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‘Good news for Greater Manchester’: Tory defeat over constituency changes hailed as common sense by MP

By Jon Robinson

The government’s defeat over proposed changes to constituency boundaries was hailed as ‘common sense’ by a Manchester MP today.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish, spoke after the government lost the House of Commons vote on proposals to alter general election constituencies from 334 to 292.

The defeat means that the planned shake-up will be postponed until 2018 at the earliest.

Mr Gwynne, the shadow health minister, said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed on this issue. 

“The Government’s proposals were deeply flawed and completely ignored any sense of community or locality.” 

The vote saw the Lib Dems vote against the Government, along with four Tory backbenchers.

Under the proposals, the number of House of Commons seats would have fallen from 650 to 600 and almost all constituencies would have contained between 72,810 and 80,473 registered voters.

Mr Gwynne added: “For my own constituency, it means that the 30-year links between Denton and Reddish will remain in place.”

He said that he felt that Reddish would have got the worst deal under the Government plans, with Reddish North being separated from Reddish South to be put in the Manchester Gorton seat.

Mr Gwynne added that it was clear from the tone of the debate that coalition relations between the Conservatives and Liberals have become strained.

Andrew Lansley, the Leader of the House said: “The principle of greater equality in the value of each vote is at the heart of this boundary review.

“There can be no justification for retaining the current inequality.”

Councillor Adam White, Labour councillor for Longdendale in Tameside, said: “I’m just glad that the conservative party’s attempts at using the state to stitch up the next election have failed.”

Mr Gwynne added: “Above all, this is good news for Greater Manchester, which will not now lose a parliamentary seat overall, and will retain a set of constituencies that better reflect local communities than the Boundary Commission’s proposals would have done.”

Picture Courtesy of Tom Williams, with thanks.

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