Gavin Williamson: Boundary plans will 'destroy' Staffordshire's identity

Sir Gavin Williamson has warned that Staffordshire's "unique identity and character" will be destroyed by proposed parliamentary boundary changes.

South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson
South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson

The former Cabinet minister has opposed plans by the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) that will see his South Staffordshire constituency carved up and merged with Kingswinford.

The proposals will also result in a separate Stone and Great Wyrley seat, while the Lichfield constituency will lose Streethay to Tamworth.

Conservative MP Sir Gavin has submitted a counter proposal he says will respect the county boundary between the West Midlands and Staffordshire and help maintain "more coherent local ties".

He said: "All constituencies within the West Midlands county would remain under the West Midlands Combined Authority and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, preventing an unnecessary muddling of these authorities and a Staffordshire constituency."

He added that his proposal, dubbed 'Staffordshire Together', would prevent a combination which would "damage the unique identities of both Staffordshire and the West Midlands".

Sir Gavin said: "The plan suggests constituencies with far stronger local ties than the BCE’s initial proposals, which proposes seats with tenuous local ties like the new South Staffordshire constituency or the Stone and Great Wyrley constituency.

"Even if the BCE do not take up my proposal, they must urgently look at better alternatives for constituencies in Staffordshire which properly respect local ties and communities of interest.

"It is so important that we protect the Staffordshire’s unique identity and character, and I hope I can count on the support of many of you to help keep Staffordshire together."

Under the BCE plans, the Black Country and Staffordshire will lose two seats, dropping from 25 to 23 MPs, in a move to even up electorate numbers.

South Staffordshire will become Kingswinford and South Staffordshire, incorporating areas including Wall Heath and Wordsley.

The proposals are set to be published in September ahead of a final consultation, before final plans are submitted to Parliament in June 2023.

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