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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Tristan Cork

New Boundary Commission map creates 'Bristol North East' constituency

The political map of Bristol and the surrounding area is to be completely redrawn - creating a fifth MP for Bristol and changing the make-up of many other constituencies. The Boundary Commission has published its final draft proposals for changes to the constituency maps of England - and said people have one last chance to have their say on the proposals.

The growing number of people living in Bristol means that, even though the number of MPs across the country is being cut, in Bristol there will now be five MPs and the creation of a new Bristol North East constituency. This will straddle the border with South Gloucestershire, taking in areas of the city that currently vote to send an MP for Kingswood to parliament.

The southerly part of the Kingswood constituency will move into a new North East Somerset and Hanham constituency. The impact of all the changes affect almost every constituency, with other proposals to change and rename MPs’ seats having a range of different effects which will only be known at the next General Election, which has to take place before the end of 2024.

Read more: Protests as Bristol Airport expansion project heads for court showdown

If there isn’t a General Election called before next summer, it is almost certain that the Boundary Commission’s proposed changes will come into effect in time, and tens of thousands of voters will go to the polls in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Weston, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset and find they are in a different constituency than they have been for the last ten years or more.

The Boundary Commission is urging everyone to get involved and give their views about whether the changes that affect them are for the better or worse. The revised proposals have been published today (Tuesday November 8) and a month-long consultation is the last opportunity for people to have their say.

Some of the changes are very local - people in Knowle West in Bristol, for instance, will find that the eastern half of the estate is now moving from the Bristol South constituency - currently represented by Karin Smyth MP - to the Bristol East constituency, where Kerry McCarthy is the MP. While that may not make too much difference, some of the comments in previous consultations have pointed out that this could dilute or negatively impact regeneration efforts in Knowle West, which will be divided between two MPs.

“Today we are announcing the publication of our revised proposals,” said Tim Bowden, the Secretary to the Boundary Commission for England. “Last year we published our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries – our first go at what the map should look like. We are delighted with the huge number of comments from members of the public on our initial proposals, many which included valuable evidence about local communities.

“Today’s publication is the culmination of months of analysis and we have revised nearly half of our initial proposals based on what people have told us. We now believe we are close to the best map of constituencies that can be achieved under the rules we are working to.

“However, we still want people to tell us what they think of this latest map before we submit our final recommendations to Parliament next year. This is our final consultation and I encourage you to participate in the 2023 Boundary Review,” he added.

What are the big changes to the constituency maps in Bristol and the surrounding area?

Bristol North East

The biggest change will see the new Bristol North East constituency created. It will mean Bristol will have a new MP if the General Election happens after next summer, and all the main political parties will begin selecting candidates for it, once the changes are ratified.

The new Bristol North East constituency takes in some of Horfield east of Filton Avenue, all of Lockleaze, Stoke Park and the Eastville M32 junction, down to Rose Green, Oldbury Court, Fishponds and Hillfields, and the bits of South Gloucestershire that are regarded by many as part of Bristol - so that’s Staple Hill (but not Mangotsfield), Soundwell, Warmley Hill and Kingswood out as far as the Avon Ring Road.

This takes chunks of areas out of Bristol East and the old Kingswood constituency, with Bristol East changing to contain more areas south of the river than north of the river. As well as parts of Knowle West being moved from Bristol South to Bristol East, the new Bristol East constituency will also contain inner city areas including Barton Hill, St Phillips, Easton, Lawrence Hill and St Judes again - the boundary between Bristol East and Bristol West is moving west to be the M32 and Temple Way.

Bristol West

Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire)

That means the Bristol West constituency is shrinking in area and being renamed as Bristol Central. The increasing population means like many constituencies in the city, it had too many people in it to fit into the limits of the average constituency size in the UK.

The new Bristol Central constituency is largely the same as the Bristol West seat occupied by Thangam Debbonaire MP, but is now more concentrated on the city centre, Hotwells, Clifton, Cotham, Montpelier, Redland and Bishopston - losing the inner city areas of Easton, Barton Hill and Lawrence Hill.

While Ms Debbonaire won one of Labour’s biggest majorities in 2017, and easily held the Bristol West seat in 2019, the seat has long been a Green Party target and the boundary changes removing traditionally Labour areas like Easton will give the Greens renewed hope that the party’s co-leader Carla Denyer can win their second seat in Westminster.

Carla Denyer,the Green Party candidate, pictured during general election 2019 vote count (Bristol Post)

The Bristol North West constituency is made slightly smaller, and now contains just seven council wards - Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, Bishopston and Ashley Down, Henbury and Brentry, Horfield, Southmead, Stoke Bishop and Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze.

The Bristol South constituency will also get smaller, but not change much, losing parts of Knowle West to Bristol East. It will effectively be a Bristol South West constituency, covering everything south of the river and west of the Wells Road - apart from Knowle Park and some streets of Knowle West.

Outside Bristol

The old Kingswood constituency is no more - split up with half going into the new Bristol North East seat, and the southerly part moving into a new North East Somerset and Hanham constituency that also straddles unitary authority areas. This seat divides up Jacob Rees Mogg’s North East Somerset seat, and covers an area from Paulton and Chew Magna to Keynsham and over the river into Hanham, but does not include Midsomer Norton or Radstock.

Read next:

To keep up to date with latest Bristol politics news, and discuss thoughts with other residents, join our Bristol politics news and discussion here. You can also sign up to our brand new politics newsletter here.

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