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MP defies government ‘boss’ in making case for Keighley to split from Bradford
4:20pm Friday 14th March 2014 in Keighley
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has called for Bradford district to be split in two – despite his own government boss dismissing the idea.
The housing minister said he wanted Keighley, Ilkley and Shipley to be “in command of our own destiny”, rather than chained to Bradford City Hall.
It is a proposal Mr Hopkins has put forward before, but the first time he has argued for it since he joined the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
He said: “I have long been of the view the interests of the people of Keighley, Ilkley and Shipley would be much better served by us being in command of our own destiny, rather than being dictated to by remote control from Bradford City Hall. My opinion has not changed.”
Last week, Shipley MP Philip Davies – whose constituency inclu-des Cullingworth and Denholme – also called for the same areas to be allowed to form their own authority, separated from Bradford.
The Conservative said his constituents were “sick to the back teeth” of planning decisions taken by the Labour-run council in the interests of its own Bradford heartlands.
And he mischievously suggested Mr Hopkins would be able to push forward the switch following his promotion to the government last year.
Mr Davies added: “The Member for Keighley is, helpfully, now a minister in the department.
“Not long ago, he said we should look at having a local authority for just the Keighley and Shipley constituencies, thus taking us out of Bradford district.
“I agree with that, and I am sure my constituents do wholeheartedly, so how can we make progress on that, particularly given his elevated position?”
However, the reply was given by Eric Pickles, the Bradford-born Local Government Secretary, himself a former leader of the authority back in the 1980s.
Mr Pickles denied there was a problem, telling MPs: “We have no plans to break up the Bradford metropolitan authority.”
Councillor David Green, Bradford’s Labour leader, has insisted his council invested for the good of people “right across the district” and listened to their views.
He said: “We have also devolved many decisions down to area committees in Shipley and Keighley, so local representatives are making decisions on services that fit with those communities.”