What’s going on?
The Boundary Commission has proposed that Stone’s seat be broken up, and Stone town be joined up with Great Wyrley in a new so-called ‘snake seat’ that curls around Stafford and Cannock via country lanes. This is how our area would look, and they want your opinion on this:
This shows Stoke South (in blue) absorbing Barlaston, Yarnfield, and Oulton, while Stafford (in green) absorbs Norton Bridge. The new seat is very big, and stretches down to Weston-under-Lizard and Essington as well as Great Wyrley.
Why is this happening?
The Liberal Democrat and Conservative governments since 2011 have changed how seats are allowed to be organised, and in the last ten years the Conservatives have repeatedly failed to implement their own weird rules – the last proposals failed in 2019, and would have put Stone into Stoke South.
What can we do?
These rules and guidelines around the new constituencies are being forced upon us against our will, but we have to work with the cards we’ve been dealt. We also cannot just demand something for us without thinking about the rest of the county – whatever we in Stone say we want will only be possible if we work with other people in other places – we must stop being isolationists and work with our neighbours in Stafford, Stoke and elsewhere to find a solution that works. Labour has been doing this and will make a submission that encompasses the whole county and region.
What does Labour think?
Stone Labour Party finds it unbelievable that anyone in their right mind would place Stone with Great Wyrley and has been working with other Labour Parties in Staffordshire to find a solution. We don’t believe there is an easy solution – whatever we look at, wherever we look, the new rules that the Conservatives have given us are just so weird that someone, somewhere, ends up with a bad solution. Stone Deserves Better than this, and we are actively fighting to find at least a partial answer.
It’s not just Stone where the Boundary Commission are wrong – Labour also opposes the plan to put some of Newcastle’s wards in with Stafford, and splitting Checkley from Cheadle. We are working across the region with other parties to make sure that our communities’ voices are heard.
What do you think?
Help us to convince the Boundary Commission they are wrong:
• PLEASE submit your own feelings to the Boundary Commission. They are not local and do not understand us – we, you, the Town Council, us – need to tell them and need to do it before August 2. Visit: https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/
Will they listen?
This is the very first draft of the new boundaries and in our party’s very long experience with this sort of thing, first draft proposals never happen – mainly because everyone complains and the Boundary Commission only looks at noisy problems. So make noise!
• The Labour Party recommendation is to submit your reaction to their proposals: focus on how their proposal is wrong and must change.
• Don’t try to propose a working solution at this stage – just react to their proposal. We can all agree that it’s wrong, but finding the right solution is tricky, and we’ll all have different ideas.
• Keep our message clear – tell them they are wrong!
But this also means that where they have done something right we should all say that loudly too! If you feel that Yarnfield, Barlaston, Tittensor and places like that should be merged with Stoke South, as they propose, then also login to the website and say so – or if not, also say so! If you think Aston-by-Stone needs to stay with Stone, as they have suggested, then say so! If you live in Norton Bridge or Chebsey and like the idea of being in Stafford’s seat, then also say so. If you don’t they’ll only hear about the problems and they may make a new problem for you trying to solve someone else’s problem…
The URL that you need is: https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/
Basically be loud, let’s be a noisy town and let’s make our wishes known. These plans for Stone town are not good and are opposed by the Labour Party, and we recommend that everyone writes to the Boundary Commision and tells them so.
Stone Labour Party knows that Stone Deserves Better, and that’s what we will fight for.