Constituency boundary changes plan affecting Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire defeated

MPs Stephen McPartland, front, and Oliver Heald, pictured left, both voted for the plans in the Hous

MPs Stephen McPartland, front, and Oliver Heald, pictured left, both voted for the plans in the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

PLANS to redraw constituency boundaries have been defeated in a vote in the House of Commons.

The proposals, which were backed by the Conservatives, were put forward by the Boundary Commission for England and Wales in a bid to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and end up with more equal-sized constituencies.

On Tuesday MPs voted against the plans by 334 to 292.

Under the proposals, Hitchin would become part of the North Herts seat, which also takes in Buntingford, represented by MP Oliver Heald.

It would also include Letchworth GC, Baldock and Royston.

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Speaking on the outcome of the votes, Mr Heald said: “I was very disappointed the Lib Dems didn’t support the Government. It was something we have agreed on in the past, and then to suddenly change their vote was disappointing.”

Speaking about his constituency, Mr Heald said: “I wouldn’t want to lose any part of my constituency and the fact that my constituency remains as it is, is a good thing, but nationally it’s not right because it is unfair on the voters.”

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Under the proposals in Mid Bedfordshire, the seat would become Mid Bedfordshire and Harpenden meaning MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries and MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, Peter Lilley going head-to-head over the boundary.

Mid Bedfordshire and Harpenden would take in the villages of Kimpton, Wheathampstead, Cadwell and Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo. It would also include Langford and Henlow, Shefford and Stotfold and Arlesey.

In Stevenage, the constituency could grow to 80,273 from 69,357 which would make it one of the largest in the Eastern region.

The area held by Conservative Stephen McPartland would also include the villages of Walkern, Chesfield, Watton-at-Stone, Mundens and Cottered.

Mr McPartland said: “I voted to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 as set out in the coalition agreement and in line with the wishes of the general public.

“Unfortunately, all the other political parties voted to keep the number of MPs at the current level, although I understand there may well be another vote on this issue before the General Election.”

The planned constituency shake-up will now be postponed until 2018.

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