‘Sad day’ for MP who sees constituency ‘ripped to bits’

First published in News

PROPOSED new constituency boundaries have been blasted by a MP after it was revealed the changes would place Leigh Town Hall in Westhoughton.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham took to Twitter to lambast the recommendations of the Boundary Commission for England.

The shadow and former health secretary tweeted: “The Boundary Commission has ripped Leigh to bits.

They want to put Leigh Town Hall in Westhoughton! Sad day.”

The rejigged Leigh constituency includes the towns of Irlam and Walkden, as well as the majority of Leigh.

But Leigh West will become part of the new sprawling Westhoughton constituency, made up of Horwich and Blackrod, Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, Westhoughton South, Atherleigh, Atherton, Hindley and Hindley Green.

Mr Burnham MP said: “The Boundary Commission has ripped the Leigh Constituency to pieces.

Their proposals are disrespectful to our town, its people and its history.

“It would seem people with no knowledge of our area have sat in an office in London drawing random lines on a map.

“There can be no other explanation for the nonsense they have produced.

How can it make any sense for Leigh Town Hall no longer to be in the constituency of Leigh?

“The carving up of the Leigh constituency into three makes no geographic sense and fails to maintain historic or local links.”

Westhoughton South councillor David Wilkinson said: “I'm glad the Boundary Commission has realised Westhoughton is more important than Leigh. We’re glad to take anyone.

“Westhoughton was a Parliamentary seat for a long while. But joking aside, there is going to be a lot of people unhappy to say the least.

“They have got to put constituencies together to meet the new format.

“But it seems the Boundary Commission has not taken into account any communities or local boundaries.

“It will be nice to see the Westhoughton name back in Parliament, but there will be a number of attempts to change the name of the constituency because it stretches through Horwich, Atherton, Hindley, Westhoughton and Leigh.”

As reported in The Bolton News yesterday, Bolton South East and Bolton North East will be renamed Bolton South and Bolton North, under the plans.

Bolton South will comprise of Bolton South East’s seven existing wards plus Breightmet; while Bolton North East loses Breightmet, but gains Heaton and Lostock, Horwich North East, and Smithills; Bradshaw will also move to Bury North.

The changes will come into effect in 2013. There will be an overall reduction in 50 seats across the UK with the North West losing seven.

There will be a 12-week consultation period and MPs will vote on the proposals next year.

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