This is Part 1 of my General Election 2015 guide for Queen Edith’s. For Part 2, click here.
The 2015 General Election is upon us. In this three-part guide to voting for our next MP, I will be looking at where we are, how the constituency is likely to vote, and of course, the candidates we have in front of us. To begin with, because it’s rather important, what parliamentary constituency is Queen Edith’s in?
I’m starting with this because most people who come to live in the area assume that we’re in Cambridge. Indeed, for the local council, that’s exactly where we are: part of the city of Cambridge. Unfortunately, it gets a bit more complicated. Parliamentary constituencies don’t follow council boundaries, as unlike councils, they do have to be roughly the same size, in terms of number of electors. And although it would be nice for the Cambridge parliamentary constituency to be arranged to match the city council, there are a few thousand too many people to do that. Meanwhile, South Cambridgeshire constituency, that big rural area around the city to the west, could be arranged to take the surplus, so it was decided, when the constituency was created, simply to ‘donate’ some of the city to our neighbours. After the most recent boundary changes in 2007, only Queen Edith’s found itself sent to the naughty step.
Next time the boundaries get redrawn, many local people will be pressing hard to get Queen Edith’s into Cambridge where it belongs. There are other wards in Cambridge, such as Cherry Hinton, which fit more naturally into a constituency mainly composed of villages. Or we could just trim off the outskirts of the city, and not do things by wards. (Although things can change: perhaps our next MP will be so good, we’ll be pleased to stay!). But for now, South Cambridgeshire it is. And here’s the map of our parliamentary home…
Although the South Cambridgeshire constituency has nearly 80,000 voters (and presumably a population of over 100,000), I don’t think there’s anywhere big enough to be officially called a town. Even the charming villages are small; only half a dozen have a population of more than 4,000. With just over 8,000 residents, Cambourne has overtaken Sawston as the largest of these.
As Queen Edith’s is actually bigger than any of these places (we have over 9,000 residents in the area), it is the South Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency’s most populous settlement. Our politics here also tends to be a little different to most other parts of the constituency …but that’s for the second part of this guide: How Does South Cambridgeshire vote?