Boundary Commission revisions make Queen Edith’s position more illogical

The arbitrary allocation of Queen Edith’s ward to the South Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency, rather than the Cambridge city constituency, looks even more ridiculous in light of the latest boundary commission proposals, and if you’re at all interested in lobbying the commission to use this opportunity to move us into the city, I’d urge you to use the online form to make your suggestions. Details are below.

The background is as follows. In order to make constituencies roughly equal size, Queen Edith’s ward was, many years ago, allocated to the South Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency, which comprises all of the villages to the south and west of Cambridge. In terms of “what’s in the city, and what’s not”, Cherry Hinton ward would have been a better choice, as it’s considerably further from the city centre and has more of an out-of-town feel. However, Queen Edith’s was presumably chosen because it’s more to the south of the city than Cherry Hinton, which is to the east. However, this means that locations almost as far into the city as the Leisure Park are deemed to be outside the city in parliamentary terms, and are not represented by the city’s MP. It’s far from ideal.

The current parliamentary constituency boundary review was an ideal opportunity to redress this anomaly, and a few people expressed such an opinion to the boundary commissioners. However, their response (on Page 24 of the report) was as follows:

That, it would seem, was that. Except I don’t think they’ve taken a holistic view, because now they’re also proposing changing the parliamentary constituencies around Cambridge. And the parliamentary constituency to the south of Cambridge, from which one of the wards needs to be pulled, is now proposed as being mainly to the east of the city, rather than the south and west:

With the new constituency boundaries outside Cambridge, the inclusion of Queen Edith’s in South East Cambridgeshire looks really odd. And it is. Now there’s a far more logical reason to move Cherry Hinton into the outlying district, and move Queen Edith’s back into its natural home, Cambridge city. I have written to the boundary commissioners on this point, but you’ll see from their report that they are interested in the volume of representations, so if you’re interested in this subject, I’d urge you to add your views. The closing date is 10 December 2012. And please pass a link to this article to anyone else who might be interested. Adding your views is very quick and requires surprisingly little information, so all credit to the people behind the consultation. Just visit this simple one-page, online form to do so. It’ll only take a few minutes.

It doesn’t matter which party you vote for, this is an impartial matter which should make sense to everyone in Cambridge. Let’s get Queen Edith’s back into the city, and let’s have the city’s MP representing us.

11 Replies to “Boundary Commission revisions make Queen Edith’s position more illogical”

  1. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have two MPs for Cambridge and bring in all the surrounding villages (Histon, Milton, Teversham, Fulbourn, Shelford, etc) rather than chucking Cherry Hinton out?

    The oddest thing about the map of SE Cambs is that Newmarket is in Suffolk!

  2. Very clearly presented and argued, Chris – and as you know, I am 100% behind you on this. When people ask me where I live I say I live in Cambridge and I certainly don’t feel Queen Edith’s has much in common with the villages in South East Cambs, many of which are farming areas.

    It is frustrating that a case can be accepted as valid but disregarded because there are not enough people making it. Yes, parliamentary boundary reviews is a nerdy subject, but being represented properly is vital, so please tell the Boundary Commission what you think.

  3. I think you need to have another diagram showing how even less sensible it was when trumpington was in south cambridgeshire as though trumpington itself is well to the south the boundary goes all the way up to lensfield road.

  4. I’m a 100% behind you here. This is my response to the Boundary Commission:

    “I am simply staggered by the outrageous proposal that the Queen Edith’s constituency should be moved from the South Cambridgeshire to South East
    Cambridgeshire constituency. The only justifiable and correct change should be for Queen Edith’s to be moved BACK into the Cambridge Constituency as it is
    part of Cambridge and has been since 1912. It is clear that the Boundary Commission is not ‘fit for purpose’ as it does not seem to understand the history or geography of the local area. I can only hope that people who have power – unlike an ordinary member of the public like me who in this has, in effect, no power at all – will fight this decision which is clearly based on nothing more than bureaucratic convenience. I consider myself disenfranchised from the parliamentary system by the decisions that the Boundary Commission is making. In such a situation, there is no point in my voting in Parliamentary elections again.”

    Perhaps we should mobilise a campaign to raise awareness of this in Queen Ediths: I suspect a lot of people don’t even know we’re not in the Cambridge Constituency.

    1. I’m right with you on that one, Michael. I’m not sure what the best way might be to get more comments made to the Boundary Commission though. We need people to fill in the online form, and (as an online marketer myself) I’m very aware that it’s nigh-on impossible to get all but the most committed to ‘switch media’ …if you want someone to do something online, you need to tell them about it online, via email, social media or whatever. Putting a note through their letterbox or collaring them in the street will rarely get the desired effect of getting them in front of their PCs. Fortunately one or two of the local councillors who support the change have extensive mailing lists, and are publicising the situation via email. However, I think it’s important this isn’t seen as a party political thing, because that’s exactly what it shouldn’t be.

  5. The position at present is that Nick Clegg has said that the Lib Dems will be voting against the Boundary Commission proposals, so currently this is a theoretical argument. I do agree, however, that Queen Edith’s residents regard themselves as part of Cambridge City. I am contacted regularly to explain the confusing situation, that although we come under the City Council locally – we come under a different parliamentary consituency, and have a different MP. I was certainly mystified by this when I first moved into the ward. Given the current expansion in Cambridge, Queen Edith’s will likely join the City at some point in the future. As previous comments have stated – do give the Boundary Commission your views on this.

    1. What is the local Labour party’s view on the situation, Sue? The preferences of political parties carry some weight with the Commission, it would appear, so I’d be interested to know.

      1. Hi Chris – I think it would be fair to say that views are mixed. This is because Queen Edith’s [South Cambs clp] members would support a move into the city. However, as you know – if Queen Edith’s go in – then another ward will come out and this is likely to be Cherry Hinton. Cherry Hinton will likely take a different view. There are 4 Labour Councillors in this ward – 3 of whom sit on the City Council, which is currently hung.

  6. Alas, our email lists are not that vast, although we have urged people to write in. We will also be covering it in our next Focus newsletter, which reaches more people, but as you say Chris, it is more effort to write a letter than click on a link.

    Good to have your support on this, Sue, as cross-party carries weight (as with parking!)

    Meeting Homerton students, to try and drum up some support there. Maybe the PCC elections next month will provide an opportunity to raise the issue. again with the people who actually vote.

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