East Antrim Parliamentary constituency to expand under new proposals
The East Antrim UK Parliamentary constituency could be set to grow in size under new proposals by the Boundary Commission NI.
The commission last week published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in Northern Ireland.
An 8-week public consultation is now open for members of the public, political parties and wider civic society to share their views on the plans.
While the number of constituencies allocated to Northern Ireland for the 2023 Review remains at 18, 11 of the 18 existing constituencies’ electorates fall outside the Rule 2 statutory range of between 69,724 and 77,062.
“East Antrim has the smallest electorate at 64,907, and Upper Bann has the largest electorate at 83,028,” the report notes. “Changes to existing constituencies are therefore required.”
While no name change is in the works for East Antrim, the plans would see the constituency grow from an electorate of 64,907, to 70,947.
A number of wards which are currently split between East Antrim and other adjacent constituencies would be transferred, such as Torr Head and Rathlin to North Antrim, Ballyduff to South Antrim, and Carnmoney Hill to Belfast North.
“In order to help satisfy the statutory electorate range in East Antrim, the following split wards have been aligned within East Antrim (in which they are already partially located): Abbey, Glenwhirry, Jordanstown and Slemish,” the report added.
“East Antrim can also look to its adjacent over-range constituency of North Antrim to help satisfy its statutory range. The whole ward of Glenravel has been transferred from North Antrim to East Antrim constituency.”
Public encouraged to engage with consultation process
Commenting on the report, Deputy Chairman Mr Justice Michael Humphreys said: “I am pleased to announce the publication of the Commission’s initial proposals, and the beginning of the first period of public consultation of the 2023 Review.
“The Commission is keen to encourage everyone with an interest to share their views by engaging with the consultation process, whether it is to support the proposals, or to suggest alternatives which also take into account the requirements of the legislation.”
Written representations must be received by the Commission by December 15, 2021 and can be submitted using the online portal, by email, or by post.
These representations will be published online after the end of the initial consultation period. This will be followed in due course by further consultations, including public hearings, before final recommendations are made by July 1, 2023.
More information can be found at www.boundarycommission.org.uk.