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Boundary changes could give the Greens their first Sheffield MP

Upcoming changes to constituency borders could put the environmental party in the lead in Sheffield Central.

1280px Hillsborough Park East Gateway

In May the Greens unseated former Council Leader Bob Johnson in Hillsborough.

Mick Knapton on Wikimedia Commons.

Planned boundary changes to Westminster constituencies in Sheffield could give the Green Party their second ever MP.

The whole of Manor Castle ward and part of Ecclesall ward is due to become part of the Sheffield Heeley constituency, which is currently held by Labour's Louise Haigh.

The Greens won 9,759 votes in the wards that make up the revised Sheffield Central constituency at this year's local elections, compared to 7,862 for Labour and 1,729 for the Conservatives.

If these votes were replicated in the next general election, it would give the Greens their first MP in Sheffield and second in the whole country, joining Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion.

"Decades of hard work by Green activists working for communities has shown that there is real support and a growing appetite for Green politics in Sheffield," Green councillor for City Ward Martin Phipps told Now Then.

"In the proposed new boundaries for [Sheffield] Central only two of the councillors for wards covered by the area are Labour, the other ten are Green."

The boundary changes, which aim to even out the number of voters in each constituency after population changes, are likely to come into effect before the next general election.

A growing residential population in Sheffield city centre means that the Sheffield Central constituency will cover a smaller geographical area.

Across the UK, Scotland, the north-west of England and the north-east of England will all lose two Westminster seats each. London will gain two seats due to population increases, while the south-east of England will gain seven.

The boundary changes are expected to benefit the Conservative Party, who would gain between five and ten seats based on the results of the 2019 election.

Due to the semi-democratic first-past-the-post electoral system, the Greens only won one of 650 seats at the 2019 election despite attracting 2.7% of the vote, while the Conservatives won 56.2% of the seats on 43.6% of the vote.

Activists both inside and outside Labour are hoping to convince the party to back a more democratic proportional representation system by the time of the next election, which will be held in 2024 at the latest.

Before then, the Greens are expected to hire a professional campaign coordinator to target Sheffield Central. This would mirror their targeting strategy for the local elections, which saw them unseat former Council Leader Bob Johnson in a shock result in Hillsborough.

But while Sheffield Central incumbent Paul Blomfield only took the seat by 165 votes in 2010, he has since increased his majority to a massive 27,273 votes.

"We desperately need to change our voting system that continuously returns Tory governments when a progressive majority is out there," said Cllr Phipps.

"Electing a Green MP in Sheffield would be a real wake up call to Labour on this, who are yet to back proportional representation and are still trying to go it on their own to the cost of us all."

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