By Tom Moseley, Parliamentary Correspondent
MPs face a scramble for seats under planned changes to Bristol’s electoral map.
The Boundary Commission for England has announced proposals to redraw constituencies as part of a plan to reduce the number of MPs nationwide from 650 to 600.
Although the area has not seen the total number of seats reduced, some major changes will see two MPs at least pondering where to run at the next election.
The biggest are in South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset.
The Filton and Bradley Stoke seat, contested for the first time at last year’s General Election, faces being broken up after only five years in existence.
Neighbouring Thornbury and Yate will be divided in two, with parts of the Filton seat added to each new constituency.
A new Kingswood and Keynsham seat would also be created under the plans.
The Boundary Commission is trying to create roughly equal-sized constituencies, with a population within five per cent of 76,641.
Pensions Minister Steve Webb will be faced with a difficult decision under the commission’s blueprint.
The Liberal Democrat must either choose to stand in the new Thornbury and Filton seat, likely also to be contested by Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti, at the next General Election, or run in Yate, which includes a number of Conservative strongholds from south of the M4, including Downend, Mangotsfield, Staple Hill and Emersons Green. Just over 14,000 voters currently in Mr Lopresti’s constituency would come under the Yate seat.
Patchway, Stoke Gifford and Winterbourne would be part of the Thornbury and Filton seat under the proposals.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore is set to take on Keynsham and a rural swathe of B&NES to make up for the voters he has lost, which is likely to strengthen his majority. This will add 27,746 from the North East Somerset seat of Jacob Rees Mogg to his constituency.
Officials said it made sense to combine Kingswood and Keynsham “due to the proximity of the towns and the established communication links between the two”.
Reacting to the planned changes yesterday, Mr Skidmore said: “Obviously these are draft proposals and nothing is concrete yet.”
Mr Webb could not be reached for comment and a spokesman for Mr Lopresti said it was too early to judge.
In Bristol itself, the four seats were largely within the specified size. The only change put forward is for the Easton ward, containing 8,324 voters, which would transfer from Stephen Williams’ Bristol West seat into Kerry McCarthy’s Bristol East.
The North Somerset and Weston-super-Mare constituencies are set to be unchanged.