Plymouth MPs remain divided over electoral boundaries
A CONSERVATIVE MP has dropped his opposition to a Tory-led shake-up of Plymouth's political map but says he doubts it will get approval.
Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, who branded the original plans a "dog's dinner", said he was happy following their revision last year. But he felt the proposed overhaul of electoral boundaries, aimed at slashing the number of Westminster seats by 50 to 600 and ironing out discrepancies in constituency electorates, was unlikely to proceed due to the parliamentary arithmetic after the Liberal Democrats withdrew support.
But Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, claimed the outcome was far from certain. She argued the planned changes in Plymouth were not "coherent" and she would oppose them.
The Lib Dems led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pulled the plug on backing the planned overhaul of electoral boundaries after proposals for House of Lords reform had to be scrapped in the face of entrenched opposition from Conservative MPs along with Labour's refusal to back a crucial timetable for the legislation.
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Mr Clegg claimed the Conservatives had broken the coalition contract and his MPs would no longer support changes to constituency boundaries for the 2015 general election.
The Commons will vote today on a move by peers to block a reduction in the number of MPs in 2015.
The House of Lords voted by 300 to 231 to delay until 2018 a boundary review necessary to make the change.
Under the revised boundary changes the proposed constituency of Tavistock and Plympton, which includes the Moor View ward, would be made more "Plymouth-facing".
The revised seat would lose Okehampton to the north, while gaining Ivybridge, and Wembury and Brixton in the South Hams.
Meanwhile, the two Plymouth city constituencies would each swap a ward. It is proposed to move Eggbuckland from Plymouth Devonport to Plymouth Sutton, with St Peter and the Waterfront moving the other way.
Mr Streeter, who was highly critical of the original proposals, which would have seen his seat carved up among three new constituencies, said: "I am happy with the second draft."
But he added: "It's not going to happen. We won't have the numbers."
Ms Seabeck said: "I still have concerns. The proposals still take Moor View ward out of Plymouth and puts it into a seat that cuts right across Dartmoor. I will be voting against it."