Taking account of local government boundaries

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Alec Shelbrooke Alec Shelbrooke Conservative, Elmet and Rothwell 4:15 pm, 25th June 2020

I am most grateful to the hon. Lady for that intervention. I have often said that if God had wanted Yorkshire and Lancashire to meet, he would not have put a huge lump of granite between us.

However, there is an important point here, namely that the arbitrary nature of local authority boundaries is a strange thing. In 1974, Leeds was the only authority that got bigger; all the other authorities got smaller but the Leeds metropolitan authority swept way out of what had been the Leeds City Council area and took in areas such as Pudsey, West Riding Council and all those areas.

My constituents generally do not consider themselves to be part of Leeds. However, I am a Leeds city MP, in a county constituency and a borough constituency, which gives some idea of how that is defined in the geography of election expenses. Equally, I remember a particular opponent in one of the elections who was trying to establish their credibility to stand in the area. They went to certain parts of my constituency waving the flag about what a strong Leeds Rhinos fan they were, in rugby league. I am not a rugby league fan, and am clear that I am not, but I do know that in the areas that said opponent was talking about being a Leeds Rhinos fan, the people were all Castleford Tigers fans, so I was quite pleased with that bit of electioneering.