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Controversial 'Devonwall' plans are scrapped

Controversial 'Devonwall' plans are scrapped

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:07am 26th March 2020.

Written by Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporter

Controversial proposals to shake up MPs’ seat boundaries and which would have seen the ‘Devonwall’ seat created have been abandoned.

Under the changes, 50 constituencies would have been wiped from the electoral map it and would have seen Bude and Launceston in North Cornwall joined with Bideford in North Devon.

The review had been carried out after Parliament initially said the number of constituencies across the UK should be reduced from 650 to 600 with roughly the same number of electors in each – between 71,000 and 78,500.

There had been little action since four Boundary Commissions for the four nations reported back in 2018, and on Wednesday, Constitution minister Chloe Smith confirmed the plans to reduce seats to 600 had been dropped in a “change in policy”.

devonwall LDRS
The proposed 'Devonwall' constituency

She told MPs in a written statement to Parliament: “The Government is minded to make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

“This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the coalition government.

“Since that policy was established in the coalition agreement, the United Kingdom has now left the European Union.

“The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control and regaining our political and economic independence.

“It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.”

Constitution minister, Chloe Smith

The proposed Devonwall constituency would have consisted of two Parliamentary seats: Torridge and West Devon and North Cornwall, and had provoked anger on both sides of the River Tamar.

The Boundary Commission had said the “Devonwall” area was “unavoidable” if plans to make constituencies more equal in size were to be successful and the number of MPs were to be reduced, but those plans have now been scrapped.

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