MP: Changing local boundaries with public backing would ‘re-empower’ communities

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley, spoke of the ‘challenge’ facing his constituency.

Robbie Moore in the House of Commons
Robbie Moore in the House of Commons

Changing local authority boundaries with public backing would “re-empower local communities who feel completely disenfranchised and forgotten about” a Conservative MP has suggested.

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley, spoke of the “challenge” facing his constituency, claiming: ” My constituents feel that they are being used as a cash cow for Bradford.”

He told the Commons: “Local representation matters. Individuals and communities need to have trust in their local authority which is charged with acting in their best interest regardless of which political party may be in charge at a local level.

“Residents need to be reassured that the framework, the model, the structure and indeed the geographical area represented mean that the local authority has the capacity and the capability of acting in their best interest.

“My Local Authority Boundaries Bill aims to re-empower local communities who feel completely disenfranchised and forgotten about by their local authority.”

Local authorities, he said “must represent the entire geographical area encompassed by its boundaries and most importantly deliver for local communities based on their local priorities”.

He added: “In my view there is a risk that if a local authority is too large in terms of the number of residents it represents or the geographical area is too great, or a single city is getting all the attention from the local authority with the outlying towns and villages being deprioritised, then communities suffer.”

His Bill he said would give “local communities like mine the option to have their say on refocusing, realigning local authorities to be local and to deal with and deliver on local priorities”.

He added: “It places a requirement on the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities to lay regulations that would enable two or more parliamentary constituency areas… to form a new local authority…This Bill sets out the mechanisms for a referendum to be held….

“If 10% or more of the people in that constituency area give their support for a referendum, a vote will then be held among the electors within those community and constituency areas.

“After the referendum is held, if the majority of those signalled they want a new council to better represent them, the mechanics of setting up a new local authority will be triggered.”

His Local Authority Boundaries Bill was listed for a second reading on Friday, March 24, next year but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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