North Norfolk wards earmarked for Yarmouth constituency

A COUNTY councillor told of the resistance in his ward to having a new MP as part of the proposed shake-up of the Parliamentary constituency boundary.

The Boundary Commission for England recommended in September that three wards - Stalham and Sutton, Waterside and Waxham- would move from North Norfolk to an extended Great Yarmouth Parliamentary constituency.

However, Paul Rice, Conservative county councillor for South Smallburgh, said the majority of people he had spoken to did not want the change because they felt more affiliated with North Norfolk than Yarmouth.

The concerns come less than two weeks before the public consultation closes.

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis told critics if the proposed changes went ahead he would be committed to following in the footsteps of Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb who he described as a “strong campaigner” and a “good local MP”.

But Mr Rice said the strength of feeling against the change in Parliamentary boundaries would be reflected in the consultation.

Mr Rice said: “I have got 13 parishes on my division and eight of those will be incorporated into the new Parliamentary boundary.

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“The majority of people I have spoken to are against it because they will have Norman Lamb at one end and Brandon Lewis at the other.

“I would have thought it would be better to incorporate Yarmouth towards Lowestoft because North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth are totally different communities.

“There will be an awful lot of people who will remember Norman Lamb, but may not be familiar with Brandon Lewis.”

The commission’s review was ordered by the government and is designed to cull the number of MPs by 50 to 600 and to iron out discrepancies in constituency electorates.

Rules state that every constituency in England, bar two on the Isle of Wight, must have an electorate of between 72,810 and 80,473 – 5pc either side of the electoral quota of 76,641.

The Eastern region has been allocated 56 constituencies - a reduction of two from the current arrangement.

Mr Lewis said: “If the proposals go ahead, I would look to work very hard for the people in that area. I can appreciate that Norman Lamb is a strong campaigner and a great local MP for them, but I want to be able to do the same.”

Speaking about the recommended changes, Mr Lewis added: “The change in Parliamentary boundaries is all about getting the right spread across the constituencies. I am very much in favour of what the government is doing in order to make them of equal size.”

The initial proposals were subject to a 12-week consultation, which ends on December 5.

If agreed, the proposals will come into effect at the next general election in 2015.

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