THE Conservatives have backed the Boundary Commissions proposals to carve up the ancient town of Sutton Coldfield.
Speaking yesterday on the first day of the Commissions Birmingham public hearing, London-based Conservative official Roger Pratt revealed that, despite making numerous proposed changes to other constituencies across the Midlands, the party would support the swap of Sutton New Hall with Kingstanding.
Their support of the changes, which could lead to another Tory seat created in Erdington, flies in the face of the other parties who were adamant that the town should remain untouched.
Lib Dem official Jock Gallagher said: Im very conscious of Sutton Coldfields status as a Royal Town and the unnecessary angst of cutting New Hall out.
Its a move too far.
Labour party official Greg Cook also opposed carving up the town wanting to respect ties in Sutton Coldfield which are clearly broken by the proposal.
However, Mr Pratt denied accusations by chair of Vesey North Neighbourhood Forum Ken Rushton that the move to back the controversial ward swap was politically motivated blaming geographical and community ties.
Mr Rushton had said: I noticed in your presentation that you very quickly skipped over Sutton and said you support principals of the change.
You obviously knew that two wards in Sutton and Kingstanding will give two Tory seats.
Opinion was also split within the party as Councillor David Barrie (New Hall) said he was unhappy over his partys decision which he admitted would be unhelpful to the residents fight to reject the swap.
But I think that residents voices will have more weight, he added.
However, Erdington councillor Rob Alden (Con) said he was personally in favour of the exchange and claimed that residents would not be fazed by the changes.
Everyone I have spoken to who is not a member of a political party does not seem to be bothered by it, he added.
You can have your say on the Commissions proposals until December 5 at http://consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk