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Labour has condemned plans to move Cam and Dursley into a new Parliamentary constituency with Thornbury and Yate

The proposals from the Boundary Commission, which will see Berkeley, Newtown and Sharpness remaining in Stroud, were described by district council leader Doina Council as an “undemocratic power grab.”

The proposals from the Boundary Commission, which will see Berkeley, Newtown and Sharpness remaining in Stroud, were described by district council leader Doina Council as an “undemocratic power grab.”

The Dursley councillor said: “These plans make no sense to local people, who have far stronger links with the other market towns of the Stroud valleys than south towards Thornbury and Yate. It’s a shame the Commission ignored the viable alternative suggestions that were made, and ignored the history, culture and geography that links our towns and makes Stroud District so distinct. Gloucestershire’s strength has always been how geography and politics match up, but if these proposals go ahead, the new constituency will be a real mess, cutting across county borders as well as being part in and part out of the West of England combined authority. I’m afraid all it will do is disconnect voters from local democracy at a time when we want people to engage.”

Local Labour Party member and former leader of the Stroud District Council Geoff Wheeler said: “The proposed changes are based on voter numbers that are already three years out of date – and with more housing planned the numbers can only increase.

“The numbers of voters had dropped artificially due to the Tory changes to voter registration, so the review has been based on false grounds. It’s even worse in larger cities where there are more transient populations: making the changes unnecessary and unhelpful to local communities – we’re not the only community being broken up by these plans.”

“Because the boundaries will be reviewed every 5 years, by the time the next review takes place in 2023 population changes in both Stroud and South Gloucestershire will mean they’re likely to have to reverse the proposed decision.

“Cam and Dursley are also likely to be the poor relations in a Dursley, Thornbury and Yate constituency as Thornbury and Yate are part of the large new West of England Combined Authority with Bristol – and Dursley is not.

Labour members at the meeting could see no logic in having Cam and Dursley in a separate constituency to Berkeley and Uley. They also suggested that it was going to be confusing to have representatives for council and MP based differently. Several also pointed out that if the Government was reducing the number of MPs in a bid to save money, it would make more sense to reduce the nearly 800 peers in the House of Lords instead. The average cost to the British taxpayer per peer is £83,000 a year and David Cameron appointed 205 peers at a cost of £13m. The Electoral Reform Society revealed last year that peers who hadn’t even spoken in the House for a year had claimed nearly £1.3m in expenses.

“We can only imagine how much time will be needed to scrutinise all the legislation involved with Brexit,” added Mr Wheeler. “We rely on our MPs to give all legislation a proper scrutiny, to achieve good, reliable laws – so having fewer MPs at a time when the amount of work is going up, makes very little sense!”