'Unique, unifying and historic': MP's call to arms to save The Wrekin constituency name

It has represented the area since 1918 but with The Wrekin constituency name now under treat from a national boundary review its MP has called on people to help save its “unique, unifying and historic” title.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard

Last month the Boundary Commission unveiled plans which would see constituencies across the country change.

While the majority of changes in Shropshire are relatively minor, there will be significant amendments to the constituency of The Wrekin, currently represented by Conservative Mark Pritchard.

The proposal is that The Wrekin would take on the wards of Cheswardine and Hodnet from North Shropshire, but also that its name will change to 'Newport and Wellington'.

Mr Pritchard, who has represented the area since he was first elected in 2005, says he thinks the change is “wrong”, and that the Boundary Commission should reconsider.

There is the opportunity for people to change the organisation’s recommendation, by responding to a consultation running until August 2.

Mr Pritchard has launched an impassioned defence of the name and its ‘historic’ value, and is asking people to write to the boundary commission and add their weight to the campaign.

He said: “Last month, plans were published to overhaul the size and, in some cases, even the names of English parliamentary constituencies for the first time in 20 years.

“Sometimes a source of technical bemusement outside Westminster, the boundary review is nevertheless important. There is a principle of fairness at stake. Every vote should count equally, but constituencies currently vary in size from 21,000 to 108,000 voters.

“Under the proposals, The Wrekin constituency, which I have been honoured to represent since 2005, will gain Hodnet and Cheswardine. However, the commissioners also want to change the constituency’s name to ‘Newport and Wellington’. I think that would be wrong.”

Mr Pritchard outlined a number of reasons to retain the title – including its ability to represent more than just a section of the constituency.

He said: “First, The Wrekin is an historic constituency. More than a century old, its name puts Shropshire’s most famous landmark on the Westminster and Whitehall map. The name is also unique to our county, whereas England has many Newports and at least another three Wellingtons.

“Second, although Wellington and Newport are important market towns they are just part of a much larger constituency which includes other important and historic towns and villages and rural communities and farmland. The new name would also discriminate against Shifnal and Albrighton long established under The Wrekin parliamentary name.

“Third, the new constituency will include parts of Shropshire as well as a large portion of the borough of Telford & Wrekin. In fact, one quarter of voters in the new constituency will live in wards which fall under Shropshire Council. Rather than naming the constituency after two towns within Telford and Wrekin, we should keep The Wrekin name which resonates with residents in both local authority areas and is a cohesive and popular constituency name.

“That is why I have launched a non-party political campaign to save the name of The Wrekin parliamentary constituency. Unique, unifying and historic, The Wrekin should remain part of Shropshire’s political identity. If you agree with me, please write to the Boundary Commission for England to support my campaign.”

People are able to respond to the plans by visiting bcereviews.org.uk

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News