Yesterday the Boundary Commission for England published its final recommendations for new parliamentary constituency boundary proposals.
I welcome the two new Gateshead wards being added to the Jarrow constituency and I’m sad to lose the Cleadon and East Boldon ward to the South Shields constituency.
However, I am disappointed and angry that at the last minute the Boundary Commission have decided to revert to their original proposal to change the name of our historic Jarrow constituency. Giving us no chance to make representations against this decision.
In 2021 the Commission proposed changing the name of our constituency and the map was labelled Jarrow and Sunderland West, this received many submissions asking them to reconsider changing the name. The Labour Party and Jarrow Constituency Labour Party (CLP) made representations that Gateshead wards should be included in Jarrow but not the Sunderland wards and this was accepted. Jarrow CLP made clear its views that the name should not change.
The Commission have not addressed these concerns around the name in their responses.
The recommendations that were put forward for consultation in November 2022 saw our historic constituency retain the name of “Jarrow”, with the map clearly labelled Jarrow, yet in the final hour the Boundary Commission has now altered this to “Jarrow and Gateshead East.”
If the Boundary Commission had suggested the name change in the consultation document there would have been a huge outcry. They did not.
Since being elected in December 2019, it has been and continues to be an honour and a privilege to represent the Jarrow constituency. This is a proud Constituency steeped in history and has been named Jarrow since 1885 – 138 years ago.
Our constituency covers many different areas under the historical banner of Jarrow and each area including the two Gateshead wards I currently represent, maintain their own identity as well as the wider Jarrow constituency name.
I wholeheartedly oppose altering the name of the long-established and historic Parliamentary Constituency of Jarrow to Jarrow and Gateshead East and find it absolutely staggering that the new constituency name of Jarrow and Gateshead East has not once been put out for review or consultation once throughout this process.
In my opinion, the Jarrow constituency should not be renamed and should remain as “Jarrow”.
The Jarrow constituency has a rich history. Firstly, Jarrow is the home of the famous Venerable Bede – the man who completed the internationally renowned Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Jarrow retains the Monastery of St Bede from 685AD.
Bede’s work – taking in commentaries on the Bible and observations of poetry, nature and music – is world-famous and shaped European culture as well as our own land.
Jarrow and other parts of the constituency also have a proud and rich industrial history. The area’s economy was traditionally based on coal mining, steelworks and shipbuilding. The collapse of the Tyne shipbuilding industry caused unemployment to soar – which led to Jarrow’s world-famous crusade to London in October 1936.
The name Jarrow has origins of its name going right back to around 750AD representing the old English meaning “Marsh Dwellers” from the Anglo-Saxon dialect “Mud Marsh”.
The history of the name is clear and has evolved to be known as Jaruum in 1158AD and Jarwe around 1228AD.
Later this year, on October 5th, we will commemorate the 87th anniversary year of the famous Jarrow Crusade, a hugely important commemoration that the people of Jarrow and the wider region participate in every year.
By implementing the Jarrow Constituency name change at such a late stage, as proposed by the Parliamentary Boundary Commission, they are blatantly disregarding the wishes of the people of the Jarrow Parliamentary Constituency.
I will be writing to the Boundary Commission to ask them to urgently review this omission in their consultation and process and to keep our Jarrow constituency name.
In the final recommendation, the constituency gains two new Gateshead wards, Felling and Windy Nook and Whitehills, and loses Cleadon and East Boldon ward to the South Shields constituency.