappeared.
Elsewhere in Norfolk, the Boundary Commission said changes were needed to Norwich North, Great Yarmouth and North Norfolk to leave them with the right number of voters.
To enable that to happen, Dereham would have become part of a revamped Broadland and Dereham constituency, while Taverham North and South, plus Drayton North and South would have left Broadland to become part of Norwich North.
Elsewhere Fakenham would have switched to North Norfolk, while three wards currently in North Norfolk - Stalham and Sutton, Waterside and Waxham - would have moved to an extended Great Yarmouth constituency.