Back in November 2016 at Shrewsbury’s Prince Rupert Hotel, I joined a number of local councillors, MPs and peers who had gathered for a public hearing. This provided the opportunity to challenge the Boundary Commission for England‘s proposals to re-draw parliamentary constituencies.
The Commission’s brief was to balance the number of electors in each constituency at around 75,000 – currently, and largely as a result of population change in the past twenty years, some constituencies have nearly twice the number of electors as others. They work to legislation that requires the reduction in the total number of MPs from 650 to 600.
Much Wenlock is currently in the Ludlow constituency – one that runs from the Welsh border to the outskirts of Wolverhampton. Geographically, it is one of the largest in England. The Commission’s initial proposals saw the west of the constituency combined with part of North Herefordshire constituency to create a new one named Ludlow & Leominster. This would leave the wards in the east to join a new constituency, provisionally named Bridgnorth, Wellington & The Wrekin. Those wards included, Alveley & Claverley, Worfield, Bridgnorth East, Bridgnorth West, Broseley – and Much Wenlock.
My view is that Much Wenlock has significantly more in common with the Corvedale and Brown Clee than it has with parts of the revised Wrekin constituency including, as it does, Newport. Much Wenlock Town Council formed a similar view, as did our MP, Philip Dunne. I spoke on this theme at the November hearing, highlighting the cultural, social, geographical and economic synergy between Much Wenlock and south Shropshire.
At midnight last night the Boundary Commission for England published its revised proposals and I was very pleased to read that Much Wenlock is now destined to be in the Ludlow & Leominster constuency, with corresponding changes in Herefordshire to maintain the electoral numbers.
The Broseley Wood ward, which forms part of the Much Wenlock electoral division will, with the other two Broseley wards, form part of the proposed (and re-named) Bridgnorth & The Wrekin constituency. It will make no difference to the close attention I give it, in common with all other settlements in “my patch”.