Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries fights boundary changes

 
Man drawing a line Plans to redraw boundaries in Mid Bedfordshire are proving controversial

The Boundary Commission wants to do away with the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire but first it will have to deal with its MP.

"People in Bedfordshire actually fight for their county and they fight hard," Nadine Dorries told the hearing into the proposed changes.

"These new proposals rip Mid Bedfordshire asunder.

"They actually tear apart the whole of the rural centre of Bedfordshire and cast its residents to groups or groupings of urban hubs and even an entirely different county, in a way which takes no account whatsoever of local traditions."

Strong words spoken back in November but the transcripts of the hearing have only just been published as the Boundary Commission moves onto the next stage of its consultation.

They reveal that Ms Dorries feels passionately about her constituency.

Referring to an ongoing row over a waste incinerator she said there was enormous anger that residents were powerless to influence decisions regarding their own community.

"I have had many representations from action groups, resident groups and parish councils who have all said to me that this boundary that exists is the rural heart of Bedfordshire. We have to maintain this."

History and tradition

Start Quote

Nadine Dorries MP

These new proposals rip Mid Bedfordshire asunder... in a way which takes no account whatsoever of local traditions.”

End Quote Nadine Dorries MP Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire

She invoked the name of John Bunyan, she praised the Bedfordshire Clanger and waxed lyrical over the River Festivals, Norman churches and May dancer, all things, she argued, that gave her constituency its identity.

"Bedfordshire residents are attached to Bedfordshire with an invisible umbilical cord, they are passionate about its past, its present and its future.

"They strongly identify with what they see as the boundaries of the parliamentary constituency, bordering what they see as their rural community and their rural heart."

Nadine Dorries stands out as the only MP from the East who is kicking up a fuss over the proposed changes, which will see many of our constituencies redrawn and two done away with altogether.

The transcripts reveal that Priti Patel, whose Witham seat will also go, hasn't responded to the consultation at all.

Neither has Elizabeth Truss, who'll lose a lot of her South West Norfolk constituency and gain a lot of the Fens.

Nor has Matthew Hancock who is known to be upset at the prospect of losing Newmarket from his West Suffolk seat.

Hardening views

Most MPs who responded have welcomed the changes, introduced to make constituencies more equal in size and to reduce the number of MPs by 10%.

Some have taken issue with the proposed names of the new constituencies or with the decision to move the odd ward into or out of their seat.

The new consultation will last until April 3 - with revised proposals expected towards the end of the year.

Ms Dorries tells us her views and those of local people have hardened even further since she gave her evidence.

She will not give up without a fight.

The fight over South West Bedfordshire

Another Bedfordshire MP is equally annoyed.

Andrew Selous also made strong representations to the Boundary Commission over the proposed changes to his constituency, South West Bedfordshire.

He doesn't want to lose Dunstable and Kensworth, to which he "objects most strongly".

Start Quote

The village of Kensworth is closely connected with the villages of Studham and Whipsnade and it is very odd to separate the three.”

End Quote Andrew Selous MP Conservative, SW Bedfordshire

"Dunstable has always fought hard to maintain its historic identity. Luton may border Dunstable but the two towns are very different. Dunstable is an ancient, medium sized market town with strong rural links to its surrounding villages and is very difference from Luton, which is much larger.

"The village of Kensworth is closely connected with the villages of Studham and Whipsnade and it is very odd to separate the three."

Mr Selous believes that the proposals put a large proportion of people who live in southern central Bedfordshire into constituencies where the majority are in neighbouring local authorities - something that he believes, flies in the face of the recent re-organisation of Bedfordshire into unitary authorities.

"Central Bedfordshire Council is a new unitary authority. The proposals mean there would be only one parliamentary constituency wholly within its area, with one MP."

He will strenuously fight the plans, especially as Mr Selous maintains that the present constituency has the right number of constituents and therefore does not need to be changed at all.

 
Deborah McGurran Article written by Deborah McGurran Deborah McGurran Political editor, East of England

More Power to the East: The devolution debate

Following the Scottish Independence vote there have been calls for a greater say over our own affairs - so what could devolution mean for the East of England?

Read full article

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    Nadine Dorries should be grateful she got a seat in Central Bedfordshire. if she had been chosen for Bedford or Luton she would have no chance. The vote there is Labour. Thankfully whoever the conservatives put up for candidates in our glorious rural county will always get in. Bedford folk will always vote for common sense not class jealousy!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 12.

    I really cant see her point that the "public strongly identify the parliamentary boundaries".....

    Deal with it Nadine.!

    It makes no difference whatsoever where the boundaries are. Those people will have an MP and be part of a constituency - whats the problem.?

    Some people just dont like change..!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    "Dorries should just bite the bullet and run for a nearby seat if she wants to remain an MP"

    She has no chance since she has publicly stood up to the Liberal Democrats in the commons at PMQs. Cameron will not accept conservatism in his Liberal conservative party. She will not be selected for any other seat by tory high command. By the way, whatever happened to the idea of open primaries?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    This reminds me of David Amess, who was tediously passionate about his constituency of Basildon, mentioning it by name an unfeasibly large number of times in every Commons speech, right up to the point he jumped ship to Southend, a seat the Tories did have a chance of retaining in the 1997 election. Ms Dorries is (in)famous for her outspoken views, not for her services to Bedfordshire.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    I think the point is that lots of us from Mid Beds look to Bedford for schools, work and leisure. I know lots of people from Flitwick who go to the river festival. It's about keeping MidBeds rural, that's the point.

 

Comments 5 of 13

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.