The North East

In North East, redistricting on October 1, 2011 by dadge

North East England is entitled to 25 and three quarter seats and this has been rounded up to 26. Therefore the average seat size, at 75817, is a bit below the national average. Dividing the region up into review areas is tricky. The entitlements of the various parts are:

Northumberland 3.16
Newcastle 2.52
North Tyneside 2.03
South Tyneside 1.51
Durham 5.28
Darlington 1.02
Hartlepool 0.91
Stockton 1.85
Middlesbrough 1.31
Redcar 1.38

Thus only North Tyneside and Darlington could be reviewed on their own. Even when you join bits together into larger units, it doesn’t help:

Northumberland 3.16
North of Tyne 4.55
South of Tyne 6.26
Durham 6.30
Cleveland 5.45

Ideally it would be good to have a review unit based on the former (pre-1974) county of Northumberland, but that unit would have an average seat size of 73,810, which would be somewhat unfair on the rest of the region, and create problems in constructing eight constituencies with more than 72,810 electors in each.

So we end up with two large units:
Northumbria 13.96 i.e. 14 @ 76,436
Durham and Cleveland 11.76 i.e. 12 @ 75,095

(The only other possibility would be to have one unit of Tyne & Wear and another of all the rest, but that would mean a cross-Tyne constituency, and that would be rather unpopular.)

The Commission has eschewed even this solution, and gone for a whole-region approach, including a cross-border seat between Northumberland and Durham. Although this obviously gives them excellent flexibility, I think it is helpful to make the seat blocks more manageable, and try to respect administrative boundaries where we can.

Now down to the nitty-gritty.

The Commission’s proposals for Newcastle and North Tyneside are bizarre, but this appears to be the knock-on effect of having to combine them with Cramlington. Still, they could’ve done a better job, either by leaving the North Tyneside seats unchanged and merging Cramlington with part of Newcastle, or by merging Cramlington with Longbenton. As it is, they’ve managed to split Longbenton between three seats and ignore the Newcastle city border altogether.


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