The EU referendum

By now, we all know that the UK narrowly voted last week to leave the European Union. The result has opened up huge fault lines in both the economy and the body politic, which will take much time and much hard graft to resolve. It has also created a great deal of personal uncertainty and anxiety for many individuals.

Our Member of Parliament, Heidi Allen, has called a public meeting for this Saturday. She writes:

Following the result of the Referendum I have received an unprecedented level of emails from constituents who are greatly concerned about their future and that of the UK. In order to facilitate a discussion I have arranged an open meeting to enable residents of South Cambridgeshire to express their concerns.

Due to the number of emails I have received I will be posting a detailed response on my website towards the end of the week which I hope will address the concerns raised and I will update my website as and when more information becomes available from the Government.

Saturday 2 July 2016, 16.00 – 18.00

South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge CB23 6EA.

Parking available.

For details of how Queen Edith’s voted, see

Queen Edith’s still left out in the cold

The Boundary Commission has just published its latest proposals  for changing parliamentary constituency boundaries – but it is still ignoring local people’s requests to include Queen Edith’s in the City of Cambridge constituency. Although we’re represented by councillors on Cambridge City Council and pay our council tax to Cambridge, we are not like everyone else in Cambridge represented in Parliament by Julian Huppert , but by Andrew Lansley. Party politics and personal qualities aside, we have little in common with these villages.

The Boundary Review is charged with culling MPs from 533 to 502, and arranging the numbers of electors so that every MP represents a similar number – between 72,810 and 80,473 people. No constituency is allowed to be more than 5% above or below an electoral quota.

Like others in this area, I am dismayed that they are proposing to keep Queen Edith’s out of the city constituency – see previous post on this topic

They are proposing to move Queen Edith’s out of South Cambridgeshire – not into the city, but into another rural constituency, South East Cambridgeshire, where it will sit with places such as Soham and Bottisham. This is frustrating, especially as the Commission say they have ‘some sympathy’ with putting Queen Edith’s into the Cambridge constituency.

Their only justifications for not doing so are:

the main political parties agree with the initial proposals

Not entirely true, as the Liberal Democrats in this constituency at least wrote in asking for Queen Edith’s to go into the city) But why should the political parties’ views carry more weight than those of voters?

the counter-proposal was advanced by ‘a very small number of individuals’.

I do not know how many people have to advance a case for it to count, but I know of at least three Queen Edith’s people apart from myself who made representations – how many more there were I cannot tell as the representations section of the Commission’s website is labyrinthine!

You will have to excuse a certain scepticism about commenting on the revised proposals. If you still feel strongly that Queen Edith’s belongs in the city, then you have until 10th December to make a representation. If you want to help make the point, please do so – here is an online form:

Here is my own: Boundary Commission representation_revised Mine is quite long, but you don’t have to write an essay: some of the comments on their site from the last round of consultation are just one or two sentences.

You can also email the Boundary Commission at: [email protected]

Please post a copy here, so we know the real number of people making representations.


Defend local pubs and independent shops

On Tuesday 10th July Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, will propose new measures to defend local pubs and independent shops from being taken over. Under the current system, councils and local residents often have no opportunity to stop the process.

Julian will ask to bring a Bill preventing the demolition or change of use of a pub or local independent shop without planning permission. Planning permission would also be needed before premises or land could be used for a supermarket.

If you agree that pubs and independent shops need greater protection against being lost, please sign Julian’s petition here.

Parliamentary constituency boundary review hearing on now in Cambridge!

The Government is conducting a review of parliamentary constituency boundaries, to cut down the number of MPs and even up the number of people in each parliamentary constituency, ie the number who elect each MP. The Boundary Commission is responsible for carrying out the review and they are holding a hearing at the Gonville Hotel in Cambridge now (10th-11th November)

As readers of the Queen Edith’s Focus and this website will know (Queen Edith’s is in Cambridge!), I am disappointed that they are not taking this opportunity to restore Queen Edith’s to its rightful place as part of the Cambridge City constituency, and I have made a submission to the Boundary Commission, which I reproduce at the end of this post.

You can comment in person at the Gonville Hotel Cambridge hearing today, or on line at the Boundary Commission’s website before 5th December.


Queen Edith’s is in Cambridge!

Most people who live in the Queen Edith’s area – the part of Cambridge between Hills and Cherry Hinton Roads and Wort’s Causeway – would agree with me. They are represented by three city councillors (including yours truly), and we pay our council tax and business rates to Cambridge City Council. Queen Edith’s is home to Homerton College, part of the University of Cambridge, and a good proportion of the city’s sixth-form students come to college here every day.

Alone amongst the fourteen wards of the City of Cambridge, we are  assigned to the South Cambridgeshire constituency, and have a different MP from the rest of Cambridge. This makes the Cambridge constituency a very strange shape, rather like Attila the Hun! The incongruity of this is supported by the number of times Queen Edith’s separation from the rest of Cambridge is mentioned when the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire constituencies are described.

You may have read about the shake-up of constituency boundaries. The Government is cutting down the number of parliamentary constituencies and standardising the number of people in them – a good idea, but it involves a lot of arithmetic and calculation, not all of it with results that recognize natural communities. In future, no Member of Parliament is to represent fewer than 72,810 or more than 80,473 electors. The changes are being worked up by the Boundary Commission and they are expected to be in force by the time of the next General Election in 2015.

The proposals have just been published, and you can read them on the Boundary Commission‘s website. If you prefer to look at a printed copy, then visit Cambridge City Council‘s Customer Services Centre on Regent Street, the Guildhall, or the Council’s South Area Office on Cherry Hinton Road.

They are proposing to keep Queen Edith’s in the South Cambridgeshire constituency, even though new areas are going in, such as Teversham and Fulbourn, and its western flank is being converted into a brand new constituency to be called St Neots. It would seem more logical to move one of the wards in the east of the city – moving the village of Cherry Hinton, for example, would maintain the right numbers in Cambridge and South Cambs, and make more sense geographically.

There will be a series of local hearings: the Cambridge one will be at the Gonville Hotel, 10th-11th November. Alternatively, you can comment on line on the Boundary Commission’s website.

Here is my own representation: