THE DECISION by government to reduce the number of MPs within a tightly defined remit has lead to proposals which has seen community ties disregarded and nonsensical constituencies created cutting through towns and boroughs.
If adopted the original proposals would have lead to the separation of Royton along Rochdale Road, cut across two constituencies.
Together with the other Oldham MPs I supported Oldham Councils official proposal to create two constituencies within the borough boundary.
Today the Boundary Commission published their proposal for revising the boundaries of all the Parliamentary constituencies in England.
Although the revised proposals do not back the proposal put forward by Oldham Council they do at least support my suggestion for a fall back ‘least worst option’ which I presented at the public hearing in Chester. Under this amendment Royton would be unified in the same constituency.
The current proposals however maintain the creation of three seats which straddle four local authority areas; Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Manchester.
New rules laid down by Parliament mean that the number of constituencies in England will reduce from 533 to 501. In the North West, this means a reduction by seven, to 68. The rules are aimed at managing the size of the electorate in each constituency, so that it is no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.
I recognise the constraints faced by the Boundary Commission in achieving 600 constituencies, each consisting of 71,031 to 78,507 electors. But as ever my priorities lie in representing and supporting residents, and I felt duty-bound to make the Commission aware of my concerns.
The Commissions initial proposal would have seen all new constituencies exist with two local authorities cutting across their boundaries, while the town of Royton – which has had the same parliamentary representation since 1832 – would have been split in two.
The Commission have listened to some of my concerns, in particular the impact on Royton, although they clearly didn’t have the appetite for the fuller revision we proposed.
The minor changes are:
- Oldham: including Royton North, while removing St Mary’s
- Failsworth and Droylsden: including St Mary’s, removing Saddleworth West and Lees
- Littleborough and Saddleworth: including Saddleworth West and Lees, removing Royton North.
You can read more about the Boundary Commissions review here.