Mid Beds saved in boundary shake-up

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Mid Beds looks set to be saved as a Parliamentary seat, after plans to shake-up boundaries were revised.

The latest proposals, which were released on Tuesday (October 16) following a public consultation, will mean that all six Bedfordshire constituencies will remain.

The original scheme had included scrapping Mid Beds, a seat currently held by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries. However it is now proposed that her seat is kept, with some modifications.

Proposed changes to Parliamentary seats have been put forward by the Boundary Commission for England, an independent public body.

The proposal to abolish Mid Beds was the most eye-catching local change in the original scheme. This was opposed both by South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous and by Central Beds Council, which put forward its own counter-proposal.

The council’s objections included the fact that its residents would be represented by six different MPs, and the council’s rural character.

It added: “This strong rural definition is a tourist attraction and economic asset for the area as has been recently confirmed with the announcement of the new Center Parcs site in addition to Woburn Safari Park, Woburn Abbey and Elstow Abbey.”

The revised plans will still mean some changes to Mid Beds seat, including Flitwick being moved to the South West Beds constituency.

And the seat will be re-named Mid Bedfordshire and Harpenden.

Changes to the Bedford seat will mean that Bromham is added to the seat to increase its size.

And both Cranfield and Marston will move from North East Beds to South West Beds.

Nationwide, the shake-up of Parliamentary boundaries would see the number of MPs reduced from 650 to 600, and the size of constituencies would be made more even.

When and if any changes will be introduced is currently uncertain. Labour wants the plans scrapped, while Lib Dems want changes delayed until after the next general election.