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Parliamentary shake-up could hit Chloe Smith’s Norwich North chances

PUBLISHED: 12:55 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 11 September 2018

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP. Pic: Eliza Boo Photography

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP. Pic: Eliza Boo Photography

Eliza Boo Photography

A proposed shake-up of parliamentary boundaries in Norfolk could make it tougher for Norwich North MP Chloe Smith to hold on to her seat at the next general election.

And the Boundary Commission for England’s final recommendations for new parliamentary boundaries would also see two constituencies in Norfolk abolished, although they would be replaced.

The recommendations made by the independent commission to take account of population changes, would still see Norfolk represented by nine MPs.

But hundreds of voters would find themselves shifted into different constituencies.

South West Norfolk, currently held by Conservative chief secretary to the treasury Elizabeth Truss, would be abolished, but a new constituency of Thetford and Downham Market would replace it.

And Broadland in its current form, held by Tory Keith Simpson, would be replaced by Broadland and Fakenham, with Briston moving from North Norfolk and Hermitage from Mid Norfolk.

In the 2017 general election, Labour whittled away Chloe Smith’s majority in Norwich North from 4,463 to 507. With Wensum, held by Labour at city council level, switching from south city to north, that could make her task even harder next time around.

Norwich South, held by Labour’s Clive Lewis, would get Cringleford and Old Costessey moved from South Norfolk.

Mr Lewis said: “While there’s a certain poetic justice in Chloe Smith having to vote to reduce her own chances of re-election, it’s crystal clear that the return of this review unfairly benefits the Tories nationally.”

Ms Smith had told the review she did not want Wensum ward as it was a “long-established part of Norwich South”.

Changes in Mid Norfolk would see Harling & Heathlands and Guiltcross become part of that constituency.

Other changes include Thurlton moving from South Norfolk to Great Yarmouth and Wymondham moving out of Mid Norfolk into South Norfolk.

Suffolk would still retain seven MPs.

Analysis commissioned by the BBC, ITV News, Sky News and the Press Association found, had the boundaries been in place at last year’s election, the Conservatives would have had a majority of 16.

Prime minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said: “These reforms will ensure there is fair and equal representation for voters across the UK at the next general election.

“Also, it is important that I point out they have been drawn up by an independent boundary commission and that that follows extensive consultation.”

Parliament will be asked to agree the recommendations for the next general election.

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