ALL three main political parties have told the body seeking to change England’s parliamentary constituencies that its plan to destroy the electoral face of North Yorkshire is flawed.

At a Boundary Commission hearing in Leeds, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives argued that the blueprint to change seven of the eight constituencies in the county should be abandoned before it is put before the House of Commons.

Both parties argued that at the next General Election, most or all the 530,300 voters in North Yorkshire should remain in the same constituencies they were in when the coalition Government was formed.

The radical plan, which aims to create equal numbers of voters in constituencies and cut the number of MPs by 50, would see 83,700 voters in the county move into different constituencies.

The proposal met with widespread consternation when it was unveiled last month, as it would see Stokesley grouped with Filey and parts of York in a massive Malton constituency and parts of Leeds would be tied in with Harrogate to ensure that parliamentary seats in South and West Yorkshire have close to 76,000 voters.

The commission’s proposal to split Upper and Lower Wensleydale into two constituencies – with one being grouped with Thirsk and the other Skipton – sparked a furious reaction from councillors and residents, saying it would wreck family and community connections.

Lord Richard Newby, speaking for the Liberal Democrats, said the party wanted to avoid imposing changes on North Yorkshire simply to accomodate problematic constituencies in West Yorkshire.

Describing the drive for electoral equality in Yorkshire as “a very complicated Rubik’s cube”, Lord Newby said the commission should use the historic Ridings boundaries as its starting point.

Conservative spokesman Roger Pratt told the hearing that none of North Yorkshire’s constituencies needed changing to achieve electoral equality. He added that the commission’s plan to create a Malton constituency, which would include three district and one city councils, was unworkable.

Labour Party strategist Greg Cook said the proposals were extremely disruptive, had clear and obvious shortcomings and would break numerous local ties. He said Labour would consider the other parties’ suggestion to leave North Yorkshire unchanged.

􀁧 Further Boundary Commission hearings into the changes will be held at the Golden Lion, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, next Thursday, Newcastle Civic Centre, on November 14, and the St George Hotel, at Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington, on November 17.