MASSIVELY unpopular plans to transform Solihull’s political map looked to be in serious doubt this week.
A proposed shake-up of parliamentary constituencies was roundly condemned when details of the changes emerged last autumn.
The plans, aiming to ensure a similar-sized electorate in each MP’s seat, would have radically altered the balance of power locally.
But yesterday, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said that his party would not vote with the Government when the proposals went before Parliament.
The withdrawal of support is in retaliation to the Conservatives’ continuing opposition to reform of the House of Lords.
This week, Solihull MP Lorely Burt, chair of the Lib Dem parliamentary party, said that some Tories had broken the coalition contract.
But she was pleased that the boundary shake-up appeared dead in the water.
“I always thought that the plans were utterly wrong,” she said. “Shirley, for example, would have ended up torn in two.
“I’m obviously disappointed that some reactionary Tories have broken their word over the Lords reforms, but we’ll have to move forward from here.”
Under plans, Mrs Burt’s constituency would have lost parts of Shirley, but gained Sheldon from Birmingham.
This could have been a big benefit to her, with the heavily-populated ward having long been an enclave for her party.
By contrast, Meriden MP Caroline Spelman would have been seriously disadvantaged - losing large parts of her Tory-heartland.
Castle Bromwich would have moved into Birmingham Erdington, while a sizeable chunk of rural Solihull would have been dragged into an all-new constituency - Kenilworth and Dorridge.
The remnants of the old Meriden seat would then have been tied together with Birmingham’s Shard End, and Coleshill and Water Orton in North Warwickshire.