Green Party candidates for Church Stretton and Craven Arms in the May 2017 Shropshire Council elections put fairness and democracy at the centre of discussions about electoral boundaries.
On Tuesday, 8th November 2016, Hilary Wendt and Steve Hale who have been selected as Green Party candidates for the Church Stretton and Craven Arms division in the May 2017 Shropshire Council elections took part in an Electoral Commission meeting in Shrewsbury to discuss boundary changes.
In a wide-ranging discussion they requested that 4 key principles be met before any changes are made:
- Parliamentary constituencies must exactly match council areas and should not straddle a Shropshire-Herefordshire boundary
- Parliamentary constituencies should take into account the special circumstances of sparsely populated areas like South Shropshire. Imposing a “one size fits all” population number risks making constituencies far too big in terms of square miles and does not take into account the difficulties of accessing MPs who may well be many miles away from towns and villages. Our poor quality public transport in Shropshire makes accessibility much more difficult than it would be in a more densely populated part of the country
- We must have proportional representation and actively promote a fair electoral system where the number of MPs in any Party accurately reflect the number of votes for that Party
- We must not indulge in any kind of gerrymandering. Boundary changes that favour one party more than another must be rejected
Commenting on the meeting in Shrewsbury, Hilary Wendt said: “Our voting system is clearly very unfair and proportional representation is urgently needed to make sure that the way people vote is reflected in the number of MPs from different parties in the House of Commons.
Steve Hale added: “There are many things wrong with the current voting system and the way we elect MPs but as we make progress towards PR we must make sure that we do not make things worse. This means we must make sure constituencies exactly match our council areas and very large constituencies in terms of area should not be imposed on sparsely populated areas. There is a persuasive case for smaller constituencies (in terms of population) in places like South Shropshire where it is very difficult to move around.