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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Consultation ends into planned Cumbria constituency changes

A consultation has finished on planned changes to Cumbria’s Parliamentary constituency boundaries.

The cut-off point passed this week for views on a shake-up that would alter the political map of the county.

The draft proposals would lump together Copeland and Windermere, put Keswick and Dalston into Workington constituency and create a vast Kendal and Penrith seat stretching from Alston to Arnside.

Cumbria would also be reduced from six to five MPs under the plans, aimed at cutting the number of MPs across the country from 650 to 600.

County residents have been voicing their opinions by submitting written statements to the Boundary Commission for England.

Dennis Cheesebrough, of Parkland Village in Carlisle, said he agreed, adding: “Any boundary changes which attempt to even out the number of electors to each MP is sensible.

“However, with 600 MPs in a reconstituted Parliament we are still over-represented and money could be saved by being more radical.

“There are people who will argue that geographical areas should prevail as it will give better representation.

“But one has only to look at other countries which successfully exercise government with representatives covering vastly greater areas.”

Mike James, of Rannerdale Drive, Whitehaven, said he “disagreed in part”.

He added: “If the proposal for the boundary for Copeland and Windermere goes ahead it will make the travel demands of an MP quite excessive.

“Try considering the hour and a half drive from Whitehaven and Ambleside.”

As things stand, the seats of Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Workington, Penrith and the Border and Westmorland and Lonsdale could be replaced with five constituencies called Carlisle, Barrow, Copeland and Windermere, Kendal and Penrith and Workington and Keswick.

Changes to create a Kendal and Penrith seat could potentially see two of the county’s current MPs – Conservative Rory Stewart and Lib Dem Tim Farron – going head to head at the next General Election.

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