The 2023 Review of Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries in England – Volume one: Report – North East
The North East region currently has 29 constituencies. Of these, six are within the permitted electorate range, 21 constituencies currently fall below the permitted range, and the electorates of just two constituencies are above. The North East region comprises 1,952,999 electors, giving it a mathematical entitlement to 26.61 constituencies. We therefore allocated 27 constituencies to the North East region, a reduction of two.
The North East region comprises the unitary authorities of: County Durham; Darlington; Gateshead; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Newcastle upon Tyne; North Tyneside; Northumberland; Redcar and Cleveland; South Tyneside; Stockton‑on‑Tees; and Sunderland.
We appointed two Assistant Commissioners for the North East – Tim Foy OBE and Simon Barnes – to assist us with the analysis of the representations received during the first two consultation periods. This included chairing public hearings, which were held in the region in order to hear oral evidence directly from the public. The dates and locations of these hearings were:
In formulating our initial proposals, we noted that the electorate of the North East of 1,952,999 results in it being entitled to 27 constituencies, a reduction of two. We then considered how this number of constituencies could be split across the region.
We noted that the electorate of the North of Tyne Combined Authority of just under 597,000, comprised the unitary authorities of Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, and Northumberland, results in a mathematical entitlement to 8.13 constituencies. We therefore decided to allocate the North of Tyne Combined Authority eight constituencies, and treated it as a stand-alone sub‑region. Similarly, we noted that the Tees Valley Combined Authority – made up of the following unitary authorities of: Darlington; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Redcar and Cleveland; and Stockton-on-Tees – has an electorate of just under 495,000, which results in an entitlement to 6.74 constituencies. We therefore decided to allocate seven constituencies to Tees Valley, and treat it as a stand-alone sub-region also.
The electorate of the Borough of Gateshead is a little under 145,000, which results in the area being mathematically entitled to 1.97 constituencies. In formulating our initial proposals, we decided to allocate Gateshead two constituencies and we again decided to treat it as a sub‑region.
County Durham, South Tyneside, and Sunderland, form part of the North East Combined Authority (the Borough of Gateshead also forms part of the combined authority). Together, County Durham, South Tyneside, and Sunderland has an electorate of just under 717,000, resulting in a mathematical entitlement to 9.77 constituencies. We therefore proposed allocating ten constituencies to the sub-region without crossing out of the North East Combined Authority.
The use of the sub-regions outlined above was largely supported during the consultation on the initial proposals. We also received objections to the split of sub-regions with an alternative arrangement suggested as a North East Combined Authority sub-region which comprised the areas of County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside, and Sunderland, due to the disruptive impact of proposing Gateshead as a separate sub-region. Respondents considered our initially proposed sub-regions did not allow for a pattern of constituencies that best reflected the statutory criteria, particularly in the areas of County Durham, South Tyneside, and Sunderland.
In formulating our revised proposals, we were persuaded by the evidence received to adopt an alternative sub-region combining County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside, and Sunderland. We considered that this sub-region allowed for improvements to the initial proposals in respect of the statutory factors, notably the improved configurations across the City of Durham, Jarrow, and the City of Sunderland. This is discussed further in the North East sub-region section later in this report.
In response to our revised proposals, we received support for our modified sub-regions, however, we did also receive opposition to our revised pattern, particularly in regards to its impact on the pattern of constituencies in the Borough of Gateshead. We also received a counter proposal that proposed combining parts of Tees Valley with the Yorkshire and the Humber region. We are not persuaded by the evidence for either of these alternatives. Firstly, in regards to our North East sub-region we received support for a number of constituencies in this sub-region, particularly that our revised pattern better reflected community ties. In regards to the cross-region proposal, our investigations suggested that crossing the regional boundary in North Yorkshire did not create a pattern of constituencies that better reflected the statutory factors in either the North East or Yorkshire and the Humber regions. Therefore, the sub-regions we propose as part of the final recommendations are:
North of Tyne (including Newcastle upon Tyne; North Tyneside; and Northumberland)
North East (including County Durham; Gateshead; South Tyneside; and Sunderland)
Tees Valley (including Darlington; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Redcar and Cleveland; and Stockton-on-Tees).