Overhaul of Gloucestershire's electoral boundaries blocked by MPs
PLANNED changes to Gloucestershire's political map have been blocked in the Commons after the coalition split and the Liberal Democrats voted with the opposition.
MPs voted by 334 to 292, majority 42, to delay the planned overhaul of the electoral boundaries until 2018 after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg withdrew his party's support for David Cameron's plan in retaliation for the failure of House of Lords reform.
It had to scrapped in the face of entrenched opposition from Conservative MPs along with Labour's refusal to back a crucial timetable for the legislation.
Mr Clegg had claimed the Conservatives had broken the coalition 'contract' and that, as a result, his MPs could no longer support changes to constituency boundaries for the 2015 General Election.
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In an unprecedented move reflecting the divisions between the coalition partners, the Prime Minister agreed to suspend the requirement for Government ministers to exercise collective responsibility for the vote on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill.
Mr Cameron had hoped the new constituencies would be in place for the next election, which could have resulted in up to an extra 20 seats for his Conservative Party.
But MPs accepted an amendment made by peers to the Bill which delays the review until after the next General Election.
It led Tory MP for the Cotswolds Geoffrey Clifton-Brown to accuse opponents of being "absolutely determined to wreck it".
The proposed electoral changes had been a source of major controversy in Gloucestershire.
Boundary bosses had to rethink its original plans that would have seen Gloucester's historic city centre move in to the Forest of Dean in the face of a public backlash.
The revised proposals would have split Westgate ward in Gloucester and the Coombe Hill ward in Tewkesbury between constituencies.
This sparked criticism from Tory MP for Tewkesbury Laurence Robertson, although he backed the principle of the change to cut the number of MPs by 50 down to 600, and iron out discrepancies in constituency electorates.