Initial Proposal for the New Parliamentary Constituency Boundary Review 2023 for Hyndburn
Members considered a report of the Leader of the Council, providing an update on the Parliamentary Boundary Review 2023, which set out the initial proposals from the Boundary Commission for England (the Commission) concerning the Hyndburn constituency and which sought the Council’s support for the Commission’s initial recommendations.
The Leader gave a brief verbal introduction to the report, referring to the Council’s response to the previous Review and highlighting the importance of retaining the name Hyndburn and keeping the parliamentary seat largely co-terminus with the Borough boundary. The Commission had a difficult job across the country, but brought an impartial view. The changes proposed by the Commission would preserve the socio-economic character of East Lancashire.
The report indicated that the Commission was an independent and impartial non?departmental public body, which was responsible for reviewing Parliamentary constituency boundaries in England.
On the 8th June 2021 the Commission had published a report on their initial proposals to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency was more equal (electorate equality), which included a boundary change to the Hyndburn constituency and again proposed the name Hyndburn CC (County Constituency) which the Commission had proposed in the final review back in 2018.
The Commission’s latest proposals for the Hyndburn constituency included the loss of the Haslingden area to the West Pennine Moors constituency and the gain of three additional wards (Billington & Langho; East Whalley, Read & Simonstone; Whalley & Painter Wood) from the Ribble Valley constituency, whilst keeping Hyndburn coterminous with the district council’s boundary.
Following the passing of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020 in December 2020, and the publication of the relevant Parliamentary electorate data in January 2021, the Commission had begun a new review of all Parliamentary constituencies in England. They referred to this as the ‘2023 Review’, as they were required to report with their final recommendations by 1 July 2023.
The 2023 Review of Parliamentary constituencies had been formally launched in January 2021. The Commission was required to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency was more equal; in doing so, the number of constituencies in England would increase from 533 to 543 (ten more than there were currently). The Commission was undertaking an independent review of all constituency boundaries in England and would present its final recommendations to Parliament by July 2023. Each constituency that the Commission recommended would have to contain no fewer than 69,724 Parliamentary electors, and no more than 77,062 (except two ‘protected’ constituencies for the Isle of Wight). By law, these electorate figures related to the electorates as they were on 2 March 2020.
Applying the statutory formula to the electorate figures meant the total 650 constituencies was distributed during the review to the four parts of the UK with England receiving 543 seats, Scotland with 57, Wales with 32 and Northern Ireland with 18 seats. This Commission had applied the same distribution formula to the English allocation, which resulted in the following redistribution of constituencies among the nine English regions for the 2023 Review with the North West losing two seats from 75 to 73.
- East Midlands = 47 (increase of one)
- Eastern = 61 (increase of three)
- London = 75 (increase of two)
- North East = 27 (decrease of two)
- North West = 73 (decrease of two)
- South East = 91 (increase of seven)
- South West = 58 (increase of three)
- West Midlands = 57 (decrease of two)
- Yorkshire and the Humber = 54 (no change)
The Commission’s proposals left ten of the existing 75 (going down to 73) North West constituencies unchanged. A further three constituencies were unchanged, except to realign with new local government ward boundaries. Across Cumbria and Lancashire it was proposed to reduce the number of existing constituency areas from 22 to 20, whilst Greater Manchester, Cheshire & Merseyside had kept the same number. This was down to the number of constituencies allocated to each sub-region and was determined by the combined electorate of the local authorities they contained.
In 2018, the Council had been united in keeping Hyndburn coterminous with 100% of the district area within the parliamentary seat of Hyndburn whilst keeping its name. The Council was pleased that the Commission had followed the previous submission and kept Hyndburn coterminous and would like to thank the Commission for retaining the Hyndburn area.
The previous 2018 review had recommended that Padiham wards were included in the Hyndburn constituency proposals. The latest 2023 proposals had instead included the three wards of Billington & Langho; East Whalley, Read & Simonstone; Whalley & Painter Wood from the Ribble Valley constituency area.
It could be argued that both 2018 and 2023 proposals had natural linkages and community ties from schools, shops and employment. The Padiham wards had similar social economic profiles and good infrastructure links. Whilst, prior to 1983 Great Harwood was in the Clitheroe constituency, before it had been changed to the Ribble Valley at which time Great Harwood had moved into Hyndburn.
Whilst there might be differing opinions regarding preferences of which additional wards make up electorate numbers within the parliamentary seat, the Council followed and supported the Commission’s impartiality and understood that the seat required a certain number of electorates to represent voter equality and tolerance levels and be within the Commission’s recommendations.
In the 2018 review, Ribble Valley Borough Council had made a representation and their preferred Parliamentary Constituency would be to include the whole of the Ribble Valley, together with parts of West Hyndburn (Baxenden, Church, Immanuel, Netherton, Overton, Rishton, St Andrew’s and St Oswald’s) that would bring the new constituency within the right tolerance level at 77,634 and they suggested it should be known as Ribble Valley and Hyndburn West.
However, the latest proposals suggested that Ribble Valley district would only lose those three wards to the Hyndburn seat. The Burnley constituency would lose Briercliffe, and gain Bacup and the Whitworth area. Pendle was 100% coterminous and would gain Briercliffe, while Rossendale district had been split between the seat of Burnley and the new seat of West Pennine Moors.
Concerns would arise if the Council considered proposing alternative recommendations, such as preferences over certain wards. The detrimental impact on Hyndburn could be that the seat would be split into another parliamentary area. The risk could be a possibility that Hyndburn would no longer be coterminous if the Council suggested alternative proposals, with perhaps the Commission redrawing boundaries across the North West and proposing alternative proposals at other submission requests.
The Council’s main objective was to support the proposal for keeping Hyndburn in one parliamentary constituency area. Any further proposals to change the name and not keep Hyndburn in one parliamentary seat would not receive the Council’s support.
On 8 June 2021 the Commission had published their initial proposals for how the 543 constituencies for England could be drawn up within the legal parameters mentioned. This commenced a statutory consultation period of eight weeks (closing 2 August 2021), when anyone could give their views on those proposals. They would be particularly interested to hear from people about the extent to which the proposals reflected the local ties in the area, and if people disagreed with their proposals, how they thought they should be amended. There would then be two further rounds of public consultation.
Early in 2022, the Commission would publish responses to the initial proposals and would conduct a six-week ‘secondary consultation’, including between two and five public hearings in each region. Late in 2022, the Commission would publish its revised proposals and conduct a four-week written consultation and following the conclusion of all three consultation periods, the Commission would look at all the evidence received before forming its final recommendations. The Commission would then have to submit its final report and recommendations to the Speaker of the House of Commons by 1 July 2023.
Resolved - That Council:
(1) Notes the contents of the report;
(2) Supports the proposal for keeping Hyndburn in one parliamentary constituency area and Hyndburn CC (County Constituency) for the name of the constituency.
(3) Understands there may be differing views regarding preferences of which additional wards make up electorate numbers within the parliamentary seat, but that any further proposals to change the name and not keep Hyndburn coterminous in one parliamentary seat would not receive the Council’s full support.