THE ELECTION of a second Conservative MP in an outlying part of the district will “ turbo-charge” a push for Shipley and Keighley to break away from Bradford Council, it has been claimed.

Shipley MP Philip Davies has been spearheading the ‘Leave Bradford Council’ campaign, claiming the local authority has consistently prioritised spending in city centre heartlands at the expense of the Keighley and Shipley constituencies.

After comfortably holding his own Shipley seat and watching fellow Tory Robbie Moore triumph in neighbouring Keighley, Mr Davies says he will redouble efforts to for the two Conservative constituencies to break away from the general Bradford political district.

He feels the creation of a separate council would see money raised by council tax in Shipley and Keighley spent in that community.

In the wake of the Tory landslide, he said he stills feels the same way about a split. "In fact, more so than ever," he said.

But his views were rubbished by Bradford Council's Labour leader Susan Hinchcliffe, while the authority's Conservative chief whip Michael Ellis also voiced doubts.

Mr Davies said: "I started a petition on this issue last year and already have thousands of signatures. I intend to get more and present the document to the government.

"We are in a strong position with Robbie Moore winning in Keighley and he is of the same mind in a way that the previous MP John Grogan was not.

"With both MPs in favour, the campaign will be turbo-charged."

Asked what he thought to the district's three inner-city seats remaining in Labour hands, Mr Davies said any sensible interpretation would suggest Tories have a mountain to climb to win one of them.

"It is hard to see it ever happening," he said. "But perhaps it is not so much the case with Bradford South where we came close to winning. At one point, an exit poll predicted we would take the seat.

"The Tory party is in a strong position in some inner city areas. But certainly in Bradford East and West we have our work cut out," he said.

Coun Hinchcliffe said: "Philip Davies' tired campaign to split the district is just a recycled political stunt. Government isn’t interested. It’s completely impractical. There is no legislation to make it happen.

"He’s trying to distract from the real problem, a Tory Government which, for 10 years now, has cut councils’ budgets by half and choked the public services we all rely on."

She was pleased Labour retained three Bradford seats, but sad to see the defeat of former Keighley MP, John Grogan. She also said Jo Pike 'led an excellent campaign' in Shipley, but that the national swing was just too great.

"Regardless of the result Bradford district remains a place of ambition, talent, creativity and youth and as Bradford Labour councillors we have a plan to deliver on that ambition," she added.

Coun Ellis said of the issue of Shipley and Keighley splitting from the rest of Bradford: "This is at odds with everyone desperate to be granted devolution for Yorkshire or at least parts of the county. Devolution is desperately needed and the sooner it is decided the better."

Coun Ellis didn't see why Conservatives could not win an inner city Bradford seat in the future. "There is a certain amount of mistrust among the Asian community towards the Conservatives and that has developed over the years," he said. "We have to work on these constituencies one by one. Try to get the message across. But we will continue to fight. "

Dr Pete Woodcock, head of politics at Huddersfield University, said: "Regarding Labour's retention of Bradford's three inner city constituencies, the key word here is 'city'.

"Labour is now very much seen as part of cities as opposed to towns.

"This can be seen in results from places such as Dewsbury and the Colne Valley (both Tory gains).

"Bradford is very much a city and possibly a place of political rebellion. In some ways, Bradford seems like the de-industrialised northern city where you might think the Tories would make inroads, but they did hold Shipley and take Keighley. I am sure Labour would like to take Bradford and replicate it across the country as a glimmer of hope. The 'Red Wall' of Labour seats has been chipped away at and the fact Bradford has escaped unscathed would suggest it is a Labour stronghold."