From Ilkley Gazette, 19th October 2017
Written by Claire Lomax
WHARFEDALE MPs from across the political divide have urged the Government to abandon controversial plans to redraw constituency boundaries. They spoke out as the Boundary Commission published its latest money-saving proposals to cut the number of MPs in Parliament from 650 to 600. Under the scheme, the current Keighley constituency, which includes Ilkley, would be extended to take in Wharfedale ward, which is presently within the Shipley constituency.
Meanwhile, Shipley would also lose the Bingley Rural ward – to Bradford North – but would take on Idle as well as Leeds Council’s Guiseley and Rawdon ward.
Shipley's Tory MP, Philip Davies, blasted the proposals as “completely ridiculous”. “Thankfully they are obviously not going to go through," he added.
"There is no chance of any of this going through, and anyway, looking at what they have proposed, thank goodness for that.
"It’s a complete and utter waste of money and the sooner the Government puts these boundary changes out of their misery, the better for all concerned.”
Keighley and Ilkley Labour MP John Grogan said that with the Democratic Unionists opposing the plans, it would only take a handful of “unhappy Conservative backbenchers like Philip Davies” to scupper the project.
He urged the Government to call a halt to the idea. "If it isn’t going anywhere, it is a waste of public money to pursue it," he said.
Alex Sobel, Leeds North West's Labour MP said: “Three out of the four seats lost will be made in West and South Yorkshire with no change in the eight Conservative held seats in North Yorkshire. This is clearly a political manoeuvre aimed at protecting the conservative’s slim majority. This at a time of vast political upheaval as we leave the European Union. I am strongly against these proposals due to the chaos it would cause to our democracy at a time when we need a period of calm to focus on the big challenges that the country faces.”
Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough's MP Stuart Andrew said: "Given the dramatic variation in the number of electors in each constituency in England, I am in agreement that the Boundary Commission must equalise this disparity, after Parliament voted to do so in 2011.
"Given that one MP might represent over 100,000 electors, whilst others like myself, over 70,000 electors, with other Members representing an even lower number, I think it is right to reconsider constituency boundaries.
"Nonetheless, I am very disappointed that the Boundary Commission have failed to listen to the concerns of the local community in Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough during the two consultation periods this year.
"I know many of my constituents are alarmed to learn that, under the new proposals by the Boundary Commission for England, their constituency will be abolished.
"In addition to this, I am particularly concerned to hear that under the new proposals, Guiseley and Rawdon will be Bradford facing, which will dramatically change the historical makeup of the area.
"I would like to assure my constituents that I will be working hard to achieve a revision of the new proposals over the coming months and will ensure that the voices of my constituents are heard."
A public consultation into the proposals will run until December 11, with the matter then due to go before Parliament next year.