The issue of the Parliamentary Boundaries is becoming very emotive, especially in Gloucester where it is suggested we lose the Westgate ward to the forest of Dean. How ironic that when it came to voting this change through and its terms and conditions, the Gloucester MP was more than happy, but now he is desperate to make people believe that it has nothing to do with him and he is very against it. Ironically he has just put a counter proposal forward which doesn’t really fit with the remit he voted for in the first place.
The Boundary Commission were told to look at reducing the number of MPs and to balance the elector numbers with minimal change and fuss. To keep costs down they were asked to not split wards unless absolutely necessary and this is why we have the suggestion of moving a single ward, Westgate, to the Forest of Dean to make a simple change. To be fair to the Commission, they have done their job exceptionally well, within the bounds that Mr Graham voted for.
However, this is where it falls down. Because they were told to concentrate on the numbers by the Tories, they did not give other factors such as geolocation as much, if any, weight in their decision. While it may not play nice with the numbers, Westgate holds most of the “Crown Jewels” of the city and should not be moved. If the Tories had set the remit properly to begin with, we would not have this silly situation. However it is also a bit rich for the MP to be organising campaigns against the change when he voted for it in the first place. It is also even more rich that in his submission he suggests splitting the Westgate ward, a move that he told the Boundary Commission they should not do.
Ironically, he is getting no support from his neighbouring MPs either, they are keen that his desperate manoeuvres don’t mess up their wards. A cynic would say that this is all about Mr Graham not having to move his office, especially when it took him so long to get it established in the first place. But I’m not a cynic.
No doubt the Lib Dems will also put forward their suggestion, and if their County Boundary efforts were anything to go by, they won’t be able to agree and there will be a couple of submissions. I wonder what crazy schemes they will come up with, which of course will have nothing to do with where their voter base is.
There is a mass protest this Friday about the move, starting at the Cross in Gloucester at 12.30h. If you go, don’t forget to point out that it is because of the Tories that we are in the position we are in!
- Gloucester Loses the “Crown Jewels”! – with the backing of the MP (barrykirby.co.uk)
- Ripping the heart out of Gloucester – Forest of Dean Cathedral? (barrykirby.co.uk)