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Kris Hopkins still backs independence for Keighley, Shipley and Ilkley despite government's stance
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins has called for the Bradford district to be split in two – despite his own Government boss dismissing the idea.
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 told the Telegraph & Argus: “I have long been of the view that 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 also called for the same outlying areas to be allowed to form their own local authority, separated from Bradford.
The fellow 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 that Mr Hopkins would be able to push forward the switch, following his promotion to the Government last year.
Mr Davies said: “The Member for Keighley is, helpfully, now a minister in the department.
“Not long ago, he said that we should look at having a local authority for just the Keighley and Shipley constituencies, thus taking us out of the 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, in the 1980s.
But Mr Pickles denied there was a problem, telling MPs: “We have no plans to break up the Bradford metropolitan authority.
“It always struck me that, no matter whether someone was Conservative or Labour, Shipley by and large ran Bradford.”
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 that local representatives are making decisions on services that fit with those communities.”
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