Gloucester boundary move dropped

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A plan by the Boundary Commission to designate the centre of Gloucester as being within the Forest of Dean has been dropped.

A national review is taking place to equalise the number of people in each constituency but in Gloucester the original proposal prompted protests.

Under the plan, half of Westgate ward and part of Coombe Hill in Tewkesbury will join the Forest of Dean.

The proposals still need to go through parliament before it becomes law.

'Very disappointed'

MP for Gloucester, Richard Graham (Con), has welcomed the changes after his campaign to keep Gloucester cathedral within the Gloucester constituency.

But neighbouring MP, Laurence Robertson (Con) who represents Tewkesbury said: "I'm very disappointed the Boundary Commission have ignored their own guidance.

"They always said they wouldn't split wards and yet they've done that in Gloucester and Coombe Hill, as well as villages which have no connection with the Forest of Dean at all."

MPs are set to vote on the boundary commission bill in October 2013 to make it into law but there are doubts over whether it will win enough votes.

In August, Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg said he would oppose plans for boundary changes after the Conservatives blocked proposals to reform the House of Lords.

'Rational settlement'

Darren Hughes, director of campaigns and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said: "From the beginning of this process we warned that the new restrictions were too tight and would mean bending our communities out of shape.

"Boundary reforms are not going to go away but without the Lib Dem's support, this particular proposal is doomed to failure, a fact that hasn't stopped this government throwing away £4million pursuing it regardless.

"Rather than throwing good money after bad we would like to see provisions being made for a more rational settlement that would help equalise constituencies without creating a vision of equality where the maths matters but our communities don't."

If the bill does go through, it will in turn reduce the number of MPs from 533 to 502.

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