Initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in the Eastern region
Timetable for our review
Stage one – development of initial proposals
We began this review in January 2021. We published electorate data from 2 March 2020 (the relevant date specified by the legislation) for each local government ward in England, including – where relevant – wards that were prospective on 1 December 2020. The electorate data were provided by local authorities and the Office for National Statistics. These are available on our website and are the data that must be used throughout the remainder of the review process. The Commission has since then considered the statutory factors outlined above and drawn up the initial proposals. We published our initial proposals for consultation for each of England’s nine regions on 8 June 2021.
We ask people to be aware that, in publishing our initial proposals, we do so without suggesting that they are in some way definitive, or that they provide the ‘right answer’ – they are our starting point for consulting on the changes. We have taken into account the existing constituencies, local government boundaries and geographical features, to produce a set of constituencies that are within the permitted electorate range and that we consider to be the best balance between those factors at this point. What we do not yet have is sufficient evidence of how our proposals reflect or break local community ties, although we have drawn on evidence of such ties provided in previous reviews. One of the most important purposes of the consultation period is to seek up-to-date evidence that will enable us to test the strength of our initial proposals, and revise them where appropriate.
We are consulting on our initial proposals for eight weeks, from 8 June 2021 until 2 August 2021. Chapter 4 outlines how you can contribute during the consultation period. Once the consultation has closed, the Commission will collate all the responses received.
Stage three – consultation on representations received
We are required to publish all the responses we receive on our initial proposals. This publication will mark the start of a six‐week ‘secondary consultation’ period, which we currently plan to take place in early 2022. The purpose of the secondary consultation is for people to see what others have said in response to our initial proposals, and to make comments on those views, for example by countering an argument, or by supporting and reinforcing what others have said. You will be able to see all the comments on our website, and use the site to give us your views on what others have said. We will also be hosting between two and five public hearings in each region, where you will be able to give your views directly to one of our assistant commissioners. We will publish the exact number, dates and venues for those hearings nearer the time.
Stage four – development and publication of revised proposals
Once we have all the representations and comments from both the initial and secondary consultation periods, the Commission will analyse those representations and decide whether changes should be made to the initial proposals. If we decide that the evidence presented to us persuades us to change our initial proposals, then we must publish our revised proposals for the areas concerned, and consult on them for a further period of four weeks. This is likely to be towards the end of 2022. When we consult on our revised proposals, there will be no further public hearings. You will be able to see all our revised proposals, and give us your views on them, on our website.
Stage five – development and publication of the final report and recommendations
Finally, following the consultation on revised proposals, we will consider all the evidence received at this stage, and throughout the review, before determining our final recommendations. The recommendations will be set out in a published report to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who will lay it before Parliament on our behalf, at which time we will also publish the report. The legislation states that we must submit that report to the Speaker by 1 July 2023. Further details about what the Government must then do with our recommendations in order to implement them are contained in our Guide to the 2023 Review.
Throughout each consultation we will be taking all reasonable steps to publicise our proposals, so that as many people as possible are aware of the consultation and can take the opportunity to contribute to our review of constituencies.