How Sunderland's political map could change under new boundary proposals

Sunderland's political map could change under new proposals.

Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 08:52 am
The final proposals for the Sunderland constituency boundaries

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has carried out a review of all Parliamentary constituencies and has made its final proposals to the Government.

If approved by Parliament, the proposals - which would see the number of North East seats reduced by four, to 25 - include:

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington.

* The creation of a new Houghton and Seaham constituency that would take in wards currently represented by both Bridget Phillipson, in Houghton and Sunderland South, and her Labour colleague Grahame Morris in Easington.

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* A new City of Durham and Easington constituency which would include Horden, Murton, Peterlee and Easington.

* Sunderland Central, currently held by Labour’s Julie Elliott, remaining unchanged.

* The Sandhill ward joining the Washington and Sunderland West constituency, currently served by Labour’s Sharon Hodgson.

Houghton and Sunderland South. MP Bridget Phillipson. Picture by FRANK REID

The plans, however, have not gone down well with political figures.

Mr Morris said: “The Tories have cynically manipulated the process for their own electoral advantage excluding millions of people who registered for the last general election from the boundary review.

“It is estimated [by Electoral Calculus] that the new boundaries will give the Tories a 20-seat advantage over Labour with an equal vote share.

“It is 1796 the last time Britain had less than 600 MPs and the boundary changes will deliver the UK’s smallest-ever parliament since its foundation in 1801.

Tommy in Seaham

“The historic Labour constituency of Easington is one of four constituencies in the North East that will disappear under the new boundaries.

“The boundary changes are a blatant attempt to gerrymander constituencies and create a Tory majority.

“Creating larger constituencies further increases the disconnect between elected officials and voters.”

Ms Phillipson was unavailable for comment.

However, Paul Edgeworth, the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Houghton and Sunderland South said: “The proposals for Seaham and the surrounding communities to be represented by the same MP as Houghton and southern parts of Sunderland makes sense.

“But the naming of the constituency as ‘Houghton and Seaham’ is a bit of an insult to Doxford, Tunstall, Farrington, the Herringtons, Silksworth and Plains Farm who very much see themselves as Sunderland and not part of either Seaham or Houghton.”

The government is seeking to reduce the number of constituencies in England from 533 to 501.

It wants every constituency to have an electorate that is no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.