Council slams Government boundary shakeup

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The Government is being warned that the Selby district could be fractured and local democracy undermined under nationwide changes to constituency boundaries.

Selby Council’s Executive has condemned the Boundary Commission for England’s (BCE) plans to split the district into three different constituencies which would see rural communities merged with urban areas in West Yorkshire.

The district is currently represented by one MP, however under the new proposals the southern part of the district would have the same MP as Castleford, the northern wards would go in with an enlarged Outer York constituency and Eggborough and Whitley would become part of a new Wakefield East and Pontefract constituency. Last week the Executive agreed to formally object to the proposals as part of the BCE’s ongoing public consultation.

Council leader Mark Crane said: “Whilst I agree with the Government’s plans to reduce the overall number of MPs at Westminster, I don’t think the proposals for our area are the right way forward.

“It could mean that people in the district are lumped in with urban areas - there’s a strong chance the needs of our rural communities would be overlooked if the local MP has to focus on the needs of people living in Wakefield, Pontefract or Castleford as well. We know from talking to the people we represent that few want such a change.

“The Commission itself has said that existing boundaries within North Yorkshire could easily be made to fit its criteria of having between 73,000 and 80,000 residents. But because of issues in meeting this target in West Yorkshire, we face fundamental changes here in Selby. We think a better solution would be to have a closer association between West and South Yorkshire - two counties with a lot more in common.”

The BCE’s 12-week consultation finished on Monday. It will now publish responses received and there will be a further four-week consultation next year.