Call to contest boundary plan

Plans to tear apart the Shipley constituency as part of a shake-up of political boundaries has been branded"mad and insane" by Conservative Party chief Baroness Warsi.

She said the party would appeal against some of the Boundary Commission's proposals, which cut the number of MPs at Westminster from 650 to 600 and make sure constituencies contain similar numbers of voters.

But she insisted the overall plan was right even though not everyone in the party would be"entirely content" with the changes.

Baroness Warsi said: "The proposals have come out from the Boundary Commission. The Boundary Commission is an independent organisation, and I agree with some of our MPs that some of the proposals are mad and insane.

So I think there is scope for us as a party and, of course, as individual Members of Parliament to make representations to the Boundary Commission about how they feel the more natural boundary for that association lies."

Under plans outlined last month, the district would be carved up, with some proposed constituencies proving highly controversial.

Parts of the district will be served by a Calder Valley MP and a Guiseley and Yeadon MP, while the Shipley constituency - which covers Denholme and Cullingworth - will disappear as it is currently known.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said: "Baroness Warsi's intervention is welcome and let's hope we can persuade the Boundary Commission that people do not want these changes.

Obviously I am pleased the Conservative Party also takes the view that Shipley should remain as a parliamentary constituency and that is what I believe they are going to be arguing to the Commission. That will please many of my constituents that were concerned to be lumped in with other areas they have no affinity with."

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: "Like many of my colleagues across the parties and across the country, I was somewhat bemused by many of the decisions taken by the Boundary Commission which is, of course, independent from Government.

As someone who grew up in the Worth Valley and cut my political teeth there, I find it illogical for it to be lumped in with Calder Valley.

Worth Valley residents have no particular affinity with Calder Valley and certainly feel much more closely identified with Keighley. This reality has already been reinforced by a number of constituents who have come to see me to voice their strong disapproval.

I would therefore ask residents in the Worth Valley and elsewhere in Keighley and Ilkley to make their feelings known by making a submission to the formal consultation exercise."

The move has led to disaffection from many MPs and claims of gerrymandering from Labour, which fears it will be badly hit as a result of the shake-up.