Could parts of Cambridgeshire be in Norfolk after electoral map rewrite?
- Credit: Matthew Usher
North Norfolk gone, Norfolk MPs covering Cambridgeshire and Norwich North secured for the Conservatives - those are just some of the possible outcomes from plans to shake up the electoral map.
The boundary commission is set to unveil initial plans to redraw the Westminister map later this month.
The redrawing will be the first in 11 years after two earlier attempts were binned.
"We can guess from some of the material in the 2018 review where changes will be," said Alan Finlayson, professor of political and social theory at the UEA.
"North Norfolk is too small, while others need to be broken up.
"North Norfolk could be absorbed into other constituencies [or absorb bits of other constituencies] and there will be segments of Cambridgeshire taken into Norfolk."
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Mr Finlayson also expects to see changes in Norwich North, which he said could impact the political makeup of the seat.
The Conservative Norwich North seat could pick up parts of the Labour south, while also gaining from the surrounding countryside - which could cement the seat as a Tory stronghold.
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Unlike the last two reviews, this one will keep the number of MPs in the UK at 650 instead of reducing it to 600. However, England will gain 10 MPs, while Scotland and Wales will lose out.
Mr Finlayson stressed that nothing was certain and the proposals can change through consultation.
"Overall the review is likely to favour the Conservatives," he said.
"That's because the current boundaries favour Labour but also because the Conservatives are in power."
Mr Finlayson said governing parties are unlikely to bring in policies that would hurt them at the ballot box.
"However, it might mean that in some cases [Conservatives could lose] their seats, not necessarily in Norfolk but in places like London.
"What is in the party's interest might not be in members interests, they will try to get this done without involving MPs as much as they can."
Asked what the impact might be, Mr Finlayson said voters might not notice the changes straight away.
"It might upset some people who feel they live in Cambridgeshire but have to vote for a Norfolk MP or they feel their votes are 'wasted' because they are in a different [constituency]," he said.
"But it will change people's lives if it affects the national political picture.
"It might give 10 seats more to the Conservative party which will help them stay in power, but there's a lot of complexity to electoral geography."
If this review is successful the changes will not come into effect until late 2023.
Why will Norfolk see boundary changes?
Office for National Statistics figures shows many of Norfolk constituencies fall outside the acceptable electoral quota of between 69,724 to 77,062 voters.
Norwich North, Norwich South, North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth are all under, while Mid Norfolk, South Norfolk and Wavaney are all over.
Registered voters March 2020:
- Broadland 75,704
- Great Yarmouth 69,104
- Mid Norfolk 78,191
- North Norfolk 68,440
- North West Norfolk 72,586
- Norwich North 65,043
- Norwich South 68,713
- South Norfolk 83,940
- South West Norfolk 75,723
- Waveney 82,425
What did the Boundary Commission propose in 2018?
- Great Yarmouth would take Thulrton from South Norfolk
- South Norfolk would take Wymondham and surround villages
- Norwich South would take Cringleford and Old Costessey from South Norfolk.
- Wensum swapped from Norwich South to Norwich North.
- North Norfolk takes Aylsham from Broadland, which would make Broadland short.
- To make Broadland acceptable again it would take North Norfolk's Briston and Breckland's Hermitage.
- Mid Norfolk would have gained Harling & Heathlands, and Guiltcross.
- East Cambridgeshire wards of Littleport East and Littleport West in a cross-county boundary South West Norfolk constituency.
- North West Norfolk would have taken Walton from West Norfolk.
The number of voters per constituency in the 2018 review was set at between 71,031 and 78,507.