Manchester hearings report

In Manchester, News, North West on October 12, 2011 by dadge

They came, they showed their powerpoints, they weren’t entirely bonkers…
Well, except for some of Labour’s proposals, like these corkers:
That’s the two new constituencies of Ellesmere Port and West Runcorn (yellow) and North West Cheshire (green). NWC is a fine creation, one the Boundary Commission itself would’ve been proud of*, stretching as it does from Heswall in Merseyside, through rural Cheshire, picking up a third of the City of Chester on the way and ending with a suburb of Runcorn and a suburb of Northwich in the east. Labour may be forgiven for trying to make the “best” of a difficult situation vis-a-vis the ward boundaries in the county, but this seat is as classic an example of a gerrymander as you’re ever likely to see. And what the map doesn’t show you about EPWR is that there is no direct road link between the three main parts of the seat.
* joke
The LibDems (in the shape of blogger doktorB) were the only one of the three main parties to advocate the splitting of some wards to make the pattern of seats more acceptable, Labour and the Tories seemingly having been cowed by the Commission into playing it safe. The consensus is that the Tories have the best plan of the four main plans now on the table.
The major fly in the ointment for the Tories’ counterproposal is their plan to combine Salford with Stretford. Roger Pratt (who presented the Tories’ case) is an old hand at this game and I’m sure he knows it won’t go down well – read the transcripts from the 2005 hearings to get a feel for the popularity or otherwise of such a move…
Several speakers bemoaned the way the Commission had treated Salford, Leigh and Ashton, and the main parties appear to have bent over backwards (just as I have!) to ensure these communities aren’t split between seats.
Somewhere where there is less consensus is The Poynton Question, i.e. whether the Cheshire ward of Poynton should be added to Stockport to make more options available. I say no, it shouldn’t. Poynton shouldn’t be treated badly just in order to make life easy for the Commission. What’s more important is what makes life easy or difficult for the inhabitants and their MP. Greater Manchester is hardly short of voters, so there is no excuse for tacking Poynton.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much mention of any independent counterproposals. It has to be borne in mind that the parties have certain motivations, ulterior motives shall we say, for making certain proposals, and it puts the Commission in an invidious position to have to choose between them.
Some of Wednesday’s speakers:
Trevor Barton is director of Wigan Voluntary Services Council
Keith Barnes is pro-vice chancellor of Salford University
Barbara Spicer is chief executive of Salford City Council
Mike Hall is the former MP for Weaver Vale
Andrew Stunell is the MP for Hazel Grove
John Stockton is a Halton councillor @JStockton332
Kate Challender is a Bolton politician
Iain Lindley is a Salford councillor @cllrilindley
After Manchester, the public hearings move on on Thursday to Chester and Leeds.

2 Responses to “Manchester hearings report”

  1. I’m not sure that Poynton being added to Hazel Grove is being treated badly. The Lib Dems have whinged about them not wanting to go into Greater Manchester, but everyone knows Hazel Grove is as much Cheshire as Poynton, and of course it will not mean Poynton being added to the Stockport borough. The Lib Dems just don’t want a super-safe Tory ward going into their marginal seat.

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