Friday, January 06, 2012

Tim Farron to benefit from cross-party deal on Cumbrian boundaries

Last year, in the process of paying Tim Farron some backhanded compliments, I commented that he had:
turned Westmorland and Lonsdale into what looked very like a safe Liberal Democrat seat until the Boundary Commission got hold of it.
When I wrote that, it looked as though Tim would have to stand in a very much altered constituency against the Conservatives' Rory Stewart (aka Lawrence of Belgravia).

Tonight, courtesy of Michael Crick on his blog for Channel 4 News, comes news that the major parties appear to have agreed upon alternative proposals that would overturn the Commission's proposals:
The cross-party deal would overturn the boundary commission’s controversial plans to create a new seat which would have joined Windermere with Whitehaven. Most Cumbrians thought the plans were crazy, since the new seat would have been a geographical nightmare in terms of transport links, straddling England’s highest mountain range. 
Under the alternative cross-party plan, two of Cumbria’s five seats would be centred around its biggest urban areas – Carlisle and Barrow. Another would take in the industrial towns of West Cumbria – Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. A fourth, likely to be Stewart’s seat, would include Penrith, Keswick and Cockermouth. And Tim Farron, the president of the Liberal Democrats (and possible next leader) would be left with a Westmoreland seat around Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside and the southern Lake District.
Crick goes on to note that the Commission is not obliged to accept this alternative plan, but a decision to reject the views of the three main parties, as well as important local groups, would face a strong risk of being overturned in a judicial review.

So it looks as though Tim Farron's faces less of a battle to keep his Westminster seat.

1 comment:

Doktorb said...

Crick has got the central point of this 'exclusive' completely wrong. And I have that from a source who should know.

The Commission did make a complete foul up of Cumbria, I don't think anyone could stress that enough.

Was there a "round table discussion" between the parties? No.