A local MP is campaigning to keep communities together in the face of Boundary Commission proposals to make sweeping alterations to his constituency’s boundaries.
The Commission is making changes to reduce the number of MPs across the country from 650 to 600. To do so each constituency must have an electorate of between 71,031 and 78,5 electors.
Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, has joined forces with other North Yorkshire MPs to back maintaining the current boundaries for constituencies in our area.
The proposals from the Boundary Commission place the Claro and Boroughbridge wards of the Harrogate district into the Selby and Ainsty constituency.
They also take the Washburn valley area – stretching out to Ilkley and Otley and place it in to the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency.
These are knock-on effects from placing one area from the Selby constituency into West Yorkshire.
Mr Jones commented:
All the North Yorkshire constituencies are already within the limits set by the Boundary Commission. There is no need for any change due to the size of the electorate.
The change that is proposed is designed to solve a West Yorkshire problem and it is not good practice to solve one problem by causing several others. Boroughbridge and the villages to the north and east of Knaresborough are linked to Harrogate and Knaresborough in so many ways that do not exist with Selby. They are also not part of the historic district of Ainsty which is an area immediately to the west of York.
These areas look mainly to Harrogate and Knaresborough for transport links, for schooling and for local government, economic and cultural ties. Many of my constituents in these areas come to Harrogate and Knaresborough to work, to shop and to socialise. To try and remould these well-established and well-known links into a Selby and Ainsty constituency identity flies in the face of the everyday reality of those who live in the area.
Mr Jones has written to the Boundary Commission supporting the status quo and is also writing to community groups asking them to do the same.
Anyone who wishes to make representations about the changes can do so on the Boundary Commissions website at www.bce2018.org.uk