Pair of Conservative MPs renew bid to create breakaway council in West Yorkshire

A Yorkshire Tory MP has renewed his calls to create a new council for his constituency in a bid to break away from the Labour-controlled authority it currently falls under.

Shipley MP Philip Davies has long called for his area to be taken out of the catchment of Bradford Council, and has been joined in his bid by Robbie Moore, who was elected in 2019 as Conservative MP for Keighley.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Mr Davies hit out at Bradford Council over the construction of a bypass proposed to be built to the east of Shipley.

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He said the Government handed the council “hundreds of thousands of pounds” for a feasibility study, which was due to report in autumn 2019, and then April 2020.

Shipley MP Philip Davies. Photo: JPI Media

But Mr Davies said: “And yet a year on from that, there is still no sign of it.”

Mr Davies urged the Prime Minister to intervene and asked Boris Johnson to meet with him and Mr Moore to bid for “a truly local unitary authority”.”

Mr Johnson said the relevant minister would meet with the pair but said Bradford Council should “follow the example of many Conservative controlled councils and deliver that essential infrastructure project on time, creating jobs, and opportunities”.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “It’s election season so even more than usual, Philip is playing the populist card.

"His comments do not seem to be being taken seriously by the Prime Minister and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone else either. We’ve kept him fully informed throughout the process and, as he knows, we’ve been working closely with the Department for Transport in developing a robust assessment, the outcome of which should be known in the next month or so.

"Once Philip comes off the campaign trail and is interested in actually discussing the detail we’ll be more than happy to do so.”

Speaking afterwards Mr Mr Davies said: “Shipley and Keighley constituencies too often miss out and are ignored because they are not in their city heartlands. Perhaps it is just too big an area for them to properly look after.

"Today I raised the matter of the delays surrounding the feasibility study into the Shipley Eastern Bypass in Parliament with the Prime Minister. If this was a city centre project I have no doubt the council would have been quicker off the blocks and not be dragging their feet like is currently the situation.

“Breaking away from Bradford Council would mean there was a separate budget for the area and it would be spent on things we need. No longer would my constituents be treated as a cash cow raising money to be spent across other parts of the district. It would be our money to be spent in our area. I strongly believe my constituents would be better off being represented by its own council along with the Keighley constituency which I know feel the same. I am delighted the Prime Minister is arranging the meeting and look forward to seeing how this campaign can progress to the next stage.”

Mr Moore added: “Bradford Council has failed our area on so many occasions. Enough is enough. Momentum to break away and create a new council area is gathering pace fast. We have managed to secure a meeting with the local government minister, Luke Hall, to discuss exploring this option further. Exciting times lay ahead. It is only right that residents of both the Shipley constituency and Keighley and Ilkley constituency are able to have a local council that works for them.”