In 2013 it is proposed that the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies will be redrawn with the purpose being to reduce the total number of MPs to about 600 (the UK has a high proportion of legislators for its population compared to other western democracies) and to seek greater equality of the number in each constituency. The detailed proposals have now been published for consultation.
"I would like as large a number of people as possible to look at the proposals for the area I serve. I realise that boundary changes in general can be an emotive subject. Some will argue that changes are gerrymandering - seeking to secure an electoral advantage for a particular party - and others may wish to resist alterations to the status quo - perhaps wishing to protect a comfortable existing position or majority. I have no wish to stand in the way of change leading to improvement for electors but I do have some worries that the proposals for the area I currently represent in north east Leeds are neither sensible, practical or acceptable."
The proposals for the existing Leeds NE constituency area
Leeds North East as it currently is configured will not exist after 2013 if the proposals are accepted and the present Council wards will be allocated to one of two new constituencies that are outlined. There will be a constituency called Leeds NE but it will not contain any districts that are part of the present constituency.
Chapel Allerton: This ward will join a constituency covering the inner urban area of NW Leeds including Hyde Park, Weetwood and Headingley . This new constituency No 27 will be called Leeds North.
Map from Boundary Commission web site
Alwoodley, Moortown and Roundhay: These wards are proposed as the urban contributions to a new constituency covering a vast area extending from the Queens Arms in Chapel Allerton right out to the fringe of Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire and including Eccup, Bramhope, Pool, Huby, Kirkby Overblow, Spofforth, North Rigton, Fewston, Blubberhouses, Dacre, Summerbridge, and the remote village of Greenhow. This area has been constructed presumably to incorporate a sufficient number of electors to reach the optimum target of around 78000. This constituency No 29 will be called Leeds North West.
Map from Boundary Commission web site
The Boundaries Commission has published a full outline map for Yorkshire and Humberside which you can download by clicking here.
"These are hybrid and ill thought out proposals. While there is clear merit in including Chapel Allerton in a new inner Leeds constituency, I cannot think that anyone from all shades of local or political perspective will feel that it makes sense to group together such widely different communities as has been proposed for the new Leeds North West. The MP for this area would have to work with 3 local councils, Leeds, Harrogate District and North Yorkshire County. The problems arising in the various urban and country communities are impossibly diverse. I suspect that there might be a tension between town and country with suspicions on both sides that their interests might not be fully represented and that some members of the community will feel that their MP is just too remote or far away. It would certainly be a challenge for whoever might be elected to attend sufficient local surgeries to satisfy voters needs."
Have your say
If you feel that the proposal are not sensible - or even indeed if you feel they are correct - then please make your views known to the Boundary Commissioners, either as an individual or as an organisation that you may be a member of. You can do this using the forms on the Boundary Commission web site by clicking here.
"It is important to react now as there is deadline for any comments to be considered. I believe the consultation only lasts until the end of this calendar year. After that it will be too late to have your say. The next General Election is likley to be in 2015 and new constituencies will be in place by then."