Boundary change in Ipswich slight

THE political map of Suffolk has escaped the nationwide upheaval of parliamentary constituency boundaries currently being imposed on England by the independent Boundary Commission.

Suffolk has escaped the nationwide upheaval of parliamentary constituency boundary changes currently being imposed on England by the independent Boundary Commission.

The only change to be announced in provisional recommendations today is in Ipswich, where the town division takes 3,000 voters currently in the Suffolk Central and Ipswich North constituency.

The new boundaries, which will be the subject of a public inquiry if there are a significant number of objections, will not come into effect until the general election at the end of the decade.

They are unlikely to make any significant impact on the way the county votes. At the 2001 general election, the Conservatives won five seats and Labour two.

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Boundary reviews take place every ten to 15 years to ensure that MPs represent, as far as possible, the same number of electors. The last review gave Suffolk an extra MP.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich loses one of its four borough wards. The Ipswich division will include the whole of the new St Margaret's and Westgate wards, taking in the area to the west of Christchurch Park around Anglesea Road, Constitution Hill, and Ipswich School for the first time since 1983 when the town gained its second MP for the first time.

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Although this includes some of the most affluent parts of Ipswich, Labour and the Liberal Democrats were the winners in last May's local elections and the loss is unlikely to dent the 3,469 majority currently enjoyed by the Conservatives in Central Suffolk and Ipswich North.

The seat has been represented by Sir Michael Lord since 1983. Although he has been readopted to fight the next election, he will be at least 71 by the time the following election is fought and may well signal his intention to retire.

In the west of the county, the only major change being recommended by the Boundary Commission is the switch of the 900 electors in Whelnetham from Bury St Edmunds to West Suffolk.

This will ensure that the electors of the new St Edmundsbury district council ward of Horringer and Whelnetham will be represented by one MP.

The shift will have little impact on either seat – last time, David Ruffley had a majority for the Tories of 2,503 in Bury St Edmunds and Tory Richard Spring's majority in West Suffolk was 4,295.


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