Controversial proposals for a cross-border ‘Devonwall’ constituency have been abandoned.

The proposals, which would have seen Bideford joined up with Bude and Launceston in North Cornwall, were part of a Government shake-up that would have seen 50 constituencies wiped from the electoral map.

A review had been carried out after Parliament initially said the number of constituencies across the UK should be reduced from 650 to 600 with roughly the same number of electors in each – between 71,000 and 78,500.

There had been little action since four Boundary Commissions for the four nations reported back in 2018, and on Wednesday, Constitution minister Chloe Smith confirmed the plans to reduce seats to 600 had been dropped in a ‘change in policy’.

She told MPs in a written statement to Parliament: “The Government is minded to make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

“This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the coalition government.

“Since that policy was established in the coalition agreement, the United Kingdom has now left the European Union.

“The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control and regaining our political and economic independence.

“It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.”

The proposed Devonwall constituency would have consisted of two Parliamentary seats: Torridge and West Devon and North Cornwall, and had provoked anger on both sides of the River Tamar.

Speaking in 2016, Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox said: “These two counties are very distinct and have strong separate identities.

“I believe combining parts of the two counties in one constituency would give rise to competing pressures.

“Ultimately, while he or she would do their best, it would be very difficult for an MP to reconcile these wholly different and sometimes conflicting interests.”

The Boundary Commission had said the Devonwall area was ‘unavoidable’ if plans to make constituencies more equal in size were to be successful and the number of MPs were to be reduced, but those plans have now been scrapped.