THE Isle of Wight has become the only English constituency to be given special protection under government reforms that will carve up every UK boundary.

Under coalition plans the parliamentary map will be redrawn so every Westminster seat will have 76,000 voters, with a margin either side of just five per cent. That would have meant the creation of a cross-Solent constituency to cover the island's 110,000-strong electorate.

But ministers have caved in to pressure to keep the island separate and have agreed to install two MPs to represent it from the next general election in 2015.

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, who led a campaign on the issue, said: "This is a stunning victory for the Island.

"When we first launched the 'One Wight' Campaign everybody discussed whether we should fight for two Island MPs - but we came to a collective decision that we should put forward the message that the Island's unique circumstances should be recognised - and if that meant continuing with a single MP it was preferable to any part of the Island being hived off and joined with the mainland.

"We thought that approach would be more likely to succeed than if we were seen to be campaigning for advantageous treatment.

"I don't think we would have got this outstanding result if we had simply campaigned for two MPs as some people suggested. It was the fact that the Island was prepared to be under-represented that added to the strength of our argument."

The plans are expected to be approved by MPs during a Commons vote late this evening.