20 MAY 1922, Page 2

The tendency of the great_ municipalities to go on absorbing

their• smaller' neighbours was sharply checked last week, when the House of Commons rejected -by .199 votes to 57 a Bill for the .aggrandizement of Leeds and Bradford. The Minister of Health supported the Bill, because his Department would naturally prefer to see the number of separate local authorities greatly reduced so as to lessen the work of administration. But the West Riding County Council and the smaller boroughs had organized a strong opposition which proved irresistible. The decision contrasted curiously with that of the House in the case of Leith, a large and well-governed town of 80,000 people, which was recently annexed, much against its will, to its neighbour, Edinburgh. Nevertheless, the time had come to call a halt to these over-ambitious cities. Plenty of specious reasons may always be given for enlarging their areas, but the fact remains that when cities increase beyond a certain limit the citizens cease to have any real control over their elected councillors and-the councillors in their turn become the mere mouthpieces of the permanent officials. In the interests of good popular administration the rejection of the Leeds and Bradford Bill is to be welcomed.