The Boundary Commission has now submitted its final report of the Commission’s recommendations to the Government on 5 September 2018. This has taken over two years to complete, with three periods of consultation. Over 35,000 responses were received. As well as involving a reduction in the number of constituencies across England (from 533 to 501), the aim was also to ensure that every constituency should have an electorate that is no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.
The Newbury constituency electorate is more than 5% above this electoral quota, while Reading East and Reading West are more than 5% below it and Wokingham is within 5% of it.
The final recommendations confirm the revised proposals set out a year ago. This means that Aldermaston ward, previously reallocated to Wokingham, will now remain in the Newbury constituency, whereas Bucklebury ward (comprising Bradfield, Bucklebury, Stanford Dingley, Frilsham and Hermitage) and Basildon ward (Upper Basildon, Lower Basildon, Aldworth and Streatley) will be transferred to Reading West.
While I agree with the overall aim of the review, I strongly feel that Parliamentary constituencies must have coherent boundaries and made my view clear to the consultation last December. On a personal note, I will be very sad no longer to represent the villages of these wards.
The next step is for the Government to introduce a draft Order, or Statutory Instrument, containing those recommendations (which may not be amended by the Government) and Parliament will debate the changes. If Parliament agrees the changes to boundaries, the new constituencies will take effect at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.