First of all, a very happy New Year to you all. I trust you enjoyed a safe and restful Christmas break. The Officers of your Executive Council wish you all the best for a successful 2022.
It’s been an eventful start to the year to say the very least. Broadcasters and journalists have been having a field day, with a juicy choice of stories to headline and pictures to print. Constituency MPs and Association Chairmen across the country have been hounded for comments and opinions in a frenzy of speculation. Whilst some have voiced their partisan views, David Warburton and I have politely rejected every media approach as long as uncertainty still prevails. See David’s website for his updates: www.davidwarburton.org.uk
Whilst the standing and integrity of the Conservative brand is very important to every member and supporter, I shall not dwell on matters outside Somerset as our focus, as a Conservative Association is fixed firmly on supporting our councillor candidates in the local elections on 5th May in order to achieve a Conservative majority in the new unitary Somerset Council – which is absolutely vital for the delivery of efficient and cost-effective services for all our county’s residents. Nevertheless, I do accept that what happens in the next week or so in Parliament will be critical to our chances of success.
In this update I’ll cover the following six items:
1. Local Elections, 5th May 2022
2. South West Regional Conference, 4th/5th February 2022
3. Timetable for the 2023 Boundary Review
4. Our Association AGM on 11th March 2022
5. Our MP’s Advice Surgery Programme for next month
6. This month’s winner in the SFCA 200 Club Draw
Unitary Elections, 5th May 2022
Over the past month, your Executive and local members have Approved and Selected most of the Somerton & Frome candidates we need to stand for seats in Somerset’s new unitary Council. Selected candidates are now planning their campaigns in order to raise their profiles and publicise their policies. They will need as much help as you can give them so please do respond to any requests you may receive to put up boards or deliver leaflets. The turnout at local elections is traditionally quite low so it is absolutely vital that we do all we can to get our supporters to cast their votes for our candidates, either by post or by going to the polling stations on the day.
Next month, I will include a list of all our selected candidates and, as part of the run-up to the election on 5th May, our Somerton & Frome Conservatives website will include links to all the candidates’ profiles on the front page. Separately, there will be further information on what the new unitary authority will do under the heading “The new unitary Somerset Council”.
South West Regional Conference, Plymouth - 4th/5th February 2022
This is now just over two weeks away with the option of following the Conference online by using the following link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/south-west-region-gala-dinner-and-annual-conference-tickets-215483425727.
As well as a senior Cabinet Minister, Conference speakers will include:
The Rt Hon Liam Fox, MP for North Somerset, former Defence Secretary and International Trade Secretary
The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Cox QC, MP for Torridge and West Devon and former Attorney General
Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View and former Minister of Defence for People and Veterans
Danny Kruger MBE, MP for Devizes
Peter Booth, Chairman of the National Convention
Darren Mott OBE, Chief Executive of the Party
2023 Boundary Review
An update and a little background … Since 1832, the number of seats in the House of Commons has varied between 615 and 707. The number of constituencies represented in the House of Commons was last fixed in 2010 at 650. The number of seats between the four nations of the UK are allocated proportionally. This is based on the registered Parliamentary electorate in each part of the UK.
The latest review, the 2023 Review, was started in January 2021. It must be completed by 1st July 2023. Once completed, the final recommendations of the four independent Boundary Commissions (one for each of the four nations of the UK) must be implemented automatically.
Constituencies must have an electorate within a 5% of the ‘electoral quota’. This quota is the average number of registered electors in each constituency. Currently, the number of electors per constituency varies between 55,000 and nearly 100,000. The aim of the current Review is therefore to bring the number of electors in each constituency to a mean quota of 73,393 +/- 5%; that’s between 69,724 and 77,062.
Following publication of the Commissions’ initial reviews, and the completion of an eight-week consultation period earlier this year, the allocation of seats between each of the nations of the UK is likely to change as follows:
England: + 10 (increase from 533 to 543)
Scotland: – 2 (decrease from 59 to 57)
Wales: – 8 (decrease from 40 to 32)
Northern Ireland: 18 (no change)
In Somerset, most constituencies are well above the ‘electoral quota’. Somerton & Frome has 85,945 electors (as at 2nd March 2020), which is 17% too large. it is therefore likely that one additional constituency will be created in our county.
A second consultation period will take place in February and March 2022 and revised proposals will be published in September 2022. Final proposals will be published in June 2023 after which an Order in Council will be made to enact the changes.
Annual General Meeting, Friday 11th March 2022
Please make a note in your diaries that this year’s AGM will be held at 6.00pm on Friday 11th March 2022 at the Edgar Hall in Somerton. This will be the first full live
meeting of the membership we will have had since the one we held on 13th March 2020, just ten days before Lockdown 1. Full details will be sent to members next month.
MP’s Advice Surgeries
The dates of David Warburton’s advice surgeries are published on his website: www.davidwarburton.org.uk Next month’s surgeries are scheduled as follows:
Sparkford, Friday, 4th February 2022, 11.00 – 13.30
Somerton, Friday, 25th February 2022, 11.00 – 13.30
To book an appointment, please contact Netia Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01373 580500.
SFCA 200 Club – January 2022 Winner
This month’s winning number is No 63 – Mrs Diana Heath of Henstridge. Congratulations to Diana who has already received her cheque for £100.
My thanks again to all those who participate in the Somerton & Frome 200 Club – and hoping many more will join in the coming months.
With all best wishes,
Somerton & Frome Conservative Association