AN east-west divide — as opposed to a north-south split — is being proposed by the Boundary Commission, as part of a review of parliamentary constituencies that could lead to two Isle of Wight MPs.
The commission previously recommended splitting Cowes, Newport and Ryde from the more rural South Wight, but today (Tuesday) it announced a revised east-west split, which Island Lib Dems had recommended.
Under the former proposal, the boundary was to follow the line that divided the former Medina and South Wight Borough Councils.
But under the latest plan, the boundary would run down the middle of the Island with Isle of Wight West incorporating Cowes and East Cowes, Whippingham and Wootton Bridge in the north, Newport and Carisbrooke, and Chale, Niton and Whitwell in the south, and the entire West Wight.
Isle of Wight East would include Ryde, Binstead and Fishbourne, Arreton and Newchurch, Godshill and Wroxall, Ventnor and the entire East Wight.
Isle of Wight Liberal Democrat and town councillor Bob Blezzard welcomed the news.
"This is what we had hoped for. We felt that by splitting along an east and west boundary it would give each constituency a mix of urban and rural areas.
"As far as the East Wight was concerned you have a railway that connects the main towns. It seemed like a much more natural split than the north and south divide supported by the other parties."
As previously reported however, the Boundary Commission plans may never get off the ground due to a row at national level between Lib Dems and Conservatives in the coalition government.
Lib Dems withdrew their backing for a boundary review after Conservatives withdrew their support for House of Lords reform.
It led Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner, to say the plans to re-draw the UK constitutional map, giving the Island two MPs, were effectively 'dead in the water.’
The new plans are open to consultation from today, until December 10. Click here for more information.
A map showing the east-west split proposed by the boundary commision. Artwork by David Lowe.
IW West — Totland, Freshwater north, Freshwater south, West Wight, Central Wight, Carisbrooke, Newport Central, Newport West, Newport North, Newport East, Newport South, Cowes West and Gurnard, Cowes North, Cowes Medina, Cowes South and Northwood, Parkhurst, East Cowes, Whippingham and Osborne, Wootton Bridge, Chale, Niton and Whitwell.
IW East — Binstead and Fishbourne, Havenstreet, Ashey and Haylands, Arreton and Newchurch, Godshill and Wroxall, Ventnor West, Ventnor East, Shanklin South, Shanklin Central, Lake South, Lake North, Sandown South, Sandown North, Brading, St Helens and Bembridge, Nettlestone and Seaview, Ryde North West, Ryde West, Ryde North East, Ryde East and Ryde South.