MP critical of boundary change plans which would split up constituency

MP Jonathan Reynolds doubts that proposed boundary changes that could see his political constituency split up will ever happen, describing them as ‘an act of needless bureaucracy’.

Mr Reynolds, whose constituency currently covers Stalybridge, Mossley, Hyde and Denton, was speaking after final recommendations were published by the Boundary Commission in September.

The recommended plans for an ‘Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge’ seat

The recommendations set out new parliamentary boundaries nationwide, which define the areas in which a person votes for their local MP, and could see the number of MPs cut from 650 to 600.

The review also aims to make constituencies more equal in terms of total number of voters – between 71,031 and 78,507.

The final recommendations were made following analysis of current constituencies and local government patterns as well as consultation with the public, which brought more than 35,000 individual responses.

The report, which still needs to secure the backing of MPs and peers, has now been presented to Parliament for consideration.

The recommendations see Stalybridge, Mossley, Dukinfield, and Ashton join together in a new ‘Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge’ seat.

Hyde would be included with Marple, Romiley, Bredbury, Woodley, High Lane and Marple Bridge.
However, Mr Reynolds believes the changes will not happen.

Jonathan Reynolds MP

He said: “This is the third time in recent years the Tory government have commissioned these boundary changes – they have never come to fruition before and I’m cynical that they will now.

“The Prime Minister has already put back the planned vote in October by several months for the simple reason that she doesn’t have the numbers to push these silly changes through.

“I will make clear my view that these proposals are not in the interests of local people but want to assure people I think this whole exercise will prove to be another pointless waste of public money, just as its predecessors were.

“The Government should stop wasting taxpayers’ money on nonsense like this.”

Under the Boundary Commission plan, Stalybridge and Mossley would fall under the Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge constituency together with Dukinfield and Ashton.

Mr Reynolds added: “Stalybridge and Hyde has been a constituency for a century this year and to me makes much more sense as it is in a cohesive community than the proposed alternative.

“I am glad they have at least listened to my insistence that Stalybridge is not a suburb of Ashton and must not fall off the parliamentary map as it did in their last proposals.

“However, the Hyde and Marple seat crosses different councils, rivers and railway lines and lumps together very disparate communities.

“I am not sure that the Boundary Commission officials have ever actually been here and spoken with people about their lives, their routes to work and who they consider their closest neighbours.

“It seems a lot like this map was drawn up at a desk in London.

“I care deeply about all parts of the constituency I currently represent – I live in Stalybridge, have my office in Hyde, worship in Mottram, am president of Broadbottom Cricket Club, am fighting for extra special needs provision in Dukinfield, and wouldn’t miss the Mossley Whit Walk.

“It seems daft to pull this lovely constituency apart in an act of needless bureaucracy.”

Announcing their final recommendations on their website, the Boundary Commission wrote: “During the 2018 Boundary Review we examined areas and made proposals for a new set of boundaries which are fairer and more equal, while also trying to reflect geographic factors and local ties.

“The Commission also looked at current constituencies and local government patterns in re-drawing the map of boundaries in England.

“The review involved regularly consulting members of the public for their views on their local area, and the refining proposals in a number of stages.

“The Commission submitted its final recommendations to Government in September 2018. Parliament will now have the opportunity to consider our recommendations.”

You can view the final recommendations on an interactive map: www.bce2018.org.uk

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