The City of Leeds has 7 and a half constituencies: Central, West, North West, East, North East, Pudsey, Elmet & Rothwell, and Morley & Outwood (shared with Wakefield).
A review of the constituencies is going on, and with the national reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600, Leeds will only be entitled to 7 MPs. This is good news in a way, since it means that the city doesn’t have to share an MP with Wakefield or anywhere else. Or so you would think…
(The city boundary is shown by a thick black line. The proposed constituencies are shown by thick blue lines. The red numbers refer to the notes below.)
For reasons best known to itself, the Boundary Commission has proposed a complete redrawing of the constituency map of Leeds, including FIVE seats that include parts of neighbouring authorities:
1. The most ridiculous proposal is to combine Alwoodley and parts of Allerton with various villages across the Wharfe: Huby, Spofforth, Killinghall, Summerbridge…
2. The towns in the north west of the borough are put together with Baildon and half of Idle.
3. The other half of Idle is in a Pudsey seat that also includes Armley.
4. Half of Batley is combined with Morley and parts of the inner city.
5. The Outwood district of Wakefield has been put with Leeds city centre.
Could they have done a worse job?
How has this happened?
Under pressure from politicians, the Commission has decided that, rather than respect our cities and communities, it will, for its own convenience, and the convenience of the politicians, split our cities apart. This is not just happening in Leeds – several other cities are affected, including Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle.
What can we do about it?
We can tell the Commission and the politicians: “Split my ward, not my city! Let’s make democracy make sense.”
If we split two or three Leeds wards we can keep the city together and keep the changes to the constituencies as small as possible. It’s not rocket science. Here’s one suggestion:
Elmet & Rothwell 77,994
Leeds East 79,242
Leeds North East 78,529*
Pudsey & Aireborough 76,157*
Leeds North 79,095
Leeds West 78,736*
The two split wards are:
Otley & Yeadon: Otley is in Leeds NE; Yeadon is in the Pudsey seat
City & Hunslet: Beeston Hill and the city centre are in Leeds W; Hunslet is in the Morley seat
That’s the best suggestion I can come up with at the moment, but there are other possibilities – you could maybe suggest an alternative. The main thing is that all the seats are in Leeds, where they belong.