MP gives merger idea short shrift

MP Alan Dunan
MP Alan Dunan
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MP Alan Duncan has hit out at a suggestion that the Rutland constituency should be merged with Corby and East Northants.

In September the Boundary Commission said it had no plans to change the Melton and Rutland constituency as part of a shake up to cut the number of MPs in the country by 50 people to 600.

But as part of the consultation process, the East Midlands Liberal Democrats have submitted their own proposal which includes a Rutland and Corby constituency.

Mr Duncan, pictured, said the idea was “mad, crazy and unpopular”.

He said: “I can’t imagine a bigger political gaffe than this. People in Rutland will go ballistic.

“Rutland and Corby couldn’t be more different and this proposal will strike anyone with any knowledge of the county as ludicrous.

“By talking up the relationship between Corby and Rutland as in any way comparable to the existing partnerships with Melton and Harborough, the Lib Dems have shown that they don’t care about Rutland at all.”

The Boundary Commission has ruled that the number of MPs in the East Midlands must be cut from 46 to 44.

To achieve this its proposal it plans to merge Mid Derbyshire and Amber Valley into one constituency and move parts of North West Leicestershire into Nottinghamshire to lose another.

The Lib Dems’ proposal would create two sub regions, one for Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and the other for Rutland and Northamptonshire. Melton would become part of the Rushcliffe constituency. The idea came to light at a Boundary Commission review in Northampton on Monday.

Chairman of the East Midlands LibDems, Peter Morris, said: “The important thing is that the change proposed by the Lib Dems does not in any way lessen the independent identity of Rutland. The county doesn’t have a sufficient population to be a constituency in its own right so for parliamentary purposes it has to be joined with neighbouring counties. The proposals are not particularly radical and don’t alter the independence of Rutland. The only people affected would be prospective MPs choosing which side to stand on.”