Newton Aycliffe’s MP could face a fight for his safe seat in the House of Commons as plans were drawn up this week to re-shape constitutional boundaries.
Phil Wilson’s seat, Sedgefield, would be replaced by a new East Durham constituency if the proposals go through.
The Tories say the plans are a cost-cutting exercise, to reduce the number of MPs nationally from 650 to 600.
The number of North-East MPs would be reduced from 29 to 25.
But Labour MPs have accused the Government of “gerrymandering” – manipulating boundaries for the benefit of a political party.
Mr Wilson, who succeeded Tony Blair in the safe Labour seat of Sedgefield in 2007 and has a fairly comfortable majority, said: “It’s disappointing it has come to this.
“The reason they have done this is to gerrymander the system to give them a bigger majority over the Labour Party.
“Of the 50 MPs that will be lost, two thirds are Labour and they (the Government) wouldn’t be doing this if it was the other way round.
Under the new plans, boundaries have been redrawn to ensure that they contain equally-sized constituencies of between 71,000 and 78,500 electors, which is a legal requirement.
It’s claimed it will save taxpayers £66m over five years, but Mr Wilson rejected those claims, saying they’re unfair and undemocratic.
“The average size of the House of Commons since the Reform Act of 1832 has been 649,” he added.
“We have maintained that size and for the Tories to say it’s about cutting the cost, and the fact they’ve increased the number of peers (in the House of Lords) by 200 at a cost of £30m, just isn’t the reason.”
While the regional Labour party would suffer under the proposals, Labour town and County Councillor John Clare says the amended boundary changes are a victory for Newton Aycliffe.
“It’s a vindication of our campaign in 2012 to keep Aycliffe together,” said Cllr Clare.
“On a wider perspective, the boundary changes are bad for the Labour Party, seeing a number of Labour constituencies disappear altogether.
“And we will have to see if these proposals, like the 2011 proposals, fail to gain parliamentary approval – they may never happen.
“But, nevertheless, my initial reaction is that this would be an acceptable boundary proposal for Great Aycliffe.”
Maps (below) show the proposed East Durham constituency (with Newton Aycliffe in the bottom left corner); and a detail of the boundaries for Great Aycliffe.