Friday, 24 March 2017

My revised proposals: Yorkshire & The Humber

I have been grappling with Yorkshire regarding the 2018 Boundary Review for days, given how strong the objections are to many of the Boundary Commission's initial proposals, and how many counter-proposals have been submitted. The ward sizes in West Yorkshire's metropolitan boroughs pose a serious problem in drawing up allowable and suitable constituencies; the target range is only 7,477 (71,030 to 78,507) yet many wards in Leeds on 2015 electorate numbers have electorates more than double that target range, and the wards of the other West Yorkshire metropolitan boroughs are very large, given that all of these councils hold elections by thirds and will continue to do so for a long time.

The strongest objections in particular concern moving Bradford wards into constituencies not centred on Bradford, moving Tong into any Leeds constituency given the poor connections of Tong ward, pairing Brighouse with Halifax even though there are no proper connections between those two towns, and merging Pudsey with western Leeds. I initially considered restoring the old constituencies of Skipton, Ripon, and Brighouse & Spenborough to deal with these problems and the uneven size and varying shape of the wards of the city of Leeds (since reviving Batley & Morley appears to work out nicely at first). However, I discovered this was not a practical solution, as reuniting all of the old Craven area (by taking Barnoldswick, Earby, and Sedbergh back from the North West, as well as taking in the Craven ward of Keighley) would not be in the best interests of surrounding constituencies, and residents of Brighouse have made it clear they wish to continue to be paired with Sowerby. There have been considerable objections to reviving Batley & Morley and recreating the 1918-1950 constituency of Spen Valley (which would have to take in Bradford wards; see above) and given that unnecessary change to existing constituencies should not occur, I concur with these objections and believe Batley & Spen should be kept intact.

The Pudsey situation can be resolved by taking the polling districts of Otley & Yeadon that comprise the town of Yeadon, which will more importantly bring it up to quota as well as reuniting the old districts. Pudsey has remained largely unchanged since 1950 and should retain its natural composition apart from the small change I have described above. Meanwhile, Leeds West merely needs to add a ward (same with Leeds East), and the area of Cookridge can remain together by expanding Leeds North West into the outer reaches of Bradford that were part of the pre-1983 Ripon constituency i.e. Ilkley and Wharfedale. The Headingley, Hyde Park and City areas can be combined (as they essentially have been in the most recent boundary review of Leeds City Council's wards) into a new version of Leeds Central, at the cost of reviving the awkward Morley & Leeds South constituency of 1983-1997 and creating splits in current wards (as opposed to future wards that will be used in Leeds from 2018 onwards).

It is also correct to state that Doncaster should not be split East and West, but rather North and Central as before, as Doncaster Central broadly covers Doncaster itself but Doncaster North covers outlying villages. In light of this, major modifications are needed to many of my South Yorkshire proposals, and many ward splits are needed to create coherent, acceptable constituencies, although my proposals for East Yorkshire can remain unaffected, and I believe that the BCE's proposals for North Yorkshire are sound enough, given that under this new plan it is not possible to avoid extending the current Selby & Ainsty constituency.

My revised proposals for Yorkshire & the Humber look like this:

Part 1 (West Yorkshire)

Part 2 (South Yorkshire)

Part 3 (North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire)

Bradford West is abolished.
Barnsley East is abolished.
Sheffield Heeley is abolished.
Brigg & Goole is abolished.
Haltemprice & Howden is abolished.
Brighouse & Sowerby succeeds Calder Valley.
Bradford Central succeeds Bradford East.
Keighley & Bingley succeeds Keighley. Within Bingley ward it contains polling districts 2A, 2E, 2F, 2G, and 2J, making its actual electorate 75,370.
Shipley & Bradford North succeeds Shipley. Within Bingley ward it does not contain polling districts 2A, 2E, 2F, 2G or 2J, making its actual electorate 74,063.
Otley & Leeds North succeeds Leeds North West in practice. Within Otley & Yeadon ward it loses polling districts OYF-OYJ, making its real electorate 78,264 and the expanded Pudsey's real electorate 74,899.
Leeds Central actually succeeds Leeds North East in my revised proposals; the current Leeds Central constituency disappears.
Morley & Leeds South succeeds Morley & Outwood, recreating the 1983-1997 constituency of the same name. Within City & Hunslet ward it does not have polling districts CHA, CHC, CHD, or CHI (the area of which will be part of Little London & Woodhouse ward after local boundary changes in Leeds are affirmed for the 2018 elections onwards), making its actual electorate 76,438 and Leeds Central's new electorate 77,986.
My revised proposal of Colne Valley contains polling districts LD02, LD05 and LD06 of Lindley ward making its new electorate 71,232 and Huddersfield's new electorate 71,045.
Barnsley succeeds Barnsley Central.
Doncaster succeeds Doncaster Central. It loses polling district BA of Balby South ward to Don Valley, making its actual electorate
Elmsall Vale succeeds Doncaster North. Within Ackworth, North Elmsall & Upton ward it contains polling districts 01HH and 01HJ (comprising North Elmsall) making its actual electorate 72,734.
Pontefract succeeds Hemsworth in practice. Within Ackworth, North Elmsall & Upton ward it does not contain polling districts 01HH and 01HJ, making its actual electorate 76,884.
Normanton, Castleford & Outwood succeeds Normanton, Pontefract, & Castleford. Within Wakefield North it contains polling district 17WC, making its actual electorate 71,474 and Wakefield's actual electorate 73,919.
Brigg succeeds Cleethorpes in practice.
Grimsby & Cleethorpes succeeds Great Grimsby, keeping the town together by combining it with Cleethorpes, attached to it in the same way Hove is attached to Brighton.
My revised proposal of Sheffield Hallam contains polling district ZA of Walkley ward making its real electorate 71,153.
Penistone succeeds Penistone & Stocksbridge in practice.
Sheffield Gleadless succeeds Sheffield South East. It does not contain polling districts UE, UF, and UG from Richmond ward, making its actual electorate 72,194 and the new Sheffield Brightside's actual electorate 73,690
Sheffield Hillsborough succeeds Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough in practice. Within Walkley ward it contains polling districts ZE and ZJ, making its actual electorate 72,772. The redrawn Sheffield Central's electorate is therefore 77,282.
Batley & Spen, Dewsbury, Elmet & Rothwell, and Rother Valley are all unchanged.
Sheffield Brightside is a new seat.
Goole & Howden is a new seat.

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