Boundary-drawing policy issues Jul 19, 2021 23:11:15 GMT via mobile
Post by Wisconsin on Jul 19, 2021 23:11:15 GMT
5 (1) A Boundary Commission may take into account, if and to such extent as they think fit—
(a) special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency
(b) local government boundaries which exist, or are prospective, on the review date;
(c) boundaries of existing constituencies;
(d) any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies;
(e) the inconveniences attendant on such changes.
(2) The Boundary Commission for England may take into account, if and to such extent as they think fit, boundaries of the English regions specified in sub-paragraph (2A) as they exist on the most recent ordinary council-election day before the review date.
BCE stated policy:
Wards are well-defined and well-understood units, which are generally indicative of areas which have a broad community of interest. Any division of a ward between constituencies would therefore risk breaking local ties, as well as adding complexity to both the task of Returning Officers in administering a Parliamentary election in the area, and the ‘grass roots’ co-ordination of political party activism. The BCE’s view is therefore that wards should continue to be the default building block for constituencies.
However, the BCE recognises that there may be circumstances where the splitting of a ward may be necessary to achieve a scheme of constituencies locally that better meets the ‘Rule 5’ statutory criteria overall (see paragraph 26 above). In limited circumstances, we would therefore consider the splitting of a ward between constituencies. Those circumstances are:
-Where splitting a ward would significantly enhance the ability of the BCE to adhere to existing or prospective local authority boundaries (i.e. avoid constituencies crossing local authorities), maintain existing constituencies unchanged, and/or preserve local ties, without causing consequential significant problems for surrounding constituencies.
-Where the division of a ward would avoid the alternative of a significant ‘domino effect’ of change to a wide area if wards were to be kept whole. This is likely to be an issue in metropolitan areas, where wards often have large electorates: an example from a previous Review was the BCE’s recommendation to split three wards in the West Midlands metropolitan area, which minimised the need to cross local council boundaries, and prevented an otherwise radical ‘domino effect’ of change across the whole metropolitan area and beyond.
-Where the division of a ward would avoid otherwise unacceptable outcomes forced by local geographical factors: an example from a previous Review was the BCE’s acceptance of the need to split a rural ward near Tewkesbury to avoid a proposed Forest of Dean constituency otherwise having to take in an urban area of Gloucester.
Additionally, where the splitting of wards is proposed, BCE would wish to adhere to the following policies:
-The number of such ward splits should be the smallest number possible, commensurate with achieving the objectives set out in paragraph 31 above.
-The split of a ward should generally be done on the basis of the boundaries of the component polling districts that form part of that ward, as polling districts are an existing recognised unit of electoral administration (but see paragraph 40 below).
-Wherever possible, the splitting of a ward should be done such that the separated parts of the ward will nonetheless remain in constituencies where the returning officer for each of the constituencies is likely to be the same individual (i.e. ward splits should where possible be contained within a single local authority area): this is consistent with our policy in relation to ‘orphan wards’ below