OBJECTIONS to plans to split a constituency into five, leaving a city without its own MP for the first time in more than 300 years, has been given cross-party support by local councillors.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has put together proposals to redraw constituencies across the country in a bid to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Among the proposed changes are to get rid of the current City of Durham, splitting the area into five, and the Easington constituency, which would be divided in three.

A new “City of Durham and Easington” constituency would cover part of the city, Peterlee, Horden, Murton, Trimdon, Thornley and Shotton.

Durham County Council has agreed to write to the commission to object to the proposals.

Council leader Simon Henig said: “The revised proposal make a dramatic change to the previous proposals as to how they affect County Durham.

“With Durham reduced to four whole constituencies, this would leave us with a share in eight constiuencies covering five council areas and would tear apart numerous long standing ties within communities.

“There is very little opportunity for people to object to these changes. I hope these proposals never come to fruition.”

The objection was backed by Liberal Democrats on the council.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood said: “These are massive changes that have come about as opposed to the ones that went out to consultation with the public. I think 95 per cent of people are not going to know about the implications of this. There’s no opportunity for the public to respond.

“I think we have to support this letter.”

However, Conservative leader Cllr Richard Bell said he was unable to object to the proposals outright, as they also got rid of a previous proposal to create a constituency which would have included both Consett and Barnard Castle.

He said: “The holy grail is if it’s achievable is to not tear up any local communities.”

The Durham City constituency was created in 1678. Initially it had two MPs, reduced to one in 1885. The current boundary has been in place since 1983.