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Merseyside MP boundary changes rejected

CONTROVERSIAL plans to redraw Parliamentary constituencies in Merseyside were voted down by Liberal Democrat MPs.

The party blocked a government Bill which would have seen electoral ward boundaries changed ahead of the 2015 general election to the likely benefit of the Conservatives.

The unpopular plan would have seen drastic changes in Merseyside, including the creation of a new constituency containing Maghull, Aintree, Melling, parts of Bootle and some of Crosby.

In south Liverpool, the merging of the Garston and Wavertree seats was floated, as well as the creation of a cross- Mersey constituency taking in parts of Wirral and Halton.

Altogether, the changes would have seen the number of Merseyside MPs fall from 11 to 10.

In what was described as the deepest split yet between the coalition parties, Lib Dems combined with Labour and smaller parties to delay the implementation of the boundary review – thought to be worth about 20 extra seats in the Commons to the Tories – until 2018.

For the first time since the coalition’s formation in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to set aside the idea of collective responsibility and allow Lib Dem ministers to vote against the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg initially supported the changes as part of a package of constitutional reforms, but announced last summer that his party would try to delay the review after the Tories forced the abandonment of plans to reform the House of Lords.

The news was welcomed by Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson, who said: “The Government was claiming the changes were designed to reduce costs because the number of MPs was to be slashed from 650 to 600.

“Meanwhile, they were duplicitously creating nearly 200 new peers in the Lords who are unelected and who cost more than £150,000 a year each.

“This exposes the real purpose of these changes. They tried to rig the system in favour of the Conservatives, at the expense of the country and democracy at large.”

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