Today, the Boundary Commission published its plan for new parliamentary constituencies for after 2015 and right across the city, they’ve torn up the map.
Two of our wards – Hodge Hill and Washwood Heath – will be joined to two wards from Ladywood to create a new constituency, of Hodge Hill and Ladywood. Bordesley Green will go into a new Yardley constituency and Shard End will go outside Birmingham and into the seat of Meriden.
I imagine people will be furious at the idea of this pointless reorganisation, costing millions of pounds that will distract attention when we need a laser-like focus on creating jobs and getting the economy back on track.
In our community, we’ve worked incredibly hard building a first class team of councillors and community activists in Hodge Hill that together with me, has helped bring in an incredible £150 million of new investment in the last 6 years for new homes at Shard End Crescent, new schools and class-rooms everywhere and two brand new health mega-centres (in Saltley and on the Bromford), plus local police teams. Recent successes include the £1 million Big Local Award for the Bromford and a £300,000 grant to renew St Margarets in Ward End.
Now the government plans to tear this team apart for its own political advantage. It says it wants to shrink the number of MPs – but it’s stuffing the Lords full of unelected Tory and Lib Dem peers.
I know many in Shard End in particular will be incensed by the idea that somehow they’re no longer part of Birmingham – and have been bundled into a constituency that’s covered by three different local authorities.
My job now is to make sure Hodge Hill residents have their say. The Boundary Commission will take evidence on local views – and I’ll send out details soon. But – let me know what you think.
In the meantime, I’ll be working just as hard as ever representing the area and battling for our fair share.