Boundary review: New constituencies for the East

Polling station

The shape of nearly every constituency in the region is likely to change if the new proposals from the boundary commission are introduced. And Labour could also find it much harder to win here in the future.

Just one seat will disappear - Witham in Essex - but of 64 seats in the East of England and Northamptonshire, only six remain completely unchanged.

The changes, which are due to be introduced in 2018, are part of an attempt to reduce the cost of government by reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and to make constituencies more equal in size.

Chelmsford, Thurrock, Epping Forest, Hitchin and Harpenden, Waveney and West Suffolk remain the same but every other seat gains or loses a few wards from their neighbours.

Three of the new look constituencies will straddle county boundaries. South West Norfolk which is currently held by Elizabeth Truss will take in Littleport in Cambridgeshire. Sir Oliver Heald's North East Herts seat will get a new name and inherit a couple of wards from South Cambridgeshire, while Chris Heaton-Harris will find himself representing not just Daventry but Lutterworth in Leicestershire as well.

Other notable changes are that Witham will merge with Maldon while Clacton and Harwich are back in the same constituency again,.

Initial plans

"The rules that we work to are such that wide scale change is inevitable," said a spokesman for the boundary commission. "These are just our initial thoughts and during the next 12 weeks we want people to take a look and tell us what they like and don't like about our proposals."

2015 election results map

Image caption Conservatives got 11.3 million votes and Labour 9.3 million - in third place was UKIP with 3.8 million

The commission's aim is to make sure that every seat has an electorate of 74,769, give or take 5%. At the moment there are huge discrepancies: South Norfolk currently has an electorate of nearly 81,000, while Norwich North has just under 65,000 voters.

This appears to be much less messy set of proposals than last time round, when a number of constituencies were going to cross county boundaries and we stood to lose between two and three MPs. This time, expect far less of an outcry.

Priti Patel and John Whittingdale will have to fight it out to see who stands in the new Witham and Maldon seat but it is unlikely that either will fail to find a home especially when several of the region's Conservative MPs may well stand down at the next election (in fact, Sir Simon Burns in Chelmsford has already announced his intention to do so).

Labour

But Labour will not be happy. Several seats that they have held in the past will become more rural under these proposals and therefore more likely to favour the Conservatives. It may be much harder for Labour to win in places like Stevenage, Northampton South, Harlow and Great Yarmouth.

Labour MP, Clive Lewis may also face a struggle if the proposal for his Norwicb South seat to take in the Conservative areas of Cringleford and Old Costessey goes ahead, Kelvin Hopkins could also be in trouble if Houghton Regis joins Luton North.

Public hearings will take place in November. If you feel strongly about these proposals, now is the time to speak out.

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