By Harry Mottram: New election boundaries could reshape the parliamentary constituency of Bath with part of North East Somerset joining Bath.
Since 2010, each council area has been divided into two constituencies. But the 2023 Boundary Review, recommends changes that will see Bath taking in rural areas including Bathford, Swainswick and Bathampton.
North Somerset loses the area around Yatton and Kenn to the Wells constituency which loses Burnham-on-Sea to Bridgwater – but Bridgwater loses the large West Somerset area. North East Somerset that surrounded Bath loses much of the area to the North and South of the city but gains the populace area of Hanham on the edge of Bristol. A new constituency has been created that touches the south of Bath in East Somerset and Frome.
To the east of Bath a new constituency of South West Wiltshire takes in Bradford on Avon and Box while to the north of Bath there is Thornbury and Yate and to the west Kingswood.
The government has four months to bring forward an order to bring the recommendations into effect. The next election is likely to be held next year, but could legally not happen until January 2025.
It seems unlikely that the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will wait that long – as John Major did as the then prime minister hung on to the last minute back in 1997 hoping for a miracle which didn’t happen. it may have made his conservative administration even more unpopular as a result.
The accepted wisdom is that he will call an election in the spring – possibly May or June of next year as usually there is a feeling of optimism with warmer days ahead and more importantly an improving economy. If inflation is down to two or three percent by then, industrial unrest has abated and there’s the small matter of England hoping for glory in the football European tournament in July to look forward to – then the PM could drive up the Mall to see the King.
The opinion polls suggest he’s on a mission impossible but in an election campaign public opinion becomes more fluent and sometimes upsets happen – as the elections of 1981, 1970 and 1974 suggest, when the favourite to take the keys to Number 10 was pipped at the post. It seems unlikely that Sunak will win – but we must wait and see how things pan out – and see if Kier Starmer can become the seventh Labour Prime Minister of this country.
In 2019 the result for Bath was:
Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem 28,419
Annabel Tall, Conservative 16,097
Mike Davies, Labour 6,639
Jimi Ogunnusi, Brexit Party 642
Bill Blockhead, Independent 341
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