Electoral changes on the cards

A SHAKE-up of Parliamentary boundaries could mean thousands of extra Conservatives voting for a Halifax MP at the next General Election.

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe voters could be switched from the Calder Valley to become part of the Halifax Parliamentary constituency under reforms announced today by the Boundary Commission.

At the same time, the Calder Valley constituency could gain voters from the Worth Valley, on the outskirts of Keighley.

It would mean both constituencies potentially gaining more Conservative electors – but the biggest impact would be in Halifax.

The town’s Labour MP, Linda Riordan, was returned in 2010

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with a majority of just 1,472 votes over the Conservative candidate and the impact of the Conservative stronghold of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe could be significant.

Mrs Riordan said the the commission had come up with some interesting proposals.

“Changes to the Halifax seat were inevitable and from a geographical not political point of view I can see the logic of including Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, so I was not surprised by the news.

“There is now a consultation period and I am sure many people will put forward their thoughts and feelings. Whatever the outcome, I will carry on representing the people of Halifax to the best of my ability until the next general election and hopefully beyond,” she said.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said that politically he could see very little change overall in his constituency, with perhaps 1,000 additional voters.

“Gaining the Worth Valley it is not something I would have predicted and it is incredibly disappointing to think that we might lose Hipperholme and Lightcliffe.

“The area has much stronger links with the Calder Valley than the Calder Valley has with the Haworth area.

“But we will work with whatever boundary the commission decides is best,” he said.

The Con-LibDem government wants to reduce the total number of parliamentary seats from 650 to 600 seats.

Virtually all the seats must be within 5 per cent of the average size, as measured by registered electorate in December 2010.

The average size is 76,641 so the legal minimum is 72,810 and the legal maximum is 80,473.

The Boundary Commission began the formal public consultation process today and it will run until the beginning of December.