Yesterday the Government’s Boundary review proposals were announced. The proposals are a Conservative Government initiative, backed by the rationale that the changes will cut the cost of democracy by reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
However, I believe they are fundamentally flawed and a disingenuous attempt to mislead the public. That is why there has been widespread criticism of the plans from across the political spectrum.
On the one hand the Government says that it wants to reduce the cost of democracy by reducing the number of MPs whilst on the other hand they have created 260 unelected peers to sit in the House of Lords. Savings are already being made through the demise of the 73 UK MEPs. In addition to this the Government has ignored the millions of extra voters in their calculations, who registered on the run up to the EU referendum, simply pretending that they don’t exist in a review that pretends to be all about numbers.
The proposed changes have more to do with party politics than the public purse. Obviously the real aim of the proposed reconfiguration is to unashamedly create more Conservative MPs and as such is blatant gerrymandering – it should be recognised as such and held in contempt.
These are early days and there is still much consultation to take place as Parliament will not vote on this until October 2018. However let me make it clear that I will be opposing these proposals because I want to prevent the breakup of Burnley as a parliamentary constituency. I know that if the Government was really serious about cutting costs, they would not have created hundreds of new Lords, who are answerable to no-one.
My primary concern will always be what is in the best interests of people in Burnley and Padiham. The identity of our communities is paramount and the status quo has worked well. I don’t want to see our towns ‘carved up’ for self-serving political gain.