Division of MPs is more sensible now

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CABINET CALL: By Coun Sally Slade of South Holland District Council’s Cabinet

I have written before about the history of electoral reform, including the unfair distribution of MPs back in the early 1800s.

Old Sarum, once an important place with a cathedral, still elected two MPs, even though it was now just a hill with only seven voters. Manchester, meanwhile, had more than 60,000 inhabitants, but not a single MP.

Today, the situation is much more sensible. The Boundary Commission looks at the number of inhabitants within constituencies and makes changes when necessary, so that it is fair for voters.

There is a separate Boundary Commission for local government, called the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).

It provides the electoral arrangements for local authorities, including district and county councils.

On its website, it says that one of its aims is to “keep the map of English local government in good repair”.

Our electoral services team here at South Holland District Council has to implement the changes made by both the Parliamentary Boundary Commission and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

One such change has come about due to the LGBCE carrying out a review of the Lincolnshire County Council boundaries between May 2015 and December 2016.

The aim was to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections by recommending boundaries that gave each councillor approximately the same number of electors.

Their final recommendations have been approved by parliament and will come into effect for the county council elections in May.

There will be 70, instead of 77, county councillors. The ward boundaries have been tweaked, so you may find that the name of the ward in which you place your vote will differ from what is was called four years ago.

Here in South Holland, the commission received objections to its proposal to include part of Spalding in a Crowland division.

It considered local views and amended the boundaries, so that the Crowland division is entirely rural in character and better reflects community interests and identities.

The new boundaries can be viewed by going online at www.lgbce.org.uk and following the links.

So 200 years on, wherever you live, you should have equal representation at every level of government.