To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what criteria were applied by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England when deciding to commence a review of the local authority ward boundaries for the City of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) decided to commence an electoral review of Newcastle upon Tyne City Council after it identified significant levels of electoral inequality between wards in the city.
The Commission monitors levels of electoral inequality for all local authorities in England on an annual basis. Its programme of reviews for the financial year 2015/16 was based on electorate data published in councils’ electoral registers in February 2014. The data showed Ouseburn ward had an electoral variance of 34% thereby triggering one of the Commission’s intervention criteria.
The Commission defines significant levels of electoral inequality as a situation where more than 30% of wards in that authority have an electoral variance of more than 10% from the average for that council. The Commission will also consider conducting a review where one or more wards deviates from the average by more than 30%.
One of the principal aims of the subsequent electoral review is to correct electoral variances so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors.