DUDLEY South MP Chris Kelly has slammed the Lib Dem vote against the Government over plans to change the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies.
Conservative MP Mr Kelly, who has not been shy to vote against the Government on issues such as Europe and Lords Reform, towed the party line on plans to reduce the number of Parliamentary constituencies and MPs from 650 to 600.
But Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to overturn an earlier House of Lords vote, on postponing boundary changes and cutting MPs until 2018, was defeated by 334 votes to 292 (a majority of 42) after Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem ministers and MPs split the Coalition by voting with Labour, the Nationalists and the Northern Ireland parties.
The boundary plans could have netted the Tories up to 20 extra seats at the next General Election but the Commons defeat means the 2015 election will now be fought on the old boundaries with no reduction in the number of MPs.
Mr Kelly said he was disappointed with the result of the vote which, if successful, would have seen his Dudley South constituency covering Brierley Hill, Pensnett, Brockmoor, Wordsley, Kingswinford and Wall Heath scrapped and replaced with two new Parliamentary seats called Dudley South & Rowley Regis and Dudley West.
He said: “The Boundary Commission's proposals should have been passed in this Parliament in order to take effect for the next General Election, expected on 5 May 2015, making all 600 constituencies (down from 650) of equal size.
“I strongly support the equalisation in the size of Parliamentary constituencies and a reduction in the cost of politics.
“It is not right that I represent 62,000 electors (making Dudley South a relatively small constituency) whereas some MPs represent 90,000+ electors.
“However, the disreputable actions of the Liberal Democrats in both Houses have put paid to that.”
Stourbridge MP Margot James also voted with the Government and said she supports plans to regularise the constituencies.
But she said she was happy to be keeping the Quarry Bank part of her constituency which would have become part of Halesowen and Rowley Regis under proposed changes.