Radical reforms to cut number of Cumbrian MPs dropped

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Sue Hayman
Sue Hayman

A politician says she is pleased that plans to cut the number of MPs in Cumbria from six to five appear to have been scrapped.

Plans for boundary changes, that could have seen the Workington and Whitehaven brought together under one constituency, had been put forward by the Conservatives.

The proposals would have meant that the number of MPs in the House of Commons would be reduced from 650 to 600. Under the plans, areas including Brampton and Longtown would move to a enlarged Carlisle constituency.

Both areas are currently located within Penrith and the Border, a seat held by Tory MP Rory Stewart.

The Workington and Copeland constituencies would also be scrapped, drawing both towns together under "Workington and Whitehaven".

Areas such as Kirkbride and Bowness-on-Solway - currently part of Workington - would fall within a new constituency of Penrith and Solway, which would replace Penrith and the Border.

However, there was no mention of a bill on boundary reform in last week's Queen's Speech.

Sue Hayman, Workington's Labour MP, told the News & Star: "I'm pleased that they don't appear to be going ahead.

"Given the size of Cumbria, I don't think it would work. I would have the opportunity to stand for a new Workington and Whitehaven constituency, which could be a safer Labour seat but I wouldn't want to.

"I've spoken to people in Kirkbride and Bowness-and-Solway and they feel that they would lose their representation as part of the Penrith and Solway constituency."

Meanwhile Westmorland and Lonsdale's Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said that any future changes must benefit the people of Cumbria.

He said: "“The Government must do all it can to encourage residents to register to vote, and it follows that boundary changes may have to be looked at.

"However, it is vital that this process is not simply one drawn up by civil servants in Whitehall who have no understanding of Cumbria. Any proposed changes to Cumbria’s constituency boundaries must respect and reflect the natural communities of our area."

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