As part of a shake-up of England’s map for general elections, which aims to give each MP roughly the same number of voters, the commission has released updated proposals following a four-week consultation earlier in the year.
Newton Abbot’s seat is only being slightly altered to realign with changes in local government ward boundaries, but there were calls for the constituency to be renamed ‘Teignbridge’ – a former parliamentary seat in the area. The commission says this was backed by ‘a number of representations, including that of the Conservative Party.’
Teignbridge was a Westminster seat from 1983 until 2010, when it was abolished after a previous review by the independent body. The southern part, including Dawlish, Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, formed the Newton Abbot seat, while the northern part joined Central Devon.
The final election for Teignbridge in 2005 saw the Liberal Democrat’s Richard Younger-Ross defeat Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, who was the Conservative candidate.
Despite the requests for a name change, a report by the Boundary Commissioning says that its assistant commissioners ‘did not consider there was any compelling evidence for them to recommend any changes’; to the Newton Abbot seat.
Although they were ‘sympathetic to those who called for the name change,” its assistant commissioners “noted that Newton Abbot was the name of the existing constituency, that there had been no changes to the existing constituency, other than to realign constituency with new local government ward boundaries, and that to change the name of the constituency could be confusing to residents.’
A third and final consultation on the new revised constituency proposals is now open until 5 December and the commission will then submit its final recommendations to Parliament next summer.
The public are invited to view and comment on the new map at bcereviews.org.uk.