Island Life Magazine Ltd October/November 2011 - Page 12

ANDREW TURNER MP I don’t relish the prospect of turning away someone who needs help because they live in the ‘wrong’ place. Mixed feelings over two Island MPs! Regular readers will remember the cross-party OneWight campaign. As parliamentary constituencies are being reorganised to make them the same size we fought to stop the Island being merged with the mainland. OneWight got massive support from the local community. The local media, Chamber of Commerce, businesses and other organisations all came together. Most people would accept either one or two Island MPs – but not one shared with the mainland. The campaign was successful, and last minute talks guaranteed us two MPs following a Government defeat in Parliament. In September the Boundary Commission published their proposals for the new English constituencies. They have been greeted with dismay by some people from all parties. In England 31 constituencies will disappear; others will change beyond all recognition. Ancient county borders have been disregarded and communities with nothing in common have been lumped together to ‘get the numbers right’. The Island is protected from all that – our borders remain intact – the Island will simply be divided into two. Other MPs have said I am lucky – from being the largest constituency in the UK, we will have two of the smallest. Islanders have joked how my workload will halve. But it’s strange; despite the undoubted success of OneWight I have mixed feelings. I am proud to represent the Island; I love it all, and don’t see that changing. And I don’t relish the prospect of turning away someone who needs help because they live in the ‘wrong’ place. Islanders have asked my thoughts about the division suggested by the Boundary Commission. Until December 5, arguments can be put either for or against the proposals; the independent Commission will consider them and make their decision. I intend to stand for election again whatever rules are decided. I don’t think I should try to affect those rules - so I will not be commenting on them. People also ask another difficult question. Where will I stand? The truthful answer is, I don’t know. In October 2013 the new boundaries will come before Parliament - and there is even talk that they may not get passed. Until they are in place I think it would be wrong for me to speculate. And until 2015 I remain the MP for the whole Island, I intend to carry out that role to the best of my ability. What I can say is, if after 2015, I am one of two Island MPs I will do my best to support the other, whichever party they are from. I know how hard it is to be a new boy in Westminster, so if they want me to, I will help them find their feet. That is something positive I could do for the ‘other half ’ of the Island I care about so much. Andrew Turner MP The Riverside Centre, The Town Quay, Newport IW TEL: 01983 530808 EMAIL: 12