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Abolished Seats

Six metropolitan counties (Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear and West Midlands) lose a seat in the boundary review and London loses two seats (although it also gains one, for a net loss of one seat). While North Yorkshire retains its present number of seats, the current Vale of York seat is also effectively abolished (although part of the seat does end up in the new York Outer seat).

While the number of seats being abolished is clear, in many cases exactly which seat it is that is disappearing is open to debate. In cases where sitting MPs may be competing against one another for nominations this could be more than an academic debate. The seats below are those which, in my opinion, best represent the abolished seats.

Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath – Roger Godsiff (Labour) It is possible to argue that the disappearing seat in Birmingham is actually Selly Oak, since the new Selly Oak seat is actually largely made up of the old Hall Green, with the new Hall Green being largely Sparkbrook and Small Heath. Either way, it is the Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath name that disappears. Lynne Jones, the sitting MP for Brimingham Selly Oak, will be standing down at the next election which will probably allow the existing Labour MPs to arrange themselves in the new seats.

Brent East – Sarah Teather (Liberal Democrat) the majority of the old Brent East and Brent South seats form a new Brent Central seat, with the rest of Brent East forming a new cross-borough Hampstead & Kilburn seat. Sarah Teather has already indicated that she will contest Brent Central.

Eccles – Ian Stewart (Labour) Eccles is divided between Worsley and the new Salford & Eccles seat. Barbara Keeley has been adopted as Labour candidate for Worsley & Eccles South, leaving Ian Stewart and Hazel Blears to fight for the Salford & Eccles nomination.

Hornchurch – James Brokenshire (Conservative) Hornchurch is divided between Dagenham & Rainham, Romford and Upminster & Hornchurch. James Brokenshire has been applying for alternate seats.

Knowsley North & Sefton East – George Howarth (Labour) – Knowsley North is divided between the new Knowsley seat and the new Sefton Central seat (which is primarily the old Crosby seat).

Normanton – Ed Balls (Labour) – the reduction of seats in West Yorkshire was one of the most contentious decisions in the boundary review. West Yorkshire’s electorate was only marginally too small to retain its seats, and it was argued that on an arithmetic mean the size of West Yorkshire’s constituencies would be closer to the national quota if they kept the extra seat. Local councils threatened, then dropped plans to challenge the review in court. Local MPs unsucessfully attempted to bring legal challenges against the changes. Normanton is divided up amongst four other existing seats, with Normanton itself moving into the new Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton seat, currently represented by Ed Ball’s wife Yvette Cooper. Balls is expected to replace the retiring Colin Challon in Morley & Outwood.

Sheffield Hillsborough – Angela Smith (Labour) Sheffield Hillsborough is split between Sheffield Brightside (now renamed Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough), Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield Central and the new cross-borough Penistone & Stocksbridge. The majority of the seat falls into Penistone & Stocksbridge seat, so an alternate view could be that it is the old Barnsley West and Penistone seat, represented by Michael Clapham, that is in fact disappearing. Clapham is retiring, so no member should be left without a seat.

Tyne Bridge – David Clelland (Labour) There are major shifts in the arrangement of seats in Tyne & Wear, and it could be argued that a number of different seats are the one being abolished. The Tyne Bridge seat is split between Newcastle Central and Gateshead.

Vale of York – Anne McIntosh (Conservative) North Yorkshire retains the same number of seats, but the Vale of York seat is dismembered between six other seats. This includes the new York Outer seat, but it would be a stretch to consider York Outer as a straight successor seat to the Vale of York. Anne McIntosh did not apply for the new York Outer seat and has instead been selected for the Thirsk & Malton seat, which also includes part of the Vale of York, although John Greenway’s Ryedale seat makes up the majority of the new seat.

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