Feb 5 2013 by Tom Duffy, Formby Times
Controversial plans to add half of Formby onto Southport’s constituency have been defeated
CONTROVERSIAL plans to redraw Parliamentary constituencies – which would have seen Formby’s Harington Ward added to Southport – have been defeated.
Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he was delighted to see Harington Ward stay within his seat instead of moving to Southport.
The unpopular plan would have split Formby between Southport and a new constituency containing Maghull, Aintree, Melling, parts of Bootle and some of Crosby.
Mr Esterson said: “This was a party political move by the Conservatives and not in the interests of the country at large – and certainly not in the interests of the people of Formby and Sefton Central.”
“The Conservatives aimed to gerrymander the constituency boundaries to create a majority for them after the next general election. They tried to rig the system in favour of the Conservatives at the expense of the country and democracy at large. The cost of that would have been the slicing in two of strong communities.”
Last week’s vote was good news for Southport’s Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh, with many predicting that the addition of 10,000 voters from the Conservative dominated Freshfield area could have put his 6,000 majority under threat at the next General Election, expected to be in 2015.
Mr Pugh said:“ Splitting Formby was always in my view a nonsense as was reducing the number of MPs.”
Blundellsands councillor Peter Papworth (Con) said: “This is exceptionally disappointing. The Lib Dems have played party politics and cannot pretend any other wise.”
In what was described as the deepest split yet between the coalition parties, Lib Dems combined with Labour and smaller parties to delay the implementation of the boundary review – thought to be worth about 20 extra seats in the Commons to the Tories – until 2018.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg initially supported the changes as part of a package of constitutional reforms, but announced last summer that his party would try to delay the review after the Tories forced the abandonment of plans to reform the House of Lords.