One of the main local issues raised with me during my time as Southport's MP has been our place within Sefton.
Southport has historically been part of Lancashire, however during the 1970s it was included in the newly formed Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside. Sefton also includes Bootle, Crosby, Formby, Magull, and Litherland.
Many Southport residents disagreed with this change, and would instead prefer to join with areas such as Ormskirk, Rufford, Banks, Burscough, Skelmersdale, Tarleton, Scarisbrick, and Hesketh Bank. I fully support this proposal.
I believe that Sefton Council do not understand our town, and that we do not get a good return on the estimated £60 million of council tax Southport pays into council coffers each year. I share the view that Southport has been treated as a cash-cow for decades, and that Southport’s interests would be best served by leaving Sefton, and entering into an arrangement with West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
Unfortunately there have been many scare-stories pushed by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties locally about what a withdrawal from Sefton would mean, especially in relation to free travel for over-60s. I have discussed this with Merseytravel, who have confirmed that they would be open to working out a special arrangement for Southport's residents if we moved back into Lancashire.
The people of Southport should be able to have their say on how their local government arrangements should be set, and I will work with colleagues to progress this.