As the final (second) stage of public consultation into the Parliamentary Boundary Changes closes, Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, has thanked local residents for mounting a ‘major public campaign to oppose the breakup of Solihull borough constituencies’.
Under the published plans, communities including Knowle and Dorridge, would be split down the middle as three new constituencies are created from the existing Meriden constituency, whilst the Solihull constituency would be severed in two, with the north of the constituency joining Birmingham.
The MP argued that the comments collated during Phase two of the consultation, which closed to the public on the 27th March, will now be ‘instrumental’ in deciding whether the Boundary Commission will need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their original designs.
Dame Caroline said: "At the heart of any plans to change constituency boundaries must be a firm commitment to providing local residents with fair and equal representation, which is why I am delighted that so many local residents have submitted their views to the consultation during stages one and two of this process.
"It was my grave concern that some of the feedback received by the commission during phase one was submitted as part of wider regional proposals by political and community organisations from outside our borough, which did not account for the needs of local residents or accurately portray the strong relations between the many communities that make up our area.
"Nevertheless, during my regular travels around the constituency; on visits to local businesses, community events and surgeries, I was reassured by the significant number of local residents who told me that they have contacted the Commission to provide further commentary.
"In addition to this, a cross party response was filed by the council - further evidence of the pride we share in our neighbourhoods and of our overwhelming desire to keep the parliamentary and borough boundaries coterminous.
"For that reason, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the residents of the Meriden Constituency and the wider Solihull borough for mounting a substantive campaign to provide fair and appropriate representation for local people in Parliament".
The decision to change the boundaries was made about after a report, commissioned by Parliament, argued that the UK must redraw the political map to address concerns that a growing population would lead to constituents being under represented in Westminster. However, the plans have sparked controversy with the number of MPs set to be reduced from 650 to 600 across England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland in a move to help save the public purse.