I have agreed to help the North West Region LibDems with their submission for this year’s great Parliamentary Boundary jamboree, so this post should be treated more a précis than any suggestion of what the Region is suggesting instead.
In very brief terms, what the Boundary Commission for England has performed is a highly impressive, highly skilled, and ultimately very controversial. In some cases, the proposals are simply not workable. They should be cohesive, coherent, and democratically valid.
However, commenting much on these proposals in this medium won’t get me very far with the bods in Region, so I present instead a quick overview of what is being proposed.
If you want to react to these changes, either do so in this blog (for I’m always up for seeing what other people suggest), or go to the Boundary Commission’s website.
City of Manchester
1) Blackley and Broughton. Includes the Broughton and Kersal wards of Salford Council, and brings in Cheetham, Moston, Newton Heath, Crumpsall and surrounding areas. The Charlestown ward is moved into a proposed cross-border seat called Middleton
2) Manchester Central. Two city centres in this proposal – Manchester and Salford, four wards from each coming together into one constituency.
3)Manchester Gorton, Takes Ardwick, Gorton, Levenhsulme, Longsight, Moss Side and Rusholme
4) Manchester Withington. Loses Didsbury from the existing seat. Includes such areas as Chorlton and Chorlton Park, Old Moat, Whalley Range and Fallowfield.
5) Middleton. Very close to an idea I had for a “Middleton, Moston and Failsworth” seat way back when, this new cross-border creation brings together communities whose common theme is close proximity to the point at which three local councils meet. Includes Chadderton, Heywood and Middleton
6) Wythenshawe. The southern quarter of Manchester, with Sale Moor ward from Trafford, also incorporates Didsbury.
City of Liverpool
1) Bootle. Due to the size and shape of Sefton’s wards, it’s no wonder things are a bit messy round there. One Liverpool ward is attached (they call it an “orphan” in the business) to this slight return to a previous constituency. Kirkdale joins the southern swathes of Sefton.
2) Huyton and Halewood. This is the natural successor to existing Garston and Halewood, and incorporates only two Liverpool wards. Why it drops “Garston” is a mystery.
3) Liverpool North A boring name for a pick-n-mix seat including, amongst other bits, Kirkby Central, Croxteth, Warbrek, and the Netherton/Orrell ward from Sefton.
4) Liverpool Riverside An expanded version of the existing seat – includes the city centre, Everton, Picton and St Michael’s
5) Liverpool Wavertree I think this is unchanged – includes Allerton, Hunts Cross, Cressington, Woolton and Wavertree itself.
6) Liverpool West Derby Has been expanded and includes, amongst others, Anfield, Knotty Ash, Tuebrook/Stoneycroft, Yew tree and Stockbridge from Knowsley.
City of Salford
1) Blackley and Broughton. As above
2) Leigh. In what is a badly drawn and incorrectly named seat (this is me trying not to judge or suggest alternatives), the outskirts of Leigh are attached to Irlam, Walkden and Little Hulton. So not quite “Leigh” really, more “Salford East and Tyldesley”.
3) Manchester Central. As above
4) Swinton Or perhaps “Eccles and something, something”. This is the left-over bits of Salford – Barton, Eccles, Pendlebury, Winton, Swinton, and Worsley.
Borough of Wigan
1) Leigh. As above
2) Makerfield Altered a bit – includes Ashton, Bryn, Lowton (both East and West), Winstanley and perennially mispronounced pub-quiz favourite Worsley Mesnes. Clue – it’s not “mes-nes”
3) Westhoughton The border-line fringes of both Wigan and Bolton combine in this one – includes Hindley and Leigh West, the latter being, pretty much, the town of Leigh.
4) Wigan. No change – the town itself plus Standish, Pemberton, Ince, Shevington and the ward name which looks like a mis-print “Aspull New Springs Whelley”. No commas.
Borough of Bolton
1) Bolton North. Incorporates Astley Bridge, Heaton, one half of Horwich, Tonge with the Haulgh, and Crompton.
2) Bolton South which brings together Kearsley, Farnworth, a trio of Levers and Harper Green.
3) Bury North is over 90% Bury, and brings in Bradshaw ward from Bolton
4) Weshoughton as above
Borough of St Helens
1) St Helens North
2) St Helens South and Whiston Neither of which change at all
Borough of Trafford
1) Altrincham and Sale. The existing seat extended a bit further.
2) Stretford and Urmston. Not much change here either – Davyhulme, Stretford, Urmston, Clifford and Ashton-upon-Mersey all incorporated.
3) Wythenshawe As above.
Borough of Oldham
1) Ashton-under-Lyne Takes the three Ashton wards and combines with Failsworth, Hollinwood and one half of Chadderton. Name change needed perhaps?
2) Middleton. As above
3) Oldham and Saddleworth An expanded version of the existing Oldham East
4) Rochdale South No, it doesn’t make sense, but it’s Crompton, Royton’s northern ward and Shaw attached to Castleton, Kingsway and Deeplish amongst others.
Borough of Rochdale
1) Middleton As above
2) Rochdale North and Rawtenstall A very ye-olde Lancashire seat this one, taking the town centre of Rochdale and all parts around and attaching it to the southern cotton and factory villages of Rossendale.
3) Rochdale South As above
Borough of Stockport
1) Cheadle Combines, amongst others, Bramhall, Cheadle, Davenport and Heald Green
2) Denton Gives one ward – Bredbury and Woodley – to a cross-border seat with the Denton and Droylsden parts of Tameside
3) Hazel Grove and Poynton. Attaches Hazel Grove and Marple with Poynton from over the border in Cheshire
4) Stockport The town itself, also including both Heatons and Reddish. I don’t mind saying at this point that I had proposed “Didsbury and The Heatons” but this was swiftly never spoken of again
Borough of Bury
1) Bury North takes Bradshaw from Bolton
2) Bury South doesn’t appear changed at all
Borough of Tameside
1) Ashton-under-Lyne As above
2) Denton As above
3) Stalybridge and Hyde. The existing seat, plus Dukinfield
Borough of Knowsley
1) Huyton and Halewood,. As above.
2) Liverpool North. As above.
3) Liverpool West Derby. As above.
4) Maghull. One of the posher bits of Sefton (the other being Southport) attached to left over bits of Knowsley. The ward names are fairly anonymous – Park, Northwood, Whitefield – though these cover the northwest fringes of Kirkby.
5) St Helens South and Whiston. As above.
Borough of Sefton
1) Bootle. As above
2) Liverpool North. As above.
3) Maghull. As above
4) Southport. The existing town of Southport with approximately 2/3rd Formby.
Lancashire – Boroughs of Chorley, West Lancashire, and South Ribble
1) Chorley is drawn to be completely coterminous with the Borough
2) South Ribble is barely changed at all, adding Farington and Lostock Hall back into a seat they should not have been taken away from in the first place. Also includes Tarleton, North Meols, Hesketh Bank, and Rufford from West Lancashire.
3) West Lancashire is unchanged – Ormskirk, Skelmersdale, Burscough and surrounding fields of what appears from the train to be two-thirds of the county’s entire vegetable import for the year
Lancashire – City of Preston, Boroughs of Fylde, Wyre, Blackpool and Ribble Valley
1) Preston expands to take almost all the city wards – oddly, and somewhat free of all logic and reason, this means Lea, Cottam and Fishwick are all excluded. Would be the first time since, I think, before the Second World War that so much of the borough was included in the same constituency – only the rural parishes and Lea and Fishwick are elsewhere.
2) Fylde continues to incorporate the parish of Lea and Cottam. Otherwise the other major addition is Poulton-le-Fylde from Wyre.
3) Lancaster is very oddly named – the boundaries are essentially the same as “Lancaster and Wyre” which existed between 1997 and 2010. Anyway, this is “Lancaster, the M6 Corridor and bits of rural Preston”, including Grimsargh, Goosnargh and Woodplumpton. I’m not making up any of those place-names.
4) Blackpool North and Fleetwood is essentially status quo ante
5) Blackpool South avoids the temptation to cross into Lytham St Annes and cause a riot, by moving ever more suburban. Includes Squire’s Gate, Layton, Stanley, Waterloo, Bloomfield and Claremont. I think the Tower is in this seat.
6) Ribble Valley continues to be a right old funny one – not only continuing to include Bamber Bridge, but now Fishwick, which would mean one of Preston’s main thoroughfares (not to mention some of the most socially and economically troubled parts of England) are hobbled onto one of the most expansive and rural.
Lancashire – City of Lancaster
1) Lancaster. As above
2) Morecambe and Lunesdale A slightly bigger version of the current seat
Lancashire – Boroughs of Blackburn and Darwen, Hyndburn, and Rossendale
1) Blackburn is virtually unchanged. Includes only seats within and surrounding the town itself – amongst their number, Audley, Ewood, Livesey with Pleasington, Wensley Fold, Little Harwood and Roe Lee.
2) Darwen and Haslingden takes areas from three boroughs, including Oswaldtwistle and Haslingden, expanding the current Rossendale and Darwen seat into new directions,
3) Burnley South and Accrington joins together the industrial bits from both these stoic northern towns, including Cliviger, Huncoat, Hapton, Rosehill, Clayton-le-Moors, Overton and Gawthorpe.
4)Rochale North and Rawtenstall As above.
Lancashire – Boroughs of Burnley and Pendle
1) Burnley North and Nelson. Takes the borough of Pendle and slots the most immediate neighbours at the bottom. Nostalgics amongst you might think it’s a reinvention of an old seat, but it is pretty much untested territory.
2) Burnley South and Accrington. As above.