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Lewes MP attacks proposed boundary changes
Lewes MP Norman Baker has launched a furious attack on the boundary changes that threaten his Parliamentary career.
The Transport Minister said the proposals were an "affront" to Lewes, threatened its economic prosperity and showed "no respect for history".
Under the recommendations, the Liberal Democrat's seat will be carved up between two new constituencies - Lewes and Brighton East, and Uckfield.
The measures are currently out to consultation, and Mr Baker told a hearing in Crawley he was "gravely concerned" about the proposals' impact on Sussex.
He criticised the Boundary Commission's proposal to connect Lewes with parts of Brighton for the first time, saying this would "place the county town at the far eastern edge of that constituency, as if it were a mere adjunct to Brighton."
The changes have come about because of the coalition government's decision to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and create equal-sized constituencies.
Mr Baker's current seat includes the towns of Lewes, Newhaven, Seaford and Polegate, which are of roughly comparable size.
He said: "Now Lewes, if this plan goes ahead, is to be swamped by the eastern suburbs of Brighton. Lewes has nothing in common with Moulsecoomb or Whitehawk, or even with Rottingdean."
He also said Lewes relied on its status for economic prosperity and employment, pointing out that the town is home to Sussex Police, councils and health bodies.
And he said residents of surrounding rural villages, like Plumpton, were worried by the prospect of becoming part of more urban constituencies.
The Lib Dems put forward alternative proposals, which they said would meet the target numbers and avoid splitting up electoral wards.
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