By Paul Goodman
Rob Hayward, the former MP for Kingswood, is a long-time adviser to the Party on boundary reviews and electoral matters, and knows more about both than most of us. However, his Evening Standard piece this evening is unlikely to have boosted his popularity with some London Conservative Councillors.
In it, he argues that there are too many London Boroughs and London Councillors. He writes that:
"Several London boroughs, including Richmond and Kingston, are smaller than either Southend or Stockton. Five are even smaller than Basildon District".
"Why not merge these London Lilliputs and do away with their myriad chief executives, directors and the rest? If the mighty authorities of the West Midlands were our model, there would be 16 or 17 London boroughs, not 32."
"In any case, there is no logic or fairness about it. Why does Kensington & Chelsea need 54 councillors for 87,000 voters (that's one per 1,600 voters) when Bromley gets by with 60 for 227,000 (one per 3,800)? But let's go further."
"Go on, have the courage of the moment. Goodbye Islington, Richmond and Kensington & Chelsea: the savings would come to millions."
The piece is headlined "Slim down London's costly toytown Councils", and can be read here.