Yorkshire and Humber is set to lose four of its 54 MPs in a proposed shake-up of constituency boundaries which threatens the seats of some of the region’s highest profile politicians.
Tory former Brexit Secretary David Davis’s Haltemprice and Howden seat is on course for abolition while senior Labour MP Rachel Reeves is set to lose her Leeds West constituency under the final plans set out by the UK’s four boundary commissions.
Prominent Tory Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns will lose Morley and Outwood and potentially have to stand in a more Labour-leaning seat which includes areas of Batley, while Bradford West will be axed, potentially sparking a selection battle between Labour MPs Naz Shah and Imran Hussain.
Nationally, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s seat will go and Boris Johnson’s majority challenged under the changes Theresa May believes will deliver “more equal and updated” constituency boundaries that all contain a similar number of voters.
But the Prime Minister was warned by one of her own MPs, Philip Davies, that she faces a fight to get the proposals approved in the Commons, with a number of Tories prepared to rebel as the plan reduces the power of Parliament by cutting the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
The Shipley MP said he was “delighted” that the independent Boundary Commission had listened to lobbying from him and local residents, and decided to amend the plans to keep the Bingley Rural ward in his seat.
But he added: “I very much doubt that these proposed boundaries will pass. I oppose the changes on principle. Reducing the number of MPs without reducing the number of Ministers gives the Government more power over Parliament.”
Mr Davies also dismissed the suggestions that the Government could attempt to use the proposals as a means to keep Brexiteer MPs in line, saying it “would not make any difference if they did”.
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jon Trickett described as “crackers” the plan to redraw his Hemsworth constituency and warned the changes will leave MPs with more work to do as MEPs will no longer have seats after Brexit. He dismissed suggestions it would save money as the Government has approved scores of new peers in the Lords.
“It’s a fiddle because it ends up with a large number of Labour seats abolished and just barely a handful of Tory seats.
“We don’t need one less seat in Yorkshire, we’re going to have less MPs to fight for the best for Yorkshire.”
'Moderate MPs must not go'
Rachel Reeves is one of the highest profile MPs set to lose her seat under the plans.
But because 40 per cent of her Leeds West voters will move into a redrawn Pudsey seat, she will have a claim to fight for election there, but may face a battle against incumbent Tory Stuart Andrew.
Ms Reeves told The Yorkshire Post: “With the Government trying to get controversial legislation through Parliament it is more important than ever to have independent minded MPs from across the country holding them to account. It is not in the interest of our constituents to cut the representation they get in Parliament.”