What’s in a name?
Inspired by the drive to make parliamentary constituencies more equal in size (measured by number of voters) the Boundary Commission has been tasked with redrawing the parliamentary map, a move that would see the number of MPs reduced from present day 650 to 600. For those readers who have visited the Commons, you’ll know that even that won’t ensure you get a seat on the green benches at Prime Minister’s Questions!
Major changes have been proposed all across East Sussex but no changes to our Eastbourne constituency boundaries have been proposed by the Commission. However, there is one change we could put forward ourselves…
Residents may be surprised to learn that our parliamentary constituency is simply ‘Eastbourne’, surprised as for many years now, it has been hailed ‘Eastbourne & Willingdon’ by past MPs, and now by me.
Thinking of former MP Ian Gow (my schools’ public speaking competition in his memory takes place this week) the Eastbourne constituency in his day, extended as far as the village of Hankam where he lived in ‘The Doghouse’.
Our present constituency comprises all nine electoral wards of Eastbourne Borough and from Wealden District Council, the villages of Upper and Lower Willingdon, Wannock, Jevington and the hamlet of Filching. I’m not sure I’ve ever described myself as the MP for Filching but so I am, and very proud too!
Compared to our neighbouring constituencies of Wealden or Lewes we are tiny (in geography, not in ambition!) That said, even in the context of our bijou constituency, what incredible breadth we have. To the east, we have our international harbour in Sovereign and to the west, the quintessential English charm of Jevington village. We really do reflect many landscapes and environments.
Commission aside, more than anything, I want our home to be known as a place of ‘opportunity and community’ but in this submission, ‘Eastbourne & Willingdon’ might be more conventional!
You can write or email me on the proposed change ahead of my submission to the boundary commission later this year and if you like the idea, you can also register your support in the newly opened parish office in Willingdon and in my office in Grove Road.
Member since: 11th May 2016
Caroline is the the former MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, and this blog was one of her her regular updates.