Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley would be torn apart under parliamentary proposals
Historic changes to the political landscape will see the end of Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley as we know it as part of an historic move to reduce the number of MPs across the country.
Proposed changes released by the Boundary Commission will see Pendle disappear with Nelson submerged into a new Burnley constituency, while Colne would join the Ribble Valley.
The Burnley parliamentary area is set to extend north to include eight wards from Pendle, up to and including the town of Nelson.
Meanwhile, Padiham, Hapton and Coal Clough with Deerplay would become part of Hyndburn in a newly renamed Accrington constituency.
Nationally, the number of MPs would be cut from 533 to 501 in England, from 40 to 29 in Wales, from 59 to 53 in Scotland and from 18 to 17 in Northern Ireland.
Lancashire would see its MPs reduced from 16 to 14.
After a previous reform attempt was scuppered by the Liberal Democrats in coalition, the Conservatives promised to “address the unfairness of the current Parliamentary boundaries” in their 2015 general election manifesto.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson described the proposals for Lancashire as “a complete mess” and urged the Boundary Commission to look again.
Under the proposals the Tory MP would face a two way fight with party colleague Nigel Evans, the current Ribble Valley MP, as large parts of their constituencies would merge.
Mr Stephenson said: “I support the proposals for re-drawing the boundaries and reducing the number of MPs in principle, but I think the Boundary Commission’s proposals for Lancashire are a complete mess.
“Pendle is basically being split into two whereby 60% of my current voters ending up in a Clitheroe and Colne constituency which would stretch from Preston to the Yorkshire border.
“The other 40%, which would roughly comprise Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley would become part of Burnley.
“I believe all 20 wards of Pendle should be retained with Cliviger and Worsthorne added to bring up the required population target for the constituency.
“Splitting Pendle has no real gain, it is needlessly radical. Nelson and Colne have always been together. The Boundary Commission should try to work with the status quo, and not create colourful lines on a map that have no relevance to local people.”
The MP also criticised proposals for the Ribble Valley, with parts “from Chatburn up” forming part of a new constituency called Lancashire North.
He added: “Lancashire North would be a monstrosity covering four different council areas. However, we must remember these are just proposals and I’m confident that we can persuade the Boundary Commission to see sense.”