Plan to lump Meriden and Knowle in with Coventry constituency is dropped - The Solihull Observer

Plan to lump Meriden and Knowle in with Coventry constituency is dropped

Solihull Editorial 17th Oct, 2017 Updated: 17th Oct, 2017   0

PROPOSALS to lump parts of Meriden and Knowle in with Coventry North West’s Parliamentary constituency have been dropped under latest proposed boundary changes announced today.

The borough of Solihull would instead retain two constituencies – Solihull and Meriden – currently represented by Conservative MPs Julian Knight and Caroline Spelman respectively.

The Boundary Commission is inviting the public to have its say on the latest proposed changes by December 11.

The Conservatives in government want to create fewer constituencies and reduce disparities in the number of voters in each constituency across the country.

It notes there was public opposition to the initial proposal to create the new cross-boundary constituency between the borough and the city of Coventry.

It would have seen Solihull borough being redrawn into three Parliamentary constituencies rather than two – including wards from neighbouring local authority areas Birmingham, Coventry, and Stratford-on-Avon.

But the Commission states today on its website: “There was widespread opposition to the initial proposals for Solihull.

“Solihull Borough Council called for two constituencies to be formed wholly within the borough, with the Blythe ward being included in the Solihull constituency, and the Elmdon ward being included in the Meriden constituency.

“This counter-proposal was supported by the Conservative Party… The Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party also suggested this division of Solihull between constituencies as part of their regional counter-proposals.

“.. These counter-proposals also united the villages of Knowle and Dorridge, which were divided by the initial 20 Boundary Commission for England proposals, a move which had brought considerable objection.

“It was argued by many, for example Barry Cox that ‘Knowle is part of Solihull and together, Knowle, Dorridge, and Bentley Heath are and always will be considered a unit with historical local ties.

“It is essentially rural with no links to Coventry, West or otherwise.”

The Commissions said Coventry Labour MPs Jim Cunningham and Geoffrey Robinson had proposed different divisions of Solihull as part of their counter-proposals which all included constituencies that crossed the borough boundary.

But those suggestions have been rejected, in favour of having Blythe ward in the Solihull constituency, and Elmdon ward in the Meriden constituency.

Mr Knight MP has welcomed the Boundary Commission’s decision to keep Solihull’s Parliamentary representation intact.

He said: “I’m very pleased that there will be minimal disruption to our local representation here in Solihull. Having our two seats map neatly onto Solihull Council creates clear lines of communication and accountability which help me better represent residents.

“However, I’m disappointed that previous proposals to include Shirley in the name of the constituency have been abandoned. I will be in touch with the Electoral Commission and intend to press for this to go ahead if at all possible.”


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