Constituency could extend to the south

A ballot box. Picture: James Bass

A ballot box. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

The Great Yarmouth electoral constituency could be expanded under new plans - but not the way it was expected to grow.

The Boundary Commission has recommended cutting the number of MPs from 650 to 600, to save money, and at the same time try and equalise the populations.

In the past, it was thought the Yarmouth constituency would grow northwards taking in villages short of Stalham, but instead it is Thurlton from the South Norfolk constituency which is recommended to be moved.

The proposal is likely to benefit the Tory party. In the May 2015 district council elections, 948 people voted Conservative in Thurlton ward, compared to 367 for Labour and 316 for the Liberal Democrats. UKIP did not field a candidate.

Leader of the Labour group on Yarmouth Borough Council, Trevor Wainwright, said it was better for his party than other options but it would still be a challenge.

Mr Wainwright said: “We thought the boundaries were going to be extended towards Stalham in north Norfolk which would have given us a worse electoral advantage.”

He said the party was optimistic looking ahead to 2020, adding: “I certainly think this is a better option.”

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Vice chairman of Great Yarmouth UKIP association, Paul Hammond said it was difficult to know exactly how it would effect voting, but the Conservatives would benefit.

“In the Tories mind it is going to help them more than anyone. They know the demographics of who votes where, locally and nationally. They’re not doing it for no reason.”

In last year’s general election Brandon Lewis was re-elected as Yarmouth’s MP with a majority of over 6,000 and 42.9pc of the vote.

Labour’s Lara Norris came second with 29.1pc and UKIP’s Alan Grey was third with 23.1pc.