Dover DC came under fire in the house of lords yesterday for ignoring local representations and dividing the Cinque Port of Sandwich into two electoral wards.
Lord Pender, who asked the government the reason for this, said: 'Following the voting down of this proposal by the local residents by a three to one margin, and the fact that the status quo was accepted
by the local officers only to be overruled by the leader of Dover District Council, does not the minister consider that that might be construed as gerrymandering?'
He stressed: 'Such decisions as to parish warding and the reasons for them are, under statute, matters for the district councils concerned and for which the council is accountable in local elections'.
Former Conservative minister Baroness Trumpington of Sandwich questioned whether it was usual to split electoral wards where the population was under 4,000 and said the people of Sandwich very much
resented being bullied against their will by Dover DC.
But the Earl of Sandwich, whose noble ancestor invented the first convenience food, asked: 'Does the minister agree that the sandwich has always traditionally been divided into two and what matters to the
people is the filling in the middle?'
Lord Whitty responded: 'The noble earl speaks from authority on this matter. I note his concern'.