18th Sep, 2018

Coventry South and Kenilworth to combine in final boundary change plans for MPs

Felix Nobes 11th Sep, 2018 Updated: 11th Sep, 2018

THE Parliamentary seat of Coventry South would be combined with Kenilworth as part of changes to constituency boundaries.

The Boundary Commission for England this week published its final recommendations for Coventry and Warwickshire.

Controversial plans to merge Coventry South and Kenilworth constituencies could go ahead despite concerns on both sides of the political spectrum – and that they are two very distinct communities.

The plans will see the city centre move in to the Coventry North West constituency from the Coventry South constituency.

Coventry South and Kenilworth will comprise Woodlands, Westwood, Earlsdon, Cheylesmore, Wainbody, Park Hill, St John’s and Abbey wards.

Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright enjoys a huge majority for the Conservatives.

Jim Cunningham has been Labour MP for Coventry South since the new seat was formed in 1997 – through a merger of the old Coventry South East and Coventry South West constituencies.

It has been a stable Labour seat, despite being targeted in recent general elections by the Conservatives.

The number of Coventry and Warwickshire constituencies would reduce from nine to eight.

Coventry North West and Coventry North East – solid Labour seats – would remain.

The changes are part of the Conservative government’s plans to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK from 650 to 600.

The government wants to make sure every constituency has a population of between 71,031 and 78,507.

It claims the plans – first drawn up by the Coalition government – will equalise the size of individual electorates to boost ‘fairness’.

The final proposals are set to go before Parliament before they are approved.

The Boundary Commission’s final report states the revised plans found Kenilworth has ‘strong links’ with Coventry, noting Warwick University straddled Coventry and Warwickshire near Kenilworth.

Although it does acknowledge opposition from those consulted on these plans.

Critics were concerned about the contrasting outlooks of the two areas with Coventry very urban.

Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham said: “The aim of the Boundary Commission was to make sure every constituency had an electorate between 71,031 and 78,507 in size. The fact is Coventry, with more than 230,000 electors, is big enough to support three constituencies that size; there is no need for Kenilworth and the Coventry South to arbitrarily be merged together.

“This is a transparent attempt by the Tories to fix the election map in their favour, with inappropriate changes being forced upon local communities without any care for the historic boundaries of towns, cities and counties across the country.

“We will fight against these changes and I encourage all MPs and their constituents to join us.”

Solihull borough’s boundaries will remain the same despite earlier Boundary Commission proposals – which were subject to public consultation – showing areas in the current Meriden and Solihull constituencies would spill over existing boundaries.

It was initially proposed that Knowle and Meriden should become part of a Coventry North West and Meriden constituency.

Elsewhere in Warwickshire, Radford Semele was left out of the Warwick and Leamington constituency despite opposition.

And Rugby and Southam have been earmarked to form a new constituency.

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