THE boundary lines between new parliamentary constituencies in Cumbria have seen a last minute shake up.

The Boundary Commission for England today, June 28, published its final recommendations for new constituency boundaries.

This follows submission of its final recommendations report to the Speaker of the House of Commons yesterday, and that report now being laid before Parliament.

The latest constituency boundary proposals for west Cumbria have once again been radically altered, with a flurry of final changes set to go before the House of Commons.

The latest proposals, published yesterday, roll back a number of the key changes that were suggested in the 2022 round of proposals.

Areas of north Workington such as Northside, Seaton and Flimby - controversially separated from the new Whitehaven and Workington seat last time round - are now back in.

Meanwhile, a large area to the east of Workington, including the whole of Keswick, has been carved off into the sprawling, newly-created Penrith and the Solway constituency.

These changes were prompted, according to the Boundary Commission, by a wave of public responses.

"The non-inclusion of the Seaton and Northside ward with the remainder of Workington was one of the largest single issues in the north-west in the consultation on the revised proposals," they wrote.

"There were suggestions that Keswick is intrinsically more linked to Penrith or Kendal than it is to Workington or Whitehaven," they added.

Secretary to the Commission, Tim Bowden, said: "The recommendations we have published today mark the end of a thorough and consultative process to build the new map of Parliamentary constituencies.

"We have taken into account over 60,000 public comments, travelled the country, and heard many passionate views about how best to reflect local community ties in our recommendations.

"We are confident that our final recommendations are the best reflection of the statutory rules Parliament has set us."

Despite 'considerable representations' for Alston Moor to be included into a new Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency - after its placement with large parts of West Cumbria was criticised for having ‘limited or no connection’ to the rest of the constituency - the commission has decided to keep the town in the Penrith and the Solway constituency.

The report also found that there were ‘objections to the proposed Penrith and Solway constituency, which stretched east–west across Cumbria’, with many highlighting issues relating to physical geography, lack of communities and poor transport connections within the proposed constituency.

The report said: “The Alston Moor ward was often cited as an issue, having limited or no connection to the rest of the constituency.

"Conversely, we received considerable support for our revised Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency, including from many who had objected to our initial proposals and who were of the view that we had ‘got it right’ this time.”

What do the MPs think?

Commenting on the changes, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: “The Boundary Commission also heard that Keswick has stronger links to Penrith than it does to either Workington or Whitehaven.

"There were objections that the earlier forms of the Penrith and Solway constituency did not take proper account of the impact of physical geography, for example, on connectivity for rural constituents.  

“When I was deputy leader of Allerdale Borough Council, Keswick was part of the borough council’s remit and it was a town I was proud to serve.

“I am pleased that Maryport, Cockermouth, Silloth and many of the villages which are part of my present constituency will be included in the Penrith and Solway Constituency for which I have been selected to stand as the Conservative candidate.

"As many will know, after decades of neglect of the wider constituency by my predecessors, I chose to base my office in Maryport rather than Workington so that I was more central to my constituency – and was better able to represent the people I was elected to serve.

“I am, of course, disappointed to lose Seaton from my prospective parliamentary seat. This is the village where I live, and which I am proud to call home.

"I have represented the village long before I became an MP in 2019 as a parish councillor and also as a borough councillor.

“I am also sad to lose Flimby - an oft-forgotten ward, where I have done a lot of work since my election. It makes sense to keep Seaton with the wider Workington, which is why I vociferously supported the first iteration of the boundaries which kept the constituency as it is today, with the addition of Dalston and Wigton.

“My argument has always been that communities with strong connection should stay together, but the Boundary Commission was flooded with representations – including those from the local Labour Party and Liberal Democrats – imploring them to split the constituency. 

“Flimby’s separation from the wider Maryport is the unfortunate result of their campaigning, although I hope it may give some impetus to the campaign for a separate Flimby Parish Council.

“I will continue to fight tooth and nail for my constituents – those I represent now and those I hope to represent in the future.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said: "Delighted to have been reselected as the candidate for Carlisle at the next General Election under the new Carlisle Constituency boundaries, which now includes the border area.

"I shall look forward to getting out and meeting as many people as possible in coming months."