Tories attempt to influence changes in boundaries: Fears about Labour in Nottinghamshire

A BLATANT attempt to influence the drawing up of new local government boundaries to prevent Labour from taking control in Nottinghamshire has been uncovered.

The chairmen of the eight Conservative Associations in Nottinghamshire, outside the city, have unanimously agreed to put forward proposals as the best way forward 'from the Conservative Party's point of view'. The Local Government Commission, chaired by Sir John Banham, is examining ways of changing the two-tier structure of district and county councils.

The Independent has obtained a confidential letter written by Nigel Cutts, chairman of Rushcliffe Conservative Association, to Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor and MP for Rushcliffe, in Nottinghamshire, on behalf of the eight associations. He says they have decided unanimously to 'consider the best way forward from the Conservative Party's point of view, ie. what proposal . . . would give the best Conservative solution for the whole county.

'We compared the various options considered and rejected by the district, city and county councils from the electoral viewpoint, and it was instantly clear that some options would deliver an entirely Labour county.

'It is disappointing that the Tory-controlled district councils have not yet shown any inclination to think on a county-wide Conservative basis. To lose any districts to Labour-controlled or 'hung' unitary authorities would seriously weaken the Conservative Associations and their ability to campaign or raise funds, to the great detriment of the Westminster constituencies involved (Broxtowe, Gedling and Newark & Retford are all at risk here).'

Broxtowe is held by Jim Lester, Gedling by Andrew Mitchell, and Newark by Richard Alexander, all Conservative seats.

The letter goes on to say that in the absence of any proposals offering amalgamation of districts 'it is possible that the Commission itself would propose one of the solutions that could generate a totally Labour county. We would be forced to fight a rearguard action to overcome this, and would be fighting from a position of weakness'.

To forestall this possibility the Tory associations had made a private submission to the Commission for four unitary authorities based on the City of Nottingham, East Notts, West Notts and South Notts. It says that taking 1989 local election results as more normal than those in 1993, 'we would control two of the authorities (East and South) but very importantly 75 per cent of the land area of the county and covering all four Conservative Westminster constituencies' (the three mentioned plus Kenneth Clarke's seat).

The letter ends: 'I strongly urge you to support our submission by having a word with your colleagues in the DOE - John Gummer (Secretary of State for the Environment) and David Curry (local government minister) to whom I have also sent copies.'

Martin Gawith, Labour deputy leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said the letter was a deliberate attempt to manipulate the review. 'This gerrymandering is a cynical attempt to bolster the strength of local Conservative parties and is directly in contravention of the declared aims of the review to obtain the best structures to deliver the most beneficial services at a local level. Though Conservative meddling has been suspected in the past, never has it been so blatant.'

Mr Cutts was unavailable for comment.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Electrical Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Long term contract role - Electrical Pro...

Product Support Engineer - Mechanical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: You will be working with the support pro...

SENIOR SAP FICO CONSULTANT

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SENIOR SAP FICO...

2nd Line Application Support Analyst

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: This is a...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice