Boundary changes spark debate in part of Wirral

There are mixed feelings in one part of Wirral as it joins up with part of Cheshire next week to elect a new MP.

Due to boundary changes ahead of the general election taking place on 4 July, the Wirral South constituency was abolished. This saw the political map of Wirral change with parts of the former constituency moved to Wirral West, Birkenhead, or in the case of Bromborough and Eastham becoming the Ellesmere Port and Bromborough constituency.

This means these two Wirral areas will be represented by the same MP as its neighbouring town despite few links between the two and the separation of the M53 motorway. Bromborough and Eastham will remain part of Wirral Council despite the changes in Parliament.

For some, this has raised concerns they will be forgotten about by whoever becomes their MP while others don’t think it will make any difference whatsoever, pointing out that the areas were fairly similar.

One woman in Bromborough said some people were quite shocked about the change as they weren’t aware of it. While still undecided, she said, “The issue around here is we have got nothing for the teenagers to do but then everyone complains about them getting up to mischief. There’s nothing for them to do. There’s no youth clubs.”

The furthest point from the hub of Ellesmere Port in the new constituency is the centre of New Ferry, an area that has struggled to recover following a devastating explosion seven years ago that tore through its high street.

Now things are showing signs of improvement with new homes being built and more private sector investment as a result refurbishing some empty shops.

General Election 2024: What Ellesmere Port and Bromborough candidates have to say

Mark Craig (pictured, lead image), chair of the New Ferry residents’ association is concerned any future MP’s attention may be drawn elsewhere and New Ferry and its issues “will be seen as very remote,” adding, “Things are happening but there does still need to be pressure from the MP to keep the pressure up on the council to continue to their best.”

One of the biggest issues currently affecting the town centre is that of antisocial behaviour with a number of windscreens recently smashed on several streets.  He also argued the new MP would need to put pressure on any new government for more funding, adding, “Is New Ferry going to get a better deal than we ever did under the Conservatives, particularly in our hour of need when the Conservatives gave us absolutely zero.”

In nearby Port Sunlight village, some didn’t think it made much of a difference. Tilly, a former healthcare worker in A+E, who lives in the village said the NHS was a top priority.

Remembering an agency worker who was once paid several times her wage, she called for NHS workers to be given better working conditions to prevent them from moving over to the private sector, adding, “Better conditions aren’t just about tea breaks. It’s that we have enough staff on the ward.” In her opinion, this would actually save money by reducing the need for agency staff costs which are more expensive.

She believes the private sector was taking advantage of the situation, adding, “It’s disgraceful that they get paid for it and it’s the NHS that supplements them.”

Norma Lightfoot said the NHS was her number one priority but hadn’t made her mind up when it came to voting.

The NHS was also on other people’s minds. Norma Lightfoot said she was surprised to hear about the changes and worried any future MP isn’t “going to get to know the people,” adding, “I do not know who to vote for. I do not really think anyone that gets in will be able to change things quickly even for the NHS. It’s just not going to happen and the country is in such a state.”

She added, “The NHS is the main thing that needs doing because it’s horrendous. I have recently been one of those people waiting on the corridor for 10 hours. I was waiting in a queue.”

Kath Walsh didn’t have any concerns as the areas are fairly similar. While she still plans to vote Labour, she was concerned about the party retreating from past pledges on climate change, adding, “I think if it was just locally, the Greens or the Liberal Democrats are very high profile in this areas but I wouldn’t chance a vote for either of them in this election. I think it’s significant and it’s a significant problem.

“It’s more difficult to see those changes and not everyone sees the impact on their lives in terms of the climate.”

Nick Spearpoint who also lives in Port Sunlight felt Labour hadn’t appealed to swing voters under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn but worries the party “have completely swung to become voter pleasers”.

He said, “It’s going to be a really difficult balance but with so many things in life, do you just listen to the people and do what they tell you to do or do you lead and make difficult decisions for the good of everybody?”

For him, the big issue to tackle is the cost of living, adding, “Take money from the rich and the energy companies who made such massive profits due to the energy crisis while we have people who have their homes going mouldy because they can’t afford to put the heating on.”

The candidates in Ellesmere Port and Bromborough are:

PartyCandidate
 ReformMichael Christopher Aldred
IndependentRuth Kathleen Boulton
 Liberal DemocratsChristopher David Carubia
 ConservativeLee Evans
 GreenHarry Ross Gorman
 LabourJustin Madders

Lead image: Mark Anthony Craig, Chair of New Ferry Residents Association, standing in front of the explosion site in the town centre that is now being redeveloped. All images credit: Edward Barnes

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news