Local Democracy

Councillors have suggested Stamford would be better off under a joint council with neighbours Rutland — instead of Lincolnshire — after a major political shake-up is proposing splitting the MP constituency from Grantham, while MPs argue Rutland should join Lincolnshire instead.

The Boundary Commission for England’s latest proposals, which bid to increase fair representation in national elections, revealed plans to split the Grantham and Stamford constituency. Instead Stamford would join Rutland in a new ward, while Grantham would remain separate.

Elsewhere, South Holland would be renamed the South Lincolnshire constituency losing The Deepings, but gaining several South Boston villages.

Harrish Bisnauthsing, Liberal Democrat South Kesteven District Councillor for Stamford St Mary’s, said the plans “make sense”, but suggested the national changes could also be reflected at a local authority level.

“It’s going to make Rutland closer to Stamford. which I’m pleased about because we have a very alike council and people. [It] will be very beneficial for Stamford.

He then added “Rutland and south South Kesteven [councils] coming together would make a nice new authority, probably bringing in South Holland, if you look further down the line.

“Lincolnshire’s too big, it’s too far away from Stamford to serve the town, and the south of this county, properly.”

The proposed new boundaries for Lincolnshire.

He said the Stamford way of thinking was closer to Rutland, and believed the councils would have a better way of spending and plenty of resources.

Conservative Councillor for Stamford St John’s, Susan Sandall said there had “always been mention” of the two authorities being the same area council-wise.

“Stamford seems a little cut-off because of our location. The people of Stamford look at it as it seems a good idea and we might get a little more done,” she said.

She said the new constituency might be “a little difficult” for the MP to cover the same areas councillors were, adding: “I don’t know how it’s going to work to be honest.”

“The people of Stamford want a well-kept town and the facilities available for social shopping, and that’s really more what they’re looking for.”

“The MP will still have concerns and will still be there when they have problems,” she said.

“The only thing is it’s going to be a little bit difficult for the MP himself if he’s covering a different era to that we [councillors] are working for.

“There’s always been mention about Rutland and Stamford being part of the same area council-wise.”

South Kesteven District Council Stamford Councillors Conservative Susan Sandall (left) and Liberal Democrat Harrish Bisnauthsing.

SKDC Labour Group leader Councillor Charmaine Morgan said the boundary review would lead to less representation in Parliament for voters and would not address the “fair allocation of resources” across the country.

She called instead for changes to the voting system, and said proportional representation would “make every vote count”.

“What we need are committed local MPs fighting for our communities. The current proposals overall appear less democratic rather than more.

“As we are currently ruled by a government holding a significant majority of seats but minority of votes, there is clearly something wrong with the current system.”

However, leader of South Holland District Council Lord Gary Porter does not think Stamford will leave Lincolnshire.

“Whether people like it or not, Stamford is in Lincolnshire and not Rutland. I find it difficult to see any changes coming there. They tried that before and it didn’t go down very well.

“They are proud of their independence over there. I don’t think this is a precursor to springing Stamford out of Lincolnshire.”

South Holland District Council leader, Lord Gary Porter.

Lord Porter did not think the changes to the South Holland constituency would make “much impact”.

“We have been working well with people in the Deepings and it will be a shame to lose them,” he said.

“But we also work well with the people in the south of Boston.”

He said he felt the constituency, which has been represented by MP John Hayes since its creation in 1997, would be “80% stable”.

Lord Porter added that any changes needed to be made based on scientific evidence rather than pure numbers and needed to ensure people did not lose their sense of the place they belong to.

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes felt the boundary proposal would not change the political landscape in his area, however, did not agree with the name change.

“It would be much more sensible to call it South Holland and Holland Fen or South Holland and Swineshead.

“Names do matter, it’s a good way of maintaining continuity. I shall certainly make that case that South Holland should continue to be part of the constituency name.”

In response to the suggestions over Stamford, he said he was “always against boundaries crossing county lines”.

“Counties matter, Stamford has always been a part of Lincolnshire. It’s a Lincolnshire town and long should it remain so. I would rather have Rutland come and join us, not the other way around.

“County integrity matters. It would be great to have the cooperation of Rutland in Lincolnshire.”

Current MP for Grantham and Stamford Gareth Davies, who won by a majority of 26,003 in the 2019 elections, refused to comment.

MP for Rutland Alicia Kearns said: “Like residents, I will be taking time to study the proposals.

“Rutland, Melton, the Vale and our Harborough villages are uniquely wonderful, and any boundary changes must protect and enhance services, representation and support for our residents.

“I am committed to our communities as your representative in Parliament and continue to work as hard as I can to deliver the very best for all of us.”

The new Rutland and Stamford constituency and the wards it includes.

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Deputy Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We will be looking at the proposals in detail including those for Stamford before deciding on our reply to the consultation by August 2. We’ll be responding in the best interests of the county as a whole and its residents.”

Other areas of the county will see further general boundary movements as a result of the major changes. These include:

  • Gainsborough loses part of Wragby to Louth and Horncastle (74,332 – 74,750)
  • Louth and Horncastle’s boundaries will see Chapel Orby and East Kirkby moved into Boston and Skegness (74,617 – 73,791)
  • Boston and Skegness’ will move back from Boston West, Brothertoft, Algarkirk, Holland Fen into new South Lincs constituency (66,250 – 71,680)
  • Sleaford and North Hykeham will see its Western, Northern and Eastern borders remain pretty much the same, though its electorate will go from 86,652 to 73,380
  • Lincoln would remain pretty much exactly the same, except a small square of land between Somerton Gate Lane and Lowfields Farm to the south leaving the Sleaford constituency. Its electorate at that point will be 74,128.

To the north of Lincolnshire, the Scunthorpe constituency will be extended to the Humber, taking in areas such as Winteringham and Whitton.

Former Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin.

Former Labour MP Nic Dakin, who lost to Conservative Holly Mumby-Croft in 2019, said he was surprised by the level of additional area, considering future housing growth, but did not think the move would “radically change the local political complexion”.

“They have quite strong connections to Scunthorpe, so it would make sense in terms of coherence of people,” he said.

“The areas that are being added tend to have Conservative representation at council level, but with reasonably close outcomes.

“But the area is winnable for both Conservatives and Labour.”

He said the key for Labour was to win back voters “we lost in the wake of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – neither of which were indicative of those voters”.

However, he refused to be drawn into confirming whether he would be standing again in 2024.

Grimsby MP Lia Nici said the merger with Cleethorpes wasn’t set in stone: “Grimsby is also going to have to change as we are a relatively small constituency.

“We have had boundary changes for the past 800 years. It may mean losing Scartho which would be a great shame especially as it is where I started my political career.

“The reality is to make sure I continue to work for my constituents and make sure I do a good job by campaigning and lobbying, should I be re-elected in the future.”

The proposals are now out for public consultation until August 2, 2021.

Around half of the new COVID-19 cases in Lincolnshire are currently thought to be the Delta variant, health bosses have said, as the county saw a small overall rise in infection rates.

Health secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday told MPs that the variant, first identified in India, was responsible for around 91% of positive COVID cases in the UK, as the Delta mutation is up to 60% more transmissible than the Alpha.

However, Lincolnshire health bosses said the figure in the county is lower, as the overall infection rate saw a “small rise” to 22.7 cases per 100,000, over the past seven days.

Andy Fox, Assistant Director of Public Health, said the figure was “still lower than the national average” of 51.7 for the UK and 50.3 for England.

“We think around half the new cases in Lincolnshire are currently the Delta variant, and this is expected to increase, as we have seen in other areas of the country,” he said.

“Vaccines are now being offered to younger age groups under the age of 30 and we’d urge all those who get offered the jab to take it up.

“Vaccines do work and give you protection against illness from COVID-19 as well as protecting others around you.”

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire health bosses expect the number of residents who have received their first dose will pass the 500,000 mark on Friday.

There were 62 new coronavirus cases and no COVID-related deaths across the whole of Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday – 26 more than the 36 cases last Thursday, and 14 more than Wednesday.

North East Lincolnshire’s infection rate has tripled over the last week and health bosses on Thursday said a number of cases being the COVID-19 Delta variant were to blame.

There have been 62 new coronavirus cases and no COVID-related deaths in Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday – 26 more than the 36 cases last Thursday, and 14 more than yesterday.

The government’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded 33 new cases in Lincolnshire, 24 in North East Lincolnshire and five in North Lincolnshire.

No further coronavirus deaths were registered on Thursday. These figures include deaths both in and out of hospitals, as well as residents in hospitals outside the county.

NHS England has also reported no new local deaths across Greater Lincolnshire’s hospitals.

On Thursday, national cases increased by 7,393 to 4,542,986, while deaths rose by seven to 127,867.

North East Lincolnshire’s infection rate has tripled over the last week – a rise which has been put down to a number of cases being the COVID-19 Delta variant, previously known as the Indian mutation.

Lincolnshire’s vaccination centres are close to giving out 500,000 first doses of coronavirus vaccine – and may have surpassed it already.

Data released on Thursday shows altogether 861,263 jabs have been administered in the county between December 8 and June 6 — a further 42,980 in the last week, and 15% down on the 50,695 jabs given the week before.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has been questioned by MPs on Thursday on his response to the pandemic.

During a four hour evidence session, he said the Delta variant now comprised 91% of new coronavirus cases seen in the UK.

He denied that he had lied to the Prime Minister, a suggestion made during a previous hearing with former advisor Dominic Cummings, or that there was a national shortage of PPE early in the pandemic.

He told MPs he followed clinical advice over patients being released from hospitals to care homes and had been told they would be tested.

Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, June 10

Greater Lincolnshire includes Lincolnshire and the unitary authorities of North and North East (Northern) Lincolnshire.

61,019 cases (up 62)

  • 42,319 in Lincolnshire (up 33)
  • 9,814 in North Lincolnshire (up five)
  • 8,886 in North East Lincolnshire (up 24)

2,196 deaths (no change)

  • 1,621 from Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 307 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 268 from North East Lincolnshire (no change)

of which 1,311 hospital deaths (no change)

  • 816 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (no change)
  • 41 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
  • 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
  • 453 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (no change)

4,542,986 UK cases, 127,867 deaths

DATA SOURCE — FIGURES CORRECT AT THE TIME OF the latest update. postcode data includes deaths not in healthcare facilities or in hospitals outside authority boundaries.

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