Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Monday, 3 December 2012

Motion of regret

Planned changes to local government structures in Cumbria have been criticised by several Labour peers in the House of Lords.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) plans to abolish existing wards in 10 parishes across Cumbria and redistribute them.

But Lord Liddle tabled a motion to regret the planned district council boundary changes in Cumbria, during a debate on the subject on 3 December 2012.

The Labour peer alleged "serious flaws" in the LGBCE's process and claimed the changes contravene the requirements of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.

Lord Liddle told peers he found it "very strange" that a new set of boundaries would be implemented "within four or five months" of the county council elections next May.

"People will discover that councillors who've represented them for decades no longer represent them. This seems to me to just add confusion for confusion's sake."

Labour's Lord Campbell-Savours told peers it was an "unnecessary" and "expensive" review which "no-one wants".

Lord Judd, also a Labour peer, branded the proposals "ill-considered" and "insensitive", telling peers that people were "in a muddle" about who is representing them at local council level.

Labour's Lord Harris of Haringey told peers that because the Boundary Commission is independent of government he had "drawn the short straw" to respond to the debate.

He said it was important to understand the context surrounding the changes being made, and set out the commission's rationale behind the proposals.

Lord Liddle agreed to withdraw his motion but said he hoped the Boundary Commission would "in future take note of what has been said about how it should proceed".

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