Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

So farewell then South West Devon, we wish you well. The Boundary Commission has produced its draft revision of Parliamentary Constituencies consigning that name to history. I had half expected a radical shake-up, but the severity of the outcome has surprised even me.
The existing seat that I am so proud to represent has been carved into three: Plympton going one way, Plymstock another and Ivybridge a third. Naturally, I am disappointed by these proposals as I love the current constituency, but I also think there are sound reasons to challenge this dog's dinner of a proposal.
First, Plympton and a chunk of Crownhill are set to be linked not just with Tavistock but also Okehampton and many rural villages in deepest, darkest mid-Devon! It is hard to see the community of interest between suburban Plymouth and rural communities so far away. I currently represent rural areas between here and Bigbury, but they tend to gravitate naturally towards Plymouth. I doubt very much if the same could be said of the people of Okehampton and those places north of the A30. This might be sufficient ground to challenge this draft.
40% of my existing seat goes into the proposed Tavistock and Plympton seat.
Secondly, Plymstock is due to go back into a reshaped Plymouth Sutton from whence it came in 1997. That makes some sense, but with it goes one rural ward: Brixton and Wembury. This new seat is highly urban, including St. Peter's Ward, the waterfront and much of the city centre. It seems odd to stitch these rural wards onto it. I can imagine the people of those communities feeling very uneasy about being so unequally yoked.
Finally, Ivybridge and the villages to the east move in with Totnes. This makes more sense although I hate the thought of losing the chance to represent that vibrant community.
All of this is out for public consultation and it is important that you have your say if you feel strongly about any aspect of it. Please remember, this is not about the current crop of politicians, who come and go. This is about whether or not or our Parliamentary constituencies are based on communities that are coherent.
None of this will take effect until 2013 when Parliament will vote on it all. The proposals may be revised in the meantime. There could be a general election before then. Plenty of water to flow under this bridge yet.

posted by Gary @ 18:17