By Ian Dipple Wednesday 17 October 2012 Updated: 22/10 12:09
REDDITCH could become a safe Conservative seat in future under plans to bring voters in Alvechurch and Wythall into a new borough Parliamentary constituency.
The idea was first mooted in September last year but has now been formally put forward by the Boundary Commission for England for public consultation.
Proposals published on Tuesday (October 16) would see Alvechurch, along with Wythall South, Hollywood and Majors Green and Drakes Cross and Walkers Heath, transferred from the neighbouring Bromsgrove Constituency. Hanbury and the Lenches, Cookhill and Inkberrow will go into a new Evesham Constituency.
Labour and the Conservatives support the plan, although some feel the seat should be renamed from the Redditch County Constituency to North East Worcestershire Constituency to reflect the area it would cover. Stratford Constituency will remain unchanged despite calls from the Liberal Democrats for Studley, Sambourne and Alcester to be added to the Redditch seat instead.
The move, prompted by the Government’s desire to cut the number of MPs sitting in the House of Commons by 50 and ensure each constituency has around 76,000 electors, will add more than 14,800 voters to the Redditch seat, mainly from Tory supporting areas.
According to one piece of research had the changes been imposed at the 2010 poll, current Redditch MP Karen Lumley would have increased her majority by close to 1,890 votes.
The changes will be introduced in time for the next General Election in 2015, if they are approved in Parliament, which looks unlikely given Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced last month his party would not support the changes in response to almost 100 Tory MPs - including Mrs Lumley - killing off plans for House of Lords reform.
Borough council leader Bill Hartnett said he believed the plans 'were dead in the water' while Bromsgrove council leader Roger Hollingworth added: "We've been told we have to support the Conservative line but I'm personally not happy with it and hope it does fall down in Parliament."
But Mrs Lumley said there was still hope a deal could be done.
"It's not all dead in the water. We're going to try and put it through with other people's help and the Prime Minister intends to put it to a vote, so we'll see what happens but I am in favour of fewer MPs as it saves the country money."
Visit http://consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/static/ before December 10 to comment on the plans.
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