PM says political boundary changes could still go ahead
DAVID Cameron insists there is still life in controversial plans that would see the Forest of Dean annex Gloucester city centre despite the Liberal Democrats pulling their support.
The Prime Minister argued all the groundwork had been done for the shake-up of political boundaries, and that voters wanted a smaller, cheaper House of Commons.
The Liberal Democrats led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pulled the plug on backing the planned overhaul of the electoral map after proposals for House of Lords reform had to be scrapped in the face of entrenched opposition from Conservative MPs along with Labour's refusal to back a crucial timetable for the legislation.
Mr Clegg had claimed the Conservatives had broken the coalition contract and that, as a result, his Liberal Democrat MPs could no longer support changes to constituency boundaries for the 2015 general election.
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The revamp aimed to slash the number of Westminster seats by 50 down to 600, and iron out discrepancies in constituency electorates.
But it is proposed to move Gloucester's central ward into the neighbouring Westminster seat of the Forest of Dean in a government drive to balance out voter numbers.
Boundary bosses who carried out the review insist it is the "only viable option".
But without Lib Dem backing and opposition not only from Labour but also Tory rebels, the move seems doomed to failure.
However, pressed over whether there was still life in the proposals, Mr Cameron said: "There is. This vote is going to come in front of the Commons and the Lords. The works being done. The legislation has been passed. All that remains is these last two votes."
He would be urging MPs of all parties to back the changes.
Mr Cameron said: "Go and ask your constituents I will say to them. Do you want a smaller House of Commons that costs less money and should all seats be the same size with the same number of voters in?
"If you can find me an argument why seats should have different numbers of voters in I would be very interested to hear it."
Mr Clegg has already indicated there will be no rethink over opposing the plans.