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Hampshire constituency changes watered down
A CONTROVERSIAL carve-up of Hampshire's electoral map has been drastically watered down.
But its revised proposals, published yesterday, signalled a retreat, with the most controversial proposals abandoned.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to scupper the changes, as revenge for the demise of their Lords Reform hopes.
But David Cameron has vowed to hold a Commons vote, and the Boundary Commission is legally bound to carry on with the project - which will end up costing taxpayers £15 million.
New Forest East MP Julian Lewis said: "They have completely retreated from what they were going to do before."
But the commission received a deluge of complaints from locals and politicians and these proposals have also been abandoned.
Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne charged taxpayers £9,900 on his expenses for an opinion poll of his constituents which he submitted as evidence to protest about the changes. Most of the 842 polled did not want to see any change, the survey said.
The Meon Valley seat held by George Hollingberry would still be axed, with the number of seats in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth reducing from 18 to 17.
Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead said: "The vast majority of local people who took part in this review said they want to keep the strong link we have right now between Southampton as a city and its MPs."