Government's political boundary re-think rejected by Stoke-on-Trent City Council
SCRAPPING Tristram Hunt's Parliamentary seat to reduce the number of MPs in Stoke-on-Trent would be 'impractical and ridiculous', according to the city council.
The Labour-run authority is writing to the Government to declare its formal opposition to the Boundary Commission's plan to redraw the political map.
It would see Mr Hunt's Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency divided between the Stoke-on-Trent North seat held by Joan Walley and Rob Flello's Stoke-on-Trent South.
A new West Staffordshire seat would combine southern parts of the city including Trentham and Meir with Bill Cash's Stone ward and parts of Newcastle.
But Stoke-on-Trent City Council says the proposals will 'weaken the city's representation' and 'short change' its residents.
Leader Mohammed Pervez will now write to the Government outlining the authority's opposition.
Councillor Olwen Hamer, cabinet member for transformation and resources, said: "We welcome changes which no longer divide the Mother Town of Burslem.
"However, the council is concerned by the proposed West Staffordshire constituency which lacks any sense of cohesion and is spread across three council areas.
"The council believes the Boundary Commission should use the existing council boundaries.
"The leader will submit a response based on these concerns, together with an alternative to minimise disruption."
Councillor Martin Garner, member for Goldenhill and Sandyford, said: "When I first saw the initial proposals last year and the suggested Kidsgrove and Tunstall constituency, I thought they had come up with the most ridiculous and nonsensical constituency possible for the people of Stoke-on-Trent.
"I now realise I was wrong as they've surpassed themselves with their idea of a West Staffordshire constituency.
"It completely lacks any sense of cohesion and combines disparate communities such as Weston Coyney in the city together with areas such as Stone and Audley.
"If Staffordshire County Council is included, the proposed West Staffordshire seat covers four local authority areas. It's clearly impractical and unworkable." Mr Garner proposed including Newcastle's Newchapel in Stoke-on-Trent North, which already includes Kidsgrove, to bring up to an acceptable size.
Tristram Hunt said: "I'm not against a review because there is disparity in the system, but this is all driven by the coalition's desire to reduce the number of MPs and that's why you end up with crazy seats like West Staffordshire.
"I've always said that in modern politics there is no such thing as a safe seat for life and this proves that."
The recommendations would also see Staffordshire Moorlands return to a single constituency, while the Newcastle seat would stay broadly in line with the borough council's boundaries.
Proposals to reduce MPs' numbers from 650 to 600 are unlikely to ever become law as the Liberal Democrats withdrew support