Gloucester MP Richard Graham on the boundary commission changes
YESTERDAY, Gloucester won an important victory for common sense and for the identity and the leadership of the city.
The revised proposals safeguard, in my view forever, the links between our city, its residents and the MP for Gloucester. So what was the disaster avoided and why does it matter?
I've always supported the aims of the Boundaries Commission - making the size of constituencies fairer and reducing the number of MPs and the cost of politics. But their original proposal for Gloucester would have meant no resident of Westgate ward would ever again be able to vote for an MP for the city - breaking an almost 800-year link.
So the campaign did matter. Party volunteers and researchers in the Commons library helped me on the history and geography of different wards in Gloucester and surrounding constituencies, to find an alternative.
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More than 1,000 residents marched, petitioned and wrote to the commission -which alongside our arguments proved a vital factor in winning support. It agreed with us there were 'exceptional and compelling circumstances' to split two wards - the only places in England where they're doing so - because of the potential damage to local ties.
Of course, like much in life, the result is not perfect. Residents of Hempsted, which is part of the city would now vote in the West Gloucestershire seat.
Some will say it's all a waste of time, as the 'Order' won't pass through Parliament in October 2013 now that the Lib Dems have said they'll vote against it. My own belief is wait and see: a year is a long time and let's wait and see what the Lib Dems, Welsh, Irish and Scots will do. I wouldn't rule out any result yet.
Had the original proposals gone forward I would have resigned from the government. Now I can and will vote for it, and although I recognise this won't be popular in Hempsted I will go on working for residents there.
So thank you readers for your support. Perhaps a prayer of thanks this Friday in the Cathedral, in the heart of the city I am proud to represent, would be right.