Monday, 7 November 2016

My alternative constituencies: Greater Manchester

Theoretically, it should be possible to avoid creating constituencies in Greater Manchester which contain parts of Cheshire or Lancashire. However, in practice it is not, due to the large and varying ward sizes of the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester, a problem it shares with the capital, London. After all, Manchester is effectively the capital of North West England.

That said, there is a lot of work to be done here, with a few inevitable ward splits. Quite a few old constituencies that have been recreated here should not be recreated, as their component parts had no proper connection to each other. Middleton & Prestwich and Littleborough & Saddleworth are key examples of constituencies which do not deserve to be revived; Middleton and Prestwich are separated by Heanor Park; Littleborough is indisputably connected with Rochdale and Saddleworth has better connections with Oldham; it is my personal belief that Saddleworth should have been left in Yorkshire with the rest of the Colne Valley.

Other old constituencies, though, do deserve to be revived, although only a few can. These should be Radcliffe-cum-Farnworth. due to the strong links between the two towns, Altrincham & Sale, to reunite Sale, and Bury (not by adding any part of Radcliffe, though, as the Boundary Commission has erroneously recommended!)

A radical shake-up of Cheadle and Hazel Grove is not needed; instead it is easier to just add Stepping Hill ward to Hazel Grove, where it actually belongs, and move Cheadle upwards to take only a satellite part of Stockport, not any part of Stockport itself. I believe it is better that Manchester only has to share one constituency with another borough, not three, especially when the oversized Manchester Central must donate at least one ward anyway. Other constituencies only need minor changes.

My alternative constituencies for Greater Manchester therefore look like this:

Bolton South East is abolished.
Bury South is abolished.
Denton & Reddish is abolished.
Westhoughton succeeds Bolton West. Within Hulton ward it contains all polling districts except 2HA1, making its actual electorate 76,981.
Bolton succeeds Bolton North East. It also has polling district 2HA1 from Hulton ward, making its actual electorate 75,451.
Bury succeeds Bury North.
Blackley & Prestwich succeeds Blackley & Broughton.
Salford succeeds Salford & Eccles.
Worsley & Eccles succeeds Worsley & Eccles South.
Manchester Wythenshawe succeeds Wythenshawe & Sale East; it is worth noting that the old Manchester Wythenshawe contained Didsbury from 1955-1974, just as my proposal for Manchester Wythenshawe does.
Altrincham & Sale succeeds Altrincham & Sale West and is similar to the 1974-1983 boundaries of Altrincham & Sale.
The changed Hazel Grove contains polling district VE of Manor ward, making its actual electorate 71,813 and the changed Stockport's actual electorate 78,137.
Leigh, Makerfield, Wigan, Heywood & Middleton, and Rochdale are all unchanged.
Radcliffe-cum-Farnworth is a new seat and revives the 1885-1918 constituency of the same name.

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