The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, has pledged that he will not give up the fight for the Island’s unique status to be recognised in any forthcoming boundary review of constituencies.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, announced in the House of Commons yesterday that the number of MPs would be reduced to 600. On current figures that would lead to constituencies with an average number of 75,700 voters; currently the average is just under 70,000.
Mr Clegg announced that there would be only two exceptions – Orkney and Shetland and the Western Isles – which he described as ‘uniquely placed, given their locations’. The Isle of Wight currently has 110,000 voters and, in order to fit in with the new rules, there would be one MP representing the majority of the Island but with over 34,000 voters taken from the current Island constituency and added on to the mainland.
Speaking today, Mr Turner said :
“I am very disappointed that Nick Clegg has not yet recognised the unique status of the Isle of Wight. I will be fighting on to try to make him see sense. I fully support reducing the number of MPs – but not at the cost of losing long-recognized historic and geographic boundaries.
“I called a debate on 15th June about this issue – and was told then that no final decisions had been made. It seems now that Mr Clegg was prepared to listen to the arguments for the Scottish Islands, but not for the Isle of Wight – even though the Scottish Islands are much smaller constituencies than the average.
“I am contacting the Island’s Labour Party and Liberal Democrats and will be asking them to support me in fighting this proposal. A number of Islanders have raised this with me and they are all against it!
“If the Boundaries Commission increased the average size of constituencies to the 110,000 voters we have on the Island we would only need 413 MPs – that would be a very real saving!”
END Contact : Andrew Turner’s office 01983 530808