Government defeat on boundary changes branded ‘real blow for democracy’ by Manchester councillor

By Jon Robinson

The Government’s defeat over constituency boundary changes has been branded ‘a real blow for democracy’ by a Manchester councillor.

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.

Councillor John Bell, leader of the Conservatives in Tameside Council, said: “You cannot trust the Lib Dems who have reneged on the coalition agreement.

“This is once again another U-turn from Nick Clegg who was given the referendum on our election system in return for boundary changes.

“This will, I have no doubt, spill more poison into the coalition but the Lib Dems will not give up their position of power and it will carry on.

“The present system is totally skewed in Labour’s favour which they dealt with when in government, and it is no surprise Labour MPs voted against the abortive proposals as they all had a vested interest.”

The Conservatives lost the vote 292 to 334 yesterday, a decision that means that the proposed shake-up will be postponed until at least 2018.

John Leech, Lib Dem MP for Withington, said: “Since the Tories cannot be trusted to deliver constitutional reform the Liberal Democrats could not support this part of it.

“It is not the end of the coalition, but the Tories need to learn a lesson from their failure to deliver on the coalition agreement.”

Matthew Sephton, deputy chairman of the Altringham and Sale Conservatives, said: “It’s very sad that the Lib Dems didn’t keep to their side of the bargain.

“The Conservatives supported an AV referendum, so the Lib Dems should have supported boundary changes.”

Yesterday MM reported that Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish, had called the vote ‘common sense’.

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

Image courtesy of CancerCampaigninGgrp, via YouTube, with thanks.

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