At lunchtime today, the independent Boundary Commission for England published details of the initial responses to their draft proposals for new Parliamentary constituencies. You can read the details on their website. Residents have until midday on the 3rd April to respond to the responses – so to speak!
The draft proposals split the City of Salford asunder and were rightly opposed by almost everybody, including representatives from all three main political parties. Five years ago, the Labour Party locally vociferously opposed the current boundaries, arguing (rightly) that they split Eccles town centre apart and detached Broughton and Kersal from the rest of the City. Despite that, this time they are lazily supporting the status quo, presumably out of self-interest.
Now, no constituency boundary review is perfect, but I do believe that the Conservative proposals represent the best value for all local residents. Under Conservative plans, the whole of the “old” City of Salford will be reunited in one seat, and the towns of Eccles and Swinton will no longer be split, as they form the basis of a new “Eccles and Swinton” seat which also includes Irlam, Cadishead and parts of Worsley. The third proposed seat would be a new “Walkden and Westhoughton” seat. You can download the details, and a few comments of mine on them, by clicking here.
Browsing a few of the responses, there is a clear pattern to the Labour submissions; they have been very strong (rightly) in condemning the Commission’s draft proposals, but they have offered little or no evidence in support of their own proposals. Indeed, some local Labour figures have already chosen to break ranks: Councillor Roger Jones, Labour Councillor for the Irlam ward, said in his submission:
“Part of Eccles is in Irlam Ward and it makes sense to put Irlam & Cadishead with Eccles, Barton & Winton wards.”
The Labour submission proposals to keep Eccles divided between two constituencies, down the main street. I am delighted that Councillor Jones has aligned himself with Conservative proposals to reunite the three wards of the town of Eccles within one Parliamentary constituency. I hope that the Boundary Commission agree with him – and us!