Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:37 UK

Worries over Wokingham boundary changes

Ordnance Survey map of Berkshire
Constituency boundaries have changed in Berkshire

Election candidates for Wokingham have vowed to visit and represent voters in areas newly added to the constituency.

The contenders were challenged in a BBC Radio Berkshire debate by a man from the village of Beenham, which was added after an independent boundary review.

Gareth Marney text the show worried that his village was being ignored.

The Labour and Conservative candidates said they had already been campaigning in the village while the Liberal Democrat hopeful had been in the area.

Residents of Beenham and Englefield were incorporated into the Wokingham seat following a review by the Boundary Commission.

The independent body must monitor populations to ensure each constituency includes similar amounts of people.

Mr Marney said: "I am interested to know if any of the candidates have heard of Beenham or been to Beenham because I have not heard or seen any of them campaigning in the village.

"I get the feeling they are only interested in the issues affecting Wokingham itself, not the bits of West Berkshire which have been taken into the constituency."

'Smaller constituencies'

But Tory candidate John Redwood said: "I spent an afternoon there recently knocking on doors.

"I'm sorry if Gareth was not in, but I think I knocked on most of the doors with my team.

"The Conservatives didn't say we needed this reorganisation of constituency boundaries... but they are now most welcome and if I have the privilege to represent Wokingham I will want them to feel as much part of the constituency as the eastern part."

Labour's George Davidson said: "I have been to Beenham, Earley, Arborfield and Shinfield.

"These are the places that might feel odd for them to be sitting in a constituency called Wokingham.

"But I have to say there are about 80,000 people in this constituency which makes it very hard to get round and speak to all of them.

"I would like to make constituencies smaller."

Lib Dem Prue Bray said: "I have been to the edge of Beenham.

"I have also been to Mortimer, Burghfield, Earley, Shinfield, Barkham, Wokingham and Winnersh.

"When we had the review I argued that Finchampstead should be part of Wokingham and Beenham should be part of Newbury because that's where the natural home is.

"But I wouldn't want Gareth to think that I didn't welcome him to the constituency and if I was elected I would do my absolute best to represent him."

The candidates standing in Wokingham are: Independent: Mark Ashwell; Green: Marjory Bisset; Liberal Democrat: Prue Bray; Labour: George Davidson; Monster Raving Loony Party: Top Cat Owen; Conservative: John Redwood; Independent: Robin Smith; UKIP: Ann Zebedee.

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