What the Boundary review means for Birmingham Northfield



The initial proposals for boundary changes were published this morning by Boundary Commission England. They are only proposals and could yet be subject to change through the consultation and review periods ahead.

However, in terms of the proposals in front of us now, Birmingham would be set to lose one Parliamentary seat overall. Under the Boundary Commission’s proposals, there would still be a Parliamentary constituency called Birmingham Northfield but it would be different from the current one. The “building blocks” of Parliamentary constituencies are Council wards. In our case, therefore, the current Birmingham Northfield constituency is made up of the following Birmingham City Council wards: Longbridge, Kings Norton, Northfield and Weoley.

Under the current Boundary Commission proposals, the new “Birmingham Northfield” would continue to include Longbridge and Northfield wards, but it would no longer include Kings Norton and Weoley wards.  Instead, Bournville as well as Moseley and Kings Heath ward would be part of the new Birmingham Northfield constituency. Weoley ward would become part of a new constituency called “Birmingham Selly Oak and Halesowen” which would also take in Selly Oak and Bartley Green wards and three wards from Dudley. Kings Norton ward would join Brandwood, Billesley and Springfield wards in a new constituency to be called “Birmingham Brandwood”.

You can see all the Boundary Commission’s proposals for the West Midlands here: https://www.bce2018.org.uk/node/6490

I do not doubt the independence and hard work of the Boundary Commission. The core problem here is that the rules under which the government wants them to operate this review are grossly unfair. The existence of around 2 million people across the country is being ignored in the drawing up of these boundaries. The Electoral Reform Society has shown that the electorate has changed by up to 20% in some areas in the time since the figures for this review were drawn up.

On top of that, the government is demanding a cut in the number of elected MPs at the same time as it continues to increase appointments to the unelected House of Lords. How can that be in the interests of democracy?

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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