Final recommendations published for constituency boundary changes


Canterbury and Whitstable will have different MPs under proposals published by The Boundary Commission for England today.

The country could see the number of MPs cut from 650 to 600.

The changes are designed to refine voting boundaries as the population shifts and areas grow while others shrink.

Under the changes Whitstable would form part of the North Thanet constituency which has consistently elected Conservative Roger Gale since its creation in 1983.

Faversham, which currently falls under fellow Conservative Helen Whately, is set to join Canterbury.

On the east side of the constituency, Wingham and Ash would be absorbed by the new Canterbury and Faversham constituency.

Historically, Whitstable has tended towards a left-wing vote while Herne Bay has typically voted to the right. Faversham has been a safe Conservative seat, but Liberal Democrat Antony Hook confounded expectations with a promising win in the 2017 county elections.

Nationally, Labour has accused the government of “gerrymandering” – the act of redrawing political boundaries to suit a particular party, but the Tories have insisted the boundaries are decided by population figures, which are currently out of date.

The Canterbury Conservative association is yet to select a successor to Julian Brazier whose surprise loss to Labour’s Rosie Duffield made national headlines. The position is currently vacant should Oxford-educated Helen Whately choose to contest it, although the boundary changes may not be implemented in time should a snap election occur.

The report will now be presented to Parliament where MPs will have the opportunity to vote on the proposals.


  1. Reading the,somewhat predictable, media reactions to the (independent) Boundary Commission’s recommendations, it’s difficult to see MPs voting this through. Why would they? Turkeys are more likely to be seen voting for Christmas! Historically, MPs rarely vote willingly for anything, unless well whipped-in, which directly affects them. I seem to recall that they cheerfully voted themselves pay rises during the global financial crisis, whilst we poor mortals struggled to get increases which even matched inflation. Hey, nice work, if you can it!

    Reducing the overall MP count by 7.5% (from 650 to 600) is a very sensible idea. It’ll streamline Parliament, make it more effcient and save a huge amount of taxpayers’ cash. What’s not to like?
    Adjusting constituency shapes to reflect population sizes is not only very sensible but necessary. Some constituencies have as few as c.55,000 voters, whilst some have well over 90,000. I believe the target figure is around the 75,000 voters mark, so clearly, there will be some upping and downing of numbers required.
    Will there be winners and/or losers? Yes, for sure there will be but that’s inevitable and to a degree, the whole point of periodic boundary adjustment. You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs!

    Equally as inevitable, is the eldritch scream from the status quo brigade, who like and very much prefer the way things are. Well, they would, wouldn’t they! At our very considerable expense (financially and in terms of equitable representation) they hide behind the well-worn banner of “keep things as they are” and shout “gerrymandering” to any person/group which advocates change and/or improvement. Never mind the electorate then; business as usual and doubles all round, charged to the poor old taxpayer. Well, here’s one person who dares to think not and who considers that it’s high time Westminster had a thorough root and branch shake up.

    In the real world, wherein live taxpayers of all political persuasions, who go to work and get paid for doing so, periodic re-organisation is the norm. Companies need to change shape, in order to grow, or shrink and to reflect consumer demand, or lack of it. We’re seeing this on every British High Street, so why does Westminster feel that societal change doesn’t apply to it? BTW. For companies, read the Public Sector too. No part of the working environment is, or should be, insulated from reality and if Parliament thinks differently, then I suggest it has a good, hard look at what happens to moribund countries where the monolithic State takes the King Canute approach to moving with the times.

    Here’s a small experiment to test your thoughts on all this. Irrespective of your political leanings and the type of jobs you do, imagine that you wake up one Monday morning and decide that there are things about your work that you don’t like, or refuse to agree with. On a point of self-declared principle, you elect to stay at home and by doing so, withdraw your labour. Q. How long do you expect your company, office, school, customers etc to keep paying you? Days? Weeks? Months? The answer is probably the same as to the Q. How long will you keep paying for gas, water, phone, or other things you want, which aren’t actually being supplied? Hmmm….Yup, about the same as me!
    Not long then, except (of course) in the ever-sunny world of politics, where taxpayer-funded MLAs in Ulster got full pay for 18 months and are currently squealing about a proposed, enforced, pay cut of a mere 25%. Why not 100% as it would be for us? In point of fact, some Ulster MPs have spent the past 100 years declining to take the Loyal Oath and don’t do their jobs but feel no sense of shame, rib of irony, or pang of any conscience, opening up their bank accounts for the not inconsiderable largesse that we poor taxpayers are foolish enough to throw at them. Disgusting!

    If the Boundary Commission’s current proposals go any way to heralding in much needed, radical change in the way Westminster is organised, then good, bring it on. Perhaps this matter is far too important and way too close to MPs’ wallets, purses and sporrans to allow them the final say in this matter?


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