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Local MP Rory Stewart is alerting constituents of Penrith and the Border to the Boundary Commission for England's (BCE) secondary period of consultation, which will follow the BCE's publication at noon on Tuesday March 6t of all written representations and verbatim transcripts from last October's public hearings.
This secondary consultation period is short, and the MP is encouraging those who missed the last consultation to send in their comments on the proposed boundary changes, which will see Cumbria's six parliamentary constituencies reduced from six to five. All representations will be published on the BCE website in easily searchable format, at www.consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/
The BCE's initial proposals, which nationally are to reduce the number of constituencies in England from 533 to 502, were met with widespread opposition from across the political spectrum in Cumbria, with the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties proposing alternatives that were broadly aligned.
He said: "I welcome this secondary consultation period, as I continue to have major reservations about the division between the West and East of Cumbria as proposed by the BCE in their initial proposals. I hope very much that they have taken into account the strong feeling shared by so many Cumbrians that the suggested divisions make very little sense. I have proposed instead that we have one urban-based West Coast constituency serving the industrial areas of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport; a Carlisle area with its border hinterland taking in Spadeadam and Bewcastle; and a Barrow area.
"This would leave two rural constituencies to represent the very important and unique Cumbrian interests connected to sparse populations: one very similar to the existing Westmorland and Lonsdale seat, and another ‘mid-Cumberland’ constituency representing Penrith and the Solway region. I strongly encourage all constituents who are interested to engage in this secondary consultation, and to contact me if they require any assistance in accessing the online database of responses to the public hearings."